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What's the Deal With Retiring?

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What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby krelm » Fri May 23, 2014 12:19 am

So really, I'm just curious as to everyone's take on this.

Why do people find retiring so bad? I mean I understand if you're a leader and just suddenly retire, leaving everyone else hanging, but what if you're just playing some nobody with no friends, and you hate the character and want to get rid of him?

I mean a lot of MUDs have had a lot of different retirement policies, but I remember for the longest time SoI had a very strict no-retirement policy, and that never made sense to me. I've always been of the opinion that if I'm playing a character and I start to hate it, I should just stop playing it and do something else I enjoy.

Further, why do you figure some policies put RPP restrictions on unretiring? I mean I understand that you're bringing back a PC who probably has some pretty high skills, but considering the time that's passed, you'll still be on-par with most PCs, as well as weaker than a majority of the longer-lived PCs that never retired. Why should people have to pay, or be punished, just for wanting to continue a character's story?

Again, I'm not sure what this incarnation of SoI's policy is going to be on un/retiring, and I won't have any say in the matter anyway, I'm just wondering what everyone else thinks about, and if anyone else is as nonplussed as I am about policies that tend to crop up.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Holmes » Fri May 23, 2014 12:25 am

Because 50% of the time it's used to avoid consequences, and in any sphere with a high player death ratio it generally allows you to outlive your PC's antagonists in an unrealistic fashion where they have no recourse.

I'm generally supportive of loose retirement policies, but coming out of retirement should definitely cost something, especially time. Aside from the particularly crappy experience you had with one retirement/unretirement cycle (and I agree with you that it was crappy in retrospect, even if you probably think it was my fault), do you think Atonement/Parallel's system of free retirement with an RPP cost on early unretirement was unfair?

I think it struck a fair balance between making it something you wouldn't do on a whim, but could do without really worrying about if your PC sucked and was boring.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby WorkerDrone » Fri May 23, 2014 12:28 am

Just throwing out my own opinion, since I basically agree with Krelm, on what exactly I'd -like- to see in regards to unretirement policies, and retirement in general.

To start right out...

Bullet one: You should be able to retire characters.

Bullet two: The only thing mitigating abuse of retirement should be in instances, perhaps, where you've killed another player. Retirement should be easy and not need a discussion with an admin who's going to do nothing but convince you that you shouldn't retire and make you feel pressured not to.

Bullet two, addendum A: The next thing mitigating abuse should be a cool down of a period of, I would almost say six months, but three months is acceptable. Once that's up, you can retire your current PC even and hop right back into the one you were playing before.

Bullet two, addendum B: If you so happen to be leading a clan, before you can retire, which you are allowed to do, you have to make all the arrangements for a smooth transition and continued leadership within that clan. Once that's secured, you aren't bound or chained by any other standards that anyone else is, and you shouldn't be pressured into continuing that role if you deem yourself unable to do it.

Bullet three: You shouldn't have to spend RPP to unretire or retire. It should cost nothing. The biggest thing that should happen in regards to RPP and retirement or unretirement is having a certain amount, since RPP is supposed to represent trust, before you can unretire a character, but you don't lose any of it by doing so since you might have already spent RPP to make that character in the first place.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby krelm » Fri May 23, 2014 12:39 am

Holmes wrote:Aside from the particularly crappy experience you had with one retirement/unretirement cycle (and I agree with you that it was crappy in retrospect, even if you probably think it was my fault


I've gotta say that I retired so many characters in Atonement that I have no idea which instance you're referring to here. The first and last retirements were the crappiest, but I don't remember you being a part of either of those. But that's besides the point.

Holmes wrote:do you think Atonement/Parallel's system of free retirement with an RPP cost on early unretirement was unfair?


All of my retirements lasted for more than a month, so this never factored in, but I could see where it would be annoying. If you retired a character for whatever reason, then tried to unretire merely weeks later, only to have to spend RPP to do it-- that's not something I would agree with, personally. Theoretically, if someone retired because of your worst-case-scenario (IE, retired to avoid consequences), if he unretired within a couple of weeks, those consequences would still reach him, especially if it was due to a PK or whatever. Maybe everyone would let it go or die off in months, but not in weeks.

Though, I will say I do see the point on the above-mentioned worst-case.

I also like WD's idea-- unretiring requiring, but not costing, RPP. I've always liked policies that required RPP, as opposed to costing them.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby WorkerDrone » Fri May 23, 2014 12:47 am

Yeah, see the thing here is, on that last thing in particular, the reason the admins might say, and have said in the past, that something should cost something, like with RPP in this example, it was often to discourage you from doing it, I felt, which isn't particularly conducive to having fun.

And when it comes to RPP, which represents admin trust, which you don't just suddenly lose by choosing to play an old character of yours that was approved by them before in the first place, doing that shouldn't cost RPP I'd think. Maybe require that they "have X amount of trust in you already", at that current time, but not cost it.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Pallando » Fri May 23, 2014 1:07 am

Bear in mind that the use of RPP in this iteration is still being discussed! Future systems may or may not serve retirement purposes, so something to bear in mind for discussion.

Do people feel there is a significant impact on people suiciding, if retirement is not an option?
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby krelm » Fri May 23, 2014 1:10 am

Do people feel there is a significant impact on people suiciding, if retirement is not an option?


The first time I ever got banned from SoI was because I wanted to retire and no one would let me so I suicided instead.

Short answer: Yes.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Songweaver » Fri May 23, 2014 1:40 am

I'll echo the above sentiment from Krelm. I saw a much lower suicide rate on Atonement compared to Northlands from staff-side, and I attribute that to Atonement's more relaxed stance on retirements than what we had in Northlands.

My feeling on retirement is that it should be loose, but the player should take it upon themself to wrap up dangling loose ends IG (including some sort of public post that makes it clear not to expect to see that character around for a while). For a newly-created character that is just not working out for you, this isn't a big deal, but it's definitely a big deal for more established characters.

I never ran into a situation bad enough that I felt like I needed to dock RPP from players who were irresponsible about retiring, but I definitely found it easier to reward players who took the extra hour or so to retire in a way that didn't leave their fellow players hanging.

I actually think it more intuitive to consider RPP cost (or tier requirements) for unretiring characters that have been retired for a long period of time as opposed to a short period of time; this could help serve as a means to keep folks from hibernating through their antagonists' lifespans.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Saellyn » Fri May 23, 2014 5:32 am

Allow me to post something.

Once upon a time, I was playing a MUD. And some things came up. I was gone for 30 rl days from that MUD, at a time when I had antagonists. I returned to that MUD, and one of these antagonists was still alive. He still found me, and I still paid the consequences for what I had done before. Antagonists RARELY forget their enemies, and if they see you, it will trigger them to remember what you did, and why they wanted to kill you in the first lace. So. There you have it.

Just because you retire your PC for a month, if it's to avoid PK consequences, don't assume that your enemies are dead or have forgotten.


Personally, it shouldn't cost or require anything to retire or unretire as long as you work it out with an admin beforehand that you might want to come back to that character, AND YOU ARE NOT DOING IT TO AVOID THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ACTIONS.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Throttle » Fri May 23, 2014 5:57 am

Retirement is frankly necessary as some players will otherwise choose to quit the game rather than "letting their character die in a tragic hunting accident" when they burn out on their current one. Without the option to retire freely, you simply get less players and, worse, more suicide-by-PK where they sometimes take others with them just to amuse themselves.

I'm less keen on unretirement, though, as it always comes with this extremely jarring OOC aura that permeates all interaction anyone has with that PC for at least a week following their return. It creates irritating situations where someone's absence and/or sudden return doesn't really make sense, and it kind of screws with the natural order of the game in a bunch of little ways.

I've had a guy retire while I was hunting him, in order to avoid dying, and then unretire very soon after I retired my PC some months later. Obviously that shouldn't be allowed, but I don't think it really can be prevented in every case as staff has no chance of knowing everything that goes on, and other players have no way of knowing if someone has retired, died in some remote place, or left the game. It's impossible to police and easy to abuse.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Saellyn » Fri May 23, 2014 6:32 am

This is why things are reported to staff, so they do have an idea of what's going on. Consider it a good way to keep them in the know "I'm hunting X person" and when he goest o retire, staff can go "Sorry, mate, but you're not getting out of this one."
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby alexjones » Fri May 23, 2014 7:04 am

I think a good policy would be to implement a 30 day wait after retiring a character to be able to create a new one, that would help deter people from throwing away there characters without thinking.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Octavius » Fri May 23, 2014 7:19 am

My personal two cents...
  • Agree retiring is necessary; this is a game and should be fun for the player. If it isn't, they should be able to change.
  • Don't agree with a waiting period after retirement - we want people who retire to get back in the game with a new PC and stay active as players.
  • Not sure I agree with unretiring. It being permanent is a good reason to consider actions carefully.
  • The RPP model I currently favor is spendable points with Badges that denote recognized trust/capability. This makes the points a more fluid currency and I can see spending them to allow unretiring.
  • I'd also consider having retiring any character that spent RPP or took a Role in its creation require staff review before being allowed to retire. You need staff approval to take the role, and you did so based on trust that you'd fulfill it. Staff then invested time and energy in you, and I think it is good practice to also talk to them before you toss it aside.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Saellyn » Fri May 23, 2014 7:21 am

I don't agree retiring should be permanent IF you talk with your admin staff beforehand. If you just go "Yeah I don't want to play this guy anymore, retire plz" then sure, he's done and over with. But I think you should be allowed to discuss potential unretirement with staff at a later date (and if agreed to, staff should adhere to their agreeing to unretire).

That way, you can't retire if you're three steps from death, then unretire when you discover it's safe.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Jeshin » Fri May 23, 2014 8:23 am

Some thoughts:

* I do not believe people would retire a PC, NOT play, and then unretire a PC to play.

* If unretiring is an option, the longer the timespan between retiring and unretiring the better it is for the game

* If unretiring is an option, it should have no cost beyond time

* If unretiring is an option, you may only have 1 PC unretired at a time. No alternating between two.

* Retirement should be permanent unless you are retiring to play a role that the MUD requires. Such as staff sponsored or requested roles.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Tiamat » Fri May 23, 2014 9:51 am

Generally, players retire for a few reasons, the common ones being:

1) They're bored of the character.
2) They're burned out on the duties associated with that character. Could be in conjunction with 1).
3) They're avoiding IG consequences.

1) and 2) are the most common reasons, and 3) happens for those silly ninnys that ragequit. You want to cater to the first two reasons, and firmly stop the third.

That said, I think retirement/unretirement shouldn't cost RPP. Since unretirement by nature needs an admin review, I think it's a fairly straightforward matter to start seeing trends as an admin on who is abusing retirement/unretirement.

I'd probably lay down the policy, similar to the ones stated above:

  • You may retire characters without restriction, but if you're found abusing this liberal retirement policy, you'll have this privilege taken away for an indeterminate time, as decided by admins.
  • You may only unretire a character after a certain period of time (say a RL month or two), and you must make a firm argument for why your character belongs back in game, what've they been doing since they've been gone. If admins find that you didn't tie up loose ends before you left, were avoiding IG consequences, etc., consider your character gone for good.
  • Don't abuse the policy. It's easy to see who's being a boob and retiring characters chronically. (Admins have a board of "Deaths" they can see, including retirements).
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Songweaver » Fri May 23, 2014 10:14 am

Don't be a boob is a good general rule!
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby pompadourslim » Fri May 23, 2014 2:56 pm

Just my two cents:

The reason, as I understood it, for the draconian retirement policy of SOI circa Osgiliath was to incentivize viewing a PC as a person first (and an occupier of a role/haver of a skill second) and to encourage character development.

A player might find their PC's job boring, or their PC's circumstances inconvenient, but if the PC itself is boring that's just because it hasn't been developed beyond those things. A job can be quit, a habit can be broken, a new friend can be made, but only if the PC is a sufficiently three dimensional person to be capable of the desire to change his/her circumstances.

I can think of at least one PC that half the people on the Player Overview thread mentioned as a major influence who had several widely disparate jobs within her one long lifetime. She was many things to many people, capable of anchoring an entire sphere of play, and lived a long, fascinating life because her player didn't retire her when being the cryptkeeper of Osgiliath was no longer possible. That, I believe, was something the original retirement policy was intending to promote.

PC turnover, whether caused by high death rates or lax retirement policies, demotivates player investment in PCs, not just on the part of the player playing them, but on the part of other players, too.

When many of the PCs around me are going to be dead or retired out of "boredom" (which may or may not accurately describe the true reason) within the next two months, and I know that, I am far less motivated to invest my time and energy in developing storylines with them. If my character has a dramatic reaction to whatever it is they're doing, it becomes awkward for me when, not too long after, they drop off the face of the earth. After a while, the fatigue of trying to deal with these unresolved and unresolveable threads leaves me with a difficult cost-benefit analysis where reacting to the PCs around me is concerned. That kind of demotivation diminishes the gameworld as a whole every time it afflicts a player.

What I'm trying to say I suppose is that just because you aren't a clan lead doesn't mean your retirement doesn't impact the gameworld in far-reaching ways that may not be immediately evident. It is not much of an exaggeration, I don't think, to say that every retirement diminishes the playerbase's investment in every PC, at least a little bit. If everybody's doing it, that's a lot of little bits.

Frankly, I liked playing in the world where PCs were people who might hold a number of jobs, turn up in unlikely places, and had years of in-game history to share and respond to. Those PCs always get a lot of praise, and yet the lessons of how they came to be are so seldom acknowledged.

That said, I'm not totally against retirement, or unretirement. It's a game, and nobody should be forced to play a character they dislike, or in a setting they find objectionable. If I am suggesting anything, it is merely that the definition of "dislike" doesn't include every bored feeling a player might have, and the definition of "objectionable" doesn't include everything disadvantageous to your PC.

Anecdotal addendum: If I had retired every PC I had serious doubts about in the first couple of weeks, none of my characters would have lived long enough to do any of the things they're remembered for. 8-)
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby hobbitboots » Fri May 23, 2014 3:08 pm

I'm generally for making retirement easy for purposes of player retention, but I don't like unretirement at all due to some experiences that left a bad taste in my mouth.

In my case, it was extremely jarring when a long gone character reappeared and expected to pick up where they left off.

When players can retire an important character they can end up 'squatting' in a position of responsibility and/or favor. It makes the world stagnant.

I would only support unretirment if retirement also meant giving up all claims on your position in the world to make way for other characters to step up.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Tiamat » Fri May 23, 2014 3:21 pm

That said, I'm not totally against retirement, or unretirement. It's a game, and nobody should be forced to play a character they dislike, or in a setting they find objectionable. If I am suggesting anything, it is merely that the definition of "dislike" doesn't include every bored feeling a player might have, and the definition of "objectionable" doesn't include everything disadvantageous to your PC.


I'm agreed there. I heavily doubt the majority of players are going to retire within a few weeks, and if they do, I think that might speak more to player culture OR game design than any error in policy. Sometimes you get a concept that you realize just doesn't work for you, and that's a fine time to retire. Ultimately, retirements should be rare and far in-between. We're talking about an eventuality that doesn't happen for the majority of players. As far as I've seen in my time admining, the majority of players stick with their role. And even if you restricted retirement, players will just suicide if they're very unhappy with their character, which is as obvious and as effective as retirement anyways.

When players can retire an important character they can end up 'squatting' in a position of responsibility and/or favor. It makes the world stagnant.


Was this a thing on SOI? I didn't play at all in the last few years that it was still around. Never happened in ARPI when I was admining. If you retired, your character was considered as good as dead most of the time.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Icarus » Fri May 23, 2014 3:22 pm

Something prompt all this?
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby stalinbulldog » Fri May 23, 2014 3:29 pm

Just to briefly throw my voice into the fray, I think unretirement being too easy can cause people to be flippant with retirements, unretirement is something that should be physically possible, but I'd be in favour of keeping it generally unadvertised and forcing each request to go through special consideration. Staff aren't just mechanical Turks, they'll see patterns of frequent retirements / unretirements and try to sort out a better solution.

Similarly, I think retirement should also involve staff consultation, I retired a PC alongside another that had rather far reaching IG associations and assets when RL tasks made the responsibilities too heavy to bear and we realized that logging in was feeling more like a chore than anything else. Before we formally stepped away we did coordinate with staff to ensure other players wouldn't be hamstrung when we gracefully write ourselves out.

I think each case is special, boredom is a bit of a simplification of a motivation to retire. If the events leading up to retirement need to be explained and discussed with staff then I think there's a better chance it won't repeat itself, but there are certainly situations that warrant being able to step away, reflect, and collect yourself before diving into the game world from a different angle.

As always, disclaimer, I ramble.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby hobbitboots » Fri May 23, 2014 3:35 pm

Tiamat wrote:
When players can retire an important character they can end up 'squatting' in a position of responsibility and/or favor. It makes the world stagnant.


Was this a thing on SOI? I didn't play at all in the last few years that it was still around. Never happened in ARPI when I was admining. If you retired, your character was considered as good as dead most of the time.


To be honest, I'm not sure if the specific instance I'm thinking of was a true retirement or just a player that stopped logging in for a long time, but an IC justification was given before they left so everybody knew why they were gone. It can be hard to tell the difference from the player's perspective.

In either case, when they came back with their amazing sense of entitlement, being brushed out of the way made me feel expendable and unappreciated. I'm hesitant to name names for fear of stirring up ill will, but it happened in Angost to give an idea of the time frame.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby WorkerDrone » Fri May 23, 2014 3:50 pm

I'm supporting unretirement fully, I forgot to say, with the assumption that if you retire you either start out bottom rung rank (the one above recruit anyway) if you come back, or even clan-less. The whole ensuring a smooth transition for players of solid or high position in the game world by transferring that position to others was an indicator of my intent there.

I think unretirement shouldn't be a hassle when it comes time to do it. You shouldn't be getting into an argument with an admin to convince them that you should be able to unretire. I think your actions on other PCs, the RPP and staff trust you accrue playing other characters, and your track record of not abusing retirement/retiring only after making sure loose ends are tied up/not avoiding IC consequences should be the only gate to pass when it comes down to it.

I think that the limitations (like a long time frame needed to wait before unretiring) suggested previously are enough to discourage abuse, and someone found trying to avoid IC consequences can simply be reviewed by having players form complaints against that person if they're discovered to be doing so, and when that player goes to staff two, three, six months down the line or whatever the waiting period is, and asks to be unretired, they can be firmly rejected and asked to sort out the error of their ways.
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Re: What's the Deal With Retiring?

Postby Icarus » Fri May 23, 2014 4:05 pm

Traditionally I've supported retirement at will, without the possibility of unretirement. I don't have the time to keep track of old characters, nor do my staff.

It's a game, after all.
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