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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:32 pm 
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I am starting to think that any kind of story interaction (among players, or between players and Cyan) needs some agreement on ground rules. Explicit, OOC agreement.

It doesn't have to be negotiated in public. But people have to be on the same page. You may worry that discussing/planning this sort of thing OOC is going to ruin the spontaneity; but I think that missed signals and misunderstanding have caused a lot more gear-clashing.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 9:29 pm 
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I would strongly agree with that for any interaction that constitutes a short-term or long-term arc, but casual events can still be spontaneous. For example, I was the first explorer in Prologue to encounter Phil Henderson (for those of you who can remember those long-ago days), and I received no forewarning whatsoever. I could have stuck my tongue out at Phil and refused to let him out of the cave, or started asking him what the next Age release would be, but I managed to get through my encounter totally IC. Those opportunities are 1000% more exciting if they are unexpected and spontaneous, for they truly demonstrate the immersive power of Uru.

But if an interaction is expected to continue, then OOC contact seems wise. Certainly not to the point of scripting, but at least some amount of OOC setup and feedback.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 10:29 pm 
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Marten wrote:
I would like to see how the results came in from the poll originally at this site, asking players what they wanted to see or do in Uru Live.


I think you are referring to my posts/polls: 1 & 2 The net result was about 50-50: Half was at least interested, half wanted nothing to do with it.

Personally; I was approached covertly by an ADM member to do an internal expose on them for my newspaper. Which as Deem put it, was like going to Mad Magazine to expose Nixon. I was torn because I am interested in comedy and the ADM was ripe for parody, yet I already had a distaste for the whole movement, and even mocking them in the news would spread notoriety and prolong the affair. So I polled to gauge the general interest. In the end, I've mentioned/mocked the movement, in my own way, while trying not to be used by them as propaganda. I don't know if there was any other "result". Well ... that and my frustration.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 10:47 pm 
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greydragon wrote:
MikeFitz wrote:
However, I've had to seriously evaluate, on several occasions now, that if this is what I am to expect, then I might have to change the channel.


I can't disagree with your want to change the channel over the ADM situation. It's like watching a bad episode of Lost. JK :)

We will work on making changes to our "programing" to better suit the needs and wants of our "viewers".

With "sweeps" we hope you find what you want in Myst Online. More on that soon.


In no way to diminish my frustration ... But I do want to re-state that I realize and appreciate the very difficult situation you are in. Posted here as to not repeat myself.

And to carry the television metaphor, I find MO:UL to be similar to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Both were set in a pre-established universe with a large fan population. Expectations are high, but you want to do something different, take things into new directions. And I remember all too well the stinkers of the first 3 seasons of ST:TNG.

So I get that you are testing the waters to see what works. Do they work together to open doors? Do they work in a hive mind to figure out portals? Do they want PvP conflict? And I'm trying to give as much constructive feedback as I can because I want this to succeed! I'm glad now to see that feedback is being heard and that changes to "programming" can be expected. That is how I believe we as explorers can make MO:UL our own.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 11:02 pm 
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No, sorry Mike. I'm not referring to your polls.

Back when this website was still "urulive.com" ... right about a year ago, actually... Cyan ran a survey. Here is some discussion about what wasn't in the questionnaire. Yeah, topic #13. It's that old. Each person was asked to pick the top five most important things out of a list of 25 or so options. I would like to see the results of that survey.

Here is a list of the options that were present in the questionnaire. And, here is a discussion among Uru Obsession visitors of which items they picked.

For the record, here is what I picked:
Quote:
(1) More Myst-Like Puzzle Ages - it is, after all, the fundamentals that count the most.
(2) Environmental Exploration - see reason for #1.
(3) KI upgrades - because these are sorely needed
(4) More Present Day Story - because we can't live in the past...
(5) Age Creation Tools... though I can't write ages myself, I know there are others who can, and I want them to be empowered.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 12:28 am 
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"I would strongly agree with that for any interaction that constitutes a short-term or long-term arc, but casual events can still be spontaneous."

You can have some rules -- agreements -- and still be spontaneous.

Some of this happens whenever a ResEng or DRC person appears in the game. What's going on? Does this person know/not know about storyline X? Can we ask about Y, or will the character plead ignorance or dodge the question?

Those are ground rules. We've gotten some community sense of what they are. But I'm no longer convinced that *learning the answers by trial and error* is the fun way to do it. Because the errors all look like this: a player pesters a Cyan actor and gets no satisfying response.

If the expectations were clearer, I think the DRC would have less of a reputation for being obscure and close-mouthed. Simply because we'd know what kinds of conversations they were and were not prepared for. What I'm trying to say is, there's nothing wrong with setting those expectations OOC.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 12:55 am 
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Cyan plans a statement by the end of the week about the future of MOUL, according to Greydragon in a visit to the Cavern this afternoon. We may get to hear what Cyan has learned. They plan changes to increase their numbers. Here are most of the things GD said, including embedded responses to questions:

Greydragon wrote:
Okay, Well how about this.. Cyan is working on a statement about the future of Myst Online : Uru Live. I wanted to get it out to you today, but its still being looked over. We should have it out to you by the end of the week. Everyone at Cyan thinks it is good news. However, I do think some in the community might not like it. Its a smarter way of thinking and using the resources we have at Cyan. Na not a take over.. It might effect peoples gameplay style.. then again it might not.. it will be nice to discuss the differences it will bring. The honest truth is we need more people and the statement is our way to fix problems and try to bring new people in.. The statement is not that we are going to shut Myst online down if that is what everyone is worried about.. I am a fan.. From a fan view its bittersweet.. We all know this isnt the full version of Uru we all hoped for ..even Cyan.. However the new view does give the fans some really engaging things and could really add alot of fun into the cavern.. International won't be affected. Not about age creation.. still something we want.. jsut time and effort plagues us.. I think alot of people will like it.. but again some people will always be against it.. [Thanakar asks if this will this affect the speed of content turnout] yes , but more in the statement.. For Cyan we have been talking about it and it really could brng some excitement to the cavern.. Just a different way of looking at things. We hope to get more people in with the change, easier way to market the game, expectations managed better.. and many other things.. The change isn't going to break up community.. story who knows.. If I am the right hand.. i really don't get to see what the left hand is planning.. it really doesn't effect the content, how big or small... we will continue to try to make great content with the people we have.. i think you will love minkata.. its a smart move.. A change in the way we operate.. its more on how some will play the game.. not the gameplay.. i think that came out wrong.. I am trying to say.. people who play non-stop might find themself in less and people who don't know when to come in might come in more during certain times.. - wow thats spills alot.. no time limits.. just your own time limits.. Example.. If I only had a certain amount of personal play time i could give to myst online .. wouldn't it be nice to use that time when i know i can get the best use of it..

It sounds a lot like more planned or scripted events to put on a show to be more attractive to the casual players. It sounds a lot like people will have a better idea of how to play the game and what to expect. Implications for roleplaying might be what could concern some fans. Just a guess.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 1:00 am 
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JW - interesting. I hope someone posts the full log so we can see the context, but... I'm very curious about what this means, good or bad.

(I'm very glad he threw in that bit about it not being TEH END again, though. I was starting to slowly panic until I read that line!)

I'm down for new things. Bring it on.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 1:04 am 
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Up until now, I haven't commented on this situation. I've mainly just been trying to hang back and stay out of the crossfire. But as time has passed, I've felt increasingly concerned about a few things. Just for the record, I fully admit that I may be wrong in everything I'm about to say.

Greydragon's recent postings have left me feeling confused. It's my understanding that GameTap and Cyan have policies that prohibit both harassment and interference with other players' use and enjoyment of MOUL. But from what I've seen, heard and read, these things are occurring here, unchecked.

One of the major instigators/participants is an NPC played by an actor who works for Cyan. Cyan has disavowed responsibility for him. Wouldn't this mean that the actor and/or Cyan are in violation of Cyan's own policies? Or do these prohibitions not apply to them?

As for the ADM, its members have been rude and belligerent in their interactions with fellow players and Cate. It's increasingly cumbersome to try to navigate through chatlogs of gatherings with Cate in which Sydney/Vicki (and sometimes Ethan) have participated. People ask legitimate questions only to have them run over by Sydney/Vicki's rudeness, and everything gets out-of-synch.

Some folks end up asking the same question several times in an attempt to get an answer, and Cate might answer a question that was asked three or four questions before and was derailed by Sydney/Vicki's lack of regard. At times, it's impossible to tell which issue is even being addressed. Case-in-point (and I'll admit, this is rather funny): During a discussion of safety issues, just after Sydney/Vicki interrupted and asked Cate if she wants Explorers to be killed, Cate answered "Yes" (oh no!). But the "yes" was in response to a completely different question that had been asked earlier.

As with Nick, it seems to me that the actions of ADM personnel represent both harassment and interference with other players' enjoyment of the game. I don't feel that this kind of behavior is appropriate in MOUL, whether a person is IC, OOC or an employee of Cyan. Courtesy, manners and civilized behavior aren't exclusive to real life. Neither, apparently, are tantrums, rudeness and lurid melodrama, none of which represent story advancement to me.

And what impression might this give to folks who are just coming into MOUL? In all honesty, if I were a newb and saw this kind of thing going on, I'd probably turn right around and leave.

This is the first MMORPG I've played, but I've read up on quite a few. I've shied away from them in the past because of the very things the Nick/ADM debacle has brought to MOUL.

I don't value this game as a place to find the same abrasive political and confrontational posturing that seem to be so prevalent in the real world these days. I value MOUL as an escape from these kinds of things.

At this point, I'll be watching and waiting to see if the situaton changes. I really hope it does.

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...about as entertaining as pouring dishwashing liquid in my eye.

OMG, that's soooo funny!!!! Thanks, SCGreyWolf, for a much needed laugh. :D


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 1:23 am 
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Hear Hear re much here esp Renfield's post, which says very well many things I have thought, tried to share and worried about.

Overall, what helps URU and the presence of players is what I am all for, what works for Cyan with what they have staff wise and energy wise i am totally in support of.

Interesting and intriguing and fun interactions in the community and the game are what I am here for, esp. discovery and sharing of the new wonders...

and for interactions, I hope continually for tact and respect along with the vitality of energy of all. :)

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 2:12 am 
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Renfield wrote:
Greydragon's recent postings have left me feeling confused. It's my understanding that GameTap and Cyan have policies that prohibit both harassment and interference with other players' use and enjoyment of MOUL. But from what I've seen, heard and read, these things are occurring here, unchecked.

One of the major instigators/participants is an NPC played by an actor who works for Cyan. Cyan has disavowed responsibility for him. Wouldn't this mean that the actor and/or Cyan are in violation of Cyan's own policies? Or do these prohibitions not apply to them?


I would say that in order to understand what's going on, you first have to understand the line betwen in-character and out-of-character in roleplay.

The line between IC and OOC is usually well-defined. Now, in Uru, because of the you-are-you tack, it's blurrier, but in general things should stay on one side of the line or the other, and never cross. IC actions have IC repurcussions. Mixing or mistaking in-character reactions for out-of-character ones can have nasty results.

From what I see, as a roleplayer, Cyan is not disavowing responsibility. A game master may create a contentious character while not being contentious themselves - otherwise, all games of roleplaying ever would have all non-player characters (NPCs) just like the GM, and that would be boring to the extreme. But I continue to see people that seem to feel betrayed or angered by this - and I admit that confuses me. Creating and playing characters with varying degrees of conflict, different personalities, wildly different viewpoints from one's own... this is what makes a game interesting! (And IS interesting to play, from the viewpoint of the GM - there are few things more interesting than taking on the challenge of playing a character so different from your own.) It's never meant as a betrayal of trust, which is how some people seem to feel.

Cyan is the GM here, of course. And the point of being a GM in a game is to manufacture and create scenarios to allow your players to react and build upon your framework. It's harder the more people involved - and the first thing you have to learn when GMing is that you can't control the way your players react.

So to my mind - it's all part of roleplaying. It's certainly not some kind of betrayal of trust or abuse to try and make a story. People are absolutely free to feel this particular incidence was an example of botched GMing, but... I don't understand the rest of it. o_oa

Though, as always, your milage may vary. :) These are just my long-winded two cents.

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 2:43 am 
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I can see your points, Sosiqui. This IC/OOC thing is something I've wrestled with to understand. I still don't know how a player is supposed to tell which mode other players are in at any given time.

I do appreciate that a certain amount of conflict can be interesting. But I don't think that playing IC gives a person license to be obnoxious.

I don't think I could ever abandon my own personality to the point where I could pick up one that's totally different while I'm in the game. Just thinking about doing this conjures up a vision of my brain ripping itself in half. :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 3:11 am 
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A more complete log of GD's 5/2 visit is at http://mystonline.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9473

I saw an unedited one earlier, but now I can't find it. Try UO.

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 7:09 pm 
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JWPlatt wrote:
People need to know what to expect. Laws, rules, suggestions, whatever. There needs to be a framework of expectation so we don't have to guess what is proper or appropriate. Nothing IC here is ever going to stand up under close inspection because no one and nothing is perfect. A framework would provide us with a certain sense of control over the environment in which we are participating. With control comes the ability for people to understand and tolerate the kind of story Cyan was trying to incite. This is not about story-telling, but about basic psychology and issues of control and inclusion - or exclusion. A psychologist could speak to this better than I, but there are so many famous studies which predict the outcome we received here that I would recommend Cyan find an expert in this area before attempting anything like it again.

My proposal has always been that Cyan needs to communicate OCC about their IC plans instead of keeping them so secret that everything is left to absurd scrutiny and everyone is suspect. It should at least be formal, and could also be done through Marketing. Movies have credits, plays have programs, books have a chapter list, and Cyan needs to publish Statements of Story so we know how to play the game. This would include, in no small part, a complete cast list, including explorers, and intent or mission. The environment is highly dynamic, so we should understand that the Statement of Story is a living document which could change daily. We could then participate in a much more realistic manner where everyone understands their role in the game, knows what's expected of them, and is fully informed and included, thereby precluding any sense of manipulation or loss of control and, ultimately, rebellion against the host. The story then becomes ours to play.

This might not be perfect, but recent events demand a progressive solution. Send Cyan your Feature Requests. Quote me if you agree. Use your own words if you have a better idea.

BrettM wrote:
I'm not sure I like the idea that JWPlatt is proposing. Seems too much like giving things away in advance, ruining the suspense and surprise. While all the actors in a film know the story in advance, we are audience as well as actors. I think I see where you're coming from, JWP, but it seems like it would remove a lot of flexibility from the story. Could you give an example of what such a Statement of Story might look like?

Brett, my Statements of Story might look a lot like what Cyan has announced today, though I had a more elaborate vision. But at least we are informed that there is a story, that it is sanctioned by Cyan, what the story is about, and when it will be. That goes far to address my concerns there. What Cyan has not addressed is an acknowledgement of what they've learned about manufacturing divisions - something you know has been a deep concern to me for a very long time.

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 7:39 pm 
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JWPlatt wrote:
BrettM wrote:
I'm not sure I like the idea that JWPlatt is proposing. Seems too much like giving things away in advance, ruining the suspense and surprise. While all the actors in a film know the story in advance, we are audience as well as actors. I think I see where you're coming from, JWP, but it seems like it would remove a lot of flexibility from the story. Could you give an example of what such a Statement of Story might look like?

Brett, my Statements of Story might look a lot like what Cyan has announced today, though I had a more elaborate vision. But at least we are informed that there is a story, that it is sanctioned by Cyan, what the story is about, and when it will be. That goes far to address my concerns there. What Cyan has not addressed is an acknowledgement of what they've learned about manufacturing divisions - something you know has been a deep concern to me for a very long time.

JWP, I appreciate your invitation to counterpoint on this, but I may have to take a raincheck until I see how this plays out in practice. I have no argument with you on the "manufactured divisions" issue, of course. But, it remains to be seen if the story summary gives too much away or removes too much of the possibility for surprise twists and turns generated by our own interaction with the story during the episode.

I do fear that the story will become more remote -- with our roles being more passive -- in episodic format. I also fear that it means there will be even less of the historic/cultural/linguistic background material that some of us hunger for, and even less opportunity for us to eke out our knowledge through interactions with the characters. (Of course, there may actually be more opportunity, since the characters won't have to spend most of their time answering questions about when the next Age will be released, etc. :) That might leave more time to fish for knowledge or explore important story developments.)

However, I fully understand Cyan's desire to "work smarter" with the resources they have available right now. And I understand that they also have a true desire to see things rocking on a much more frequent basis. Perhaps this move can get them the success they need, and that one day they will be able to start increasing the frequency of the episodes until they reach their original vision.

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