Changes to staffing - animations and storytelling

Started by Adhira, February 03, 2009, 01:11:01 AM

Hello all,

You may have noticed that some changes have been happening in the way we're staffing the game. The first was the reorganization of clans into groups.  Instead of staff being assigned to individual clans they are now assigned to a staffing group.  Each group has one or two Highlords and several storytellers associated with it.

The groups are:

Northern Nobles & Templars
Southern Nobles & Templars
Merchant Houses
Commoner Orgs/Independents

Now that all staff are in place and up to date with their clans and duties we will be moving on to the next change in the way that we staff.

Staff will no longer be animating the 'big boss' and senior NPCs of the clans for report ins and general catch ups. When a player needs information from the higher ranks of the house this will, in general, be given via email.

Staff instead will be concentrating on facilitating the stories that players are creating. The overall goal is that gameplay happens at a level that is accessible to players, allowing them to feel a very real part of the action.

Another goal with the change is to move the focus of Storytellers from the administrative side of running clans, to the story oriented side. With a Highlord in charge of each group we hope that much of the admin work can be relieved and with dedicated HL's for each group decisions can get sign off at the team level.

The overall aim of this is to see STs out there animating every day, because they –want- to, to see plots and stories that reflect what players are interested in and want to achieve and staff supporting what you all are doing.

FAQ (in advance):

Does this mean staff don't do clan animations anymore?

Not at all. What we want to do is move the focus on to the players, shift the gears down to your level. Instead of playing the big boss and directing the play we're there to add flavor and facilitate the players stories.

What about when players need IC reactions from the House, if we don't have 'seniors' does that mean no reaction?

This change does not mean that the House structure, ranks and goals go away. The npcs can still come out, if needed, what we don't want is staff tied up for 2 hours listening to a report that they read all about in email. This type of interaction, while often appreciated by staff and players, could be better replaced by more active animations – those boss npcs might still turn up to give you a promotion, bitch you out or just surprise you by having a drink at the bar.

How will players know what they can do, if we don't have the NPCs to tell them?

This is an area for us to work on. One thing that has been suggested is making up 'job descriptions', or guides, for the different types of sponsored or leader roles. For example your Merchant might be told that he has the right to:
- Hire crafters
- Hire an assistant
- Arrange for hunters to seek out specialist resources to make goods
- Hire the byn to assist in expeditions
- Work on trade partnerships with fellow merchants in other houses
- Work with enterprising independents to 'incorporate' their goods into the house lines
- Research new product lines

And so on. By giving you guys a better idea of what you have authority over we hope that you'll then have more confidence to do these (and other) things.

What will staff be animating then?

All kinds of things! Staff might turn up where you least expect it., playing those npcs that add to the stories players are telling, or just add the general ambience that Armageddon thrives on.

As an example:
GMH staff might each create/pick a lower level Kuraci npc. Maybe a soldier that rides along with the unit sometimes, or that skilled and aloof Outrider that turns up to show how awesome they can be. The gossipy crafter, or the whore who wanders through tavern might be favourite picks.

Noble house staff might make a fellow junior noble to sit and gossip with their pc compatriots (or plot against them). They might make an aide to Lady Fancypants who likes to feed their noble pieces of gossip from within the house or sits with all the other aides and gives them those little pointers they need to manipulate and bend society to their will.

If staff are only facilitating what the players do what happens to all their cool ideas?

The idea here is to move away from large, preplanned plots for clans towards plots that are based on what the players are doing or interested in. We already do a good deal of this, by freeing ourselves up from some of the 'overhead' of administrative animating for clans we're hoping to give staff more time to do these stories.

What this doesn't mean is that we never get to come up with plot ideas or stories, instead we take the ideas, or the impetus, from the players and work from there.

Does that mean there's no big plots, only small stories? I like the huge stuff!

While we want to focus our attentions on making the game more player driven as staff we still need to share a vision for the game. There will always be a need for oversight and direction at the macro level, what we want to make sure is that most of the action plays out at the micro level, where the players are, rather than up high where you are more observer than participant.

I still don't understand /I hate this
If this doesn't make sense to you there is a discussion topic in general discussions where I'm happy to address or clarify concerns.

"It doesn't matter what country someone's from, or what they look like, or the color of their skin. It doesn't matter what they smell like, or that they spell words slightly differently, some would say more correctly." - Jemaine Clement. FOTC.