A place to compile concerns

piggs

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There’s currently a lot of fear that feedback won’t be received, that the team may hold personal resentments towards the base, or even get defensive as a result. I think that this has had a negative impact on the OOC environment here. I think we should make an effort to prove that this isn’t true and dedicate a public thread to server/lore concerns for a while. This doesn’t necessarily have to involve debate, and I don’t want us to attack each other. I also feel that it would be inappropriate to use tickets, and that players should all be aware of any unease happening right now.

Before anyone posts anything, I'd like to ask the admin team: would it be okay if I and any other willing players were to post our general thoughts, criticisms, and concerns regarding the state of the server?
 

Pika

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Everyone is absolutely allowed to post their thoughts, especially when it comes to the state of the server. Just keep everything to this thread so that it's organized!
 

JoeCoolxD

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I am writing this as a player who has concerns about decisions made by admins of late and how I fear they may jeopardise the entire server if they aren't addressed. Most of you know me quite well, and should know that if I'd reached this point there should be a good reason for it. As well as, it's not just me who thinks and feels these things. These are actual issues your player base has, that are not being addressed.

I am going to carefully lay out a few points in no particular order, of the problems we players have been facing that we feel are being ignored:


1) OOC influencing. It is something that is meant to be against the rules, yet players seem to be punished for this one where as admins don't. Even when an admin is actively encouraging the player to put their character in danger, it is overlooked. Admins have even encouraged characters to turn on other characters to suit their own agenda.


2) Character importance and immunities. Admins have the unique ability to be able to spawn in all the items they want, and build the lore around their character. This is abused with smaller things, like characters becoming absurdly rich without IC effort. But also in a much grander scale, by the admins making their characters heavily focused in the lore and how it develops.

I don't think I need to explain why this is bad. The writer and director of movies don't star themselves as the main character or antagonist. In RP it's naturally different, but the design is meant to be that admins facilitate RP and that the player characters are the stars of the show. Having the lore revolve around characters who're essentially Gods who cannot die is just poor writing and clearly unfair. I've heard stories of admin characters surviving things player characters never would, and without loss of limbs either.


3) Event difficulty and character trauma. Yes we are playing in an apocalypse and yes, all the wacky stuff that happens is part of the fun. But lately it seems these events are designed to be overly difficult, when the system is experimentary. Going up against ridiculous odds, in which we risk loss of life and limb, barely surviving each encounter is not a great way to go.

I get it, big flashy moments can be fun. But if every battle is one where the group barely survives and can hardly take on a group of NPCs, I think you're going the exact wrong way about this. Again it points back to what I said earlier. The players are main characters of the lore, these events should be designed to make them look awesome and develop them some more. Not blow them up and force them to spend the next week in recovery as well as suffer crippling effects.

My suggestion on this one is really easy and I don't think it's too difficult a compromise for you guys. Just tone it way back for a bit. Let the players get used to the system and feel like they can actually complete a single mission without having 3+ wounded every time.


4) Ticket complaints.
This is where the biggest issues come in I think, and why none of the other issues are getting properly acknowledged. You installed a rule where server stuff can't be discussed in OOC at all, no DMs or such. But you perhaps don't realize how much you're handcuffing the players and forcing a biased system on them.

I understand the desire to control what people see and hear, to limit disruption. But public discourse can be a good thing, there needs to be an open forum about these things. Criticism sucks, I know it. However, admins NEED to be able to accept criticism, to be open to feedback and concerns so that they can help the player improve their experience on the server.

The current system does not favour the players at all. Most will be too fearful to use the ticket, believing all it will inevitably do is make a pariah of themselves. The admins will review it, make their decision, then relay it to the person without a chance of it being overturned. Using excuses like 'we can't please everyone' and ‘we aren’t here to hand hold the player’ to justify not actually helping people with their concerns, and instead brushing their issues under the rug or projecting blame back onto them.


5) Fire Starting. This is the reason why I felt I had to come forward NOW instead of waiting for a fix. The recent bombing strikes me as OOC influenced. There is clearly a lot of tension in the air right now, people upset with people. I am worried that this has become 'Us versus them'. Admins versus players. And that the admins are now creating scenarios in which they bomb Monroe and other things, just to get back at the players for not acting as they want.

Again, admins are meant to be RP facilitators. The design is to help people find RP, create enjoyment for all. It seems that recently the focus may have shifted though, and I fear that the admins don't have our best interests at heart. I would like to see more events that help push forward the RP without causing direct harm to Monroe or it’s citizens. Please stop blowing everything up, quite literally.

---

Thank you for listening to some of my points, I hope you understand that this is just some of the views of a few of the players. We can't speak for everyone of course, but you should know this is not the opinion of one person. There are many of us who feel this way, it's just finding our voice is difficult with the system in place.

I know it is a stressful, thankless job that you feel people are being ungrateful about. But please.. Just work with us here, we don't want to be run off the server because of this. There's still time to communicate, to find a compromise that works for all.
 

piggs

Member
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13
Alright, so I didn’t want to include this in the OP because I didn’t want this thread to just be about me, but I’m burnt out. I’m retiring my character for now and moving on, because the animosity I’m sensing here is just not good for my emotional wellbeing--and it’s not fun.

Below is a list of the main issues I have with the current format and management of the lore. None of this is speculation; I’m confident that these are active problems. However, I’m not going to cite examples. There is no easy way to do that without targeting players or revealing sensitive IC information, and frankly I just want to start my hiatus instead of vehemently arguing points. Please just trust the general impression I’ve gotten over the past few months, as well as the past 2 or so years that I’ve been here.

(To clarify, when I mention admin characters here, I’m talking about actual player characters--not redshirts or side characters--that belong to admins. I’m also not talking about all of them. I’m not to specify who or the amount, it could be 1 player or it could be 10. Again, I am not interested in explicitly targeting anyone in this post.)

1- Admin characters sometimes have too much story importance. This is a huge one, and it happens in almost every lore that I’ve seen. Admins, specifically admins that serve to further the story, should not be constantly putting themselves front and center. The spotlight belongs to the players as a collective group.

2- Admin characters feel like they are playing out a power fantasy, under the precedent that no one will dare challenge them OOC. This is a more specific complaint, and not applicable to pretty much the entire team, but this is perhaps the biggest issue on the list. Players are NOT meat for the grinder. They are NOT notches to add to a belt. If you’re taking on the increased responsibility of an administrative role, you should not be personally killing/maiming players left and right (on your own character), bragging about it, and consequently taking story opportunities from other players. The increased mechanical resources, the potential for the story/lore manipulation, and administrative pull available to an admin allow them to do things to players that players themselves would never be able to.

3- Admins should avoid punishing the players through IC means. Unless they are actively doing something to endanger their character, do not force injury, disfigurement, death, loss of items, property damage, etc on them. They shouldn’t have to RP consequences because you don’t like something they did OOC.

4- Admins should adapt to what players want. I have talked to admins personally about this in the past and I admit that this looks like a tough one. It is not something I expect you guys to be able to immediately iron out, or blame you for. But if players are responding poorly to one thing, try something else. Don’t immediately shut them down, don’t tell them it’s their fault, or refuse to compromise. Doing so only stifles constructive criticism.

5- There is no need for every single event to be a harrowing near-death experience. It’s tiring and does nothing but weaken characters and paralyze the flow of the story. Leave lethality to player vs player events for the most part and cut back on the limb loss. There were many circumstances where admins could have intervened to lower the present threat, or not intervened with increased threats. Events should most often be fun ways to further the story.

6 - Don’t tell people to take things to tickets whenever they list a concern. It’s seen as a way to sweep glaring issues under the rug--and is likely stopping you guys from getting a lot of feedback that you reasonably should be getting. Make a dedicated channel in the discord or something for feedback. There needs to be a public discourse about the problems here, or the communication issues will eventually come to a head.

7 - Respect the player base. I am asking for the bare minimum here. Just show a modicum of respect. I don’t even need to go into detail here because I feel introspectively, certain people should know what I’m talking about. Players don’t provide the same amount of technical finesse/administrative power that admins do, but collectively they’re just as important. If they stopped showing up, that would be it. No server. Please stop scaring people off.

8 - Accept feedback. I already know that I’m going to get blasted with responses asking for proof, or counter-arguments to explain why actually, the players are wrong and this is all unsubstantiated. Please consider not doing this. This is what happens every time a lore is about to die, and it’s a part of the problem. It’s also probably contributing to the lack of feedback--people feel there’s no point because it always ends in an argument. I am not here to argue. I’m here to give my opinion and hope that you find it valuable.

This is the worst time I’ve had here in a long time, and it’s essentially the last straw. The admin vs player feud needs to stop, permanently. There needs to be open communication and more personal accountability. There is just no humility, there is no room for discussion. In worst-case scenarios, this even begins to feel like gaslighting and general abuse.

I know that there are still people that want this lore to happen, and I hope they have a good time, but I can’t participate anymore. Best of luck.
 

Roflmaozors

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Messages
26
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13
I will also pitch this out of concern for the community. What I’m about to say is not meant as a personal attack on admins, but will serve as a warning for the team if the server continues to go in this direction. We as players have been enduring through this lore with due diligence and believe me when I say that we have tried to push our own stories out for everyone’s enjoyment. The issues are not recent but rather a continuation of something more deep-rooted in the player/admin relationship environment from the start of this lore and even extending to previous lores that I have taken part in before.

My reasons for making this write-up are as follows, and I will not be providing examples as to not turn this into a personal attack and rather provide it as my own perspective and likely, also other players’ perspectives.

The current atmosphere lately has been that there is no room for debate, discussion, or middle ground and I feel like we should change that in order for a healthy community dynamic. There should be no reason players should fear that there will be backlash both OOC and IC for expressing an opinion. Again, this is not meant to be a personal attack but a formal expression of concerns. There is still a lot of credit due to you all as an admin team and I am not writing this for the entire team because not everyone is like this. And I am also thankful for the tireless effort to keep the server running, spending the time to manage a community, but there is still lots of room for improvement without driving players away. The deleted previous post is the exact type of energy that I am protesting about.

The power that admins have over the community. This one seems to be a no-brainer and any admin would have power over every player in terms of administration and moderating purposes. However, my concern stems from the idea that there is no means for players to challenge an admin without putting roleplay on the server into a grinding halt and take it into support tickets which is much slower and inefficient than dynamic public discourse. This also causes miscommunication on the admin side of the team due to the extra step that players have to take just to express an opinion, so they will simply not submit it at all.

Due to the nature of the events which are mostly designed to be high-risk and sometimes excessively brutal situations, players have been consistently forced to accept debilitating injuries, disfigurements, loss of items, etc. against NPCs that are meant to enhance roleplay experience, flavor, and shouldn’t be designed to be a detriment and equal to active player characters. I believe there should be a balance that possesses a reasonable challenge but not too difficult that it requires players to have to sit down for extensive periods of time for the mere reward of getting their limbs hacked off or banished into exhilarating clinic roleplay after every weekend after sitting down for 8 hours straight.

Sessions that are not based on fairness and rather based on how much the admin likes the character OOC is not fun and it is not worth our time and effort to play on the server. It gives the impression that some characters are more protected than others. We understand that player characters are not immune to damage and it is very evident as of recent but certain special, ‘essential’ characters should not be exempt from the same treatment.

Admin player characters have a tendency to possess or are deeply interconnected with furthering the story of the lore which takes away the extent that players can get involved. It should be just as advertised that it is the player’s story and not the story of the admin characters who have banded together with the ragtag group of player characters as sides; certain characters have been unironically tagged as main/event characters to the storyline and have been granted special leniency over every other character which is a terrible combination when normally it would be brutal for the average player but suddenly a cakewalk for the characters that are deemed to be special and untouchable.
 

El Cid

The Old Man
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Jonah I've communicated directly with you regarding your issues with the server. However, I may not have said the forums are available for discussion as well. So, to your points:

1) OOC influencing. It is something that is meant to be against the rules, yet players seem to be punished for this one where as admins don't. Even when an admin is actively encouraging the player to put their character in danger, it is overlooked. Admins have even encouraged characters to turn on other characters to suit their own agenda.

As far as this goes, I couldn't disagree more. Your point of contention seems to be a particular event where the lore master was dropping hints *to everyone*. The Lore Master position is allowed some leeway (as I explained to you directly previously), to help direct players to something they may be missing for the good of everyone's rp. For the record, I was there during the event you're referring to, and both Mind and myself told all players to react how they think they're characters would react. You claim that admins encourage people to turn on each other to 'suit their own agenda', which is nonsense. The fact is no one outside of the admin team knows most of what's going on server wide, and it's clear that any communications between disgruntled players is chocked full of holes and inaccuracies.


2) Character importance and immunities. Admins have the unique ability to be able to spawn in all the items they want, and build the lore around their character. This is abused with smaller things, like characters becoming absurdly rich without IC effort. But also in a much grander scale, by the admins making their characters heavily focused in the lore and how it develops.

I don't think I need to explain why this is bad. The writer and director of movies don't star themselves as the main character or antagonist. In RP it's naturally different, but the design is meant to be that admins facilitate RP and that the player characters are the stars of the show. Having the lore revolve around characters who're essentially Gods who cannot die is just poor writing and clearly unfair. I've heard stories of admin characters surviving things player characters never would, and without loss of limbs either.

So I'm going to be blunt here, this is horseshit Jonah. Admins can die just like everyone else. Also, there have been a few instances recently where players *clearly should have died* and were given second chances by allowing them to have more serious wounds. In fact, in the previous lore, when I was a player, *my character lost a limb in the same circumstances*. It's judged on a case by case basis. Yes, a admin *could* spawn all kinds items on themselves. That's why we have logs, and again, you are speaking without all the information here. I have had to issue warnings to admins already this lore for pushing things too far under purely mechanical means on their characters.

Let me be perfectly clear here though. The admins personal characters are on the same level as the player characters. We are unpaid, underappreciated and overworked, and while we do work to facilitate roleplay,
we are not unpaid interns here to 'make you the star'. This is how it has been and how it always will be, and if anyone thinks this they are entitled to our time, effort, or emotional stress (as well as Host's and my money that we pay for this server), then there's the door. You're welcome to leave and find another server and start your own.

3) Event difficulty and character trauma.
Yes we are playing in an apocalypse and yes, all the wacky stuff that happens is part of the fun. But lately it seems these events are designed to be overly difficult, when the system is experimentary. Going up against ridiculous odds, in which we risk loss of life and limb, barely surviving each encounter is not a great way to go.

I get it, big flashy moments can be fun. But if every battle is one where the group barely survives and can hardly take on a group of NPCs, I think you're going the exact wrong way about this. Again it points back to what I said earlier. The players are main characters of the lore, these events should be designed to make them look awesome and develop them some more. Not blow them up and force them to spend the next week in recovery as well as suffer crippling effects.

My suggestion on this one is really easy and I don't think it's too difficult a compromise for you guys. Just tone it way back for a bit. Let the players get used to the system and feel like they can actually complete a single mission without having 3+ wounded every time.

I have been in or watched the last few events. Sure, they were difficult, but they were not unmanageable. There were many cases where the player characters AND admin characters got themselves in trouble by thinking they were invincible. Actions have consequences in this server, but having said that, you again do not have all the information. Do you think we don't do anything to help people out during events behind the scenes? Because I know for a fact I have, as has Mind. That being said, 'making you look awesome' is not our job. That's *your* job through your roleplay. I'll go back to my character losing a leg last lore as an example. I was in the 'hospital' for something like a month IRL if I recall correctly and I got some of the best (although sometimes rough on him) roleplay I've ever had on the server. When he came out, he was changed and it opened all kinds of doors for awesome development.

But feeling that events are too difficult is perfectly fine. Sometimes people don't want to have the same level of danger. I've heard the exact opposite of what you're saying here as well. However, if you go to an event and you literally rp doing something on your character that causes them harm, that's on you, not the admins. Otherwise we'd just be playing your characters for you and you'd be watching a movie.


4) Ticket complaints. This is where the biggest issues come in I think, and why none of the other issues are getting properly acknowledged. You installed a rule where server stuff can't be discussed in OOC at all, no DMs or such. But you perhaps don't realize how much you're handcuffing the players and forcing a biased system on them.

I understand the desire to control what people see and hear, to limit disruption. But public discourse can be a good thing, there needs to be an open forum about these things. Criticism sucks, I know it. However, admins NEED to be able to accept criticism, to be open to feedback and concerns so that they can help the player improve their experience on the server.

The current system does not favour the players at all. Most will be too fearful to use the ticket, believing all it will inevitably do is make a pariah of themselves. The admins will review it, make their decision, then relay it to the person without a chance of it being overturned. Using excuses like 'we can't please everyone' and ‘we aren’t here to hand hold the player’ to justify not actually helping people with their concerns, and instead brushing their issues under the rug or projecting blame back onto them.

This is absolutely false and I'm not sure where you're reading this rule. The rule is, and paraphrasing again, 'if you have a complaint about the event or in game issue, submit a ticket. Do not harass admins in DM's about official server business.' Do you know why that rule was put into place? Because the players were out of control with backseat DM'ing DURING events, complaining and going directly to admins and *flooding their DM's to the point or harassment.* Does that mean we're always going to do whatever you guys want in a ticket? No, absolutely not. But it absolutely does not affect my view of anyone here if they submit a ticket, even if I disagree strongly with it.


5) Fire Starting. This is the reason why I felt I had to come forward NOW instead of waiting for a fix. The recent bombing strikes me as OOC influenced. There is clearly a lot of tension in the air right now, people upset with people. I am worried that this has become 'Us versus them'. Admins versus players. And that the admins are now creating scenarios in which they bomb Monroe and other things, just to get back at the players for not acting as they want.

Again, admins are meant to be RP facilitators. The design is to help people find RP, create enjoyment for all. It seems that recently the focus may have shifted though, and I fear that the admins don't have our best interests at heart. I would like to see more events that help push forward the RP without causing direct harm to Monroe or it’s citizens. Please stop blowing everything up, quite literally.

As far as I'm concerned, and I'll take a guess and say the admins feel the same way, there is no 'admin vs players' here. However, I definitely feel like there are players stirring the pot privately, spreading false, incomplete or inaccurate information amongst themselves. You claim that you're not trying to attack anyone, but throughout your post you have consistently accused us of some pretty outrageous things. Again, you all do not know everything that is going on in server, and to think otherwise I feel is selfish, me first behavior. You are not the only characters on the server.

Again, let me recap something here, because I see more people responding as I'm typing. You are allowed to express your views here on the forums in regards to the server as a whole. The rule that everyone seems to be hung up on is the one about submitting tickets regarding in character issues, issues with admins or issues with event results. That rule does not preclude you from talking about the server. The rule is there to keep things from spiraling completely out of control during an event *and* from people constantly complaining about admins and events while they're actually trying to run it.

I am now going to read more replies and respond accordingly. *Edited to make my portions separated.
 

Atlas

Guest
I did delete my post because I am quite upset about the atmosphere of the community and didn't want my anger so present in my post. While I don't agree with many of the points, the idea of the post still stands and I apologize for attacking before thinking and that is genuinely something I'm sorry for. Everyone should have the right to voice their opinions regardless if I share them or not.
 

El Cid

The Old Man
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I'm sorry you feel that you're having a bad time piggs. But this is the first time I've heard anything from you directly. There seems to be a lot of you talking behind the scenes and then saying 'a lot of people say', which is something I don't get. But I'll address your points here as well:

1- Admin characters sometimes have too much story importance. This is a huge one, and it happens in almost every lore that I’ve seen. Admins, specifically admins that serve to further the story, should not be constantly putting themselves front and center. The spotlight belongs to the players as a collective group.

Admins are allowed to play their players as they see fit. Again, we are here to roleplay and have fun too, and there are plenty of examples of players being front and center. Miles, Heaven, Maggie, Lynch, Thomas and several others in the last lore. Hell, piggs you played a character *who literally sacrificed himself to save the world* in the Bartertown lore. There are tons of other examples. Do admin players get involved in the main story? Absolutely, and they deserve to. I think that's not too much to ask for providing all of this hard work for free.


2- Admin characters feel like they are playing out a power fantasy, under the precedent that no one will dare challenge them OOC. This is a more specific complaint, and not applicable to pretty much the entire team, but this is perhaps the biggest issue on the list. Players are NOT meat for the grinder. They are NOT notches to add to a belt. If you’re taking on the increased responsibility of an administrative role, you should not be personally killing/maiming players left and right (on your own character), bragging about it, and consequently taking story opportunities from other players. The increased mechanical resources, the potential for the story/lore manipulation, and administrative pull available to an admin allow them to do things to players that players themselves would never be able to.

I don't believe this is the case, but let's be honest here. There have been a number of times recently where players characters have literally roleplayed doing things that weren't the wisest courses of action. There are consequences to your actions.

Again though, there's no reason you can't bring issues up with other admins to the team. When you submit a ticket, *everyone* on the admin team can see it. Not just me, or Host, or pika or whoever might take charge of the initial ticket response. The forums are also available to discuss things in a general sense about the server.


3- Admins should avoid punishing the players through IC means. Unless they are actively doing something to endanger their character, do not force injury, disfigurement, death, loss of items, property damage, etc on them. They shouldn’t have to RP consequences because you don’t like something they did OOC.

This is completely false and ridiculous. All injuries gained recently that I am aware of were in direct result of players doing something on their own. The 'injuries' given have nothing to do with ooc stuff. I can think of several recent examples, including to one admin character, that were given *instead* of what realistically should have happened, and that's death.

4- Admins should adapt to what players want. I have talked to admins personally about this in the past and I admit that this looks like a tough one. It is not something I expect you guys to be able to immediately iron out, or blame you for. But if players are responding poorly to one thing, try something else. Don’t immediately shut them down, don’t tell them it’s their fault, or refuse to compromise. Doing so only stifles constructive criticism.

Players are welcome to make suggestions. But keep in mind that while you may be suggesting one thing, there could be, and almost definitely is, another player or group of players who disagree and don't want what you want. It is a difficult balancing act, but just because we disagree doesn't mean we don't hear you.

5- There is no need for every single event to be a harrowing near-death experience. It’s tiring and does nothing but weaken characters and paralyze the flow of the story. Leave lethality to player vs player events for the most part and cut back on the limb loss. There were many circumstances where admins could have intervened to lower the present threat, or not intervened with increased threats. Events should most often be fun ways to further the story.

Again, you will have consequences for your actions in events. I'll give an example from Ashwood, because I don't think Among would care and I love the kid. He was playing a character who was a detective/police officer on the scene of a crime where they found a dead body. For some reason, he decided to poke the body with a stick before anyone had done any crime scene work. Hilarious to talk about now? Sure. But back then, he was fired from his job and he rolled with it, becoming a memorable character in the process.

If you choose to act or not to act then there will be consequences depending on the scenario. And for anyone who has complained about 'events being too long', I sincerely hope you aren't in this camp as well, because that's just a paradox.


6 - Don’t tell people to take things to tickets whenever they list a concern. It’s seen as a way to sweep glaring issues under the rug--and is likely stopping you guys from getting a lot of feedback that you reasonably should be getting. Make a dedicated channel in the discord or something for feedback. There needs to be a public discourse about the problems here, or the communication issues will eventually come to a head.

The forums have always been open for general server discussion, and you should know that by now piggs. The tickets are for specific issues, and if you guys don't submit them, then you're only shooting yourself in the foot. As far as a specific discord channel, I will take it under consideration, as I haven't heard that idea yet.

7 - Respect the player base. I am asking for the bare minimum here. Just show a modicum of respect. I don’t even need to go into detail here because I feel introspectively, certain people should know what I’m talking about. Players don’t provide the same amount of technical finesse/administrative power that admins do, but collectively they’re just as important. If they stopped showing up, that would be it. No server. Please stop scaring people off.

Players are welcome to come and go as they please. But there has been an epidemic of players threatening to quit because they don't like the way a certain thing went. Not because they truly are leaving the server, but because they're using it thinking we will cave to whatever they want. That is my opinion, and I speak for myself here. If everyone decided to quit, then yes, there would be no server. But I am not going to cave to every whim of every player on the server. I'll be blunt here: Host and I pay for the server, so if some players disagree with how we do it and feel like they have to leave? So be it.

Having said that, there seems to be a lot of misinformation going around behind the scenes, so I'd advise folks to think things over after hearing from us.


8 - Accept feedback. I already know that I’m going to get blasted with responses asking for proof, or counter-arguments to explain why actually, the players are wrong and this is all unsubstantiated. Please consider not doing this. This is what happens every time a lore is about to die, and it’s a part of the problem. It’s also probably contributing to the lack of feedback--people feel there’s no point because it always ends in an argument. I am not here to argue. I’m here to give my opinion and hope that you find it valuable.

Your opinions heard, but to tell us basically not to respond with facts is absolutely ridiculous. Again, you guys are not the only players, and there are many who may not understand or believe some of this nonsense without responses from the people actually running the server.

This is the worst time I’ve had here in a long time, and it’s essentially the last straw. The admin vs player feud needs to stop, permanently. There needs to be open communication and more personal accountability. There is just no humility, there is no room for discussion. In worst-case scenarios, this even begins to feel like gaslighting and general abuse.

Sorry you feel that way, but I disagree.

I know that there are still people that want this lore to happen, and I hope they have a good time, but I can’t participate anymore. Best of luck.
 

El Cid

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Replying to these as fast as I can.

I will also pitch this out of concern for the community. What I’m about to say is not meant as a personal attack on admins, but will serve as a warning for the team if the server continues to go in this direction. We as players have been enduring through this lore with due diligence and believe me when I say that we have tried to push our own stories out for everyone’s enjoyment. The issues are not recent but rather a continuation of something more deep-rooted in the player/admin relationship environment from the start of this lore and even extending to previous lores that I have taken part in before.

My reasons for making this write-up are as follows, and I will not be providing examples as to not turn this into a personal attack and rather provide it as my own perspective and likely, also other players’ perspectives.

The current atmosphere lately has been that there is no room for debate, discussion, or middle ground and I feel like we should change that in order for a healthy community dynamic. There should be no reason players should fear that there will be backlash both OOC and IC for expressing an opinion. Again, this is not meant to be a personal attack but a formal expression of concerns. There is still a lot of credit due to you all as an admin team and I am not writing this for the entire team because not everyone is like this. And I am also thankful for the tireless effort to keep the server running, spending the time to manage a community, but there is still lots of room for improvement without driving players away. The deleted previous post is the exact type of energy that I am protesting about.

Rofl, you of all people should have some idea of what's happening here after the issues with Espa a while back. A lot of people thought I was on the wrong side because of disinformation on her part, and a blatant all out attack on me behind the scenes. Did I lose my cool then? Absolutely, I snapped because it was outrageous. But there was so much wrong info, incomplete info or straight up manipulation that some players bought into it.

If someone is feels they will receive backlash over an opinion or suggestion or even a complaint, then I agree, that needs to be addressed. However, I will not ask my admin team, or myself, to continue to respond to repeated harassment in DM's, VC or in game.

As far as discussing things, Rofl, I literally just talked to you and Max Stone last night in private, asking for your input on an issue and explaining in detail why it was an issue?


The power that admins have over the community. This one seems to be a no-brainer and any admin would have power over every player in terms of administration and moderating purposes. However, my concern stems from the idea that there is no means for players to challenge an admin without putting roleplay on the server into a grinding halt and take it into support tickets which is much slower and inefficient than dynamic public discourse. This also causes miscommunication on the admin side of the team due to the extra step that players have to take just to express an opinion, so they will simply not submit it at all.

Unfortunately this rule was needed to be put in place for the reasons I've stated in other replies. Basically, things were out of hand because players would continue to argue nonstop during an event, thereby dragging it on for everyone and ruining the roleplay or they would straight up go directly to an admins dm's and harass them non-stop about it.

Due to the nature of the events which are mostly designed to be high-risk and sometimes excessively brutal situations, players have been consistently forced to accept debilitating injuries, disfigurements, loss of items, etc. against NPCs that are meant to enhance roleplay experience, flavor, and shouldn’t be designed to be a detriment and equal to active player characters. I believe there should be a balance that possesses a reasonable challenge but not too difficult that it requires players to have to sit down for extensive periods of time for the mere reward of getting their limbs hacked off or banished into exhilarating clinic roleplay after every weekend after sitting down for 8 hours straight.

Again, as I stated in previous replies, there are consequences to your actions. Being 'forced' to take injuries is actually us offering an olive branch when players should have been dead from their actions. Personally, as someone who has had this very thing happen to them, I would much rather prefer to lose a limb than my entire character if given the option.


Sessions that are not based on fairness and rather based on how much the admin likes the character OOC is not fun and it is not worth our time and effort to play on the server. It gives the impression that some characters are more protected than others. We understand that player characters are not immune to damage and it is very evident as of recent but certain special, ‘essential’ characters should not be exempt from the same treatment.

This is vague, but no player characters/admins characters get preferential treatment when it comes to wounds/death. If you are active and seeking out lore information or creating roleplay for others, sure, we're willing to help you out with something if you need it and if reasonable/possible.

Admin player characters have a tendency to possess or are deeply interconnected with furthering the story of the lore which takes away the extent that players can get involved. It should be just as advertised that it is the player’s story and not the story of the admin characters who have banded together with the ragtag group of player characters as sides; certain characters have been unironically tagged as main/event characters to the storyline and have been granted special leniency over every other character which is a terrible combination when normally it would be brutal for the average player but suddenly a cakewalk for the characters that are deemed to be special and untouchable.

Again, I disagree with this point. All I can do is express that here, I'm not sure I can provide evidence that would convince anyone to the contrary because once someone decides that the admins are just in this for themselves, I've found that there's not much I can say to convince them otherwise. Admin characters are just like anyone other characters. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose. I've had one character basically banished (willingly ICly) cause of how I rped his actions and I had another die to try and help facilitate roleplay for what it's worth.
 

Fantasia

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As I don't want my full, in-depth response to be just out of anger, I will refrain from giving that one until my lunch break for work. Just know a lot of what Cid (and some of what you guys are saying too about certain events) says is basically my mentality. We're not getting paid for this. Aza is making mods of her own free will, MindGate is making amazing lore and story in his own spare time taking up what time he could use for other things to do this, and the other admins are also using their own time to give you guys events or the accept apps or help out with tickets and all I'm seeing is people saying it's not enough or we're playing favorites.

I'd like you all to keep in mind that the server would possibly not be here if it weren't for Cid and I taking on the responsibility of being owners and paying out of our own hard-earned money for everyone to be able to participate in and enjoy the Loremaster's stories he has to tell.

This can all be boiled down to: This is a game and just a game. This is not real-life, this does not pay anyone's bills, it is something we all do together for fun and we should be trying to have fun.
 

El Cid

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Having said all those replies, one piece of feedback I've heard separately today is that there is A LOT going on at the same time and it's hard to process all of it. Admins are actually discussing that now, as there is a pretty good amount of different things happening.
 

a rabbit

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Threads like these pop up every so often, but they rarely tend to evolve beyond vague call-outs and subjective complaints towards unknown players. On that note, if any of you have complaints about specific players (even if that player is me), I’d be happy to talk about them in PMs—I can guarantee a 100% confidentiality surrounding the conversation. In any case, I’ll try to address as many of the points that have been brought up as best I can, but given my activity has been less than some of the other admins, I’m not privy to all of the information surrounding the topics that have been brought up.

JoeCoolxD:
  • OOC influencing
While I personally haven’t seen this happen (at least, not for a long time), I can definitely see it being possible. To be honest, I wonder how many of the possible instances of admins “encouraging players to put their character in danger” or “turn on each other” are intended as jokes versus serious suggestions. Regardless, I’m in the dark on this one, so if anyone has specific examples they’d like to share with me, I’m all ears (again, I’d NEVER share info someone were to share with me with the intention of keeping it secret—I swear on that). At the same time though, there is an option to report admins if you feel their conduct is inappropriate (believe me when I say we are not some massive friend clique—the whole reason I became an admin in the first place is to try and keep that sort of corruption to a minimum). One I can’t do is read minds though, so if the problems never make it to my ears either through PMs or tickets, I can’t help. This is why I personally pushed for people to take issues to tickets—that way it’s impossible for any one admin to “keep things under wraps”.
  • Character importance and immunities.
Admins DO have the unique ability to spawn things in and “build the lore around them”, but it’s also strictly against the rules that we have in place. Whenever a lore prompt or event starts going through discussions, we try extremely hard to ensure that, besides it being enjoyable, players don’t feel like they’re being treated unfairly or secondary to the admins themselves. It’s gotten to the point now where often times the discussion becomes more about “will this make players mad?” instead of about the event itself. It’s unhealthy and frankly creatively stifling to be constantly worried about player reception, especially when changes are made to try and accommodate that but players get upset regardless. You can’t please everyone, and that’s something we’ve had to come to realize. One event will make some people happy and others angry, the next will reverse those positions. It’s just the nature of an environment in which someone somewhere will lose. (As a side note, I won’t name names either, but just recently an admin character had a debilitating injury occur to their character in the exact same manner that it happened to a player, so the talk of admins surviving things they shouldn’t seems like hearsay to me rather than reality. If I’m wrong on that, again, feel welcome to PM me about it—I’d be all ears.)
  • Event difficulty and character trauma.
This one is hard for me to answer because I haven’t been personally involved with the last handful of events. What I can say though is that not every event is intended to be a “shoot-‘em-up showdown” event where players go in guns-blazing. Sometimes, the event is intended to involve more subterfuge and critical thinking. If an event’s combat seems incredibly difficult, it’s likely because realistically, that’s how it would be in the game world. It wasn’t a fight that was intended for the players to take—at least in that moment. From the little I’ve seen of the past few events, I’ve heard that players were often hasty in their decisions and decided to take fights that, frankly, they were unprepared for. It’s like trying to take on over leveled creatures in an RPG—of course you’re going to get messed up. At the same time though, I think we can all agree on the admin team that the last few events have injured just a few too many people. It’s not something we particularly enjoy either. If we injure too many players, we can’t even do anymore events until they’re healthy again! As for the combat system, it’s still a work in progress. Several problems with the system have already been identified and (hopefully) the fixes will be out soon. They should help to decrease the amount of time spent in combat even more and tone the difficulty down just a tad.
  • Ticket complaints
The point for the rule of taking complaints to tickets was never intended to stifle or limit what people hear and see—in fact it was the opposite, but there’s a difference in WHO needs to be hearing and seeing things. We’ve had this problem for a long time—whenever a player is upset in some manner, often times they take the problem to PMs with one admin or another. This has become a major stressor for several of the admins, because when drama goes down, it isn’t just you PM’ing that admin—it’s everyone else that was involved too. Sometimes things get out of hand that at the same time that people are complaining to admins, they’re also complaining to other players. Like the telephone-game, those complains are often exaggerated or conflated to be bigger than they really are. Then the rumor-mill starts turning. And, if an admin decides they’ve had enough of the nonstop messages of drama, they’re called out for ignoring or stifling “conversation”. It’s probably been the single biggest killer of admin motivation to date. It sucks to work hard on an event or something and have multiple people blowing up your private messages when something goes wrong or doesn’t go their way. Then, they message their friends, and then their friends ALSO message you about the problem. It’s overwhelming sometimes—and it got to the point where we decided to address the problem by moving the complaints to a location where each of the admins can see exactly what the complaints are and have easy discussion. It’s not a matter of admins being unable to accept criticism, it’s a matter of being able to have a legitimate discussion on the issues when emotions aren’t riding high, and not wake up in the morning to a red (50+) in the corner of your discord. In a perfect world we’d like to handle complaints in PMs just fine, but it’s rarely been productive versus being a battleground where players shout “you did this to me!”.
  • Fire Starting
I can say with absolute confidence that the recent bombings were entirely unrelated to any OOC influence. They were consistent with the motivations of a non-NPC character and was NOT in any way an “admin planned” occurrence in regards to furthering story plot or get back at players. The RP that occurred the night of the bombings and the situations leading up to it were such that any player in the community could have performed the deed given the proper character motivation. The items used to conduct the bombings were obtained legitimately (I.E., not just spawned in by admins for no reason), roleplay was done as is required by the rules (public and out loud emotes as in the case of claim theft) and while I can’t metagame, I can say with confidence that it was a situation entirely proper given context with the character motivation behind it. Again, I’d be happy to discuss this more in PMs if anyone wants to know more, but I will say that it’s a two-way street.


piggs:
  • Admin characters sometimes have too much story importance.
As stated previously, I haven’t been in any of the most recent events, so I haven’t been around times that instances of this most likely occurred. I can say though that if you feel that admins are playing into themselves too much or are making themselves too important, that’s DEFINITELY something that you should report. I know that there’s the feeling that reporting it will bring retaliation your way, but if it isn’t reported, how can any of us ever do anything to address the problem? As I said, we’re not some super-clique as a team where we collectively look down on the player-base while we plot our special character plots. If I knew an admin were giving themselves the spotlight too much, I would absolutely have a problem with it. At the same time though, there are instances we have no choice, and I’ll explain what I mean by that. Every once in a while we’ll have an admin participate in an event on their player character (NOT admin NPC or such) because they want to experience what it’d be like as a player or because they’re burned out on dungeon mastering. Often when this is the case, that admin has to clarify that they want to participate as a player, and when that happens they are not involved with the development/construction of the event with the purpose of not allowing them to metagame—even subconsciously. Despite this, every once in a while we’ll identify a problem or a discontinuity that could disrupt the event or make it stretch on for hours longer than intended (such as a poorly designed puzzle). In those cases, we’ve had characters being played by admins “step up” to solve the problem and speed the event along in the interest of not keeping the players until 5 A.M. in the morning. Unfortunately, this also has the unintended side effect of appearing like admin favoritism or admins trying to play “the important guy”. We could definitely handle these instances better, and probably the best way would just be to artificially speed things up AS admins, instead of as an admin’s player character. This might break immersion, but personally I’d prefer broken immersion to seeing a character I know is played by an admin magically solve the problem and save the day.
  • Admin characters feel like they are playing out a power fantasy, under the precedent that no one will dare challenge them OOC.
Once again, I personally haven’t seen evidence of this, but I’m not omniscient (and if an admin WERE doing these things, I highly doubt they’d be bragging about it to the rest of the team). This is one of those things where if you feel like it’s a problem, it’s imperative that you report it. I don’t think admin retaliation is even something to fear at this point if you were to feel that this were a problem, because the point of this problem is that they’re basically already doing that. If it’s reported and you’re treated poorly, at least then you have proof that it’s a legitimate concern and can take it more public. I will say though that this lore we have been freer with granting player requests than we EVER have in a lore before. We’ve given players entire basements, exclusive lore info, cool solo events, unique items, and many other things WITHOUT donations or other incentives. We’ve been doing it because it’s cool, and it helps the players that request that stuff to feel more involved with the lore. It’s also something that probably hasn’t been advertised as well as it should be. We added a “Lore Authorization” for this purpose, to try and show players that if they want cool stuff/cool info, all they need to do is ask. It’s been under-utilized I feel, and that may be a contributing factor to how it seems some players get favorable treatment.

Going back to the original point though, I’ve long advocated for the idea that admins need to restrain their roleplay as much as possible and not disturb the “natural flow” of players, so to speak. I’m extreme enough that I’d even suggest admins shouldn’t have player characters AT ALL. Unfortunately, the reality is that if that were implemented, we’d have no admins. We’d return to The Road Ahead days where the admin team was virtually just Mindgate and I. That situation was bad enough that Mindgate and I got so burned out that we basically just gave up and passed it off onto other people. There has to be an incentive for people to want to stay as an admin, because while “constructing and building the lore world for the players and dungeon master-ing it” should be enough of a reason, history has proven that’s not the case.
  • Admins should avoid punishing the players through IC means.
Again, this seems like something subjective. If any player feels like they are being targeted by an admin IC for OOC reasons, you MUST report it. Believe me when I say that the admin team wouldn’t pull any punches when it comes to admin discipline. If it’s not reported, then it just seems like rumors and hear-say, and we can’t do ANYTHING about it. You guys shouldn’t feel like you can’t name drop us, we actually encourage that you do. There’s no better avenue of honesty and player-admin transparency than just getting it all out there.
  • Admins should adapt to what players want.
I agree that this is a tough one, because very rarely is there a “general consensus” on what players want from the team in a given moment. If players universally respond poorly to something though (such as event fights that are way over-tuned), we DO listen and try to adapt, though. We’re not perfect, and we won’t always get it right, but we try. There ARE times though that the complaints are related to how the player(s) approached a scenario, and it’s not our fault as a team for their own mistake. An example would be approaching a scenario such as a giant zombie horde guarding a building and then complaining that the horde is too big to fight. We agree that the horde is too big to fight—that’s a problem that your character should figure out. Lure them away! We try not to railroad the players into a single solution during events. If you want to fight, fine, but we won’t purposefully nerf fights just to allow the players to Rambo their way through. Sometimes, luring the horde away is the proper play.
  • There is no need for every single event to be a harrowing near-death experience.
I’ve already covered this point above, but I’ll gloss over it again one more time. If an event becomes a life harrowing experience, it’s likely because the player base approached the situation wrong or made bad decisions in the moment. Very rarely do we design an event with the purpose of killing or maiming players—that type of event is usually reserved for serious plot moments or for lore finales. Regarding events such as ones involving the Miller’s, while those events may have had combat in mind, the RP that led up to those events occurring didn’t have to go the way of resulting in combat, as I understand it. Sometimes that’s just how it works out.
  • Don’t tell people to take things to tickets whenever they list a concern.
Again, I’ve also already addressed this point, but just to reiterate: tickets are the only way we can guarantee that everyone on the team sees the complaint and can engage in open discussion about it. If you PM an admin, there’s no guarantee that the admin will pass that discussion on to the team, especially not if it’s a more intimate discussion with a friend. I do agree with the point of making a dedicated place in the forums for this though—discord chat tends to get flooded and clogged when multiple people start chatting in real time, so a slowed down pace on the forums would be ideal.
  • Respect the player base.
Once again, I don’t know of any circumstances of players getting blatantly disrespected, but this is the danger that admin’s face when engaging in PMs with players. We’re not perfect, sometimes emotions get the better of us too, and sometimes it goes too far. I’ve always said that if there’s drama, the players and admins involved should wait a day before engaging in discussion about it—otherwise tensions often get in the way and nothing productive gets done. If anyone feels like an admin is being insultingly disrespectful, report them.
  • Accept feedback
We WANT feedback. In a perfect world, I’d prefer everyone just name-dropped the people they had problems with and expose the exact root of the issue and get it out of the way. All the dancing around names and stuff bugs me, but that’s probably just my personality. Not everyone feels that way, which I get. I can say for certain though that if anyone has a problem with me personally as an admin, feel free to just lay it into me—I’m not going to shy away from it or try to shut you down, but I will defend myself if I feel like you’re in the wrong. Feedback doesn’t just mean you tell the admin team stuff and we bend-over backwards to fulfill your wishes—I doubt any of us have the full absolute context and proof to every issue that has cropped up lately. Personally, I feel like a lot of these problems have only become as big as they have because of a lack of communication from players to admins, and I don’t mean communication in the form of emotion-filled PMs towards the same admins that already have five other people doing the same thing, I mean genuine attempts at discussion with the team at length either through tickets, forum posts, or otherwise. We barely get tickets regarding server or admin issues from players. I can count the number we’ve gotten this lore on one hand—considering the apparent amount of drama that’s been going on behind the scenes, that’s a big red flag for me.

IN SUMMARY:

That’s about all I have to say. I only responded to JoeCoolxD and piggs because they were the first two I read—I can’t keep updating this post with every single point every single person brings up, but I feel like these two covered the vast majority of the feelings some players have been having. Hopefully I’ve been clear on a lot of my answers, but if you have questions/responses, I’m all ears. I wish there were a way I could prove that everything I’ve said here is true and not just “admin corporate talk”, but unfortunately I don’t think there is any way. Trust is a two way street too—if the player base wants to be taken seriously, we can’t get called liars or untruthful every time we respond with our own side of the story. Besides, if the admin team were as corrupt as some players fear, then this entire post would be pointless and I wouldn’t have bothered with engaging in it at all—it’d probably just have gotten deleted outright.

Otherwise, I hope any further discussion can be kept simple. In the interest of transparency, I don’t want this thread to disappear as a whole, but if someone’s post is purposefully antagonistic without providing meaningful discussion, that specific post will probably get removed in order to minimize further drama.
 
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Jouska

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Hooooow about some positivity? I've only been here a month, but pretty much all of the interactions I've had with players and admins have been great and fun and enjoyable. I like that characters take the responsibility of trying to lead a community in the face of adversity and I like the stories and locations (some of which I can't imagine the effort it must have taken!) that really help to flesh out the setting. I've been welcomed rather than ignored for being new and not part of any established cliques, which is fantastic, and I've been included in events with roles that have made me feel like a small part of a larger whole. When I wrote my character with superstitious background elements, I never expected that to get so much mileage.

So .. like .. I love you all and please don't get a divorce? I don't want to see a custody dispute and I really don't want anyone to go elsewhere and get re-married because that leads to dangerous situations....

 

El Cid

The Old Man
Staff member
The Old Man
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Hooooow about some positivity? I've only been here a month, but pretty much all of the interactions I've had with players and admins have been great and fun and enjoyable. I like that characters take the responsibility of trying to lead a community in the face of adversity and I like the stories and locations (some of which I can't imagine the effort it must have taken!) that really help to flesh out the setting. I've been welcomed rather than ignored for being new and not part of any established cliques, which is fantastic, and I've been included in events with roles that have made me feel like a small part of a larger whole. When I wrote my character with superstitious background elements, I never expected that to get so much mileage.

So .. like .. I love you all and please don't get a divorce? I don't want to see a custody dispute and I really don't want anyone to go elsewhere and get re-married because that leads to dangerous situations....

 
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