In light of recent events, let's discuss fair play.

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In light of recent events, let's discuss fair play.

#1 Post by Olrane » Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:50 am

There has been a lot of commotion in our OOC channels about a certain incident lately. I'm not concerned with the incident itself, but with the patterns that lead to incidents like it and what our expectations are of our fellow players.

I believe that we have a systemic problem caused primarily by unclear and divided expectations of player conduct with regards to some mechanics.

When players feel that they have been cheated by other players, this makes them feel violated and hurts the community. That alone is a simple concept, but in order to understand what constitutes a violation, we need to discuss our mutual expectations. I am hoping that this forum will provide a channel to discuss these matters civilly.

I would like to assert that I believe this game, best played, to be a social game first and a roleplay game second. Therefore, any roleplay, while it does add depth to the game, must be limited by our sense of social standards and ethics with respect to the other players. In addition, roleplay should not be used as a cover for antisocial actions. For example, a character's lack of morals is never justification to breach a sense of player ethics.

A strong belief of mine is that we have duties to deliberately restrict the way we play in order to foster social interaction and growth. We should never be tapping against the ceiling of the rules to test its limits: consider that a computer system will not be able to make moralistic judgments of your actions. I believe that it is reasonable that we, as a community, reward fair play and harshly admonish those who harm the integrity of the game.

I would like to draw attention to the topic at hand specifically, and that is the lack of clear and shared player expectations with regards to guild membership and exclusives.

It is a common understanding that joining a guild grants access to new exclusive perks, most of which are retained even when leaving a guild.
What is not common, and what is the focus of this post, is our expectation of what the player must do in exchange for these exclusives, and what our expectation is about what happens after a relationship with a guild is terminated.

I don't want to continue to speak in abstractions. I want to start to define things in concrete terms.

We, as a community, need to define what our expectations are of players with respect to guilds and exclusive perks. The goal of doing so is to make it so that we have a CLEAR and UNIFIED set of guidelines that can be referenced in the future as "fair play", so that players do not feel cheated.

I would like the community's input, but the following is what I personally offer.

Joining a guild represents a contract with that faction in exchange for its perks.
a) This contract should not be ended trivially and has an OOC component.
Players invest a lot of personal time and loyalty in their factions. We must respect our fellow players who commit.
b) The contract represents an obligation on that player and character to roleplay within the faction.
Individual characterization is obviously important and is not downplayed here, but faction roleplay must not be ignored.
c) There is allowance for character dynamism, but it is expected that players will not make a long-term plan to breach loyalties.
Players and characters who have met the obligations for faction play, who have given significant time, and who have roleplayed
character dynamism will generally not be considered to have taken advantage of their faction.

Why? Why do we have to do this in such a forced, OOC manner? I do think it's necessary, and I think it's time we accepted that this is the reality.

The idea of IC punishment for treachery and exploitation is an unrealistic ideal.

We as a community need to embrace this truth, because it has been proven time and again, and it is the reason why we need OOC ethics involved in guild roleplay at all.

Between unreasonable expectations of playtime, privileged information known to traitors, and the general "avoider's advantage" that is so hard to beat, we need to just STOP citing this as a solution! I think we can all agree that skillful and unoccupied players will always "win" any such contest. It must not be a contest. Treachery is an OOC problem that needs OOC answers, and it should not be something that we welcome as a community.

This all leaves one serious hole, this much I must admit. How, or under what circumstances, will it be fair to acquire some limited number of exclusives, as an outsider? I think this is a very important question, because its answer is in some respects a solution to the root problem.

I sincerely believe that if we can both agree to terms and find ACCEPTABLE and fair avenues for exclusives to be alternatively acquired, then we can solve the systemic problem of guildhopping and the community backlash that comes from it.

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Re: In light of recent events, let's discuss fair play.

#2 Post by Arsicas » Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:39 pm

I think the feeling of "betrayal" that comes with guildhopping is when someone joins without the intent to fully commit to the guild just to gain the skills. Or they may feign that they're really interested in the guild only to leave as soon as they get what they want. This probably is on the player to be ethical OOC and not join a guild if you don't intend to stick with it.

Whenever characters are interested in joining the Scribes or Skalds, I try to have them think about what their plans are for the future, just in case they decide to change their mind down the road. I know especially newbies may not really have a firm idea of what they want to do with their character, so they may just want to try things out. I let them know if they're in another guild that this would be the only other guild they're allowed to join. I know Skalds have tended to have the issue of people joining just to learn the magic songs and then carrying on to another guild. But that guild itself isn't very structured, so it's probably more prone to that type of behavior.

There's a bit of an issue with trying to "vet" characters because one, they could just be lying through their teeth about how totally committed they will be and how excited they are to join, and two, you don't want to make it too difficult to join or you'll never have new members. I may sometimes be too lenient in letting people join, but ultimately I don't find it too big of a deal if they end up disappearing or leaving. Occupational guilds may have more of an issue due to guild secrets and certain special skills, and so they may want to do more of a "trial" period for characters looking to join--I think some guilds even have the lowest rank as kind of a trial rank. This might help in cases where characters try it out for a bit and see whether it's something they want to pursue or not. If they leave at the entry level, then it shouldn't be too big of a deal.

Regarding skills being learned by outsiders, I don't really want to see some skills acquirable by anyone cause then it seems like you'll have people who nab up every skill they can just to become uber great. And I do think you need motivation to join certain guilds. The guilds should have perks. Of course, currently, guildless people have it pretty bad in comparison to guilds. Is the aim to have everyone join a guild?

I also think that in cases where one's rp just causes them to leave a guild, and if the members are okay with that, then it shouldn't be a huge issue to leave and have to be forced onto an enemy list in the case of certain guilds. If one puts the time into a guild and contributes to it but later on is taken in another direction, I don't have nearly as much of a problem with it. Yet this kind of causes an issue in cases like former Skalds, who my char is still good friends with, but I know they still have their instruments even though they're not supposed to... But... they contributed a bunch to the guild! Yet it is a guild perk... so I end up feeling kind of torn. Technically, I should be enforcing the guild policy. But... I don't want to be a meanie to someone I like! Maybe my char's just a softie. That's Gwennies for you. ;)
Duncan hisses in Common: love not keepzss zssomeone alive
You speak softly in Common: Sometimes it's all that keeps one
You smile slightly.

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