[Eldritch] Sphere Caps & Waiting Lists


  • Politics

    This is both a specific thread for our game and also a general discussion, because your views do interest us even if we ultimately decide to be nepotic tyrants.

    That said, when we started talking about the population of the game and what we hoped versus what we feared, it came up that all of us were pretty gung-ho that we wanted sphere caps. It's especially true when it comes to myself and @Eerie regarding Demon: The Descent. Demon is a very ST-intensive game, which translates to very STAFF-intensive on a MU.

    As such we've decided we will be instituting sphere caps on Eldritch. This doesn't mean that we will decide on a number and then that number will never, ever change. That's not it at all. The number will likely and probably grow, but we want to be able to say 'this is the limit for now'. We want manageable sizes when it comes to spheres, especially supernatural ones (i.e. Demon, Vampire, Werewolf).

    Anyway, we thought up a few ideas on how to handle waiting lists, but these also came with problems:

    1. Just let people pile up.
      This comes with the issue that eventually you're #45 on the wait list and that's pretty much practically a 'no' within any practical timeframe. This could be mitigated slightly by capping the wait list, too, one supposes, but that seems extra redundant.
    2. Those on the waitlist get put in a lottery.
      This comes with the issue that someone may have been waiting for a year (which seems really weird to me as I'd never do that, but hey, people are determined) but the lottery goes to someone who's only been waiting a week. Letting this be a possibility seems kind of shitty to us.
    3. A hybrid system of the two.
      This hybrid system, which is what we're leaning towards pretty heavily, is basically a waitlist. If a slot (or more) open up, a lottery is held between people who have been waiting the longest within a certain time frame (i.e. months; so those who've been waiting 8-9 months would get their own lottery, and if there are still slots open and no one has been waiting 9 months, then it gets rolled for those who've been waiting 7-8, etc). If someone has been waiting long enough that they have their own category (maybe they've been waiting 10 months and everyone else has been waiting maximum 7) they automatically get the slot. If no one has been waiting a month, the timeframe is in weeks. This was @Thenomain's idea, after having discussed the other two for a bit.

    We want to be receptive to opinions and mostly just give you guys a chance to poke some holes in these, discuss some stuff, and help us when it comes to considering which way to go. The decision is, of course, ultimately ours, but we want input from the people who'll have to be beholden to the system.

    And like I said before, it's also just a good idea to have this sort of constructive discussions up and available for people to offer input and opinions.


  • Coder

    Alternatively, if nobody has been waiting for over a month, it reverts to first-come first-served instead of lotto.


  • Politics

    @Thenomain, what if several people have been waiting for two weeks? I prefer sticking to the same method. Of course, if no one has been waiting and a slot opens up, then it's definitely first-come, first-serve.


  • Coder

    @Coin said:

    @Thenomain, what if several people have been waiting for two weeks? I prefer sticking to the same method. Of course, if no one has been waiting and a slot opens up, then it's definitely first-come, first-serve.

    First on the list. The thought I'm having about this is that there may be a small enough time-frame where a lotto system is the less reasonable option.

    To counter my own argument: Even two weeks waiting for a character slot is a long time.


  • Politics

    @Coin

    I really hate the NBA and NHL drafts. I prefer the NFL draft.

    Being #45 sucks, but it's got finality to it. Not being able to get in when you're the first in line is frustrating as hell.


  • Admin

    @Coin

    Obviously no solution will please everyone but the hybrid one seems best.

    There is a very nasty problem you are likely to run into in that people will preemptively sign up for spheres. I.e. since they know Demon (or whatever) has a queue of 10+ which can take weeks or months to go through they'll sign up with no immediate intention of playing there, or will simply be in the sphere and just hog a spot by logging on but not actually playing.

    Two potential solutions:

    1. Allow just one (supernatural? overall?) alt. This way at least you are discouraging people who intend to play in your game at all from parking characters in its spheres.

    2. Define then hardcode an activity requirement. It's not so hard, it's just that everyone will define it in a way that makes sense for them, so you'll need to pick one. My personal pitch is something that goes kinda like this (more refinement is needed but just to get an idea):

    • When you pose in an IC room someone else has posed in in the last <X> minutes, increment the weekly RP counter by one.
    • At the end of the week reset all counters.
    • Anyone whose RP counters is under <Z> for <Y> weeks in a row is considered inactive.

    Yes, people can trick it but especially if you combine it with (1) you're still fine. Doing it on a weekly (rather than daily) basis makes it easier with people who for whatever reason can't play every single day from idlying out, and you can even offer warning @mails to people near the limit so they're aware they're near the limit.

    There's no need to make activity requirements high or draconian, only that you make them fair and universal. Hell, you can even set vacation flags for players who warn about it in advance so their counters aren't checked.

    Just some thoughts.


  • Coder

    @Ganymede said:

    @Coin

    I really hate the NBA and NHL drafts. I prefer the NFL draft.

    Please explain for those of us Americans who follow sports less religiously than the release schedule of Korra? Thanks.


  • Coder

    First come, first served. Easily tracked and understandably fair to most people. As long as the "start" point for waiting is the same, there shouldn't be an issue.


  • Politics

    @Thenomain

    In the NFL, your draft picks are determined from where you end up in the standings. If you end up in last place, you get the first pick.

    In the NHL and NBA, your draft picks are determined by lottery, but your chances of picking first are increased based on where you end up in the standings. If you end up in last place, you may not get the first pick; you may end up with the third or fourth.

    Conceptually, there are different rationales for either system. The first is justified by the idea that, by giving the worst team the highest pick, they are more likely to become better faster, thus increasing competitiveness. The second is justified by the idea that, by not guaranteeing the first pick to the worst team, teams will continue to try and be competitive because there's no strong incentive to be last. Ultimately, each system professes to be more "fair" to all teams.

    But the second system introduces uncertainty. In my opinion, it's not fair, and it does not promote competition. What it does, though, is create a great deal of frustration, as teams hovering around the bottom -- but not at the bottom -- may consistently choose first or second over time.

    What my analogy was meant to illustrate was that I prefer certainty over uncertainty. I don't care if I'm #45, but I would care if I were #1 and didn't get in.


  • Admin

    @Ganymede said:

    But the second system introduces uncertainty. In my opinion, it's not fair, and it does not promote competition. What it does, though, is create a great deal of frustration, as teams hovering around the bottom -- but not at the bottom -- may consistently choose first or second over time.

    The failing there is that it creates a race to the bottom condition; in these implementations the worst place to be is around the middle, since you are neither competing for a championship nor able to improve through getting the best players from the draft. So you get (often multiple) teams trying to purposefully tank, to lose games in order to be at the bottom of the league and thus become able to grab the big name rookies.


  • Coder

    @Arkandel said:

    Two potential solutions:

    1. Allow just one (supernatural? overall?) alt. This way at least you are discouraging people who intend to play in your game at all from parking characters in its spheres.

    I don't have any problem with this. If you want a slot restricted super, it's your only super.

    1. Define then hardcode an activity requirement. It's not so hard, it's just that everyone will define it in a way that makes sense for them, so you'll need to pick one. My personal pitch is something that goes kinda like this (more refinement is needed but just to get an idea):

    I think this is an awful idea. Coded checking of activity is never going to do what it needs to do because there will never be a point that its benefits outweigh its annoyances and contrivances.

    A sphere leader will have an idea of how much they, and their sphere staffers, can handle based on current activity by however many people they have in the sphere. Staff resources are often unevenly distributed across players due to the general level of attention some need versus others and there is no way to quantify that through automated code.


  • Coder

    @Ganymede,

    I'm afraid that I'm about to go alarmingly off the path and into my patented Thenothoughts™, wherein what I'm thinking may not coincide to reality on a 1:1 basis. I'll try not to, but bare with me.

    Thinking about analogies, I see a waiting list more like seating at a busy restaurant. You get your name put down, but you have a vague idea of who's there but not everyone waiting is still waiting, and instead of seeing the lobby you only see the list.

    Part of the time-consuming nature of reservation lists is verifying it, and to me, a report that is not accurate is not a very good report.



  • I hate quotas so much and feel pretty strongly they happen due to alt-madness. My normally unpopular opinion is to be much more restrictive in the number of supernatural character slots each player can have.

    Right now you're planning to have Demon, Vampire and Werewolf.

    You're also designing the game to promote cross-sphere role-play and (digitally) physical cohabitation.

    Why not simply limit players to 1 supernatural template?

    Having said that, you're introducing a sphere that hasn't seen much (any?) activity on a MU before: Demon. So that might be something a lot of folks will want to play. There you might see the waiting lists grow due to the staff intensive nature of the splat. My humble suggestion would be to based your sphere caps, if necessary, on a player to staff ratio you feel is appropriate. Most folks realize there's an initial glut of new applications and some settling in that occurs when a game opens so you'll have a month to let the dust settle at least. Maybe lock the sphere then, regardless of cap, and spend 2 weeks running plots. That will give you a feel for just how staff intensive it is and inform your cap limit decision.

    Another option would be to say: Alt limit is 1 Demon and 1 Other supernatural template for the first 6 months. Then shift to 1 super template period.

    Of course none of this answered your question so based on the options given, I vote option 1. Lottery's suck.


  • Admin

    (Also, open Geist :( )



  • Or...

    Realistically there's a natural ebb and flow of sphere migrations that happen based on the activity level (and assholeishness) of the players, and the support of staff.

    Open the flood gates, set no caps, and watch folks leave when they can't get an ST to run something specific to them. Eventually some equilibrium will be reached.


  • Politics

    @Arkandel

    There's a RTB condition in both cases, but you take more risk if you do so in the lottery draft. There's also something called "fan support," which dwindles if you keep on tanking all the time. No support, no money, no team. If you're at least guaranteed a pick based on your standings, then you have a more certain chance of eventually pulling out.

    @Thenomain

    When I ruled Denver with an iron fist, I had to close shop a number of times, if only temporarily. Same on Haunted Memories. I didn't seem to have any problem remembering who was in line because I made a line in my @mailbox.

    When you close the gates, advise people to send a @mail to reserve their spot. Keep the @mails. They have a timestamp on them.

    @Creepy

    Your equilibrium will be reached when certain players get fed up with their +requests being neglected. I'm not sure if that's a good policy to stick to.



  • I don't think much of Sphere caps, but if you're going to have them I suppose you might as well go with strictly by time rather than lottery. It seems fairer and easier and less likely to result in resentments.

    Personally I'm in favor of alt capping instead. One supernatural plus one mortal/+ alt. Unless you expand on that I don't think you're going to need a sphere cap.


  • Politics

    Just for everyone's information, we've already decided on how many alts people can have on the game and for the nonce it's 2 alts per player, period. I say this as it seems to be relevant to people's opinions on the matter.


  • Admin

    @Coin said:

    Just for everyone's information, we've already decided on how many alts people can have on the game and for the nonce it's 2 alts per player, period. I say this as it seems to be relevant to people's opinions on the matter.

    Alright. It's not a stretch then to predict that given Werewolf traditionally isn't as popular (but GMC could change that?), in a three-supernatural sphere game assuming an at least initial burst of popularity, you are going to end up with a number of vampire and demon placeholders PCs from players trying to skip the queue.



  • @Ganymede said:

    @Creepy

    Your equilibrium will be reached when certain players get fed up with their +requests being neglected. I'm not sure if that's a good policy to stick to.

    My point exactly! :P



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