Multiple Downtimes for All Games [Phase 1 Done]

Unfortunately, the whole computing world is facing a major crisis right now thanks to Intel and other major processors missing critical security flaws in their architecture. As a result, our ISP is doing a set of emergency updates to all of their hardware. We are getting about a day's notice on this, and we're told that they're going to need to patch each machine multiple times, which very inconveniently means multiple downtimes.

At this point, all of the Phase 1 Maintenance is Done, and we're awaiting word from our ISP on when Phase 2 will begin. We'll post a new announcement when it does.
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When Fun Becomes Frustration

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  • #31
    i'd like to confirm part of what dolph's p said, there's really no obligation to force your character into work that she ICly or you OOCly find boring. as an example i've been playing for three years, over various characters now, and not a single one has been part of a crafting group because that doesn't seem at all appealing to me. i and they have all still found plenty to do. sure, there have been some instances where i've encountered something that felt like busywork with a disproportionately small bearing on RP, and those instances are worth addressing on a case-by-case basis, but ultimately i don't feel like this is a widespread issue, much less an unavoidable one.


    • #32
      Keep in mind, from top to bottom, this whole game is run by volunteers. What we get out of this game depends on what we put into it.

      Does this mean you have to do work you neither find fun nor rewarding? No, not at all. It's up to you to find what you enjoy doing as your character and stick with it (and if you can't find it, take steps to create it).

      And I'm not being sarcastic or facetious when I say this, but there are enough players that find enough fun and reward in what they put into the game that many other players can also enjoy it with minimal effort and contribution on their part, and that's fine.

      If characters are trying to get your character to join a guild or group and you see it as unrewarding work, don't join. But these guilds and groups are important to maintain the life and culture of the castle, and they need people to fill their ranks. New guilds will emerge and old ones will fade depending on demand and player availability, but stopping to recruit people is a sure way to ensure the death of the game.

      I wholeheartedly agree that burn-out has been for many, and continues to be for some, a major issue and impediment, but those of us that have stuck around as long as we have managed to find a balance. We are able to work hard and yet somehow still have fun. I don't want to speak for anyone else, but in my case, it's because I find the work itself fun.

      Keep in mind, everyone has fun differently. If something exists in the game it's because someone, somewhere, is enjoying it, not because it was forced down anyone's throat.
      StoryPlotter Odjit points to her kohl-lined button eyes.
      StoryPlotter Odjit points to you.
      StoryPlotter Odjit draws her finger over her throat slowly.

      OOC -- Rhomulus says, " you realize... of all the people on here you're one of the few to make me look up a word?! lol"


      • #33
        I have to say, being new to this game, but playing many others, that there's a profound emphasis on record-keeping and bureaucracy here. Sure: if you see that as fun, go with it. But the moment players use all that trivia to bully others, the fun devolves quickly for the rest of us. Everyone ends up with endless logs and hours of tedious data manipulation to counter or ward off the bureaucratic bullies, because we are all compelled to adopt the same behaviors out of self-preservation, or resign ourselves to forever play mere bit parts and supporting roles. And all that's too much like doing my taxes for me to be calling it "fun."

        And the only characters who get anything out of it are the ones who dig through all the forgotten old detritus to write little stories that-- ironically-- upset the very bureaucrats who once created it.

        And just let me add: humans invented computers in large part to pass off such drudgery. Drudgery like when did you have a Northern lesson with whom... If the staff could somehow get hold of a computer?
        Last edited by Vasant; 04-03-2017, 12:52 PM.


        • #34
          I'll toss in a couple comments here.

          First, I make a quick note that this is an 11 year old thread, it might be time to make a new one to discuss the topic and it's relevance to CM a decade later. :P

          Secondly, I'll reiterate what was commented by a few others; no you don't have to do work in CM. In fact the majority of players in the community seem content to slum it in the OB and just play CM with a focus solely on roleplay. That's an option available to you and that's fine.

          Yup, there is a good deal of bureaucracy in CM. Part of this is intentional, as a theme of the game; you're living in what is a cold, wintry despotism. Everything is formal, everything is official, everything is rules and regulations and politics, that is the in-character atmosphere of the Winter Court and it becomes truer the higher in rank you get.

          And yes, there has been, in the past, a good deal of what I call 'unnecessary' work in CM; record keeping that serves little real purpose. As much as possible over the last few years I have tried to cut down on that, by doing things like automating a good chunk of the Treasury's workload with the new(ish) gnomes, simplifying various guild/Chambers related processes or making it easier to obtain guild items with new catalogs. How much of the current work involved in various groups and guilds is 'necessary' versus 'unproductive' is hard to gauge personally without making a character to join all those guilds, but things seem to be better than they were a few years ago, let alone when this thread first went up 10 years ago.

          I want to make an observation, however, about the frame of mind that, "I pay to play CM and have fun and therefore shouldn't have to do any work." That's not really the case. Firstly because any online video game you play requires some kind of work or grind involved. Whether it's farming crafting mats in an MMO or grinding experience points or dying to the same boss over and over, there comes a point in any game where if you want to excel you have to sit down and put the effort into it.

          But secondly, and more importantly, is that I don't view Castle Marrach as a video game so much as a community, and a community requires commitment. CM is more comparable to an online Ren Faire than Super Mario Bros. Everyone in this community, whether or not they are an official member of its volunteer Staff, are working for this game, because they enjoy it and want it to thrive. It is a ship that we are all sailing together, and if you don't contribute, the things you want in the game won't be there. And by this I mean...

          If you want to have X event, someone has to plan it.
          If you want to obtain X items, someone has to craft them.
          If you want to have crime and law, someone has to run law enforcement.
          If you want to be able to look up old stories and castle history, someone has to record it.

          These things aren't superfluous "busy work" that's injected into the game solely so that busy bodies can lord over people with less time/commitment to "work" inside the game. They're the realities of being part of a community, the inescapable nature of cause and effect. So no, you don't have to work inside the game, you don't have to contribute to the community, your $15 a month gets you access to do whatever you can ICly manage in the game with or without work. But yes, work does have to be done, and a good deal of effort is put in on my part to try to keep an eye on who within the community is particularly going out of their way to contribute, and then ensuring they receive the IC favour/recognition/reward that comes as payment for this effort.

          So the short and sweet of all of this is no, you don't have to work, you can spend your entire Castle Marrach experience sitting at the bar drinking beer and attending open martial practices. But no, you won't excel, because the work-for-reward model is what keeps this community running. But yes, there *is* work in the community that is unnecessary, and it *should* be purged, and it is up to leaders and members of guilds or groups who notice this to make it known once observed, and attempt to expunge it.

          Lastly, and I shouldn't say this but it needs to be said; some players within this community do not do nearly as much work as they like to claim they do. Sitting where I do and having fingers and eyes and ears where I do, I have a fairly broad, impartial view of how much work various people in the community do, and it's evident that some people think they do a lot more of 'the fair share' than they actually contribute. It is understandable and normal to believe that you yourself contribute a good deal and that others do not, particularly when you have no idea just what it is other people are doing behind doors that you can't see into. And it is not that I am ungrateful for the contributions such individuals do make, but a good deal of OOC discontent in this community stems from the often naive belief of, "I deserved such and such promotion because I did more than X person" while having no insight into what the other person did to receive their recognition.

          A good example of this was the recent recognition event. The intent of it was noble: let people nominate and vote for individuals who they view as having done more than their fare share last year. However I immediately flinched upon seeing it was taking place, expecting it to turn into a popularity contest as so many "recognition events" of CM history have.

          And that's precisely what happened, the same group of players nominated their friends and each other and pretty much everyone to receive recognition in the end were the same players and alts of a single clique, some of them nominated for things they didn't actually do or have any involvement with. Admittedly it is hard to blame a group of players for voting simply because most of the community didn't bother to vote also, that's really the fault of every character who didn't submit a vote themselves. But it goes to show the inability of the community as a whole to accurately recognize the work of others, since so much of what goes on they don't personally witness.
          StoryHost Kurzon
          Castle Marrach Staff

          The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.


          • #35
            "But yes, work does have to be done, and a good deal of effort is put in on my part to try to keep an eye on who within the community is particularly going out of their way to contribute, and then ensuring they receive the IC favour/recognition/reward that comes as payment for this effort."

            I need to clarify something here Kurzon: do we advance in the game ICly because staff OOCly monitor our IC and OOC "work" and reward us accordingly? Or do we advance because we connive and blackmail and brown-nose superiors ICly? Should I draw attention to all my OOC efforts and work to create something in/for the game in order to advance? Should I be asking staff OOCly what work they want done, and try to do it? Is there a list of staff projects somewhere that need doing?

            If I "earn" my promotion by "work" that you recognize as such, does that make me immune from demotion from that promotion by other players ICly because I didn't brown-nose them enough?

            I assumed there was a strong IC/OOC separation in this game: I advance ICly by IC means, and I advance OOCly (story points for special hair, costumes, a free month, etc.) by OOC means (larger financial contribution, playing a villain or veteran character, etc.)

            Or maybe I'm missing something: are all the characters that make decisions on promotions actually staff run, or following orders directly from staff run characters?


            • #36
              Originally posted by Vasant View Post
              I need to clarify something here Kurzon: do we advance in the game ICly because staff OOCly monitor our IC and OOC "work" and reward us accordingly? Or do we advance because we connive and blackmail and brown-nose superiors ICly?
              Both statements are true.

              Your IC advancement typically comes from your IC actions and contributions towards society. The in-game social structure of Marrach revolves around the recurring Royal Court event, during which people "at the top" (courtiers, knights and nobles) are expected to recognize the work of those who serve in groups or guilds beneath them, and petition the Crown to promote them. These petitions are made public knowledge, and everyone else amongst the aristocracy (those living in the Inner Bailey) is permitted and in fact expected to add their 2 cents about the individual being reviewed, either for or against the promotion. So yes, conniving, politicking, outright "buying" someone's vote of support any way you can are entirely legitimate means to ensure you get the promotion you're up for. I once had a character buy their promotion by assassinating someone.

              So yes, it is all IC. What I mean by the OOC portion in your above quote is that I, as someone who plays the game's Royalty and has 'final say' in what promotions do and do not go through, attempt to manipulate IC events so that the results are as fair OOCly as possible, without breaking character. For example, the Queen receives regular reports from her handmaidens on who is holding events in the castle, She asks this question literally every Saturday at Her bells, "What's going on, who is contributing to Our kingdom, what names should We know of this week?" and meticulous notes of it are kept in Her VP sheet for reference. She also has the Treasury prepare summaries for Her before every Royal Court of who has been holding events within the castle (a good example of 'helpful record keeping' in the community); every single event in the game that gets hosted and submitted for treasury coin is kept on record so that the Royal Family knows who is active and deserving of notice, and that record is reviewed just prior to Royal Court promotions.

              That said, Royal Court is by no means perfect. Like the above example in my previous post, it is largely a popularity contest, it is entirely possible to do a boatload of work and not be put forth for promotion by your guild leader, noble, or whomever it is you serve. So yes, you absolutely need to politick, put yourself out there, make sure you get noticed for what you do ICly.

              While the Crown has final say in promotions and demotions, usually the "votes" on petitions before the Court are strongly enough in favour of or opposing a particular promotion (or demotion) that the Crown does not need to step in and break any "ties" so to speak. That's because it's almost literally a voting system, a noble's word is worth X many points, a Knight's is worth Y many, and then some adjustments are made based on how well they justified their reasoning for their vote, as well as the standing of the individuals casting the votes themselves (do they always support all promotions just 'cause they're nice, or do they only use their influence when it has been earned). Staff actually plays very little role in who does or does not get promoted at Court save for situations where the Royal Family needs to break a close tie. However if the Crown notices, from the reports they receive, that such and such person seems to be regularly overlooked, often someone such as the Queen might go, "This person seems very busy, why aren't they up for promotion?" and then give the Royal hand wave and promote them on a whim if deemed necessary.

              So no, there is no guaranteed promise that work = promotion, because I don't and can't see everything that goes on, and even if I do, the Royals might not find out if the people responsible for updating them aren't doing that. And as you accurately indicated, there is a strong line between IC and OOC in the game and if the right people don't ICly see your work or put you forward for it, then that's just how the cookie crumbles. That said, I am a strong OOC advocate of the concept that a player should be rewarded for their character's work, and I do what I can within reason to push IC wheels in that direction using the VPs at my disposal. After all, there is only so many times you can work your tush off, be overlooked for promotion, and be told "Well IC is IC so you just have to be ok with it" before you lose interest in the game as a player.
              StoryHost Kurzon
              Castle Marrach Staff


              The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.


              • #37
                Thanks! I urge you to use your influence to promote those who find ways to stream-line bureaucracy and reduce by-hand data-taking and recording. When folks get rewarded and promoted for an action, they tend to accept that as a standard for when they decide who below them gets rewarded or promoted.


                • #38
                  I've paused in writing a reply because I didn't know quite what I wanted to write... aside from thanking the people who've read and commented on this thread.

                  So, firstly:

                  Thank you to Dolph's player - first, for your amazing RP with Sassa; second, for giving me and her a chance to find a way to "normalcy" in the castle; and third, for your reply.

                  Thank you to Melle's player, who's always welcoming with my chars; you're super-great; and I also appreciate the chance to both RP with you and for your reply here.

                  Thank you to Emerick's player, as well: Yes, RP with you (especially via scroll!) has been amazing, challenging and wonderful; your comments are great - IC and OOC; and I also appreciate you here.

                  Kurzon: Wow. Thank you for adding so much information that I'm stunned, and have a much better perspective about the game. It's certainly helped my perspective IC and OOC since I started seeing and respecting the game for what you stated. CM is a challenging environment for me, as I'm not really one to politic - even in RL; but I understand it. When I used to play, originally (2007?), the political spectrum was more obvious and strong, and the action end of the game was really high - both aspects were so strong and high as to have overwhelmed me, as a new player.

                  THIS is the aspect that I'm trying to address:

                  As a new / returning player, it's quite hard to grasp the goings-on of the castle for the first... hmm... 4 months, at least? After two months of steady RP, I was so tired of fighting for IG respect that I nearly gave up. Yes, that's not very long... and yes, I returned (for lots of reasons), and I don't really see myself going anywhere soon.

                  But, if the game is going to be vibrant and continue growing - yes, there's a large amount of IG work (some / a lot of which transfers to OOC work - especially as an Awakener) - but there's at least a little bit of coddling that needs to happen, at least OOCly from player-to-player.

                  My concern constantly comes back to this: Newlies, IG; and New Players to Marrach.

                  I personally find it an AMAZING game. I've written several times that the amount of RL writing I'm doing for Sassa - which translates into IG poetry, philosophy, etc - is boggling to me. For me, the work I want and love best with my characters translates into a cultural experience that I adore: I'm a writer, so they write.

                  Happily, Sassa's IG persona is rounding out - thanks to others picking her up and including her.

                  I don't mind the work, so long as it's work that I find rewarding. I wish I could do more; and I tend to be a player who prefers the IC/OOC crossover (poet/writer/Awakener/librarian/debate/philosophy) to the more IC-related-work (crafting).

                  So, here WAS my difficulty, that I'm starting to sort out, thanks to a whole lot of really awesome incidental IG-events:

                  How do I do work that feels rewarding from an IC-OOC perspective, AS A NEWLY-DAWNED, without feeling totally overwhelmed by the political/social/IC/OOC worldview of the game -- and bolting within the first few days/weeks/months?

                  Having talked to several players / characters in the past four months of playing CM, I've heard comments on this subject repeatedly. And some players originally bolted and returned / still don't play because they don't know how to manage this aspect.

                  Maybe this needs to be a new thread?

                  P.S. Vasant's player is totally amazing; thank you also for replying and for working already with me/Sassa on the Debate Society!

                  Sassa Elvari,
                  Poetess / Wordsmith

                  Aspirant Teacher, LPA
                  Harlequin, The Unity of the Arts

                  Poetry is the art of falling in love with minutiae.
                  Debate is the art of wielding one's mind and tongue.
                  ~ S.E.


                  • #39
                    Hey Pof (player of) Sassa! I think there is a huge amount of IC/OOC crossover in terms of doing things ICly that benefit one OOCly. I play MUDs primarily for OOC reasons.

                    MUDs push one to improve written articulation, but I would say the parser here handicaps that aspect terribly, because it limits one's ability to create to certain verb/adverb combinations. In CM someone like Pof Lucus has complete mastery of that art form, but it's an esoteric skill. It is kind of fun to take on the challenge of putting some kind of artificial limit on one's language, and then try to work creatively within those bounds, but not very transferable. All other MUDs I've enjoyed have much freer forms of emoting.

                    But doing what you are doing at the moment-- taking a more universal skill like rhetoric and debate and trying to bring it to the game-- is really productive. You improve your knowledge, you make the game entertaining for others, and you might well improve the knowledge of others. <I>That's the real reward you get,</I> not IC favor or advancement.

                    There are many people who contend with issues on the autism spectrum, and they find MUDs a safer, more anonymous place to practice interacting, articulation, and socializing: a place were social failures and missteps have many less consequences for them. MUDs can be very helpful in some of those cases. Maybe this one a little less helpful because, frankly, it often doesn't provide the best examples of good social interaction! But as long as you keep that in mind, they can be very therapeutic.

                    In conclusion, if you understand your OOC reasons for being here, and respect others OOC reasons for being here, you can focus on that and set aside-- or not worry about-- getting your reinforcement from IC approval.
                    Last edited by Vasant; 04-05-2017, 08:39 PM. Reason: I keep finding mistakes!


                    • #40
                      Pof Vasant (love that expression, btw; thanks!!):

                      Yes, you're entirely correct about the IC / OOC benefits of Sassa's current path with the debate society.

                      It's taken me a few months to get there, but I've gotten there - and it has SO many rewards for me in an OOC sense, as well as an IC sense.

                      I appreciate your specific IC support with it, too; it's work that I really enjoy doing, and it's nice to have an IC character with whom to bounce ideas off of.

                      In conclusion:

                      If there was any question about my dedication to CM these days and the work necessary: I've definitely sorted it, between all of the varying things Sassa's doing. They're all greatly rewarding to her, and to me - IC and OOC.

                      Thank you to all of the players / characters who appreciate and support it.

                      Sassa Elvari,
                      Poetess / Wordsmith

                      Aspirant Teacher, LPA
                      Harlequin, The Unity of the Arts

                      Poetry is the art of falling in love with minutiae.
                      Debate is the art of wielding one's mind and tongue.
                      ~ S.E.


                      • #41
                        I quit recently because I was getting burnt out. But also I was seeing a lot of favoritism. I know its always going to be there, but I really have gotten sick of watching alt one being higher ranking and friends with a certain person and having their alt get promoted for stuff when that alt barely did work but because they are RL friends, they help each other out. I'm all for helping each other out, but it should be fair.

                        I do not think its fair that certain staff hold high ranking positions and take advantage of that. I know for a fact someone has two courtiers and used crossover during one time when we didn't have people awake to help with the situation. They logged in to their alt just to get something for their character. I know I've not spoke up because I felt it wouldn't change. Even when I want to complain, Its hard to because basically all staff are friends and will look out for themselves and not other people.

                        Sometimes I've felt that characters who had alts that didn't like my characters would purposely not like my alts even though they never met they would just give off this i don't like you vibe when I didn't do anything wrong and I was courteous and polite.

                        I know from certain people telling me that certain people got advancements and had to be revealed that those certain people who advanced quickly were in fact staff. If the favoritism doesn't get fixed to be more fair, then the game will die off completely. I joined another game on skotos and they have a favor system with patrons and favoring. They set up rules and caused advancement to slowly progress. You have to be up and in the same room as the person you are giving favor, this leads you to give roleplay and make effort, not just sit back and socialize and get advanced up the line. It limits how long you have to wait to be raised in rank as well.