Author Topic: The Massive Conflict Thread  (Read 8001 times)

Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2016, 01:53:51 AM »
So, I'm curious:

Do we or do we not want staff interfering? There's never any consensus on this and the opinion sways from one end of the pendulum to the other so drastically that it's hard to keep up... especially when the only board I ever frequent with regularity is OOC.

Staff control the virtual world. If the general setting is feeling slow or without opportunities, they can make things happen in the world to give PCs something to respond to. This isn't saying that staff should control all plots, but they can provide an event, a seed, that players can react to and take off with.

Basically, this is a way to let players run the show, but also have staff enabling them by providing a starting point. Some PCs can come up with all their own conflict and don't need things in the world happening. For others, this can be extremely useful, especially if they're unsure of what to focus on next. It makes the world more vibrant and alive.


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Isn't this is the point of having leaders in clans? To create plots? I thought that's why those roles had staff to support them and for staff to possibly run their own plots, which lately has been based off of PC in/action. (Like with the recent ball of fire in the sky and other things I've seen on a clan level.)

I don't know why these solutions in the original post are aimed only at staff. Isn't it kinda... leaders' jobs, too?

Yes, absolutely conflict and plots are also something that leaders should be involved in and also initiating. I would never argue against that; it would go against what Armageddon is.

That said, the world is set up a certain way. Ideally, the very way that the world is set up should be assisting in conflict, and generating opportunities for leaders. There should be things to compete over and things for gain. To some extent, there are.

However, this thread is looking at how to make that better. Specifically, by looking at the overall structure of how the game is actually composed, in terms of basic clan strengths, weaknesses, and conflict basis (dislikes of others). Because this is how the world itself is actually constructed, the suggestions are aimed at those who can change the overall picture. In other words, staff.

I want to better empower leaders to have conflict by taking a look at how we can make the very organizations they serve more competitive and conflict-prone.

As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2016, 01:54:55 AM »
That isn't to blame any of this on Staff -- I was against this 'survey' from the beginning, and I think it has skewed metrics to serve a opinion piece, as proven by Taven's few posts following the survey results. I think there is minor and major conflict abound, it's just a matter of finding it and stoking the flames.


I have a challenge for you:

Instead of passive-aggressively complaining about me indirectly to another player in my own thread, have some respect for me. Tell me your opinions directly. Take a look at how I've said I think we can improve the questions for more accurate data, and tell me your suggestions. It's through feedback and working together that we make everything stronger--Be it a survey about the game, or the game itself.



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Raptor_Dan

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2016, 06:39:08 AM »
Every bit of what you've said is very insightful, and I couldn't agree more. So much so, that I don't feel I can even add to more than a a topic or two, other than saying, once again, I agree. The path of least resistance in the system that's set up is cooperation, and most conflict, not all, is artificially drummed up. Any clan that is in conflict with Allanak has little chance of survival, and I think that's a key factor that needs to addressed in regards to conflict plots: Suspension of disbelief.

If anyone is going to play the antagonist to Allanak's protagonist, or more realistically, any individual clan based in Allanak, there's needs to be a perceived modicum of success. If your PC has above average wisdom, that perception just isn't going to be there, imho.
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Reiloth

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #28 on: December 06, 2016, 12:13:46 PM »
That isn't to blame any of this on Staff -- I was against this 'survey' from the beginning, and I think it has skewed metrics to serve a opinion piece, as proven by Taven's few posts following the survey results. I think there is minor and major conflict abound, it's just a matter of finding it and stoking the flames.


I have a challenge for you:

Instead of passive-aggressively complaining about me indirectly to another player in my own thread, have some respect for me. Tell me your opinions directly. Take a look at how I've said I think we can improve the questions for more accurate data, and tell me your suggestions. It's through feedback and working together that we make everything stronger--Be it a survey about the game, or the game itself.


It's honestly a lot of opinion to read.

My general feelings are: Conflict scale needs to be reduced. I think this is systemic with having a large city-state in which only a few aspects are played by PCs, and strata above them is occupied exclusively by NPCs/vNPCs. As the latter bit is in the realm of Staff, it can often feel like Leader PCs butt heads with Staff, not NPCs, and it just gets murky. Everyone tries to be as linear and copacetic as possible, but the heirarchy is basically:

Leader PC < Staff NPC above Leader PC < Staff NPC above that NPC, and so on.

Rather than raising the glass ceiling, i'd rather the game in general have a lower glass ceiling. I'd be a major proponent for smaller-scale outposts and villages rather than the bureaucratic complexity of a city-state. While I loved the complexity of Tuluk, and in part I like the complexity of Allanaki politics, it also seems at odds with the theme of the world most of the time. It's often difficult to find that gritty harsh world I first was exposed to when I began playing ArmageddonMUD.

It does feel like minor conflict gets squished out as quickly as possible, which in turn makes it seem that major conflict will either be fabricated by Staff, or fabricated by Leader PCs with a modicum of control and room for nemesis.

As I don't see Allanak disappearing anytime soon, and I don't imagine the game will suddenly shift to smaller Outposts and Villages, we have what we have. I don't think your suggestions are bad, I think they are astute. However I feel like the onus continually rests on Staff rather than Players, and I find that many PCs I interact with are either unwilling to take a chance on a new plot thread, or are content just being dramatic relationship-heavy PCs focused on very mundane, day-to-day soap opera plots. Obviously there can be IC reasons for this, but when we complain of stagnation, I feel the onus is on us as players to drive forward a sort of momentum. If we don't, how can we expect Staff to do it for us?

Your examples for Noble House conflict sounds good on paper, but having seen it play out in game, it tends to be a very 'top heavy' sort of conflict. It takes place in the request tool, and you don't typically see a lot of that conflict on the ground level. So to expand on your idea (Say of the plot of land):

The plot of land is in the Desert. The Templarate grants holdings of the land to both Borsail and Oash. It also leaves them to their own devices to figure out who keeps the land, or if the land will remain split, by any means necessary. This opens up the ability to politic (For the Nobles). It also opens up the possibility of combat encounters, declaring part of the land 'No Man's Land' for either side. (Hiring the Byn to patrol the land, both sides hire different units). This creates a pseudo 'Copper War' sort of engagement, where sides may have to get approval from Staff before going across enemy lines, but allows for bloody conflict as well as bloody politics.

I would just rather see unilateral plots that involve the Plebs and the Highborn, rather than it being one or the other as I often see. High-end Politics really only affect the players of that game, and the trickle is felt by the lower-downs. But I can think of nothing more boring than a Senate meeting, for example. It's a bunch of NPCs talking with a bunch of PCs in a closed environment, where 'big change' happens.

Anyways, I can go point by point later when I get home, if you prefer, Taven.
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TheWanderer

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #29 on: December 06, 2016, 02:25:25 PM »
Oh, oh! Let's just blow everything up. A single surviving House (I choose Borsail) will run the ruins of Allanak, its players being mostly in charge. The Patriarch/Matriarch is selected by vote every 6 months and players vie for the top spot. Populations are greatly diminished and this House runs whatever it can with its few remaining resources - a hefty swath of Allanak's ruins being lawless. They'll have to actively work to enforce their will. They'll handle finances, securing supplies, and so on. Right now, it's all too top heavy and PCs feel utterly... uh, stuck by demi-gods and literal gods permeating every facet of the upper tier.

There's no such thing as gemmed in the new world and the few military holdings under Borsail control are actively sent to investigate and hunt magickers throughout the Known. They're a danger to everyone and will destroy what little is left.

By and large, the game would then center around outposts, PC groups, et cetera, and actually give meaning to mundane actions. Whereas right now, they're mostly pointless. A little like real life. If I orchestrated the destruction of a shipment of food, there could be an actual impact on the powers that be.

You wouldn't even have to change the post-apocalyptic landscape too much. Do an open call for description submissions from players to adjust sections of Allanak, erase Tuluk, and maybe cream some of Kurac's power. Voila.

Mmm. These are just dreamy ramblings about reduction, though. What were we talking about again?
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SuchDragonWow

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #30 on: December 06, 2016, 04:09:01 PM »
For there to be massive conflict, you have to rule out the exclusivity of the plots that are feeding the conflict.  It's alright to have secret-y side plots, but the driving theme should be known to all, and you shouldn't have to attend a special secret RPT at this chosen time, or be part of the in-group that knows what's up, it should be known to everyone, and have far reaching participation.  I'd be impressed if we ever had a large scale conflict that drew in every single player on Arm.  I feel at times, we've been very close.
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Akaramu

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #31 on: December 06, 2016, 04:33:24 PM »
I'd be impressed if we ever had a large scale conflict that drew in every single player on Arm.  I feel at times, we've been very close.

I still like my idea of a massive demon invasion.  ;D

Riev

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2016, 06:46:22 PM »
I'm still for something happening with Tek's little... ah... sabbaticals wherein he leaves a pair of Black Robes in charge, who become rather contentious of the other one's plans. Allanak becomes a split city, with REAL West side vs East side troubles. Each side has its own view of how the city should be run, and the internal struggle that results leaves it in a more weakened state. It's an arc that could last a while, and is "easily deus ex Tektolnes" when he returns to find shit so disorganized that he vaporizes the two blacks, raises someone from the City Ministry and puts them in charge of bringing things together.

During this time, the Bagheads gather, and while Allanak seeks to put itself back together, the Thirteen Tribes of the Gol Krathu seek to destroy their enemy once and for all.
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Dunetrade55

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2016, 06:46:48 PM »
SuchDragonWow, I really do not find your conflict compelling. How can we get this shit on?
I'm asking for evidence, not telling you all to fuck off.

No, I'm telling you to fuck off, now, because you're being a little bitch.

SuchDragonWow

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2016, 07:00:04 PM »
SuchDragonWow, I really do not find your conflict compelling. How can we get this shit on?

I'm not sure what you're asking.
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nauta

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2016, 07:07:07 PM »

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o Rogue gickers.  Yes.  But really staff should be providing more succor to bad guys (bad guy clan 2017). 

o Trade Route Dangers.  Yes.  But again, bad guy clan 2017.

I got into this a little in my Plot Thread, but one of the issues with "bad guy clans" is that it's... Very black and white interaction.

The goal of everyone else is to kill you. Once they kill you, they win. It doesn't take long for clans to team up and accomplish this. A raider clan would almost certainly face Kurac, AoD, and the Byn right off the bat, and be stomped swiftly and efficiently out of existence.

Allanak is all-powerful. I don't just mean militarily, I mean economically. All of the GMH are dependent on Allanak for trade. Storm (as a location) is dependent on Allanak for trade, certainly the Dust Runners are. The 'Rinth is a little uppity with their crime organization, but ultimately they rely on Allanak for trade as well. It is the nobles paying them protection money and hiring them to kill each other that is enabling them.

"Ahh, but Taven!" You might say. "What about the Pah? The Pah is not dependent on Allanak economically!". This is true. And those elves can also get pretty uppity. But they don't have the martial strength to seriously challenge Allanak. In terms of economics, they do have trade interests in Luirs, and again... Kurac is dependent on Allanak economically (even if they like to pretend they're not).

This used to be balanced out a little by Tuluk. It was an alternative city-state that also was a source of trade for GMH (and possibly still is). However, with the craziness going on inside, it's hard to say how much trade there really is. Staff does not actually know the answer to this question, as Tuluk is actually a giant vague undecided.

Anyways, my point is that a raider clan or Conflict Oriented Group has some pretty large hurtles to overcome.

Well, here are some points in defense of a straight-up black-and-white raider clan:

o Combat in Armageddon tips towards the defender.  It is very easy to get away.  Hence, most of the conflict that will result from a raider clan will be brief encounters that get the heart thumping in the sands.  Unless the opponent or the raider are crazy enough to stand their ground, it'll be a quick skirmish that'll generate a lot of interesting plots.   (Assuming no poisons are involved, or magick, or muls/giants/delves involved.)

o I do think interesting plots will result.  As I said elsewhere, death generates a lot of plots.  Even pits do.  I remember on my first few characters being in love with the idea of Borsail gladiators.  There were, I think, two of them at the time (early 2014), and they were so flavorful.  Then I heard they fell in a hole and died to gith.  It really created the impression of a dangerous world, even though what likely happened was a typo off the shield wall.

o Raiders should expect short lives, but the clan should expect this too.  It's a nice palette cleansing character between regulars.

o Raiders can also engage in diplomacy -- Kurac might harbor them, for instance.

o Ultimately, I wouldn't want raiding plots to replace other forms of more nuanced conflict.  But I do think raiding plots can bring the world to life -- make trade routes dangerous, Byn missions dangerous, motivate patrols from Kurac and AoD.

o My model here is Hawk, a mul raider who loomed large in legend when I first started playing.  I have no idea how Hawk played out in the game -- I just got the reports and rumors: from the legend that a Templar had his blade up north, to his double death, on down to his attack on some Bynners in the sands.

o Sure, you can roll up a raider.  But a clan -- with all its benefits, including a hideout -- would make such characters more regular occurrences.

That said, there'd be a lot of restrictions.  I think people rightly get upset at desert elf conflict, and I wouldn't want the clan to be desert elf.  They're too good.  Probably no dwarves or giants or gicks either: just straight up human-a-human.
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Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2016, 07:50:00 PM »
It's honestly a lot of opinion to read.

I think clearly accusing me of intentionally skewing my efforts and using them to support my own opinions is a hard thing to wave away as "a lot of opinion to read". Certainly you seem to have a very assertive opinion about it. I would still encourage you to evaluate and comment on my data collection, which I readily admit could be improved. But please comment in the appropriate thread where I actually use that data.


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My general feelings are: Conflict scale needs to be reduced. I think this is systemic with having a large city-state in which only a few aspects are played by PCs, and strata above them is occupied exclusively by NPCs/vNPCs. As the latter bit is in the realm of Staff, it can often feel like Leader PCs butt heads with Staff, not NPCs, and it just gets murky. Everyone tries to be as linear and copacetic as possible, but the heirarchy is basically:

Leader PC < Staff NPC above Leader PC < Staff NPC above that NPC, and so on.

The power arrangements in Allanak are extremely top-heavy and geared towards NPCs. This is part of the reason why I think taking the whole city's power level down wouldn't be a bad thing for players. With less top-heaviness and less power in the hands of NPCs, it would give more power and more responsibility to PCs. It would provide more room for upwards mobility. I think that could be a really good thing.


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Rather than raising the glass ceiling, i'd rather the game in general have a lower glass ceiling. I'd be a major proponent for smaller-scale outposts and villages rather than the bureaucratic complexity of a city-state. While I loved the complexity of Tuluk, and in part I like the complexity of Allanaki politics, it also seems at odds with the theme of the world most of the time. It's often difficult to find that gritty harsh world I first was exposed to when I began playing ArmageddonMUD.

Honestly, I'm glad we don't have lots of small-scale villages. It sounds like Red Storm x20. Storm is very harsh and gritty, but it's also very empty. There's not a lot to do there and there's limited opportunities. One of the great things about a larger city is that there are a lot of different opportunities, and different groups all in one space. In theory, this helps to creat conflict.

However, I also think we're too squished together right now. I think that having only/mainly internal conflict as an option is making things too stifeling. There was a lot more conflict and plot going on before Tuluk closed, even though the playerbase was more spread out.


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It does feel like minor conflict gets squished out as quickly as possible, which in turn makes it seem that major conflict will either be fabricated by Staff, or fabricated by Leader PCs with a modicum of control and room for nemesis.

Yes, it does feel like most conflict is immediately and aggressively killed. There's an overwhelming idea in the playerbase that if you kill off all the PCs in a given clan, the threat will go away. This may not be true, virtually speaking, but it does lead to a very powerful set of old PCs who can repeatedly kill off any new PCs who dare cross them.

I think the solution is something similar to what you suggest. Essentially, you could have two leaders who were set up with the intention of making scaling conflict. People who weren't afraid to go at each other, but also tried for outdoing or sabotoge instead of straight out death. In other words, Allanak needs its own version of Raleris and Dragean.


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As I don't see Allanak disappearing anytime soon, and I don't imagine the game will suddenly shift to smaller Outposts and Villages, we have what we have. I don't think your suggestions are bad, I think they are astute. However I feel like the onus continually rests on Staff rather than Players, and I find that many PCs I interact with are either unwilling to take a chance on a new plot thread, or are content just being dramatic relationship-heavy PCs focused on very mundane, day-to-day soap opera plots. Obviously there can be IC reasons for this, but when we complain of stagnation, I feel the onus is on us as players to drive forward a sort of momentum. If we don't, how can we expect Staff to do it for us?

Well, there's a few reasons why I think larger-scale or more complex plots with PCs are exceedingly difficult:

1. Plots can easily be halted by staff/NPCs (sometimes it can be hard to tell if it's an obstacle or a "NO")
2. Plots can easily be halted by other players (perhaps they are too busy with their own relationship dramas)
3. Plots can easily be halted by a lack of dependable minions (you have to wait for the right people to be able to do it)

If there are leader PCs who are pursuing no plots and not involving minions, what is to be done? Many underling PCs are not willing to assassinate their superiors, due to clan loyalty. I have said it before, but I will say it again: It is oftentimes better not to attempt plots at all, because plots require risk, effort, and have a high chance of failure. Doing nothing means you can outlive everyone and watch your enemies fail.

This needs to change. There need to be more rewards for pursuing plots and conflict. There needs to be more downside to doing nothing. How do we change this? Staff control the NPC leadership of clans. They can encourage appropriately. Staff also control many of the events in the world, which can lead them to introduce more rewarding conflict. Staff decide when PCs get promoted to the next level, and how a House thinks a PC is doing.

Basically, what we need is more opportunities and encouragement for PCs to pursue plots. If we make conflict something that is desirable and something to be gained from, if we have situations where the reward is worth the risk, then we may see more players taking chances.


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Your examples for Noble House conflict sounds good on paper, but having seen it play out in game, it tends to be a very 'top heavy' sort of conflict. It takes place in the request tool, and you don't typically see a lot of that conflict on the ground level. So to expand on your idea (Say of the plot of land):

The plot of land is in the Desert. The Templarate grants holdings of the land to both Borsail and Oash. It also leaves them to their own devices to figure out who keeps the land, or if the land will remain split, by any means necessary. This opens up the ability to politic (For the Nobles). It also opens up the possibility of combat encounters, declaring part of the land 'No Man's Land' for either side. (Hiring the Byn to patrol the land, both sides hire different units). This creates a pseudo 'Copper War' sort of engagement, where sides may have to get approval from Staff before going across enemy lines, but allows for bloody conflict as well as bloody politics.

I'm not really seeing the drawback to any of this.


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I would just rather see unilateral plots that involve the Plebs and the Highborn, rather than it being one or the other as I often see. High-end Politics really only affect the players of that game, and the trickle is felt by the lower-downs. But I can think of nothing more boring than a Senate meeting, for example. It's a bunch of NPCs talking with a bunch of PCs in a closed environment, where 'big change' happens.

Well, we obviously differ a lot, because I think Senate meetings sound fascinating. You have all of the political manuvering ahead of time from the PCs to try and make sure that they push their side through. You have the possibility, as a House or GMH affilitated commoner, of being in attendance. If staff wanted to, they could even allow for crazy things such as PCs making speeches to try and sway either side from the senate floor itself! That sounds wonderful to me.

Sure, there's no combat-related conflict in that portion of a senate plot... That doesn't mean it couldn't come later. Of course, not all conflict needs combat, either. Some people just love political and economic plots.


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Anyways, I can go point by point later when I get home, if you prefer, Taven.

I am always happy to evaluate and address any thoughtful points people bring to the table.

As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2016, 08:00:48 PM »
Every bit of what you've said is very insightful, and I couldn't agree more. So much so, that I don't feel I can even add to more than a a topic or two, other than saying, once again, I agree.

I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!  :)


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The path of least resistance in the system that's set up is cooperation, and most conflict, not all, is artificially drummed up.

Any clan that is in conflict with Allanak has little chance of survival, and I think that's a key factor that needs to addressed in regards to conflict plots: Suspension of disbelief.

If anyone is going to play the antagonist to Allanak's protagonist, or more realistically, any individual clan based in Allanak, there's needs to be a perceived modicum of success. If your PC has above average wisdom, that perception just isn't going to be there, imho.

There's an overwhelming OOC knowledge that as the main city, Allanak is too big to fail and the last remaining large PC population center. In that regard, I agree that a suspension of disbelief is definitely required.

But that's not the only answer. There have been opportunities in the past when we saw massive virtual unrest against the city, riots on the street, commoners burning things down. If PCs had wanted to, they could have tried to take advantage and been a part of that, working to try and overthrow the city-state.

The problem is, nobody really wants to play the doomed rebel in the sorcerer-dominated city-state. People would rather play the loyalist and Allanaki die-hard. They want to be on the winning side.

So part of the answer perhaps lies not in the suspension of disbelief, but also in the willingness to make a PC with goals that would seem to many to be utterly insane. To play someone who wants to do what we see OOCly as impossible. Only by trying can there ever be any success.

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Patuk

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2016, 08:07:56 PM »
Allanak needs its own version of Raleris and Dragean.

It won't do us any good. It won't do us any good. It won't do us any good.

No, really.

The difference looks something like this:

You know what it takes to be an effective noble? Be chosen by staff and let into the game. From there on out, you can at once spend your time pursuing your wishes, bribing, scheming, funding operations, doing whatever you want. Effectively speaking, you're at full potency from level one on out.

And what it takes to kill our noble? Lots. Some very strong PC's who can distract/kill his bodyguard as well as the noble himself. The money to hire those people willing to do that. Some way of catching your noble off-guard and not in a safe place, which for a noble includes most of the city. Contacts to make sure his death doesn't cost you your head.

That's what it takes for a noble. Let's look at what it takes for the noble's heavies now.

What it takes to be an effective heavy? It depends. If you're a pickpocket, you can expect to have mastered steal in about a hundred hours of your real life time. For your stealth skills to develop fully, you can look at easily five times that, given the way your branchings work. Burglars have it a little easier, but assassins need a way to train up backstab, which is a silly skill and requires much time also. I've neglected all mention of weapon skills for these guilds, which are infamously hard to train and won't reach master, ever, unless you go well out of your way to do so. Even so, the thing where you're fully capable of doing your own thing the moment you come out of chargen just doesn't apply.

What it takes to get rid of the heavy? It really depends on what you're trying to do, and who you are. If you're a rival noble? Pocket change and a friendly favor from a templar. If not? Some more money still and a favor owed. The noble's heavies do not have personal bodyguards. The noble's heavies can be arrested, will go into unsafe areas, have less status, are far more likely to face trouble. If any of them ever rents an apartment and uses it, they can be killed in there anyday.

So, really, you can have all the awesome nobles you want. You can have the most excellent cadre of roleplayers with the most interesting ideas you'll ever read about.. But as long as playing a noble's pawn takes several times over more time than playing the actual guy in charge does, Armageddon can't and won't stop being top heavy.
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BadSkeelz

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2016, 08:11:39 PM »
I say get rid of PC-nobles entirely, and have the plots they currently generate instead be allowed to come from hired Aides.. Aides would need to get these plot ideas approved by their Noble employer (i.e. staff, so functionally the same as what we have to deal with now).

The con of course is some staffer would have to occasionally sit in a noble NPC and hire someone to act as their hands, eyes, and brain.

The pro is that hired PCs are more readily disposable if they prove unproductive.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 08:13:22 PM by BadSkeelz »
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Harmless

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #40 on: December 06, 2016, 08:22:31 PM »
Just chiming in after Patuk's post to point out that all the things I had mentioned about why dying is a discouraging factor for making conflict is really a core issue here. As Patuk describes, it takes hundreds of hours to build up any PC capable of meaningful antagonism, and not much work at all to kill them off. Therefore conflict avoidance is the best way to survive and continue to RP your concept. See my original post if interested in some ways we can mitigate the fear of death and promote conflict in the face of heavy losses.
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Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2016, 08:24:19 PM »
Well, here are some points in defense of a straight-up black-and-white raider clan:

o Combat in Armageddon tips towards the defender.  It is very easy to get away.  Hence, most of the conflict that will result from a raider clan will be brief encounters that get the heart thumping in the sands.  Unless the opponent or the raider are crazy enough to stand their ground, it'll be a quick skirmish that'll generate a lot of interesting plots.   (Assuming no poisons are involved, or magick, or muls/giants/delves involved.)

Until the attackers use the track skill to trail them back to their lair and kill them all.

D-elves are generally immune to this because their hideouts are hard to get to and they have enough NPCs to offset it, which you could argue could apply to a raider tribe... But I think that ultimately, this would only lead to AoD/Byn/Kurac making a large, massive group and then tackling completely wiping out the hideout. It would probably be a single RPT. (Yes, I am horribly pessimistic when it comes to this sort of a thing)


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o I do think interesting plots will result.  As I said elsewhere, death generates a lot of plots.  Even pits do.  I remember on my first few characters being in love with the idea of Borsail gladiators.  There were, I think, two of them at the time (early 2014), and they were so flavorful.  Then I heard they fell in a hole and died to gith.  It really created the impression of a dangerous world, even though what likely happened was a typo off the shield wall.

Sometimes death can generate plots, sure. I am not sure the deaths of raiders will generate plots (other then the initial plot that was used to kill them). Certainly raiders could help create an impression of how dangerous the world is, and could lead to more people getting hired (Byn/Kurac/whatever), but my concern is that it may not be viable to keep up, long-term. If raiders kill people, that could generate plots against the raiders, but only until they are all wiped out.


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o Raiders should expect short lives, but the clan should expect this too.  It's a nice palette cleansing character between regulars.

I think this could actually be a solid argument. I remember back in the day when you could store your regular PC to play gladiators at the big events, and then go back to your PC when the event was over. While I wouldn't recommend that approach for a raider clan because of potential conflicts of interest, I do agree that it might be nice to play a "flavor character" between roles. Just something completely different, a throw-away that could cause some excitement for others.


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o Raiders can also engage in diplomacy -- Kurac might harbor them, for instance.

They might have their work cut out for them, but I think that there could be some wheeling and dealing that could occur if people looked for it--Be it with Kurac, or someone else.


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o Ultimately, I wouldn't want raiding plots to replace other forms of more nuanced conflict.  But I do think raiding plots can bring the world to life -- make trade routes dangerous, Byn missions dangerous, motivate patrols from Kurac and AoD.

I think you'd need a really responsible group of PCs (on the part of the raiders) to make for good, solid conflict. I also think it would need to be well thought-through if it was to be something that was to be a lingering source of conflict (as I previously mentioned my pessimistic misgivings). I do agree that it could make the world seem more dangerous and give the combat clans more to do, however, which would be a good thing.


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o My model here is Hawk, a mul raider who loomed large in legend when I first started playing.  I have no idea how Hawk played out in the game -- I just got the reports and rumors: from the legend that a Templar had his blade up north, to his double death, on down to his attack on some Bynners in the sands.

o Sure, you can roll up a raider.  But a clan -- with all its benefits, including a hideout -- would make such characters more regular occurrences.

This is sort of crazy, but going off of Hawk... Is there anything actually stopping anyone from making a silt crew/raider clan MMH based out of Storm? That would obviously require a lot of IC build up (which a staff-condoned clan would not), but is it actually a currently viable option?


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That said, there'd be a lot of restrictions.  I think people rightly get upset at desert elf conflict, and I wouldn't want the clan to be desert elf.  They're too good.  Probably no dwarves or giants or gicks either: just straight up human-a-human.

I think half-giant raiders could be fine if done properly. I remember stories of one half-giant raider who would stop people and demand like... 20 sid or something like that. Or he'd demand more and wouldn't be able to count it. I suppose he was on his own, though, and having a human behind a half-giant makes them a lot more dangerous.

What are your thoughts as to how a raider clan could ever possibly compete with long-lived skill-maxxed PCs like those who inhabit clans like Kurac?

As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Patuk

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2016, 08:30:45 PM »
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But I think that ultimately, this would only lead to AoD/Byn/Kurac making a large, massive group and then tackling completely wiping out the hideout.

This isn't even without precedent; a few such RPT's happened right in 2014, as the 'rinth rumor board actually noted until some months ago.
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Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #43 on: December 06, 2016, 08:40:39 PM »
You know what it takes to be an effective noble? Be chosen by staff and let into the game. From there on out, you can at once spend your time pursuing your wishes, bribing, scheming, funding operations, doing whatever you want. Effectively speaking, you're at full potency from level one on out.

Actually, you're not at full potency right away. Why? Because you're just some random guy with a title. You have no minions yet. You have no positive relations yet. You have a House name, a lot of coin, and some goals. What you don't yet have is the way to realize those goals. Let's not underestimate the amount of work it takes to actually build connections that allow you to accomplish things.


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What it takes to be an effective heavy? It depends. If you're a pickpocket, you can expect to have mastered steal in about a hundred hours of your real life time. For your stealth skills to develop fully, you can look at easily five times that, given the way your branchings work. Burglars have it a little easier, but assassins need a way to train up backstab, which is a silly skill and requires much time also. I've neglected all mention of weapon skills for these guilds, which are infamously hard to train and won't reach master, ever, unless you go well out of your way to do so. Even so, the thing where you're fully capable of doing your own thing the moment you come out of chargen just doesn't apply.

You're comparing coded skills to IC influence and connections. These things are completely different.

I've seen assassins who had coded worked on their skills and were good at what they could do... But they had nobody who was trying to utilize them. They had nobody who was working with them on plots. They wanted to be a bad-ass minion, but there were just no leaders who tried to take advantage of them. It was pretty sad.

I've also seen assassins who took the time to skill up and managed to link up with a leader player who needed them and utilized their skills. Assassins who were able to make the IC influence connections they needed to actually take their coded use and put it to RP/Plot use. Now those guys, they're the scary ones.


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So, really, you can have all the awesome nobles you want. You can have the most excellent cadre of roleplayers with the most interesting ideas you'll ever read about.. But as long as playing a noble's pawn takes several times over more time than playing the actual guy in charge does, Armageddon can't and won't stop being top heavy.

Nobles exist to facilitate plots. They exist to find and use minions to their advantage. Finding minions is a pain in the ass for nobles, especially good and reliable ones. Nobles can't accomplish a lot of what they want to do directly, that's why they need minions. And more, they need to be able to keep minions thoroughly entertained while they collect them. This is pretty difficult.

Yes, getting skill competency in Armageddon is difficult. More skilled people better enable plots. I don't think somehow blaming nobles as the root of all evil is the answer, however.

I also think you missed the point of my post, which was to say that Raleris and Dragean had long-term, escalating conflict that didn't end in the assassination of either one (though they may have been tempted). It was a conflict that wasn't immediately squashed out, but rather was kept at a steady, burning hate over years. I think we could use more nobles who actively hate each other, put but that hateful energy into plots against each other... And let's be clear, this was no subtle behind the scenes hate. This was an open hate in the forefront, which commoner PCs could choose sides on or try to manipulate.
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nauta

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2016, 08:52:24 PM »
What are your thoughts as to how a raider clan could ever possibly compete with long-lived skill-maxxed PCs like those who inhabit clans like Kurac?

o Give them a hideout in a place in the known other groups aren't supposed to go to, for lore reasons.  The Canyons of Waste, the Canyons in the Tablelands.  If no lore reason exists, make one up.  But in short, put their hideout somewhere secure so AoD or Kurac couldn't just go there on a whim (nor could they hire a war party of Soh to clear them out either).

o Simply make others unable to enter the hideout.  The hideout would be: a long twisting multi-branching canyon.  Only those in the clan can enter / exit.  Plots wouldn't involve wiping the hideout out, but the conflict from the raids.

o Finally, the raider would entertain the AoD and the Kurac by raiding people around them -- the lumberjack on the north road, the grebbers in the salts, etc.

The 'track' thing is an important problem.  Gicks are the other big problem.
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Patuk

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2016, 08:54:50 PM »
Actually, you're not at full potency right away. Why? Because you're just some random guy with a title. You have no minions yet. You have no positive relations yet. You have a House name, a lot of coin, and some goals. What you don't yet have is the way to realize those goals. Let's not underestimate the amount of work it takes to actually build connections that allow you to accomplish things.

You're at full potency to pursue these things, which is all you need. An assassin with zero skill saying hi to a noble is going to get laughed off, or at best hired as an aide to hit on tressies a bit. The henchman has to train skills and work on politics.

You're comparing coded skills to IC influence and connections. These things are completely different.

I've seen assassins who had coded worked on their skills and were good at what they could do... But they had nobody who was trying to utilize them. They had nobody who was working with them on plots. They wanted to be a bad-ass minion, but there were just no leaders who tried to take advantage of them. It was pretty sad.

I've also seen assassins who took the time to skill up and managed to link up with a leader player who needed them and utilized their skills. Assassins who were able to make the IC influence connections they needed to actually take their coded use and put it to RP/Plot use. Now those guys, they're the scary ones.

Yes, this is true. It still is also true that a henchman needs freaking ages to become halfway competent.

Nobles exist to facilitate plots. They exist to find and use minions to their advantage. Finding minions is a pain in the ass for nobles, especially good and reliable ones. Nobles can't accomplish a lot of what they want to do directly, that's why they need minions. And more, they need to be able to keep minions thoroughly entertained while they collect them. This is pretty difficult.

Yes, getting skill competency in Armageddon is difficult. More skilled people better enable plots. I don't think somehow blaming nobles as the root of all evil is the answer, however.

I also think you missed the point of my post, which was to say that Raleris and Dragean had long-term, escalating conflict that didn't end in the assassination of either one (though they may have been tempted). It was a conflict that wasn't immediately squashed out, but rather was kept at a steady, burning hate over years. I think we could use more nobles who actively hate each other, put but that hateful energy into plots against each other... And let's be clear, this was no subtle behind the scenes hate. This was an open hate in the forefront, which commoner PCs could choose sides on or try to manipulate.

I don't think nobles are the root of all evil. I don't think people who play nobles are worse or better than others.

I do think the difficulty in playing a minion is a problem, as well as the death rate such characters have. If you don't address that, scheming is going to work out for nobody at all.
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Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #46 on: December 06, 2016, 09:08:25 PM »
Just chiming in after Patuk's post to point out that all the things I had mentioned about why dying is a discouraging factor for making conflict is really a core issue here. As Patuk describes, it takes hundreds of hours to build up any PC capable of meaningful antagonism, and not much work at all to kill them off. Therefore conflict avoidance is the best way to survive and continue to RP your concept. See my original post if interested in some ways we can mitigate the fear of death and promote conflict in the face of heavy losses.

I apologize for missing your original post and not responding to it. I'll attempt to rectify that now.



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1.) The risk/reward ratio for starting conflict is dismal, with way too much risk. Synth is talking about this with the "EXPLAIN YOURSELF SCUM" line; if you try and stir up conflict generally you will be crushed, even if the conflict is very minor, such as when you just happen to mess with the wrong player with lots of strong allies. Obviously, the ultimate risk is character death, which is extremely significant when you realize that it takes hundreds of hours ("5 days played") to even have a chance at being dangerous, so dying means starting from scratch with that. Obviously, this risk is less so with the addition of karma allowing for "character creation points," and giving us the ability to boost skills in places that allow us to skip some of that grind. But is that enough to offset the risk of starting conflict?

I agree that there's a lot of risks to starting conflict and not a lot of rewards in comparison. Even with the risk of death aside, there's the risk of political setbacks and disappointments.

If I recall correctly, staff (within the last year?) did take a look at revising how combat worked. Essentially, they make it easier to get to a level of moderate competency. I don't know what people's personal experience with this is.

For me, the thought of losing a PC really isn't so much about a dread of needing to put in lots of hours skilling up, but the dread of losing them as a character, and losing their IC non-skill-based accomplishments. I'm not sure if that's a unique quirk to me or something other people also worry about.


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solutions: A.) Create further incentives for being a conflict-generating character by giving MORE CPP for certain roles. For example, create or re-open a conflict generating clan, one with lots of enemies such that you're practically hunted on sight from character creation onwards. To reward a player for choosing this despised role, give them like 5 extra CPP just to use for skill boosts so that they have very little grind and can start generating conflict immediately, and churn through PCs with moderate threat to the playerbase and stimulate some action.

My concern here is that you would see a lot of twinks abusing this system, purely for the pleasure of codedly killing people. I've seen a lot of people ignore documentation in favor of power (I can be a tribal and use the bank and love 'sid! All my friends are magickers!), and I have reservations about giving people more coded power in a role where their goal could well be just killing PCs. This could possibly be mitigated by making a conflict-clan karma-regulated, or the like, but that would probably also yield complaints of unfairness.


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B.) Create more clans/groups where the risk of dying from conflict is offset by strength in numbers. I recall the glorious Tuluk v Allanak conflicts with large scale battles, or patrols into enemy territory with groups of 5 or more, where injuries from archery or poison can be protected by the group's coordination. (Had a great time as a gemmed being dragged from combat unconscious by an AoD Lieutenant).

Is there an advantage to having PC vs PC conflict in large-scale battles? The advantage of staff assisting with the enemy is that they can better tailor the NPCs to match the skills of the PCs, for more balanced combat in general. They can also avoid piling on all the attacks on a single person (PCs may not do this).

It also allows for combat scaled over time (such as a war), since generally it avoids completely decimating an entire PC group (although not always, as we often see with the Byn).


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C.) Invent more conflict modalities that aren't necessarily lethal. I have to hand it to whoever is trying to start up Bloodball as a thing, as it's a good example of that. Also, political/economic conflict, as already suggested above, since the risk is "less economic influence" instead of "dying and starting all over."

Players have a habit of turning most types of conflict lethal. I've seen economic conflict turn lethal, even, as PCs decided that the best way to get what they wanted was just to try to kill off all the leader PCs in the opposing clan.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. The only real way to change it is for us as players to re-evaluate what calls for lethal conflict and what calls for escalation. The problem is usually that whoever jumps to lethal first "wins". We need a way to fix that, where while murder can be a solution, it's not always the best or most appealing solution.


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What I DON'T want is to end permadeath... but maybe limiting it a bit more by bringing back ways players can cheat death... i.e., Nilazi.

Anyway, the point is that when the risk of making conflict is an immense inconvenience to the player, it discourages conflict.

I think some of that "immense inconvienance" isn't even the risk of a PC dying (althiugh that's part of it), but just the sheer amount of player time and effort it takes to actually try to make a plot happen. In my personal experience, about 80% of the time that effort is completely wasted and nothing ever comes of it (not even that you die, but that you're unable to pursue the goal at all). That's a pretty dismal rate, and it's pretty depressing to constantly be unable to pursue plots/conflict.
As of February 2017, I no longer play Armageddon.

Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2016, 09:10:11 PM »
I do think the difficulty in playing a minion is a problem, as well as the death rate such characters have. If you don't address that, scheming is going to work out for nobody at all.

What are your proposed solutions?
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Taven

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #48 on: December 06, 2016, 09:22:42 PM »
o Give them a hideout in a place in the known other groups aren't supposed to go to, for lore reasons.  The Canyons of Waste, the Canyons in the Tablelands.  If no lore reason exists, make one up.  But in short, put their hideout somewhere secure so AoD or Kurac couldn't just go there on a whim (nor could they hire a war party of Soh to clear them out either).

o Simply make others unable to enter the hideout.  The hideout would be: a long twisting multi-branching canyon.  Only those in the clan can enter / exit.  Plots wouldn't involve wiping the hideout out, but the conflict from the raids.

o Finally, the raider would entertain the AoD and the Kurac by raiding people around them -- the lumberjack on the north road, the grebbers in the salts, etc.

The 'track' thing is an important problem.  Gicks are the other big problem.

Putting their hideout in a hard-to-get to area would certainly help, although again, it would probably just delay things until "Team Good" could put together a group to assault the area. While there could be ways around this (making it atop cliffs, etc), there would also be solutions (like gemmers, they are the solution to most outdoor challenges).

Making others unable to enter the hideout could have its own problems. Namely that it could make any conflict against the group seem ultimately pointless. In effect, the PC raider clan would just become the new gith. You have to periodically kill them all off, but there's no real plot drama because they can't be gotten rid of.

I suppose a possible solution could be to make the hideout mobile. Basically, a series of tents that could be packed up and moved. While this might have coded challenges, it would mean that the work required by "Team Good" would be higher. They would have to try and figure out where the raiders would be relocating to.

You could also make it so that if ANY of the raider clan escaped (NPCs, vNPCs), they could rebuild. Or perhaps that they have a fallback point to regroup. Essentially, making it harder for a single strike-force team to take them out. It would have to be considered more, but it might be a possibility.


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Armaddict

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Re: The Massive Conflict Thread
« Reply #49 on: December 06, 2016, 09:28:36 PM »
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Players have a habit of turning most types of conflict lethal. I've seen economic conflict turn lethal, even, as PCs decided that the best way to get what they wanted was just to try to kill off all the leader PCs in the opposing clan.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. The only real way to change it is for us as players to re-evaluate what calls for lethal conflict and what calls for escalation. The problem is usually that whoever jumps to lethal first "wins". We need a way to fix that, where while murder can be a solution, it's not always the best or most appealing solution.

I find it altogether appealing, and I find the repeated assertion that conflict isn't meant to be resolved to be kind of a hosh posh assertion.  I get killed sometimes.  I kill sometimes.  Sometimes I deserve to be, and don't.  Sometimes I should kill, and don't.  The fear of death is the entire point of a permadeath game, and if you start telling people conflict should purposefully avoid it, then you're wrong.

No, you don't need to kill someone for calling you a bad name at the bar.  No, you shouldn't think that every person on Zalanthas is reasonable as far as 'measuring out' what deserves death and what doesn't.  The game-old practice of calling people's boots comes rooted from the sentiment of 'life is cheap'.  I don't think you're actually taking into account what that means; life is not valuable on Zalanthas.

And for the billionth time, killing someone does not do an injustice to the game.  It actually plays a very integral part -of- the game.  I'm not saying that we're a proving grounds mud, but I do indeed get tired of posts repeatedly put up that frame things in such a way that you're admonishing people for actually resolving conflict rather than just letting it go.  Conflicts end, new ones grow.  The insistence that every conflict has to go on for aeons and develop into something else is not accurate.  It's arguably -boring- to have the same players in the same conflict for too long.

Arguably.  Which is really the point of this entire post.  You're asserting things in your visualization of how things should be that are incredibly arguable.  I admire long-lived, rich PC's who left a pile of bodies on their way to the grizzled top, running the gauntlet of life, a lot more than a guy who can give long winded explanations about how things happened but didn't actually happen, but them and another player played it that way or how many times they communicated with staff to get a thumbs up on a cool story.

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The risk/reward ratio for starting conflict is dismal, with way too much risk.

...you mean the risk of death in a permadeath game?  I don't follow you.  There are plenty of low risk endeavors, but they certainly don't pay off like big risk endeavors.  I don't know what you mean by the risk/reward ratio being off.  Rewards for taking risks are pretty damn high, even if you just find a way to brag about the badass thing you did to the right people and land a reputation off of it.



As far as the raiding group topic, you guys keep pretending Blackmoon never existed.  If a raiding group has staff support, you can send whole clans at it all you want; it won't cease to exist until the staff agree that it will.  It's the advantage of a staff-run clan versus a player-group.  You're splitting way too many hairs on it, and not realizing this is a game.  If you want to have a sponsored antagonist force, it will exist.

We've all been completely okay with this not really being a sandbox that we can do whatever we want in for a long time, I'm not sure why this topic in particular is being reduced down to all the inconsistencies that every other clan would be subject to.  Make a raider clan, support it, and it won't be wiped out as long as it has a staffer.  That's...how the game works.
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