DM Announcement RE: Favortism Et Al.

  • Original Post Here.

    Because the DM Team is very supportive of openness and direct discussion, especially with people who hear rumors but aren't sure they can talk openly about it. I thought I'd open a discussion thread. I expect we have a few cockroaches who will scurry once the light is turned on, the people who for years spread these rumors, some of whom may remember back years ago (7+) when some DMs really did have 'pets' and favorites and the rest of the team didn't do enough to stop it or jaded and burned out players–both these groups just hurt CoA because they won't let an open and honest discussion happen, they prefer to whine and poison the atmosphere in the dark. Many of the DMs here will be much happier if you, you know who you are, either mature a little and realize this is a game or go the hell away.

    Over the years we've asked many a DM to stop DMing here due to favortism, we require applications to ensure in part that DMs don't hand out favors/rewards that the rest of the team wouldn't support, we put up the Ask a DM forum for players to always have an open channel to ask us about anything and get a straight response. We feel we're doing everything we can to create an open and fun atmosphere. So, hop aboard for the fun, or go troll some place else!

  • @Mr.Moloch:

    Over the years we've asked many a DM to stop DMing here due to favortism,…

    Wow, this is shocking to learn.


    I'm on the opinion that talking behind someone's back rarely does any good in RL or here. Exception is when two talk about someone who they both value and love much and to the same extent, but this can hardly be a situation in an online and worldwide community with everyone having different roots, thoughts, attitude to life... so people probably shouldn't do it ever.
    When I encounter the kind of complaints against the DMs about things I did not experience yet, I made it a policy for myself to state this every time, and not to shut up. I can't recall having the same person complaining about things twice.
    Either they think I am an ass for not agreeing (I usually don't deny what they say, they may well be right after all, but I have no way to learn), or they just want to repeat their own problems again and again. shrugs

    What I am trying to say is we all make this worse if we avoid even this kind of soft conflict, while I think there is place to discuss real problems on various forums. However, Moloch, these are not easy to bring up on the forums. You are in a role of power here, and we are not.

  • Of course AronFF, hence, we try to create many different ways to approach us. You can even catch us in IRC for one on one discussions.

    And hopefully, the example of Jaded shows, even if you think we would use our power or position to hurt someone we don't like–the honest truth is--the team doesn't let that happen. We monitor each other, we investigate any allegation we have done something wrong--and we get rid of DMs who do the wrong thing. The very first to go was years ago when AngrySquid was removed from the team.

    My goal is to help show people that it may be easier to do this than you think. We don't want to be the "role of power" we want to be fun guys having fun with fun people.

  • Storyteller [DM]

    DMs naturally gravitate to people who make the server fun for them. This is a fact of life and if you resent it, not much you can do about it unless you pay the DMs.

    I don't mind the existence of DM Favoritism, I feel it's only natural that some Dms prefer certain players over another simply because these players play in a style that match that DMs interests. The person who quests constantly won't receive the attention the individual who goes out of his way to involve others will. If you don't know how to involve others, simply join someone who does seem to be getting the attention or talk to a DM about ideas.

    IDK why people seem to resent the fact that some persons receive more attention than others. It's just a game and we play for the same reason others do: To have fun.

  • It's not about other people receiving more attention. That's always going to happen. We're just pointing out that anyone can be that "other person" if they do the right things.

    Some people feel that we pick a person and coddle him into winning Arabel, rather than accepting that a few are just doing the right things, and they are not.

    The only reason Jaded is even showcased here is to illustrate that point. If we really showed favoritism, then we would have blocked a player we disliked from ever attaining the level of power he did.

    There is a huge difference between a DM favorite (which anyone who does the right thing can be, in that he will get huge amounts of attention) and DM favoritism in which case a player is promoted at the expense of other players regardless of merit.

    DMs who do the latter are removed. Plain and simple.

  • Storyteller [DM]

    Thanks for the distinction Polaris.

  • I see certain players are well liked OOC and get attention from DMs and other players alike.

    I see players who are not well regarded in RP or mechanics, but get attention because they involve people in crazy schemes.

    I see players who get approved for wild concepts and never get anywhere with them (and a week later, have another approval)

    I see players who try and try to involve people and make things interesting and never get attention from anyone.

    Overall, I see the DMs doing a much better job spread out over everyone.

  • Become Arbitor of Arabel:

    Gain endorsement from the Mage Guild Gain endorsement from the City Watch Gain endorsement from the Red Harts Gain endorsement from the St Alubriends Deal with Criminals the Hoarran way Led a massive battle against Raghat Make an IC choice as the only active member of the City Watch Infiltrated the Mage Guild with informants (3 informants)
    Infiltrated the Gangs (4 informants)
    Create the Penal Legion
    Create the People's Miltiia

    Become Commander of the City Watch

    Made the decision to lower the shield over the Slums to save the rest of Arabel.
    Accepted Duel to the Death with Raghat Utilized contacts, hirelings and allies to neutralize multiple foes. Organized and led multiple adventures and battles.

    Become Lionar of the Purple Dragon

    Began working towards forming a political base.
    Convinced others of personal neutrality while asking for people to "vote", then tainting the vote so it was always pro-cormyr Leaned on a high ranking MG member and gave the member the power to destroy Thune, or save Arabel.
    Engineered un-opposition in the MG.
    Gambled on Maleen not wanting to make enemies of Cormyr, invited the Cormyrians in.
    Overall had about 50-60 PCs working directly or indirectly for Thune over a 4 month period, with an average of 20 PCs at any one time.

    This is just a brief run through of what Thune did over the past four months. I would spend 6-8 hours straight for days on end speaking with one person after another, and have 3-4 people ringing the bell and waiting for me every day, often while I was still speaking with someone. I rarely said "NO" to any PC. If I did say no, or said something discouraging, I tried to make suggestions that I believed would help them achieve their goals.

    I tried very very hard to include others, and constantly delegated tasks so people could earn the "glory". At the end of quests I led, I would often finger out 1-2 people to receive a special DM reward. Examples that come immediately to mind would be Asgir, Brianna, who both received awesome DM custom loot FAR better than what Thune himself ever received..

    Just FYI, Thune never received totally awesome gear. As a cleric, he had Magic Vestments and Greater Magic Weapon which gave +2 to AC and Enhancements respectively. I received gear from DMs that gave +2 vs specific creatures, which is vastly inferior. I also received faction gear that I had to give back, and actually took a gear partial-downgrade to become a Lionar. All the faction gear I received were no better than what I already had as a high level cleric.

    Built as a Crossbow Cleric, Thune never received any weapon that actually fit his concept. DM custom gear was left in storage because they were inferior to an occasio wood club. I also picked Martial Weapon and a sword that was a downgrade for simply RP reasons.

    I had Point Blank Shot, Zen Archery and Rapid Reload on a Cleric that fought in the frontlines 90% of the time and had a +1 AB crossbow with 2 uses of truestrike (about as useful as ….well, I never used the true strike, not once.)

    So, unawesome loot, 30-60 hours a week (sounds like a job, no?) and rewards that are political rather than material?

    Thune died at level 6 after powerquesting hard for 2 days to get back up from level 4. He was my first character to ever reach level 10. He died in 3 of the 5 Shadovar battles.

    Why would anyone say I was a favorite? I had to slave away for 4 months, and Thune, despite his accomplishments, only fulfilled 1 of his 4 main goals as a PC before he was killed, each time by a much more mechanically powerful character (3 PvP deaths). I don't know who is saying I am a favorite. I wish I were. I would have had awesome loot, become a Lord, and replaced Toman Rogerman...oh, and burned down the Broken Bottle.

    Thune spent about 25'000 gp on other people. He received thanks only twice for the 18 rezzes he paid for or 3 that he performed himself. He's been PvPed and looted repeatedly for about 20'000 gp in gold and 30'000 gp in gear.

  • I wouldn't worry about it Jadeth. Typical bellyaching from people who don't leave the same cliques to involve others or remember to have fun. It's a toxic attitude that views any accomplishment of another player as unfair. Heard the same shit about Crey and Rabbit, heard it about Lizardclaw too and even I had a share of complaints about some of Kreswell's antics.

  • had hoped to get this in earlier… but Work interfered, and now it's a repeat of much of what Jadeth mentioned.. which confirmed what I -thoght- regarding Thunes actions.
    I recall meeting Thune in his first couple days - talking to randomcharaters about the various in-power factions. (including a alt of mine with no connection to any, with a unknown login). From there he IC curried favor with groups, in what seemed to be from the outside, a political striving for personal power. From there he built his base, all IC, all by taking advantage of different factions fears and desires. I think a lot of this had to do with engaging such groups through PCs at first, not NPCs.
    It's exactly what you do if you want to end up in power. He had the drive, the time, and choose the right people, at the right time.

    Once acheived, he continued to work at it - he'd reach out to groups and/or individuals, whether by threats, by benefits, etc, in order not to have them simply submit/agree, but rather to do so in ways that caused them to work towards something.
    It would be easy to just fine/exile people. The Penal Legion is a stroke of genius - because it gets those "committed" to it to be involved in events.
    Likewise, the fear of it causes modification to other's behaivoir. So much better than a simple exile or fine.( I assume it was jadeths idea

  • Awesome events aren't always seen by all, but still involve many others. I never once had direct interaction with the slime cult until the battle at crag, but they always kept my paladin invovled by sending me threatening letters, sending assasins after me, working against my plots in subtle ways. I'm sure it was the same with many. It isn't neccisarraly about how much win you create, its about how much fun and involvement you make. I can take 20 people into the wilds to search for Jimbob's sword of Epic Win, but thats is only involving 20 people once. My character absolutely hated Thune IC, but that's the thing. He created a character that pissed everyone off and made everyone talk about him every day, but still had enough of a commanding personality that people took his orders and carried them out. Love him or hate him IC, the Players of Arabel gave Thune everything he had with their actions, like it or not. The DM's just picked up on the Players actions and gave him what YOU all gave him.

    Did I work to try to get Thune Killed IG? You are damn right I tried and worked for it through intrigue and adventure, however, I have to admit that when it came down to it he invovled an entire server! Think about it, not only did he involve all of his allies in plots, but technically he involved everyone who tried to kill him or work against him in /his/ story. Every time you spread a rumor about him, every time you made a plot to kill him, every time you bitched about him IC, and every time you meantioned his name, You as the player gave him power and were involved in his plot. Involvment doesnt' always mean that you are right in the action earning loot and levels. Did I like the character? Hello no! But I'll be damned if it wasn't one hell of a ride going back and forth in conflict with him.

    I know who alot of you nay sayers are and I'll admit to my share of bitching at being bored with the plot in general. But next time you think he didn't involve enough people, try to remember that most of you came to battle when he called and fought either against for for him in TWO WARS!

  • i know in the past there were rumors of such (i think back to the incident where a DM and 2 of his buddies did something unkind to the server and the players involved at the time, but that event was quickly dealt with, and it is now best forgotten)

    but i had always thought favor in this server was earned, via hard work by the player, work that involved and included others, i know of some instances in the past where some players expected special attention and treatement, but as far as i am aware those particular players left a very long time ago

    i begrudge no one any positive attention, they have earned it, and in doing so have caused a trickle down effect where many other players have reaped the rewards of their hard work

    speaking of Thune, his player is a great player and deserved any positive attention he got, and of all the players i have seen on arabel, he is one who regardless of the plot, or its secretive nature, shared it with anyone who was willing…. even handing off plots!! I have seen this first hand so i know he was not a plot hoarder,he never once excluded my characters from heard me right!! and my characters have given even the most patient and Job like character reason to chase them off...not one but both of my characters!!

    one does not have to actively seek plots when players like him are on, you will eventually get included, he has a gift and a talent that way, and i think the DMs should pay close attention to players like that, they(he) sweep in the whole server in events, and i am sure they make the server a more fun place for the DMs, with the exception of a few disgruntled players, i am positive that they make the server more fun for others (i know he has for me)

  • I think there's no question that Thune involved pretty much everyone, and that's the primary reason why he got the attention that he did.

    That said, however, I have to say I disagree with what is apparently the consensus opinion of DMs regarding the PVP which led to his death. I am admittedly working off secondhand knowledge here, but my understanding of events is essentially this:

    Thune leads a group to capture Solus with the intent of executing him. Solus resists, but at first tries to leave peaceably. Thune and companions attack Solus. Solus fights back, and in the process of fighting back kills Thune in what it admittedly a display of (at least by my standards) a staggering level of mechanical power.

    If this assessment of the situation is correct it begs a rather obvious question:

    (If it's wrong, on the other hand, you can just stop reading here.)

    Considering Thune had gone down there to FD (albeit later, via execution) the guy who killed him, does that mean that Thune did have license to FD Solus, but Solus did not have license to FD Thune? Because I would argue that -that- is favoritism. IMO, either FD is warranted for both players in a particular battle or it's warranted for neither. They've both shared the same encounters with one another. They've both participated in the same intrigue up to this point. How could their interactions have led to a situation where one of them is deserving of being able to kill the other and the other isn't extended the same privilege? How could it possibly be considered fair for the target of a lynch mob (a lynch mob which is intent on killing him) to not be allowed to fight back with deadly force?

    This is admittedly a rather anticlimactic end for a PC which deserved a climactic one. However, so far as I know, there's no rule anywhere saying that Jaded had to perma his character in this particular instance. It seems to me that the primary reason the character is perma-dead is because of sour grapes over losing this PVP, so I don't feel as though Solus deserves all the flak that's being thrown in his direction by various people.

    Full disclosure: I myself have ended dozens of characters because of sour grapes over stupid deaths due to lag/powergamers/beetles/orcs and a million other things. Being angry about dying is natural, and it's fine to choose to not bring your PC back after such a thing occurs, but I -really- don't think that the other player is deserving of all this derision.

  • We seem to agree with yeahchris on this…

    however, it is not a thread about Thune.

  • Just to clarify.

    Jadeth didn't end the character over sour grapes, but because he'd confronted Solus a few times and died and clearly was outmatched.

    Why the PvP is disappointing is this:

    Some people just make characters who sit in the background, maybe cause enough trouble to warrant attention but not really do that much extra to create fun for people. That's entirely fine! Some of these people pull others into PvP. That's entirely fine! Sometimes this PvP ends in PK/looting. That's entirely fine! If it all makes sense.

    It is, however, very disappointing to see a very well played character who was involving dozens of other people in stories be killed off by a character who has (from a DM team perspective of the server) not actually involved that many players over all. IE: Dozens of storylines were ended with Thune, by a character who isn't creating storylines at all. From the pure story perspective it is disappointing for the server to us. However, that wasn't even the point of the DM's thread. You're highlighting a minor issue rather than focusing on the main concern.

    Solus deserves what will happen IC. The person who plays Solus, the human behind the computer doesn't deserve flak thrown at him unless the DM team thought he had done something to 1). cheat or 2). abuse the system/hurt the game. No one has said here that that has occurred.

    Also, I don't care why Jaded perma-died his character. The DM's entire point is to remind people, we are not playing favorites and anyone who tries to, can shine on CoA. (That even goes for Solus's player!)

  • @Khamal:

    I see certain players are well liked OOC and get attention from DMs and other players alike.

    I see players who are not well regarded in RP or mechanics, but get attention because they involve people in crazy schemes.

    I see players who get approved for wild concepts and never get anywhere with them (and a week later, have another approval)

    I see players who try and try to involve people and make things interesting and never get attention from anyone.

    Overall, I see the DMs doing a much better job spread out over everyone.

    Well said.

    As far as I'm concerned, the only players who have legitimate gripes are those whose playing times invite a limited audience. But since we've got threads atop threads for coordinating in-game events, attracting the attention of your fellow players and DMs shouldn't be too tall an order for any player.

    I'll grant you that DMs may have played favorites in the past (a few prominent v2 characters come to mind), but that doesn't seem to be an issue any longer – and I use a crazy amount of burner accounts.

    Looking at the list above, I'd group myself with that third line, but I do it to make a point: you can develop the best, most interesting and engaging concept ever, BUT if you don't follow through on your character's goals (and the newer ones he/she amasses as you play), you're not likely to impress anyone.

  • No FD was intended. The goal was to get back the stolen gear and also a big pouch of gold, totaling about 25k of stuff. The gold especially, because Dispel Wands were incredibly desperately needed against the Shadovar, and few could afford to pay for it. The gold would have paid for 150 charges of dispel magic. The lack of dispel in the battles against the Shadovar was DIRECTLY the cause of at least a 20-30 PC deaths in my opinion. Since Thune was practically bankrolling the war at times out of his own pocket, this gold being looted caused a big problem.

    The PvP itself occurred after the PC in question refused a request by Thune, plea by another, threat by a third, and finally a direct order by Thune while being threatened by 4 PCs and 3 NPCs. It only escalated to combat after 15 minutes or so of refusal after refusal to return stolen goods.

    Just FYI, the PC was given a Get Out of Jail free card by the DM 2 weeks ago for instigating FD PvP that originally killed Thune. And to be honest, he could have killed me any time. I didn't even try to fight him, I just ran. In neither of the PvPs did I stand a chance. He was just too mechanically powerful for my roleplay build and inexpert PvP skill.

    I hate true strike. I believe it is like smashing the WIN button. That it is in game and used so often in PvP is something I am against in principle.
    TEH WIN.

    About the Penal Legion however. There are alot of OOC considerations involved when I created the Penal Legion. They were avoiding execution, but there was no real method of "keeping" them in the Penal Legion. In return for keeping their PC from the headman's axe, not be exiled, and not be locked up and only released for DM events, they were supposed to adhere to certain behaviors or else languish in a jail cell and be perpetually in chains. I am not sure what happened in Solus' case because I tried to avoid it.

  • Nothing good can come from this thread anymore.

  • @Jasede:

    Nothing good can come from this thread anymore.

    Thats not true.

    I am glad that the underbelly of shit talking on coa was exposed publicly, there is a lesson to be learned by both players and DM's here. Firstly, players, most people who seem to be the cool kid of the moment at one point or another felt like you did. Molochs announcement post proves that. That means no one should really feel that way, its obvious things can change. As for the DM's, don't squish complaints here on the forums as quickly as has been done in the past. There have been several occassions where common complaints were said to be bringing down the server and what not, and while it may be true to a small extent, the underbelly of shit talking silencing it fosters does much more damage.

    Basically, we are never all going to 100 % agree on any part of what makes up this game we still play. Sometimes people just need to air their complaints or suggestions out, and while they may not get their way at least they will walk away feeling like they've been heard.

    There, now maybe Jasede is right.

  • Okay, well, since my understanding of the circumstances was apparently flawed, the majority of my first post is null and void.

    To Jaded:

    I too find it frustrating when mechanics are the primary thing standing in between me and what I want to get done. It's frankly all too often the case. Last 5 or 6 characters I decided to not bring back were killed off because of they sucked too badly to get what I wanted to get done done.

    It seems to me like you both had opportunities to back down from direct combat (him by returning what was stolen and you by backing down), and you both chose not to take them. I think that Solus' player acted both in an IC manner for the situation and in accordance with all OOC rules. I'm disappointed that Thune's plots will be left hanging (though there's really no reason for them to given that they could be passed on to those numerous people that he involved), but I think that that's ultimately because of the fact that you decided to perma the character as a result of this whole scenario – Solus' player can only really be held so accountable for that, given that he didn't violate rules and acted in an IC manner.

    Yes, Solus is mechanically beastly. Yes, that can be frustrating. I gave up my most mechanically powerful PC ever, and one who had fingers in a fair number of plots, after getting casually stomped into the ground by the slime cult; a group which I had never met prior to the beatdown. Take this into consideration, however: Thune was more mechanically powerful than any PC I have ever had in seven years of play, purely by virtue of how well supplied he was. Not to even mention his connections. For that reason, from my perspective, this whole situation seems intensely ironic -- powerhouse A complaining about powerhouse B being too much of a powerhouse.

    To Moloch: I do not think it's fair to say that Solus' player hasn't done any storytelling with his character. I say this because I've talked with multiple people who he has involved in various things -- I'm not one of 'em, mind you. Hell, I barely know the guy. He certainly didn't involve as many people as Thune, but, if that's the standard we're being held to, then none of us are involving anyone in anything.

    Solus does indeed deserve serious, immediate IC repercussions for what he did: namely being flayed alive by the first mob to correctly identify him as the one who brutally murdered the city's most famous and effective defender.

    Finally, I both understand and agree with the point you were really trying to make: that CoA ultimately decides to reward those who successfully involve people. Saw it first hand with Thune.

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