Author Topic: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.  (Read 17150 times)

RogueGunslinger

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Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« on: July 27, 2014, 06:09:43 PM »
I don't understand how talking about the plot surrounding that log was that far off topic, but considering Nyrs threatening to ban people I figured I'd make another thread. I don't think that should we be casually sweep the discussion under the rug. People are allowed to be upset at how things went down, or jealous of not being able to do what's been done in that log. I think it's a perfectly fair question to ask how these people were able to do what so many haven't done. This thread is for talk about Plots, staff directed, staff assisted, or ran all on your own. It's for talking about the best way to run such plots, and of course, discussion on how previous plots could have been done better.

Here's the original thread the argument stemmed from: http://gdb.armageddon.org/index.php/topic,47751.0.html

I  think that thread could have avoided a lot of problems if staff just said "Yep, we changed shit, it's better now, and what you couldn't do before you have a better chance accomplishing now. If you don't like that we're sorry but we think its changed for the better." Or the flipside: "You could always do this, here's some examples of others doing such:" Why this has to be something controversial or worthy of banning people for or getting insulting and questioning their love for the game I don't know. It's not a big deal from either side and people should probably just calm down in general. I don't like how Nyr goes into defense mode and hand-waves away any possible criticisms, so hopefully this thread will allow for some proper discussion without people getting upset.

I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.




palomar

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2014, 06:36:07 PM »

I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.


I agree.

The log thread got me thinking about staff-plots in general and I feel that in recent years the notion of being able (on all levels) to affect the outcome has diminished. Not only the final end result of a plot, but perhaps more importantly the smaller steps along the way. I'm not one of those golden era nostalgics, but I'm comparing the build up to the last HRPT with the end of the world plotline which climaxed with the HRPT of 2009. In my personal and limited perspective, I believe players could affect far more parts of the latter plotline along the way and in a more noticeable fashion too, compared to the recent one. Perhaps it's also true in regards to the Copper War extended HRPT. The key here is the perceived opportunities of being able to affect the outcome. Maybe the difference lies in the 2013 HRPT being largely political/military and the 2009 HRPT and prior events being political/mystical. I don't know. I'm not the greatest fan of the end of the world plot years, but I have a more positive feeling about my own and others involvement in those plots. Not to say I don't appreciate all the effort, player and staffwise, that went into the 2013 HRPT and its buildup - lots of it was very fun to follow and/or be part of. It's just a reflection, my two sids and so on.

Norcal

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2014, 06:53:54 PM »
I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.

+1
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bcw81

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2014, 07:09:53 PM »
My personal take on the plot is that it was rather well done. As a person who personally interacted with one of the spies for a very long time on a very personal level, I had absolutely -no- idea that they were a sleeper agent. That said, in retrospect, there were a few things the person did that, had I and my character not been so close to the person, should have set off bells immediately.

One such thing was them leaving spontaneously for no reason quite often. At the time my character was a bit paranoid that the person didn't want  to be around him, which was all good and well. There are other things, sure. Small things - Them asking a lot of questions about my interactions with His Faithful and His Chosen, about what I could gather about the Legions and other citywide organizations. There was plenty of room for me, as a person without any kind of mystical powers, to see something was amiss, and I completely missed it. The players of these special roll called characters did an amazing job. They did not shirk the ability to be found out, which is one of the things that makes an amazing sneaky character.

With all that said, though, no one found them out. The Faithful more than likely saw things worded in such a round about manner, or didn't have the context, or simply ignored these people long enough to allow the plot to happen. The PC's of the game world should be the moving force in anything possible. The PC Faithful had every tool at their disposal to find these people, and they didn't. To say that the hand of god should have come down and fixed that is, in my opinion, asking for a 'rocks fall, everyone dies' scenario.

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James de Monet

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2014, 07:19:59 PM »
My point in the other thread was not that this scenario is completely, 100% plausible, 100% of the time. As I said, I see the reasoning behind the complaints, but I also think to say, 'this should be completely impossible and no IC mitigation could have made it less so', when staff have very definitely intimated that there was more going on here than was represented in that log is just silly.

My personal stance on this is: I don't have all the info, I think there is room for this in the game world, and I think the plot added something good to the game.  Maybe I just lack the personal experience with getting spy plots quashed to share in the resulting bitterness that apparently makes this so hard to stomach.
You know I think if James simply retitled his thread "Cheese" and apologized for his first post being off-topic, all problems would be solved.

BadSkeelz

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2014, 07:31:56 PM »
I generally think the best course for finding fun for yourself is to set goals and follow plots that do not require staff to proceed, much less succeed. The best commentary I can get on my goals from staff is "All of these can be accomplished without staff intervention, but do let us know if you feel you need anything." I think that's the best baseline for interaction between staff and players, without one side demanding too much of the other. I try not to ask too much of them, and I trust them to dragoon me into interesting things when they feel the need to.

That said, I have been involved in what I think are a lot of staff-driven plots and RPTs, and enjoyed myself a great deal through almost all of it. For my character, the outcome has always been very simple: survive, or don't. The means for achieving that goal were also comparatively simple: have good skills, good allies, and good luck. Mundane means against mundane foes. The RPTs I've been in have always been pretty clear cut in terms of dangers and how I might overcome those dangers.

The Tuluki Spy plot was up against decidedly non-mundane foes who had quite a reputation for crushing much lesser plots. My skepticism towards it isn't regarding how the mundane spies interacted with other mundanes, but how they could have beaten the non-mundane without staff help or meta means. Staff are maintaining that they won through simple luck and skill. I just haven't seen enough to really believe that, but hope to see it in the coming logs.

As a player, I'm apprehensive about playing in such a non-mundane saturated environment. I'm glad the spies succeeded, and hope they've caused Tuluk to roll back on their powers and allow some freedom to the player base up there. I'm hoping these logs (and others) show how someone can exist in Tuluk and not be the drum-circle bardic stereotype.

I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.


This is especially true when railroad plots make the game world a better, funner place to play.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 07:34:57 PM by BadSkeelz »
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Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2014, 07:46:13 PM »
I don't think that should we be casually sweep the discussion under the rug. People are allowed to be upset at how things went down...

Players generally don't know what went down.  They have the one log and one staff member's assurance that the virtual world was taken into account for this particular plotline.

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or jealous of not being able to do what's been done in that log.

That's actually a good reaction, or better than being upset over what went down.  Being jealous of another person's plot involvement can at least possibly lead to a player saying "man, I wish I could do that...you know what, I'm going to go give it a shot," or try to match it.  It can also go badly, sure, and lead to complaints, but them's the breaks.

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I  think that thread could have avoided a lot of problems if staff just said "Yep, we changed shit, it's better now, and what you couldn't do before you have a better chance accomplishing now. If you don't like that we're sorry but we think its changed for the better." Or the flipside: "You could always do this, here's some examples of others doing such:"

But it's neither.  It's a unique plot.  I guess it depends on what you're asking...

Is it this:  Could you, everyday player with a PC fresh out of the box with no real IC work or anything actually do what these spies did and be heavily involved in an HRPT with the equivalent of a spotlight role (no pun intended)?  The answer is "probably not."

Is it this:  Could you, everyday player with a PC that has invested tons of time into the role, developed it to the point where it was ABLE to do what these spies did, then get heavily involved in an HRPT with the equivalent of a spotlight role?  The answer there is more complicated.  We don't really have so many HRPTs in the first place, it's hard to guarantee that.

Is it this:  Could you, everyday player, snag one of these kinds of roles in the future?  Absolutely (depends on being selected for it) but even then, you might fail.  There was ample chance of these folks failing.  The fact that they succeeded didn't mean they didn't have obstacles to overcome.

Is it this:  was this a new kind of plot?  The answer is both yes and no.  Yes, in that we actively recruited players to play very key roles in this plot, with this plot alone in mind for them and its influence on the future.  No, in that we've always had larger HRPTs that worked somewhat based on what players did (but not with specific roles like this).  Yep, it was railroaded to some degree...most staff plots are.  Of the overall Tuluki stuff going on plotty stuff, this was probably the least railroaded part. 

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Why this has to be something controversial or worthy of banning people for or getting insulting and questioning their love for the game I don't know. It's not a big deal from either side and people should probably just calm down in general. I don't like how Nyr goes into defense mode and hand-waves away any possible criticisms, so hopefully this thread will allow for some proper discussion without people getting upset.

I think it's fair enough to ask about what went into a plot and learn how to do things like a certain plot in the future, or how plots in general might be, or HRPT stuff, or what-not.  To enter the process on the negative...probably not the best way to discuss or even debate.

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I honestly don't give a shit if this plot only survived with staff assistance and manipulation. I think there's room for railroaded plots, open-ended plots, all sorts of plots. We don't need to only have one thing, the world isn't black and white.

And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk was going to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.  I feel like that has been said before, though.
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Inks

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2014, 08:06:11 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players? Imagine in D and D if the player's actions did nothing to the world. Even if this hadn't been posted it would have been better, for the sponsored players to believe that they changed the world.

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Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2014, 08:12:00 PM »
Staff are maintaining that they won through simple luck and skill. I just haven't seen enough to really believe that, but hope to see it in the coming logs.

Wait, we are maintaining that?  I'm mulling that phrase over while reviewing our staff-side process for introducing them/etc, even the plot overall.

January 28 2013, staff-side discussion, I'll quote:

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A spy group will be established in Tuluk. They will appear as native Tulukis.  We will be doing this via a role call/invite. Nyr and Adhira will be responsible for handling this group.  They will be given limited information and expected to operate in a set of guidelines.  Essentially they will be 'resource pcs'.

That's how we looked at it before the roles started.

So we gave them a set of guidelines, some setup in advance, and did do things to help them trick not just the IC playerbase but the OOC playerbase, because (quite honestly) it is just as important to do that if you want to keep a plot secret and not have people getting interested in being suspicious purely because they are veteran players and "know what to look for."  Examples:  new PCs show up all at once and seem to interact with each other well?  That raises flags on an OOC front which means it raises flags on an IC front; we staggered the entry.  New PCs show up at any point and have skills that are super high (wow, dude, you owned this guy in the Legion that has been training for years)?  That raises flags on an OOC front which means it raises flags on an IC front (inevitably); we adjusted skills over time to prevent skillsniffing/guildsniffing activity--they had to LOOK like new PCs and not specially set up PCs.

We also thought we'd have to direct them in a certain direction.  As it turned out, they managed to aim in the right direction on their own. 

March 25, 2013, staff-side discussion, I'll quote:

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Well, we were worried about having to deus ex machina the spies towards this?  Here's what one of the spies put in their report on their own...

We still pushed them in a direction but that sure helped, having one of the players taking initiative to do this on their own.

Was it just skill and luck?  No.  A whole lot of it was, but you can't divorce that from the staff assistance that would almost have to be there for anything of this magnitude to exist in-game.
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Lizzie

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2014, 08:16:06 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players? Imagine in D and D if the player's actions did nothing to the world. Even if this hadn't been posted it would have been better, for the sponsored players to believe that they changed the world.

This kind of thing doesn't really bother me, to be honest. I've played plenty of games where I know what the end-game looks like, and still have lots of fun achieving it. How many times did I play Myst, to discover all the different twists and turns of the virtual world, to see the very limited couple of possible outcomes? There are books I've read several times on purpose just so I could discover new aspects of the plotline I hadn't noticed the times prior.  Knowing that the end is pre-determined doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the adventure leading to that end, as long as I'm allowed to participate in my own way. Plus in the case of the HRPT, no one knew what that end was going to be until it happened, except for those staffers who designed it. So we still all got to enjoy the ride, AND the surprise ending.
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RogueGunslinger

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2014, 08:20:13 PM »
This was ignored in the last thread and deleted for being "off topic". Here it's not so off topic though.

[Nah, it pretty much is.  The GDB is not a soapbox to fling accusations at staff.  -Nyr]
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 08:33:01 PM by Nyr »

Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2014, 08:25:02 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players? Imagine in D and D if the player's actions did nothing to the world. Even if this hadn't been posted it would have been better, for the sponsored players to believe that they changed the world.

Every HRPT has been that way though. 

Players contribute in that they are involved in a larger story.  Their part of the story is important to them and to us as well.  The overall story that we are pushing and facilitating in the HRPT is already planned out.  That's because of the nature of what an HRPT actually is--something we on staff plan out/etc--even if we plan out multiple ways to get to the destination, or multiple destinations within a group of possibilities we want to see happen, we have it generally plotted out.  In this case, there was an end goal in mind:  transforming Tuluk and fixing some stuff in the process.
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James de Monet

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2014, 08:32:30 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players?

You seem to be missing the fact that this wasn't just a plot for plots' sake. It also represented a change to the playable game world. If this was a change that needed to happen, and you were given a choice between interactive, IC storyline, or behind the scenes retcon, which would you choose?
You know I think if James simply retitled his thread "Cheese" and apologized for his first post being off-topic, all problems would be solved.

Marauder Moe

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2014, 08:34:04 PM »
Don't cry for me.  I had a wonderful ride.

Harmless

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2014, 08:36:43 PM »
Taking a step back, how are "needed" changes deemed needed vs not? Some players have one idea of what changes are needed, and the staff have theirs. The assumption that a change is needed, done, period, let's go with that, is where I think Inks is pointing out his/her discontent.
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RogueGunslinger

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2014, 08:49:22 PM »
What's needed will always be defined by higher-up staff and the people capable of coding/implementing ideas. Armageddon is not a democracy. If you want change and want to be sure it gets in you apparently have to make it from the top down, so apply for staff.

What I'm curious of is what extend staff is willing to change something or add something to the game that isn't a part of their own plans. Everything from stuff as simple as buying one of those empty hovels in-game as a house, or something as complex as building an argosy or setting Tuluk on fire.

In an ideal world staff would be backing up those ideas with assistance just because the player is willing to do all the work required. In reality I imagine a lot of that stuff gets nixed just because staff doesn't want to waste time doing something they themselves aren't 100% behind, certainly not when they already have other projects on their plate they think are more important.

Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2014, 08:54:10 PM »
Taking a step back, how are "needed" changes deemed needed vs not? Some players have one idea of what changes are needed, and the staff have theirs. The assumption that a change is needed, done, period, let's go with that, is where I think Inks is pointing out his/her discontent.

We have a proposal process, and for large enough proposals to be approved they have to be approved by Producers before they even go up for discussion (this one was one of those because it was a pretty drastic change).  Staff proposals and changes come from staff members, who are current/former players with a different focus on the game (looking now at the game from the top down/the good of the game itself rather than local stuff).  The ultimate answer is that staff decides what changes the game needs, though player input and player activity are contributing factors as well.
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Cutthroat

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2014, 09:06:08 PM »
What's needed will always be defined by higher-up staff and the people capable of coding/implementing ideas. Armageddon is not a democracy. If you want change and want to be sure it gets in you apparently have to make it from the top down, so apply for staff.

What I'm curious of is what extend staff is willing to change something or add something to the game that isn't a part of their own plans. Everything from stuff as simple as buying one of those empty hovels in-game as a house, or something as complex as building an argosy or setting Tuluk on fire.

In my experience, players tend to have quite a bit of freedom in starting plots, and they get support from staff relative to their station, the amount of players that the plot will involve, the amount of permanency (i.e., if a change to the game will affect new PCs in the future), and how much it aligns with staff's vague long-term plans. Of course, if you don't have any of these factors on your side, it would be really hard to do anything. But having one or two is typically enough to work on stuff like that.

Given that players get to try to do what they want, or at least throw their weight behind someone capable of doing bigger plots, like a sponsored role or other established leader, it seems fair that staff, who presumably are staff because they enjoy the game, would be able to run plots of their own to affect changes that they want. In that sense, in terms of activity, there's something of a balance between player plots (which could come to a conclusion, or die with the PCs involved) and staff plots (which tend to come to some conclusion). Overall, that gives the game some fluidity, the sense that something is always happening.

Nyr

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2014, 09:12:52 PM »
What I'm curious of is what extend staff is willing to change something or add something to the game that isn't a part of their own plans. Everything from stuff as simple as buying one of those empty hovels in-game as a house, or something as complex as building an argosy or setting Tuluk on fire.

Buying an empty hovel isn't simple, though.  That simple act involves Producer review, because current policy is "no."  We have an apartment system and we only recently started experimenting with player-run and player-leased warehouses.  If we were to review a single PC buying a hovel like that, we'd need to look at the policy and revisit it.  The policy was made for a reason.  Why?  Let's analyze that, then see whether we still agree--if we disagree, then we change the policy.  If we agree, then we discuss and determine whether this is something that we can compromise on and find a way to meet the player desire.  Oftentimes the answer is no, because there's a good reason for a policy, even if the reason starts out as simple as "precedent is established by allowing one PC to do it, therefore if we let one PC do it, we have to come up with rules for what allows a PC to do it."

If that simple thing is that complex then the complex stuff is complex.  Short answer:  we are willing to assist players and it is a complex process; we can't give a one-size-fits-all answer for every scenario.
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Barzalene

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2014, 09:17:30 PM »
I think staff has always been very judicious in what affect players can have on the world. I think anyone -can- have an effect, but very few will. And I believe the reason for that is that if everyone who worked hard and had a plan had a lasting impact on the game, it would morph too quickly into something unrecognizable.

In the end, I think this is important.
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Bushranger

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2014, 09:23:06 PM »
And regardless of what the spies did, all of the crap in Tuluk wasgoing to happen, though the parts they contributed to would've been different.

This made me cry blood.

I love this game, really I do, but if stuff is going to happen no matter what, why involve players? Imagine in D and D if the player's actions did nothing to the world. Even if this hadn't been posted it would have been better, for the sponsored players to believe that they changed the world.



I love the fact that Thrain Ironsword's are so very rare on Armageddon MUD. With the Known marching on as it will, often times against what various players are trying to achieve, and throws up so many hurdles and left turns that force PC to react and go in certain ways makes it feel all that more realistic and every so much more frustrating and annoying. It means that when, IF, you get to play that character who does affect the Known it is all the more rewarding. With hundreds of players with characters plotting against themselves and the Known I can not see any believable way to have them all, or even some of them, affect the broad stokes of history but they do affect the gritty, day to day affairs. If there is a plot where Muk Utep and Tektolnes are facing off again I would not expect "War was going to happen but players stopped it" but rather something like "War was going to happen and players changed the location from Red Desert North to Red Desert East" I would see that as a major victory for players affecting the Known.

It's what the spies, from what I've seen, succeeded in doing. They did not change the destination of historical events but they did affect some decisions the pathway took.

The mud is not trying to replicate your D&D game where it's four or five player characters against the world so that comparison holds no real meaning - if you want to be guaranteed to be amongst the most important, world changing people in your campaign there are dozens of play by (forums/email/irc/twitch/virtual tabletop)
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Inks

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2014, 09:28:06 PM »
Just wanted to say thanks for the balanced responses. I actually misunderstood Nyr's words to mean the spies had no meaning at all during their entire lives. Sorry about that.

Also I never said I personally wanted to change the world.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 09:34:03 PM by Inks »
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Norcal

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2014, 10:00:37 PM »
I am a bit confused as to what the problem is.  It’s not really possible to run a game like Armageddon, trying to make it as playable as possible for a wide number of people, and not have staff involved in some plots with pre-determined outcomes.

 As far as I can tell there is still a lot of room for player driven plots to be hatched and succeed.  I was playing in Tuluk at the time and I thought it was well done.  While staff did set an end goal, they left it up to the player base to achieve it. I can remember my jaw dropping when I heard the news, with my PCs jaw doing the same. I was blindsided and I thought that whoever dreamed up the plot were some talented cheeky folks indeed. It’s not bad to ride on a railroad once in a while.
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Mood

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2014, 10:04:48 PM »
Players generally don't know what went down. 

wow what a useful diversionary tactic that is. you use it so much!!!!
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Lizzie

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2014, 10:13:58 PM »
I am a bit confused as to what the problem is.  It’s not really possible to run a game like Armageddon, trying to make it as playable as possible for a wide number of people, and not have staff involved in some plots with pre-determined outcomes.

 As far as I can tell there is still a lot of room for player driven plots to be hatched and succeed.  I was playing in Tuluk at the time and I thought it was well done.  While staff did set an end goal, they left it up to the player base to achieve it. I can remember my jaw dropping when I heard the news, with my PCs jaw doing the same. I was blindsided and I thought that whoever dreamed up the plot were some talented cheeky folks indeed. It’s not bad to ride on a railroad once in a while.


The "concern" is that world-changing plots aren't player-driven plots. Players who want to make world-changing effects on the game have to do it the Staff's way, and even then only if/when the staff says it's time for a change, and then only if/when the staff agrees that this particular change is what the staff wants to see happen. Player-driven plots that result in world changes require staff intervention. You can't blow up Tuluk, unless the staff says it's time that Tuluk got blown up. You can't own a hovel on Wall Road, unless the staff decides that Nenyuk is willing to sell one of their properties. You can't have an argosy, unless the staff decides that an existing argosy should be sold or a new one created. You can't even make a master-craft skirt unless the staff decides that your skirt is acceptable. What makes anyone think that world-changing plots could be player-driven? They are player-participated, and even player-manipulated, and player-influenced. But the staff drives those. They're the drivers of the game, it only makes sense that they drive the world-changing plotlines.

Again - this is just my perspective of it, and I'm fine with it. It's how it is in every game I've ever played. He who makes the world, decides if the world will change or not.
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HavokBlue

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2014, 10:25:51 PM »
Players generally don't know what went down. 

wow what a useful diversionary tactic that is. you use it so much!!!!


But players generally don't know what went down.
All the world will be your enemy. When they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

bcw81

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2014, 11:06:01 PM »
Moderated a post here. Please guys, keep it civil and lower the flames. Especially, please do not start flaming every poster with a different opinion from you.

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TheWanderer

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2014, 11:33:14 PM »
I'm not digging the player moderators - I never get to see the posts in question, dammit.
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Delirium

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2014, 11:56:06 PM »
Come on guys, I know this is a touchy topic but let's at least try to discuss it without an overdose of vitriol.
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends." - Schmendrick

Reiloth

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2014, 12:43:13 AM »
I'm confused as well.

Every (good) DND / PnP requires the DM to have an idea of how the story turns out. The how you get there, and the improv shot from the hip course alterations are all met with a "Yes And". The particularly good adventures and campaigns feel so natural, it seems like you wrote the results as a player. In reality, your (good) DM just made it seem that way.

So I don't see how these comparisons to DND don't just help the idea of railroaded, somewhat pre determined plots. Maybe your DMs are really good and you think they react to your every whim. Protip: they don't. It's a balancing act which I think Staff does a great job with. I'm glad to see a return to Staff generated and supported plots, over the emphasis on player created plots.
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

~Jack Vance~

RogueGunslinger

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #30 on: July 28, 2014, 12:59:23 AM »
What I'm curious of is what extend staff is willing to change something or add something to the game that isn't a part of their own plans. Everything from stuff as simple as buying one of those empty hovels in-game as a house, or something as complex as building an argosy or setting Tuluk on fire.

Buying an empty hovel isn't simple, though.  That simple act involves Producer review, because current policy is "no."  We have an apartment system and we only recently started experimenting with player-run and player-leased warehouses.  If we were to review a single PC buying a hovel like that, we'd need to look at the policy and revisit it.  The policy was made for a reason.  Why?  Let's analyze that, then see whether we still agree--if we disagree, then we change the policy.  If we agree, then we discuss and determine whether this is something that we can compromise on and find a way to meet the player desire.  Oftentimes the answer is no, because there's a good reason for a policy, even if the reason starts out as simple as "precedent is established by allowing one PC to do it, therefore if we let one PC do it, we have to come up with rules for what allows a PC to do it."


Sounds like you need some more high-level staff to deal with the sweeping policies that make it such a hassle to deal with these kinds of requests then. I really hope most of the policies on request denials don't boil down to "This is too much work to keep doing this for people, and we don't want to do the work of drawing up a set of guidelines or rules to make easier so we can."

That makes it seem like it's a workload problem... Or maybe it's a delegation problem? Perhaps lower level staff could be given more trust?


racurtne

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #31 on: July 28, 2014, 01:37:07 AM »
I was around for the age of Player-only plots. It was boring most of the time. I'd much rather have staff involved. I don't care if things are 'guided', in fact I prefer staff to oversee and steer the plots in a realistic direction.
Alea iacta est

MeTekillot

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #32 on: July 28, 2014, 01:41:18 AM »
Player runplots was more like "work for ten years to get a room desc changed to mention a mural"
Cons: Someone's gonna fill animal holes, likely day 1.

racurtne

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #33 on: July 28, 2014, 01:42:38 AM »
Player runplots was more like "work for ten years to get a room desc changed to mention a mural"

Bingo.
Alea iacta est

Eyeball

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #34 on: July 28, 2014, 01:43:37 AM »
At one time, PCs were allowed to purchase homes in Tuluk and Allanak. The hovels are a remnant of those times.

As a staff member, I created a PC real estate merchant in 1996. I suppose he'd now be an agent of House Nenyuk, but the game wasn't at that stage yet. Anyhow, he would interact with PCs seeking to buy houses and gather information on what they were looking for. There was a price structure based on the number of rooms and their quality, so payment would be agreed on in advance. Then off I'd go to build the rooms, and later Qadi would reappear to contact the player(s) that he had a property to show them. Usually (actually, always) they were happy enough to buy on the spot.

I also started keeping track of player-owned homes and who owned them, although I was hampered by not being able to (or not knowing how to) tell who had left the game for a while vs. who had actually died. The idea was to resell abandoned houses after a while.

I built a few homes this way. One for Alkyone and Onyxwolf, for example, and another for the Allanaki Templar Carlone. My impression was that it really added something to the game for them. Unfortunately, most if not all of the houses have since been destroyed, but I still have the room descs.

My point here is that I don't see this being a problem, so long as there is someone willing to do the work. I don't see how it could do damage to the game to have some crappy to middling quality homes of one to three rooms pop up in the Warrens or Commoner's Quarter but I do figure it could add to peoples' enjoyment of the game. In fact, if the staff wants to appoint someone to specifically run a player-owned housing market, I'd volunteer for the job (as would others, I'm sure).
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 02:25:26 AM by Eyeball »

Voular

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #35 on: July 28, 2014, 01:52:36 AM »
My point here is that I don't see this being a problem, so long as there is someone willing to do the work. I don't see how it could do damage to the game to have some crappy to middling quality homes of one to three rooms pop up in the Warrens or Commoner's Quarter but I do figure it could add to peoples' enjoyment of the game. In fact, if the staff wants to appoint someone to specifically run a player-owned housing market, I'd volunteer for the job (as would others, I'm sure).

The problem is consistency. This is a long-term game. Can we have volunteers that will oversee this system for years to come? Without biases or whatever? It's another workload for an already over-burdened staff. Now - don't get me wrong. I'd be all for it. But I doubt the current staffing system would/could allow someone to run this smoothly. We barely get karma-reviews, responses to our character reports or involvement in greater plots - who the hell is going to build shacks for you and why? There's coded apartments, warehouses etc etc.

You see where this discussion would go. /end
Modern concepts of fair trials and justice are simply nonexistent in Zalanthas. If you are accused, you are guilty until someone important decides you might be useful. It doesn't really matter if you did it or not.

Eyeball

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #36 on: July 28, 2014, 02:09:52 AM »
The problem is consistency. This is a long-term game. Can we have volunteers that will oversee this system for years to come? Without biases or whatever? It's another workload for an already over-burdened staff. Now - don't get me wrong. I'd be all for it. But I doubt the current staffing system would/could allow someone to run this smoothly. We barely get karma-reviews, responses to our character reports or involvement in greater plots - who the hell is going to build shacks for you and why? There's coded apartments, warehouses etc etc.

You see where this discussion would go. /end

The way I see it, the need to do any building would taper off as the supply reached equilibrium with demand. Which doesn't leave really that much of a work load.

If a staff position were to be created specifically for overseeing the player housing market, with no other duties, then there might be periods where sales get a little spotty, but that could be solved by appointing the next volunteer (or rotate a pair or three volunteers from between staff and legend to share the load).

Owning gives players pleasure. It's the same in real life. Why do people buy houses when they can rent?

MeTekillot

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #37 on: July 28, 2014, 02:17:03 AM »
WHAT DO WE WANT?!
Quote from: GDB
WE DUNNO![\quote]

WHEN DO WE WANT IT?!
Quote
NOW![\quote]
Cons: Someone's gonna fill animal holes, likely day 1.

Reiloth

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #38 on: July 28, 2014, 03:12:31 AM »
Lol
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

~Jack Vance~

Voular

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2014, 03:32:00 AM »
Logic is absent from this game and the discussion around it. You would buy housing because it is cheap, but the cities restrict ownership - and so on. It's just to much work than it's really worth. Our energies could be placed better than on letting people have another room to hoard gortok skulls and murder aides in or something.
Modern concepts of fair trials and justice are simply nonexistent in Zalanthas. If you are accused, you are guilty until someone important decides you might be useful. It doesn't really matter if you did it or not.

Kismetic

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #40 on: July 28, 2014, 03:40:53 AM »
WHAT DO WE WANT?!
Quote from: GDB
WE DUNNO![\quote]

WHEN DO WE WANT IT?!
Quote
NOW![\quote]

Well played, well done
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 03:43:21 AM by Kismetic »
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Harmless

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #41 on: July 28, 2014, 03:43:07 AM »
Logic is absent from this game and the discussion around it. You would buy housing because it is cheap, but the cities restrict ownership - and so on. It's just to much work than it's really worth. Our energies could be placed better than on...

Yep, this I agree with, mud building is hard work, overseeing PC leaders is too, and the shit PCs do in their apartments not worth any additional staff oversight.


...on letting people have another room to hoard gortok skulls and murder aides in or something.

...talk about concentrated cynicism. Who are you directing this at? is this really how you feel about player plots? Confused.
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Voular

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2014, 03:45:47 AM »
Was just trying to drive home the point that player housing on the whole is pretty unnecessary to drive interesting plots forward. Our current system is more than generous.
Modern concepts of fair trials and justice are simply nonexistent in Zalanthas. If you are accused, you are guilty until someone important decides you might be useful. It doesn't really matter if you did it or not.

Harmless

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2014, 03:47:49 AM »
Was just trying to drive home the point that player housing on the whole is pretty unnecessary to drive interesting plots forward. Our current system is more than generous.

Cool man.
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Fujikoma

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2014, 04:05:57 AM »
I don't know, I've never personally felt my plotlines got screwed without some rather serious blunders on my part. I really have no complaints about how my PCs are handled, sure a handful were killed by animations, Byn RPTs, etc. before I felt it was their time to go, but I also kind of saw it coming a mile away somehow and still blindly walked into it instead of following my gut instinct, so I can only blame myself, really. I feel like staff have, at times, gone out of their way to make my experience enjoyable, as well as gently poke me to remind me of the virtual world my PCs exist in (for some rather brazen and humorous errors), and the occasional not-so-gentle poke (when certainly warranted), which I'm all rather thankful for. Maybe I just haven't been around long enough to get jaded and cynical, but I'm having fun, so...
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Reiloth

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2014, 04:20:34 AM »
As with most things in life, the person who gets the short end of the stick tends to complain loudly about getting shafted. I call it the vocal minority, because I think people who don't think anything on the GDB is worth arguing about make up a large portion of our player-base. They're the great RPers you send kudos about -- They play the game, because they don't spend a chunk of their time complaining about how the game is broken.

No, that doesn't make people who complain about the state of the game idiots. As RGS pointed out, being passionate about the game and what you perceive as problematic is what has driven this game forward. Most complaints, or ideas and debates, have lead to progress and change -- Be they adding the 'change mood' command, or allowing alcohol timers to tick while logged out.

It seemed like Staff Avatars / Plots of Yore were shot straight from the hip -- Little to no fore-thought about the end result, and just 'fly by the seat of the pants'. The HRPT 2009 (2009? I feel like it was earlier, maybe i'm getting old) EOTW plots seemed this way too -- The game's ending anyways, so let's just roll with the punches! Let everyone and anyone do what they want.

Having played a "Super Secret Evil Villain" during those times, I can say with certainty that no one had any idea what was going on. Vague plots and missions that were varyingly too easy or absolutely impossible (Steal something from a Black Robe, find a very specific item on a different plane of existence) were passed down from the 'powers that be', with vast infrequency and little to no cohesive thread. Staff members that were our 'handlers' went missing for months on end, emails went unanswered, and it was basically a big cluster fuck.

Honestly, I couldn't be happier with how consistent and by-the-book current Staff and the Staffing policy are. I used to think emailing Staff, back in even 2006, was an exercise in futility. I got a note early on my account for sending in frivolous emails to the MUD account, but it was mostly because I got few to no responses, and thought if I carpet-bombed the MUD account, I might get something.

Now, requests are answered within a week, questions are answered, and if I need clarification, I can ask for it and expect a response. If I want to speak with an Admin, I can do that. A Producer, I can do that. It just needs to be for the right reason. The same could not be said five years ago, ten years ago, and so on. Furthermore, HRPTs and Staff Run Plots have much more focus, and seem like they are run by a professional gaming team. Each HRPT I experience seems better and better, with more thought put into it and behind it, and run with less and less hitches (and crashes, which is another improvement we all take for granted. Saturday Downtimes, anyone? Too many accounts logged in, anyone?)

This is what progress looks like, people. And we are definitely moving in the right direction.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 04:25:07 AM by Reiloth »
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

~Jack Vance~

Voular

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2014, 04:23:49 AM »
Quote
This is what progress looks like, people. And we are definitely moving in the right direction.

As long as we don't invade Russia in the winter, I am of mind to agree with Reiloth.
Modern concepts of fair trials and justice are simply nonexistent in Zalanthas. If you are accused, you are guilty until someone important decides you might be useful. It doesn't really matter if you did it or not.

Reiloth

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2014, 04:25:58 AM »
Quote
This is what progress looks like, people. And we are definitely moving in the right direction.

As long as we don't invade Russia in the winter, I am of mind to agree with Reiloth.

"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

~Jack Vance~

racurtne

  • Posts: 1887
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #48 on: July 28, 2014, 04:34:04 AM »
Keep it civil.

If this was somehow directed at me, I apologize. I was trying to express how I think the current system is 10X better than the previous one. I'm happy with the way things are now is what I'm trying to convey.
Alea iacta est

valeria

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2014, 09:01:09 AM »
In my experience, there are two kinds of players: players that give everyone (including other players and staff) the benefit of the doubt, and players that take every road bump/obstacle/character death as staff working against them/being unfair toward them.

I was talking with a guy once about one of my former characters, and it sort of tangented into what happened to this other PC and how the player was upset that staff outed them as a badclass and got their PC executed when they never made mistakes, etc.  Since one of my PCs happened to be intimately involved in the situation, I could confidently tell him that the player was mistaken.  Someone they confided in had screwed up and outed them as badclass.  And when I was thinking about that, I realized that I can think of three or four instances where this has happened: some other player tells me a story about what happened and how staff shut it down when they had no idea what was going on from the other player side.

Another thought about plots and railroading.  When I very clearly communicate to staff what my character is trying to accomplish it, I will usually get told whether it's possible.  Sometimes it's not possible for some OOC reason and they give it to me.  Which leads me to think that if they don't tell me it's OOCly not possible, it is possible.  But I don't confuse possible with probable.  The game world is a lot bigger than my PC.
Templars are basically if judge Dredd was a Cardassian

Harmless

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #50 on: July 28, 2014, 10:16:58 AM »
Valeria's point that other players often being the source of a plot's failure is spot on. They make the same mistakes I make.

I don't know, I've never personally felt my plotlines got screwed without some rather serious blunders on my part. I really have no complaints about how my PCs are handled, sure a handful were killed by animations, Byn RPTs, etc. before I felt it was their time to go, but I also kind of saw it coming a mile away somehow and still blindly walked into it instead of following my gut instinct, so I can only blame myself, really. I feel like staff have, at times, gone out of their way to make my experience enjoyable, as well as gently poke me to remind me of the virtual world my PCs exist in (for some rather brazen and humorous errors), and the occasional not-so-gentle poke (when certainly warranted), which I'm all rather thankful for. Maybe I just haven't been around long enough to get jaded and cynical, but I'm having fun, so...

This is true, I too have never been ganked by the staff without plenty of advance warning.

But sometimes, I just want to -try- to prove them wrong... and I inevitably fail. Those staff animated things are just fucking deadly against 1 PC, there's really nothing you can do against it.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 10:20:35 AM by Harmless »
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senseofeven

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Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #51 on: July 28, 2014, 10:45:55 AM »
I got ganked by staff once (or a few times), but I pleaded mercy and they gave me a chance. But gosh that was fucking scary, IC and OOCly.

Dresan

  • Posts: 1693
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #52 on: July 28, 2014, 11:22:05 AM »
I have no problems with staff run plots, railroaded or otherwise. My only issue with this plot was that it was originally presented in a way that made it seem as if players were able to accomplish what they did on their own with just a little skill and some luck, and anyone else could do it. I'm not talking about skill bumps, or picking the right people the staff trust so there is no ooc communication. I'm talking specifically bypassing the natural defenses of the setting which had for years prevented regular players from being able to attempt similar plots with any chance of success. This seemed biased and unfair.  Now it changed slightly, apparently the spies did get some help from staff, templars were indeed taken to account in some secret way, and/or perhaps tek gave his blessing in some secret way, shape or form. Great! The spies getting some help to bypass those defenses probably makes more sense to people who have played and accepted the rules of that setting for years. I'm not saying things haven't changed now, change is good, but that wasn't the situation when this plot was taking place.

This was all discussed in the previous thread, however the reason I brought it up originally was because I think even the perception of something being bias or unfair is dangerous to any game. The Armageddon community is made up of both staff and players, who dedicate a lot of their free time to make this game enjoyable. Some more then others, and to those people; kudos to you and thank you. However at the same time because this game sometimes demands so much time, passion and even commitment from the people involved it is not hard to image how resentment and anger can arise should they feel they've been cheated or treated unfairly. In the past it was easy to ignore these people, ban these people, or just laugh at them. This was not just Armageddon; companies, organizations, and corporations all could do the same. Well, welcome to the age of social media. It cost more money to wipe a person's ass for a month then it does to start a forum/blog or whatever. It is so easy to make your voice heard now, and for a community as small as Armageddon that voice is louder. Therefore, I got to say out all the possible arguments that people can use why in this green earth I cannot believe I'm seeing the "its only the vocal minority" line.  It almost never goes well for people (and companies) that have used this argument, it only pisses people off more which leads to greater backlash. My god, there is a reason companies have large PR departments, with large internet only divisions. We have already seen some of the resentment manifest itself elsewhere, there is no point in adding anymore fuel to that fire.

Before any of you try to beat me down for deciding to post on this forum, allowing issues to be address, or just plain show me the door; let me just tell you from my point of view it would be so much easier to keep my mouth shut and not participate at all. Writing this post is time consuming after all. It would be more beneficial to be a yes man or cheerleader, and then just roll my eyes behind my back, laughing while trying to see if I can land those 'trusted' roles . I truly believe there are people in this community right now that don't care whether this game last another ten year or another ten days at this point. I come and I go but I am not one of those people, I wish this game well so i take the time to write these posts, give ideas and feedback while I am around, its my way of saying thanks for the good times. I think most people taking the time to criticize and post are the same way for the most part.  At the very least I'm hoping I'll still be able to keep coming back and enjoying this twenty year old game for many more years to come. :)

**Lets out a long sigh before putting on his flame/snark/sarcastic resistant suit on**
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 11:25:22 AM by Dresan »
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Barzalene

  • Posts: 7746
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #53 on: July 28, 2014, 11:29:33 AM »
Hopefully the responses will not be personal. You're asking questions about ideas, not people's moms.
Varak:You tell the mangy, pointy-eared gortok, in sirihish: "What, girl? You say the sorceror-king has fallen down the well?"
Ghardoan:A pitiful voice rises from the well below, "I've fallen and I can't get up..."

Harmless

  • Posts: 2907
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #54 on: July 28, 2014, 11:37:25 AM »
I am starting to think there is just a pressure release valve somewhere in the playerbase, where all the pent up frustration and disappointment over failure of their characters' lives and storylines builds up, and sometimes it just needs to be released, or sometimes something triggers the release of it all at once.

The log posted hits home for a lot of people, I think, because we have had similar goals as the spies, or similar approaches to our own goals, but we experienced failure. We know, intellectually, that there is are clear justifications for success the involved spies had vs. our own failures (roll call, tektolnes' support, Allanak's support, etc), but emotionally, we still feel like this is an example of staff bias somehow.

I am trying to say that the community's discontent over this log is more of an irrational, emotionally based one than an intellectual one. A lot of us, including me of course because I can only speak for myself, don't really have an intellectual debate with the log, we just have an emotional one, where we feel like "it sucks ass to keep losing, I keep losing in this game and I never win, and oh, here's an example of someone who won, but I'm not them and I may never be them." It just sucks, you know?

Edit: Let me clarify. It sucks, no matter what, to read about other peoples' success when you have never felt it. It's an immediate emotional response to seeing someone else having it better than you. I am NOT saying armageddon sucks (so don't go there, Nyr). I'm just describing a human emotional response to defeat, and I am pointing out that the log triggered that emotional response in a lot of us because it reminded us of our defeats. That's all. I'm trying to explain why the community is reacting the way it is.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 11:41:13 AM by Harmless »
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James de Monet

  • Posts: 3428
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #55 on: July 28, 2014, 11:46:09 AM »
It's a salient point about people who take the time to write logical posts taking an interest in the meta or mechanical well-being of the game.

Of course, just because one is taking an interest doesn't mean one is actually helping, per se, but it does generally point to good intentions.
You know I think if James simply retitled his thread "Cheese" and apologized for his first post being off-topic, all problems would be solved.

Harmless

  • Posts: 2907
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #56 on: July 28, 2014, 11:48:28 AM »
You know, there's a great Aldous Huxley quote here for this topic.

Quote from: Aldous Huxley
I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.

The times I enjoyed this game most were the times I cared least about changing the game world and making lasting impact. Sometimes, the impact and change happened by accident while I was in the middle of enjoying my character.

As I have been reminded of recently, the real point of this game is to enjoy your character and their interactions with the world. You only have control over your PC, but you have quite a lot of control over that PC. You can control them until their death, and make them take actions that puts them at immense risk. That's fun, it creates excitement and drama, even if in the end it doesn't amount to any permanent change.

So, my lesson for myself in all of this is that I need to refocus away on "getting things done" and back on "enjoying my PC and my RP."
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RogueGunslinger

  • Posts: 19173
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #57 on: July 28, 2014, 12:05:06 PM »
Have to agree with Dresan. Every mention of a "vocal minority" makes me want to slap the person using it or tear my own hair out.

It's deflection at best, and generally has nothing to do with solving problems and everything to do with brushing them off as unimportant. If only one player was having an issue with something I would still hope their interest in the game would warrant some attention and the problem attempted to be solved.


Harmless, for me at least, it's less about changing the world so much as it is about changing your own characters world. By all rights I should be able to purchase and set up a merchant stand/tent in the Bazaar. Hire a guard and a seller to hawk my items. But that's hard, that takes staff work, so it seems staff has policies in place that stop things like this from ever happening so they don't have to do that work. This is mostly what I got out of Nyr's responses but I could have misunderstood...

I just like knowing there's possibilities out there beyond "max out all my skills" or "Climb my clans ranks to arbitrary glass ceiling". Its those possibilities that inspire awesome character concepts and bring the world to life. I like to think we should be fostering THOSE sorts of experiences, because I think they would have to most positive impact on player enjoyment. I like to think my limitations in the game are set by the environment and my own creativity. Not by the number of staff who can be trusted to dish these experiences out.


Nyr

  • Posts: 9029
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #58 on: July 28, 2014, 12:09:15 PM »
I have no problems with staff run plots, railroaded or otherwise. My only issue with this plot was that it was originally presented in a way that made it seem as if players were able to accomplish what they did on their own with just a little skill and some luck, and anyone else could do it. I'm not talking about skill bumps, or picking the right people the staff trust so there is no ooc communication. I'm talking specifically bypassing the natural defenses of the setting which had for years prevented regular players from being able to attempt similar plots with any chance of success. This seemed biased and unfair.  Now it changed slightly, apparently the spies did get some help from staff, templars were indeed taken to account in some secret way, and/or perhaps tek gave his blessing in some secret way, shape or form. Great! The spies getting some help to bypass those defenses probably makes more sense to people who have played and accepted the rules of that setting for years. I'm not saying things haven't changed now, change is good, but that wasn't the situation when this plot was taking place.

If that was your issue with the plot, it was covered in several places already, prior to the first log every being posted.  Nothing changed slightly, I just once more elaborated fter several previous explanations.

I went over what secret role calls entailed here.

To whit:

Quote
When we brought the roles on board, we set them up to be spies--basically, we did all of the work that would have happened if they'd become spies in-game, organically...except in advance. Once they were set up and dropped in-game, it was then left up to them.  Each one was given similar instructions but they were staggered for entry into the game, so none of them knew each other or even that the others were spies.  That all developed over time (though with some staff assistance).  It was touch and go several times.  Each one joined clans or what-not in Tuluk so as to infiltrate better (this was at staff suggestion initially).  One of them even became a Hlum Consort.  They all really brought the roles to life and became part of the local society.  At the very end of things, just before the HRPT, they were given specific tasks all related to the HRPT, and we let 'em fly.  At no point did they know this was leading to an HRPT (at least til the last week or two leading up to the HRPT).

and

In all cases so far, the roles have been:

  • temporary -- they serve a specific plot function or are filling a temporary need in the game, at least as far as staff sees it.  The only way out of the role is storage or death, but the role is expected to store or die by a certain time.
  • limited -- the role will be one in which your PC is serving a larger purpose, whether by living (and how he or she lives, usually within rules--mentioned below) or by dying (and how he or she dies).  That introduces more restrictions and expectations than a typical sponsored role.
  • unusual in terms of sponsored roles -- they aren't quite sponsored, but they are filling a role similar to one, therefore they need to report and coordinate with staff.  They are held to some guidelines for documentation and sometimes have more strict adherence to that documentation than usual, but at times, they may face the opposite scenario, where what is traditional for a sponsored role just isn't the intention for this role at all.
  • informed, but not omniscient -- they'll have more to go on based on background or just plain out information granted in order for them to see the role to completion, but they are not given the whole structure of the plot.
  • not too far removed from the norm -- in that a normal PC, with enough time in a role, investment into roleplay, and communication with staff...could more than likely achieve the same results. The reason we did a secret role in any case was because no existing PC could have done it as they weren't at that point, and even a brand new PC started in a normal role would not have been able to do it.
  • rare -- they will be few and far between.

and

How likely are staff to intervene when someone figures out a Secret Plot Character is a Secret Plot Character, and begins taking steps to defeat them (or just flat out PKs them)?

I would say it is unlikely that we would intervene in such cases. Thus far, anyone in a secret role position had either the skills or the resources to back up their role, plus (we hoped) the RP chops to deal with the very real possibility that people could well screw them over.

I posted the first log, and responded with this to you first:

I understand what you are saying and it does makes for a more interesting and fun game. However, it does feel like in this case some of Tuluk's natural defenses against this sort of thing was overlooked in favor of providing a more enjoyable experience, namely the vnpc and npc templar presence. Again its fair what you said, the place is full of people, you can't expect to investigate everyone's history thoroughly if there was no reason back then, it makes sense.

I don't think you understand what I am saying.  I think you are ascribing godlike powers or impassible barriers to entry for either city-state.  I think you are also assuming that the virtual world and NPC templars weren't taken into account.  Both assumptions are incorrect.  Given your restating of your cynicism I'm not sure why you would believe this but take it for what it is worth.

...and laid the following out when you questioned it there.  Colored and embiggened because, apparently, me laying it out later wasn't enough:

I don't know. If there happened to be a mindbender around I suspect they should have had an easy time figuring out what was going on, at the very least I think they should have. However, its just  lucky there were no mindbenders around in the entire city at the time I suppose.

Have you ever heard of the term 'security through obscurity?'  Don't look like something you need to target and you won't be targeted.  It doesn't always work, but there you have it.

These were spies. They went in with a specific mission, but their primary purpose before being told their later goals was "avoid the notice of the templarate" and they were given specific instructions representing years of training. As I said earlier, we expected at least one of them to get caught at some point, likely due to a screwup.  The whole point of being a spy is to avoid notice.  If you have a templar interrogating you, you are boned (I believe we went so far as to let each player know that if they ever got interrogated, they had essentially lost).  Again, spy operation, compartmentalization of activities, etc...a lot was taken from fictional and real world accounts of how such things would work.  For instance, as the plot and game progressed, each spy grew to know each other spy, so that was one more area of implication they could provide if they were ever interrogated...but they weren't, because they seemed normal, because they passed muster, etc. 

You don't investigate people that seem normal, do you?  Except...now, in Tuluk...you might.  Because of this.  This was also an intentional part of the plot--if the spies had been all captured/killed, we would've rolled with it and that would've made things amp up faster as far as Tuluki oppression PRIOR to the battle at Tyn Dashra...but that didn't happen, so we were able to utilize it later.  This will (probably) be harder in the future because of the notoriety of this particular case, but certainly not impossible.

Each one had specific instructions to initially observe and report. They had to blend in and escape notice.  And they did. 

So I don't really buy that it was laid out differently until I posted this post, which if you read, I even sardonically questioned "wait, are we maintaining that?" and proceeded to show more of what we did that had already been explained to some degree in the past.

You might've had an issue with the plot until learning otherwise, but that doesn't mean you didn't get told repeatedly that "otherwise" was indeed the case.

Quote
Therefore, I got to say out all the possible arguments that people can use why in this green earth I cannot believe I'm seeing the "its only the vocal minority" line.

It was literally the case.  A vocal (read:  people willing to actually say something, said something) minority (read: less than the total amount of other posters in the thread) were dominating the discussion in the thread even though it was tangential to the thread.  Therefore I addressed the literal case towards the vocal minority, that is to say, three or four posters that saw it to be their duty to point out the fallacy of the plot and cry about bias and unfairness when I specifically did preparatory work elsewhere and in that thread to explain some details that should (in a rational world) make sense, and allay concerns in advance of more story-centric logs.
Paint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

With appropriate roleplay of course.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8345
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #59 on: July 28, 2014, 12:20:51 PM »
I agree that there's bias and favoritism and unfairness. I don't agree that it's dangerous to the game. In fact, I'd rather the staff favor a stellar roleplayer with stellar roles, than give stellar roles to random dorf amos teh lil teefy guy out of "fairness." What's fair to the game, isn't necessarily what's fair to individual players. We'll all have our turn at being butt-hurt, and we'll all get over it. In that sense, it IS fair. :)
Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.

Nyr

  • Posts: 9029
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #60 on: July 28, 2014, 12:27:59 PM »
Harmless, for me at least, it's less about changing the world so much as it is about changing your own characters world. By all rights I should be able to purchase and set up a merchant stand/tent in the Bazaar. Hire a guard and a seller to hawk my items. But that's hard, that takes staff work, so it seems staff has policies in place that stop things like this from ever happening so they don't have to do that work. This is mostly what I got out of Nyr's responses but I could have misunderstood...

I think it is possible that you misunderstood, or at least oversimplified the response.

By all rights you feel that you should be able to purchase and set up a merchant stand/tent in the Bazaar.  However, we don't have code for that to occur without staff involvement.  If we code it it will be coded for all players and not just you, so that's an obstacle to overcome.  With that in mind, making that decision for your character and your plans means making that decision for you and no one else (or developing a policy to allow for the work involved in it, if one does not exist).  Should you have such a desire, you can interact with staff and we can see what is possible, because there have (at rare times) been shops and buildings influenced by player action.  There's a larger reason for not having a ton of player-created shops out there, by the way--both city-states already have a stable of shops.  Just like with player-sponsored building projects, we have to assess whether it's just being added because the player wants it, or whether it is also serving a need and whether it is adding to clutter for any particular region.  For example, if you're going to sell widgets at this player-created shop that you'll be loosely involved with, and another shop already sells widgets, do we then get rid of the other widget shop to prevent the inevitable clutter in whatever area's shopping center?  There is a lot of work that goes into even saying no, even if that work has been done in the past when developing a policy on why something isn't done.

However, to suggest we make policies just so we don't have to do work is untrue, through and through.

Quote
I just like knowing there's possibilities out there beyond "max out all my skills" or "Climb my clans ranks to arbitrary glass ceiling". Its those possibilities that inspire awesome character concepts and bring the world to life. I like to think we should be fostering THOSE sorts of experiences, because I think they would have to most positive impact on player enjoyment. I like to think my limitations in the game are set by the environment and my own creativity. Not by the number of staff who can be trusted to dish these experiences out.

Those possibilities are out there.  Talk with staff and we can work with you to come up with possibilities that will work for the game.
Paint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

With appropriate roleplay of course.

RogueGunslinger

  • Posts: 19173
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #61 on: July 28, 2014, 12:31:47 PM »
Thank you for replying, Nyr. That actually pretty reassuring to hear.

Dresan

  • Posts: 1693
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #62 on: July 28, 2014, 01:53:31 PM »
I found it funny, really, that two of the spy PCs managed to become members of the Bards of Poets' Circle.  It could only have been better if they'd been in a play about there being Allanaki spies in Tuluk vanquished by the Forces of Good.

My first two posts I wrote about the plot were mostly in response to this post. And while yes the other post where you explain the plots in general came before that, looking them over even now does not fully address the issue I was having with the plot. You can go back to the original thread and see for yourself. Franky the only thing I need to hear was that in this situation 'the Templar and thus the natural defenses tuluk has were indeed taken into account' which was basically by yourself. And then hinted at again by Marauder Moe. Basically the moment you elaborated, I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, at which point you'll notice I stopped posting all together on the matter.


 

So I don't really buy that it was laid out differently until I posted this post, which if you read, I even sardonically questioned "wait, are we maintaining that?" and proceeded to show more of what we did that had already been explained to some degree in the past.

You might've had an issue with the plot until learning otherwise, but that doesn't mean you didn't get told repeatedly that "otherwise" was indeed the case.


Again I'm reading those 'otherwise' over and they are generalized enough that I feel they didn't address what I was saying about the plot. That said I don't doubt when you say that was your intention for posting this preparatory work in first place though, but I wasn't alone in my thoughts at the end. I don't think would the discussion have turned into what it did otherwise either. Instead of saying 'laid out different', how about we just say 'it was elaborated on more so that there would be no more doubt'. It would be nice to remain positive after all :)

All I'm saying is that I would personally not be saying something like 'vocal minority' especially considering the size of the player-base and the amount of people that even bother to post on this particular forum. It is also a very dismissive way of looking at people's argument, opinions and ideas even if they are only a few people and I've seen it backfire so many times.  Its just a thought though.

« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 01:58:34 PM by Dresan »
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Harmless

  • Posts: 2907
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #63 on: July 28, 2014, 02:10:17 PM »
I agree that there's bias and favoritism and unfairness. I don't agree that it's dangerous to the game. In fact, I'd rather the staff favor a stellar roleplayer with stellar roles, than give stellar roles to random dorf amos teh lil teefy guy out of "fairness." What's fair to the game, isn't necessarily what's fair to individual players. We'll all have our turn at being butt-hurt, and we'll all get over it. In that sense, it IS fair. :)


Woo. Lizzie, you and I tend to have opposite views in some areas, and I'm really going to have to disagree with you here. What you're describing is the worst kind of favoritism, elitism, and that's not fair.

For the record, i don't think that these logs show any kind of favoritism. There was a role call, it was applied for, players were selected... Then the rest is history. I don't want "random" assignment of powerful roles, but I don't want favoritism either. I like role apps because some apps will be better than others. I don't want staff thinking it's okay to just hand out the roles to their buddies, and the same goes for karma. I still have some big fat fucking beefs with how karma gets handed out, for instance.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 02:14:45 PM by Harmless »
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valeria

  • Posts: 6235
    • I have a writing page.
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #64 on: July 28, 2014, 05:25:52 PM »
I've moved you modular housing folks off into your own thread here, since it was starting to take over the discussion and I think it merits its own thread.
Templars are basically if judge Dredd was a Cardassian

Nyr

  • Posts: 9029
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #65 on: July 28, 2014, 05:32:19 PM »
I still have some big fat fucking beefs with how karma gets handed out, for instance.

Staff rewards karma based on the helpfile here.  The sticking point that may exist is that staff rewards that karma based on staff assessment, not player self-assessment.
Paint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

With appropriate roleplay of course.

bcw81

  • Helper
  • Posts: 3076
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #66 on: July 28, 2014, 05:48:13 PM »
I still have some big fat fucking beefs with how karma gets handed out, for instance.

Staff rewards karma based on the helpfile here.  The sticking point that may exist is that staff rewards that karma based on staff assessment, not player self-assessment.
I'm kind of curious if player kudos counts towards what staff think of in giving out karma.

Quote
A female voice says, in sirihish:
     "] yer a wizard, oashi"

palomar

  • Posts: 2152
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #67 on: July 28, 2014, 05:55:40 PM »
I still have some big fat fucking beefs with how karma gets handed out, for instance.

Staff rewards karma based on the helpfile here.  The sticking point that may exist is that staff rewards that karma based on staff assessment, not player self-assessment.
I'm kind of curious if player kudos counts towards what staff think of in giving out karma.

I've been told in at least one reply that my kudos made staff review the recipient's karma. I assume it depends more on the situation/why the kudos were sent than the mere number of kudos received.

Lizzie

  • Posts: 8345
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #68 on: July 28, 2014, 06:14:25 PM »
I agree that there's bias and favoritism and unfairness. I don't agree that it's dangerous to the game. In fact, I'd rather the staff favor a stellar roleplayer with stellar roles, than give stellar roles to random dorf amos teh lil teefy guy out of "fairness." What's fair to the game, isn't necessarily what's fair to individual players. We'll all have our turn at being butt-hurt, and we'll all get over it. In that sense, it IS fair. :)


Woo. Lizzie, you and I tend to have opposite views in some areas, and I'm really going to have to disagree with you here. What you're describing is the worst kind of favoritism, elitism, and that's not fair.

For the record, i don't think that these logs show any kind of favoritism. There was a role call, it was applied for, players were selected... Then the rest is history. I don't want "random" assignment of powerful roles, but I don't want favoritism either. I like role apps because some apps will be better than others. I don't want staff thinking it's okay to just hand out the roles to their buddies, and the same goes for karma. I still have some big fat fucking beefs with how karma gets handed out, for instance.

A role call applied for by "x" number of players, and the staff picked which two they wanted to have those roles.  That means, they picked which of the ones available THEY wanted. Picking two based on what's "fair" to this or that player would have resulted in a totally different situation than picking which ones they felt were the most appropriate to play the role. What's fair and what's appropriate aren't always the same thing. That's what I'm saying. You might disagree with that, but it won't change the fact, since that isn't my opinion. It's a fact. What's fair and what's appropriate aren't always the same thing. My opinion is that I'm okay with that fact.
Talia said: Notice to all: Do not mess with Lizzie's GDB. She will cut you.
Delirium said: Notice to all: do not mess with Lizzie's soap. She will cut you.

Harmless

  • Posts: 2907
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #69 on: July 28, 2014, 06:32:16 PM »
Liz, I think what I'm getting at is your wording of "staff favoring a stellar roleplayer with stellar roles." I think it's fine to select players for roles based on who is appropriate for the role, but I don't want an opinion of who a stellar roleplayer is to determine who gets "stellar" roles, whatever that means (roles with lots of power? etc). I think that there are different roleplaying styles, and then there's various levels of skill and familiarity with handling certain types of roles, and there's familiarity with the setting. No one of those axes directly leads to "stellar roleplayer" in my mind. There's proficiency with the setting and a role and then there's a role call looking for whoever fits that best. At no point in that process should there be the statement, "Well, this guy is a good roleplayer, so let's go with them." "Good" is a valuative statement, and not everyone will agree on what's good. There are more objective subskills and areas of roleplay where it is appropriate to decide.

I think you and I are agreeing on everything except wording.
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Zoan

  • Posts: 4186
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #70 on: July 28, 2014, 10:29:48 PM »
I love the Sun King.

I LOVE THE SUN KING.

I LOVE THE SUN KING!!!
Quote from: Agameth
Goat porn is not prohibited in the Highlord's city.

bcw81

  • Helper
  • Posts: 3076
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #71 on: July 28, 2014, 11:05:30 PM »
I love the Sun King.

I LOVE THE SUN KING.

I LOVE THE SUN KING!!!
And the Sun King loves you.

Quote
A female voice says, in sirihish:
     "] yer a wizard, oashi"

The7DeadlyVenomz

  • Posts: 9460
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #72 on: July 28, 2014, 11:33:11 PM »
I love the Sun King.

I LOVE THE SUN KING.

I LOVE THE SUN KING!!!
And the Sun King loves you.
fuck the sun king (notice that he deserves neither caps nor punctuation)
Wynning since October 25, 2008.

>craft newbie into good player

You accidentally snap newbie into useless pieces.


Discord:The7DeadlyVenomz#3870

bcw81

  • Helper
  • Posts: 3076
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #73 on: July 29, 2014, 12:01:06 AM »
I love the Sun King.

I LOVE THE SUN KING.

I LOVE THE SUN KING!!!
And the Sun King loves you.
fuck the sun king (notice that he deserves neither caps nor punctuation)
He loves you.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2014, 12:13:56 AM by bcw81 »

Quote
A female voice says, in sirihish:
     "] yer a wizard, oashi"

James de Monet

  • Posts: 3428
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #74 on: July 30, 2014, 03:40:05 PM »
I wrote a response to this detailing how people probably perceive me in the "cheerleader" camp, and why I feel that particular dysphemism is a little inaccurate and how there is merit to having players in said camp.

But...it might be a moot point now, so I'll leave you with this instead:

You know I think if James simply retitled his thread "Cheese" and apologized for his first post being off-topic, all problems would be solved.

solera

  • Posts: 1784
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #75 on: July 30, 2014, 05:20:19 PM »
I love the Sun King.

I LOVE THE SUN KING.

I LOVE THE SUN KING!!!
And the Sun King loves you.



fuck the sun king (notice that he deserves neither caps nor punctuation)
He loves you.



His Radiance does not -love- infidels. May I lovingly suggest you need re-educating?


and RAT Does each GBD typo mean a chance at a skill up?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 05:27:51 PM by solera »

Desertman

  • Posts: 9490
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #76 on: August 04, 2014, 11:01:01 AM »
Skimming this it seems the general complaint most people have in regards to the RPT and the things that led up to it is...How could someone survive as a spy in Tuluk when we all know that outside of a staff ran plot, the White Robes of old would squash anyone immediately for breathing the wrong way in Tuluk?

How do you all know that the spy in question wasn't themselves supernatural in some way that allowed them to avoid detection?

Maybe they had some sort of item that prevented them from being found out by the White Robes.

Maybe Tektolnes took a hand personally in shielding the minds when necessary of those spies in Tuluk.

Maybe a lot of things happened that you will never know about.

Maybe it's a game and not everything is going to make sense 100% of the time. I think part of the reason for the changes to the Tuluki templarate was due to the fact staff recognized that the previous order was a plotline killer constantly. I bet some of the things, if not all of the things that made White Robes plotline killers were changed with this RPT.

There are a lot of things non-staff do not know and will never know. I like to just make assumptions that things were discussed at length and give them the benefit of the doubt.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 11:03:35 AM by Desertman »
My phone now autocorrects "damn" to Dman.
The young daughter has been filled.

Nyr

  • Posts: 9029
Re: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.
« Reply #77 on: August 04, 2014, 11:27:09 AM »
Actually that was covered already, specifically, both here and elsewhere.  We said what we provided.

Paint on a mustache and be a dude for a day. Stuff some melons down my shirt, cinch up a corset and pass as a girl.

With appropriate roleplay of course.