We’ve made a small update to the wiki this week regarding retired characters, so I wanted to say a few things about it.
In Empire, you can only have one character in the campaign at a time. A lot of the inherent play-balances in the system are badly undermined if a player is allowed to have more than one character at once. Of course you can only ever physically be one character at a given time, but you can get the benefits of having multiple active characters if you can switch between them.
For this reason, because of the potential for abuse, we have never let players switch between characters in Empire. Obviously if a character dies then you can’t resume playing them - but if you retire a character then you can’t go back and play them again either.
In practice there have been one or two occasions where the game team have allowed people to resume playing a retired character, but only on compassionate grounds where it was clear that the health or mental well-being of a player would be impacted by dogmatic enforcement of the rules. We’re keen to keep Empire rules simple and understandable but it is ultimately a game and so in extreme, real-life considerations trump these things. So we’ve updated the wiki to make that point clear and explain what to do in those circumstances.
However we’ve also updated the wiki to be explicit that it is not acceptable to try and circumvent the rules by creating a new copy of a retired character on the system and playing them. That’s very clearly not following the spirit of the rules.
In the past we’ve turned a blind eye to players creating a second copy of their character. We know players often assumed this was the best way to change skills after the first event, to change archetype, or to update the character in a similar fashion. Now that we have a formal system that allows characters to retrain their skills over time however, there is no need for players to create a new copy of a character. Alterations to archetype are better achieved by e-mailing Profound Decisions, for example.
We’ve deleted a number of old duplicate characters from the system and we’ve updated the wiki to be clear that this isn’t acceptable in the game. From now on, if the system throws up any instances of people playing a new character with the same name or details as an old character then we’ll get in touch to check what’s happening and to make sure they understand the rules and are following them correctly.
We do appreciate that there can be a nostalgic appeal to returning to a retired character, and players do sometimes want to go back to an old character that they miss. Given the very political nature of Empire however it is important for the integrity of the game that people move forwards and create new characters - rather than swapping back to a previous one. So we ask that people bear that in mind - and not to retire a character unless they are definitely done with them!