Events and Circle Lore

KhizanKhizan Member Posts: 2,648 ✭✭✭✭✭
With the storyline event supposedly starting soon, I figured I would take this time to say a few things about my feelings on the direction of Imperian and its storyline events.

One of my major problems with the way events and storyline have gone lately in this game is that we are continually faced with situations in which there are only two options. The first option is something so Chaotically Evil that only Skeletor would ever think it was a good idea, and the second option is "Let's stop Skeletor!". Hell, we don't even get a reason why we would want to do those things, really. It's like you just assumed that one side would be evil for the sake of being evil. We get things like "Let's kidnap kids and feed them to a Necromancer" and "Let's unleash Legion's plagues" or "Let's help Alekmanhala". We get some vague promise of ultimate power if we help them, but we know we'll never get it and the best we can hope for is that we get some good dialogue during the inevitable betrayal.

And what's more, every single one of these Chaotic Evil options ends up being demonically/necromantically driven in some way. You went out of your way to make this three-faction setup in Imperian and in all the time I have played this game, there has been ONE global-scale event that I can recall where Magick was the root cause(introduction of stehl smithing). There have been ZERO events where AM was the evil guy.  More than a decade down the road from Imperian starting and it is like you're still trapped in the ancient Achaean mindset of "Mhaldor and Sartan are behind everything bad." It's like you are going "Well, Templars and Priests are obviously good guys" and it's so frustrating. 

Demonic doesn't want to be the cliche bad guys, but you keep running events that cast necromancers and demonologists as Chaotic Evil cacklers. Anti-magick would love to be bad guys, but you keep tacitly casting us as the good guys when you keep making the bad guys our classical enemies. If you would cast us as the zealots burning people at the stake or as the Crusades or as the Whitecloaks we'd be all over that and we'd be anti-magick as hell. But every single event seems to consist of a demonic antagonist with us as the opposition, which is such awful design lately. 

Demonic wants to be reasonable good guys and has seemingly no desire whatsoever to be a cackling Saturday morning cartoon villain(with the possible exception of Mathiaus, though I think he'd rather be a villain on Dexter. Maybe the "Eye Scream Man".) On the other hand, Antioch wants nothing more than violence, chaos, destruction, and good one-liners. We'll take any fight at any odds and we're more than willing to go down with a sinking ship while screaming "we'll get you next time!". We'd be perfect villains. But for some reason you seem to be set on demonic always being the bad guy and us always being the good guy. 

Why? Why do you do this every time? I know you guys are upset with the way AM doesn't actually care about being AM anymore, but this is largely because you keep casting AM in boring roles, in situations where sticking to that role would mean the event was "entire world teams up for bashing event, yay!". You don't need to change up the definition of AM or get weird with the technicalities of power sources to get AM back in role as being actively against magick. I mean, you know we're kill-happy berserkers, and you know that we'll ignore RP to go with the killiest side. And you know that demonic doesn't want to be a pack of Chaotic Evil cacklers anymore. If you'd just switch things up and run events where AM was Skeletor and demonic got to be He-Man for a change, everybody would be so much happier.

"On the battlefield I am a god. I love war. The steel, the smell, the corpses. I wish there were more. On the first day I drove the Northmen back alone at the ford. Alone! On the second I carried the bridge! Me! Yesterday I climbed the Heroes! I love war! I… I wish it wasn’t over."

Baasche

Comments

  • JulesJules Member Posts: 1,080 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2016
    Whoever you are, your biggest enemies should always be the other circles (both of them).  I'd like to see things that push that forward.  Every event should strive to drive a huge wedge between all three circles, basically.

    I don't care about any entities or NPCs or horde or whatever, because that's not really who my longstanding enemies should be.  My longstanding enemies are the other two circles.  Entities and NPCs and stuff serve the story, but the story should be about the three circles and their struggle for power over the other two (while striving to avoid any one circle actually being super dominant on an OOC level).   

    EDIT:  you might gang up temporarily for whatever reason.  I think that's always necessary.  But I mean, ultimately, the other circles are your enemies.  Or should be.  And that's what I would like to drive the game.  

    EDIT2:  Achaea seems to have figured out the formula for this.  After over a decade of mooshed together factions, they seem to have very distinct ones now, and their current event seems to reflect it too.  
  • IluvIluv Member Posts: 703 ✭✭✭✭
    I don't agree that circles should be MADE to hate each other. Unfortunately I was not present during the event where the different cities and councils had to work with or against each other by distributing things between each other but I hope that was a success and we see more events like that.
    image
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 1,080 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2016
    The entire mechanics of the game are based around the circles working against each other, though.  It's also just way more interesting when that is the case.  

    The event you're talking about was easily my least favorite event for so many reasons.  Demogick was always going to gang up against AM in that event, and it meant that AM's best option from the beginning was to allow Kinsarmar to actually complete the damned thing (because our unartied people would have had to suck it otherwise).  It also involved a tiny, tiny number of people in all actuality, because it was an event that at its core, only involved the upper echelons of city leadership.  Even then, as a Mukhtar, I had barely a clue what was going on, because Khizan was secretly in talks with Alvetta, and the less people who know about something like that, the better.  I mean, the only way it would have really made sense for me to be directly involved would be if I were to do the the "muahahaa, I will betray my city, and they can send me a very sternly worded letter for doing so" option.  It is exactly the sort of thing that is interesting to -read- about in a story, and is shitty and unfun in actual gameplay.
  • JuranJuran OhioMember, Beta Testers Posts: 909 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Jules said:
    Whoever you are, your biggest enemies should always be the other circles (both of them).  I'd like to see things that push that forward.  Every event should strive to drive a huge wedge between all three circles, basically.
    Circles have been allying with each other over things since long before you started playing. The main reason to -have- a three circle system is to enforce balance like this.
    JulesBaasche
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 1,080 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2016
    Juran said:
    Jules said:
    Whoever you are, your biggest enemies should always be the other circles (both of them).  I'd like to see things that push that forward.  Every event should strive to drive a huge wedge between all three circles, basically.
    Circles have been allying with each other over things since long before you started playing. The main reason to -have- a three circle system is to enforce balance like this.
    This doesn't make sense, even if it's been what has happened.  

    First, there are (true, largely ineffectual) mechanical penalties, but the biggest indicator is just that when admin balances professions, they don't account for huge synergies between circles - because the circles aren't supposed to be in meaningful alliances.  They are supposed to occasionally gang up on the other circle when it's absolutely necessary. 

    In short, for what you are saying to make sense, the three circles' professions would need to be balanced under the assumption that they'll be used in conjunction with either of the other two circles, and that the third circle will probably mostly be relying only on its own professions.
  • JuranJuran OhioMember, Beta Testers Posts: 909 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Jules said:
    Juran said:
    Jules said:
    Whoever you are, your biggest enemies should always be the other circles (both of them).  I'd like to see things that push that forward.  Every event should strive to drive a huge wedge between all three circles, basically.
    Circles have been allying with each other over things since long before you started playing. The main reason to -have- a three circle system is to enforce balance like this.
    This doesn't make sense, even if it's been what has happened.  

    First, there are (true, largely ineffectual) mechanical penalties, but the biggest indicator is just that when admin balances professions, they don't account for huge synergies between circles - because the circles aren't supposed to be in meaningful alliances.  They are supposed to occasionally gang up on the other circle when it's absolutely necessary. 
    A two sided war is static, you have the winning side and the losing side with no room for dynamic decision making. A -three- sided conflict requires actual consideration, because each circle is going to do what they see as their best interest. 

    You only see balance as static because you've only played while AM has been the undisputed king of Imperian. When it requires a concerted effort from the rest of the playerbase to compete, you can be certain that they'll do just that. If the shoe was on the other foot, you would too.
  • Jeremy SaundersJeremy Saunders Administrator Posts: 1,149 admin
    As @iluv pointed out the last event (before the ToA) was not like that at all. The city diplomacy event. 

    This event will start with five previously plotted possible endings and we will add more should the RP go that way. We have in the past tried several times to create events with multiple possible endings, but players tend to push it toward one good option that is opposed to whatever city everyone is currently hating. We often start our event plans with the question in mind, how can we keep this event from being everyone gang up on the Stavenn or Antioch because they are the big fish right now.

    I do agree that players have tried to stick with the AM equals good and demonic equals evil thing. I have never been a fan of this. I see zealot antimagickers being just as evil as any child murdering demonic cultist. A forester that will murder anyone that touches the forest will be viewed as evil or good depending on who you talk to. I much prefer having a wide range of alignments in cities. That alignment will shift and flux as the game moves along. However, plain vanilla evil, neutral, good is boring. I am on board with AM being an evil community of zealots or whatever you want to do, purging the world of magick. I actually see all of the 'circles' as appearing 'good' to themselves and 'evil' to everyone else. Good and evil should really be a relative thing.

    Another problem I often see is that people generally play they character as themselves and not as a well thought out personality separate from themselves, which is only slightly related. Many times evil character are not really evil, they are just vanilla evil because the character behind them does not really think out what being an evil character would really be like.

    At any rate, this event will have the background of the current story line but will offer several possible endings. There is nothing that puts any circle into any side. There is no trickery or bait and switch with what the mobs will tell you.

    Anyways, after this one we will run the Tournament of Champions and have a few smaller events. The goal with all of the events this year is to drop encounters into the world that players must react to and RP around, versus just having one path to blow down. However, it is much easier to say that, then to actually come up with good encounters that people will like.


    JulesBaascheIniarSkye
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 1,080 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2016


    Juran said:

    A two sided war is static, you have the winning side and the losing side with no room for dynamic decision making. A -three- sided conflict requires actual consideration, because each circle is going to do what they see as their best interest. 

    You only see balance as static because you've only played while AM has been the undisputed king of Imperian. When it requires a concerted effort from the rest of the playerbase to compete, you can be certain that they'll do just that. If the shoe was on the other foot, you would too.

    We have two factions right now, in every way except actual game mechanics.  We have demogick, and we have AM.  

    I have said before that I believe Iluv started allying with demonic basically out of necessity, because Magick wasn't strong enough on its own.  It was unfortunately just at a time when magick almost, but didn't quite, have what it needed to break away from demonic once and for all.  A strong, independent magick that had its own separate goals and might occasionally gang up against AM or demonic (let's not ignore what demonic has picked up lately) would be highly desirable.  In fact, I want it for my own selfish reasons.  I would love to play magick, I do not want to play demogick at all.  I admit I can understand people liking the sandbox like element of integrating two sets of professions, though.      

    But we're still very much ending up with a two-sided war.   
  • JuranJuran OhioMember, Beta Testers Posts: 909 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2016
    Jules said:

    But we're still very much ending up with a two-sided war.   
    With the ultimate distinction that it's not. If they combine the circles, we'll be mechanically stuck with those battle lines forever. A three party system gives the potential to redraw lines when player balance shifts.
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 1,080 ✭✭✭
    Maybe.  But if we're going to roll with that, we really should start assuming that various combinations of the circles might eventually be working together well beyond impromptu pickup teams.  It should become part of the classlead process. 
    Juran
  • IluvIluv Member Posts: 703 ✭✭✭✭
    Jeremy said:

    Another problem I often see is that people generally play they character as themselves and not as a well thought out personality separate from themselves, which is only slightly related. Many times evil character are not really evil, they are just vanilla evil because the character behind them does not really think out what being an evil character would really be like.


    I think this is the case because playing an alt is too prohibitive. In other RP worlds, like Neverwinter Nights 2 Persistent Worlds, making new characters doesn't cost anything and retiring your main characters allows you to get exp bonuses or unlock new races/professions and as a result you get much more "character" focused RP.
    image
  • SeptusSeptus Member, Beta Testers Posts: 701 ✭✭✭✭

    Honestly Jules, it basically comes down to this.

    We're fighting Magick and Demonic currently, but we're still coming out on top of basically all the big engagements. We lose some of the small scale stuff but the big fights are the ones that really matter, and Am just isn't losing many of those currently. When that's the case, its fairly understandable that they're still teamed up.

    Don't get me wrong, I find fighting the combined circle mechanics for going on 3 or so months pretty tiresome. But I'd rather do that than have them not show up at all, and it won't last forever.

    Jules
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 1,080 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2016
    tbh, the other half is I really want to play my not so little magicker again someday, but I signed her up for a magick circle that was trying to make something of itself, not this combined one :(  I definitely agree that current mooshed circle was borne of necessity, for sure.  I mean, I remember begging Sevhn and Vasharr to come try to kill you guys myself, and Iluv would lead.  But those were spur of the moment "there is no way we have what we need right now" pickup teams.  It's not hard to see how that turned into actual hardened teams though.  

    Anyway, I also hope that, I don't know, there is something -specifically- for magick as a faction, even if it's a non-combat thing (it would probably have to be actually), and also that the event manages to not be winner take all, like so many events are.  
  • LartusLartus Member Posts: 287 ✭✭✭
    The city diplomacy event was a fun one even if I barely participated in it. I also enjoy really big fights and the thing is, it's fun being the underdog. Go Demoners!
  • KhizanKhizan Member Posts: 2,648 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Jeremy said:
    I do agree that players have tried to stick with the AM equals good and demonic equals evil thing. I have never been a fan of this. I see zealot antimagickers being just as evil as any child murdering demonic cultist. A forester that will murder anyone that touches the forest will be viewed as evil or good depending on who you talk to. I much prefer having a wide range of alignments in cities. That alignment will shift and flux as the game moves along. However, plain vanilla evil, neutral, good is boring. I am on board with AM being an evil community of zealots or whatever you want to do, purging the world of magick. I actually see all of the 'circles' as appearing 'good' to themselves and 'evil' to everyone else. Good and evil should really be a relative thing.
    Then why is almost every event some flavor of "Demons did it"? I've been playing for a loooong time and I cannot remember one single event that had AM on the evil side. Demons have tried to destroy the world tons of times, but we've never had an event where the zealots were the main antagonist.

    Though, to answer my own question, I think a lot of this is because AM doesn't really have that much in the way of supernatural powers. It's easy for demons to start world-scale stuff. It's easy for magick to do it(even though you never do it). But all AM has for that is the Gods/Entities, and every circle has those so they don't really work for that kind of threat. So for AM to really pose a threat, it needs a bunch of guys with swords because AM doesn't really have a way to create a world-scale event without a horde. And hordes are hard to get, and they're hard to get rid of. That's why AM really needs the monk revamp to turn it into a psyker/caster and not a full martial artist. AM is FILLED with professions that can physically pound on a dude, but that doesn't buy you much in the big picture. 

    I mean, let's get real here. If you tell me that the world's crappiest and least talented apprentice wizard accidentally opened a rift to the chaos planes and brought about the end of the world, I'll be like "Heh, wizards. Yeah, they do that sometimes." That gives Magick and Demonic a lot of space for world-scale events that AM just doesn't have. 

    "On the battlefield I am a god. I love war. The steel, the smell, the corpses. I wish there were more. On the first day I drove the Northmen back alone at the ford. Alone! On the second I carried the bridge! Me! Yesterday I climbed the Heroes! I love war! I… I wish it wasn’t over."

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