The Producer's Dilemma

TiurTiur ProducerMember, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 472 admin
So, let's make some lemonade, and I'll explain why the admin responded how we did, and also spike said lemonade as I present to you the quandry that I too often find myself in.

Setting the scene: A very large amount of commodities were stolen from a city by a player who was planted there. The goal was to undermine the concept of Redemption, and the player came from a guild who has the stated goal of being subversive. The city has the stated goal of being devoted to the divine.

The Divine cursed said guild into the dirt, and did not uncurse until the comms were returned. The comms were returned, the curses were lifted... mostly.

Let's start with things from above as I see it.

The Syssin specifically avoided stealing gold or credits. Both would have been harder, but both are egregious. Their response to the curses was not a complaint to the admin, it was a literal statement of "Oh heck, no skills. We're going to have to RP our way out of this." The game itself has no rule against robbing a city in this manner, in other IRE games it is far more normal. It is only by virtue of Aetolia's community standards being so high that we're even having the discussion, as opposed to just watching PK. However, their stated goal was met: Enorian's belief in redemption has been kicked in the pants.

Enorian played to their stated goal of being about Redemption. They were trusting, perhaps too much so, but they followed what they're supposed to be about. Mistakes were made.

We lack a conflict system that can handle the war that could come from this. We have no means by which for Enorian players to force the return of their goods. I felt that this was reason for the solution to be Admin oriented. I WILL ACCEPT CRITICISM FOR THIS, of course! We started with the most obvious solution; Enorian is a city devoted to their Divine, so let's let that be the first line. Curses were issued in terrifying manners. The consequences were... unexpectedly large. We actually stealth-added a change that curses do not reduce skills below Adept, but the damage was done. Anyway, curses that big and 'scary' were a group discussion and decision.

Side topic here: Those level of curses on an org generally need Paid Staff approval, and they always have caveats. No rogue God will take away an org's skills for an extended period of time without that, it'd be bad business, frankly. A 100 day anything doesn't exist without one of us Producers or A.Producers standing there. In fact, a 100-day skill nerf WOULDN'T happen. It's just a number used for effect. At that point we might as well be banning people, or shrubbing.

With this, we thought we had set the stage to a point of fair conflict. An action without mechanical recourse was performed (orgtheft), the punishment was an act without mechanical recourse (curses). Note that the pressure for administrative response was large, but this was as far as we were going until some RP hit. We decided on some soft time limits, to keep this reasonable: I was not removing a player's ability to play the game for more than 24 hours, and we needed Enorian back on its feet within 48. We're a game, and games need to be PLAYED.

But all that needed responses that were larger. Aussie players needed a chance to chime in. Spinesreach' leader wasn't even online!

We didn't get there. The Syssin felt their point was made, and the curses were massive, commodities were given back.

There's how I viewed it and what we did. Now, as to the spike for our lemonade... Please forgive my bluntness here.

Syssin didn't break any rules. They went out of their way not to. What they did was break community standards and hurt players. In any IRE other than Aetolia, that's just Tuesday. It's something that happens often enough that groans would be the response. Of course, those games have recourses we lack.

I set some rules for myself when I took the job: I want to be fair, and I want to look at the game from as many perspectives as possible, not just my own. (My perspective is that I hate theft, and I think it adds nothing. Very little in the game is truly YOURS, and theft is the one thing that can take that away. It doesn't 'encourage conflict', it just takes from those hit. But that's just my PoV, I don't want to invalidate how others play the game.)

Being fair, Syssin didn't do anything to warrant true Admin response (IE: Tiur/Raz/Keroc response). IC god response was as far as we should go, along with RP to try to show that we stood with community standards. But I, Tiur, am not going to shrub someone. I feel a true dilemma: The Syssin have been short changed, they received very little beyond morale victories for a GREAT deal of IC work. Everyone else has been devastated, essentially punished for being accepting and nice as a community. A judgement for either direction feels wrong for punishing the other direction. As many, many have told me in the last 24 hours, I don't envy my position.

Of course, I have players quitting. People I value are devastated. I want to do something. So there's my constant quandry: I do not want to punish when no rules were broken, but I very much want to deal with people for giving me a headache and making the game less fun as a whole.

I'm interested in your opinions. There are questions raised by this sort of thing that really pushes the role of Producer. Perhaps I should make a sort of mission statement, so you know the type of experience I'd prefer to curate?

NOTE: Debate is fine, no attacks. And I know I say this often, but it doesn't sink in: I am not, nor ever will be, an arbiter in things outside Aetolia or this forum. I cannot take into account what happens OOCly. No amount of logs, screenshots, etc can really change this, it's just not what my role is. If I was there, sure... but anyone sneaky knows better than to let me in chats about breaking the rules.

--------------------
PS. The title is a reference to the Prisoner's Dilemma, in which you use statistics and game theory to show that mathematically, the best choice is to always be an unicorns. However, human systems find ways to be nice and work out ways that are mutually semi-beneficial. Unexpectedly so, since math says "Be a jerk".
RazmaelTenshyoAnteheNilsNahuaqueZailaSatomiShachalaiIllidanArbreOonaghRhyotKynaTeaniSeirVyxsisNolaSofiel
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Comments

  • NahuaqueNahuaque Member Posts: 23 ✭✭
    @Tiur This is the main problem. Aetolia has no consequences.

    I mean this in the most literal way possible.

    None of my characters care about dying. Because mechanics determine RP, and dying doesn't matter.

    No one on the other side can do ANYTHING to hurt my character.

    Except theft or killing characters that my character likes. Nothing else matters. If you don't want theft, then what are the consequential actions that can be taken beyond that? I actually have a proposal via the PvP system.

    Perhaps getting killed by another player character should cause a debuf and a buff should be given for killing. When you are killed by a player character -2 to all stats for a predetermined period of time (an hour, howling, whatever) and when you kill a player buff that person with +1 to all stats. Let it stack up to +10/-10 either way. Or pick a different number.

    Your team is full of weak combatants who keep getting killed and coming back? Well being resurrected takes a tole on you. It's draining. You get weaker and weaker while the others gain strength from killing you.

    Whatever happens if you don't want org theft or theft on a grand scale there has to be something that is at least temporarily consequential.
    Seir
  • SatomiSatomi Member Posts: 312 ✭✭✭
    edited March 8
    @Tiur I think you made the right move, though I feel that the curses were thrown a bit too swiftly.

    By that, I mean that I personally think that it should've been a curse per like.. 4 hours or something, basically done in such a way as to say "Look. The longer you take to fix this, the worse this will get."

    I dunno if gods can have multiple types of curses on people, but I would've dropped Syssin skills down to adept in the first wave, then started applying stat debuff pressures and such the longer it went (because we can all still hunt with adept skills, as much as it would suck.)

    Then again, I did mention previously that that didn't affect me at all, and it's really difficult to weigh the effectiveness of curses as a catalyst for RP resolutions.

    I do think everything did happen to fast, though. Emotion was flaring so by the time everything sort of sunk in and people started calming a bit, it was already over. In fact, Satomi wanted to give it a week so that she could start vocalizing the negotiating power Spines now had to earn something from all this.

    I think currently, the best way to resolve this is to limit the Aide's ability to throw more than like.. 1000 of a resource up on the market from their warehouse stock every 12 hours. That way, at best, a rogue agent would be able to steal 1000 of every resource and 12 hours is more than enough time for org leaders to be like "Why is our available ash at 0 and the logs say that someone reduced the price of it to 1?

    Edit: Also, don't let them play with quartermaster stock... and.. yeah, that's about it. Then it's on the comm minister to manage how much is currently available, so that there is no theft... cause if Eno had 40k ash available for sale at any one time, that's kinda on them.

    NahuaqueTeani
  • ShachalaiShachalai Member Posts: 96 ✭✭✭
    edited March 8
    I think that Aishia's sentiment in the prior thread, and the solutions which might follow from it (a la Faerah's suggestions in the same thread), are the most reasonable.

    Direct access to resources in such a fashion should be curtailed. Something of this degree happening should not be possible - not without a lot more work.

    I agree with Satomi's overall sentiment that org theft should be possible, shouldn't be against the rules. What specifically galls me about this instance was the fact that we had no reasonable counter either before or after the fact - and also, the degree of the harm inflicted, which was disproportionate to the few errors we made.

    Absent a conflict system - which I know better than to ask for - I think those limitations are the best solution that can also be implemented in a reasonable amount of time.

    EDIT: But really, we need a conflict system - and we need meaningful ways of imposing consequence that aren't out of proportion like this was.

    (EDIT #2 - some minor adjustments to language.)
  • NahuaqueNahuaque Member Posts: 23 ✭✭
    @Satomi I agree with what you're saying here.

    Part of my frustration with this situation is that it was resolved quickly and the magnificent fruit of this long term IC deception didn't get to be played out properly.

    But what else are people supposed to do? Guards are incredibly tough these days, gold is abundant, how can you actually do something, anything, that has a consequence? To me, theft seems like the last thing that actually matters.
    MykellahKalak
  • SatomiSatomi Member Posts: 312 ✭✭✭
    edited March 8
    @Nahuaque It all boils down to a system of retaliation, I think.

    In Imperian, when someone steals your stuff, there were massive wars raged. Towns loyal to those cities were devastated. Etc.

    Achaea has their whole raiding system that sort of seems like a minigame at this point, what with tanks blowing up with devastation based on kills, and then having to rebuild those rooms.

    Lusternia has their weird, esoteric planar raid/power thing going on, plus influence wars and the like.

    We just lack the ability to retaliate. Like so many people have said before me. There was no way to really capitalize on the opportunity this could have been. I mean, if I wanted to throw out ideas that would work in a more free-form game, Enorian could have contacted Satomi and suggested that they'll pay a sum of gold or ash to let Satomi fight to argue that Spines won this whole conflict while she steadily supplied them with resources until X amount was returned over the course of 10 IG years.

    Due to strict logging (which I adore, btw), and a lot of mechanical restrictions, (without admin assistance, btw), this would've been far too difficult to manage without getting caught, so a more blunt approach was necessary. That, and it all happened so fast that no alternative routes could be explored.

    It's just a matter of retaliation, and the capability to level the playing field.

    I will say, my above suggestion would've been a really casual way to allow Spinesreach and the Syssin to remain 'punished' for a ridiculous amount of time while Satomi would profit on the side. Very Spirean, that :P

    (edit:) when you can't retaliate, you're pretty much left with figuring out ways to prevent things from happening in the first place. It can limit RP options, on one hand, but you don't have explosions like this on the other.

    (edit2:) I want to say that if there was a form of retaliation that could punish this theft adequately, short of god-slamming (which I stated before, was definitely necessary regardless of whether there was retaliation or not available), this could've been a drawn out RP arc. But due to Enorian's options being severely limited due to mechanics and the ability of Spines to just outright dismiss Enorian until they started to flag, (I mean, we had their comms, we could survive a siege and they can't sustain one) this did have to be resolved quickly, one way or another. The 48 hour time frame @Tiur mentioned was more than adequate.

    Nahuaque
  • SatomiSatomi Member Posts: 312 ✭✭✭
    100% approval on the change to Trade. Now the Quartermaster is actually useful (since I genuinely never considered why I would put anything in there until this incident happened).

    Also, I always support adding layers of security! Now I have a reason to bother my Treasurer outside of demanding why gold was pulled from my ministry.

    Now to.. figure out who the treasurer is... >.>

    Nahuaque
  • KalakKalak Member Posts: 252 ✭✭✭
    edited March 8
    The conduct of the admin in this particular event was highly unprofessional because 100 RL days of disfavor on four different gods will undoubtedly send a clear message to the players: Admin WANTS this to happen or else... It is fairly irrelevant whether there was an actual intention or it was just to scare them into submission, it was a very hasty and overpowered reaction which smells purely OOC from all sides.

    First of all it did not allow players to play out the crisis and the likely outcome was that Enorian either bandaging their wounds or starting to negotiate with Spirean officials to recover what they can in exchange of perhaps some concessions even. It would be more fun and productive to let people ride this out instead of nuking a guild which plays its role into ground and scaring them in such a manner.

    Personally when I logged in, it felt quite exciting for once... I thought there would be actual meaty stuff going on where my character can report the ongoings. Then I learn commodities are returned after a massive curse-barrage upon the guild. Yeah...nothing much changed except the hurt feelings. So...why even bother? If players cannot make an impact upon the game, if they will meet with OOC pressure whenever someone has hurt feelings over an event...then it really lowered my faith in the playerbase and the game.

    Also at this point credibility of corrupt, manipulative Gods has been damaged beyond reparation in my eyes for they did not stand up for this act at all. Might as well delete them if Admin will rebuff the few acts which causes a real crisis situation through manipulation, which could end up with domination of one side for awhile.

    Now @Toz says "The well has been poisoned" actually the well was already poisoned but people simply noticed that when a good number of people are affected. There should be a reason the conflict stagnates. There should be a reason some guilds keep trying to pick their pieces after a long time, remaining in "rebuilding(tm)" state. There should be a reason some cities are hurting for players. But truly I am tired to state them out at this point.

    Right now this very outcome feels like that Aetolia is very far from what it advertises. It is neither a dark fantasy, nor a dangerous world because players cannot accept a loss and swallow the bitter pill. And admin supports that safe approach to the bone.
    EliadonTozShachalaiOonaghMihaketiTenshyoSeirNahuaqueLeana
  • ShachalaiShachalai Member Posts: 96 ✭✭✭
    I am going to need anybody who thinks that the admin were severely out of line, or that what was done was Atarah and Fezzix was okay, to give me a point-by-point refutation of both Tiur and Toz's posts on this thread, because as far as I am concerned they are the definitive explanations of why this was a problem and why we shouldn't just accept what happened as being business-as-usual.

    @Kalak, you're absolutely wrong on every possible count. Your entire game-playing philosophy is absurd and heartless.
    KalakMihaketiTeaniSeirNahuaqueSessizlikSofiel
  • LinLin SMASHER/DEVOURER MASCHINEKLASTMember Posts: 1,568 mod
    edited March 8
    Amazing. Let me kill you non-stop for a week straight and name it a crisis, we'll see how fun the game is for you. I'm Spirit, you're Shadow. I'm playing out a role.
    Kalak
  • KalakKalak Member Posts: 252 ✭✭✭
    Lin said:

    Amazing. Let me kill you non-stop for a week straight and name it a crisis, we'll see how fun the game is for you. I'm Spirit, you're Shadow. I'm playing out a role.

    Go ahead. If that is how you get your fun. Of course if you are willing to enjoy the consequences.
    TekiasEliadonTozOonaghShachalaiNahuaque
  • TenshyoTenshyo Member Posts: 382 ✭✭✭
    Lets keep this the way the thread was intended, for civilities sake.

    TekiasOonaghSatomiTeani
  • OonaghOonagh Member Posts: 53 ✭✭✭
    edited March 8
    As a humble frog, beating chests is not the solution.

    I will say this in a rather unbiased position here, the situation as a whole for a group of administrators and volunteers is a difficult one. There is no solid line of right and wrong, there is no solution that will appease all parties involved. These threads are intended to deduce a way to assist the playerbase and find the needles in the haystack that can help reweave a damaged tapestry of a game who despite our disagreements and perspectives, is something we inherently enjoy or have some semblance of investment into.

    There is also a consideration that our administrators and volunteers are human...
    They have lives outside the game, they have good days and bad days, and we should respect them as thus, we should value that they are willing to take the time and seek input in a civilised manner. There is no button we can push to make everything kosher. However, there is a manner in which we can deal with this maturely and to seek result.

    Every moment taken revisiting an already dealt solution, is detracting from things like, mage revamps, new systems of conflict, and furthermore advancement of a rich story that we love and keeps us in aetolia as players. Lets be conducive to solutions and touching on ways to help rather than point fingers and make the situation worse. It is what it is, but in the end.....its just text.

    I thought for a long time before posting, and I think we all need to just take a moment to reflect.

    Thank you for letting me have this soapbox a moment and thank you to the people who are contributing with thoughts and ideas rather than being destructive and snapping at others for something they have little investment in personally.
    Oonagh has been slain by the might of the toxic atmosphere of Ulangi.
    IshinMihaketiSatomiXenia
  • RasaniRasani Member Posts: 160 ✭✭✭
    I'm just gonna not. I'll let the players I lost speak for me.
  • SatomiSatomi Member Posts: 312 ✭✭✭
    I mean.. for an 'event' that was this big.. we could all just do what I did and scream at admins and ask for an opinion/clarification. Heck, they might even have ideas to make it a real event if it is good enough.

    (dunno if the leadership wants to deal with a sudden influx of requests and ideas along this vein, though)

    Kalak
  • KalakKalak Member Posts: 252 ✭✭✭
    edited March 8
    Satomi said:

    I mean.. for an 'event' that was this big.. we could all just do what I did and scream at admins and ask for an opinion/clarification. Heck, they might even have ideas to make it a real event if it is good enough.

    (dunno if the leadership wants to deal with a sudden influx of requests and ideas along this vein, though)

    It would be fairly more time-conserving to learn self-determination at the face of such events instead of going to the Admin. Otherwise, might as well let the organizations to be led by Admin as well.

    By the way, this was a real event with real outcomes, hence the outrage. Real events are not popular apparently. Some Aetolian players are quite accustomed to have soft cushions and safety tapes covering their events as far as I see.
    NahuaqueXiomara
  • IllidanIllidan Pray AreaMember Posts: 976 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I think the tldr of this whole scenario boils down to players once again feeling like the game lacks meaningful conflict, because it does. The conflict we do have is horrendously flawed and can be easily abused. 

    What is going to be done to fix this and move forward as this is a relatively deep seated issue?
                                    
                 Faaaaaaaaaaabulous!                                          Adorable!                                                               UHMAYZING!

    Calipso has been slain by the divine might of Razmael, the Synthesist.

    Illidan said: You already knew that there's some dumb-as-unicorns attention mongering wanna-be troll going around and robbing people.
    Calipso said: For the first time on the forums, Im actually 100% in agreement with Illidan.
    NahuaqueXeniaZailaIrruel
  • SatomiSatomi Member Posts: 312 ✭✭✭
    @Kalak

    I just mean that if the consequences are so massive that the end result is really just curse bombing.

    Like Toz said earlier, if it had been 10% of their comms, this'd be a non-issue that would still have consequences. The problem that a lot of people have is just the sheer scale and the lack of restraint on the thieving party. It's akin to stealing the money out of someone's wallet vs. identity theft. They both suck, but one doesn't completely ruin your life.

    Self-governance doesn't help much if a few people take it upon themselves to go above and beyond, and if we can't govern our own hunger, sometimes a third-party weighing in could provide some much-needed clarity and restraint.

  • MihaketiMihaketi Member Posts: 86 ✭✭✭
    Kalak said:

    It would be fairly more time-conserving to learn self-determination at the face of such events instead of going to the Admin. Otherwise, might as well let the organizations to be led by Admin as well.

    By the way, this was a real event with real outcomes, hence the outrage. Real events are not popular apparently. Some Aetolian players are quite accustomed to have soft cushions and safety tapes covering their events as far as I see.

    You have completely swapped out any attempt at having an empathetic or nuanced view of your fellow players in favour of being a smug, passive-aggressive, tunnel-vision tool with a superiority complex. It's completely repellent. Why are you continuing to post in these threads when you are so much better than the rest of us? When are you going to pike off to your very own MUD where you run your competitors into the ground with your amazing skills and knowledge? Believe me, given the way you're taking a huge steaming dump on every single person who doesn't agree with you that Enorian should have shut up and accepted being completely neutered for the forseeable future, it would be the best outcome for everyone involved.
    TekiasKalakKodaSessizlikArbreAlamea
  • KalakKalak Member Posts: 252 ✭✭✭
    Mihaketi said:


    You have completely swapped out any attempt at having an empathetic or nuanced view of your fellow players in favour of being a smug, passive-aggressive, tunnel-vision tool with a superiority complex. It's completely repellent. Why are you continuing to post in these threads when you are so much better than the rest of us? When are you going to pike off to your very own MUD where you run your competitors into the ground with your amazing skills and knowledge? Believe me, given the way you're taking a huge steaming dump on every single person who doesn't agree with you that Enorian should have shut up and accepted being completely neutered for the forseeable future, it would be the best outcome for everyone involved.

    So you are essentially saying "Love or Leave" huh? I think that speaks volumes for your player mentality.

    Way to lose more players in the long run.
    OonaghTekiasMihaketiShachalaiEliadonNahuaqueSessizlik
  • MihaketiMihaketi Member Posts: 86 ✭✭✭
    edited March 8
    No. You've grandstanded this thread, as you always seem to do with threads, as a vehicle for your skewed and poisonous approach to player interaction. KYNA EDIT: Not required.
    Post edited by Kyna on
    TekiasKalakNahuaqueSessizlikArbre
  • ShachalaiShachalai Member Posts: 96 ✭✭✭
    Illidan said:

    I think the tldr of this whole scenario boils down to players once again feeling like the game lacks meaningful conflict, because it does. The conflict we do have is horrendously flawed and can be easily abused. 

    What is going to be done to fix this and move forward as this is a relatively deep seated issue?

    There have already been some fixes made, in order to prevent a theft of this magnitude from occurring again. As a stopgap measure, I'm completely satisfied.

    But I agree that there needs to be a more substantive means of addressing conflict in the long term. Whether that's an update to the present system or the incorporation of a new system entirely, something more basic has to change.

    My favored solution is a war system in which territory is broken up by area - most areas can simply be occupied, contested, or claimed, while villages and cities get a little more complicated. There were some interesting ideas along this line during the Juxa Steelhew event; combining that with a few Paradox-style touches could create something special.

    I think it's vital that no matter what system of conflict we make central, three things have to be true about it.

    - One, limited; there has to be downtime. Not only overall downtime where a war isn't running, but downtime so that people can sleep, eat, live lives, etc etc without feeling obligated to the game. A lot of us have stuff going on! We don't want to lose out because the game's forcing us to fit its schedule.

    - Two, consequences; nothing that prevents an org from functioning, but consequences ranging from the mild to the severe should be an element of this system. If people mess up, catastrophically and repeatedly, they should lose out in a way that feels meaningful, but they should still have a way to come back no matter what. I'm in favor of a potential war system being zero-sum, this way, for reasons I'll get into in point three.

    - Three, significance; the rewards you gain from participating in the conflict should be necessary. The ylem system we have now isn't zero-sum, because, as has been mentioned previously, everyone can easily get enough ylem, and the conflict you sometimes get in addition is peanuts to that. There's no reason to go to any particular lesser; no motivating stakes. That would have to be different in a war system.

    Not that this really needs to be hammered home, but the game's absence of meaningful conflict is probably my single biggest quibble with it. I have a lot of criticisms of how things are done in Aetolia, and my love for the game is about as conflicted as I'd like Aetolia to be.

    No one here is saying that it's a binary choice between "love the game in all possible aspects" or "leave."

    We'd just really prefer the criticism to be good-faith criticism, and for players to be largely civil and sympathetic to one another, without trying to dismiss, belittle, or otherwise invalidate people as a standard response.

    That doesn't feel like it's that hard a concept.
    TekiasMihaketiNahuaqueArbre
  • TrikalTrikal Member Posts: 152 ✭✭✭
    Can I just say that the one thing I think done poorly on the Admin side, regardless of who or what or whatever, was that I was cursed not only, but first by Ethne who is not linked to Enorian in any obvious way, instead of Omei? There is a fourth god that easily could've done it, but Ethne was the one who started it all off, and uhh, that was a clearer sign than any that despite it being IC it was quite a bit more than Enorian petitioning it's divine counsel or whatever for aid through prayer.
    Nahuaque
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