Listed below are the core rules & guidelines that establish a fair grounding for understanding what is appropriate conduct in the community, what is inappropriate, and possible actions the Catnip Games team may take to resolve breaches of conduct. This document is also a guideline for player use of the official Catnip Games venues to encourage maximum and enjoyable participation. These Community Rules & Guidelines apply to the following Official Catnip Games venues. Please keep in mind, our ability to moderate some of these venues varies depending on the technology and available tools utilized at the venue and moderation restrictions inherent to venues not fully in our control. Please assist us in spotting transgressions so we can do our best to keep our venues enjoyable for all: In-game areas and chat In-game LFG (Looking for Group) feature In-game books and papers In-game quests In-game scripted NPC conversations Official chat rooms Official forums Forum signatures Forum profiles Forum profile posts Official Discord server Steam SotA Community Hub Official Facebook page Official YouTube channel Official Twitch channels (shroudoftheavatar, communityoftheavatar) Any other official social media and communication outlet maintained by the Catnip Games team. Each guideline applies to the entire community on as fair a basis as possible. Note that while we do not actively moderate outside of the official channels, actions may still be taken on accounts if grievances are sufficiently severe. TABLE OF CONTENTS Code of Conduct Do Not... Do... Recognition Program Hospitaller Program Player Policies Our Backers Steam Community PvP Community Dev+ Access Website/Forums Multiple Accounts Naming Policy Signatures/Avatars Game Modification Player Created Content Player Marketplace Moderation Actions Time Length of Offenses Categories of Offenses Forum Thread Moderation CODE OF CONDUCT Do Not... Directly or indirectly insult, bait others to insult, or respond supportively to insults made by others. Please send a private message to a forum moderator if there is a concern or use available "Report" features for that communication outlet. Use excessive profanity or vulgar language. Post prohibited material to includes: RMT (Real Money Trade/Real Money Transaction) advertisements, referalls discussions or links. Abnormally disturbing content that is especially unsuitable for those under age 18. Advertisements such as for pharmaceuticals, software or cheap watches, etc. Illegal material (such as Warez, Nudity, etc.), links or discussions of such materials. Post excessively sensitive topics, including direct/indirect debate of Religion, Race, Orientation, or other matters of a political or personal nature. Excessively post topics, threads, or titles designed to grab attention (i.e. clickbait), including repeated petitions or demands for features or actions, especially if we’ve already responded to such topics. Start nonsensical or disparaging topics, excessive replies that do not contribute to the main topic, or re-open topics duplicating locked threads. This includes creating new topics where one already exists (spamming). Make excessive disparaging remarks about (ex-) publishers, studios, titles, or the developers at those companies. We are all friends here! Use anyone's nickname (or variations like ‘Dorkstarr’ or ‘Berekbanhammer’), real name, avatar, and/or signature content (including but not limited to other community members or the development team) as your own. Do not impersonate another. Register multiple accounts to abuse/harass others, and/or for the express reason to circumvent previous moderation or the expectation of future moderation. Try to stop someone posting disparaging remarks by attacking them. It will only inflame the situation. Respond constructively, or let us handle the issue by telling us about it. Promote hate speech or overt bullying in any form, satirical or not. This includes displays of symbols like swastikas, figures like Pepe the Frog, negative religious symbolism, or keywords and indicators of individuals and groups like the use of "********". Do not post and talk about these anywhere in any official channel, or they will be removed and your account potentially suspended. Discussion of in-game symbolism and text is of course allowed, but must not be used or portrayed outside the context of it's meaning in the game, and must never be used to overtly attack or demean another individual or group. Encourage/use logical fallacies. Although it's sometimes easy to do, the following list of logical fallacies should be avoided when making points on the forums. Using this list will help reduce arguments while also making your points stronger! Do!... Comment constructively on topics, especially to keep updated on guilds or other groups you may wish to join. Be recognized! Both Catnip Games and the community have programs that acknowledge players for their positive contributions. These programs are available to everyone. Please contact your Community Manager to nominate a candidate! Are you a guild leader, player created resource owner or in charge of a SotA community project? Share share this information with the community! Simply message your Community Manager with the details. Your project might receive additional promotion during streams, weekly updates, or even added to the SotA resource link list! Share your group/guild information by posting a banner or link in your signature. Forums signature rules & guidelines are in a section further below. Join the community on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other networks to keep updated on new announcements. If you wish your news to be covered, let us know! Twitter: www.twitter.com/shroudofavatar Twitter: www.twitter.com/catnipgames Facebook: www.facebook.com/shroudoftheavatar YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/portalarium Ask us any questions you may have about the game, community, or policies listed here, as we want to hear from you! And most importantly, enjoy the game and have fun with your fellow Avatars! Recognition Program ONBE stands for Order of the New Britannian Empire. Both the ONBE and Royal Warrants are rewards from the Catnip Games team that are given out by Lord British to community members or groups for their positive contributions. They may include such actions as creating a valuable player created resource, being an upstanding guild or community leader, being an active player helper a.k.a. Hospitaller, or being a volunteer moderator. Candidates for the honor are normally chosen with the advice and consent of the royal advisors, the Team Leads at Catnip Games. There is one recognized rank: Knight. Knights are awarded a badge and drape ribbon to wear when appropriate. The badge is normally worn on the left chest. To receive an ONBE or Royal Warrant, you must meet the following criteria at a minimum: Active in a recognized program for at least 6 months Is recognized publicly in a positive way by at least 10 other community members Have no warnings or other infractions for at least 6 months Have no suspensions or bans in the past year Has never had the following infractions: death threat, sexual misconduct, used game exploits, disrupted others from getting an award because of jealousy or hate, or knowingly cheated another out of an award ONBEs and Royal Warrants may also be revoked if a player becomes toxic in the community and goes against the foundation of what an ONBE or RW stands for. There are many other ways to be recognized as well! For instance, Chris Spears' covetted award, "The Dippy Bird of Balance" has been awarded to a select few and the list grows. If you have any questions on the internal policies we have for fair recognition of players, please contact the Community Manager. Lord British and the Catnip Games team wants to hear from you! We want Shroud of the Avatar to be a truly collaborative effort, so please share your ideas! Sometimes great ideas are born in the most innocuous comment or suggestion, so be sure to add your voice to the conversation. Hospitaller Program The Hospitaller program was designed by the developers and the player community to provide a method of identifying oneself as a helper to those in need. To become a Hospitaller is simple--Help a new player. That's all it takes to become a Hospitaller. It is a step towards embracing the virtues and your fellow player. It is a step towards enhancing the player experience for all. To aid with identification of Hospitallers and players in need, the developers created the titles Hospitaller and Outlander to the list of available player titles. New players (or even veteran players) can press Keypad “-” and set their title to Outlander as a signal to other players that they would like assistance. Players can also title themselves as a Hospitaller via the same method, to identify if they are available to help others. The title of Hospitaller was suggested by Lord British from his experiences with the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA), and can be worn by members of the community volunteering their time to aid players, both new and old! Do note abuse the Hospitaller tag! Any reports of abuse will be investigated, including guilds and other groups looking to use the tag solely for recruitment of new players into their guild. The spirit of the title is that Hospitallers passively and lightly help other players find their way in New Britannia. The Hopsitaller title is NOT a recruiting tool. For more information about Hospitallers, visit the New Player Welcome section in the forums. PLAYER POLICIES The Catnip Games Team loves the community and wishes to foster a fun gameplay environment for all, but this effort can be greatly hindered by abusive actions within the player base. Fortunately, these abusive actions are rare, but the team is highly interested in learning of all instances of griefing, repeated false accusations of cheating or exploitation, spammers, breach of community rules & guidelines, exploiters and other similar issues in-game and throughout official Shroud of the Avatar communication outlets. These occurrences will NOT be tolerated. It is greatly appreciated and helpful in resolving issues when witnesses report players suspected of egregious offenses. Each official communication outlet features a "Report" type feature. First and foremost, please utilize these reporting mechanics. In-game, for instance, simply right-click the character's name and select, "Report Player" then complete the in-game form. Witnesses can also utilize the in-game chat command '/reportplayer' which also generates the report form. If the situation dictates contacting the Catnip Games team by email, please submit a support ticket to: firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief summary of the issue, as well as a screenshot if applicable. Each instance will be dealt with promptly and in accordance with the nature of the offense. Our Backers The lifeblood of our entire passion in developing Shroud of the Avatar for the community would not exist without the generous and very much appreciated contribution by its backers. We greatly value and appreciate your time in supporting the project and will always listen to what you have to say in making positive changes to the game’s direction. That said, everyone in the community is to be treated equally and with due respect toward and from all backers. No one is immune from the rules & guidelines set forth here in this document. Steam Community A significant part of our player base is from the Steam community. As such, all policies extend to the Steam Community Hub for the game. Anyone found disrupting, denigrating, or otherwise intending to cause harm to the Steam community or these players, and vice versa, will receive the same moderation action as on other official sites. Players can visit Shroud of the Avatar's Steam Community Hub at: http://steamcommunity.com/app/326160 PvP Community The Catnip Games team appreciates the PvP (Player vs Player) community within Shroud of the Avatar and therefore spends much time developing PvP gameplay for the community as a whole. The team realizes that PvP discussions can get tense at times. While we fully support and encourage players creating guilds and other groups to promote PvP gameplay and comradery, please note the differences between healthy competition and the unhealthy demeaning other players and groups. The scope of this reminder also includes the public or private denigration between PvP and non-PvP players on all official Catnip Games communication outlets. Breaches of community rules & guidelines receive no extra leeway if the breach occurred during the heat of battle or during a PvP mood swing. Regarding PvP roleplaying (and roleplaying in general), this is accepted and highly encouraged; however, all parties (intentional or inadvertent witnesses) must understand and agree to participate in the roleplayed experience. Within the roleplayed experience, egregious behavior will still not be tolerated. Witnesses to the roleplay event who become offended still have every right to report the offense and the matter will be handled in accordance to the community rules & guidelines, if applicable. Dev+ Access All Dev+ backers and content within the Dev+ forums, game builds, and other pre-live build content, are subject to non-disclosure, which states: Players shall not make use of, disseminate, or in any way disclose any Confidential Information to any Person, except as expressly authorized by Catnip Games. Players shall treat all Confidential Information with the same care as it accords to its own confidential information, and in a manner not less than reasonable care. User shall promptly give notice to Catnip Games of any unauthorized use or disclosure of the Confidential Information. User shall assist, by reasonable means, Catnip Games in remedying any such unauthorized use or disclosure of the Confidential Information. Naming Policy Name restrictions apply to both in-game names, forum display names, and official communication outlets which are under moderation by Catnip Games personnel. Utilized names must not suggest or directly include any of the following aspects: Non-alphabetical characters (single spaces for multiple words are allowed, this is mostly a consideration for in-game name and the forums display name) Advertisements Religious ideologies Famous persons Pornographic/Sexual references Catnip Games/Portalarium staff (prior or present) Impersonation or Mockery Reported Player Impersonation or Mockery Intellectual Property Not Belonging to Player Racial slurs Illegal activities Threats and real world violence Pledge titles In regards to the forum display name and in-game character name, if your name is identified as being in violation of the policy, we will take the following steps: If online, contact you via PM and ask for an immediate name alternative If offline, immediately change your name to a Neutral Name until we can reach you E-mail you and ask for three name alternatives (in case some are not available) In regards to screen names at various other official Catnip Games communication outlets, your account will be banned/hidden/blocked from participating at that venue. Upon a name change conducive to rules & guidelines above, you're account's previous participation status MIGHT be restored, depending upon the egregious nature of your naming convention or previous history on that or any venue controlled by the Catnip Games team. Exceptions for famous persons, places, and businesses may be made for obvious ambiguities that can apply in a number of neutral world scenarios, such as “Amazon”. If you wish to have the name we designate changed, please submit a support ticket to email@example.com. Note that each request will require one $25 service voucher per request. We reserve the right to make the final decision on all name changes. We do not accept name change requests that are in violation of the naming policy. Signatures/Avatars Signature and Avatar images/text at ANY official Catnip games venue are subject to approval and must not include prohibited items already described as prohibited in other areas of these community rules & guidelines. Moderation actions could occur as a result of single or continual violations, depending on the egregious nature of the violation. Forums Signatures: Images must be in JPG or PNG format. NO animations of any kind. Images must be NO larger than 600 pixels wide x 120 pixels high. Text must be limited to 20 words and 3 lines. No overly flashy text or style is permitted which clearly detracts from reading a thread. Font point 36 or less for titles, font point 12-24 for other text, and all font must be clearly legible, regardless of font style. Players may include two optional web URLs. URL's must not violate items already described as prohibited in other areas of these community rules & guidelines. Multiple Accounts While players may create multiple accounts for the game, they are allowed only one normal play account for access to the forums. If you need to have more than one forum posting account, please let us know and we will consider it on a case-by-case basis. An extra account exception may be made for accounts specific to managing a community fan site, guild or having an additional role-playing persona for forum role-play sessions. If a player is found to have duplicate forum play accounts, we will lock or moderate these "alt" accounts at our discretion. All offenses that occur on one account will also apply to every other account under the user's influence. Multi-Boxing Multi-boxing IS allowed. The only thing that is not allowed is having a second (or third+) client in the background that is executing some automatically triggered skill like auto-attack, crafting or pet attacks. For example: If a player runs multiple clients and switches to a second client to cast a heal spell, that is acceptable. Just note that first account might miss an auto attack or two while you do that. If you are a streamer running a single client and want to tab over to twitch to chat, that is fine and nothing changes as this will only impact people running multiple clients. Auto-attack was not originally a feature in the game. Auto-attack was added as a feature to assist players with certain conditions preventing or hindering repetitious click a button. While we have no plans to remove auto-attack, it is possibly the most exploited feature of the game which makes auto-attack a high visibility and closely monitored feature by the Catnip Games team. Pets utilized during multi-boxing is also a highly exploitable feature of the game which makes unattended pet usage a high visibility and closely monitored feature by the Catnip Games team as well. If multiple clients are running on the same machine, skills, spells, auto-attacks and pets will only activate if the client is in the foreground. If attempts to circumvent these restrictions is detected, these actions will be considered a "Cheat, Exploit or Game Modification" which will result in one or more of the moderation actions indicated below.Cheats, Exploits, and Game Modification (MODing) While we do allow some configuration of the game client, we do NOT allow exploiting or hacking of any kind. Any modification of the game client needs to be approved by the Catnip Games team. Some examples which cause immediate and permanent ban from the game are: Gold/item generation via automated systems (BOTing, increasing spawn rates, etc.) Generate accelerated experience (Instantly maximizing skills, etc.) Working around gameplay (Flying through barriers, reducing damage, etc.) Edit client memory (Changing character stats, increase skills, etc.) Player Created Content Related to game modification, players can add customized content in the game, such as books, music, scripted NPC dialogue and papers. Player created content is subject to the Community Rules & Guidelines. Catnip Games reserves the right to moderate and remove any content duly deemed inappropriate. Moderation of player content could also result in moderation of access to official Catnip Games venues to include the game itself. LFG (Looking For Group) In-game Feature LFG is intended to allow players to find other players for a particular group activity. It is NOT to be used for promoting marketplace goods, personal opinions, or may not violate any of the community rules & guidelines. If any violations are found, we will remove the LFG entry and warn the poster. Further moderation may occur for egregious violation. Player Marketplace Below are the rules & guidelines for the Player Marketplace. Marketplace transactions are permitted in the Player Marketplace sub-forums, the Player Marketplace Discord chat room and the and in-game trade chat channel. All community rules & guidelines apply in these venues as well, but below are reminders as well as additional marketplace specific considerations: RMT (Real Money Trade/Real Money Transactions) are prohibited in ALL official Catnip Games venues as aforementioned. This includes references to, mentions of, and links to RMT sites or individual RMT sales of ANY kind. All in-game trades and in-game items must be for in-game gold, Crowns of the Obsidian or other in-game items for in-game items. Additional marketplace rules & guidelines can be found in the forums. Catnip Games personnel will not police RMT transactions outside of official Catnip Games venues, but will not be held responsible for monetary completion/follow-through of such transactions by partipating players. These type of transactions and sites are considered, "Use at your own risk" and are in NO WAY affiliated with Catnip Games. Player-Owned Town (POT) transfers occurring between players (which might have resulted from an RMT sale) will require the purchase of a POT Submission Form Unlock Voucher, but in no way is Catnip Games responsible for the monetary completion/follow-through of any sales between players, POT or otherwise. POT sales and transfers related to RMT transactions must NOT be coordinated through ANY official Catnip Games venue between players. Any failure of said transactions is not the responsibility of Catnip Games. Limited coordination of final transfer will be facilitated between the players and Catnip Games developers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and via forum private conversations. Public communication in official channels for these RMT related transfers is not required and therefore prohibited. Please see these additional rules & guidelines for proper etiquette on the Player Marketplace forums. That thread is also the best place to inquire about marketplace standards throughout all official Catnip Games communication venues. Please assist Catnip Games personnel in monitoring the economy in the following areas: Exploits affecting the economy and player market Inappropriate marketplace advertisements/threads/chat/links etc. Excessive scarcity and abundance of vital resources (via feedback channels). If a player has witnessed or discovered economy breaking exploits, please do not advertise the exploit in public or private player communication venues. Do not repeat the exploit unless instructed to do so by Catnip Games personnel for testing purposes. For in-game occurrences, please report the exploit to Catnip Games personnel by right-clicking on the offending player and selecting the “Report Player” or “Report Content” options and choose “Other” from the context menu. Alternatively, you may use the /reportcontent or /reportplayer commands in the chat window. A support email can also be sent to email@example.com, if preferred. MODERATION ACTIONS Community Guideline violations by players are tracked by Catnip Games personnel in all official Catnip Games venues aforementioned. If severe enough (Major and Severe levels), unofficial venues will also be considered for moderation actions within official venues, to include the game itself. To help players understand the process we taking moderation actions, when a complaint is received, each complaint is reviewed thoroughly using all information at our disposal. After the review is complete, a moderation action is made based upon the severity and/or repetitious nature of the violation. Less severe offenses may be dealt with by the moderators immediately, especially if the moderator was present at the time of occurrence. More severe offenses result in harsher moderation actions which can even affect multiple official Catnip Games venues in which the violating player participates. Time Length of Offense Verbal warnings are most often issued first: First Verbal Warning - Most offenses except Severe receive an initial Verbal Warning Additional Verbal Warnings - Additional warnings may be issued for lesser offenses If verbal warnings goes unnoticed or ignored by the player, moderation may escalate as follows, but may vary depending upon the nature of the incident and these moderation actions might affect one, many or all official Catnip Games venues: 24 Hour Timeout (1 day) - Minor/First Time Offense 72 Hour Suspension (3 day) - Moderate Offense/Repeated Offenses 1 Week Suspension (7 day) - Major Offense/Repeated Offenses Permanent Ban - Severe Offense or Many Repeated Offenses Limited Ban - Certain situations may call for banishment from multiplayer modes and/or the ability to actively post in the forums without moderator approval 'Manual Moderation' or 'Auto Moderation' of posts may also be used, which is a manual (and time consuming) process where the offending player's forum posts are manually approved during each round of moderation before they become visible to other players. 1-2 days could pass before the next round of moderation to make these posts visible. If 'Manually Moderated" posts must repeatedly be disapproved, this could prolong or prevent the player from regaining full forums access. Ban considerations are reviewed by multiple Catnip Games personnel before implementing to ensure the case was handled fairly and evenly in regards to other cases and the community rules & guidelines. Advice from community moderators is also utilized in such occurrences, if applicable. Sometimes players may only become banned from certain Official Catnip Games venues. For instance, they might lose the ability to create threads, use Discord, create forum signatures, utilize in-game chat, utilize multi-play in-game or lose chat capability on official Twitch streams. Not all bans will result in a widespread removal from all venues, but that risk does exist based upon the egregious nature of the violation. Temporary suspensions from these venues might also occur. Violations which require moderation might affect all known accounts of the individual player across all official venues, depending upon the severity of the situation and if applicable. 'Severe' and 'Many Related Offenses' will result in a player ban across all official Catnip Games venues. Examples of severe offenses are listed below: Displaying pornography Violent personal threats Real-life threats Threats of legal action Accusations of malfeasance against the developers Disregarding past moderation after 'Many Repeated Offenses' All of the above examples are open for an immediate ban without a warning issued to the player. However, Catnip Games personnel does reserve the right to issue warnings on Severe Offenses as well, depending upon the situation of the occurrence. All other less severe moderation considerations will always get a warning first, usually followed by a timeout or suspension. Categories of Offense Minor - These are often first-time offenses against the rules and may be more of a mild nuisance than a problem. Examples: Chat spamming, using excessive swear words, derailing topics, posting distracting GIFs and other imagery that are not an offense unto themselves. Moderate - Most moderate offenses are those that have an effect on a group or the community as a whole. Examples include: Excessive disparaging comments or intentions to mock players or groups, trolling, impersonating a player, and spreading false information intended to cause harm. Inappropriate posting of RMT (Real Money Transactions/Real Money Trade) items are considered moderate level offenses initially but repeated violations will escalate the category of the offense. RMT violations will affect all known accounts of the user. Major - Offenses that ruin the game for groups of individuals, often on a repeated basis and after a previous warning was already given. Examples: repeated direct attacks on the moderators or development team, racist/sexist commentary, offensive imagery, and repeated previous offenses Severe - These offenses are considered illegal. Examples: Pornography, violent personal threats, real-life threats, knowingly cheating or using a game exploit, account hacking, unauthorized client modification, threats of legal action, accusations of malfeasance against the developers, and an egregious amount of repeated offenses. Please inquire if you are uncertain if particular comments, statements or actions can be made on Official Catnip Games venues. We'll be happy to provide clarification before you proceed. Misc Moderation Concepts: Moderators have other tools at their disposal to assist with moderating the forums and other official Catnip Games venues. These include: Locking Threads Ending a discussion that has the potential to be divisive or damaging to the community A topic has already been addressed by a Developer and no longer requires discussion As a way to redirect the discussion to another similar or newer topics Removing Posts There is a duplicate post or multiple posts in a row that can be consolidated Topics that can be consolidated into one post, including ones in multiple threads An accidental response that was meant for another thread Posts that include content that violate the Community Rules & Guidelines Moderation Disclaimer All requests for moderation are evaluated on an individual basis depending on the specific situation. The scale above is meant to be a guide, not an absolute. If you have questions about a particular action, please contact us privately. While moderation actions are not openly discussed in the forums, general policies are open for clarification. If you or another player has any concerns with these policies, or you feel a previous action has not been dealt with accordingly, please express your concerns at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support! We greatly appreciate every player that calls Shroud of the Avatar their home. May we all work together to keep our community strong, united and working towards building a better gaming environment.