On October 14th, 2008, Madrigals inhabitants gained, introduced with the Version 12 update, the feature of voting for a ruler among their kind. This ruler would gain the title of ‘Lord’ and support the population of his designated server for two weeks.

This Lord system has seen many heavy changed during the last ten years. This includes how the Lord is being seen by a server’s players and what their expectations are of the role. This entry in our column is aimed at shedding light on the Lord system and how it changed over the course of the years.

What is the Lord system?

But before we shed light on past and present, as well as comparing them, we should take a step back and explain what exactly the Lord system is, how a player can become the Lord and what a Lord can actually do in FlyFF.

The system intends for any player who has reached the Master level or higher to be eligible as a candidate and allow them to put themselves up for vote. The registration period takes place in the 24 hours on a Friday prior to the voting period. The minimum bid for candidacy is priced at 100 million Penya. Once the registration period is over, the candidates with the 10 highest bids will be up for voting, ending in a two-week term of lordship.

On the following two days (Saturday and Sunday), players of the server are able to cast their vote for their favourite candidate. Eligible to vote are all characters at level 60 or higher who have been logged in sometime during the past 30 days. For the election to succeed, 10 percent of the characters eligible to vote need to cast their vote.

Parts of these requirements, however, have been lifted not too long ago. As it currently stands, all characters at level 60 and above are eligible to vote. How many players cast their vote is no longer stipulated either.

Once the voting period, ending on Sunday at midnight (server time), is over, the candidate who received the most votes will be crowned Lord. During his term of office, the Lord (or Lady) gains a unique fashion set, a set of Lord skills of subtle moderative character and the possibility to start one-hour EXP and drop-events for a fee. To better be able to finance the events, the Lord earns 45 percent of the taxes which are raised in Flaris and Darken by the victorious guilds of the weekly Secret Rooms.

Lords of the past

After clarifying what exactly the Lord system is, we can now shed light on the zeitgeist of the Lord system during the last decade. Let us start with the past.

We can still remember vividly how the players of a server viewed their Lord back then, because our past guild occasionally had members who were voted Lord. It really was not easy back then. As a Lord, you were often the sole centre of attention, being contacted frequently with questions about all manners of things and asked for items. If these sorts of requests were turned down kindly but insistently as well, it was no rare sight for players to make your life unpleasant. Even a past Lord needed a thick skin.

Even back then, one of the elementary key components to a successful term in office was hosting as many EXP events as possible. Due to the smaller inflation, filling a day with countless EXP events was nigh impossible all those years ago.

Past Lords have always been good at bringing together the players of their server by hosting small ingame events, ranging from quiz events all the way to hide-and-seek. Interaction with the players was a priority and most of the time, also the depending factor for being voted into office again. If the Lord was present and there for their players, these players thanked them by casting their vote for the candidate once again in a potential reelection.

Lords of the present

This topic leads us to happily revelling in the past. Not every aspect back then can be viewed through rose-tinted glasses, but the Lord system – which was originally meant to be a democratic system – was still just that: a democratic voting process.

Looking at the Lord system today calls forth but a single word inside of us to describe it: sickening. We are not only talking about present Lords here, but also the server population.

Due to the high inflation – and the fact that the entry fees for the election were never properly adjusted to meet that inflation – it is no problem at all to put yourself up as a candidate.

The election itself, however, has become a farce. Granted, even in the past there have been players who used their whole portfolio of characters to cast as many votes as possible for their favourite candidate. But even then, things stayed relatively within reason and the results of the election were decided by the majority of the players. Many ‘quality of life’ changes made levelling up a character all the way to the second job change massively easier, which led to many active players having vote-eligible characters in the triple digits. They use this massive number of characters to get their favourite candidate into lordship no matter the cost. It has even become common for votes to be up for sale.

What does this say about the Lord election in general? Personally, it tells us that the term ‘election’ is absolutely misguided nowadays. Spontaneously, I can only think of the term ‘syndicate’, but that might be stretching it a little. The methods used to manipulate the Lord election are of similar character though. We find this to be sickening.

But the behaviour of the Lords and how they are voted into office is not the only saddening aspect. The way players behave towards their Lord has massively changed itself to a very negative one over the years. Today, nobody cares about the Lord being online every day and interacting with the players. The quality of a Lord is solely determined by the quantity of EXP events he provides. We have often witnessed – be it on the Discord server or ingame – how Lords have been humiliated for not hosting EXP events for hours on end every single day. The fact that Lords, too, have a work- and private life is not even up for debate. A Lord has to function nowadays, be available 24/7 and hosting EXP events permanently. Personal interaction with the community is nothing anybody cares about anymore. Only the benefits are of interest now and the Lord is to kindly supply those.

The bottom line

The comparison between Lords of the past and Lords of the present could not be fuller of contrast if it tried. Where the focus had been on community interaction in the past, it is now on the Lord being a faceless, replaceable straw sack with no other task than to permanently be starting EXP events.

A question floating around in our heads for a while now is why the current Lords even put up with what we like to call this bullshit bingo? What motivation do they find in investing a substantial amount of their Penya only to be called out nastily for not having started enough EXP events? We cannot fathom the reasons.

What do you think about the Lord system as it is today and the method being used? Do you still remember the past times and how Lords spent their time in office back then? After all – as mentioned above – we would be interested in hearing what motivates you to put yourself up for candidacy.

Let us know about your views on the matter in the comments!