1964-04-20 - Game Meeting, April 20 2017
Summary: This is the log from the Game Meeting of April 20. Topics discussed were the X-men, Plots, Activity Requirements, and the App Process.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None


Illyana arrives from RP Nexus.

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Illyana has arrived.

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Danielle arrives from RP Nexus.

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Danielle has arrived.

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Square arrives from RP Nexus.

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Square has arrived.

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Exponent arrives from RP Nexus.

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Exponent has arrived.

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Obtuse arrives from RP Nexus.

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Obtuse has arrived.

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Kai arrives from RP Nexus.

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Kai has arrived.

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Digit arrives from RP Nexus.

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Digit has arrived.

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Tangent says, "Uffda, sorry about that guys"

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Tangent says, "Super duper important football call"

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Tangent says, "We'll start in about 2 minutes. I've got some rules that we I feel like we should follow so that everyone gets to talk that I'll go over, plus I'll pose out the agenda as it currently stands (we can add to it or take away from it depending on how we're doing for time)"

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Tangent says, "Hey Everyone! First I want to thank everyone for coming and for signing on, doing your scenes and making this place fun. Tonight we're going to have some open discussion about the game and look for ways to kickstart interest. We also are planning on doing this every couple of weeks. We have a set agenda that we're going to go through and after that agenda is done, then we'll move on to whatever topics everyone would like to discuss. Additionally, we're going to follow some rules so that people don't get overwhelmed with the spam and are able to think about their responses before throwing them out. I'll introduce the topic, giving an overview and what the general feeling from staff has been so that you guys can kind of see what our opinions have been."

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Theorem arrives from RP Nexus.

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Theorem has arrived.

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Tangent says, "We're going to follow a pose order for talking on each subject. This is so that everyone gets to speak without walking over each other. If it's your turn and you have nothing to say, you can feel free to pass. Once everyone passes through or if we vote to move on, we'll head to the next topic."

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Tangent says, "So far the Agenda items are:

*The X-men
*Upcoming Plots
*Factions

I have also added:

*Activity and Log Requirements
*Recruitment

I'm setting a 3 hour time limit on this so that no one gets bored and feels like they need to ditch out. If we don't get to items on that list, then we'll discuss them next time. Also, if you want something added to the agenda, please page me."

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Tangent says, "With that, we'll start the opening round for any comments anyone would like to make. That will set our pose order."

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Cable arrives from RP Nexus.

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Cable has arrived.

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Rogue says, "Thanks for holding this. :)"

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Tommy arrives from RP Nexus.

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Tommy has arrived.

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Strange says, "Looking forwards to hearing all the thoughts on things!"

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Julie says, "OK…. Just throwing out a notion,while slow. What if there were team channels for those recruiting/kinda peripheral/connected enough to invite for sceneage etc? Communication for joining teams seems a bit tough sometimes."

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Nyx says, "I think that would help a lot. I hit a brick wall when considering it with Nyx when I first joined."

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Loki says, "My thoughts about X-men are better in the Factions discussion, I believe. Go for it, X-men!"

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Cable says, "Did I miss the rules for how this works and such?"

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Square wouldn't personally be opposed to unlocking faction channels. We're open-sheet, open-logs, so it's not like there's communication on faction channels that can't be shared with people outside the faction.

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Carol is looking forward to hearing things. Doesn't have much to say yet, but that might change. :)

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Kai says, "I'm also looking forward to hearing about things. Plots especially. Also, this is my first meeting and I would like to say so far I love this game to pieces."

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Logan will say stuff when he thinks he has stuff needs saying. Currently: no stuff.

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Amora says, "I've nothing to add at the moment."

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Digit is totally all for unlocking faction channels. Already adds people if they have any contact to her factions

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Amanda arrives from RP Nexus.

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Amanda has arrived.

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Exponent says, "This is our first meeting too, Kai."

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Cannonball arrives from RP Nexus.

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Cannonball has arrived.

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Illyana says, "Pass."

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Strange says, "Pass for X-men comment."

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Danielle says, "Pass"

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Amanda says, "Pass."

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Obtuse says, "Pass."

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Danielle has partially disconnected.

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Tangent says, "Alright, everyone, the first topic of the day is going to be the X-men. Please type +po to see where you are on the pose order for when you'd like to jump in. I don't want to speak on behalf of the entire staff, but I think most would agree that the X-men had a lot of activity at the beginning, but that it's kind of felt like no man's land, even when we had a lot of activity game wide. I feel like this is really important because I have always believed a healthy barometer for a game like this is how the X-team is doing. I don't want to make this too personal, but I'm someone who almost always has an X character. Here? I've avoided it ever since I had Xavier. So for those of you frustrated with that team, you are not alone. I think it would be fair to say that we as a staff as well as the players both really want and almost need for that team to be great. For each of you I have the following questions: What do you want to see out of the X-men? What would we like leadership to look like on that team? Are there other problems/issues you see with that team in particular that prevent us from making it more successful? Anything is on the table here as it relates to X-men. Rogue is first on the +po. If you have questions, feel free to page so we have as little extra spam as possible. We want to have as much filet mignon on the screen as possible since we'll all be wanting to read through what everyone has to say."

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Cable says, "A general comment I have is something I've heard from a few appers privately, and encountered once myself, which is the downsides of council style appers. Having nobody to talk to individually or help with judgements makes it difficult. Also, often feedback is requested, addressed, then you just get more, sometimes harsher, feedback, until it feels like your entire character idea has been sliced to death by a million knives. A good friend of mine left here due to this happening to their app a bit ago, and I know of at least one other new player who did the same. As Cable, I also had a very drawn out experience that could have been made much simpler without multiple iterations before just redoing everything, and also almost made me just leave after so much personal time investment in both concept and writing. I'm not sure if this is something Staff is aware of."

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Square can give a little feedback on that, if you don't mind, t?

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Rogue says, "As an older X player on the game, I can speak to frustration. The team's not existed for months due to a lack of IC leadership. OOCly there has not been a catalyst to bring a group together. Some days it gets moving and then either X-Men players vanish, or it goes very quiet, so continuity has been an issue. Jean and I have discussed this heavily and we hit on needing something for the X-Men players to bond around. In this case, we figured trying a villain (Shadow King, we figured) focused on mutants might work.

I think outreach to characters interested in joining the X-Men needs to be addressed. People come looking to join but haven't always found someone to meet them there on the other side. Or when we try to stir up things, no one else is active. No one's fault but I'm recognizing my own culpability and hoping we can try to get a clearer focus on what the X-teams want or need in a story capacity."

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Julie thinks, as someone who's sort of been trying to get more involved at Xavier's there a while, …apart from coordinating/communicating about when maybe things are going on, and there's sort of a thing that may apply to other teams too, it seems the attrition of characters idling out for lack of RP to log (or maybe player choice to do something else cause of lack of RP…) outpaces enough people having characters at once, …so, maybe for forming/rebuilding teams, something about the alt/logging rules could be changed so enough characters can actually exist at once? I see people timing out before teams really get going.

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Nyx says, "Mmm. I agree with Rogue and Julie both. X-Men? I just think that I feel like they need a reason to pull people together. Recruiting need to be handled in a much more open and inclusive way. I've had Erik dragging people to the school (since it is a center point for him) as part of trying to get people to get involved in Mutant Town and some plots that have been coming up. Opening channels and just trying to drag in anyone who WANTS to join would be a good start, maybe. Anything to make people feel in cluded. I've heard a LOT of people say they had no one interested or didn't even know how, including myself. Part of why I took Erik is he was guaranteed to already be tied in to things.

I'm happy to go around to would be members ICly and bring them in, for a start. I don't care if Erik ends up in a proper leadership role (like he might in canon) or what we do with it as long as we can put people in one place and give them something to do. Pull people in, keep them active, and pointed in the right direction and I bet it'll come together. So I guess I am reiterating what everyone else has said. Get enough people involved at once and open lines of communication."

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Loki says, "My thoughts on X-men. I believe that tension really is the key. When every PC is on the same general side, then you have almost none. This isn't to say that the x-men need to be at war with other factions, and so on, but there needs to be a source of tension that is more than just NPC bad guys, or events, because those do not continue and have ongoing consequence when the event is over. The tension needs to come from other players. This could mean that there are built-in rivalries between different mutant teams, or conflict that is between X-men and SHIELD, X-Men and Avengers, X-Men and Inhumans. I think that leaders within X-men and leaders within other factions could help foster that tension so that, no, its NOT punching all the time, but its still a chess game. We are all in love with all the characters so I get its hard to go, ICly, I don't like you, when OOCily, you love that character. But I think we do need more PC on PC tension, and that's easiest when you are not alone, but part of a group that has your back. Maybe in chargen you pick a 'team' or faction and if you don't really belong to one, that's a different 'unaligned' faction that gets its own harassment for…not being aligned to anything. As Maximus, I am willing to help stir stuff in that direction. I can see clear places where there may be good tension to develop."

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Carol actually feels that intra-faction tension is a BAD idea to develop, herself. She's seen too many places in the past fall apart because of 'sphere rivalries'. Now, admittedly, that's WoD, with its own set of issues that we don't have, but I don't think that's something we should try to encourage here. Now, if it happens naturally, that's one thing, but I feel that encouraging or setting up 'cross faction rivalries' is something that should be avoided.

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Kai says, "I think PC tension would have to be handled very carefully. It might just be my experience on other games, but the IC/OOC line can get blurred so easily. It requires a lot of communication and maturity on all sides. Which can be done with the right group of players, but the question becomes what happens when you get those few who take it too seriously? I think the tension should be encouraged among folks who can handle their PCs losing and finding the fun in it, but maybe not make it mandatory. And definitely build up the X-men first before setting up any PC/PC rivalry. Which, again, individually can be /great/ but instituted in factions can end badly."

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Logan says, "I think X-RP got damaged, to a degree, by a slow attrition of particularly active players. The original Magneto, for example, drove a lot of RP and had a lot of connections to other PCs - he idled out very slowly over time, in fits and starts. Similarly, Xavier has had on/off situations where he's been around in and out. That's nobody's fault, but I think people, when those characters exist, tend to look to them naturally. I think people were kind of in a holding pattern for a while as a result of it and it eventually just dissolved into blah. I know Jean's been really wanting to be involved and fix it for a while and would want to be involved in any solution - she's just got personal stuff going on at the moment.

I think a solid mission statement and a sense of a real team would be important. I'd love to see plots, but I'd like to see if we can avoid just redoing comic book stories - another iteration of Sentinels or Dark Phoenix or Legacy virus or whatever. I think maybe having subsquads would be useful, but only if those subsquads are focused and somewhat themed (An X-Force style squad, a public hero team, a team based in students).

Honestly, I think the age thing hurts, too - the X-men are based out of a school and all the characters have to be eighteen plus. X-men's often a source of 'teen drama' RP and there can be no real teen drama cause everyone's a grown-up. It's weird.

I say all this knowing I'm a passive mofo who spends most of his time sitting in his cabin. But I would definitely like to see more X-stuff going on."

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I can second that a lot of what I've seen is in regards to the spotty at best leadership. Sometimes people are there, sometimes they poof and it kills the ability for others to get involved. I remember apping Lorna and it taking months before I got hold of anyone to get her involved with X-men or any faction at all. It does tend to be a faction by faction problem when there's a lack of leadership. Which is no one's fault and unpredictable based on irl and players and what not.

I would like to see more done on the plot ideas too, I know Hank wanted to play with Sentiels, but I would like to see some political pressures too— maybe tied with the Shadow King? Senator Kelly (Maybe the actual senator for NYC?), and more general mutant hate cropping up. Toy more with the political climate of the 60s. We haven't seen big events since the Kennedy assasination and I feel like we can play a lot more with the historical aspects than just say the comic book ones.

I've also felt that the X-men are a group that need that social pressure more than other factions, just because of who they are. I also agree with Maximus to an extent. I came from a game that had character tensions, not DM'ed npcs that come and go. It doesn't have to be big, but tensions that are created organically seem to fizz out in this game as people come and go. Speaking as I rp on Amora, I do create problems and rp them out ic, though I am very good friends ooc with the people I am icly messing with.

I think X-men do need to play that balancing game that makes them morally different than say the Brotherhood, which has been at times truly a good force for tension but has suffered much the same high and lows of interest and player base issues as the X-men. It can be done and done well and create fun where no one is stuck running a scene.

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Digit says, "Pass!"

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Exponent says, "Nope."

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Illyana says, "This is my third X-character. Doug idled out — he's a great character, but not an actiony sort. I wasn't sure what to do with Amara, and swapped her out when I had the chance. I've got ideas as Illyana, and I'm looking forward to putting them into action. It might be helpful if we had a meeting of X-interested types, or just started using our board more actively, to recruit people for plots and general concepts. The X-Men are probably the most versatile group in the MU. Pure heroics, wetworks and black ops, school and slice-of-life RP. Not every character is suited for each of those. But they're all available — so maybe we just need to say, okay, if you've got pure heroics ideas, talk to so and so. If you're going to take out Trask, talk to that guy. If nobody's responsible for EVERYTHING it's less overwhelming.
"Also, the X-Men are perfectly capable of providing plenty of interteam tension — but it'd be great to tie things in with other groups. Not rivalries, but being on opposite sides of a particular issue in a single plot can lead to great RP.
"And on a final note, I'd love to get some New Mutants stuff going. Talk to me, peoples."

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Strange says, "Pass, please."

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Danielle says, "I don't think I have anything more insightful than what's been mentioned thus far, so I'll also pass."

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Amanda will pass, as what little I had to say has been said. :)

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Obtuse says, "While I appreciate the feedback about something to bring the group together, I'm inclined to think of it differently.

As a point of history, we've had multiple plots that were specifically targeted towards the X-Men, but they didn't seem to create cohesion—so I don't get the sense that it's an issue of opportunity. I ran multiple mutant-centric plots that other teams/players/etc. picked up and so the direction of the plot changed substantially away from the X-Men as a group.

So, from my vantage point, it has more to do with focused faction leadership and where that role resides. A lot of folks aren't sure what they can or can't do and don't feel like they have the freedom to actually act/react while remaining in the faction and under what the purpose/current direction is. And related to that, I do not advocate for the 'naturalization' of leadership roles. People who stand out and get a team moving, to me, are the leaders, but I think X-Men is hard to do that without something formal because Charles and Erik are kind of naturally in those positions. It's also a bit problematic because most who app in are app-ing in on the young side. This makes it more challenging (though not impossible) to find footing there. When I had Kitty I tried to do some of that and push plot forward, but it's tricky negotiating that line without a lot of communication from Charles. Eventually Piotr and I just moved the pair out of the mansion.

I think if we want to see X-Men really succeed, the leadership is the key piece. As to who should/can/wants to do that, I have no easy answers.

I think there's the added problem that everyone at Xavier's has to be 18+ yet the school continues to be a school for children. I've thought about creating a bevy of NPC students that people can use for varying purposes, but again, even with the NPCs it's tricky as they would just be props for the PCs."

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Cable says, "I tried to get into X-Men on my first character Forge but never ended up finishing an Xavier scene, although I did make Jean pass out, which is always a perk. Cable I would also like to get involved with them, both in the base team and also creating X-Force to strangle people to death who deserve it for the greater good. So if I can get officially pulled in by someone of proper leadership I'll happily head X-Force and X-Force plots and do other stuff like general training, or helping to make something like the Danger Room be viable to have built. Generally I agree that I have no idea how you do that and just ended up not, as someone with the time and interest that still failed."

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Square apologizes in advance, slightly spammy, dangers of going last. XD

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Square says, "So, I'll admit I wasn't aware there was any push for the X-Men! I was of the mind that people will play what they want and not play if they don't want, and things ebb and flow, so I didn't realize we had issues, just figured the interest wasn't there. So yay for interest! ;)

I agree, not having a central point person when we don't have an active Xavier complicates things when it comes to getting people set up and started, and that first week or so is crucial to if someone wants to keep the character.

We may want to consider how to jimmy the 'mentioning others' policy in your BG to allow for connections if a PC point person isn't always available to draw people in, or a more OOC method to get people linked in - which may be as simple as opening the channels. If you can't get in that welcome scene, at least you can communicate with the faction. Also, you can always put in a request for these things. There are several people on staff so that even if you can't be around to catch a PC point person, a staff person can and at least get you the all clear - or else make the call if we need to.

That said, if what we need is a PC for people to have as a point of contact, I can definitely have Crystal move into that role. Or if there's an existing PC (like Erik) who wants to be deputized, I think we can do that, too. Or I can give in and scratch the Scott itch. >_> I'm not much use for plot, my brain doesn't work that way, but I can at least help with logistics. ;)

On the age issue, I think we can look at adding university classes to the X-Men, or seeing what we can work out between Xavier's and the Frost Academy to encourage some intermingling there if it helps, but I agree, being an 18+ game with the school being just for underage kids…complicates things.

As far as PC conflict goes, I think it's something to let develop naturally. We had some tension between the X-Men and SHIELD way back when, and even with staff-alts on both sides there were times when it got a little awkward on the 'but that character did this!' 'okay but that one did that!' end of things. Fun in some ways! But not something I want to go out of my way to cause. If it happens naturally, awesome."

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Exponent notes a lot of what is being said applies to other factions/teams as well so pay attention if you're in one or want to start one.

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It's important, I think, to put our game in context. One of the things I was adamant about when getting folks together for this place was that I really wanted Xavier to be a playable character. This was done over the advice of smart people like Obtuse and Exponent who tried to tell me this was dumb. In the end, it appears I may have been (okay, may have been is probably being kind to myself) wrong. Would players want to try having Xavier be a staff run NPC that is used as a way to get people into the team, give missions, etc. That way we would not be at the whim of players, and we could have a bevy of options to RP with since we've often got staff online? Or would players prefer more of an OOC faction head who could work as a catalyst in an ooc way? Whether that'd be Erik, Rogue, or whomever, we could decide later. The advantages in my mind of having Xavier be a staff run NPC is then we don't have to worry about activity and burnout. The advantage of having it be a player is that…well, shit's always better when it's a player in my opinion, if it can be swung. What's most important, to me, is that it seems we have a crap ton of people in this room right now who want there to be a great X-men team and where there's a will there's a way.

Loki's commentary on conflict and tension is a good one. I know for me I was hoping the Brotherhood and the X-men would go at it more. The nice thing about going against NPCs is that you can give the good guys a win and you can give the bad guys a win. My apprehension would just be with all of the times I've seen PvP go badly. That's not saying we shouldn't have it, but having a system where it set that conflict up systematically would be something we would really need to sit down and talk about.

The age thing comes from our experiences at HeroMux, to be honest. It's why I left. When we started this place the staff vote was unanimous, if I recall correctly. As a teacher it's just too risky to my livelihood given what I have seen go down at other places. I do, however, think it was a mistake to make the team as young as they were, smooshing down all the generations into one and a half generations. It's a bit smooshed. A big inspiration of this place was X-Men First Class, and that's kind of the reason why that happened. Logan, would you be open to the Xavier Institute also being a University? I know that's not a perfect fit. (Square mentioned this too in hers)

To Amora's point about pressure's: I would say there have been big scenes since the Kennedy Assassination, but not as many as we would like. The point however, that there needs to be a concerted effort at regaining a lot of the social pressure that made the tension really valuable and fun in the first few months of this place I think is on point.

So, in this next round, in addition to your normal comments and questions, please let me know how you feel about the Xavier as an NPC vs an OOC Faction Head, whether you think that would solve things or be a good first step, and what you believe about conflict. (If you haven't already touched on that).

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Rogue says, "A Xavier PC is not an unachievable goal, especially coming off the heels of the X-Men franchise where young, impulsive, pompadoured Chuck is a possibility. We unfortunately had a run where the player couldn't keep up the RP requirements. Certain characters - Magneto, Xavier, Scott among them - are serious movers and shakers. The X-Men faction is highly dependent on guidance given the makeup of the school, as other people have touched on. A university model seems like a better option to get away from Mutant High School as a model, which comes with its own drawbacks, like not sure what you can do independently. I strongly agree with the notion we need multiple options: an inexperienced mutant team, seasoned mutants (Jean, Rogue, etc.), and maybe the X-Force offshoot. The very strength of the X-Men concept is currently its weakness, which is a lack of organization or central focus for people who can answer questions. I personally think if staff wants to run Xavier as an entity, good on them. A player is interested, go for it.

"As true with any faction, those who want to step up to organisational or leadership roles should. Erik's doing stuff. Jean is doing stuff. I'm happy to do stuff. Crystal or Illy or anyone doing stuff is awesome. It cannot devolve onto one person, because the burnout factor is simply too high in that case, so spreading out the energy to me seems like a bright idea. But doing stuff is the key factor here, and a present, persistent source of conflict essential to stop any group from grinding down into inactivity.

"I love some of the suggestions raised here and earlier that we try to integrate real life events, comic events, and whatnot to help bring the 1960s alive. Tensions between factions are as valuable as PvE (civil rights; like 'Oh, you're an alien hybrid, ugh!'; and other such things) that give us reason to act and react."

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Julie, on tensions, tends to think dramatic tensions and such things ought to appear pretty naturally, and certainly *within* teams, there also need to be enough connections and sort of social glue to make whatever crops up worth dealing with IC and maybe OOC. With the X Men and any Brotherhood types, say, I don't think they'd need to be like ordained to be in direct conflict for that to happen a lot: it's more interesting to *have* conflicts when people are actually on speaking terms, I think. This is 1964, there's *ample* fodder for controversy or …hec, even style disagreements and whatnot. My characters tend to end up pretty nice, but try getting Diz in some of these short skirts that are coming, not likely to happen. :)

(Also, Logan, Hank's working on introducing some proto-Sentinels at least, there's been RP around that. Happens to be a good way to have Diz around cause she knows some about mechanicals and machining etc for investigation of the pieces. Also at least rich characters like X mean car collections, for a reason to have Diz around randomly if you want to RP. :) )

(Also as for getting RP going I think we could use more American characters: it seems so many are from somewhere else or other planets that a lot of the culture-differences RP might get left to the imagination a lot for them.

(And sorry to add to already long bit, …I think a staff-run NPC Xavier is certainly much better than no Xavier, anyway.(or one overloaded person trying to do all at once. :) )

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Mordo arrives from RP Nexus.

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Mordo has arrived.

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Loki says, "I think, even if there is delegated power to lead things among multiple characters, which the mush is great about already, that there does need to be a clear go-to person. If that person departs or has a period of inactivity, there needs to already be a 'backup' ready to pick up the slack. And yeah, I agree on making it cater to an older bunch."

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Carol hrmms, "Okay, I think we should probably assign OOC faction heads and make them pretty clear, so that way even if a character isn't taken, someone could still act as the IC leader (like Jean or Logan for the X-Men without the Prof). As far as NPC Prof X goes, I'm against it just because I think that there are people that could do well with a Groovy Prof X (which actually gives me ideas, but I digress).

Already hit on inter-faction tensions earlier, not going to reiterate stuff. That's all."

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Carol adds quick: And if a faction head char is retired/idles out, staff works with the faction to get a replacement.

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Theorem says, "FWIW, I would rather an active player Xavier, but we seem to have never had one successful in… three? Four tries?. In that regard, having a few staffers (who carefully coordinate scenes to make sure they read the X logs so nothing ggets lost) doing it — if anyone wants to — might be what we need to do."

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Digit has to brb, pass if it gets to me

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Kai can see a case for both PC and NPC Xavier, but there should be a Xavier, regardless. I think the burnout factor could be alleviated with things being spread among other hard hitters in the faction, e.g. Jean, Erik. Activity is the key. I think with a PC it can be better because you can develop IC relationships that would otherwise be glossed over and nonexistent, and IC relationships define so much of what goes on in-game.

For getting activity up, maybe when there are an influx of new mutants, using +events or the bboard for wanted RP could help. Make a plan for the hard hitters to meet new characters, maybe RP things in some direction. Getting things rolling with a new character and making IC connections helps cohesiveness organically, I think. Heck, if you're not RPing and see a new candidate for X-men type stuff, invite them into a scene. Spontaneous stuff is even better.

Regardless, definitely we need a Xavier. I was thinking maybe one way to hook new mutant characters into the X-men could be getting detected by Xavier's in his brain hat and invited or sought out. Just throwing out random ideas.

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Logan says, "I think having Xavier as a staff PC is good, as long as it's a floating staff PC - that is, it can be played by multiple staffers, just whoever's available when needed, rather than requiring people to wait for the specific Xavier staffer to be available - in that case, he might as well just be a PC.

I think one of the interesting conflicts with that character is that while he's been set up as the First Class version, people tend to expect and treat him much more like the Patrick Stewart version - not in appearance, but in age, experience, authority and expectation of demeanor. McAvoy's Xavier is a far more tempestuous, unfocused, less-prepared individual than the sort of anchor figure I think a lot of players expect from an Xavier.

I would be totally cool with Xavier's having college classes, but I do think high school and college are VERY different experiences and the inability to have the high school type RP probably contributes to some people not doing X-men and especially specific, younger X-chars like the New Mutants. If there's a potential to somehow shift the setting a bit just to allow for the idea of the X-men being, yes, a more generational thing, that might help, too, although I know that's hard to do on a game that's already been running for a year plus.

I think I'm just personally allergic to Sentinel RP. Others are welcome to participate, but I've been on several games with X-factions and I always end up dealing with Sentinels and I just find them…dull. Maybe you've come up with a cool take on them that's different and exciting, I fully allow for that possibility, I just have a knee jerk UGH SENTINELS AGAIN?!? response when I see them mentioned.

I'll also mention again that Jean, I know, was wanting to have a hand in leading team, ICly and OOCly, or at least potentially contributing in that area and she's my friend and I'll keep flying her flag to make sure she doesn't get left out. Nyah. :P"

*

I like the idea of a staff Xavier, so long as no one is actively interested in rping him out. Much like the villians NPC's that can be signed out type of thing (if someone wants to rp him, take him type thing). It can help a lot with the functionality that is missing from the faction. So long as no one is interested in rping Xavier, I would say yes.

Though I would argue all factions that are struggling really see similar issues crop up in regards to leadership. It's hard to have the X-men really get off the ground without someone taking up that position. (Much the same as the Frost Institute dying a painful death without Emma or anyone else around besides Julian and Lorna)

Given that the Frost Institute has floundered so hard, I would very much like to see the Xavier Institute take up the university level classes. It makes sense to fill that niche after all.

A bit of a side note, but it would be interesting to see more cross factional scenes. (The mention about Shield and tensions with X-folks brought this to mind, but I digress)

*

Illyana says, "Personally, I think that having Professor X as the sole leader is neither necessary nor desirable. For decades the X-Men have been run by team leaders with Xavier as something of a figurehead and mentor and father figure — add to the list Rogue gave Jean, Beast, Storm, Wolverine, Cable… Even in the 60s he gave missions, but didn't lead them. Easier, I think, to decentralize the power structure of the team, have an OOC leader, but not worry about Xavier's place in things. The original X-Men were kids. We are, as it has been stated repeatedly, not. If there are several leaders, we don't have to wait on a single player to approve membership.
"Also, I think this topic should be tabled after this round — we've spent more than half our alotted time on it."

*

Chiming in as Strange:

Coming from another faction with little IC cross-over into the X-Men (since I've joined here), I'm inclined to consider the outcomes of this meeting in terms of the X-Men to be a nice test of sorts. I'm looking forwards to seeing how it plays out over time. Thank you, Exponent, for the reminder that we can implement suggestions/successful elements into other factions.

As far as faction heads go, I would be curious to see how having an OOC faction head plays out in the sense of integrating new players into the faction. Perhaps, if there's been an official (or unofficial) IC faction head assigned, these two can coordinate to engender more action within the faction? RL needs to be taken into account, of course (coming from someone who works two jobs).

Both Kai and Square summed up my thoughts on conflict nicely. Let it develop naturally unless you've got crystal-clear communication and agreement for a metaphorical dagger-to-the-back; people should also be comfortable with losing. I feel like that builds the proper tension that folks might be looking for because you get the chance to 'redeem' your character in the plot. Inter-faction conflict…not sure about that one. As mentioned before, it's been a difficult one to field on other games if the maturity level isn't present.

My last thought might be better saved for a later bullet point, but I'll throw out a succinct version of it: don't be afraid to run plots with elements that might have been used before. It's like shaking a box of dice; you're rarely going to get the same results every time, especially if the players are all different. Run a fetch quest, find a missing individual, go figure out why the sky isn't blue anymore, even if it's been done before. Change a main element to the plot and have at!

*

Danielle says, "I tend to agree with Illyana that an older base could easily allow for a general 'overseer' (a la Xavier or a Nick Fury or a Madame Hydra), while two to four active 'field leaders' have some degree of authority OOCly for the faction. Especially since the Grand High Poobah is easily one of the most draining positions on any game. There's also the tricky bit with player-turnover. If Nick Fury #1 is running things solo for several months, then idles out and is replaced by Nick Fury #2, who is more interested in James Bond-ian superspy fun than in leading SHIELD, that can get… disruptive, particularly to other players who might be newer to the faction and less prepared for the shift."

*

Tommy has partially disconnected.

*

Thea arrives from RP Nexus.

*

Thea has arrived.

*

Amanda has to agree with both Yana and Dani. There should be a way to decentralize so others have some OOC/IC authority to allow for things, so the faction isn't solely dependent on Xavier (substitute faction head as necessary) because, as Dani pointed out, being leader is exhausting and can rapidly lead to No Fun. I'm not opposed to Xavier being a staff bit (rotated around so the same staffer isn't constantly pestered by requests to run Xavier), though I don't see a problem with him being playable either. There must be a way to do both, when he isn't played? Though I worry that might cause some hesitation in picking him up, if there's that much more to pick up on, in terms of past history.

*

Obtuse says, "Likely unsurprisingly, I think Xavier should be a staff-controlled NPC. I also think that said-NPC should hold events 2-4 (?) times a month wherein Xavier has office hours. This would allow anyone to access him as needed rather than just as a request because things come up, and they could just try to hit up office hours. He's a prof. They do office hours. It's a thing. If no one comes, no worries. But it could be a rotating door kind of deal wherein folks can disseminate information/get feedback/whatever without pinging in advance.

I think this would free up folks to feel like they have Charles' blessing with things without handwaving it or whatever. Plus it takes the onerous bit off those who ICly wouldn't be in leadership positions (based on age, maturity, point of view, whatever), and gives the faction a bit of focus and continuity, especially as we haven't managed to get X-Men to really gel here as a group.

Also, I echo Strange's comment about recycling plot ideas—I've definitely done this and reimagined things frequently in plot development, and I think it normally turns out pretty well. The Hellmouth plot was a mash-up of a lot of ideas and I think it worked out pretty well. My current Morgan plot is more in line with canon, but I rolled the dice (literally) and things were changed."

*

Cable says, "I think removing young characters was a mistake that could have been fixed with a zero tolerance policy that outright ruins some concepts like Billy Batson and the whole High School experience, but there's not much to do about that. Splitting Emma and Xavier schools isn't doing any favors with the number of people, I'd have them do an officially linked school or something. Xavier should be a global staff char used for high end guidance and scenes desired for development, but can still be apped if someone wants to try, at least until they fail enough to give up on it. I also am not opposed to PCs being able to temp Xavier too who are pre-approved by Staff that are OOC leaders of the faction, which is less stress on Staff. There should be a few leaders to split the workload, and it's fine to have multiples in it."

*

Square says, "I will admit, part of why I ended up dropping Emma was because the majority of her RP was headmistress RP, and honestly, for me, that's just not what's cool about Emma. It's a useful thing for the game, but it wasn't fulfilling on a character development level. It's obviously important (the sheer quantity of it speaks to the need for it), but it's rough when that's all you're playing, which I think contributes to the Xavier burn-out and is a point in favor of him floating between people to share the load.

So while I dislike banning characters when we don't have to and like having them open to being PCs, when it comes to someone like Xavier who serves a vital IC function, I'm comfortable with making him a character who, while open to apping, would be…staff-nudgable.

Meaning if he's unplayed, then staff can make decisions for him or NPC at need or declare that he's gone off to flirt with the Shiar for two months while we have another active PC leader because someone at the school should know what he's doing and it's too odd to tiptoe around on the question of where he is on the basis of what if the next apper doesn't want to have been off flirting with the Shiar. And if he's played and not available then staff can at least make the bare bones decisions of yes, you're a student.

I like the general idea of multiple PC leaders, but it has to be done carefully too. Four leaders who don't or can't communicate causes an entirely different set of problems when lead A discovers lead B said it was totally cool for villain junior to hang at the school…right after lead A said villain junior was banned from the grounds. Yes, play it off ICly, it can be fun, but it can also cause some OOC stress which can also make a mess of previously pleasant factions. So it would be important to figure out the appropriate boundaries, which I worry could defeat the purpose or just end up multiplying the problem."

*

Mordo says, "I like what I'm hearing. At this point, I don't have a lot to add. There will be pros and cons to any decision made about the X-faction, but I do agree with the 'floating' npc idea for the Prof, and allowing other team leaders to induct new members… And maybe save having a rival school faction for when activity is higher… Aye, nothing really 'new' to add. Good discussion tho'. :)"

*

Tangent says, "Okay guys, I'm going to move us onto our second item on the agenda. I think we have enough to work with on staff where we can start formulating how to progress and get the ball rolling. We also have a good idea on how people feel about these issues to use as our guide. Basically what I'm envisioning is we take this conversation, discuss it as a staff, put individual changes up on the staff board, vote on them, and then announce it.

The next item is about upcoming plots. Please include in your response any ideas you have for plots you'd like to do or plots you would like to see.

Strange brought up something last round that Rogue mentioned to me before. There's a staleness factor (Logan mentioned this earlier too) that I know I have always been wary of. In 6 straight years of running plots on these games I was really worried I was just out of ideas and I didn't want to repeat myself or let anyone down. It was good to hear that people don't really give as much of a crap about that as I thought they did. It really helped me start thinking of ideas again and I appreciate you Rogue for mentioning it and Strange for saying it here. (Obtuse also mentioned this in her statement)

What I want to know about plots is, what are the things that are helping or hindering players from running plots? In what ways can staff help? And what types of stories would you like to see."

*

Thea sorries, had to catch up!

*

Thea says, "I had something on the first item, if allowable?"

*

Tangent says, "Oh Crap! I didn't finish out: Tangent's upcoming plot idea: An entanglement with Latveria that brings the world to the brink of thermonuclear war."

*

Lamont arrives from RP Nexus.

*

Lamont has arrived.

*

Thea says, "Okay, things on First Item : Nudgable PC played X or Staff/responsible PC pick up X both work for me. I agree Frost and Xavier's should be combined (I was going to pick up Emma, when I realized as Square did, that it would be all headmistress stuff, and not the stuff that make a player want to play her. I understand university classes and all, and I'm very much pro 18+ player, but did anyone consider maybe like 16+ if making characters meant to be students? (I only had time to skim). I don't know if that's a huge ol hell no or not, just a suggestion. Also, all for channels for groups or whatever y'all called them. I've tried to get Thea involved in multiple groups, and it was spinning wheels to the point someone who had been actively involved with a group then told me they weren't, couldn't help me. I want in more. I'm considering apping an MC, etc, but I want to know there's going to be someplace to put them, you know?

Second item : I suck at plots. I would love to sort of be a wingwoman and help out with bits? Maybe get some experience in it? I got pretty hurt at a game once when I tried to run one, and never dared try it again. And recycling is cool man. There's always a new twist or take to put on the classics. …think I'm done."

*

Bucky arrives from RP Nexus.

*

Bucky has arrived.

*

Bucky leaves, heading towards RP Nexus [O].

*

Bucky has left.

*

Square says, "I am both easy and difficult. XD Honestly, I care less about the specifics of the plot than what it does to my character. It doesn't really matter to me what the plot is about as long as it makes my character have to make hard choices. Granted, that means that I'm just not interested if it doesn't tie to my character in a meaningful way. For example, a lot of magic stuff just doesn't hit my characters where it hurts, so I'll join in for the RP, but it doesn't grab me the same way that spy stuff or forced soldiers grabs me with Ava."

*

Loki says, "I have two plots I would like to run. One, with Loki, will be more D&D style quest-adventures for various things he wants that have been left around Midgard, sign-up for small groups. I don't really see it having major influence on the larger game, aside from character injuries and stuff. I just like running that style of adventure. The second plot I would like to run basically involves 'checking out' Arcade to use to create some Murderworld escape room style things. Again, not really world-affecting, but those would have a higher effect level on the chars involved and it would be more of an arc leading to the capture of Arcade. I am also totally willing to help out with other plots, either through IC interactions or OOCily helping with running."

*

Carol says nothing to keep pose order going.

*

Theorem says, "FWIW, the reason I've never really ran anything is simply a complete and utter lack of confidence in doing so in a consent based game without stats. So uhh that's all I gotta say :)"

*

Rogue says, "Plots: I think there needs to be an upfront plot mission statement, to steal an idea from Logan's book with some guidance on how to start things.

You get as much out of plots as you choose to participate in. Some players want nothing to do with scheduled events; that's legitimate. Consider we have heard often enough players do not know how to get involve with ongoing storylines, engage with factions or start up something. Or they feel uncomfortable just reaching out and asking to be involved. Maybe they don't know the +events or bboard code. As a game we can address a significant barrier to entry and participation a few ways. I want to raise it as a persistent comment. Strategies to breach that divide would be helpful.

A multifaceted approach to plots is needed. Have one-shots too. Factions might be able to support stages of a story if staff wants to throw a bone to active players or leaders. Broader arching plots/metaplots are great but have drawbacks. They can be hard to enter midway without a compelling hook or outgoing nature. But when they work, they're highly memorable. The Kree assault scenes did a very nice job dividing street-level and global heavy-hitters, so they're accessible to different players.

I have no problem reusing storylines from the comics or MCU. Or draw on existing historical events, like the World's Fair coming to NYC, for example. Diversity is not a bad thing, especially when some players may be worn out on Sentinels or Venom or standard baddies, but for others, this is totally new territory. Please don't cut off options.

The main point, players need to speak up for what they want to see run. It's disheartening to build an event around a cool idea you got feedback for and then no one shows up. Conversely nothing makes me happier than stirring up lasting character development for others. Tommy blew running Mojo out of the water. I think it's easy to perceive barriers in the way of running something but seriously, there is so much good writing talent here. Lots of support and experience to make something work. An openness to communicate about what we want to see and what storytellers/gms/dms need to make a plot happen would perhaps go a long way to stirring overall activity."

*

Cable arrives from RP Nexus.

*

Cable has arrived.

*

Digit says, "Cool. I don't have that much to say, really. I, personally, have found myself to be quite poor at running long, overarching, long term planned plots. I have to do way too much of that management in real life. I super enjoy running one off, fast, dramatic scenes. So… having some guidance on 'You can run these sort of scenes without any approval and as you please' would be nice, in a file somewhere, so we know how much we can do/push/toss out before talking to others? Just my two cents. OR… possibly, a plot wanted board. Like, I know a plot I want to do for one of my characters, but I'd always feel guilty asking someone else to run it. If there is a board for people to put up 'I'd love if someone could run this' then the people who are better at running plot can help assist those who might be more shy asking for the things they want to see?"

*

Kai says, "I have a few thoughts on plots. My first impression, as a new player coming in cold, was that the plots in progress weren't really meant for me, if that makes sense? They're for established groups I've got no idea how to get into. So maybe a plot or two geared toward new players who aren't as organized could offset that. Small 'trying to pick off the loner' plots could put newbies into contact with the established people tracking the threat, if that makes sense? I was lucky, I got into stuff with established people pretty easily. I just mean in general.

I've run plots on WoD games, both small and large. Lamont can speak to whether or not I'm actually any good at it. I'd like to think so. :) I'd like to get more of a feel for how the game does plots before diving in, but I wouldn't be averse to running something at some point.

My big thing is using character hooks. I scatter them throughout my PCs liberally on purpose. Plots get bigger investment when they play on the PCs' circumstances and not just 'you're an X-man I'm going to throw an X-man flavored enemy at you. Which works on a smaller scale better than a larger one, but smaller scaled plots are good, too. How to do that, i.e. use those hooks, comes down to communication. I have a character (Lindon) whose shtick is he has a lot of knowledge in his head. People, please feel free to use that to start or move along plots if you want to. I'm always down for some abuse. Is there a way to put hooks down? Kind of like 'here's the stuff I would love to have dragged out and messed with?'"

*

Logan says, "I don't know that I have a lot to contribute in this particular area. I'd like to be more active in terms of running and contributing to plots, but that's more a matter of personal motivation and creativity than it is anything the game itself can do. I do like the possibility of a plot-related board: maybe where people could suggest plot ideas or hooks, even if they don't know what to dow tih them, and alaso as a way to invite people to stories or to just say "Hey, I wanna see more horror" or "I'd like to have more soap opera" or what have you. I don't have any practical suggestions for that, though. Carry on."

*

Amora says, "I'm bad at running plots. Especially when it comes to rp and reacting on the fly to others. I get ideas for scenes, and I'm more than willing to cause ic tensions and troubles and smoosh people into moral quandries. That said, I do enjoy running a scene here and there for people as needed. But I hesitate to do anything bigger not only from a headache of filling out +request, but also because honestly I fear stepping on anyone's toes plot wise. I've tried to set up things and been completely blown off without seeing a single person who signed up show up. Which is disheartening to say the least.

I can't tell you how many times I've come up with google docs with ideas and then just.. not submitted them because it's more work than I have time or energy to put forth to get it approved.

That said, for those that do run things, I'd like to see a plot board up most definitely. That way people can add on ideas and things."

*

Illyana says, "I've got one major plot idea I want to work on, and it sort of ties into another thought I've had of Illyana seeking a group of people to help her stay more on the good side of things. The main plot idea being, somebody in Limbo is trying to wrest control from Illyana. I have an idea as to who, but it might require a long term commitment from that character, and as far as I know his player isn't here, so I'm not going to go into specifics without talking to him. Whatever the case, it needn't be an outside force — certainly there are leaders among the Na'garai who might try to take over while Illyana's out of Limbo.
"(I'm looking at you, Nas'tirh.)"

*

Logan has partially disconnected.

*

Strange says:

Y'all heard my succinct two cents earlier on the matter regarding plots. I'd love to see more folks be brave about running their own plots! This might play in to the concern by others that they will "do something wrong" by starting up a plot, but that's about communication. If I'm concerned, I ask whom I think will be able to answer my questions/concerns, be it staff or other key players that I'd like to involve. In my experience, staff has been open to communication about plots.

That being said, I am fully aware that it seems like I sit in the Sanctum all day long. By all means, reach out to me if you need help getting something kick-started. Page me, +mail me, whatever works! I am MORE than happy to throw in ideas, pop in and out of a scene as a plot-advancer, you name it. We're all on here because we like/love writing, plain and simple. You're all brilliant writers with heart and soul invested in your characters. I LOVE seeing this in action.

TL;DR, what Rogue said. Communicate. :)

*

Danielle says, "To be honest, I'm fairly gunshy when it comes to plots. The logistics of getting more or less the same cluster of players together for a series of scenes, the uncertainty of participation (too low, and it's just a normal RP scene; too high, and it's overwhelming), and such. I don't run plots because that's not something I've ever been comfortable in, and at this point in life, I don't see that changing much. I need to prod myself to get more involved in plots, probably, but they tend to be right along the edge of my personal comfort zone. Kai mentioned hooks, and I think one of my hangups has been past experience where one hook gets all used up…. and I don't come away with any new hook(s) to build upon in the future."

*

Amanda is pretty gunshy herself about plots. As I mentioned in an OOC Lounge discussion some while back, I have had /amazingly/ bad luck on other games with plots. I have had my characters changed, forcibly, when I wasn't connected, to make sure I participated whether I wanted to or not, twinked on, lied to, etc, etc. I don't dislike the idea of plots, but because of the years of bad experiences, no matter how fond I might be of people, I tend to worry that the worst will come out when they run or participate in plots. So I just… try to be encouraging to other people, to get them to do plots. On the rare occasion I've run things, it's always been really light-hearted fair. I've been burnt out a long, long time on serious things, and I don't see that changing any time soon. Admittedly that does limit me for character hooks, and I try to build them in other ways, but that's always been hit or miss.

*

Obtuse says, "I want to echo Rogue and Amora's sentiments. I've been extremely frustrated running plots since February. While some scenes are well attended, others have no sign-ups or no-shows. I recognize real life happens, and people sometimes can't make it, but I had this happen a number of times in a row, and it's been difficult getting my motivation back.

I know sometimes it may seem like event-runners just wing it in the moment, but more often than not, I plan things out to try to make sure everyone that signs up will get to do something of note during the entire ordeal (and yes, sometimes this is foiled by character actions), but it's really frustrating to encounter cancellations time and again when I legitimately try to prepare ahead of time. The prep work goes out the window when folks don't come, and putting out a call in the moment publicly when there's space is difficult because it means I won't have had the opportunity to look at sheets/read backgrounds/and think about potential hooks into what I'm already doing.

I recognize that not every plot is everyone's cup of tea, and that's cool. But it's helpful to know if something just holds no interest for folks or if there's something in particular people would like to see. It's also helpful to know ahead if people can't make it. It's okay to back out of an event, real life happens, but when it happens consistently and things aren't attended? I think that really discourages people from running things—it certainly does for me.

Also, I've built plots from actions people have done in other plots. And I think this is mostly successful in the past, but is contingent on several things, including knowing what actions folks are taking to forward an arc. I'm always open to pages, +requests, or +mail if people want to know anything specific about a plot I'm running. Doing legwork is almost always rewarded—and actually can CHANGE the direction of a plot. People get more plot when they do that background stuff, at least when I'm running something."

*

Cable says, "I like running plots more than being involved in them, honestly. Joker exists to cause psychological plots for people, when you don't want to just punch problems away, but be challenged on deeper things like ethics — I am open to anyone who wants that. Creel exists to help people with their ambitions, be it Player or people running Plots, and I really want him used more. Cable I intend to start X-Force and run for. Julian is for hitting on people. I'm a bevy of plots if anyone's interested, both to assist or run, just want to put that out there. I try to be uber about being worked with for what people want, and I think some people can vouch for me!"

*

Lamont says, "I don't have a terrible lot to add. I'm not at all good in terms of running intricate, long, strategic plots. I can manage one-shots or quick vignettes - hence my offer on Bucky to do some World War II backscenes for those who want to, either with PCs who were around at the time, or even NPCs (assuming staff approval) - like, ever wanted to play a Howling Commando? I second the idea of a separate plots wanted board - it'll let plot runners hook up with those who want, as KAi put it, to have RP hooks used. I've seen that used to very good effect on WoD games. I'm also very happy to have my characters used as catalysts or facilitators in other people's plots. As folks can attest already, I'm not protective about having my PCs win all the time, so ….if the Winter Soldier would make a helpful foil or antagonist, please, lemme know."

*

Tangent says, "Okay guys, that's going to conclude our topic on plots. I don't want to speak for the other plot staffers, but I plan on keeping this documented so I can use it as a guide for my own writing, and that I can reach out to those of you who have had ideas to see how you're coming along or what struggles you're having. Also, I'm hoping that the idea of a plot board will pass pretty easily through the staff and that we can make that change right away.

Next, I am going to postpone talk about Factions until the next meeting. The reason is because a lot of it was covered in the X-men talk and a lot of what might come out of that will depend on what happens with the X-men, since it is the most complicated and one of the biggest teams we have, and because it needs the most attention right now. I am also going to push Recruitment off until the next meeting, because it's not pressing,

I would like to move on to Log Activity and Requirements, but I recognize that we are already at the three hour mark. I would also like to discuss Cable's concerns about the app process, but I realize that's going to put things really late. Can I get you guys oocly to say whether you're good to keep going, or if you'd prefer to just push this and all other topics to the next meeting?
"

*

Exponent thinks activity is important enough to cover.

*

Tangent says, "Activity is a huge issue that might take some time here. We have tried our best to keep characters active and went with what we have thought is a stringent policy to try and keep characters in flux and get idling characters into the hands of more active players.

This is not a perfect system. I'm wondering for this first round if you can talk about the activity policy and discuss what you like or what you don't like.

For me I know I had to wait a super long time for a character whose player I felt was skirting the issue as much as possible and it was really disheartening to me. I haven't for the life of me been able to think up anything that works better. Our booking policy was an attempt to let people know that others want the character, but it's been sort of hit or miss.

I know there are a lot of issues on this topic and I want to hear about all of your feelings as we move forward.
"

*

Thea says, "I've had issues with people picking up characters and then doing one or two scenes a month, and because they're so highly wanted, it's hard to get a spot in their rotation. Thea's easy. She's mine, no one else can has her, etc etc. But when I do pick up an MC, I want to avoid those issues."

*

Julie ohs. :) I don't know much about some of the activity things, but I guess maybe there are different degrees of demand for different characters? (getting back to seeming format here. :) )

*

Loki says, "It has affected me a couple of times, but regardless of what my personal experience it, it is disheartening to see characters picked up on a whim, and discarded a month later. But, I also totally get that its sort of the /advantage/ of the system that you can try out a char, and drop them. But it does leave a lot of loose ends and awkward…how do I retcon things to make it work for my character. I can't think of the perfect solution for this, other than like, maybe, during the first month of having a character, the RP requirements are /higher/? Maybe that would at least more quickly figure out if someone is really into the char and give it the best chance possible? I just have to believe that it would be better if everyone gave their characters a longer chance, through the rough patches even, instead of dropping and moving to a new one that has to build relationships from scratch. Everyone will benefit from players investing greater into the PCs they have. But, like I said, I'm not sure there's a magic solution for that, other than like…if a player keeps switching chars every 4 weeks, maybe they need a cooldown period before claiming more characters, to discourage the turnover? Or, if someone is a 'mover and shaker', fachead or some other classification that would describe a character in demand, maybe they have a higher expectation? But, busy lives…too, you know..so, like I said, I'm not sure I see a solution exactly, but less turnover would be beneficial."

*

Carol agrees with Loki, considering that there does seem to be a rapid turnover of some characters. I don't think the requirements are all that strict myself, but I do believe that if we could figure out a way to keep people from just bouncing characters all the time, that would be great.

*

Theorem says, "I'm pretty opposed to higher activity requirements except for maybe enforcing activity2 more strictly (and I might code something to track that if we move to Rhost) because I think it misses the fact that this is a game and life comes first. Every so often I get bogged down by work. Or, obsessive on something — like if we had 'a log every two weeks' Mass Effect Andromeda woulda resulted in me losing all my characters. I am not in theory opposed to the idea of 'movers and shakers' having higher requirements, but except for Xavier, I can't think of a single person (except maaybe Peggy) who would otherwise fall into that category for sure, and can't define what I would use as the criteria for determing others. I think the current system is fine. Its not perfect, it has weaknesses, but there's no such thing as a perfect system. I don't want to see MC's become something people feel more pressure over them then they already do."

*

Theorem says, "And the last person in the *world* I want to put MORE pressure on is, for example, a Xavier apper."

*

Kai says, "As far as Activity goes, I don't really have a lot to say. All my PCs are OCs. I don't know how it affects people as well as the PCs would."

*

Logan is guilty of being a person who changes characters fairly often, in terms of alts, although I've had Logan since the first week the game opened. I've always appreciated that staff has been okay with me doing this. I don't like having a "cooldown" period and find it's just generally meant to be a punitive thing because certain other players don't like it and they want to see players like me punished for playing differently than they do. I won't try to justify it to anybody because I don't see anything wrong with it. The alternative would be me sitting on a character that I'm not active with or enjoying. I just recently gave up one alt, even though I was still technically within my rights to keep it and could easily have gotten a log if need be, because I felt the character needed to be more active than I could give it time to be. You end up feeling guilty for keeping a character and guilty for giving it up. I'm either a quitter or I'm an alt hog. I can't win.

As for the activity issue, I don't honestly think there's very much wrong with the system that exists. I don't love logging as a method of tracking activity because I don't really use wikis and have no interest in logs - I do a scene to do the scene in the moment, not to have something to read later. But I accept that it's the way that most games seem to prefer to track activity anymore and I don't get to dictate how everything's done just to my taste.

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Amora says, "I like the system as it stands. It can be trying to get logs up for characters when their faction is in a slump, but that's my biggest issue. I've never had real problems with it, and everyone has been pretty good when things happen irl and super understanding."

*

Illyana is one of those people who was having a lot of trouble maintaining activity, even though the requirements were only scene a month. The requirement is totally reasonable. I'm fine with the way booking is handled here — it's much better than I've seen it on other games. And I'm feeling a lot more confident in my ability to maintain the characters I've currently got than I was before. I will say, I get busy. This week I have six classes taking exams. In three weeks I've got finals. Sometimes I just can't RP the way I want. Sometimes I don't have the energy or the impetus. And sometimes I just can't crank out more than one scene in a month. Everybody has those days and weeks. I don't think increasing the pressure on people is a good idea.

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Strange says, "Pass, please. I'm comfortable with the current standings on things via activities and logs."

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Danielle says, "I would be a lot, lot more agitated with the current system if there was no warning, with adequate time to get squared around. I just came off a warning earlier this week, purely because it had slipped my mind how much time had actually passed since the previous log. The four week window seems reasonable to me, especially when combined with both the warning and the 'I'm not here' system."

*

Amanda has nothing much to add. I think the one log per month is totally reasonable, and like Dani I've had a warning or two between alts because time has slipped by on me, though in my case my attention has been focused on a busy time at work. I'm very grateful for the warning that is issued because that has helped me get things going to meet the requirement.

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Exponent says, "Also realize that on log on, the +activity is displayed so you can see if you're in magenta or red. Try not to scroll it off your screen immediately without noticing."

*

Cable says, "I am fine with one a month personally, but I think it's too easy to coast for months on chars others may want and thrive on. This is so much personal and staff preference I can't really comment on it, but a successful tactic I've seen is the ability to mark a char you are interested in apping, making them and Staff aware, if they are not particularly acting to activity standards that are broadly acceptable, such as maybe RPing with the same person once a month in a private room. Those situations I think should be addressed."

*

Theorem says, "Cable, that's what I meant by being more strict on +news activity2."

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Theorem says, "Although 'one a month' is the basic policy, activity2 speaks of this being *minimum* and that's not acceptable long term."

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Theorem ahs :)

*

Lamont says, "What Cable said, basically. Pass."

*

Carol leaves, heading towards RP Nexus [O].

*

Carol has left.

*

Square says, "Currently, we calculate activity by the date of posting of the log. Partly that's because it's easier to automate with code, partly it's so that back scenes don't get counted out, partly it's because we don't want to be dicks about making people post logs immediately after RP. That said, it's created a sometimes frustrating loophole where a scene is posted 2 weeks after the fact…and that's the scene that the idle-timer is being based off of.

It's not usually a big deal. But if it happens regularly or the character is booked, then it creates an awkward situation for us as staff. Mostly if the character is booked, really. Words of the policy say post date. Intent of the policy is one log every 30 days. Getting an extra 2 weeks because of when a log was posted is super frustrating to someone who's interested in playing that character. It's an issue I'd personally like to address by just making it the actual date of the last log instead of the posted date.

The issue of who someone is playing with is a much murkier one that I don't think staff is likely to (or should) get involved in. Again, we all know that the intent of the policy is to get people to go out and be active. But policing who people are playing with how often and giving it a contribution value is a very slippery slope that I don't think we want to get into. If you have 3 logs a month but they're all private scenes with your one friend, we'd hope you'd play with other people so they can enjoy you and your character, but we're not going to make forced play-dates a thing. I can't get behind dictating how many other characters anyone should interact with in a month and I can't even fathom how we'd do accountability for that either. I totally understand the frustration of someone who's not "idle" but isn't available for RP either, but I think that's not a thing we can "fix.""

*

Tangent says, "Okay guys, the final question of tonight is one about the app process. At the beginning of the night, Cable brought up his concerns about the app process and I'm going to resend those.

Cable says, "A general comment I have is something I've heard from a few appers privately, and encountered once myself, which is the downsides of council style appers. Having nobody to talk to individually or help with judgements makes it difficult. Also, often feedback is requested, addressed, then you just get more, sometimes harsher, feedback, until it feels like your entire character idea has been sliced to death by a million knives. A good friend of mine left here due to this happening to their app a bit ago, and I know of at least one other new player who did the same. As Cable, I also had a very drawn out experience that could have been made much simpler without multiple iterations before just redoing everything, and also almost made me just leave after so much personal time investment in both concept and writing. I'm not sure if this is something Staff is aware of."

My question to you is what you feel like the strengths of the app process are, and what things you'd like for us to think about as we move forward.

Now, Square has made an interesting and new point that I think we should be able to touch on so please also include your thoughts on the Log Loophole she mentions, if you'd be so kind."

*

Theorem says, "It is my intent to change the way its calculated from date-of-post to date-of-log which will close the log loophole."

*

Theorem says, "The reason I chose date-of-post was because I envisioned this game having a lot more backscenes then in my experience it is, so I picked the method of calculating that would count backscenes as current RP."

*

Theorem says, "A clarification: we don't have 'council style app approva'."

*

Theorem says, "The vast majority of the apps are approved by only one person."

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Theorem says, "Its only in especially powerful or complicated apps where we don't feel confident without a second person to say OK, and only on 'restricted' apps that we require all staff to sign off on it."

*

Theorem says, "That's a different question: and it depends on what X is. If X is especially powerful or complicated it might be that we want another to review it. Alternatively, sometimes peopel ask general 'is that okay' and we say yes, but then when they app it the actual detailss don't match what we assumed it did."

*

Exponent says, "Or someone, Theo for instance, is the one who knows most about Norse stuff."

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Theorem says, "Its a 'the devil is in the details' situation more then a council."

*

Theorem says, "That too. And we tend to defer to Digit for SHIELD stuff, and Square for Inhuman stuff."

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Cable says, "One thing I've noticed is a lack of feedback on what is okay, especially high tech and magic. In both cases, spelling things out a lot seems actually to make you far less likely to be approved than being very vague, which I find strange and counter-intuitive. I struggled with Forge for this, and I eventually said less and less about what he can actually do and he eventually got approved."

*

Square hits pause.

*

Tangent has partially disconnected.

*

Square says, "Let's work back toward pose order, please, so I can give you a response without the conversation being miles away when I'm done. ;)"

*

Square says, "As Theo says, this is something that tends to be an issue mostly when it comes to powerful, complicated, or restricted characters. For the most part, normal apps get handled by one person without any need for additional approval. If the first person to look over it has questions, doubts, or feels like something could be an issue, then they'll tap another member of staff to take a look at it.

Who gets tapped depends on the issue. Theo knows about god-sorts. Digit handles SHIELD. I handle Inhumans. But yes, part of what's under the umbrella of "complicated" is magic and tech. Tech, because it's interwoven in the theme. The game being set in the 60s is integral to who we are, and a big part of that is the tech level. So any exceptions to 1960s tech requires a broader discussion of what it does to the setting. Magic because we really want to have it without it being better than other powers or the answer to every problem, and it's just not easy to draw the line between specific and general when it comes to magic. Nobody wants to have to have specific D&D spell lists, but there has to be some structure and limits.

So that's why those things are topics of discussion.

As to that discussion not being fruitful, a big part of that right now is that our current job system doesn't allow for private commenting. Which will be upgraded on the new site! Right now we can't have a discussion with all of the staff about the complicated parts of an app unless we're all in the lounge discussing it, and we don't have an easy way to share that discussion with staffers who weren't around at the time. So unfortunately it can turn into a communications failure. On that front, we're totally aware of it and the new jobs system should help with that part."

*

Loki says, "I think the app process is pretty simple, and all the apps I've done have been very smooth. But, my chars do not have major power issues as I apped them, so that seems to fit with what you are saying of it only being an issue with higher powered, which is what Cable experienced."

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Exponent says, "Also, things can be interpreted differently. What is meant by the apper isn't necessarily what the staffer reads. Or the second one."

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Exponent says, "It's impossible to be ambiguous about strength. Lifting 50 tons is straight forward. Other things, not so much."

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Kai says, "Again, I don't have much to add here. I look forward to seeing the new job system."

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Exponent says, "You've seen it. Anomaly Jobs is old as dirt :)"

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Kai says, "I mean as it'll be implemented. :)"

*

Strange says, "I'm still a happy camper and have no feedback currently. :)"

*

Danielle says, "Pass on this one. Compared to other games, I found the app process here to be remarkably stressfree."

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Amanda hasn't anything to add either. :)

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Lamont pass.

*

Cable says, "I've had a rather bipolar app experience. Forge was a struggle, but Creel, who is exceptionally strong, got through without comment. I suppose it's those situations where things need heavy work that I wish was improved. The guidance I got made it sound like I needed only a few mild tweaks to be okay. I would rather know to heavily drop things down, or what exactly is 'okay', or something of that level for guidance. Personally I struggled to understand what staff wanted or expected from me, or if what I wanted was even possible to get approved in a way I wanted. If someone said 'Just app Messiah Cable' I would have had a much less stressful time of things, which is what I ended up doing. I don't want to name names, but others had the exact same experience with having the impression they only needed mild tweaking, but then kept getting more tweaks, which then became more severe, until they did not even want to keep the character anymore. (I don't mind saying who privately if you'd like, really.)"

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Logan says, "I will just state that I've had nothing but good experiences with the apps process here and, as I noted, I use it more than most and with characters of wildly varying power level. Sometimes they take longer than others, but people get busy at different times. The problems noted seem like they might be individual to the specific apps in question and not a more general problem.(belated because my microwave chose just now to die a horrible death)"

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Theorem says, "It is *exceptionally* rare for an app to have more then one review. I'm not saying it doesn't happen but its *not* even a fraction of apps."

*

Square says, "There's a much larger discussion to be had about power levels and the like, probably for the next meeting because it's a complicated one. Because it does become an issue with apps and with power updates especially. For what it's worth, I really hate going back and forth on those things - apps where I get to just hit +bg/approve make me happy. ;)

Sometimes a vague response from staff is us not wanting to box you in. There are often times where an app needs some work, but the specifics of it are negotiable. But when staff says 'take it down fifty percent' or 'drop this power' a lot of people feel like that's the final word and might not feel comfortable speaking up and saying 'what if I take two things down 25 percent each?' or 'can I drop this other one instead?' So there's a balance of us being specific vs. giving people the freedom to solve a problem in a way that might honestly be better than what we would have come up with.

It's definitely a gray area, so it's something we try to treat individually when we can."

*

Theorem nods to Square. Recently we had an app and we were like: A, B, C, and D all at this level is just too much. We don't want to tell you WHAT to lower because what is important ot you is what's important. So pick any two and halve 'em.

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