About The Chuunin Exams
In the Naruto universe, Chuunin Exams hold a special place. Allied villages come together to watch them, and out of the Chuunin candidates, whether they pass or not, many are chosen to represent them, to do missions for them. After all, a Chuunin is someone who can lead missions. Whilst there are higher ranks, such as Jounin and Special Jounin, a Chuunin can, in theory, go so far as to lead an entire village, a clan, or a guild. It is a very big deal.
And so it is a big deal on World of Naruto. Monday 2nd June 2008 marked not only World of Naruto's first ever Chuunin Exams but the first ever Chuunin Exams on any Naruto-themed MUD (and hence on any MUD anywhere). We can be pretty confident about that. Many Naruto-themed MUDs have been created, and at least one got as far as the Genin exams, but none have ever got as far as the Chuunin Exams. This is a very big deal indeed.
After the Chuunin Exams, the entire way of life for people on World of Naruto will change forever - we hope for the better. Players will hold positions, including the various village leader (kage) titles, and they will decide who they are at war with and who they are allied with, and in exceptional circumstances who to kick out of the village and make a missing nin. Clan leaders will determine their relationship with their village's kage, and in exceptional circumstances they may even change villages. Guild leaders will determine requirements for entry into the guild, who to kick out, and so forth. All positions will be voted on, all people wanting to be in these positions must hold Chuunin rank or higher, and as a result of all of that, they also get NPCs named in their honour and get to make their own missions to some degree.
Beyond that, Chuunin level also means that you can access levels beyond the standard 51. You cannot even get to level 52 without first passing Chuunin exams.
Stage 1 of the Chuunin Exams tests your ability to:
Lead a team that may contain some weak links
Your information gathering skills
Your communication skills
In the Naruto series this was done via a test with each individual allowed to be caught cheating 3 times and the team score being the score of the lowest participant. We have stuck to that mostly, by keeping the lowest scoring rule, but have made a few slight alterations, such as the entire team not failing just because one player doesn't turn up. Some people say that this is just random, but if you have good teamwork, you can get through this regardless.
Final scores in Stage 1
Team 1: Jenova (32), Dresq (28), Ichigo (32) - FINAL score = 28
Team 2: Kyo (21), Isamu (34), Kinto (17) - FINAL score = 17
Team 3: Tasico (40), Jaga (36), Vasuka (40) - FINAL score = 36
Team 4: Kazume (32), Wakaru (FTA), Beerson (30) - FINAL score 30 * 2/3 = 20
Emergencies (play round 2 only if 4+ people score 0/don't attempt it): Kotsu (12), Yoni (19) - will not progress now
Eliminated: Kyo, Kinto, Wakaru.
Click here to see the questions and answers for Stage 1
My greatest concern for Stage 1 was that people wouldn't show up. This proved not to be the case. Of the 12 contestants, 11 showed up, thus we didn't need our 2 emergencies at all. My next greatest concern was that the scores would be too high. This proved to be the case.
Things that will change for next time
The format worked well enough, with most people doing the exams, the right amount of talk between each other, and the team that didn't communicate being the one that was eliminated. One concern, however, was that the scores were a lot higher than I had predicted.
Therefore, the only main change would be to make harder questions. This may mean having them on topics that aren't actually related to ninjas or Japan. It may mean simply opening up an encyclopaedia and picking a random topic.
Stage 2 of the Chuunin Exams tests your ability to:
Lead a team to get the most out of all of your members
Your information gathering skills
Your ability to explore a large area
Your ability to use objects to your advantage
We had to adjust some things compared to the Chuunin Exams in the Naruto series. We tried our best to keep the same spirit alive. Things changed were:
In the series they each had a scroll and had to fight for an opposite scroll - here each member of the team tries to find an object
In the series they only needed 1 extra object - here they are collecting as many as possible
In the series they were only against other players - here they are mostly against mobs, though they can get them off other players too
The reality of an online game like this is that time zones come into play, and not everyone can get on at the same time. So we had to try to make it fair to people from all areas, with a variety of different availability times. This is what we came up with.
Some additional bits:
If you die while carrying a Chuunin object, the object drops
Only people doing this stage of the Chuunin exams can pick up the object
Locate object, shunshin, hiraishin, nexus, hound skills and peek are disabled during this stage of the Chuunin exams
Contestants may not log on an alt during this 48 hour period
Each member of the team is searching for a different item - there are 3 types of Chuunin items, changed by colour
These are the final scores:
Team 1: Jenova (Red) (41), Ichigo (Blue) (12), Dresq (Yellow) (39) - Final Score = 92
Team 3: Tasico (Red) (27), Jaga (Blue) (45), Vasuka (Yellow) (24) - Final Score = 96
Team 4: Kazume (Red) (1), Isamu (Blue) (0), Beerson (Yellow) (0) - Final Score = 1
My greatest concern was that someone would try to cheat. There were 2 things that I was worried about: someone logging on an alt or someone deliberately crashing the mud. In the end, the mud was crashed 3 times, meaning that I had to place the scarves again 3 times. After the final crash, my internet connection meant that I couldn't place the scarves. However, with one side effectively giving up before they had started, this probably didn't make much difference.
Things that will change for next time
In retrospect, wizlocking the game while placing scarves was a bad idea. Everything else was fine. I can place scarves well enough while people are logged on, there is no need to lock the game while doing it. Locking the game created more problems than it was worth.
Stage 3 is the grand finale, in which we have lots of player vs player action, in the arena! All contests will be logged, and you will see the logs of the battle here on the web page. 5 people will then vote for who they think was the best candidate, meaning the most worthy, not necessarily the one who wins all of their matches. Each judge will vote in a 3-2-1 way for their top 3 candidates, and out of all of the results the 4 with the most votes will pass! They might also add some comments on the performances too, so that people in the future can see why the top 4 were the top 4.
Contestants: Dresq, Jaga, Jenova, Vasuka, Tasico, Ichigo
Eliminated prior to judging: Ichigo (didn't battle)
Judges: Kyo, Ihvron, plus 3 more (if you would like to be a judge, ask!)
Battle 1 of 6: Dresq vs Jaga - click here to see a log of the Dresq vs Jaga battle
Battle 2 of 6: Jenova vs Jaga - click here to see a log of the Jenova vs Jaga battle
Battle 3 of 6: Dresq vs Jenova - click here to see a log of the Dresq vs Jenova battle
Battle 4 of 6: Jaga vs Vasuka - click here to see a log of the Jaga vs Vasuka battle as logged by Jaga
and click here to see a log of the Jaga vs Vasuka battle as logged by Vasuka
Battle 5 of 6: Jaga vs Tasico - click here to see a log of the Jaga vs Tasico battle
Battle 6 of 6: Dresq vs Vasuka - click here to see a log of the Dresq vs Vasuka battle as logged by Dresq
and click here to see a log of the Dresq vs Vasuka battle as logged by Vasuka
Kyo's votes: 3 votes - Jenova, 2 votes - Jaga, 1 vote - Tasico
Ihvron's votes: 3 votes - Jaga, 2 votes - Dresq, 1 vote - Jenova
Jargomaru's votes: 3 votes - Dresq, 2 votes - Jaga, 1 vote - Jenova
Ichike's votes: 3 votes - Jaga, 2 votes - Dresq, 1 vote - Vasuka
Comment: Jaga had 4 battles, won 3, and also tried really hard in all of them. Dresq had 3 battles, won 2, and other than the slip up against Jaga was really professional. Vasuka along with Jenova had 2 fights, but was available for battle more than Jenova. Taking into account Vasuka's lower level and being Ninja Arts, I decided to favour Vasuka
Krator's votes: 3 votes - Vasuka, 2 votes - Jaga, 1 vote - Jenova
Comment: well i have my votes considered on how many fights and who won each fight. if i had to give a gold for who would make best TEAM leader, id say vasuka, cause his low lvl would make him cautious enough to lead the team into combat without getting everyone killed, other guys would prolly get overconfident or try to do it all themselves witch isnt good in a leader
Total votes: 12 votes - Jaga, 7 votes - Dresq, 6 votes - Jenova, 4 votes - Vasuka, 1 vote - Tasico,
I hadn't really considered that anything would go wrong in Stage 3. After all, everyone left is so close to victory that they could smell it. Why would anyone forget to show up? Crashes wouldn't make a huge difference. The biggest concern for me was that people would forget to log their battles, and that the judges wouldn't show up. As it turned out, for whatever reason Ichigo failed to show up, which hurt the stage. We ended up with only 6 battles, which, whilst it is better than none, is not as good as the 15 I was aiming for. Nonetheless, at least we now have something to judge - 4 of 5 people will pass. The last thing I wanted was for the final stage to be automatic!
Things that will change for next time
In retrospect, there is no earthly reason to have a break from Stage 2 to Stage 3. Fair enough to have a break from Stage 1 to Stage 2, as teams might change and you need to set up what to place and how to place it, etc. But for Stage 3 its just fighting. It really hurt it to have that wait. Also, as was suggested, we could perhaps extend it to 3 days instead of 2, to try to get some more fights in.
I am actually pretty disappointed about the way that this has all worked out. In Stage 1 we had some cardinal errors made in terms of teamwork to cost some people their chances, but the predominating thing was that a lot of people were complaining about this thing happening. Perhaps I shouldn't have run Chuunin Exams at all until we had all of the basic skills in? People want more and more. I had complaints that once per month wasn't often enough, as they could be bored sitting on level 51 for a whole month. Every aspect of it had what sounded like quite ridiculous complaints. Not to mention that people were making commitments to show up and then not showing up. Each stage was marred by people simply not showing up. It was pretty disappointing to say the least. The worst aspect obviously were the crashes during Stage 2 - which didn't happen during the other 2 stages. At the worst possible time, we had crashes. The one time when we couldn't afford to have them, they happened.
Overall Things that will change:
I am going to have a serious think about whether to run this again at all. Perhaps all of the nastiness associated with this is simply reflecting the fact that we are not ready for it. With the amount of effort put into making this happen, it would be a real strain to have to do it every single month. There is no way I could do it more frequently. I suppose it could be done semi automatically, but to make it automatic would be an even huger amount of work, albeit as a one off, and would still need someone to run it. We will assess the situation again this time next month and see whether we will have another one. Certainly we need to think about what went right and what went wrong and what we can do to make it work. Perhaps it is easier just to have an automatic test that people do and if they pass it then they pass. Perhaps just have harder questions, some battles and such, but just make it automatic that eventually everyone would pass. Easier on me, and less whingeing. I guess we might consider that.
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