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A View on Goldenvale
[08/28/2002] [The Amtgard Traveler]

I am writing this article due to a recent subject on the Goldenvale e-mail list. I felt the need to comment, and since I want you to focus more on what I have to say rather than on getting pissed and flaming me, I am doing it without telling you who I am. But, if you want to flame me anyway, feel free. I have a new e-mail address just for that.

This was said by Syr Sanchez:

[We] should play the game for the fun of the game, not for titles.

This was then said by Geran Soulmoon:

Hmm, this is interesting. If Goldenvale plays for the game and not the titles, then why does your kingdom hand them out faster than people pass [out] candy on Halloween?

Later, this was said by Lady Angela:

Dear Geran,

The answer is that many people who get them in Goldenvale deserve them. Isn't it easier to suppose that there are many dedicated people in Goldenvale that the Kingdom takes the effort to recognize, than to decide that the Kingdom must be wrong to do so? Too often, I hear complaints of Kingdoms being guilty of disinterest - yet you suggest my kingdom of Goldenvale is too good to us? Futhermore, I and many whom I thought you felt were friends have some of those titles that were awarded by Goldenvale. Myself, Lord Roland, Lady Cira, Lord Tempest, Lady Deltoria, and quite a few others were passed some of that so-called 'candy'. Your words imply we didn't get them because of our sincere love of the game and our service and dedication to it. There truly are many of us who do this just because we believe in the dream regardless of the titles.

I am not familiar with how often your kingdom of Burning Lands gives out awards, nor would I insult your kingdom by suggesting any of those in the Shire of Twin Lakes do not deserve theirs, for I believe with all my heart they do. I have shared my table with you, Geran. I will continue to greet you as my friend and will not speak ill of your lands or people. I ask you for the same courtesy.

Thank You,

LADY Squire Angela Mastersinger
Consort, Barony of Crystal Groves
Proud Citizen of Goldenvale

After reading this, I decided it was time to say something.

There is a reason that people have this view of Goldenvale and their awards. It has nothing to do with some sort of misunderstanding about how worthy the people of Goldenvale are. The second post hit closer to home than most are willing to admit.

How else can you explain it? Is Goldenvale just the misunderstood kingdom of Amtgard, with sword knights who can't stand up to 5th rank warriors from other lands, serpent knights who have no idea what a french seam is, and flame knights whose services no-one can remember? In fact, the crown knights are about the only order that isn't a joke, but if you went to one of the Crown Qualifications they entered to get the office you might disagree with me.

Do I have the right to cast judgement on others for their awards? When their awards make every other knight have to work twice as hard just to keep the standard; when this becomes the standard for others within the kingdom to follow; when others see this as the best example Amtgard and the kingdom have to offer, then it makes us all look bad by comparison. And I do have the right.

Goldenvale and its groups do hand out awards like candy. What else is there to expect in a kingdom that has a three to one ratio of belted to non-belted players? For every three people who has a belt of some sort (white, red, yellow), there is perhaps one person who doesn't. When the knights have five squires, and those squires each have ten pages, men-at-arms, and women-at-arms, you have a problem.

The fact remains that what one has to do in order to achieve an award in Goldenvale is not the same as the rest of Amtgard. Everyone is a Lord or a Lady. Get drafted into office, get your Baronet on the way out the door. Masters are anything but masters at their craft. When knights don't even meet the requirements for their belts and the people in office have to use the excuse that the requirements are only suggested to validate their buddy-knightings, it's sad; and what's worse, it's people from Goldenvale who tell these tales.

Want an example? Take a look at the Goldenvale Coronation in July 2002. While less well-known individuals received single, low-level orders, one popular individual received his 9th and 10th dragon in one sitting. Then he received not one, not two, but THREE non-class masterhoods. Did he deserve them? Probably. Should he have been given them all at one time? Only if you enjoy diminishing the value of masterhood within your kingdom.

To sum it up, no, the massive amount of titles in Goldenvale has nothing to do with people deserving them or not. Simply put, Goldenvale has no concept of what makes someone deserving. When your standards are so low that even people from your own groups who have never been to other lands question them, something is wrong.

You want a solution? First, recognize the problem. Rather than blindly defending your position, perhaps listen to some suggestions on how to fix the problem. You're going to flame me. Insult me, my mother, my dog, and I accept that. Now that I have your attention, I will do what I can to give you some ideas on how to fix the problem.

Coming soon: Part 2 of A View on Goldenvale by the Amtgard Traveler

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