I wrote this some time back after someone asked me 'What does being a leader mean to you?' in terms of the game. I wrote this up for that person and then kind of let it sit. I showed it to @Moirean about a month ago and she urged me to post it here, but I refused. I actually asked her to post it instead of me, because I felt that the words would be taken more seriously coming from her. Either way, these are my thoughts on the roles of leadership in the game and in general. Have something to add? Post it in this thread.
What does it take to be a great leader? Elections in MUD’s can often be reduced to a popularity contest, a successful mudslinging campaign, or sometimes even a metagamed coup based off of inactivity and a stealthy contention, but what happens once the new players come into power? What are their goals, their aspirations?
Typically, when a player attains a leadership position through a hostile takeover, they are of the belief that everything that was done before is inherently wrong and must therefore be replaced or changed. This is not true. New leaders should carefully look over every part of an organization to decide what works and what doesn’t. Is your novice system something that a casual gamer can accomplish in their spare time? You’re probably on the right track. Does it require them to read 30 books and write an essay? You should change that. Change for the sake of change often leads to confusion, especially in the casual gamer that plays maybe once or twice a week. It may take them months in the real world to complete a novice program because they only login once in a while and constantly changing through political turmoil leads to confusion and disinterest. Would you like it if you were training for a new job and every time you got close to being certified fit for duty they changed the requirements?
To be a good leader, you must be engaging. Resist the urge to give those who supported you favorable positions and immediately cease hostilities towards those you just beat out in an election. You won, but constantly harassing the loser until they either quit the game or switch sides isn’t just bad manners, it’s bad for the game. For a game to grow and thrive, it must have an active, engaged community. And if you became a city leader, you just signed up for the most thankless job in a MUD environment.
The job requirements of a Guildmaster are to grow your organization by nurturing new players into productive, responsible players. You are entrusted by your fellow players and the games administration to help new players learn and grow the game, so that more resources can be put back into the realm, so that the realm can expand, and so that a profit can be turned to keep the realm in operation. It’s a big responsibility. Don’t use your position to look down on new players or pawn the newbie off on someone else. Don’t use your position to try and ‘mudsex’ out of new players. Consider your position akin to a manager at any popular business: if it’s illegal to do it in the workplace, don’t do it in the game.
City leaders have a different task, and one that can be a lot more rewarding and yet stressful at the same time. Your job is to gather groups of players (guilds) and have them get along, despite potentially conflicting roleplay elements. Having a guild full of orderly Knights and insane Zealots in one city can be a tough act to juggle, but it’s your job to keep them not only getting along, but fight against negativity between them so that they can do their jobs, which is nurture the new playerbase. You’re also responsible for the broader enjoyment of the game, as city’s often wield greater power to influence happiness than individual guilds. This is perhaps the hardest lesson of all: your job now is to do what is best for the game and the enjoyment of your players, and not necessarily what is best for you or your own personal roleplay.
The last part of leadership is knowing when it’s time to move on. Often, players will hold onto positions for months or even years after they’ve had enough and have lost sight of the goals. If you’re not helping others get enjoyment, or pushing towards organizational goals, but hold onto the position to simply hold the status quo, then it is time to move on. Even a great leader doesn’t last forever, and the moment you quit moving forward you begin moving backwards.
Last, but not least, if you’re going to contest for a position, don’t do it because you don’t like the person having the position. I don’t like X is never a good enough reason to contest for a position; instead, you should always contest because you can improve the organization. One of the worst things that can happen is for a popular character to remove a bad leader from a position and then sit on the position with absolutely no forward momentum. Elections naturally build momentum, and you should ride it into greater things, even if you lose, because sometimes a contention is all that’s needed to kick a dormant leader into activity.
Message #17059 Sent By: Oleis Received On: 1/03/2014/17:24
"If it makes you feel better, just checking your artifact list threatens to crash my mudlet."