For the sake of benefiting both staff and members regarding the character application process, something that's always been a question to come up, with varying answers from different points of view, is: What represents Quality on Platinum Hearts?
So I'll be answering that, but fair warning, this is from my perspective on what represents quality applications
, however it's a similar input to Frost's own perspective, and something that's generally agreed on by the current staff. So, you could say that while this doesn't represent each staff member's understanding of quality to the exact tee, most of what's written can be considered a general consensus.
On PH, Quality can be divided into six fundamental pillars which supports the baseline. As the quality of an app is a large determinate regarding your character's tier, this is pretty invaluable and largely impactful for your tenure on PH. What are these pillars?
Now, these pillars were originally detailed out by Frost, but I'll be putting my own input into what each pillar means and how it's represented, expounding on it to give a better and more specific understanding of what you need to present for the best grading process manageable.
Creativity is the absolute first step of writing a great application. While yes, having a very creative and interesting character is a good way to start off, creativity doesn't entirely mean just having the most unique and original character on Platinum Hearts. To begin with, considering it's longevity, doing something no-one's truly done before is difficult as is, though if you manage, then that's absolutely commendable and may actually have some influence on the tier--though that's not individually the most valuable characteristic of an application.
More so what creativity means is knowing that everything you write, truly comes from you. Everything you put into this application isn't just copy-pasted Bleach Wiki content to buff up the application's size and appearance, but that you've taken time to deliberate and write the content which comes from your mind. Getting inspiration and help from people, other characters, and websites is by no means looked down upon. In fact, if it gets your muses up, it's highly encouraged, as it allows you to write with more direction and understanding to offer a very cohesive application.
That's another part, and that's cohesion. Easily the largest indicator of a quality app in the creativity department is maintaining a theme
. If your character has an overarching theme, then your character more easily transforms into a realistic "person"
more-so than a roleplay character. Having a theme means that the character is interconnected across all sections of their application, and even within a single section.
A good example of this is Henrex's application. Henrex as a character has gone through plenty of in-character development that has progressively shaped him up to be the person he is today, changing his personality, developing his powers, and overall affecting how he's roleplayed. For example, his traits of Undying Willpower.
— Undying Willpower: This is one of the traits that Henrex has shown throughout his entire life -- his desire to keep going, despite all odds. While this is something that is proven a bit more with his skill sheets, as well as in general combat, Henrex is someone who does not give up easily. While this does make others view him as very stubborn, Henrex firmly believes that if he pushes himself hard enough, results will be brought out. If he is to achieve his goals and live up to what he has devoted himself to, it is something that he has to have. This has only been fueled by the people that he's met, and befriended. They are the people who have shaped him into who he is today.
Firstly, this has shown to be something that has heavily altered how he views many things. For him, there is a large sense of determination when it comes to doing the things that he believes is right, and will aid in his goals and make the people he looks up to proud of him. This is something that has been shown again and again to be one of the core forces that drive him to do what he wants and needs to do. As a person who simply wants to do the right thing, it is a powerful asset that proves to be one of Henrex's strongest traits, outside of his kindness and gentle nature.
Ergo, it's something that makes him keep going, no matter the odds, simply because of the possibility of the struggle being worth it. The chance and hope of validation as of the results of his actions, as he wishes to prove himself at nearly every chance he can get. Considering himself a failure in his human life, the path that he roams in the world of spirits is, to him, the way to make up for that.
Furthermore, to lightly touch on the stubborn portion of this determination, Henrex is someone who will never give up -- as said before. When it comes to a goal that he has, he will always be trying to complete it. It doesn't matter if the goal seems impossible, he will always find a way. Even if it has to do with finding the tiniest bits of hope and light within what he wants to do. If there is a way, there is the willpower and desire to get to it. It is a bit of a stubborn mindset, but it has brought him this far and will continue to do so. That is just who he is.
And finally, as stated before, this is something that has been enforced by the many friends and comrades that he fights alongside and interacts with. They are the people who he seeks to impress and make them happy. He is determined to help and protect them, and with how they have acted towards him and shown how they feel, it has been more than enough to cause him to undergo a large boost in determination over time. This can be seen with people such as Hayden, where he seeks to always live up to his expectations and be something of a son to him.
This can also be seen with the interaction between Cirno and Erna, someone he believes he has the duty of upholding his heroism to -- as they helped him find his way on this spiritual life. But, the biggest and largest influence has been none other than Erchanhardt Burgstaller. With the heavy standards that the German has on him, Henrex has been shown to be even more determined -- so that he can make his best friend happy, and exceed his expectations, as he should.
As described, Henrex's willpower was developed through threads, and it's ultimately drawn from his need to validate himself, and he won't stop at anything to receive that validation. In turn, he's a very kind-hearted individual that whole-heartedly pursues protagonist action, so as to achieve validation for himself through other's, as their understanding that he's being good, and the recognition for that goodness he's portraying, feeds into him as a purpose to pursue. Thus, this connects to another trait in his personality, A Loving Heart.
— A Loving Heart: Perhaps one of Henrex's greatest traits to his entire character is that he is gentle, kind, and loving. He is not an aggressive person by nature, and never will be. Instead, he is a person who tries his best to befriend those he meets, often times rarely caring of who they are, or where they are from. Take, for example, Arianda Vael, an Arch-Duchess of the infamous organization Shadow Fall, one of his closest friends. While the circumstances of how they met were what generated this friendship (eventually), it goes to show how he views people.
For him, it's not always about the organization that the person belongs to, or what alignment they reside by, but who they are as a person, and how they act towards Henrex himself. While this is not the case all the time, such as when he fought in Panama against Azuma, the King of the Monsuta. He was there for only one purpose -- to further the Gotei's agenda. But, this can go even deeper than that. This is something that is able to be clearly shown within his circle of friends and allies.
When it comes to his friends, he has been shown to be extremely kind to them, treating and considering them to be like family. This has proven cases in people such as Arianda or Hayden, as he considers them to be sister and father figures to him, respectively. There's a strange sense of safety and comfort whenever he is in the presence of friends, something that allows him to relax and loosen up whenever he's around them -- mostly. While he is an extremely kind person, loving, and caring for those he considers close to him, there are times where he is particularly harder on his friends than anyone else.
This may be a trait that he has replicated because of his time with Erchanhardt, it is something that is extremely similar to him. For him, he has shown to be hard on his friends due to him wanting them to be happy, knowing and hoping for the best for them. Because he is so close to them, he -- like Erchanhardt does to him -- holds his friends on a set of standards much higher than his own. Yet, he holds them in a sense of respect and has expectations that he has no doubt they will be able to meet and exceed.
Although, this does have a major hit to Henrex's mental state when it comes to his kindness -- being that his mind is constantly burdened with worry, fear, and sadness. This is due to him being too kind. In conjunction with that, this has led up to become one of his biggest weaknesses. As he is someone that always attempts to make those he cares for happy, he will not hesitate to sacrifice his own well-being -- physically, mentally, or emotionally -- in order to keep other's intact.
Ergo, he has no problems having himself sink into a pool of despair, depression, or pain in order to keep those he cares for happy, and thriving. It happens astonishingly often and is not something that he really moderates for himself, but it is something that works, in his eyes. He can make sure that his friends have good lives, ones that he will support -- even if it does hurt him immensely to do so. Ultimately, his kindness will be the end of him
Conversely, a good example of multiple sections coming together to stay cohesive and form a thematic is Eun-Kyung, Kyle's application. Eun-Kyung is a character that adapted to her circumstances with utmost efficiency for the sake of self-preservation, whether it's on a literal physical level, or for peace of mind. Along the way, this tendency to adapt herself to the situation has emotionally affected her, such that whichever adaptation she assumes to better suit the environment and situation can't truly be considered "her real persona", except that all those adaptations are appropriately considered a part of her true self. As such, she has a lost sense of identity.
»Loss of Identity: As she has assumed so many different masks and facades, her already breaking identity became virtually shattered as the person she was becoming wasn't someone she truly recognised as herself. If someone were to ask her what her true personality behind all the fakes she puts on, she wouldn't honestly know. This is another factor that plays into her lost and alone personality portion.
This is well reflected and noted in her history, to which she underwent strict training and missions that regarded covert operations, which reinforced the notion and necessity of wearing masks and personas, so often that it gradually affected her personality as a whole.
She had been working as a K-world operative for around six years now, and she had been through a plethora of different training regiments, developments to help her grow as an Iramasha and how she could use her natural beauty and deceptive personality to twist things into her fashion. For this reason she became quite a common deep cover operative they would sent into enemy territory to either gather intelligence or purposefully sabotage. But beyond the missions she was sent on, she had learned to deeply manipulate her emotional state to produce results. Not only did she build a reputation for having many masks and personas she could put on to fool people, but she was revered as an established swordsman in the Kokuryuteshi. After not long, she was directly assigned to the personal guard of Kagami Iramasha-Clixx. She was tasked to protect, overlook and make sure she made the correct decisions. This came with a lot of pressure, but she was happy to accept such a position by the monarch that allowed her to thrive in a world that would otherwise have thrown her to the wayside.
This goes beyond two sections, and begins to be represented in her power-set as well, as her personality and history influences the nature of her abilities, as should be the case with all characters. This continuous and central thematic is what makes her a believable character beyond "fantasy" and into the realm of how real, fully developed people grow and develop in the real world. Hence, you can easily argue that this very well represents the "Quality" of an application.
» Soul Projection: One of the only other aspects of her magic is the inner projection aspect. By using her limited knowledge of Iramasha magic, Eun has been able to project her inner thoughts and persona into her surroundings via something she calls "Soul Projection". In the same way that the Nether messes with her mind since becoming an Iramasha, the soul projection is a result of her harnessing the the way it interacts with her mind. By turning this into aether magic, she can make literal representations of how her mind is. This can reach a bunch of different appearances, one of the most common being her curled in a ball clawing at her head trying to escape the voices, or when sated by blood, an image of her sitting and resting among a pool of red liquid. This is non-tangible and is entirely projection, meaning it has no use within combat outside of perhaps disorientation.
Thematic is, app-wise and creativity wise, one of the single most important aspects to a quality application. However, more than anything, this also represents the amount of effort put into the application, as even if the general archetype of the character has been done before, having a strong thematic that you've outlined and drawn up yourself, proves how hard you worked on the character, the amount of dedication to the application, and the promise of continued quality works from you the roleplayer; not just in context of applications, but posts, interaction with the community, and pretty much all the content you will produce from hereon out.
This leads into the power of effort. Though this section will be fairly short, it's immensely influential regarding your characters tier and the view of quality represented in it. More than anything, even more than thematic, as staff members we want to see the dedication and effort put into your application. A powerful and well written central theme is the best way to display this, but showing that you put effort into your application at all is more than welcome. Write something that you can take pride in, dammit. That, when you present it to staff--fuck that, when you show it to anyone, you can show it proudly. "Yeah, I wrote this. Good, huh?"
Now, whether or not someone thinks its good is besides the point. What you're showing them is that you put work into this, and its something damn good you can represent. Most of all, we just want to see that you're not being lazy with the application. Since, if you're lazy with such an important part to your roleplay, what else are you going to potentially be lazy with? As aforementioned, Effort is a promise--something that ensures we can see you doing well and putting in the work to contribute to the site, and contribute to yourself.
Effort also allows the staff member to know what the member means to achieve. Since, if you don't put in effort into your app, if you're just lazy with it--what do you think staff is supposed to gather from that? The only thing we can really take from it is that you're not too concerned with people reading your app, you just want to get it out of the way and get into roleplaying. Which isn't a bad thing inherently, in fact that's welcomed too. It's just that, if you submit an application with that sort of mindset inferred from it, we're assuming you want the bulk of the character's development to be done in In-Character threads, so it shouldn't matter too much what tier you get.
However, if you put effort into the application? If we can tangibly see that, it gives us a better idea of what you want to accomplish with it. We know more about the character, more about the roleplayer, and a clear understanding of the intentions and aspirations you have for them, the things you want to achieve with them, and ultimately we can offer a higher tier to help you reach those goals. Since, anything you do on the site with your character inherently contributes to our community and the IC world of PH, and that's something we will unilaterally accept so long as you put your heart into it.
The most referenced line in all the RP communities: Quality = / = Quantity. This is absolutely true, even on PH--though some of our posts and applications may offer misunderstandings. Make no mistake, Platinum Hearts does not condone the concept of quantity denoting quality; however, you can't call a one-liner a quality post in comparison to a full three paragraphs. Since, that's effort in itself, and you can convey a lot more content with three paragraphs compared to one sentence.
App-wise, length is to some degree necessary, especially for higher tiers. This isn't just because we want to see effort, but because you need some substance and content in your application, a substantial amount, to be awarded a higher tier. You can't expect someone to receive a high tier by saying "I can control fire", compared to someone who delves into the techniques, abilities, and applications that's drawn from a character's capacity to control fire. I'll use one of my own applications for an example.
For River Slime, the character is fairly simplistic ability-wise. I explain that it has considerable strength for a character of its magnitude, and wear that strength is drawn from. Though I do offer sufficient explanation and description on the River Slime's strength, it's pretty much just a paragraph covering the bare minimum.
Strength: On note of holding vast power with no knowledge of how to use it (as control isn't the issue, but instead where to allocate that controlled power to or for), albeit no knowledge on utilising it well, the full weight and strength of the body of water that is the River Slime can be translated through its new body. With all that compression, naturally each usage of that inner strength can be cataclysmic. A roaring river will corrode the world around it naturally and slowly, so when condensed, the results are bare to see.
Conversely, we look at Nemain's application, a character who's founded on strength. Her whole theme is strength, retarded degrees of strength in fact. She has five paragraphs describing the level of strength she possesses, and that's only covering her strength description itself, and not all the techniques, abilities, and applications drawn from her strength. As that's her theme, it's well developed and described to a large degree.
"There aren't many around who can describe what it feels like t' get hit by Nemain. Simple fact bein' there aren't many around who can survive to tell ya about it. There ain't no pain at first. It's like she hits ye so damn hard ye actually leave yer own body. It's when ye come back that ye feel the pain. An' ye realize yer goin' toe-to-toe with a walkin' earthquake."
--Xaver Chayton von Bréanainn
Nemain possesses a degree of physical strength so off-the-charts that it is, without a doubt, the most frightening aspect about her. Despite her thin frame and small stature, Nemain is a powerhouse of near unfathomable proportions. While some people can say that their abilities are evenly distributed between their strength, speed, spiritual power, etc. This does not apply to Nemain, as the full extent of her considerable power is all funneled in to pure, raw power. The greatest example of this is her strength, even while unreleased. Nemain's sheer brute strength is the reason why she rarely, if even at all, uses her Zanpakutō in combat. To her, it's completely unnecessary, useful only for use of Ressureccion, which she has only released twice to this day, even then.
Nemain's physical strength has allowed her to be one of the few beings that can break the proverbial Sekiseki barriers of the Soul Society. The thing is, though, that unlike some others, who require great technological advancements or huge uses of power to break through these walls, Nemain boasts being able to do it with her bare hands, and with minimal effort. Proof of this has yet to be shown, but anyone who has seen her strength firsthand would easily believe the truth behind this. Nemain defeated and killed Mizore Chikara without use of her ressereccion or even her Zanpakutō in general. She crushed the vizard's skull with one hand. On top of having bested her, Nemain destroyed The Bitter Fall, Mizore's castle, by simply punching at the base until the whole structure toppled. It may seem like an exaggeration, but she really is just that strong. Nemain has fought shinigami, vizards, demons, other arrancar.. and come out on top every time with only one exception... when she battled her Primera. The fight against Rose was one of only two times she had ever released her Zanpakutō, and also one of two times she had ever lost a fight. The other was against Xaver, which ultimately ended in a draw.
Nemain's strength is so predominant that she has fought against weapons of shikai level, bankai level, and above, without so much as drawing her Zanpakutō. She can block bladed attacks, catch weapons, and stop rapidly moving objects with minimal effort and little to no damage to her person. An example of how strong she really is would be such: The New Horizons, a NASA robotic spacecraft that was launched to study Pluto and its moons, had an Earth-relative velocity of about 16.26 km/s or 58,536 km/h (10.1 mps or 36,360 mph) after its last engine shut down. If the shuttle was launched horizontally, across the Earth's surface, Nemain could stand in its path, and stop it using both hands without being moved from her spot even a centimeter. Nemain could put holes in the earth, rip jets out of the air, level buildings, and crush anything from bones to steel with little, if any, effort. She is a being of pure and utter terrifying physical strength.
Nemain possesses the capacity for virtually limitless physical strength. In fact, upon actually measuring her raw potential, it has been stated outright that Nemain's strength is intrinsically limitless, "an infinity" with "no finite element inside". While in an enraged or excited state, adrenaline surges through Nemain's body, magnifying her extraordinary strength significantly above her standard limits. Nemain's immeasurable strength beyond her base strength is directly proportional to her level of rage, excitement, and stress.
Nemain is able to use her highly developed leg muscles to leap great distances. As Nemain becomes enraged or excited, her strength increases considerably, which means she can jump farther than usual. Nemain has transposed 1,000 miles with a single leap, and has jumped on top of Mount Everest, from ground level, in a single leap. On more than one occasion, Nemain has nearly jumped into Earth's orbit. Nemain also shows incredible precision with her ability to aim her jumps and landings. Along with this, Nemain can inhale great quantities of air for several effects. She can expel the air at great speeds to knock down forests, buildings, armed troops, etc.
Now, you tell me: comparing the two descriptions, which do you think is physically stronger? Nemain, right? If you earnestly believe otherwise and not just to be a shitposting memer like me, all I can say is that you're pretty much objectively wrong. And that means I'm criticising my own application, so it's difficult to call me biased on this.
Of course, just because Nemain's strength has more words, it doesn't mean she's stronger. What's important to take away from this is that while there are more words in her app, it's what you do with the amount of words in an application that shows quality--that those words aren't just mountains of fluff, but relevant content necessary to show the strength and development of the character
A long history on a character doesn't automatically mean they're a better application and will be awarded a higher tier. What it does tell us is that the character has been through more events, more shit, and has lived a more fleshed out life that has brought it to where they are now. A character with three paragraphs of history is obviously not going to be presumably more experienced and more developed than a character with fifteen paragraphs.
Of course, if that's all fluff? We're not going to think it's quality, we're going to think it's just padding to make your application look better and bigger than it really is.
A character with fifteen traits in their personality generally tells us that their persona is more developed than one with only three traits, not because they have more words, but because they've been influenced by so many different factors to truly present, "this character isn't some greenhorn, they are a goddamn veteran who's lived an actual life, and that life has changed who they are and how they act."
Purpose is an increasingly considered factor in a character's tier. While this detracts more from "Quality" so much as a necessary point to look into for a character's tier, it does help for staff to understand what the character is for, and what they're supposed to do. As, a large part of writing an application, is to show staff and other members who that character is and what you plan to do with them.
Defining a character's purpose as a result gives us better insight into what they're going to be getting into, and what tier they need to be able to accomplish these goals. For example, a trap tier. If you intentionally write a character to have some sort of debilitating factor that lowers their energy to a point that's far below their general power output? Staff will take that into consideration and give them a lower tier, as that's what you're showing us you want for your character.
Conversely, a character who's meant to be a captain in the Gotei? It'd be pretty pitiful, if not outright unacceptable for that character to be tier 3-1, as they simply won't have the power to uphold the responsibilities and present a level of strength that contends with captain-level characters. Of course, trap-tiers are exceptions to what tiers usually represent. Do remember, tiers do NOT represent a character's power level. It represents the amount of energy or resources they have to power themselves. But, because someone with more resources and means to utilise it tend to be more powerful, tiers are a good measure of a character's strength.
That said, a character's purpose will influence tier. If you make a character with the intent of having them play a key role in an event? We'll take that into consideration and likely award it a better tier to accommodate, since it's difficult to have a key role in an event as a 5-tier, unless your character is still somehow intrinsically attached to the event regardless of energy levels.
Conversely, a character that shows vague or no substantial purpose at all? While this won't necessarily mean we will award it a lower tier, it also gives us no incentive to reasonably raise its tier. Purpose is less of a determining factor in a character's tier as it is an incentive to award it a specific tier. Characters who have historical positions, or have in their past or present held an intrinsic attachment to some external position, power, or role, are also taken into consideration. For example, Oda Tatsuya was previously Tsubasa Unbara's teacher, the latter being a previous Captain Commander and Zero Division member. That naturally played a part in awarding his tier, even though he doesn't presently hold much influence over the Gotei itself or any other active and pivotal factions or organisations.
This is a massive factor in awarding tiers. A roleplayer's experience largely denotes how well they can effectively roleplay at a higher level on Platinum Hearts, since they'll know the limits of a tier, the lore of the site, and in general let staff know that they can handle what we give them. It's difficult to give a 0-tier character to someone who's not even spent a month on the site, since we can almost guarantee that they won't know very much about the PH power scale, the events of the site in the past and present, or in general how we tend to run things here. Especially since this is such an old site, that there's a lot to learn about it.
It's very important that you are attuned to the lore, history, custom content, and power scale as well as organisations and positions held in PH. Since, if your character is at a considerable tier? They should know most if not all this stuff, and be able to present that in thread. If even you the writer has no clue, how are you going to write your character as if they knew?
On the other hand, it's much easier to give a 0-tier to someone like Shizuo. He already holds high-tier characters without much difficulty, so we know he can roleplay them. He's been on PH for so long we can basically be assured that he knows more than enough about the site to maintain continuity and not utilise a high tier character willy nilly and nonsensically.
Experience ultimately ties into the final pillar of writing an application, and that is trust. We need to be able to trust the writer to use their character and their power level appropriately. Someone who's garnered a bad reputation on PH won't so easily be given an org-leader level character since it's difficult to ascertain whether they'll wield that level of power responsibly. For all we know, that character can randomly be wrongfully teleported into the Sugiuran Realm and wreak absolute havoc for no apparent reason, and at that point we have to take the time to approach them, figure out what's going on, and if it's a clear case of abuse of power, take that power away from them.
It's much easier to avoid that entire process altogether by grading applications with a tier that won't make it so possible for a character to be roleplayed irresponsibly. On the flip-side, someone who does have trust in them, that they can contribute to the site well and not cause problems ICly or OOCly everywhere they go? It's much easier to give them a higher tier since we know they can effectively write at that level of power without us having to watch over their shoulder every time they post, as that is what it means to trust the writer.