Author Topic: Plots. Railroading. Staff and YOU.  (Read 17131 times)

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.
* Harmless returns to collecting gortok skulls and mudsexing aide corpses
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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

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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