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Show, Don't Tell

TheDeester

I don’t believe it
Evil
Retired Staff
GrapeFlavDragons
GrapeFlavDragons
Evil
#1
This is the promised addressing on the latest event, as well as the current campaign climate. It is not as hopeful as the last review I gave in this section, and I am still baffled as to why the section exists, as the Event Coordinator still hasn't responded to a thread here from February. Have I misunderstood? Is this a section on reviews of players, or is it from them? Were there any kind of official reply from Lannis on my own thread I would know. It looks like it includes staff from how these previous threads were featured, posted by Events Staff:
http://hollowworld.co.uk/threads/reviews-aeon-act-1.36198/
http://hollowworld.co.uk/threads/reviews-aeon-act-2.36958/
As well as reviews from players for Events Staff:
http://hollowworld.co.uk/threads/review-gift-of-the-mad-gods.31360/
http://hollowworld.co.uk/threads/constructive-critique-praise-aeon-act-1.36199/
http://hollowworld.co.uk/threads/constructive-criticism-exploration-phase.36237/
So it seems there is a continued lack of ownership from the event-runner in question.

Onto the actual event.
It was laughable to have come to this point, watching on as an NPC appeared to regale players about his adventures on his own, connecting several disjointed plot points from the last year+. Not only is it disrespectful for a character to appear to say "It was foolish of you not to connect the dots" when there have been minimal lines available to draw, but it was an even larger cop-out for a character to appear and say "It was me all along!" in attempt to tie them together. It is already horrible writing to have an NPC come in to provide exposition, but even worse for them to mock players over hints that were not clearly given. It was entirely reasonable for the character to be rebuffed the way that he was, both OOC and IC. There was no reason for his being there, nor was there for anyone to humour him.

On the technical aspects of the writing there, I was baffled that the lesson learned from the last Exposition NPC (which is already a horrible remark to have to say) was that the Campaign was put at a detriment because he was killed. Yes, it was dumb for a player to kill that NPC, but not because of the player. The NPC would never need to be implemented if there was a more respectful or proper way of delivering the Campaign Story. Watching you justify an NPC's teleporting from existence at the first sign of player retaliation not only proves that players aren't given proper agency as to how the campaign goes, but that the solution of telling an involved story in events hadn't even been considered. A sour note to return from a three month absence to be sure. Why weren't players allowed to investigate this in the absence of it all? Why wasn't there any explanation for why they weren't? The answer is because of a lack of commitment, care, and responsibility being demonstrated in the position.

Referring to the Campaign Climate begins with the fact that this was the first one in three months, I reiterate. It was not a new campaign, which could justify the quiet lapse in that time. It was not an organic transition. It was a jarring reminder that there should have been something to fill the gap that was left, while you justified it with your story character galavanting on a private adventure.

Lannis has made mention in the past about his dislike for the Broken Moon campaign (from around 2012-2013), because there were certain characters made as the catalyst that got to do something major in an effectively-offscreen way from the rest of the player base. Despite that, ironically the same mistake has been made here, but worse. The mindset gained seemed to be that players were upset that they couldn't do the same as the characters in the Broken Moon sequence, but what is odd is that the exact same thing was done here, but worse. No staff characters were given special treatment sure; however the exact same narrative structure was used. A catalyst character engaged massive world change offscreen while players were left to assume what happened. Where Broken Moon managed to at least engage players is there were things and people in the world for the players and characters interested could gain an understanding of the plot and in turn investigate. The Incursion campaign has not done this, instead creating many open ends and refusing to follow-up on them while leaving them in the world, punishing the players that invested time into it by forcing them to break character and ignore important details of their recent life.

This is where I will go and give the same suggestion that I have been given before. Make a story for players to interact with, as a DM. If you are determined to cart players along and have them make a few choices along the way as a collective, you've begun to run a reality show where they can vote every few weeks on who leaves the island. Worse is when there is no impact, and you take them on a tour of a story you've written. But worst of all is when there isn't a story, and you roller-coaster what has become an audience from disconnected point to disconnected point with no reward given for continuing, just for ceasing involvement altogether.

There has been the query of "why not just make player events" in regards to complaints about the current campaign, which is equally baffling. Not only is the incentive punished by having to take it through the Event head in question, often taking great lengths of time to reply if at all, players do not have the tools to engage the world in the same way that the Events Team does, nor are they going to be given. With that said, it then becomes questionable why there is a Campaign Department if players should be making the sole events on the server.

This is a call-out to all involved in the current campaign, from Lore team to Events themselves but I will make note of Elz and Snerus for running events or DMing in the absence of a campaign. It comes to special notice however that they have not been able to run anything official in regards to events on the server campaign platform. There have been small sightings of things sold off as plot relevant, but I have not seen anything come of them in relation to the current campaign. Were we supposed to gather who the antagonist is, his motivations, or what the plot is from the happenings with the new Shadow Rider? If so, why is it that no one put it together?

I am of an obscene doubt that the party system now imposed does anything short of fuelling the constant "clique" issue being brought up, and it now segregates these cliques into competing groups as they have no basis to cooperate. This is a similar issue to the Altera Alive system, and it seems that a lesson was only half learned from that, too.

This is going to now be handed off to players to critique if they find something here arguable.
 

Naelwyn

Non sum qualis eram
#2
Okay. So.

Again, I'm currently in a phase of trying to, one last time, put effort into reconciliation between myself and others and others and others here. You raise a number of valid points Thede, but in a decidedly aggressive or adversarial tone. I am not, however, going to jump down your throat for that.

The aggressive tone is born from frustration and that frustration comes from care, dashed hopes, and optimism that didn't pan out. That you're angry right now means that you actually care what happens on the server, and I'm not going to neglect or ignore that in my response either.

But I am also going to take a step towards being a moderating influence here, and I'm going to say some things in defense of staff that, to my knowledge, have actually somehow gone unsaid. There've been folks attacking them and folks.. defending them (Primarily by attacking the attackers.)

I.. will be taking a different tack.

For starters... and a mild bit of empathy - If I was Lannis at the moment I cannot /remotely/ imagine running events to be a fun or enjoyable task at the moment, which means I'd proobably not be doing it. I'd be slow in responding to stuff out of a lack of enthusiasm. I can empathize wholeheartedly with Lannis because well shit, that's exactly how I felt running lore for more than a year of it. It's the very definition of a hostile work environment and folks can absolutely be prone to burnout.

Conversely, however, and also drawing from my own prior experience with this community - when I felt completely toasted and burnt out, I arranged succession planning and eventually passed on my duties to Cherry, so I could refocus and do something else. I say unto you with all fairness in mind - if you aren't having fun doing what you're doing, stop it and relax for a bit and maybe see if some spark comes back. Folks would much rather hear from you in honesty if this is the situation than carry on otherwise.



[Continued. Submitting current things as I continue to edit as my browser be going funky.]


Continuation Pt1:

You know, frankly it's totally fine for folks to critique the Broken Moon campaign. It happened to be my first public 'major' campaign, and it only became that by surprise, as originally it was something quite akin to what would be called a player event nowadays. That it focused on people was.. somewhat unsurprising as it was originally planned as a kind of private D&D fashioned romp through the setting.

It took time and rough edges to get better at running events for the masses, rough edges that, once the community got used to seeing smooth, they absolutely did not like seeing again when they suddenly came back.

This unfortunate situation is caused by a combination of issues, not the least of which being in the way staff things shook up, there was no successor training - folks just got dropped right into the role. Even worse for Lannis, who got dropped into his position midway through someone else's campaign.

If you actually step outside of things and look at it from the outside for a while (I know I've most certainly considered it dispassionately in our long journey) - at some point you do gotta give folks a bit of slack because they never got the chance to learn the same way before all eyes were upon them.

ALSO in fairness, however, I must find myself constructively critiquing the disconnect between your Lore Team and Events. That /must/ be continually remedied because together those teams form the story. I have good hopes going forward for Archbishop, so far, after speaking with him, but there remains a disconnect that folks must work to mend, between your lore co-ordination, your events team, and probably the 4 nearly-independent magic schools.

I'm not sure how particularly to end this, and, though I am /trying/ here, I still find myself put off by the abject hostility I've gotten since starting this. I can also see that folks are reactionary, gunshy, and, I suppose, "Ready to go to battlestations immediately".

I suppose the one thing it's fair to say, fair for everybody to say, is that the current situation is regrettable, and that we don't want to stay this way. Let's work on that, together.

- Naelwyn
 
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Somnastra

Puppycat Herder
Retired Staff
#3
Because I have no impulse control...

I can empathize wholeheartedly with Lannis because well shit, that's exactly how I felt running lore for more than a year of it. It's the very definition of a hostile work environment and folks can absolutely be prone to burnout.
I must find myself constructively critiquing the disconnect between your Lore Team and Events. That /must/ be continually remedied because together those teams form the story. I have good hopes going forward for Archbishop, so far, after speaking with him, but there remains a disconnect that folks must work to mend, between your lore co-ordination, your events team, and probably the 4 nearly-independent magic schools.
Quoted for truth.

I can't offer critique of things I will continue to actively avoid, but I will say this: one of the biggest things that I believe was done right under cherbert was the way that lore and events were very closely tied. And without going into details, when it because clear that neither Mich nor Nael were going to continue in those capacities, I tried to maintain that close association by working hard with Cherry to find an events coordinator who would listen to the existing lore and work constructively with both she and myself. Antilogy was able to do this within that particular team (in fact we sent him back to the drawing board like three or four times), and we tried hard (and failed) to change the nature of events to be less taxing on any one staff member, but he did not have the respect of the playerbase (no one did, I wonder if anyone does) nor the raw talent needed to overcome the inherent lack of benefit of the doubt being allowed to him, and chose not to tough it out to try and get better in the same way Nael did. In his opinion (and I kinda think he was right), it wasn't worth it. I made the same choice.

In the end all three of us made the same choice. That says something, I think.

This is the biggest thing that bothered me about what we were arguing about the other night. No one's going to be perfect right out of the gate, though, especially when you're trying something new, which is I think the biggest part of what Naelwyn is saying. And let's remember that Mich's campaigns weren't without their major problems, either. It's not going to be perfect. (I almost typed pervfect, lel). But... it's been almost two years now since I left, you guys.

In my opinion, if that link and cooperation is missing between these three aspects (magic, lore, events), then that is as issue. But I think one Solus is responsible for recognizing and addressing, and one which I think she's more than capable of. :)
 

Rygan

Rygan.
Mystic
Rygan_
Rygan_
LegendMystic
#4
From speaking to Archbishop, Lannis (I'm not going to say the events team when Elz has been hosting events and doing things properly) acts without going through lore fully. Which is an odd thought, since he's on lore. If life's leading to burn out and a shitty time, that's fine. I'm not calling for a head or saying that demotion is the only route - but the event coordinator is required for literally anything official to move forward. The man's a good DM and always come to events when asked to. However, that doesn't excuse our moon being purple for the past 4 months because he hasn't moved anything forward. I get life getting in the way. I was a shit Magus who didn't the time or will to teach, and felt burn out. So I stepped down from a leadership position and helped where I could. My point is you don't have to be coordinator to still be on the event team.
 

Naelwyn

Non sum qualis eram
#6
From speaking to Archbishop, Lannis (I'm not going to say the events team when Elz has been hosting events and doing things properly) acts without going through lore fully. Which is an odd thought, since he's on lore. If life's leading to burn out and a shitty time, that's fine. I'm not calling for a head or saying that demotion is the only route - but the event coordinator is required for literally anything official to move forward. The man's a good DM and always come to events when asked to. However, that doesn't excuse our moon being purple for the past 4 months because he hasn't moved anything forward. I get life getting in the way. I was a shit Magus who didn't the time or will to teach, and felt burn out. So I stepped down from a leadership position and helped where I could. My point is you don't have to be coordinator to still be on the event team.
Literally all Magi experienced burnout at some point, or didn't have time. Thaaaat's why ittt wass scraaaappped.