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Eastern Lands [1/3]

Discussion in 'Archived Reviews' started by Jewelclaw, Mar 24, 2012.

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    Victor Hugo's Subtext the blood of angry men

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    Name of Board: Eastern Lands
    Link to Board: Linky
    Short description of Board: Eastern Lands is an intermediate medieval roleplay dedicated to being a friendly and creative community. Set in Tamora Pierce's world of Tortall over a hundred years before The Song of the Lioness. Easy to integrate, we require no previous knowledge of the books. We're a small but dedicated community with a low word count.
    Analysis Notes: We just finished up our war plot, but activity has still dipped a bit. I'd love a full around review.
    Link to profile on the Board: Jewelclaw
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    Victor Hugo's Subtext the blood of angry men

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    stainsofpeach One Day at a Time

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    First Impression:
    I suppose the first thing I noticed was how ridiculously pretty it is. And in the right way, too, not overloaded or tiny or annoying, but genuinely pleasing to look at. Also your side-bar is pretty damn genius. Seriously, from the coding to the content, really really good.


    Graphics and Skin:
    As I already mentioned, it is really beautiful - I love the header and the way it goes over into the space above the side-bar. At first I thought the colour sheme is a bit gloomy - I love browns and beiges but it felt like perennial dusk (because I can't use twilight anymore) on the board index. I soon realized though, that this changes when you start actually going into subjects and then the contrast of a light background in posts and the dark stuff around it is actually really nice. If anything I might incorporate a bit of that onto the index somehow.

    Love the custom forum markers and the large font forum titles - it all looks really classy and well-put-together and it fits the theme really well.

    If there is anything graphic wise I didn't like - and that isn't really your fault - it is that in looking through some threads it seemed like a few members use avatars and signatures that are clearly non-medieval. And I understand, it is really difficult to find pics and some actors don't have any and not everybody knows how to make convincing manips in photoshop... but it did throw me off. And I'd rather just see a close-up of the face and no signature than one in bright colours and modern dresses and clearly modern girls.

    I just saw something else... the fields framed in white on top of and below posts - aren't there supposed to be some kind of markers? Or can I just not see them because I'm not logged in?


    Sidebar:
    Said it before - your sidebar is total genius. I'm not usually a fan of sidebars, they so often feel cluttered and have all that stuff I'm not actually interested in and none of that stuff I have to know. Yours: complete opposite of that
    I love the links you provide and the way you can switch between plot and links and stuff you need if you want to join. It's very neat and pretty and convenient. I also like that it is low on pictures, with the exception of the season, which is rather nice, too. Gives you a feel for it.


    General Organization:
    Again, very good. I feel like I'm just gushing away here. But yeah, thanks to the side-bar I don't even have to try and understand your organisational system before I consider joining. It's very smart :).
    I'm not quite sure what the difference between Plot Development and Subplots is, only that a large amount of the stuff in Plot Development is plot pages (which I have a big personal dislike towards... but that's neither here nor there).

    If anything, I am not a big fan of the way everybody has an OOC account. Maybe that's a personal thing but it feels a bit messy - even if I understand there is something nifty going on with sub-accounts which I don't get because I have never been on a jcink board.


    Forum and Subforum Layout:
    Personally I am a fan of a somewhat tighter index - less to scroll, easier to see where the new posts are etc. But I can see how that would be difficult here. But especially the City looks like it could be tighter - like some of the less used forums could easily be sub-forums.

    Having said that, it is very clear what everything is - which, weirdly, is kind of rare ;).


    The Plot:
    As I do like my plots a little bit more on the loose side, yes, I do like the plot. As someone who has never read the book I would have to spend a lot more time reading threads etc. to really feel I knew what I was getting into, but it's a good plot.


    The Rules:
    They are clear and informative. Personally I wouldn't join because of the post count and the fade-to-black rules, but I completely understand why you have it there and the information on what exactly the 2-2-2 rating means is pretty good to understand.


    Strengths:
    I think you have a really solid board there. I like the organisation and the thought in it. For those interested in medieval fantasy I would really say it's a go. I especially like the looks of things and the organisation.

    Weaknesses:
    Hm, there are the ones I already mentioned that have to do with personal preference when it comes to the set up. I simply don't believe in word-counts even if it is "just" 200 words. I don't want to be forced to come up with a second paragraph when I am through with what I wanted to say after 100.
    Then there is how many signatures and avatars have modern clothing etc. - that really takes me personally out of the fantasy world. And as we are talking about pbs and graphics, it feels very pretty-girl heavy. Now this is not really anything extraordinary and nor does it mean you have to change it, but it stood out to me and personally I do consider that a potential weakness unless the board is very much turned towards female/female interactions and female involvement in important positions.

    All in all it's really cool, though :). Congrats!
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    Happy puppies cool guys don't look at explosions

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    stainsofblue:

    Thought I'd reply and thank you for your lovely review! I do understand about the gloomy, it makes me a bit tired to look at it so I do have another, alternate skin. But I'm glad it works. In the future I shall think about including more contrast in the index itself.

    We're pretty lax on graphics. I suppose it could be jarring but I figure if I'm not going to put in the effort, I don't expect my members to either.

    Could you screencap those "fields framed in white"? I'm logged out right now and don't see them. I'm wondering if the "mini profile, email, pm" text isn't showing up for you. It must be a bug if I know what you're talking about and I'd like to fix it.

    The tabbed sidebar is a code from RPG-D and I think everyone should use it. :D

    Some of your organisational concerns can be addressed that the forum got an overhaul maybe two days ago. We tried for about half a year to focus on the palace and the court but we decided to re-open the City so those forums were made just two days ago so yes, posts are sparse. :D They'll get filled in.

    Subplots are also new. The Plot Development thread is kinda like having character and wanting a plot, and the subplot forum is having a plot and needing to fill in roles. Last year we did a survey and people found it hard to sometimes follow other people's plots on the board (and they wanted to read all these stories) so the subplot forum was created to so these subplots could be clearly communicated and followed by other members or those who are in the plot. We'll see how it goes. :D

    Jcink sub-account mod means that everyone can link all their accounts and just switch from one to another without logging in and out. The use of OOC accounts means, for me, that people get to know other members and not just their characters. It's meant that keeping a who-plays-whom list isn't as important because most people link all their characters in their OOC account sig. But I can see how it could be seen as messy. But it also keeps people from being able to vote multiple times in a poll about the site (which we've had problems with before).

    Nicole and I still aren't sure about the word count. Originally it was 300. Then it went to 250. Now it's 200. I say I keep bargaining her down to finally there's no word count. :D We are very girl heavy. We've just come through a war where most young men were fighting elsewhere so their posting rates have been less than stellar. So hopefully they start making an appearance. :D

    Again, thank you so much for the review. Between Nicole posting up for the review and when you reviewed it, stuff changed and was added, I suppose we should edit the review to reflect this! (The poor city!)
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    stainsofpeach One Day at a Time

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    Hi Carriebee,
    It was fun - much more fun when I don't feel like I have hardly anything nice to say and then don't do a review lol.

    But yeah, like I said, all the I mentioned as not perfect tends to have to do more with personal preferences and I only added it so that you could compare them to other people's just in case they appear more than just with me.

    Here you go: link
    It's really weird too, because I could swear there were more yesterday. In the row underneath the post were three white boxes. Well, again it might just be because I'm a guest.

    Also. ha! I like that explanation for more girls... and that does help with the imbalance just because then there's a plotty reason to - also it made giggle, so that's good :).
    But yeah, like I said both with the modern graphics and the OOC account, I find it both totally understandable, they just take me out this fantasy medieval world and I'm not sure how important of a point that even is... but then I also really like manipping modern faces into olden-times dresses so I am way biased.
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    Happy puppies cool guys don't look at explosions

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    That's the space where "report, edit, delete" and "mini profile, email, pm" etc are found. That's very odd because when I log out they're still there. They're just text too so it's more odd. I'll have to check out different browsers.
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    stainsofpeach One Day at a Time

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    I'm using Chrome in case that helps? Lol i have no idea what kind of info you might need there.
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    Victor Hugo's Subtext the blood of angry men

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    Haymitch's Flask Lets go explore

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