A conversation happened on OOC-Chat which I think is both important and informative. I've got a log of some of it here. The discussion is about powerful player characters, admin alts, why some players become powerful with their characters, how in part, to accomplish this, examples, and also a discussion of the positives and negatives of all this.
I think everyone should read this. I also would like the conversation to continue here. Thanks to everyone that took part in the convo.
It started when Cerberus asked if a character like Anderson should be made into an NPC because they were too powerful.
Cookie Monster: Power vacuums are interesting.
Someone: Yea, it was something about when a character reaches a certain point, I assume years down the road, it's time for a CP exit. I assumed that was some glorious death filled with awesome.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: Could be a lot of things.
Cookie Monster: There's a lot of ways to exit stage left without dying, especially in this genre.
UndeadWereLuck: Not always a death. Some are NPC'd. Some are given stories out of the dome, such as being transferred, etc.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: In my opinion becoming a NPC is one of those.
Rogare: I mean that as creating a void, but also the player focusing on filling another void.
Someone: Ahh I see.
Staff Cerberus: If the player were to take on another role beyond Anderson, would you prefer he stay out of a combat role, and focus more on adding flavor and not taking advantage of other PCs?
Someone has left the channel.
Some Nerd: Yes.
Staff Cerberus: Why?
SomeoneGold: What's wrong with him as he is?
Doughboy: whats the difference anymore /s
Some Nerd: Wait, that for someone elses question, sorry.
Someone: Were people like, uh, whats his name. The Samurai guy in the mix. Was he a real player?
Bogrin: I would like more political high-level roles. I feel like it is a potentially neglected aspect, and it lets someone's RP shine more than skill.
UndeadWereLuck: Yes. I think the player of Anderson, if not focused on combat and instead another skill (cough cough SK cyberware maybe?) would help expand that skill set more
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: No, I think it doesn't matter what they play next.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: They made a lot of plot with anderson, whoever they play next will do the same I am sure.
UndeadWereLuck: He did a great job at expanding alot relating to topside and new combat
Bogrin: These are politically charged times in Withmore, could be a good time for politics RP.
UndeadWereLuck: And if they transferred that skill to another skillset, it would help other players who necessarily are not combat oriented
Doughboy: it'd be kinda boring from their perspective if they played the exact same archetype they did as anderson
Doughboy: even if they were like, a mix-equivalent
Some Nerd: Give him the honor of going to Sto'vo'kor.
Bogrin: My question is, how can we put it effort like Anderson? How can we all be the best role-players possible?
Droid Trap: Don't stay in an apartment all day.
Staff Johnny Channel 5: don't just sit at the bar.
Hale Satan: Anderson is absolutely part of the 1%, both in the character's social status and the level of things they have access to. There is a gulf between him and other fiscally successful PCs. Sliding him into an NPC role where he can still be present in the game for the purposes of WJF RP makes sense.
Flaming Goose: The player should play what they want. Combat role or not.
UndeadWereLuck: I have RP'd with Andersons character I believe starting a bit after he joined the game on the same character. He helped expand alot relating to corpsec, judge stuff, and various other things
Grey0: If the player wants a new character they should play whatever they want. I wouldn't want them to be forced to move on though unless they die like other character. Should they move on In fine with Anderson staying on as an NPC or making an exit.
The Director has left the channel.
Hale Satan: If the player wants to dive into another combat character, they should go hog wild, imo.
Bruh says, "Anderson v2"
Hale Satan: Not Anderson 2.0.
UndeadWereLuck: That is against the @rules
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): I'm interested in hearing about the public perception of Anderson. I've heard a lot of you say 'the way it seems from my point of view' right after saying it seems like he has gotten a lot without a lot of effort. I appreciate that you all seem to understand that stuff happens in the background without your character being aware of it. However, I want to know if this perception on your part effects your play or if you think it effects others.
Bruh says, "Anderson once severely effected my char. In a good way, tho"
Doughboy: will say
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Is a character like Anderson a net positive for the game ICly? A net negative ICly? A net postivie OOCly? A net negative OOCly?
Doughboy: a little surprised they were still around when i came back to play
tetsuo: Anderson has always just been positive imo.
Bogrin: It all comes down to if there will be others in positions of authority. I like having a feeling of player meritocracy, like player government and such, but that doesn't really exist in Sindome.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: I believe they were certainly an IC positive.
Flaming Goose: Definitely positive.
tetsuo: He got my char into minor bullshit sometimes, which pissed me off IC; but made me laugh like a fucking maniac OOC.
Doughboy: positive if even just so we can see what it's like to get that high up
tetsuo: Love that char. And what doughboy said, yeah.
UndeadWereLuck: I know the player has put in work, with his various corporate enterprises, saving and investing money, using influence to get him places. I think he is a net positive ICly, overall, but without more people at his level of fiscal ability, even if not power, at the same time he is around, it makes it OOCly hard to not feel cheated, if that makes sense
Hale Satan: It depends on if he's being used as an example of what's attainable ICly.
Calivion says, "I got a fair amount of RP from Anderson so I would say a Net Positive. "
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Does anyone feel like characters like Anderson stifle RP? or prevent it?
Doughboy: they're a judge, thats their job
Bogrin: I feel like they have the capability to, I am not sure if he did though.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Characters with connections like Anderson has, and access like Anderson has, can often be seen as omnipotent. Is that a bad thing? A good thing?
Rogare: I've felt a little bit like there's been some major conflict, then Anderson got involved and it was ended abruptly. But that's without being directly involved.
Doughboy: that's maybe more of a mixed bag of a question.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: I think it's only a bad thing if the Player feels omnipotent.
Hale Satan: It can be both good and bad.
tetsuo: It's a good thing, because it tells people to get out there and make powerful connections.
Bruh says, "There'S always that one powerful asshole who you just can't touch. ANd it'S good to have that"
Cookie Monster: Seemingly omnipotent power brokers is themely.
UndeadWereLuck: I think that maybe a character or NPC like Anderson should be available in the future to help show other characters that side of the game, even if briefly. It seems unobtainable because the way Anderson is portrayed, it makes it hard to figure out an example of how to achieve that through RP.
Hale Satan: The thing is, making him an NPC wouldn't change that.
Hale Satan: He'd still be the powerful asshole who oversees the Judges.
Bogrin: Well, it makes sense that someone like that would be practically omnipotent. It is okay to me, but I think it is unfair if he is the only person ever to be able to be powerful.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Rogare, powerful characters getting involved in a conflict often lead to it being resolved through force of will, or just plain force.
Bogrin: I think it would be better to have a robust system capable of handling different levels of power, such as having room for those "upper-level" characters.
UndeadWereLuck: Bogrin, hes not the only person, if past experience tells me correctly. He is just the first in a while to show it publically.
Staff Cerberus: It's important to note that there are countless NPCs and PCs with equal capability in the form of UE.
Staff Cerberus: No one is unkillable.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: I don't think it was UE that made Anderson appear untouchable or all powerful.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: It was his personality and the positions he ended up holding.
Grey0: I just wish I knew how much of his influence, connections and resources was gained by engaging other PCs ve engaging NPCs. I know we treat them the same wbut I never felt I was able to engage NPCs as effectively as PCs and wonder if I should try harder. If so much of his influence was vis NPC interaction I only wonder what others have to do to get such a level of engagement from NPCs. In all, however, I never felt he was a problem and I never felt anything unfair was going on.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Anyone can attain high levels of power, but you also have to be OOCly trusted to obtain things like high level WJF roles. That's because it takes a long time, and lots of training, and you have to prove you can ICly and OOCly handle it. And that you're going to stick around. The GMs aren't interested in spending months training characters for a role that they up and leave because they get bored, or quit.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: Which is a reasonable way to become "untouchable" IMO.
Staff Cerberus: Also, if a position makes someone feel untouchable, is it because there will be consequences for trying to touch them or do you feel they're just rendered invincible period?
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: Because of consequences.
Hale Satan: Little bit of both.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: There were plenty of times Anderson was standing around in public alone.
Staff Cerberus: Okay, do you think that's a negative? That the jobs you can obtain form consequences for other people?
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: And could easily have been taken out.
Cookie Monster: Consequences are only good for the game.
UndeadWereLuck: I feel NPC's are consiered invincible. Example, gangers not popping out of the vats to perm, along with other NPC's. I get its a coding thing, but it makes it seem nearly impossible to perm some major influencers for power.
Hale Satan: Nnnno, not saying consequences are bad.
Staff Cerberus: We don't just delete NPCs, no.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): The best way to attain higher levels of power via a job or something, is to create RP for others. Anderson is very good at that. He creates RP for others. He is a focal point. If you are a focal point of RP, you're going to be involved in a lot of stuff, have access to more stuff, meet more people, earn more favors, accomplish more thigns.
Droid Trap: I thought NPCs were randomized.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): NPCs can be permed.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): But it's not something we do lightly
Staff Cerberus: It creates a lot of work, but yes it can happen.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Because it has very large effects.
UndeadWereLuck: I know. You mentioned people feeling invincible. There are some NPC's I feel should have died along time ago due to various things ICly, but could not be handled effectively because of very light reasoning. Might just have been bad RP, but still.
Staff Cerberus: It has to be something that is well deserving.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Like, what if someone just spent a year building a relationship and favors with that NPC
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): It would be sort of a dick mvoe to remove them from the game
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): It's also an undertaking to replace that character, their history, create a new personality, introduce that personality, train the GMs how to puppet them
Droid Trap: Well, I thought PCs and NPCs were supposed to be treated equally, PC can easily spend a year building a relationship and favors with another PC.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): That's right, they can. And how often do PCs get permed by NPCs?
Droid Trap: ...depends.
Staff Cerberus: Never.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Should every NPC start perming every PC that deserves it?
Droid Trap: Never? Huh.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Never is a slight exageration.
Staff Cerberus: GMs are told to never perm a player.
Staff Cerberus: Thats a recent thing
UndeadWereLuck: I have been permed by NPC's in the past. Granted, there was reason for it, but still.
Staff Cerberus: Well, wait a second, there's an implied intent here.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Getting permed by gangers your first week in the game doesn't count.
UndeadWereLuck: Not that.
Staff Cerberus: Never will an NPC PERM you out of their own desire, If you run into their fist, it's entirely a different thing, that's suicide by NPC
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): *nods*
UndeadWereLuck: Was RP. And I loved the RP. But I was permed by them
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Did you ask to be permed?
Staff Cerberus: Did you put yourself in a position with no clone to be permed?
Someone: Suicide by gangers! Hah!
Cookie Monster: So has the line of discussion veered to 'Anderson is so powerful, he might as well be an NPC.' ?
Bogrin: It seems like the general curiosity by the staff is if it is okay for players to wield immense power?
UndeadWereLuck: No clone, yes, but not by choice. This is years ago at this point, but yes. Regardless, back to the topic at hand.
Staff Cerberus: If we deem a PC to be trustworthy of steering RP with positions of influence, do you trust judgement in picking those players?
Staff Cerberus: I think thats the real question
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Like Cerb said, NPCs aren't going to set out with intentions to perm you unless you've really gone off the rails and we feel it would be incredibly unthemely to not act. More than likely you're getting banished or cryos.
Staff Cerberus: our judgement*
tetsuo: I put 100% trust into staff judgement.
Grey0: I do.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): When I was Head GM, I routinely ran plots from Seven, my alt.
Bogrin: Well, personally I trust the staff because of their judgement in other areas, and I would hope that their judgement remains sound for that too.
tetsuo: If a PC is granted an immense amount of power and a position which makes him/her nearly intouchable; I'm sure staff has reasons for it.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: I very much do Cerberus.
tetsuo: And I'm sure they'll step in if the power is misused.
Calivion says, "I would trust staff to chose trustworthy, or well established characters, and with the player's consent, turn them into NPCs."
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): The issue we've had in the past is that there was a perception problem. People complain that PCs are untouchable. That the GMs are favoring them.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): In reality, we put people we trust to create RP in positions to be what amounts to Player GMs.
Cookie Monster: Unfortunately, I think the accusations of favoritism are always going to be there, because people who invest the most time in the game plus understand the theme and the mechanics of the game the most are more likely to be staff/have good relationships with staff.
UndeadWereLuck: If a player is trusted, yes. I do think that if one person is being trusted, that there should be a balance with another player to help keep things more...equal. Even if thats at a lower step. While some of my decisions have not been the best IC, there are scenarios where I feel various characters acted in a similar manner to another character, who advanced very quickly by NPC help (in a job, etc) while my PC did not.
Droid Trap: Nobody's untouchable.
UndeadWereLuck: But that may all be in my mind. I trust the GM staff and build staff to make the best decisions for the player base, regardless of my feelings on certain scenarios.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: I also don't think Anderson seemed more untouchable than many other trusted PCs who hold positions of power in red.
Staff Cerberus: That issue has only been compounded by the fact that Anderson is indeed my character. He was my character before I became a staff member, and has been until 4 days ago when I rendered him unable to participate in combat, and made him into an NPC due to the perception that some players may believe that his existence is too tainted to continue being him.
Droid Trap: Max stealth and rifle, sneak. Aim sniper rifle. Boom.
tetsuo: oh shit
Someone: I feel like people keep saying nobody is untochable. In my experience in various RP games, If somebody is not untochable...they wouod have been touched by now eh?
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: I think that complaint is BS, people take issue with anderson because of a perception of you that IMO is shallow.
Staff Cerberus: I have indeed played my alt in a way that has been a resource for my GMing in the absence of other PCs available to fill high level topside roles. He's been moved into positions that require a lot of GM oversight, and since I've been playing him has lowered the need for GMing resources to be spent on the WJF.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: You may be harsh on occasion and sometimes offend people, but I can't imagine you ever using your position as a staff member to cheat or harm the game that you love.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): So, it's easy to say that this is about Cerberus penchant for being an asshole sometimes.
Staff Cerberus: My perception has been that if players trust me to GM for them they trust me to temper my use of my own character.
Cookie Monster nods.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): But I encountered the same exact thing when I was Head GM and played Seven.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): And everyone knows I'm like, super nice.
tetsuo: i most def trust cerb to play anderson
Droid Trap: Same.
SomeoneGold [to Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither)]: Even in that wig.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: Do you think you encountered it because of you OOC or because of how violent your character was?
Cookie Monster: It's no secret that cerb can be a bit uh acerbic, but I don't think he should give away his char just because of some baseless accusations
Bogrin: At that point though, it sort of is just like an NPC anyway, however one that is always puppeted.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: Because the Anderson thing reads to me as very much OOC issues.
Staff Cerberus: Does knowing that Anderson is played like an NPC even though he was a PC at the time, ease concerns that he may have been unfairly given opportunity when the opportunities were provided to create RP for other players?
Staff Mephisto: I don't see it as a problem of cerb ever being an asshole personally
Cookie Monster: Although I can see some conflict of interest issues
Bogrin: I mean, it comes down to opinion. There are people that will like the RP created, and there will be people that don't like it. It is just a question of if it is "fair" that the particular RP was likely created by someone with more advantages than another.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: I think we have to trust that the most senior GM's are above CoI in most situations because they are -going- to face that.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): What's the conflict of interest?
Cookie Monster: Well, there would be no CoI if they didn't have alts. But it's unfair to ask them not to play the game.
Judge Not-Boba-Fett: And I think Anderson is a prime example of doing things the right way, using your Alt to facilitate RP because there wasn't a way to avoid him being involved to some level.
Cookie Monster: Playing an alt as a resource for GMing is a possible conflict right there.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Why?
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): I want to hear your reasoning.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): I've been playing my alt as a resource for GMing for 11 years.
Cookie Monster: I'm not saying there is any actual conflicts, but that there will always be accusations of it.
Grey0: Can a GM puppet an NPC for his Alt? Or do they have to wait until another GM is up for it?
Cookie Monster: Personally, I don't think there is any.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): They cannot. There is a BGBB post of Admin rules on the forums
Staff Cerberus: No they cannot puppet for their alts
Staff Cerberus: It's in our admin rules which i believe is accessible from the membership FAQ
UndeadWereLuck: I felt sometimes when Anderon's character was helping facilitate RP (which I don't fault, I loved it) he advanced/moved around in ways that I have not seen offered to any other character in my near 5 years in this game. Some may have been warranted, yes, through RP, but others seemed...near omnipotent.
Staff Cerberus: Yes, they were not offered to other PCs due to the need for greater trust to occupy some of those positions.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): What we are talking about is admin being willing to give up some of their agency as players in order to create more RP for everyone else, in exchange for being able to do that, not by puppeting NPCs, but by playing their own characters.
Bogrin: My question to the staff, and this is not an accusation, but if you OOCly very much disliked someone, would you be able to RP your power character being good friends with them, or helping them advance their career, etc.
Staff Cerberus: I do it all the time.
Staff Cerberus: Even players that accuse me of wrong doing, I never stop progressing their RP with puppets and plottery if they just focus on playing the game.
Staff Meme Queen Caffeine: Compartmentalization, subjectivity/objectivity, and the discussion of it as staff are cornerstones of the backend.
UndeadWereLuck: Oh, you have advanced a certain place in X job, here is the head of Y job coming to offer the position. Even if it wasn't a high position, it just seemed unfair because there was never opportunities (even just the same job at another corp for a slight raise) offered to anyone else, or similar things.
Grey0: That's what I though. I see no conflict then. Sure, beng a GM means they might know the controls of the game better than most but I guess many players will also gain that level of familiarity in time. And I doubt that other GMs are making non-Alt PCs wait so tey can give the Alt prority. I see no conflict here.
UndeadWereLuck: Im not hating on Anderson. In fact, I love what he help expand in this game and its helped shape my character over the years. But just thinking of things that may be a bit odd given the character.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Alts are rarely puppeted for.
Staff Cerberus: It's important to note that some positions and a lot of them are topside, require a lot of trust from staff to the player to occupy and the people vying for those roles don't always have the staff's trust.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): I dont' think anyone has puppeted for me in like 2 years.
Staff Cerberus: I killed Seven 2 yrs ago.
Staff Cerberus: With a puppet.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Oh that's true.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): that was the last time I got any RP from these lazy ass GMs
Bogrin: Are the staff capable of trusting someone who they do not like? Not an accusation, more of a question of the exact meaning of trust.
Staff Cerberus: It depends how they conduct themselves.
Staff Cerberus: If we don't like them for a reason that impacts trustfulnesss, how could we?
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Trust is about showing up, obeying the rules, and keeping others best interests in your head when you're executing plots.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): Just because you -can- do something, doesn't mean you should. I stopped snapping necks after combat like 8 years ago.
Staff Meme Queen Caffeine: I've seen some great RPers who just don't understand theme.
Staff Cerberus: As many of you know we banned a staff member permanently for a breach of our trust last year. We take it very seriously.
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): It wasn't creating RP for my character to do that.
Grey0: If they do not receive puppets then how do Alts convince NPC leaders of companies to give them awesome jobs?
Staff Mr. Cooperative Competition (Slither): It's not that they don't get puppets. It's that you players are prioitized.
since I experienced that aftermath. Thank you :) "
Droid Trap: Awwww.