Ender News has introduced a new feature to the website -- Battle School Armies! You can now join an army in Battle School and fight alongside your fellow soldiers to earn points and try to reach the top of the standings table.

It's easy! Simply create your account by clicking "Sign in with Facebook" in the upper right-hand corner. After you've done so, you'll be able to conceal your real name by creating an alias on your Profile and start participating in our Forum. Your profile page is also where you will find your Notifications - army assignments, transfers, toon placements and, if you're any good, perhaps even a promotion to Commander of an army.

Whenever you are signed in to Ender News, you will be able to earn points. Some of those points awards are hidden -- e.g. you will earn one point a day just for coming back to Ender News and signing in -- others will produce a new log entry in your notifications so you can see what exactly why you were awarded points. You have to earn a certain number of points before you can join an army, or in other words, prove that you are ready to move on from Launchie status.

As soon as you have earned enough points, youu will find a "Join Army" button in the Battle School Forum. For everyone's benefit we want to make sure only those people who are really interested in Ender's Game can join an army, so we exclude one-time visitors from taking up army space as they most likely won't participate in the battles anyway. You can NOT choose your own army: your army will be assigned to you automatically. Dragon Army is - as you all probably know - quite special, so don't expect it to be available from the start.

1. Click "Sign in with Facebook" in the upper right hand corner.
2. Choose an alias on your Profile page.
3. Enjoy your Lauchie status while you're waiting to be assigned to an army.

But don't get too comfortable. You never know when a message may appear saying you've been transferred... or iced.

In Battle School, you are part of an army, each represented by its own iconic symbol. Each of the 20 armies is organized into Toons of 10 fighters with an overall Army Commander. You will join an army as a regular soldier, then you can work your way up to Toon Leader or even Commander of your army. The 21st army, Dragon Army, has a special status, you can not join Dragon Army right from the start. More details will be announced at a later time when Dragon Army is enabled.

The armies are in competition for the top position in the rankings table. Each army has (roughly) the same number of soldiers -- that's another reason why you can not choose your army when signing up -- and the cumulative number of points earned by its soldiers for an army determine the army's rank. While some of those points are individually earned (participation, contributions), others are entirely a group effort, especially those earned in the weekly Battle Room fights.

An overall standings table is available at all times, and the points you have individually earned can be reviewed on your member profile.

Points can be earned by taking part in official forum discussions, polls, quizzes, and participating in other Ender News activities. Also, if you're feeling creative, you can help advance your army by joining in on certain challenges which will be announced periodically. These challenges can be anything from creating a fan-made movie poster to coming up with your own Battle School-esque recipe. Each challenge you participate in will earn points for your army and for you individually.

A large number of points can be earned in the Battle Room where all 20 armies fight each other in weekly battles. Those battles are a group effort, which means that points are assigned to your army and not to individual members. Or in other words... a few excellent fighters will not be able to earn many points for their army if overall participation is low and they are outnumbered in the Battle Room.

A Battle Room fight is an Ender's Game trivia challenge which works like this: you have to answer 20 questions from the world of Ender's Game as quickly as you can. Those questions come from the book (only Ender's Game, not the sequels), and the movie (cast, crew, settings, news), and they are randomly selected for your personal battle. Questions will change, including entirely new questions, for each battle.

Your individual battle score is determined in seconds. The timer starts the moment you enter the Battle Room and can not be paused or reset. The timer stops when you have answered the 20th question. After that, a time penalty will be added for each wrong answer and your final score will be recorded. If you leave the Battle Room before answering the last question, please keep in mind that your timer will be running while you are away.

Battles are weekly events, running from Monday through Sunday. You can start your fight at any time during the week, whenever you have 5-10 minutes of undisturbed concentration. At the end of every week the final army scores are determined, based on the number of participating fighters and the individual scores achieved. Points will be awarded to the 12 best armies within 24 hours of a completed battle.

Note: Army members who do not take part in 4 consecutive Battle Room fights will be automatically be iced (dropped from their army) after the 4th battle has come to an end. Members who wish to rejoin an army can do so but will most likely not end up in the same army as before. If all armies are full, they will have to wait until a spot becomes available.

Probably most exciting for many of you: you could get your own story published on Ender News! If you have an original story idea, submit an outline to endernews@gmail.com, and our editors will review and hopefully approve that idea. Possible ideas are background stories about the movie, reports or even photo reports about Ender's Game related events, interviews, personal accounts, and so on. Ask yourself if your story idea is movie related, if it is an original idea, and if you (as an Ender's Game fan) would be interested in reading such a story from another author. If you can answer all three questions with "yes" then there is a very good chance that your idea gets approved and your story published on Ender News.

Published stories will earn their authors a good number of points as it is directly creating value for the whole Ender's Game community. A standings board will be viewable at all times. Not only will you be able to see which army is on top, but also which soldiers have earned the most points for their army.

Daily Battle School Reward1 Point 
Forum Award1 Point 
Official Poll Participation1 Point 
Ender News Quiz1 - 10 Points 
Ender News Challenge1 - 25 Points 
Published Contribution (assigned by administrators)up to 100 Points 
Weekly Battle Room Fight

The total number of points awarded in a weekly battle is 2 points per day and army fighter. As an example, if at the end of a battle each of the 20 armies have 20 fighters, the total would be 20 (armies) x 20 (fighters) x 7 (days) x 2 (points) = 5600 points. The best army will win 20% of those points, followed by 15% for 2nd place, 12% for 3rd place, 10% for 4th place, and 8% down to 1% for armies ranked 5th to 12th in the weekly battle.

In the example with 5600 total points, the #1 ranked army would win 1120 points, #2 gets 840 points, and #12 ends up with 56 points. This weighting is relative to the Daily Battle School Reward where each army member earns one point just for showing up at school. An army of 20 members would earn 140 points a week if all its members visit daily. The average reward for a Battle Room Fight is 240 points, or twice as much.

xx Points