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Old 10-30-2007, 03:01 PM   #21
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Re: Admining and Playing

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Originally Posted by Delerak View Post
No, but it proves my point. Isn't it ironic that all of your characters are high-ranking officials in power. It gives the players no power in turn. The lifeblood of any 'game' is the person playing it, not the person who created it. Having players have influence around them, and attain characters such as the ones you listed above would make the game a whole lot funner then having these been "imm" only positions, or somehow restricted to the players just because they aren't involved as an admin.
No, it's not ironic. And I think you have an overestimation of what power in a roleplaying game really is, and how it manifests. There's no real power in being the Senate President - he's a talking head who makes speeches. His Battleclaw, however, the leader of the Demarian Militia, is a player's character. As a general rule, it's also been the Battleclaw, the player's character, who goes to the big OATO (think U.N., OtherSpace-style) meetings and gets involved in leading the fight against the Phyrrian Decimator fleet in the latest storyline.

The characters I play are bound in the nutshell of their obligations and responsibilities. This leaves the players free to do the things that really shape and change the universe.

OtherSpace has been running for 10 years. During that 10 years, we have gone through phases of player-run governments, totally NPC'ed governments, and governments that were led (more or less) by admin-played characters.

I think, based on the data I've gathered during that time, that we're much better off with a hybrid of admin-played "leaders" who are surrounded by player characters who do much of the real "action" in the game.

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Your disney world analogy is alright, but I have a better one.

An elected official works for the government, regulating a private companys shares in the stock market. Let's say he then decides to take a "leave of absence" and work the other side at this private company. The very fact that they are an elected official, is a conflict of interest because they have the information from regulating this company as part of the government that no one else would have. If this ever happened, the elected official would never get re-elected again, and would be compromising laws and regulations in hopes of securing employment in the private sector.
You're mistaking an online RPG for a democratic government now. It's not. Sorry . Honestly, I hold nothing against game operators who insist that their staffers can never play the game they work on. Ultimately, I think that costs some of a game's staying power.
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:04 PM   #22
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Re: Admining and Playing

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Originally Posted by Brody View Post
No, it's not ironic. And I think you have an overestimation of what power in a roleplaying game really is, and how it manifests. There's no real power in being the Senate President - he's a talking head who makes speeches. His Battleclaw, however, the leader of the Demarian Militia, is a player's character. As a general rule, it's also been the Battleclaw, the player's character, who goes to the big OATO (think U.N., OtherSpace-style) meetings and gets involved in leading the fight against the Phyrrian Decimator fleet in the latest storyline.

The characters I play are bound in the nutshell of their obligations and responsibilities. This leaves the players free to do the things that really shape and change the universe.

OtherSpace has been running for 10 years. During that 10 years, we have gone through phases of player-run governments, totally NPC'ed governments, and governments that were led (more or less) by admin-played characters.

I think, based on the data I've gathered during that time, that we're much better off with a hybrid of admin-played "leaders" who are surrounded by player characters who do much of the real "action" in the game.



You're mistaking an online RPG for a democratic government now. It's not. Sorry . Honestly, I hold nothing against game operators who insist that their staffers can never play the game they work on. Ultimately, I think that costs some of a game's staying power.
Well, it's your game, but to say there is no conflict of interest regardless of whether the power is abused or not, is simply wrong in my opinion. A "conflict of interest" arises simply because the possibility for corruption and abuse of power is there, the only way to stop a conflict of interest is to remove it all together.

And I'm not totally against admins playing the game, but not with 'active' player characters. THat's what NPCs are for. I see roleplay admins as Dungeon Masters, they should be more of an invisible guiding hand then an actual force in character that can kill/maim/order the deaths of people.
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:08 PM   #23
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Re: Admining and Playing

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Originally Posted by Delerak View Post
Well, it's your game, but to say there is no conflict of interest regardless of whether the power is abused or not, is simply wrong in my opinion. A "conflict of interest" arises simply because the possibility for corruption and abuse of power is there, the only way to stop a conflict of interest is to remove it all together.

And I'm not totally against admins playing the game, but not with 'active' player characters. THat's what NPCs are for. I see roleplay admins as Dungeon Masters, they should be more of an invisible guiding hand then an actual force in character that can kill/maim/order the deaths of people.
Go back and read my initial response to this thread. I never said it's never a conflict of interest. In point of fact, I specifically stated that there are situations where it CAN be a conflict of interest. I just happen to have enough confidence in the people I choose as admins - and in myself as a responsible administrator - that conflicts can be dealt with as they arise.

You've had bad experiences with admin-played characters before. I'm sorry to hear that. I've had bad experiences with player-played leaders before too - that hasn't made me totally close myself off to the idea of letting players have the chance to do those jobs, so why should I do the same to admins unless they prove through their actions that they can't be trusted in such circumstances?
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:13 PM   #24
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Re: Admining and Playing

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Go back and read my initial response to this thread. I never said it's never a conflict of interest. In point of fact, I specifically stated that there are situations where it CAN be a conflict of interest. I just happen to have enough confidence in the people I choose as admins - and in myself as a responsible administrator - that conflicts can be dealt with as they arise.

You've had bad experiences with admin-played characters before. I'm sorry to hear that. I've had bad experiences with player-played leaders before too - that hasn't made me totally close myself off to the idea of letting players have the chance to do those jobs, so why should I do the same to admins unless they prove through their actions that they can't be trusted in such circumstances?
The difference though is that your admin-played PCs have the power and knowledge of an admin. Whereas the players have nothing but their wits to go into the fray with. Actively playing a character, AND an admin gives you a huge advantage over players, as an admin you are the all-seeing, all-dancing crap of the world. (can anyone spot the reference?). You can see what all other characters are doing, you also have your imm channel with plenty of gossip going on, not to mention your special commands like goto, wizinvis, etc.

In an RPI setting especially, they already have the knowledge that gives an unfair advantage against players, and god forbid you ever manage to kill or assassinate an admin-played PC, they will just show up a week later unscathed. Yeah I've had bad experiences, but experiences are what shape our opinions, so my opinion will stand that this conflict of interest has no place in RPI muds. Not an active PC and an admin anyways, if you want to play the game, fine, but not with an active immortal, it's just a conflict of interest that I wouldn't want to have to deal with in my mud anyway.
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:18 PM   #25
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Re: Admining and Playing

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Originally Posted by Brody View Post
Go back and read my initial response to this thread. I never said it's never a conflict of interest. In point of fact, I specifically stated that there are situations where it CAN be a conflict of interest. I just happen to have enough confidence in the people I choose as admins - and in myself as a responsible administrator - that conflicts can be dealt with as they arise.
IMHO it's a potential conflict of interest that can be managed with a strong zero-tolerance policy. We strongly encourage staff to play, to the point that they no longer even have to give up their main player to join the team in the first place. In 11 years we've had two incidents and only one directly related to a staff member having a player. We had an imm caught giving their alt some gold 8 years ago, both were removed immediately, the MUD was told what happened and life moved on.

The value we've gained from having staff members familiar with how the game really runs (vs how its designed to run) massively outweighs this. In fact, one of the most common complaints we get is that the staff do not understand the intricacies of clan raiding well enough to improve it - I do draw the line at allowing staff players to take part in raids when they have inside information on clan defenses.

The consequences in RPI muds may be deeper as that seems to be mostly what you're discussing, but in games, in business, in pretty much any service you offer - the best way to learn what really goes on is to walk in the shoes of your "consumer".
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:20 PM   #26
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Re: Admining and Playing

Yeah, we're gonna have to agree to disagree on this one. I've generally had good experiences with admin-played characters. I agree, you shouldn't see my wizard character, Brody, running around the grid doing great deeds. But I have no problem with one of my staffers playing a general and giving marching orders to the people who actually go do the fun things.

I hope you have some more positive experiences in the future.
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:24 PM   #27
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Re: Admining and Playing

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
The consequences in RPI muds may be deeper as that seems to be mostly what you're discussing, but in games, in business, in pretty much any service you offer - the best way to learn what really goes on is to walk in the shoes of your "consumer".
I think the "consequences" are totally subjective and based on what a player considers the "important" work of an RPI. Personally, I think it's more important to be the fighter jockey or starship commander taking on the alien warfleet than it is to be the desk-bound bureaucrat back on the homeworld. So, in my games, you'll find that most of the top politicians/bureaucrats are staffers while the people who win the Medal of Honor are players.

If an admin is playing a fighter jockey who goes out and hogs all the glory? Yeah, that's pretty cheesy. But if the admin is playing a starship commander who gets captured by the enemy, thus giving his crew an adventure to rescue him - whatever. That's fine by me.
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:19 PM   #28
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Re: Admining and Playing

We encourage our staff to play characters. It helps remind them what they're working for. Legend does have a strict zero-tolerance policy in place and has for years. We've had a single instance of an imm abusing powers with their mortal, and that staff member was punished, and the mort character taken. That's one in 13 years. Having a staff that knows what is going on down with the masses, how the game is running, how thing are balancing out and so on far outweighs that.
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Old 10-30-2007, 07:11 PM   #29
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Re: Admining and Playing

For everyone 1 you catch there are probably 3-4 getting away with something else. And really most of my points of views are coming from an RPI standpoint, not other muds. I really could care less if an imm on Aardwolf plays, that's a whole different story, not much room for abuse, because the entire mud doesn't really have an in-character world like an RPI mud does. Where knowing something can mean the difference between life and death (permdeath on RPI muds). For a mud isn't RPI it's not really an issue.
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Old 10-30-2007, 07:23 PM   #30
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Re: Admining and Playing

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For everyone 1 you catch there are probably 3-4 getting away with something else. And really most of my points of views are coming from an RPI standpoint, not other muds. I really could care less if an imm on Aardwolf plays, that's a whole different story, not much room for abuse, because the entire mud doesn't really have an in-character world like an RPI mud does. Where knowing something can mean the difference between life and death (permdeath on RPI muds). For a mud isn't RPI it's not really an issue.
No offense, but that's a crock. On a non-RPI MUD, conflicts of interest can still arise. After all, you've got knowledge of the best hunting grounds. Maybe you know some cheat codes for killing monsters. Or, heck, you could just deck your character out in the best gear in the game without having to earn it like other players.

Abuse can happen anywhere. How it's policed creates the environment of acceptance or intolerance of such behavior.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:18 PM   #31
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Re: Admining and Playing

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Originally Posted by Delerak View Post
For everyone 1 you catch there are probably 3-4 getting away with something else. And really most of my points of views are coming from an RPI standpoint, not other muds. I really could care less if an imm on Aardwolf plays, that's a whole different story, not much room for abuse, because the entire mud doesn't really have an in-character world like an RPI mud does. Where knowing something can mean the difference between life and death (permdeath on RPI muds). For a mud isn't RPI it's not really an issue.
Brody covered a few things a non-RPI MU* can do.

And if your concern is knowledge: First of all you have a matter of IM. If I am in a community long enough, or recruit friends to a community, then I could likely have IM names for all my regular RP partners. The information an administrative staff might have that could be abused is not substantially more influential than this.

Secondly, as Brody keeps saying, you have the matter of what admin characters tend to do. I think he's a bit conservative on the point for purposes of this discussion, myself. Let us say I, as the admin, am coordinating the establishment of a group of mercenaries, and the group is quite new. I could have any number of problems from heavy PC infighting at first to just the PCs lacking a role model for the org. Would I make a character that had more experience and was better skilled than most of them for the early phases? You bet. I am sure a few would object to this practice, but I see it as better in the long term, especially since once establishment is made I could run an event with the retirement/loss/death of the leader and let a PC take over.

Third, you seem to define the difference between 'NPC' and 'Admin PC' as 'does it have a character object?' So, provided my read on your definitions is accurate, what does it matter if and Admin PC is doing NPC things? If Brody's Admin PCs play desk/world bound types so the players can save the day, how is that different from if he runs an NPC to do the exact same task?

Fourth, you have a matter of staff morale. Last I checked game staff weren't automatons.

Have I seen abuse of staff powers before? Yes. Am I reasonably sure I could point fingers at a staffer on a game I'm on and detail a perceived abuse? Yes. Are more than a few of these perceived abuses quite possibly the result of staff playing characters? I could argue for that point. However, even with all that, this is what good policing and ethics is for, and the safety net. Generally speaking, the safety net works.
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