A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

"These are dark times, there is no denying..."
Scrimgeour said it first, but we're feeling it in the real world and we know you are too!

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 #6188  by Announcements
Hello, witches and wizards!

Boy, time sure does fly, doesn't it? This last season seemed to go by with lightning quick speed, so much so that even those of us on staff are having a hard time believing we're already in the summer season. To kick things off for the summer, though, we thought we'd provide both some general updates and some behind-the-scenes updates. We know that this last season was one of our lighter ones in terms of new content, but a large part of that is not wanting to take on more than we can handle. We have a relatively small staff team for the time being (more on this later) and dealt with one of our long-time admins stepping down to focus on work and school, and every single one of our staff members is either working full time, attending school full time, or both. That leaves a lot less free time than we had when we started the site as teenagers back in 2001, and this last season was one of the first in our history that we actually decided to step back, let the roleplaying be the focus, and try to balance where we are now with the Vault with where we are in our lives.

Having had that time to reflect and organize, we're just about ready to kick things into a higher gear again, though things may look different from now on. This summer season will be fairly relaxed as we work on our game plan for Start of Term, partially due to two of our admins going abroad for an extended period of time (and then one of them will be moving!) and partially so that we can refocus on having Start of Term be our big release date during the year with a secondary release date for new content coming on January 1. This is how things mostly used to be before we switched to having seasons, and while we will still have seasons we feel as if putting too much focus on new content for the summer takes away from our being able to handle things behind the scenes effectively.

So what does this mean for this season? Glad you asked!

(Okay, you didn't ask, but just work with us for a bit here. We aren't all Madame Trelawney, after all!)

  • As compensation for our last season of staff inactivity, no characters were made inactive this season. That's right, even if you didn't get a chance to post or didn't log on, your characters were not made inactive or removed. This is absolutely a temporary arrangement because keeping characters active is a fundamental part of keeping our gameplay organized and full of life, but we know we dropped the ball and we didn't want to put undue pressure on anyone. You'll still need to post on your characters (or log on your retired characters) to keep them around for next season, though, so make sure you do so by August 25, 2018!
  • We will be implementing a plot calendar rather than hosting specific events, and allowing members to directly control the story. This will be released by no later than May 15, 2018, will be updated regularly, and will feature a list of important in-game dates to drive your stories and help guide you in your thread creation as far as where we are in each fixed timeline era. However, we will be hosting fewer board-wide events for the time being and instead encouraging the creation of threads and submissions of news, owls, and rumors surrounding the events on the plot timelines. (This doesn't mean there will be no board-wide events at all, though--we just want to keep the power of the story in the hands of the players without holding anyone up due to staff availability!). We will be making some further updates to the way our storylines are handled in the fall, but we feel that this will be an exciting new part of the process so that no one feels as if they've missed anything and so that we do not need to put undue pressure on our already busy staff team so that we can focus on things like Quills, archiving completed stories, and more.
  • Updates and features will be more determined by member participation, donations, and feedback. We will be providing an update soon on how this will work, but as we are currently dealing with limited staff time, resources, and availability, a new system is being developed to prioritize which things get addressed first. Our primary focus here at the Vault is still and always will be roleplaying with all auxiliary features being extra for those who enjoy them, but we are hoping to find a way to implement, improve, and maintain those features in a way that is more considerate of our time, member needs, and that better reflects the wants of the community.
So, as you can see, not too much is changing, but just enough so that we can continue to give you the best Vault possible and make the Vault truly a place that everyone enjoys playing at. We're still just as committed as ever to maintaining an awesome community and roleplaying atmosphere, but we do need your help and understanding to truly make that happen!

We will be opening up applications for the Vaultkeeper team by the end of the month as well for those of you who may be interested, and if you think it's something that you'd like to do please know that we primarily keep an eye out for people who are participating actively both in game and in the discussion forums and discord, responding to announcements, and regularly using features such as submissions for the news, owls, and rumors.

Last but not least before we get into it, we did wish to update everyone that our total donations for the entire last season, January 2018 to April 2018, totaled just $8.00 USD. While we understand that folks enjoy rewards for donating and we do hope to implement new rewards with our new system of distributing staff work, we would like to remind everyone that the primary reward for donating is that the Vault 713 forums are able to stay online and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to all who wish to join us and play here. With our current donations, should we experience any kind of financial crisis on behalf of the administration team we would not be able to sustain our current uptime and keep things rolling. While no one is obligated to make donations, we did want to address it since it's been some time since we've discussed it here in the announcements and wanted to be as transparent as possible.

We thank you all for another great season, and are truly looking forward to all of the stories you will come up with for your characters for the summer season! So without further ado, your important dates for the summer:

Character creation resumes on… Monday, May 7, 2018

Fixed Timeline stories may be set in… April, May, June, July, August of the year of each era

The season ends on… August 25, 2018

The next season begins on… September 1, 2018

As always, feel free to visit the Help Desk if you're in need of assistance, and we'll see you out there in the wizarding world!

The Vault 713 Staff Team
Admins Izzy, Manda, & Nick
Vaultkeepers Alatariel, Jason, Kay, TyrellRose, & Vyreia

PS: Be on the lookout for some new chat channels in our Discord Server! If you haven't already, feel free to join us by visiting https://discord.gg/TN5rzna - you can even download an app to your phone!
 #6198  by Vyreia
I hope everyone is looking forward to this season! I know am!

Who will die this time?

Stay tuned to find out ;D
 #6217  by TyrellRose
Yaaaaaay new season! Can't wait for that plot calendar! It's gonna help with planning with my canon characters a lot!
 #6218  by Aidan
Thanks vault team!

I just want to say I am definitly cool with you all cutting down on new content and taking a break from that. You all do enough as it is and the most exciting thing about vault re opening is vault re opening anyway. So it’s great either way! Real lives and sanity come first