View Full Version : The Purpose of the Elements

5th March 2005, 03:03 PM
The Nine-Element System consisting of, in no particular order, Lightning, Light, Dark, Bio, Wind, Earth, Fire, Water, and Spirit, is a long-standing tradition in the BA. Other, 'restricted', elements are in use, and various elements originally in place have vanished, such as Ice and Void. However, the core elements have stayed, and the element system itself has apparently always been in use since the earliest days of BA RPing. (If I am wrong here, please correct me.) Yet what is the purpose of the elements? As far as I can tell, there are several, and yet none of them seem to me of particular importance.

First, it has been argued that the elements decrease godmoding. While it may be true that forcing people to confine their character's abilities to one element limits the extents of their powers, the fundamental problem of godmoding remains unsolved. People can still create overpowered characters even if they do stay completely within the realms of their element, and the lack of absolute agreement on what the different elements represent doesn't help. To me at least, it seems that the elements restrict creativity far more than they inhibit godmoding.

The second purpose the elements might serve is to give the BA an overall 'flavor'. Yet the BA has never been a unified world, nor indeed could many of the quests and other events within it have taken place on the same world. The BA lacks the spatial and temporal coherence that is intrinsic to a well-defined world like Tal'Vorn, Seregon, or Terrak'Lina. Why, then, should the elements usable within the BA be rigidly defined, when the overall BA environment is not?

The third purpose seems to me to be to guide newbies towards making realistic characters. Yet this is the purpose that the Training Forum should serve, and furthermore it seems to me that the element system is highly inadequate for this purpose. Guiding newbies to make characters is all very well, but if one wishes to create a diverse roleplaying environment isn't it better to have a mix of characters rather than just a bunch of mages focusing around a group of 'elements'? The BA is greatly lacking in original non-magical characters, yet traditionally magic-users are a small percentage of a fantasy world's population. The BA is stagnant with mages and elemental magicians, and all because no-one has bothered to guide newbies off the well-trod path.

On this last point, I do not deny that I myself have been part of the problem for some time, merely because I myself was a newbie and followed that same well-beaten path. That is why I now rarely roleplay with Khereth, focusing my energies on criticism and newer characters and roleplaying realms instead.

But answer me this, people of the BA: What are the reasons for the survival of the element system? I could have developed the few ideas I lay out here into a rant on the inadequacy of the BA element system, and even from there into a full-fledged argument for the elimination of the element system and the merging of the BA and the FFBA, but I did not. Instead, I want to hear from you:

Why does the element system exist, and for what purposes? What are its advantages and disadvantages? And most of all, should it continue, or should it be removed in favor of more free-form roleplaying?

2P.S: Any additional reasons may be added to the poll by the mods if they are popularly mentioned in replies to this thread.

5th March 2005, 04:03 PM
Im still a noob and new to RP but ill give my opinion on it and let the more advanced and experience RP'ers give a more clearly definition to this thread.

I agree that the BA Elements should be more tunned (defined), but i don't agree that eliminating the Elements would allow a better definition to BA. It's true that BA doesn't have a defined environment thats why it is called Battle Arena allowing RP'ers to make their own environment and expand their RP'ing skills, Tal'Vorn and Seregorn and others exist for that purpose, if any player wishes to be in a more define environment he can choose between the existing ones.

Defining the environment on the BA would bring a limitation on the RP'ing of the current players, i like it exactly how it is, it allows a RP'er to be able to "give wings to his/her imagination".

IMO the elements system should stay, of course many RP'ers have their own view of the elements and some disagree on this or that specific point but that's normal.

The second purpose the elements might serve is to give the BA an overall 'flavor'. Yet the BA has never been a unified world, nor indeed could many of the quests and other events within it have taken place on the same world.

If the BA standars werent like they are now, for me and im a noob on this, it would take all the fun of RP'ing a game that i didn't took into consideration but now my take on it has changed, like i said before if we limit BA to a specific environment that wouldnt allow RP'ers to expand their imagination. If anyone need a change on environment definitions like you said there are others forums were they have that.

People can still create overpowered characters even if they do stay completely within the realms of their element, and the lack of absolute agreement on what the different elements represent doesn't help. To me at least, it seems that the elements restrict creativity far more than they inhibit godmoding.

Well like i said before Elements should be tunned and have a final definition but i totally disagree that it restrict creativity. Any RP'er within a certain element can always bring new and improved spells or abilities although X and Y elements have limitations a player can always come up with new things, it depends on the imaginatory skill of each individual, so it doesnt limit one's creativity but increases the effort of it.

About GMod, IMO there will always be players that want an edge over others, but if they use there comon sense and combine it with the current definitions that wont be even a problem, at least in my time here in BA i never saw anyone doing that but ill leave more advanced opinions to others.

The rest of the RP forums i dont now much about them and on what rules they are defined so i wont talk about that either.

This is what i think, my 2 cents are given. Regards...k33p3r

5th March 2005, 05:53 PM
Well, back in the day when there was a high chance that being a "master" actually meant something at all, elements gave people something to do and things to specialize in.

5th March 2005, 07:44 PM
i remeber those days anubis, but yeah... Nowadays the elements are more to make a character more defined than anything. Instead of taking random abilities out of the air. It just centralizes the use of a characters magic, nothing more.

5th March 2005, 08:24 PM
As Anubis said, there was a time when being a master actually meant something. As time has passed,the nature, rules for, and definitions of the elements have changed, thier borders becomming skewed and blurred. It's come to a point where you can almost justify anything as belonging to a particular element and, in a way, you wouldn't be wrong, really.

I think that the purpose of the elements was once to provide a unique style and for a time, until the distictions broke down, it served its purpose. Now, as people are RPing more in restricted forums, they are finding that they can make use of these blurred lines and even cross over into other elements to serve their own needs. I think the idea of elements is fading and that it has been reduced to nothing more than a badge.

However, there is still use in this sort of thing, I feel. If we allow people to choose a primary element but be allowed to incorporate knowledge of other things as they pertain to that element, it would make for a much greater RPing experience. However, in doing this, there would be no distinction be the BA and any of the Restricted RPs. I think this is one of the reasons why those RPs are so attractive.

6th March 2005, 12:49 PM
Before I go to the actual post, I want to put up a warning for anyone reading this. Because I enjoy RPing in the BA very much, I've always been very aggressive or hostile to anyone saying anything about it which could lead to deleting it. As such, I apologige for any flaming done in this post and expect to see a full warning if it is done. Also, the chat corner mods are allowed to delete this particular post if needed. I'm granting them that right - though of course the ultimate decision lies with the higher forces on this forum so I hope they don't do anything which will get them demodded.

Also, this is mainly (if not all) my opinion. Though they can be changed, I'm known as being more stubborn than a mule. You can ask anyone who, in the past, tried to convince me of the fact that I'm a good RPer.

Daedalus, Void was deleted because there were only five people on GUA able to understand it. And 'Ice' RPing can be done through Water. That aside I can't bring in anything you say about the Elements and their 'uselessness'.

I believe that the Elements in the current BA are there for two reasons; for a (form of) structure in an otherwise endless void of chaos, and, as Marushia put it, a badge-function.

Having Alpha (and I guess Psi too, but I don't feel that way and it'll be a long time before I do) means that you're a good RPer or a good writer (in short, you're good in what you do on GUA, be it writing, making essays, debating or making Flash things). Having Spectral means that you found a way to combine two, according to just about everyone here, total opposite elements. Octo means you're cool enough to be in ROKFD and I believe it's the same with the ZZIMA element. Other than those elements, you're either an admin, or you just pick a symbol because you think it looks cool. Or for your own reasons.

Their use?

Well I find them useful - and by experience, I know that I somehow have an inverter in my system for these things. If I say 'yes', everyone else says 'no'. And vice versa.

Carnage said something about working on a program which utalies the stats (and as such, the Elements), but I've only heard rumours. By which, I assume that this cannot be used as an argument to 'save' the Elements.

By this, I conclude that there is nothing standing in the way (other than time and effort) to delete the Elements. And merge the BA with the FFBA.

And then have your fight about which RP forum remaining has to go next.

That said, I have one last comment to make; as for the 'blurring the lines' between the Elements, I've always found it remarkable how little use the official definitions have been. This I again conclude from the fact that I use those definitons - by which I assume everyone else does not.

Yes, these tags do serve a purpose outside the BA. :)

6th March 2005, 02:06 PM
It has been a while since I roleplayed in the BA, so I am affraid that I am not entirely familiar with the current situation. I do know however, that I liked the elements, mainly because of the dojo's that teached them. With the different elements, there came the different teachers, allowing me to let my character slowly grow in his skills. If the elements had not been there, I am affraid there wouldn't have been any IC teaching, simply because all characters differed way to much to enable anyone to teach anything.

6th March 2005, 04:23 PM
What people are seeing as a kind of Element degradation is simply the effect of mastery no longer having much value. Back then, people wanted to be element masters. And they did what it took to be true masters of their elements and show that they knew what they were doing. Now that people can do whatever they want with appreciation from all but the "old timers" (yeah, right) like me, they just do what they can.

With no worthy goals of mastery or any such things in the BA, people have moved on to things like T'L or left GUA. Mostly they left GUA.