Yesterday we shared an announcement on our Facebook discussion group regarding the World of Darkness community portal moving into open beta in mid-August. Several members voiced their questions and concerns. In light of those questions and the information we received, we wanted to send out this Q&A regarding White Wolf’s community portal platform.
Q: What’s going on?
Answer: White Wolf has partnered with a company called Knetik to make game and club tools for worldofdarkness.com . Knetik is an established company who works Verizon, Sprint, Western Union, Level 3, and other large, mainstream companies. They provide a business logic database that can be customized to be the back-end for a number of different products, one of which will be this new worldofdarkness.com portal.
They’re currently in testing, and will be in an open beta starting August 17th. The Hidden Parlor has been fortunate enough to have had some of our members take part in the initial site testing and to provide feedback on the tools. The community portal will have tools for running a troupe game chronicle, and will be making more tools that can be used for running a club.
Q: What will this community portal consist of,
from a LARP perspective?
Answer: Remember the Grapevine tool from the old MET system? Take that and bring it to the modern era and add in a whole bunch of extra features. The idea is to take all of the tools that our clubs use to manage info and promote themselves and provide them with an even BIGGER toolkit for running local/national games. Character sheets. Attendance tracking. Timelines. Mass combat tracking with rounds/actions/damage/resources. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This also means not having to worry about constantly having to recruit tech volunteers (or worrying about if/when they leave or if something happens to them).
Q: Is sign-up on the
WW community portal going to be required?
Answer: As part of the new agreement between WW and the various LARP clubs, the licensing will be handled *through* the use of the portal. This involves games where there is community created content (like packets) or where the club charges a membership fee.
From the club administrator side: Staying compliant with licensing requirements will become a LOT easier! By leveraging White Wolf’s community platform we will also be easily find-able by World of Darkness enthusiasts who want to get started in live action role-playing.
From the player/individual member side: This simplifies the process for those who may be part of multiple clubs so that they have a one stop shop for managing their memberships across the different clubs and accessing their content.
Q: What data (if any)
would be ported over to the WW portal?
Answer: We are not able to transfer over individual member accounts. Each member will have to sign up on their own on the new site, and the initial year will involve lots of data validation on who has an active club membership.
The Hidden Parlor has taken an active role in providing guidance to the development team on the types of tools and features that benefit LARP organizations, such as an event calendar, character wikis, and a volunteer tracking system. We have a rather large “wish list” 😉 – In the event that our wishes come true, we’ve asked for the ability to transfer over our event history & VIP data to their incentive tracking system. Otherwise, that’s thousands of records for us to transfer over manually!
Q: How will they handle privacy laws?
Will individual White Wolf employees have access to my info?
Answer: Per our contact at Knetik (the company that White Wolf partnered with) – “Knetik owns the platform that the new World of Darkness AR or Immersive World experience for the game will rest on. The ownership of the company and a number of key members on this project are all /rabid/ /lifelong/ fans of the IP. […] Your information is safe. The portal asks for User Name and Email (and password). No HIPPA because we don’t target 13 or under. We DO however fall under the EU’s privacy data laws which are very stringent.”
Once a copy of the Terms of Service for the membership portal are available, we will forward the link to the membership.
Again, all of this stuff is still in development, and subject to change through feedback to the developers. If you have concerns about what personal data will be available to WW and/or Knetik, I’d recommend sending your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or to our Member Advocates at email@example.com if you want them to speak on your behalf.
Likewise, we understand that some of members may not be comfortable with the licensing agreement that is being implemented, and that some chapters may want to go troupe rather than deal with the licensing issue. Obviously, you must do what you’re comfortable with. In the case of chapters potentially leaving, if there’s members who want to stay associated with the club and to start their own spin-off game (assuming they have volunteers for the ST/Admin roles) we are more than willing to work with them.