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Concerns and Constructive Criticism

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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby EltanimRas » Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:44 am

Frigga wrote:There is no "town hall" persay (though an interesting idea, perhaps, for the future) but - all of the Overseers, the Master, and the Captain have offices in their respective places of work.

Thanks, Frigga. That's good to know.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Fulgrim » Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:55 am

Just gonna answer for myself. If you suspect I am behind the animation of a NPC, or suspect it's one that I have access to/know intimately enough to give you a conclusive scene filled with the information you want, I would petition up and see if it is something I could beam right down Scotty to, in order to deliver that information.

Being obnoxious about it: What would be obnoxious? Spamming petition. You shouldn't be petitioning toward one specific subject more than once in an hour. If you find it hard to reach me online, my inbox is open too, though the questions you can ask OOCly are limited to, "What time will you be on next?"

As for "when you get Plot":

If you get plot, board post about it. If it was something that would ICly be "secret", board post about secret things happening, if you were at all spotted in public places while they happened, so people know who to pursue for more inklings of plot. If your character would ICly be one to share this plot at large, I would also encourage more information in board posts to help pursuit.

Namely, the BIGGEST thing you should be sharing knowledge wise either way is details regarding NPCs involved if they are ones staff can animate, to avoid thoughts of these NPCs being unreachable to anyone but the ones first contacted.

These are just my thoughts, about things that I write, distribute and tend toward. All staff are unfortunately different, we are not standardized models, but I think we're not too dissimilar in intent toward cutting down on the idea that there's some favoritism going on.

tl;dr:

Don't be afraid to ask me for things. You have to be proactive, yes. That's just the way things are. No one's going to hand you anything, but if you direct your RP towards something, I will make sure you get the same response anyone else would, both fair, expedient and effective.

ETA: Sorry, just remembered. You're free to PM me to ask for when I'll be online to respond next, but you must also accompany it with a ticket directed at me as well, if you were looking for me indeed. This is for the benefit of other attending staffers. I just tend to check PMs first.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby EltanimRas » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:42 am

Fulgrim wrote:Just gonna answer for myself.

<3
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Sabrelon » Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:05 pm

EltanimRas wrote: So ... while I'm not saying we should grab the torches and pitchforks and shout "Favoritism!", I do think it's something staff may need to be careful of, especially on the last point (where animations and plot points have a natural tendency to snowball, as it were).


Fulgrim wrote: Don't be afraid to ask me for things. You have to be proactive, yes. That's just the way things are. No one's going to hand you anything, but if you direct your RP towards something, I will make sure you get the same response anyone else would, both fair, expedient and effective.


So, to comment on the Staff Animation topic and the non-statement of "Favoritism!" (because I know you're not calling it, but it's a common topic and I want to clarify), I app'd in and started up a week ago, and have already seen quite a few sets of echoes and plot directed at me despite still being a "newbie."

I don't know if it's because I use think a lot, or if I just happened to drop in at the right time, but I've seen pretty consistent staff interaction one way or another, and while I've played with and under some of the Staff before, I'm (relatively certain) the interaction has nothing to do with that.

As for Fulgrim's comment, proactive play is probably the most important aspect of actually getting plot to happen around you-- whether you start it, or it's initiated by an IMM. Proactive doesn't necessarily mean gathering people up and going on a hunt or a bar event, it's just creating interesting roleplay for the players around you.

I definitely do agree that what is and isn't kosher in regards to getting in contact with staff should be laid out a bit more readily. The Wiki really, really needs some fleshing out, which I'm sure will come with time, but would be extremely useful for both new players, and people interested in the world and interacting with staff.

As far as I can tell, though, just shooting people a PM or petitioning up is, at the worst, going to get you a no, so there's very little harm in just giving it a try if you think Staff interaction might make your character and the gameworld a little more lively.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Ava » Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:19 am

I'm confused between Nimrod and Fulgrim's takes on petitioning up. Could we get a cohesive document on staff policy regarding what people can ask for in terms of plot and development? I've asked about how to get involved, and received dead air. I'm not sure how much more I'm supposed to ask.

In addition, I know that a player built something in the Guard, something that I know the player made clan to have had for some time, and it's been weeks with no reply. I'm not sure if that's because its being discussed or tickets are behind, but we've lost players in the Guard because of being told 'no' so many times on the same issue with no great reason, and it's disappointing to know that we were singled out with that 'no'.

The players with original criticisms haven't spoken up. Is it because they've left for good, or is it because this issue is resolved and I'm beating a dead horse now?
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby EltanimRas » Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:01 am

Ava wrote:I'm confused between Nimrod and Fulgrim's takes on petitioning up.

Nimrod, while we all love him (and he may be rescuing us from the current crash!), is no longer working on the player port. I don't think anyone else minds a polite, clear ('Is anyone available to animate NPC X for purpose Y?', not 'What's up? Anybody on?') petition here and there.

Ava wrote:Could we get a cohesive document on staff policy regarding what people can ask for in terms of plot and development?

I think that makes three votes for this one. ;)

Ava wrote:I've asked about how to get involved, and received dead air. I'm not sure how much more I'm supposed to ask.

Is your inquiry character-specific and IC-sensitive, or is it something you can talk abut in more detailed but still forum-friendly terms? What's not working for you about the general suggestions that have been made in this and other threads?

Tangent: Is it just me, or do other people find it much harder to be pro-active and create/seek plot when their PC is enlisted as a peon in a traditional, hierarchical clan? Should we be talking less about plot disparity** between players (which is pretty much inevitable) and more about plot disparity between [major] clans?

Ava wrote:The players with original criticisms haven't spoken up. Is it because they've left for good, or is it because this issue is resolved and I'm beating a dead horse now?

We could probably rouse Kory with a PM; I heard he'd been busy with work. Who else do you want to hear from?

**'Plot disparity' is probably a more precise term for what we're discussing than 'favoritism', since the latter sounds like some kind of Rhubarb/Shadow issue, which we don't have.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Ava » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:44 am

There's nothing really plot sensitive, I asked just that: how do I go about getting involved in your plot?

As a peon, I can attest that until only recently (when I did something drastic), I had seen barge echoes, and one echo specific to a group of people who just arrived back in town. I don't know if I'm not proactive enough, not thinking enough, not asking enough, but I honestly don't know how I'm supposed to engage.

Or if I'm supposed to at all! I'm having fun making my own fun, but when anything of 'plot' importance happens anywhere but near me, I figure I'm doing something wrong, or just being super boring. I'll plod on, but it's disheartening.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby krelm » Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:19 pm

Just following this tangent here: another thing about getting involved in plot is that admins aren't available 100% of the time. Sure, you can pet up, but if there's no one around to see your petition then there's no one around to see your petition, and you might as well do something else.

Personally, I just don't worry about it. If I need to do something that requires an admin, pet up and get no response? I just do something else. If some plot stuff happens around me and I can feasibly join in, I do and just roll with it. If I miss it, oh well. Can't be involved in everything all the time.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Ava » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:34 pm

Icarus wrote:Rules were bent, mistakes were made, attempts to roll with the mistakes were made, further ones were made. It was made clear, mind you, that special apps would be considered from the getgo. People just had to ask.

"Plot" as we know it, is a tricky thing. The plague on the hillmen was an attempt to wipe out any perceived vNPC presence that had been potentially suggested via an IC method that jived with the larger plot. What you see as special imm attention was more akin to punishment for rulebending guised in an IC shroud. It wasn't a favor. People were up in arms that we tossed a scent in their camp to reveal ICly people who hung out there, and people freaked that we were doing anything at all.

Beornings existed before Beorn. They have long been a loose coalition of clans/tribes/villages on the western edge of Mirkwood, similar to Woodsmen, but whom find themselves led by a small group of individuals who are essentially magicians that can shift their form. Beorn was not the first, nor will he be the last, and their origins are murky and not even Tolkien fully fleshed them out. I hold Martinez as higher canon that tolkiengateway.

The "Free People" are entirely separate now from hillmen, Beornings, or magical ponies. Beornings are led by Beorn, who is run by staff, and independent of any PC. Beornings can roll IG, into Utterby, completely independent of any current clan or PC group, without issue. The camp is run by PCs, who frankly play an incredible amount. Their combined playtimes as a group of 6 or so rival larger groups of twenty. This means they get a lot of stuff done, and kudos to them for that. But it does mean they are as if not more active than IG clans, and this leads to attention, simply by virtue of being online and seeing most things.

A lot of our best players, including many of you, have left us. We need you back, because otherwise it's the clans that you thought were getting everything handed to them who will remain as all that's left in the game. How can I run plots for the Guard when they don't have enough folks to run large patrols? How can I engage other folks in Mirkwood when some of our best RPers have left, leaving me with the free fort as the only group outside the walls on a regular basis? I need other people IG to lead players and serve as examples to the pbase.

I'm shifting my priority to getting us a proper plan, starting with an all staff meeting that will occur within the next week to get folks onboard and on the same page. This includes documentation, and further transparency to you folks. I'll then do my best to get that plan published for the pbase, so you know what our priorities and focuses will be over the next months.

Further questions that I might address?

EDIT: Our beornings are simply humans. Nothing more. No powers, no magic, no bears. Just humans from western Mirkwood that follow Beorn, and whose forefathers followed whoever came before Beorn, and whose children will follow who comes after.


Could I ask for an update of where we're at in terms of plans/priorities/transparency? Things seemed like they were going a certain way, but then an NPC countered another in a way that seemed like someone on staff changed their mind or something, and since then things seem to have been progressing much the same as they had before this thread, minus more players who raised the original issues as far as I can tell.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Frigga » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:42 pm

That's really vague, Ava.

Also, to put it on the record, NPCs are more than just the avatars of staffers. Major ones have personalities, stories, and desires and goals which may or may not clash with that of other NPCs. ;)
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby tehkory » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:30 pm

Frigga wrote:That's really vague, Ava.

Also, to put it on the record, NPCs are more than just the avatars of staffers. Major ones have personalities, stories, and desires and goals which may or may not clash with that of other NPCs. ;)


It's not terribly vague; she said things were the same as they were when things were being brought up in the first place. You have this entire thread to go off of.

That said, I'm still not playing. Tomorrow, though. Probably. Maybe. I think.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby EltanimRas » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:37 pm

Icarus wrote:I'm shifting my priority to getting us a proper plan, starting with an all staff meeting that will occur within the next week to get folks onboard and on the same page. This includes documentation, and further transparency to you folks. I'll then do my best to get that plan published for the pbase, so you know what our priorities and focuses will be over the next months.

IC stuff aside, did this happen? Is there a giant plan we're all going to get to see soon?
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Alcarin » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:02 pm

There is, indeed, a plan. But Icarus is currently without internet and in the middle of a move for the past two weeks, Nimrod stepped back from Elder Staff and Frigga has her own scheduling challenges.

Things are progressing topside, but player visibility of nost things is in limbo for the moment, pending final decisions and outlines and drafts.


In the meantime, I can say that things are significantly less dire than this thread would suggest. Many of the chief complaints were voiced by players who had already ceased logging in weeks prior to this thread.

Nevertheless, we do pay very close attention to player concerns and complaints, and are doing our best to pull all of the pieces together.

But in the meantime, please do provide us with specific, current examples wherein things seem to be backtracking.

It doesn't help to simply tell us things improved and then went bad again: tell us specifically what changed, both times. We are not all of one mind and we do not all have perfect awareness of what happens on a day to day basis. Help us to help you by making feedback current and precise.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Ava » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:47 pm

Frigga wrote:That's really vague, Ava.

Also, to put it on the record, NPCs are more than just the avatars of staffers. Major ones have personalities, stories, and desires and goals which may or may not clash with that of other NPCs. ;)


A busty, blonde, gap-toothed woman relies with a quiet voice, versus her more normally boisterous nature, "Aye, the Master sent Rogan by with a message, and he seemed in right mood too. Seems that despite all the talk and rumours flying around about any official action on the "Free People" camp - that the Captain might have ... over simplified what the Master was saying. Seems he's a bit irked at how the whole thing made him seem."

A busty, blonde, gap-toothed woman shakes her head, "Offered him a drink, but he wanted no part of it, you know how we is - official and all that, Rogan. I'm staying out of the whole thing, myself, and you didn't hear any of this from me."


So was the expansion a conflict between two NPCs that was resolved out of sight (having players pushed into contention by the Captain, but then left hanging when the mayor cancelled it in a board post?) Or was an annexation actually planned by staff and then decided otherwise?

Were there ever plans to consolidate?

Icarus wrote:Rules were bent, mistakes were made, attempts to roll with the mistakes were made, further ones were made. It was made clear, mind you, that special apps would be considered from the getgo. People just had to ask.


What do you consider mistakes? How do you figure they will be fixed?

Icarus wrote:I'm shifting my priority to getting us a proper plan, starting with an all staff meeting that will occur within the next week to get folks onboard and on the same page. This includes documentation, and further transparency to you folks. I'll then do my best to get that plan published for the pbase, so you know what our priorities and focuses will be over the next months.


My original question was whether there was a plan ready to share with us, as it's been about a month. I understand RL though, just wanted confirmation that it was still happening.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Real » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:59 pm

Ava wrote:Utterby is really dead these days.

What do you consider mistakes? Are they going to be fixed?


My original question was whether there was a plan ready to share with us, as it's been about a month. I understand RL though, just wanted confirmation that it was still happening.

Icarus wrote: EDIT: Our beornings are simply humans. Nothing more. No powers, no magic, no bears.


Is this still true?

#1 I find hard to believe based on personal experience.

#2 What do you consider fixing? There are not many ways to remedy this that aren't going to piss off just about everybody in the clan, and I thought we were trying to mend bridges, not burn new ones.

#3 I will assume (and accept all responsibility for my assuming ways and how they might make me look like a douche) that staff are weighing their options and considering whether destroying a clan of active players due to forum complaints is entirely worth it...It's possible that they're working out a reasonable compromise.

I'm not in the clan, for the record.

It is my strong opinion that people need to cool their heels and let staff figure out what they want and what's best for the game as a whole. Beating this dead horse any longer is just driving up your post count.

As for #4...If you're talking about the scene I think you're talking about, and I won't go into it because it's IC, I believe that was very circumstantial but...

Well...

The rule is, as far as I know, for the past few RPIs now, if you echo something to some players or load an object into the game, brace yourself for a forum topic with 400 replies on why it's unfair.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby EltanimRas » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:28 pm

Ava wrote:Were there ever plans to consolidate?

OOCly, as I, at least, understand things, yes, some consolidation is happening, and in the very near future. There may be some IC back and forth, confusion, etc. about the details. I don't know that I've seen a 100% clear, 100% public announcement about it.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Fulgrim » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:29 pm

If there's anything magic going on, you can rest assured that players don't have the power to call it up on a whim at least.

If that's purely semantics for you, then you have no idea what you're talking about in the first place.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby tehkory » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:30 pm

Things are progressing topside

Progress is sometimes turning around, rather than continuing as-is. If you think you've moved away from what caused players to bring up our concerns in the first place, then I'd point out how; if people think you've stayed the course, then hopefully they're simply wrong, and Staff as a whole have stepped away from previous mistakes.

There's no need to expect people to retread what they already made clear, when you've got pages of that already.
The rule is, as far as I know, for the past few RPIs now, if you echo something to some players or load an object into the game, brace yourself for a forum topic with 400 replies on why it's unfair.

In the meantime, I can say that things are significantly less dire than this thread would suggest. Many of the chief complaints were voiced by players who had already ceased logging in weeks prior to this thread.

The idea that "this is why I stopped playing, and why I'm unlikely to continue playing/return unless there's some general changes" isn't valid is pretty weak, Alcarin. I wouldn't have felt the need to say this, if not for the fact that I'd already made it clear that I'd stepped back(as had Throttle), so...any attempts to really belittle those past arguments because we 'stopped playing' are a shame. Staff and players were, previously, incredibly mature about this discussion. It's a shame to see these perennial dismissals being brought up by the two of you, especially when they were so absolutely missing from this thread's first run.

There are not many ways to remedy this that aren't going to piss off just about everybody in the clan, and I thought we were trying to mend bridges, not burn new ones.
considering whether destroying a clan of active players

It is my strong opinion that people need to cool their heels and let staff figure out what they want and what's best for the game as a whole. Beating this dead horse any longer is just driving up your post count.

Never really suggested/on the table. Most suggestions are that the clan should be folded into Utterby, existing inside of it. Like I've said before; I'm a fan of documentation and rules. If a player achieves something in-game, that path should be open to every player...and if that's achieved with Staff help, the -means- by which that player achieved it should be outlined, open to everyone, and public.

But...when it comes to posting? We'll just have to disagree. Dialogue with Staff is what reduces resentment, mostly, in my eyes.
Frigga wrote:Also, to put it on the record, NPCs are more than just the avatars of staffers. Major ones have personalities, stories, and desires and goals which may or may not clash with that of other NPCs. ;)


I just need to strongly raise a point of dissent here, Frigga. I know you mean well, and I get what you're saying to some extent. But in no case have I ever come across a Staff-run NPC that existed -primarily- as a character, rather than a means to either two ends: Staff whims(not something I believe here), and the Game's Needs. I don't think it's often--or ever--that a Staff member looks at a character they're running, and has that NPC make a decision that the Staff(individually or as a group) believe will be obviously detrimental to the game as a whole. And that's not a bad thing. I'd say it's a good thing, as long as it's not the sole reason the Admin considers in their implementation of the NPC.

NPCs aren't the avatars of Staffers, no. And sometimes they clash. But more importantly they're one of the main tools Staff have to produce conflict, plot, theme, and atmosphere into the game. They should have believable characteristics and goals...but at the end of the day, they're probably more Means than Character.

ETA:
Fulgrim wrote:If there's anything magic going on, you can rest assured that players don't have the power to call it up on a whim at least.

If that's purely semantics for you, then you have no idea what you're talking about in the first place.

Then I'll have to put myself firmly in the camp of not having a clue of what I'm talking about, for thinking that there should be rules rather than arbitrary decisions about who gets what. Unless I'm misreading your post, and you don't mean that some characters--while not on a whim--have access to "magic," while others don't. Because that's certainly how it reads, over in the not-knowing-what-I'm-talking-about camp.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Holmes » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:51 pm

Fulgrim wrote:If there's anything magic going on, you can rest assured that players don't have the power to call it up on a whim at least.

If that's purely semantics for you, then you have no idea what you're talking about in the first place.


I don't think Admins being able to call it up on a whim is much of an improvement over players being able to, which was the precedent I remember being set previously.

In fact, it's probably just as bad, in a different sort of way.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Alcarin » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:59 pm

I'm sorry you feel that we're being dismissive, Tehkory. It isn't my intention, and I'm sure it isn't the intention of any other member of staff.

However, most of the things that are being asked for right now are still being worked on, primarily because the people who will have to put the final stamp of approval on every bit of it are dealing with real life at the moment, to one degree or another.

All of that said, I would advise patience. Answers are on the way, but will only arrive in the form of public announcements when and if they are fully fleshed out and ready to be presented.

P.S. To Ava: That board post is actually a bit misleading, on the OOC side of things. It was a strong step toward re-integration of the Utterby playerbase. Not all NPCs are necessarily for the manuever, but it is still being moved towards - primarily through RP with the players involved.

If you'd like to learn more about that, please seek information and answers in-game. I promise there are plenty of PCs with access to the pertinent details of what is happening.


To everyone else, in regards to the IC/OOC information barrier of certain fixes or changes or adaptations within Utterby, many of those are going to need to be discussed and introduced ICly with the playerbase before we can announce all of the details OOCly.

The means of spreading much of this information IS coming soon, it is one of the projects I'm currently trying to cobble together with Icarus and Frigga.

But please, stay tuned and don't give up hope. And again, if you see something that makes you think we're regressing instead of progressing (as in, moving back toward the things players found concerning rather than toward things that will better the game world) speak up with specific examples so that we can discuss them while they are most relevant.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Matt » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:01 pm

I'm honestly starting to feel like you guys are trolling at this point.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Tiamat » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:11 pm

Progress is sometimes turning around, rather than continuing as-is. If you think you've moved away from what caused players to bring up our concerns in the first place, then I'd point out how; if people think you've stayed the course, then hopefully they're simply wrong, and Staff as a whole have stepped away from previous mistakes.


I think we've already established what is being done about the situation, and Staff have given their thoughts. Unfortunately IC solutions to IC issues aren't always made public, especially when characters IC would have no business knowing what the arrangement is. Players don't have the whole story, and you'll just have to see what the solution was.

As far as the "plot-hogging" concerns that were aired before, they're nowhere near an issue now, granted the wealth of plots going on in Utterby. The bargepeople rightfully don't have the wealth of plots (considering, lulz, I guess the only plot going on at the time was mine). If you think Utterby is dead, you're either playing at an off-peak time (unfortunate), or you aren't putting yourself out there.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby krelm » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:15 pm

Nietzsche wrote:Utterby is dead.


Over the past couple of days, after getting off work, I've logged on to see 20-24 people on, and only 4 of them, at most, were orcs. So everyone's gotta be somewhere.
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Ava » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:24 pm

I'm glad to hear changes are coming, and will watch out for them. I know I can't see much from an IC perspective, so I asked OOCly for confirmation - and got plenty of answers. I'm also sorry if it looked like I was trolling, I thought I had legitimate questions. :/
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Re: Concerns and Constructive Criticism

Postby Matt » Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:17 pm

Ava wrote:I'm glad to hear changes are coming, and will watch out for them. I know I can't see much from an IC perspective, so I asked OOCly for confirmation - and got plenty of answers. I'm also sorry if it looked like I was trolling, I thought I had legitimate questions. :/


Not talking about you bud. Talking about the guys that haven't played in a long while getting on the forums and beating a dead horse.
Matt
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Posts: 533
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:47 pm

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