Author Topic: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble  (Read 12499 times)

valeria

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2015, 12:45:55 PM »
So what I'm hearing is... add a section, or at least explore more thoroughly, how to pursue PC plots.

I didn't put that section about time and stagnancy in there to be discouraging, I put it in there to manage expectations.  In my experience, nobles have plenty to do if they get out there and do it.  The discouraging part is how often plots fail.  And they do fail extremely often, and they do take a lot more time than you'd think they should. 

You sort of get an idea of this playing a minion for any noble character, but I learned this hard when I played my first noble and stored within six months.  It's frustrating, but it's not something about the game that can just be changed.  The nature of Armageddon is that your valuable and important minions are going to die, the people your minions are relying on are going to die, other nobles are going to work against you, you are only going to get staff feedback the equivalent of once every half-month or so so anything that involves changing anything is going to take IC years.  Period.  You are going to get discouraged.  It's something you have to recognize and deal with.

Having multiple plots going at once is a way to deal with it.  Setting aside frustrating plots to work on the ones that are working, and then coming back to those plots that didn't work later, is a good way to deal with it.  Having a lot of goals that you are working toward and periodically reviewing those goals for interest and relevance is at least in my experience the best way to combat the discouraging nature of plots failing.

And especially if you go into the game world thinking "oh wouldn't it be cool to make a Tor and bring Tor Scorpions back," you are going to get discouraged.  Tor Scorpions aren't open right now.  They might be open at some point in the future, but if you're basing your whole concept around trying to get staff to change a policy, you are going to get frustrated.  I'm just picking on Tor, but the same thing could be said for the Amber Wyverns, the Oashi Elite, the Fale... okay, maybe not the Fale.  You have to manage your expectations.

If you can't think of plots to pursue or goals that would be appropriate, that's where talking to your storytellers comes in.  Let staff help you paint yourself out of the discouraged corner you've painted yourself into.  Talia just rattled off a whole list of things that a Borsail noble could pursue.  If they aren't appropriate for your character to pursue, maybe look into changing your character.

... anyway, that's sort of a rough draft on that.  I'll look at adding it into the article once it's percolated and condensed itself in my head.

I think there's quite a bit of emphasis on 'Which House Noble X is From'. Honestly, the House is mostly flavor. Nobles get bounced around from House to House via Marriage, via promotion or demotion, and so forth. Making a great Character I think is one of the most important things a player can do. Focusing on which aspects of House Oash are awesome or not, or which parts of Tor are borked or not, will lead to a trial of suffering and pain and tears. Meanwhile, focusing on plots, character development, and politicking, has lead to great success.

It's not black and white and as simple as that, but i've seen better success with Nobles that had great characters, personality, flaws, etc. They're the ones that lasted for a long time without storage.

I think this is kind of covered in the original Vanth article, at least to the extent of making a great character.  I could try to touch on this a bit more in the painting yourself back out of a corner section.  Making tragedy happen to your character can be a great vehicle for change, for instance, or response to IC events.  They can even be IC events that you as a player have set into motion with the deliberate purpose of changing your character.  I'm not really sure I could do a how-to on that, though, because it seems to be different for different players.

Clearsighted

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2015, 12:46:13 PM »
I think it just seems like there's never enough staff support to really keep players in a staff-supported plot occupied.  As mentioned, Fale and Oash are successful clans because they can execute a lot of plots/activities with zero staff support.

Yes. That's exactly it. I don't think it has anything to do with staff not encouraging nobles enough or not animating enough for them. It's merely to do with the potential for self-agency.

valeria

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2015, 12:48:57 PM »
Clearsighted, I think you may have some legitimate points, but this thread is about what players of nobles of existing Houses can do to help themselves stay in the role, not about pursuing sweeping staff changes to noble houses.  I think you may have some legitimate points, I'm just not sure what they have to do with the article?  Maybe you can help me out here and tell me how you think that this can be addressed from a player to player perspective?

Clearsighted

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2015, 12:52:04 PM »
Clearsighted, I think you may have some legitimate points, but this thread is about what players of nobles of existing Houses can do to help themselves stay in the role, not about pursuing sweeping staff changes to noble houses.  I think you may have some legitimate points, I'm just not sure what they have to do with the article?  Maybe you can help me out here and tell me how you think that this can be addressed from a player to player perspective?

I was responding to Talia's question.

Delirium

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2015, 12:55:00 PM »
Quote
Either re-open the Scorpions or close Tor

Yep. Tor without scorpions or at least a couple other Tor/Bastard noble PC instructors is like asking a single PC to do the job of 3 PCs

Simply put Tor cannot draw on the resources it has without having to resort to staff support, and the whole idea is to allow PCs to be able to do things autonomously of staff. So you end up resorting to really weird things like hiring commoners under the table or trying to convince the militia to do stuff for you with mixed results, when that shouldn't even be an issue in the first place because you're SUPPOSED to have Tor Scorpions, but you don't, because staff edict. Plus you need more than one Tor noble at the very least, one for the Academy and one for plotting. Then commoners don't really want to work for you because they want to be in an actual military clan with military training and instead it's this weird psuedo-military clan that discourages sparring (WTF??) for some reason - even though being in Tor should be all about getting that extra training as well as strategy, instruction, etc.

So it gets ridiculously stressful and I have a real problem with people just assuming that nobles who retire did so out of a lack of creativity or staying power.

Maybe they just got burnt the fuck out by unrealistic expectations.

There is a HUGE problem with the way the gameworld is set up when Oash has more resources and can get things done faster because of their gemmed than a regular military mundane clan can, because they don't have mundane military PCs to draw upon. I would really rather ask a PC ranger to go scout instead of asking the local Oashi to get a magicker to scout but when your options are limited what can you do? Mages = almost 0 risk and can immediately have answers, Rangers = have to actually go out there, risk getting caught, etc.

Imma stop myself there because it's really hard not to go into full-blown rant mode.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2015, 12:58:40 PM by Delirium »
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valeria

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2015, 12:56:42 PM »
Right, but I was hoping you might have some ideas on things players can do, because it seems like you've maybe been frustrated by the noble experience before.  Was there anything you did, learned, would have been helpful to know going in?

valeria

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2015, 12:59:53 PM »
So it gets ridiculously stressful and I have a real problem with people just assuming that nobles who retire did so out of a lack of creativity or staying power.

I don't think that's the assumption at all.  A lot of people get burned out on nobles, and fairly quickly (my shortest noble experience was 1.5 months from start to storage, and I don't think I'm uncreative or lack staying power).  Hence why I thought there should be a thread about what you as a player can try to do to combat the burnout that seems to happen to every single noble player and is almost certainly going to happen to you, if you're playing a noble.

Delirium

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2015, 01:01:17 PM »
The problem is, Valeria, there is only so much players can and should be expected to do. The fixes have to come from staff actually understanding what the problems are and implementing a solution which provides actual support and ability for players to act autonomously, rather than just shrugging and saying "It's the players' fault!"

I've sent in constructive feedback with the hopes of discussion before and all I got was a single sentence "hokay, sure" sort of reply.
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Talia

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2015, 01:04:30 PM »
Please tell the players of Oash and Fale nobles for me that they apparently no longer need staff support for their activities! Yes, that was tongue-in-cheek. If you think these players are not requesting and receiving staff support for their plots and activities, you are wrong. In fact, in the past RL month, the majority of the staff support done by the southern clan group was for these two clans. They want to pursue non-coded things or activities that require staff support just as frequently as other player leaders do; that demand is based simply on the individual players in those roles, not on the House itself.

Also I think that you are confusing player longevity with PCs who get things done and stay involved. Those are not the same thing. The fact that some dude/ette has been around a while doesn't necessarily mean they are doing anything. I have not seen any correlation between plot activity level and longevity. There are PCs who live forever and do nothing, PCs who live forever and do all the things, PCs who burn short and bright, PCs who store after two weeks of doing nothing. It runs the gamut.

The problem is, Valeria, there is only so much players can and should be expected to do. The fixes have to come from staff actually understanding what the problems are and implementing a solution which provides actual support and ability for players to act autonomously, rather than just shrugging and saying "It's the players' fault!"

I've sent in constructive feedback with the hopes of discussion before and all I got was a single sentence "hokay, sure" sort of reply.

We didn't agree with your assessment. We understand what you said your problems were, but that doesn't mean they are problems that we consider fixable or problems that we want to fix in the way you want to see them fixed. If you have further issues that you want to try to resolve, you're probably best off actually taking the discussion back to staff in the request tool rather than half-venting them here. Or keep venting here, I guess that's up to you.
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Delirium

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2015, 01:10:04 PM »
Then why not express that to me and discuss things instead of just shutting me down without any indication one way or the other?

You can't expect us to try and communicate if you don't want to communicate back. It's a two way street you guys. Otherwise you just end up alienating and frustrating the people who have actually stress-tested your ideas and have feedback from actual experience by making them wonder why they even took the time to try and communicate in the first place.
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Talia

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2015, 01:15:49 PM »
Then why not express that to me and discuss things instead of just shutting me down without any indication one way or the other?

You can't expect us to try and communicate if you don't want to communicate back. It's a two way street you guys. Otherwise you just end up alienating and frustrating the people who have actually stress-tested your ideas and have feedback from actual experience by making them wonder why they even took the time to try and communicate in the first place.

I really can't respond to you here about your particular issues. If you want to discuss, please take it to the request tool. You can do that as a clan-related question/request if you want to talk to me, or as a staff complaint if you want to talk to a Producer.

Please note that this is not an attempt to shut you down, it's an attempt to move discussion of your issues to the correct place for them to happen. Which isn't the GDB, since we have a staff policy about not discussing players' specific issues on the GDB.

Other than that, my only response about communication is that we do try, sometimes that works out to players' liking, sometimes it doesn't.
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Clearsighted

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2015, 01:21:23 PM »
Please tell the players of Oash and Fale nobles for me that they apparently no longer need staff support for their activities! Yes, that was tongue-in-cheek. If you think these players are not requesting and receiving staff support for their plots and activities, you are wrong. In fact, in the past RL month, the majority of the staff support done by the southern clan group was for these two clans. They want to pursue non-coded things or activities that require staff support just as frequently as other player leaders do; that demand is based simply on the individual players in those roles, not on the House itself.

I don't think that at all. In fact, I'm not surprised in the least. (I am surprised that you thought I was asserting otherwise).

It goes back to what I said before. Having more satisfying short-term plots, interests and potential, is what provides a foundation for people to get involved in and plan for longer-term objectives, and stay interested in their character. All the staff encouragement and animation in the world is merely a drop in the bucket if people can't self-entertain.

A Borsail noble does not get much interaction with slave muls, gladiators, and people dying to be Wyverns, on a nightly basis. They might have interesting long-term plots they can pursue, but things are more shallow on a night to night basis. Playing a Borsail might be more fun, if you had various gladiators competing for your attention or patronage.

Oash is a fully realized House. Its main pursuits can be effectively and easily pursued in game. This keeps people active and engaged, and is what leads to making more requests to staff. Its nobles are actually treated like nobility, because they have such powerful minions, and so many competing for their patronage.

Fale is basically the go-to house for socialite types, which fulfills the same niche that parts of Tuluk once did. I will not touch on Tor.

I'm inclined to believe that the quality of the noble player is roughly equal among Tor, Borsail and Oash, but Oash simply has more to work with. It's also nice to actually be treated like a noble. People tend to fear Oashite mage minions. No one gives a shit about Lord Borsail or Lady Tor.

Delirium

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2015, 01:25:17 PM »
The problem is that the pervasive feeling based on years of communication is that taking the time to try and enunciate my ideas in a clear and thoughtful manner is just going to result in a lot of wasted time because nothing is going to change and staff is going to insist that I'm wrong or that things simply aren't going to change because of x y and z reasons.

It's really hard to want to bother when I know that nothing is actually going to change or be genuinely considered. Why would I spend my time arguing a lost cause?

You've already stated that you disagree with me (which I had already inferred, but was more than was even indicated in that request), and historically, staff has never backed down when I've argued a case that they disagreed with - so why would I take the hours it would take to consider and write up all of my ideas to fix what doesn't seem to be considered a problem?
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BadSkeelz

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2015, 01:27:58 PM »
The problem is, Valeria, there is only so much players can and should be expected to do. The fixes have to come from staff actually understanding what the problems are and implementing a solution which provides actual support and ability for players to act autonomously, rather than just shrugging and saying "It's the players' fault!"

I've sent in constructive feedback with the hopes of discussion before and all I got was a single sentence "hokay, sure" sort of reply.

I would try just ignoring Staff, honestly. If your PC is really rocking the boat the worst they'll do is load in a superior to kill you.
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The7DeadlyVenomz

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #39 on: June 19, 2015, 01:30:08 PM »
I played a Tor noble for around 3 years a while ago. At that time, the Academy worked the way I thought such a place should have, aside from the fact that my noble broke a lot of social mores in order to try to get it to that state. Some of my Scorpions managed to have some neat stories to tell, as well, as we went and did Tor stuff.

The thing I would have changed would have been membership for a Scorpion.  I probably would have focused on filling the ranks with veteran PCS in most cases,  ex Sergeants, ex militia, old Byn leaders, etc.

Some of what I managed to do had to do with staff involvement, but a lot of it had to do with having a team of common ers running around.
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Talia

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2015, 01:31:25 PM »
Delirium: Your choice, up to you. Do whatever you feel.

BadSkeelz: Thanks, super-constructive.

valeria: I do like your idea for this thread. I'm sure you'll come up with something useful for the playerbase.
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Is Friday

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2015, 01:33:38 PM »
I was told in my request after months of trying to work through issues via communication that "usually the best option when someone is unhappy or frustrated with staff as long as you have been, the best option is to store".

I saw the writing on the wall after that.

That's fine I guess, I just won't play a noble again.

BadSkeelz: They sure will do that. They sure will.
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valeria

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2015, 01:39:52 PM »
I think I may add some tips on communicating with staff into the article.  That is clearly a huge part of playing a noble and apparently one of the more frustrating parts. 

I'm going to have to brainstorm about that a bit though.  There would have to be just general effective communication tips, as well as Arm-specific ones, I think.  One of the things I have noticed is that having a request closed when you aren't done discussing an issue feels kind of like having a door slammed in your face, or someone walking away when you're still trying to talk to them.  For me, at least, that's the most frustrating feeling.

Talia

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #43 on: June 19, 2015, 01:58:31 PM »
One of the things I have noticed is that having a request closed when you aren't done discussing an issue feels kind of like having a door slammed in your face, or someone walking away when you're still trying to talk to them.  For me, at least, that's the most frustrating feeling.

Probably this was/is not intentional. Often what happens is that a report hangs open for a couple of days, there's no response from the player, then the staffer closes it up because s/he assumes dialogue is complete. If you don't feel dialogue was complete, there's no reason not to politely open it back up again in another request. No one on staff will be offended by a player doing this, assuming the prior result wasn't something along the lines of, "Discussion on this topic is closed."

We don't psychically know that the player doesn't feel something is resolved if that's not said. Players with extreme frequency will just not respond to staff comments, and so...we close things up. We can't see in the request tool the difference between "player hasn't responded because s/he is busy at work for a few days," or "player hasn't responded because s/he is satisfied." We have a workload that we're churning through and requests will sometimes get closed up when they maybe shouldn't be yet, but that's not personal.

Here is an edit of some advice I recently gave to a player of a noble specifically about communication:

-- Frequency of reports is requested to be once a week. Clan-related question/requests can be sent in for urgent issues between reports. (But please use sparingly.)

-- Watch formatting in reports. Bullet points are helpful; very long paragraphs are not helpful. Liberal use of bold is not good, judicious use of bold is good.

-- Sometimes reports have a lot of detailed information but we can't really tell what the point is. Is it just information? Are we supposed to take action? The new leader format reports have helped with this, but it's something to remain aware of.

-- Distinguishing in reports between IC and OOC character thoughts and actions is very helpful. It's helpful to us especially to know whether frustration is IC or OOC, or both.

-- Using much more think and feel in game is helpful. There are many instances when we are left wondering, "Does the character really believe this? Is this a lie? What is going on here?" Think and feel help staff understand what you're doing.

-- Operating from a baseline belief that "what is happening in game is IC, not OOC" is helpful to your play. Often, situations are  100% created by the PCs involved. It is very frustrating staff-side to get blamed for situations that PCs have created, and tends to result in us spending a lot of time problem-solving and soothing ruffled OOC feathers, which isn't a productive use of our time.

-- Sometimes you may ask to be able to do things that we give you the go-ahead to try doing, and then other players will not be interested. This may frustrate you, and it may be tempting to perceive it as a staff-side issue when it is not. There is nothing we can do to make players participate in things they are not interested in participating in.

-- Sometimes you may ask to do things that would require a large investment of staff time, and when we say no, become frustrated. We do not say no to player initiatives whimsically; we have good reasons for doing so. If we don't have the time to do something, then you need to trust that that is the truth and isn't because we don't want to, or because we aren't working hard enough.

-- Participating in staff-led plots is part of what sponsored roles are expected to do when we run them. If you don't like staff-led plots, then you probably will be frustrated at this requirement, and may want to re-think playing this role or find a way to become comfortable with it. Sponsored roles are not just about getting to do what feels fun or productive to you personally, they are also about cooperating and teaming up with staff to bring forth an outcome for the game.
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Marauder Moe

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2015, 02:00:39 PM »
This could be an entirely separate article, heh.

My thoughts are you really should approach communication with a work-like mentality.  You have to be polite, even if you feel the other side isn't.  Especially if you feel the other side isn't.
*Always start with a salutation ("dear staff", "hello", "hey guys"), always end with a closing ("thank you", "cheers", "-<yourname>").  This helps keep you in a cordial mindset.
*Do not ever reply while angry/upset.  Sleep on it first if at all possible.
*Before making any request, realize that "no" is always a possibility.  Have a plan for dealing with that.
*Never interpret malice while any other possible motives remain.

Talia

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #45 on: June 19, 2015, 02:09:57 PM »
Great advice from Moe.
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valeria

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #46 on: June 19, 2015, 02:11:05 PM »
I get that the door-slam feeling thing is not intentional.  I think it's important to note that just because a request gets closed, does not mean that you can't or shouldn't bring the issue up again if you still have issues.  That is how I would approach it from an advice standpoint.

Talia

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #47 on: June 19, 2015, 02:14:43 PM »
I get that the door-slam feeling thing is not intentional.  I think it's important to note that just because a request gets closed, does not mean that you can't or shouldn't bring the issue up again if you still have issues.  That is how I would approach it from an advice standpoint.

I totally agree.
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BadSkeelz

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #48 on: June 19, 2015, 02:22:58 PM »
BadSkeelz: Thanks, super-constructive.

Talia, my goal is to avoid stuff like this

I was told in my request after months of trying to work through issues via communication that "usually the best option when someone is unhappy or frustrated with staff as long as you have been, the best option is to store".

I saw the writing on the wall after that.

For me, the best plots a player can start are ones that don't require any staff animation at all. If Staff do animate, great, at least I "know" they're doing so because they feel like participating (whether from genuine interest or just because you've reached the point where World Reaction is required). But my (limited) experience suggests that if your plot depends on getting staff approval beforehand and having to run huge requests chains, the difficulty and frustration are going to increase exponentially with no guarantee of increased enjoyment for anyone, PC or staff.

My ideal of player plots are plots that can be enhanced by Staff if Staff so choose. The antithesis are ones whose running (never mind success) depends on staff involvement.

Some of the Borsail ideas you mentioned sound like great candidates for minimal animation. Others, not so much.

Quote
-- Acquire and develop a new non-military-operation source of slaves - Can't think of any sources that are currently in the game world that you could just ride out and get, so this would take planning.
-- Plan and hold a profitable slave auction - No PC slaves so would have to work out a rolecall or get NPCs spawned in.
-- Breed a new type or race of mount and sell it to the templarate or public at a profit - Problematic if the client actually wants to see a new war slave (N)PC
-- Loaning/renting/selling slaves at a discounted price for a time period in exchange for profits or interest in another House's project - See above

These all sound like they'd need animation, so I wouldn't even consider starting them unless Staff gave marching orders to that effect. I'd rather respond to Staff orders than request things of your time.

When I suggested to Delirium that she could try ignoring Staff, I was speaking mostly in terms of Tor not being allowed to have Scorpions. She alluded to one potential solution in her post: hiring commoner partisans who are equipped and trained much like, but are totally not called, Scorpions. Her not wanting to use that path towards getting Tor a mundane paramilitary capacity is her prerogative, but I would have supported her if she chosen otherwise.

So my advice to leaders (noble or otherwise) would be to think smaller and aim for objectives that are obtainable in the current gameworld. It'll let all of us build up a network of developed characters with histories and skills and personalities that we can then sacrifice in grandiose fashion to the next big Staff Plot.
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Talia

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Re: Article on Not Storing Your Kickass Noble
« Reply #49 on: June 19, 2015, 02:37:06 PM »
These all sound like they'd need animation, so I wouldn't even consider starting them unless Staff gave marching orders to that effect. I'd rather respond to Staff orders than request things of your time.

To reiterate, these are effectively pre-approved player-driven plots. Staff has already said "we will support you in running these plots" by virtue of posting these as examples in the player-side documentation. It's not our general policy to order players to pursue plots; we can encourage and invite, but marching orders nearly never happen. We will only give orders if there is something that must be done in order to maintain the integrity of the game world; and even then, we give them sparingly.

So if you're waiting around for orders, you are going to just be waiting, mostly.

Having played leadership quite a bit myself, and involved in staff-led plots as well as stuff I drove and stuff other players drove, I get it that it can seem daunting to request staff time. And frustrating when you really want to do something and it seems like staff support is not going to be provided. But player-driven plots are a priority for us; we want to support the things that players want to do, especially if they are things that are going to involve other clans and other players. In my clan group, there are no arbitrary NOs; there are discussions between players and staff about what to pursue and how to do that; there are discussions about how much staff time is currently available and what we can realistically schedule. There's a back and forth. I see this happening in other clan groups too.

When I suggested to Delirium that she could try ignoring Staff, I was speaking mostly in terms of Tor not being allowed to have Scorpions. She alluded to one potential solution in her post: hiring commoner partisans who are equipped and trained much like, but are totally not called, Scorpions. Her not wanting to use that path towards getting Tor a mundane paramilitary capacity is her prerogative, but I would have supported her if she chosen otherwise.

Tor has the option to hire per noble the same number of commoners (two) to do "whatever" that every other noble clan does. If a Tor noble wants to play soldier with those commoners, while realizing OOCly and ICly that this does not mean that the Tor Scorpions are open for play, I guess that's OK. That's not something that has been requested or done.
Character: "I've been working on building a new barracks for some tim-"
NPC: "Yeah, that fell through, sucks but YOUR HOUSE IS ON FIREEE!! FIRE-KANKS!!