The Eighth Sea - Here There Be Monsters
Scissors last edited by
I didn't realize that Beppe had such ambitions.
I meant personal ambitions of other characters, that can generate social RP and interactions.
Beppe's personal ambition is to rob these people after they socially interacted..
scar last edited by
@Scissors - Yeah, we've realized that we really should have started out in the Real World, gotten people involved in more "pirate-y" stuff to start with, and then thrown them into the Spirit World. We had been hoping that the Spirit World stuff would tie them together so that they wouldn't have reason to get involved in crew-vs-crew conflicts while they were in the Real World (since we have English Navy, Spanish merchants, and Pirates as crews, plus all the combat and non-combat shore folks). Definitely a mistake though. Should have gone for the most genre-defining stuff first, then shaken things up.
There's always the reset button if and when a big code overhaul has to occur with this new update.
There's always the reset button if and when a big code overhaul has to occur with this new update.
Just to clarify - there's no big code overhaul coming with the new update. The only thing changing (much) is the web portal, which they're not using.
@arkandel I thought that there was a lot of stuff for diplomats, investigators, and rogues to get involved in -- we tried to populate plot hooks for those who wanted to play social engineering between PC and NPC crews (or multiple NPC crews), those who wanted to see why there were all these monsters, and those looking for scarcities that they could exploit. That may not have come through. If so, we may need to emphasize them more.
@scar We've added another couple of rooms to the ships, and I'm looking to put another couple together. Probably not crows' nests or individual quarters, because in my mind, those are sort of what the scenes code is for, but definitely a couple of the decks/areas of the various ships. I don't really want to make the grid too big though, I'm a firm believer in the fact that every single room should have a specific RP purpose to it.
@bored The Storm was definitely there to bound RP and to try and get characters interacting (with each other and with Tortuga) before opening up the Caribbean as a whole (or some portion of it) to them. We're... and I'm trying to be honest here... we're not aiming for what the average MSBer wants, we're aiming for a game that a critical mass of players wants to play. We felt like we had that critical mass of players pre-holidays, but it's possible that most of them were one-and-dones who were, like you and @Scissors, looking for more Black Sails than Pirates of the Caribbean (I would say that our aim is somewhere between Pirates 1 and the later movies... Pirates 3 is definitely too far, but oddly, Pirates 4 -- the one with the Fountain of Youth -- isn't, except for the Queen Anne's Revenge).
As for the cat being out of the bag, we have a way to put at least its back legs back in the bag, so there isn't quite so much cat... this metaphor is really falling apart, isn't it?
We're... and I'm trying to be honest here... we're not aiming for what the average MSBer wants, we're aiming for a game that a critical mass of players wants to play. We felt like we had that critical mass of players pre-holidays
Putting aside the obvious 'not every game is for everyone,' I think some of your game design is unrealistic for this. Nothing wrong with a small game, but a small game with 3 different ships and then assorted shore foo... that's basically asking for half the factions to be dead at your supposed critical mass. I know for as long as I was logging in, only the Pirate and Spanish ship really had anything resembling activity.
@bored Yes, again, hindsight, we should have made the English ship (if we had it at all) NPC. We should have focused on the pirate ship and the Spanish ship and shore-folk. Turns out, on a pirate(ish) game, most people want to be pirates (or shopkeeps or prostitutes or hawkers), most of them don't want to play the Navy.
Turns out, on a pirate(ish) game, most people want to be pirates
Yes, and those should swing from a high place at the end of a sturdy rope.
So, I suppose one unanswered question is....
If you want people to join/return to the game and the whole place is now apparently in the Spirit World... how are people supposed to do that? And I don't mean that as a trick question or something antagonistic. I'm literally wondering to myself, "Okay, so, if I finish my concept and the whole place is now not in this world or whatever, I make a PC with a relatively normal history and...... then what? How do I get to the RPs?"
@aria I didn't take it as a trick questions or anything. There are two options for new characters joining the grid: 1) They were there all along since the Storm (for whatever value of "there" the player wants, either on one of the ships, in Tortuga itself, elsewhere on the island, or on a now-wrecked ship somewhere around the island), and 2) they wash up on Tortuga when they hit the grid, having just been drawn into the Storm in the Real World (yes, this a thing that will continue to come up for the duration of the Spirit World trip).
Just looking at the conversation above, to put in some 'random peanut gallery' feedback, as someone whom is a fan of the genre, but did not ever consider playing on your game - the vibe I got, from your wiki and the original adverts for the game, was that you only wanted uneducated pirate non-officers for PCs, who would show up at PRPs/events and take part in plots at the direction of the staff officers. It seemed like any other concept then 'uneducated unwashed tortuga pirate enlisted non-officer' was un-wanted.
Considering the comments above, that may have been a warranted decision if activity is a problem. Still, thats not a concept I generally play. I don't really do dirty illiterates; I prefer my swashbucklers to be more like the heroes of Pirates of the Carribean, and not the comedic-relief extras from the first movie.
Again, I'm not saying any of this as criticism, just noting. My opinion is also, I'll note, probably entirely useless. We've had a LOT of steampunk and/or pirate mushes come and go over the years, and this is the only one of them I never tried out, and I always felt like the others never got any interest. It was always strange.
As it is, in the days where mushing is fading, you had/have a tight concept I figured you could sustain interesting PRPs for awhile with.
@secretfire Wow, we definitely have to do some polishing on how we're presenting things then. The Captains and Sailing Masters (and the pirate Quartermaster) are NPCs, but they should never be the center of attention. In my mind at least, they're more quest-givers than anything else, there to delegate to the PCs. The PCs are absolutely the heroes, and we have quite a few educated (formally or just from the school of life) PCs out there, as well as several officer and warrant officer PCs.
I'll take a look over the wiki/ads myself, but if you could point out the particular areas that suggested that we were looking for sidekicks to the NPCs or preferably uneducated, we'll definitely tweak the language, because we're not looking for either of those.
In fact, my absolute ideal would be players who are finding their own plot-threads out in the world, checking in briefly with the NPC officer (more so Staff knows what's going on than anything else), and then chasing them down in Staff- or Player-Run Plots that don't involve the NPCs in the slightest.
I honestly think I was looking for more Arx. I love social settings where there is adventure and plot that I can support, without having to actually be there on the adventure. I like the idea of owning a small trading business, and the setting doesn't really mesh very well with that, which is on me, rather than on you. I loved Staff's friendly attitude and regularly talking to players about whatever, though.
I honestly think I was looking for more Arx.
Glad you found it then. Yes, T8S and Arx are very different games, and if one suits you better than the other, that's great. That being said, we have several business owners on the game, and while we usually suggest that they have a hook to get them involved in adventures, it's definitely possible. You're right that small business ownership isn't the aim of the game though, and yeah, it's all about finding what's right for you.
I kinda flaked here too. Could probably poke in again, but I did feel like there wasn't a whole lot going on outside the combat stuff nor even much interest in the non-crew PCs (unless they were voodoo/shaman people). The isolation really flips a lot of Shore concepts on their heads, because none of that normal economy or society is happening and so we become the 'people you can bar RP with after you're done fighting monsters.'
I even remember one time a couple of us were on kind chatting on channel about 'doing something,' and then despite most the people talking not being fighty crew sorts, the staffer's idea was promptly to run an... on the spot combat event. That was pretty demoralizing, tbh.
So while I'll take blame for not being proactive enough on non-combat hooks (difficulties of the setting aside), there's also a point where it seems like staff doesn't even have interest (or any ideas) in doing stuff with/for non-crew PCs.
@kitteh That was probably on me. Combat's definitely easier to put together on the fly than an engaging social "scene," so it tends to be my default.
But we've got some non-combat plots that we've been pushing along (including an awesome player-run plotline), several Quick Missions that players can run whenever they like that were written with non-combat in mind (although stats have been provided for combat and non-combat resolutions), and a good 50-75% of the ongoing plot threads can or really should be approached through non-combat means. (Which reminds me, I need to update the Plot Hooks page on the wiki.)
There can be more challenge getting some Shore concepts involved, because they don't have the easy in of "someone told me to do it," but we're definitely working on emphasizing some of the non-combat resolutions (the results of the poll we're running with our players has shown that as something they're particularly interested in too).
We posted a survey to our players recently, and finally managed to get out from under illness to collate the responses. I've included the survey questions and player responses below in case anyone here is interested about what players are saying and what we're looking to do about it (those respondents who had no answer to a given question or simply compliments are not included).
Which is your preferred option for moving forward with the storyline on The Eighth Sea?
45% A little more of a guided tour through this section of the storyline, pushing toward a resolution and return to the Real World in 3-4 months.
36% As intended, a slow, player-driven process taking 5-8 more months.
9% Get us back to the Real World ASAP, even if we don't have to figure out how it happens.
9% Do we have to go back? (player response)
What would you like to see more of while in the Spirit World? (choose as many as interest you):
82% More emphasis on the "why" and "how" of The Storm
64% Combat with NPC human adversaries
64% New strangeness from outside the island
55% Political maneuvering between NPC and PC groups (done via PCs, of course)
55% Survival-style situations involving rationing supplies and forming defenses
Other options getting votes: Spooky situations to be resolved with only RP or social skills, Monster of the Week quick-fights, Spooky situations to be resolved with only RP or social skills, Exploration of the island, and Exploration of the seas around the island
What sort of "shinies" would you be interested in being added to the game to provide characters, players, or both something to chase? (Choose as many as interest you)
73% Magic items (relatively minor)
73% Acknowledged areas of specialty/expertise (ie, "Oh, you want to buy grenadoes? You totally need to talk to Hawke")
55% Roles in settlement governance (such as it is)
55% Promotions in rank within crew/business/etc
36% Luggers/Pinnaces for small-group use
Other: Faith-based charms and the like, and "Anything"
What would you like to see added to the grid?
Player Houses. (Staff Sez: happy to put them together, just request where you would like it, the name you would like it to have, and what you want the desc to be).
Themed islands (dinosaur island, aliens island, zombie island). (Staff Sez: Something //like// this is in the works in coordination with the "New strangeness from outside the island" option above).
Locked rooms specific to a faction (Staff Sez: Probably not, because we don't intend the grid to sprawl much larger than it is. But scene-rooms are -great- for this, let us know if you want to learn how to use them).
What would you like to see added to theme?
Politics, power plays between nations (after a Return). (Staff Sez: Definitely in the works. Probably between individual colonies first, then building up to nations if applicable).
"Actual Theme, there's way too much information being passed off as theme currently. Things easily proven no less." (Staff Sez: We're not entirely sure what's meant by this comment, but we'd love to hear what you mean, drop us a request or a page?).
What would you like to see removed from theme?
More spooky stuff, less Monsters Attack stuff.
What can we do to make it easier to get involved in day-to-day RP?
Incentivize meeting new people?
Give a reason for day-to-day RP. (Staff Sez: We'll try to provide more things to RP about... more detail at the end).
Reward in-game scenes beyond posting logs. (Staff Sez: We do try to read all the logs that go up, and if people propose an adventure/mission/etc, we try to follow up with them to see if they'd like it run as a scene. We've also been known to drop a Luck point here or there for folks helping stir things up--Lafayette in particular is owed one soon. Logs are also a way we would pick out those to highlight for 'areas of expertise' and other shinies. We're interested in hearing other ideas for incentives).
Feeling overwhelmed and without a point of entry. (Staff Sez: Ack! That's definitely not what we want to cause. Anyone who is feeling adrift, we're absolutely happy to talk about ways to weave your character into ongoing things. There's also a list of plot hooks on the bboard and on the wiki (http://the8thsea.wikidot.com/now) if you're looking for things to get interested in.
We're definitely going to be shifting some things around as a result of this. We had previously been trying to lay out plot hooks and see what people followed, we'll try a more active form of storytelling to get us into some of the hows-whys-wheres-etc. We've heard on this survey and elsewhere that people are interested in sea-faring pirate-y stuff more than monster-slaying, and yeah... that's totally our bad. It's been on the list to do, but we felt like there were intermediate steps, ones that didn't seem to be happening. We're going to push them so we can get to some sea-faring skullduggery. We'll focus on some of the human monsters around, and push some of the critters into the background again. Minor magic items and charms are absolutely in the realm of creation by Pagan rituals, Voodoo favors, and Native spirit deals (Abrahamic prayers tend to be both more immediate and short-term), but we can also arrange for some to be found. We can also be more explicit in calling out areas of expertise. We will also work in some opportunities for "improved" positions and roles as well (and likely some promotions within crews as NPCs die and PCs idle out).
We also want to make it clear and explicit that we're always open to feedback and ideas. Don't wait for the next survey, if you've got something you'd like to say, drop us a page or a request. While some games may discourage directly player-Staff interaction, we're definitely not one of them.