Author Topic: A reasoned discussion of the current state of Armageddon vis-a-vis Olden Times  (Read 40016 times)

Ender

  • Posts: 1993
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #150 on: October 15, 2015, 10:29:01 AM »
It's tough to look at statistics that don't tell a great story for this year, but I think the learning in this visualization are the same as the other I posted.  What drives interest in the game are in character events that are public enough that they can be advertised and voting.

Tuluk closing, the 2013 HRPT all had OOC efforts to get players interested in those events.  Plots that are less obscure and more advertised I think are the number one way to drum up interest in the game for those players you get from those voting drives.  They don't need to be complicated, intricate or world changing, they just need to be public enough that a new player could easily find out about it on the gdb or elsewhere and jump into the game knowing enough to get involved.



man
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Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #151 on: October 15, 2015, 10:33:39 AM »
I generally do agree that more public RPT's would help player numbers. They usually DO help player numbers.

But, I also find that in order for it to be big enough to be posted about on the GDB by staff...it has to be big enough that "The Known" in some regard would come into play.

Because we are in a world where, "If you aren't in a position to know about it OOC'ly, you can only learn about it IC'ly.", it gets a little wonky when staff starts announcing, "Stuff happening in this one small region."....because then everyone knows even if they shouldn't that things are happening somewhere else.

I also think that our playerbase is mature enough to handle it responsibly at this point. Fifteen years ago I can see it causing a few issues. Now I think we have the sort of playerbase where even if half of them knew something was happening somewhere they wouldn't take any actions they shouldn't in regards to it.

tldr: +1 for more publically visible RPT's, even if they aren't on a grand scale. If anything it definitely is good advertising for "we are doing stuff and things ARE happening".

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Nergal

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #152 on: October 15, 2015, 10:34:44 AM »
It's very easy for either players or staff to be snarky in the face of inaccurate accusations or self-fulfilling prophecies. At the same time, it's not an excuse, and I think staff communication has improved markedly toward players who are polite to staff, even in disagreement.

I would recommend that staff take the higher road even when players do not. I think it would improve the atmosphere even more markedly if staff were always professional with players even when those players themselves are not polite.

If I have to explain why that's a good idea, then the problem can't be solved. I think it's pretty obvious.

Granted I've never been mean to a staffer and have never given them any reason to be snarky or unprofessional towards me. (The one time one did jump the gun and go off they immediately censored themselves and apologized.) But even if I was, I would hope the staffer would look at it from the perspective of, "This guy is mad about a video game. I'm going to keep it high and tight because it's my job to set the example even in the face of a bad example of player behavior.".

That or we can just be snarky when a player calls us a doodoo head or tells fibs about us on the webbernetz for max lulz and condescension.

I'm just a huge fan of leading by example.

Yes, and I did not mean to suggest otherwise - however, at the same time, we aren't doormats, and we don't have an obligation to be professional in the face of someone who is clearly trolling or is going to be a problem. Even so, I think we still remain polite even in those instances, insofar that it is still possible. But we have an obligation to be blunt and forthright in some instances, and that's what has to come out sometimes. That shouldn't be mistaken for rudeness though. It's generally more of an attempt to get a message out without beating around the bush.
  

Eurynomos

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #153 on: October 15, 2015, 10:41:20 AM »
Damnit, I ran out of red tape again.

I'm not intending to be dismissive -- I actually do care about player's opinions. I also tend to find that there is a 'flavor of the week' on the GDB, as far as discontent goes. As I said in the player divide thread, there's only as much of a divide between player and Staff as you'd like to believe there is, because I actually firmly believe there isn't. Communication lines are open, we're here to chat and to figure out real and perceived issues with you with 100% politeness, as long as that's the tone given to us.

As to player numbers, something to consider is we are playing within a dying art form. Everything changes, and the player base for ArmageddonMUD is certainly among the 'everything' category. I've had many friends that used to play step away, never to return, while others come back. The gaming industry itself is changing, has changed, and the MUD community is dwindling at best. There are always the curious, those that have heard about MUDs but never tried one. But I think we can all agree that the 'sneaking out to play at the library at lunch' vibes are all but extinct. Many of us grew up at a time where MUDs were the only thing out there, and graphical games were laughable at best.

I think the best thing for us to do, as Staff, is do our best in maintaining the player base we have. I would actually put the onus on getting new players on you, the players. Word of mouth, advertising to different community members, talking about it with your RL friends. If you don't love the game enough to do this, then...Sure, eventually, in five, ten, fifteen, twenty years, we will likely go the way of the dinosaurs. But I have faith in this community, and the strength of belief it has that this is the best game out there. So let's roll with those positive vibes, and moving forward, really strive to better our community stance.

The game might have 'been better' in some people's eyes, back in 2004, 2005, 2006, etc. But we can 'make' the game a better place if we try. Perceived issues should be idea'd, requests should be filed to Staff if there is perceived miscommunication. Let's make this right. We're constantly adding new content to the game, and we've taken more player input now than ever before on the shape of that direction. Let's work together!
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Ender

  • Posts: 1993
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #154 on: October 15, 2015, 10:48:14 AM »
and the MUD community is dwindling at best.

My argument against this notion is that 2013 was the best year Armageddon has ever had on record for consistent active players.  We absolutely can get people interested and playing and grow our playerbase.

Yes, there is more competition from other types of games, but I'd argue the pool of people interested in roleplaying games is larger now than it ever was.  The problem we have is that there are many more options open to those interested in those kinds of games.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 10:51:06 AM by Ender »
man
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Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #155 on: October 15, 2015, 10:48:18 AM »
It's very easy for either players or staff to be snarky in the face of inaccurate accusations or self-fulfilling prophecies. At the same time, it's not an excuse, and I think staff communication has improved markedly toward players who are polite to staff, even in disagreement.

I would recommend that staff take the higher road even when players do not. I think it would improve the atmosphere even more markedly if staff were always professional with players even when those players themselves are not polite.

If I have to explain why that's a good idea, then the problem can't be solved. I think it's pretty obvious.

Granted I've never been mean to a staffer and have never given them any reason to be snarky or unprofessional towards me. (The one time one did jump the gun and go off they immediately censored themselves and apologized.) But even if I was, I would hope the staffer would look at it from the perspective of, "This guy is mad about a video game. I'm going to keep it high and tight because it's my job to set the example even in the face of a bad example of player behavior.".

That or we can just be snarky when a player calls us a doodoo head or tells fibs about us on the webbernetz for max lulz and condescension.

I'm just a huge fan of leading by example.

Yes, and I did not mean to suggest otherwise - however, at the same time, we aren't doormats, and we don't have an obligation to be professional in the face of someone who is clearly trolling or is going to be a problem. Even so, I think we still remain polite even in those instances, insofar that it is still possible. But we have an obligation to be blunt and forthright in some instances, and that's what has to come out sometimes. That shouldn't be mistaken for rudeness though. It's generally more of an attempt to get a message out without beating around the bush.

If at any time someone feels they have to be a doormat in order to be professional, they simply don't know how to be effectively professional.

Edited to Add: The smartest people I know in the world personally play this video game. I make no exaggerations there. The staffers who staff this game are at the top of that list. What I'm saying here is our staffing team is more than intelligent enough to know how to be effectively professional. If at any time they choose not to be...it isn't because they don't have a choice...it is because they are actively and intelligently making a decision to do that.

« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 10:50:32 AM by Desertman »
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Nergal

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #156 on: October 15, 2015, 10:48:31 AM »

Thanks for putting that together. I think that graph shows that there is a clear yearly pattern of increases and decreases, and that we are currently in the timeframe where there is usually a decrease every year. I am sure the playerbase will come up naturally by itself in November if we do nothing else, but that isn't a reason to do nothing else, to be sure! That is a reason to start voting efforts in earnest and to encourage PC plots as well as staff-arranged events, to compound the effect that Novembers usually bring on the unique player count.
  

Ath

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #157 on: October 15, 2015, 10:51:54 AM »
So I went on a tangent yesterday...  the tinfoil hat was just me being annoyed is all.  Maybe I lost a bit of my professionalism in the way I do things and respond on here, but the matter to me is that people are making a bigger deal out of things  then is needed.  I got on around 10pm Server yesterday, 50+ people online.  I see the numbers from my end, not from a third-party graph.

It has come to my attention that there were comments about my long post made it somewhere.  I find it flattering that the comments have to do with my grammar and typos.  I wrote that long post first on this thread at the end of my shift at work and didn't even bother to proofread it.  Oh, and yes... 2007 was when I started playing Arm all together, 2009 is when I first came on staff.  Thank you for the nice comments, I'll try to keep my cool on here more often.
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Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #158 on: October 15, 2015, 10:53:05 AM »
So I went on a tangent yesterday...  the tinfoil hat was just me being annoyed is all.  Maybe I lost a bit of my professionalism in the way I do things and respond on here, but the matter to me is that people are making a bigger deal out of things  then is needed.  I got on around 10pm Server yesterday, 50+ people online.  I see the numbers from my end, not from a third-party graph.

It has come to my attention that there were comments about my long post made it somewhere.  I find it flattering that the comments have to do with my grammar and typos.  I wrote that long post first on this thread at the end of my shift at work and didn't even bother to proofread it.  Oh, and yes... 2007 was when I started playing Arm all together, 2009 is when I first came on staff.  Thank you for the nice comments, I'll try to keep my cool on here more often.

(You are one of the nicest staffers on the team and easily one of the most personable. You have nothing to explain.)
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Ath

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #159 on: October 15, 2015, 10:54:45 AM »
So I went on a tangent yesterday...  the tinfoil hat was just me being annoyed is all.  Maybe I lost a bit of my professionalism in the way I do things and respond on here, but the matter to me is that people are making a bigger deal out of things  then is needed.  I got on around 10pm Server yesterday, 50+ people online.  I see the numbers from my end, not from a third-party graph.

It has come to my attention that there were comments about my long post made it somewhere.  I find it flattering that the comments have to do with my grammar and typos.  I wrote that long post first on this thread at the end of my shift at work and didn't even bother to proofread it.  Oh, and yes... 2007 was when I started playing Arm all together, 2009 is when I first came on staff.  Thank you for the nice comments, I'll try to keep my cool on here more often.

(You are one of the nicest staffers on the team and easily one of the most personable. You have nothing to explain.)

10 years customer service experience, I treat people like I would treat my customers... I'm just very passionate about Armageddon and well, sometimes that comes through into text.  Thank you though, that is greatly appreciated.
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Nergal

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #160 on: October 15, 2015, 10:59:20 AM »
Desertman: We have a pretty confident, smart, professional (for a hobby, at least) team. So let me clarify. We do our best to respond professionally to people, and I think we are largely successful at that. A part of that involves honesty, sometimes blunt honesty. When people say that they are stifled by staff, or not allowed to do something in the game, or not allowed to come back to the game, that's not necessarily a case of us being unprofessional - that's a case of us not agreeing to something. I think when players are denied for something by staff, or get into a disagreement with them, and we are bluntly honest about something, this gets misconstrued as unprofessional when the intent was the opposite: to be as honest with the player as possible. We are people too after all, and we hate getting the run-around as much as we would hate to give it. It is better to convey a clear message than it is to hold back out of fear.
  

Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #161 on: October 15, 2015, 11:00:40 AM »
Desertman: We have a pretty confident, smart, professional (for a hobby, at least) team. So let me clarify. We do our best to respond professionally to people, and I think we are largely successful at that. A part of that involves honesty, sometimes blunt honesty. When people say that they are stifled by staff, or not allowed to do something in the game, or not allowed to come back to the game, that's not necessarily a case of us being unprofessional - that's a case of us not agreeing to something. I think when players are denied for something by staff, or get into a disagreement with them, and we are bluntly honest about something, this gets misconstrued as unprofessional when the intent was the opposite: to be as honest with the player as possible. We are people too after all, and we hate getting the run-around as much as we would hate to give it. It is better to convey a clear message than it is to hold back out of fear.

(Sorry I covered this with an edit on my original post while you were posting this apparently. Check the timestamp on the edit above.)
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Nyr

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #162 on: October 15, 2015, 11:01:31 AM »
Yes, and I did not mean to suggest otherwise - however, at the same time, we aren't doormats, and we don't have an obligation to be professional in the face of someone who is clearly trolling or is going to be a problem. Even so, I think we still remain polite even in those instances, insofar that it is still possible. But we have an obligation to be blunt and forthright in some instances, and that's what has to come out sometimes. That shouldn't be mistaken for rudeness though. It's generally more of an attempt to get a message out without beating around the bush.

To elaborate on Nergal's point:

We do have rules, our own guidelines, and our own accountability to each other as staff members.  The game has evolved as have our policies as a staffing team, in general, to be more towards things that make pretty good sense.  You can put in a complaint about a staffer and be sure that no one but the Producer team will be able to resolve it.  You won't have staff splashing your account info and request history on the boards anymore in response to player provocation, no matter how 'deserved'.  We routinely check our replies to players on disciplinary/sensitive/negative issues with each other in order to revise them to be better, more neutral, or just more targeted to the specific concern.

Even with all of that, yes, you can piss us off individually (or as a group) such that you might have a staffer say something that isn't the most professional thing.  The times that has happened (that I recall) are at the end of a series of repeated trolling/baiting/flaming of staff, and honestly, we don't get paid enough to send customer satisfaction surveys and be public relations gods in the face of that kind of thing.



As for RPTs, I am (or at least, I think I am) a staunch advocate for providing more information about things being active, even if it is vague.  We want to surprise players with the content of a plot.  We do not want to surprise players with the timing of a plot, or have it happen with them completely unawares that "cool stuff" was going on in the background.  We want to involve as many players as possible, and have the plots we sponsor and directly pen end up affecting other players and their own plots, so that there can be some downtime between our plots.  I think we are open to finding better ways to do that.
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Malken

  • Posts: 9120
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #163 on: October 15, 2015, 11:05:10 AM »
Considering the nutjob you had to deal with recently (not me, the other nutjob!) I don't blame you at all when you need to bring the hammer down on someone.

It also showed how patient some of you can be before the hammer comes striking down, so no, again, it's not all terrible on Staff side.

I don't like when Staff takes it personally because it (at least my rants) rarely has anything to do with the person who Staffs but with the system under which they are required to operate - but again, when explained to me -very- slowly and with crayola-made charts, I tend to "get" it in the end.
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Desertman

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #164 on: October 15, 2015, 11:11:11 AM »
Even with all of that, yes, you can piss us off individually (or as a group) such that you might have a staffer say something that isn't the most professional thing.  The times that has happened (that I recall) are at the end of a series of repeated trolling/baiting/flaming of staff, and honestly, we don't get paid enough to send customer satisfaction surveys and be public relations gods in the face of that kind of thing.


Your opinion is that at times it is justified to be unprofessional in your position.

My opinion is that is it is never justified and that resorting to it, no matter what, is harmful to this community as a whole.

In that I will agree to disagree because really I can't do anything else.
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Nyr

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #165 on: October 15, 2015, 11:43:31 AM »
I'm not sure you are understanding my opinion on this, but yes, let's agree to disagree, and instead discuss other things of substance that have been brought up in this thread.

Do you know of any calendar/announcement/etc widget/technology that would better deliver news of events and RPTs?  Do you think the GDB (or the new one, whenever we get the testing done) is a good method of delivering that sort of thing at all?
Paint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

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Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #166 on: October 15, 2015, 11:45:33 AM »
I'm not sure you are understanding my opinion on this, but yes, let's agree to disagree, and instead discuss other things of substance that have been brought up in this thread.

Do you know of any calendar/announcement/etc widget/technology that would better deliver news of events and RPTs?  Do you think the GDB (or the new one, whenever we get the testing done) is a good method of delivering that sort of thing at all?

Your opinion seems pretty clear to me, but yes, agree to disagree and on to other things.

Do we have the ability to easily edit our descriptions of Armageddon on TMS/TMC in order to include announcements for "upcoming events" for Armageddon there?

I don't see that any other MUDs are doing that. If we started actually announcing our upcoming events on the voting sites (if possible) that could make us stand out. If nothing else it tells every person who goes there to vote/view MUDs that "This MUD has things happening where as other MUDs might not.".
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 12:00:08 PM by Desertman »
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Eurynomos

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #167 on: October 15, 2015, 12:14:22 PM »
and the MUD community is dwindling at best.

My argument against this notion is that 2013 was the best year Armageddon has ever had on record for consistent active players.  We absolutely can get people interested and playing and grow our playerbase.

Yes, there is more competition from other types of games, but I'd argue the pool of people interested in roleplaying games is larger now than it ever was.  The problem we have is that there are many more options open to those interested in those kinds of games.

I would counter argue that this was mostly due to increased visibility to a dwindling population. We can increase this population by drawing new people into the community that may have not known about MUDs before, but are avid Roleplayers or gamers in general. From a retail standpoint, we need to get new customers in the door. We also have a specific clientele. People who are intelligent, imaginative, capable of reading and following documentation, and willing to do so before entering the game.

I think it might behoove us (as Staff and a community) to streamline the process for new players to "get hooked". Call it the intro mission to Skyrim. Perhaps the newbie school should be more interactive? Or we should make it a priority to animate NPCs in the newbie school? It's one of the first chances for interaction with people who are trying our MUD for the first time. Just spitballing here.
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Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #168 on: October 15, 2015, 12:26:06 PM »
While a "Newbie School" in the game makes the hardened "I walked up hill in the snow both ways every day." veteran in me cringe, I think the idea has some merit.

We have an impressive number of people who actually view the game every month in my opinion. We are a MUD and we get a couple hundred folks to come and actually create a new account every month? That impresses me anyways.

If we could start retaining a much larger portion of those players through some means, even a newbie school if need be, I think that would be a game changer (literally).
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Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #169 on: October 15, 2015, 12:32:51 PM »
I also hate to say it but a "Random Character Generator" might not be a horrible idea. Well, it could be an extremely horrible idea, but I'm just throwing it out.

How many people do we get who make an account then see that our character creation process is admittedly a huge lengthy process and they walk away right there?

A ton.

I have personally got people to play the game but ONLY after telling them, "Hey look man, I'll write your first PC for you ok? Then you can just get in and start playing.".

We have had a staffer in the past who only started playing because I did this for them.

We have a few veterans who still play to this day because I did this for them.

Otherwise they looked at the game and said, "I'm not writing all of that shit."....basically.

Basically it would be a program that let them pick their Name, Race, Guild, Subguild, Age, and Stat Priority and then their description and background would be generated for them. (It would admittedly be a combination of very generic details every time, but it gets them into the game and playing.)

They get to do the fun stuff...picking all of the major factors, then the "boring" or "hard" stuff is done for them so they can get in and get a taste of Arm.

Even if the random generator only provided 8 - 10 possibilities for each race and guild combination it would still be something as opposed to nothing.

Would we eventually all "learn" what those combinations were and then "know" this was a fresh-faced nub? Yes. But only the true veterans who stuck around long enough would ever figure that out...and our veterans are great with newbies. I don't think it would hurt anything.  

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Mordiggian

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #170 on: October 15, 2015, 12:44:59 PM »
I think that could help in some cases. Once or twice a month, we get new apps with sdescs like "i just want 2 play". In situations where the newbie has attempted to write a PC (maybe not so successfully) we'll either work with them to fix it, or sometimes just fix it ourselves (sometimes rewriting an entire desc) and approve it.

Narf

  • Posts: 901
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #171 on: October 15, 2015, 01:04:14 PM »

I have personally got people to play the game but ONLY after telling them, "Hey look man, I'll write your first PC for you ok? Then you can just get in and start playing.".



Can verify this anecdote with an identical one of my own.

What's more, after the character in question died they specifically cited "not wanting to spend all that time making a new character" as the reason they never came back.

Alesan

  • Posts: 369
Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #172 on: October 15, 2015, 01:05:59 PM »
I also hate to say it but a "Random Character Generator" might not be a horrible idea. Well, it could be an extremely horrible idea, but I'm just throwing it out.

How many people do we get who make an account then see that our character creation process is admittedly a huge lengthy process and they walk away right there?

A ton.

I have personally got people to play the game but ONLY after telling them, "Hey look man, I'll write your first PC for you ok? Then you can just get in and start playing.".

We have had a staffer in the past who only started playing because I did this for them.

We have a few veterans who still play to this day because I did this for them.

Otherwise they looked at the game and said, "I'm not writing all of that shit."....basically.

Basically it would be a program that let them pick their Name, Race, Guild, Subguild, Age, and Stat Priority and then their description and background would be generated for them. (It would admittedly be a combination of very generic details every time, but it gets them into the game and playing.)

They get to do the fun stuff...picking all of the major factors, then the "boring" or "hard" stuff is done for them so they can get in and get a taste of Arm.

Even if the random generator only provided 8 - 10 possibilities for each race and guild combination it would still be something as opposed to nothing.

Would we eventually all "learn" what those combinations were and then "know" this was a fresh-faced nub? Yes. But only the true veterans who stuck around long enough would ever figure that out...and our veterans are great with newbies. I don't think it would hurt anything.  



I can attest that I'm very reluctant to put a lot of work into a character, especially a character background, on a game I'm not hooked on yet. Nevermind a game I know very little about, am not immersed into, and feels like I'm stepping into pitch dark and expected to know my way around. It's actually stressful. The examples on the website help, but they can only go so far. Having a foot in the door like Desertman describes would go a lot further, even if it does make you veterans groan and shake your canes a little. I don't even think a full "newbie school" would be necessary. Though I can't say it wouldn't help.


I have personally got people to play the game but ONLY after telling them, "Hey look man, I'll write your first PC for you ok? Then you can just get in and start playing.".



Can verify this anecdote with an identical one of my own.

What's more, after the character in question died they specifically cited "not wanting to spend all that time making a new character" as the reason they never came back.

This was almost me. I still have pangs of this every time a character dies. I don't understand how some of you have made hundreds of characters. It's mind boggling to me.

Ath

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #173 on: October 15, 2015, 01:56:19 PM »
How about we empower the Helpers to help new players create a character?  One of the things I liked about SoI when I first started was the ability to talk to a "Mentor" and they would help approve your first character.  Any others after that were approved by staff, but the first character was guided along.

I'm actually not sure if our Helpers are allowed to do that, but it might be something to look into.  I do agree, that first character being created by someone is important, but at the same point it is a great way to deter people we don't want ever even getting into the game.  Sadly a troll CAN do some damage to immersion and game-play if they get in game.  The character generation is a good deterrent for trolls.
Ourla:  You're like the oil paint on the canvas of evil.

Armaddict

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Re: Everything was better before and now it is terrible
« Reply #174 on: October 15, 2015, 01:58:39 PM »
Quote
This was almost me. I still have pangs of this every time a character dies. I don't understand how some of you have made hundreds of characters. It's mind boggling to me.

Character number 108, but really that's 115 or so since I came before accounts.  I have a random character generator in my HEAD at this point, man.


As far as one of the things that I think was better before, with no empirical evidence or consideration of anything in particular:  At one point, we used to have 1-2 'main staffers' for each clan, with a small 'support staff' of junior imms under them.  Sometimes, people ran multiple clans, but it wasn't that often.  Our current system, southern teams and so on...it consolidates the knowledge of what's going on, I think?  This is well and good...but was far more preferable when there were more clans/more active clans in that area.  With the closing of Tuluk, and with the closing of several military wings of clans...I'd like to see a system like this experimented with, for one reason and one reason only.  I think that under said system, staff were more 'gung-ho' about helping their clan.  I think staffers in opposition, where their players were working against each other, came up with plans together for intrigue and conflict.  I feel like they became cheerleaders for their own clan, and wanted projects to help out their clan...whereas under this system, I think petty conflicts are far more draining to a team.  There used to be little staff animations every few weeks, keeping you apprised of things and opportunities, many of them just made out up out nowhere and left as a 'pursue it if you like', essentially translating to a staffer telling you 'I thought this might be a good idea and I'm willing to do it if you are.'

We had a big movement away from staff-run plots, in favor of player-run plots because people thought that would give them the reins.  However, in my experience, those reins are still only given over as long as the horse is wearing very specific blinders in a set, track-like structure...which just leaves a giant void where those consistent staff-run plots used to be.

That is one of my underlying 'I miss this' parts of the game.  To tie this in...I don't really remember a time in the game when you could just -decide- what you wanted to happen, out of the blue, just because, which is what Malken seemed to assert.  I really don't.  It just didn't happen.  But if you came up with a -cool- idea that a staffer thought contributed to the game and they wanted to run...or if a staffer thought up a -cool- idea for their clan, that the player wanted to play...it happened.  Which I'm sure is still the case.  But I find clans...very lacking, at this point.
She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together. --J.D. Salinger