Minor Philosophy Theory about Conflict and Gameplay Choices

KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 981 Transcendent
Conflict (not PK) gives me a lot of reason to stay up late thinking about how and why people play games. I have a tendency to overanalyze everything, so I've spent far too many hours not sleeping and weighing actions I could take to resolve my current in-game drama. I am aware that I sometimes develop a reputation of wanting to cause trouble - which I resent, cause the vast majority of time all I want to do is be a Good Citizen and help my org. I don't like starting fights with other players, pk or otherwise.

At the same time, moments come up that makes a voice say to me, 'wouldn't it be interesting if...' Often I act on it. It's what provides inspiration for Deep Thoughts, and gives ideas for the (real life) books I write. The outcome of taking those risks has always been worth the consequences of failure. No, really: always. Once, in a different IRE game, a couple choices I made led to some of the worst bit of drama I've ever gone through, rivaling this year's ascension. I lost friends on both sides of that conflict, IC and OOCLY, and things that I'd worked for months to achieve. It wasn't fun going through it. However: that was years ago. All it is to me now is a story I like to tell of the most "epic" thing I've ever done in that game, and the only regret about it was not trying harder to not get caught.

Being adverse to conflict is not necessarily a good thing. Risks taken can lead to moments that you enjoy, that have positive outcomes too - and when they don't, you may still get a sense of perspective and a good story. Unpleasant as ascension was, some of the thoughts I've had about it and the situation in Hallifax directly led to starting that gossip page in Gaudiguch. And I enjoy working on it, even if that's not an outcome I would have expected. The biggest value of taking risks in games is that the consequences of doing so in real life are far more severe when you fail. Even so, the perspective I've developed about in-game failures also makes it easier to take risks in real life.

Tldr:

- There is always a way to take something positive from bad outcomes, and learning how to process emotions from the latter can lead to more of the former

- Games provide safe environments in which to do that
"Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."

Comments

  • NepentheNepenthe Member Posts: 107 Master
    I lost friends on both sides of that conflict, IC and OOCLY, and things that I'd worked for months to achieve. It wasn't fun going through it. However: that was years ago. All it is to me now is a story I like to tell of the most "epic" thing I've ever done in that game, and the only regret about it was not trying harder to not get caught.


    Do you think the other people involved had the same takeaway?
  • JolantheJolanthe Member Posts: 608 Mythical
    Tragedy + Time = Comedy

    However, the variables for depth of tragedy and the extent of time can vary considerably from person to person, thus affecting taste for any manner of off-colour jokes.

    I feel like there is a similar echo of this resonating here.

  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,363 Transcendent
    There's also a question of agency and the like.

    The comments about taking risks, seeing the consequences, learning from such all really just applies to the instigators. But they aren't the only ones negatively impacted, you might have people who didn't want something to happen who were left powerless to stop it, people who didn't really care but have to deal with fall out from the outcomes (or even outcomes of resulting actions of the action, etc).
    For example, the game can end up in a state that results in players leaving because it's too much drama/not enough fun, other players have to deal with that fall out.


    (Of course, alliances should probably change more often particularly so people can hopefully more readily go with the flow and its less of an issue, but that's kinda a separate thing really)
  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 981 Transcendent
    Nepenthe said:
    I lost friends on both sides of that conflict, IC and OOCLY, and things that I'd worked for months to achieve. It wasn't fun going through it. However: that was years ago. All it is to me now is a story I like to tell of the most "epic" thing I've ever done in that game, and the only regret about it was not trying harder to not get caught.


    Do you think the other people involved had the same takeaway?
    Complicated question, Nepenthe. Most of those involved weren't aware of how much of it was based on ooc knowledge taken ic. I didn't realize it myself until a few months later, at which point it no longer mattered. As it is - the incident was purely based, from my perspective, on IC choices. Maybe they were bad choices, but I wouldn't say that's a reason to treat someone badly outside of the game.

    How everyone else took it isn't something I could answer beyond that. I lost contact with most of them, and it's something that I (probably) remember the details of far more than most of the other people involved would.
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 981 Transcendent
    Saran said:
    There's also a question of agency and the like.

    The comments about taking risks, seeing the consequences, learning from such all really just applies to the instigators. But they aren't the only ones negatively impacted, you might have people who didn't want something to happen who were left powerless to stop it, people who didn't really care but have to deal with fall out from the outcomes (or even outcomes of resulting actions of the action, etc).
    For example, the game can end up in a state that results in players leaving because it's too much drama/not enough fun, other players have to deal with that fall out.


    (Of course, alliances should probably change more often particularly so people can hopefully more readily go with the flow and its less of an issue, but that's kinda a separate thing really)
    Hmm, I can understand that perspective. But this implies that only some people are able to take risks and learn from them. I wouldn't say it's good to constantly be causing drama either - I mean, I can still count on two hands the number of major drama incidents I was part of in either Lusternia or Aetolia, in all the years I've played. There's players I know who can cover that much in a month. 

    But, whether instigator or negatively impacted, we all still have a choice over our own actions, and how we decide how to feel about something. I don't know what an individual player could do that would cause the game to end up in that state. A group, maybe. An admin, maybe. Really, I'd rather people had less of a mentality of waiting for someone else to do something(usually admin) and took initiate themselves to make changes they want to see.
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,363 Transcendent
    Kethaera said:
    Saran said:
    There's also a question of agency and the like.

    The comments about taking risks, seeing the consequences, learning from such all really just applies to the instigators. But they aren't the only ones negatively impacted, you might have people who didn't want something to happen who were left powerless to stop it, people who didn't really care but have to deal with fall out from the outcomes (or even outcomes of resulting actions of the action, etc).
    For example, the game can end up in a state that results in players leaving because it's too much drama/not enough fun, other players have to deal with that fall out.


    (Of course, alliances should probably change more often particularly so people can hopefully more readily go with the flow and its less of an issue, but that's kinda a separate thing really)
    Hmm, I can understand that perspective. But this implies that only some people are able to take risks and learn from them. I wouldn't say it's good to constantly be causing drama either - I mean, I can still count on two hands the number of major drama incidents I was part of in either Lusternia or Aetolia, in all the years I've played. There's players I know who can cover that much in a month. 

    But, whether instigator or negatively impacted, we all still have a choice over our own actions, and how we decide how to feel about something. I don't know what an individual player could do that would cause the game to end up in that state. A group, maybe. An admin, maybe. Really, I'd rather people had less of a mentality of waiting for someone else to do something(usually admin) and took initiate themselves to make changes they want to see.
    The game kinda relies on only some people causing drama because otherwise it'd be non-stop. For Serenwilde right now, just off credit rewards if everyone decided to stir drama just once in a year that's nearly fortnightly. And if the various things I've noticed were actually pursued we'd be both trying to ally with basically everyone while also declaring(/maintaining) war on them.

    And yeah, people feel how they feel about things. And really, such an impact comes down to what's the smallest number of people you need to break up an alliance?
    For example, Serenwilde has repeatedly lost notable portions of it's playerbase because groups of players (sometimes in serenwilde, sometimes not) decided on alliance shuffles that broke us up with Celest. (That this has such an impact is bad in itself but a separate thing)

    This moves the game into a state which some players don't like, and to remedy that they either leave the org or disengage from the game. This then also has a negative impact on other players through a population drop, which can also move into Guild/PK conflict/etc issues that can provide to other reasons for moving/disengaging.

    This hasn't really got anything inherently to do with emotional responses, the unenjoyable state could be simply that an individual player was having fun because of the interactions available. Things changed that caused those interactions to no longer be available, replacements were not found, game is no longer fun, therefore stop playing the game.
    It also really doesn't have much to do with mentality of waiting for someone to do something, the people most likely to be negatively impacted are those that are happy with the game state, who have got things the way they wanted it to be and someone is coming through smashing it up.
  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 981 Transcendent
    Saran said:
    The game kinda relies on only some people causing drama because otherwise it'd be non-stop. For Serenwilde right now, just off credit rewards if everyone decided to stir drama just once in a year that's nearly fortnightly.
    Ok, I like math as much as anyone, but looking at human interactions on a purely numbers basis is never going to be accurate. The argument of "it's ok to take risks in games sometimes" does not mean that every single player needs to try to break up alliances on a regular interval. Neither the incident I referenced from another game nor the current drama has anything to do with breaking alliances. There is such a thing as smaller-scale conflict.
    And if the various things I've noticed were actually pursued we'd be both trying to ally with basically everyone while also declaring(/maintaining) war on them.



    And yeah, people feel how they feel about things.
    Which doesn't happen, and no one has said it should. And no, I follow the theory that people largely have a choice about how they feel about things, and they definitely have a choice about how they act on those feelings.
    And really, such an impact comes down to what's the smallest number of people you need to break up an alliance?
    For example, Serenwilde has repeatedly lost notable portions of it's playerbase because groups of players (sometimes in serenwilde, sometimes not) decided on alliance shuffles that broke us up with Celest. (That this has such an impact is bad in itself but a separate thing)

    This moves the game into a state which some players don't like, and to remedy that they either leave the org or disengage from the game. This then also has a negative impact on other players through a population drop, which can also move into Guild/PK conflict/etc issues that can provide to other reasons for moving/disengaging.

    This hasn't really got anything inherently to do with emotional responses, the unenjoyable state could be simply that an individual player was having fun because of the interactions available. Things changed that caused those interactions to no longer be available, replacements were not found, game is no longer fun, therefore stop playing the game.
    It also really doesn't have much to do with mentality of waiting for someone to do something, the people most likely to be negatively impacted are those that are happy with the game state, who have got things the way they wanted it to be and someone is coming through smashing it up.
    Well, the fact is, if the *only way* you believe you can enjoy the game is if nothing ever changes - you're not going to keep playing the game. That's not a realistic mentality to have, even if alliances were static. And it's not up to any one player to say that X is how alliances MUST be. If enough players want the alliance to switch, they have as much right to that as any other player who wants nothing to change.
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,363 Transcendent
    Kethaera said:
    Saran said:
    The game kinda relies on only some people causing drama because otherwise it'd be non-stop. For Serenwilde right now, just off credit rewards if everyone decided to stir drama just once in a year that's nearly fortnightly.
    Ok, I like math as much as anyone, but looking at human interactions on a purely numbers basis is never going to be accurate. The argument of "it's ok to take risks in games sometimes" does not mean that every single player needs to try to break up alliances on a regular interval. Neither the incident I referenced from another game nor the current drama has anything to do with breaking alliances. There is such a thing as smaller-scale conflict.
    Sure, however, nothing in the quoted actually limits the scope to alliance breaking.

    Kethaera said:
    And if the various things I've noticed were actually pursued we'd be both trying to ally with basically everyone while also declaring(/maintaining) war on them.



    And yeah, people feel how they feel about things.
    Which doesn't happen, and no one has said it should. And no, I follow the theory that people largely have a choice about how they feel about things, and they definitely have a choice about how they act on those feelings. 
    You have though said you'd "rather people had less of a mentality of waiting for someone else to do something(usually admin) and took initiate themselves to make changes they want to see.". The various potential alliance states are all things people want to see.

    Regarding emotions, disagree. Sometimes there might be a choice, other times emotion. Emotion is also a powerful driver in decision making particularly in the heat of the moment. (Just have a look at negative reviews on pretty much any service lol) People can learn to let the emotion pass or hold on, etc.


    And really, such an impact comes down to what's the smallest number of people you need to break up an alliance?
    For example, Serenwilde has repeatedly lost notable portions of it's playerbase because groups of players (sometimes in serenwilde, sometimes not) decided on alliance shuffles that broke us up with Celest. (That this has such an impact is bad in itself but a separate thing)

    This moves the game into a state which some players don't like, and to remedy that they either leave the org or disengage from the game. This then also has a negative impact on other players through a population drop, which can also move into Guild/PK conflict/etc issues that can provide to other reasons for moving/disengaging.

    This hasn't really got anything inherently to do with emotional responses, the unenjoyable state could be simply that an individual player was having fun because of the interactions available. Things changed that caused those interactions to no longer be available, replacements were not found, game is no longer fun, therefore stop playing the game.
    It also really doesn't have much to do with mentality of waiting for someone to do something, the people most likely to be negatively impacted are those that are happy with the game state, who have got things the way they wanted it to be and someone is coming through smashing it up.
    Well, the fact is, if the *only way* you believe you can enjoy the game is if nothing ever changes - you're not going to keep playing the game. That's not a realistic mentality to have, even if alliances were static. And it's not up to any one player to say that X is how alliances MUST be. If enough players want the alliance to switch, they have as much right to that as any other player who wants nothing to change.  
    The issue is... that's just the reality of what happens?
    Even in the past couple of months I've been told people apparently demanded the current halli/seren agreement on threat of them leaving if we didn't.
    It's not healthy for the game and addressing this particular issue is behind certain... often side-lined Seren rp is a thing, but across generations of players the same thing keeps happening. Sometimes it's they've made friends and they don't want to go to war with them, sometimes they've started building up international families, orders could be a factor, etc.

    It can also scale down to other kinds of drama that can still send players packing.
  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 981 Transcendent
    Saran said:
    Sure, however, nothing in the quoted actually limits the scope to alliance breaking.

    So what? Reason limits the argument to something less than "let's switch sides every week." Your interpretation is one of the worst possible case, which is illogical.

    You have though said you'd "rather people had less of a mentality of waiting for someone else to do something(usually admin) and took initiate themselves to make changes they want to see.". The various potential alliance states are all things people want to see.

    Regarding emotions, disagree. Sometimes there might be a choice, other times emotion. Emotion is also a powerful driver in decision making particularly in the heat of the moment. (Just have a look at negative reviews on pretty much any service lol) People can learn to let the emotion pass or hold on, etc.


    ...In other words, you actually agree with my statement. You've contradicted yourself multiple times here. There is always emotion, and there is always a choice. My feeling angry doesn't automatically mean I have to to punch a hole in my wall. I have a choice about how to direct that anger, and often, how to reinterpret that emotion into something else -  like enthusiasm for a new project.
    The issue is... that's just the reality of what happens?
    Even in the past couple of months I've been told people apparently demanded the current halli/seren agreement on threat of them leaving if we didn't.
    It's not healthy for the game and addressing this particular issue is behind certain... often side-lined Seren rp is a thing, but across generations of players the same thing keeps happening. Sometimes it's they've made friends and they don't want to go to war with them, sometimes they've started building up international families, orders could be a factor, etc.

    It can also scale down to other kinds of drama that can still send players packing.
    What is the reality of what happens? Nothing you're saying here seems directly related to what I've said. Is your argument "never cause drama?" Then I want a definition for what you think that means, because 

    - Drama is a part of rp, and is sometimes admin-led
    - Drama can also be caused by trying to prevent change
    - People I know have accused you of causing it, too
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • SaranSaran Member Posts: 2,363 Transcendent
    Kethaera said:
    ...In other words, you actually agree with my statement. You've contradicted yourself multiple times here. There is always emotion, and there is always a choice. My feeling angry doesn't automatically mean I have to to punch a hole in my wall. I have a choice about how to direct that anger, and often, how to reinterpret that emotion into something else -  like enthusiasm for a new project.
    Your statement started with you "follow the theory that people largely have a choice about how they feel about things". Which is a rather broad statement to make in regards to a group of people from different age groups, neurodiversity, etc. Sometimes you can choose to not be upset about something that happens, other times or for other people that's not always the case so rather than reinterpretation you get distancing (i.e retiring/leaving/etc).

    Kethaera said:
    The issue is... that's just the reality of what happens?
    Even in the past couple of months I've been told people apparently demanded the current halli/seren agreement on threat of them leaving if we didn't.
    It's not healthy for the game and addressing this particular issue is behind certain... often side-lined Seren rp is a thing, but across generations of players the same thing keeps happening. Sometimes it's they've made friends and they don't want to go to war with them, sometimes they've started building up international families, orders could be a factor, etc.

    It can also scale down to other kinds of drama that can still send players packing.
    What is the reality of what happens? Nothing you're saying here seems directly related to what I've said. Is your argument "never cause drama?" Then I want a definition for what you think that means, because 

    - Drama is a part of rp, and is sometimes admin-led
    - Drama can also be caused by trying to prevent change
    - People I know have accused you of causing it, too
    To simplify. People are going to respond in a variety of ways to drama, not all are going to switch focus to something else or otherwise adapt.
    In the example of alliance shakeups, there are going to be people who are going to generally like their alliances and not want to change them, it also wouldn't be drama if that wasn't the case. And I think of this because that's one of the main sources of "drama" I've seen recently and is linked to stuff from Ascension which was mentioned in the OP, it's also a more concrete example rather than just nebulous "drama".

    Never causing drama is unrealistic. Drama happens and it can be difficult to know if what you do will cause it. But also we can accept that people are going to react to situations however they will and look at mitigation for known common reactions where possible.
  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 981 Transcendent
    Saran said:
    To simplify. People are going to respond in a variety of ways to drama, not all are going to switch focus to something else or otherwise adapt.
    In the example of alliance shakeups, there are going to be people who are going to generally like their alliances and not want to change them, it also wouldn't be drama if that wasn't the case. And I think of this because that's one of the main sources of "drama" I've seen recently and is linked to stuff from Ascension which was mentioned in the OP, it's also a more concrete example rather than just nebulous "drama".

    Never causing drama is unrealistic. Drama happens and it can be difficult to know if what you do will cause it. But also we can accept that people are going to react to situations however they will and look at mitigation for known common reactions where possible.
    This is meaningless. You're not making any arguments, you're just arguing for the sake of it. 
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • DrastrathDrastrath Member Posts: 88 Apprentice
    To the original post, I think it is important that we all separate IC from OOC. Metagaming, in this manner, is just a form of toxicity. I have lost friends over game balance, but I don't think IC decisions have ever bothered me. The character has to be true to themselves, and if the player isn't allowing the character to be true to themselves then they aren't RPing right. 
  • EnyaEnya Member Posts: 505 Expert
    I misread [skimmed] the original post and thought this was a thread about gameplay design choices and had a very different post queued. 

    Yah, part of the thing for me though is that a lot of the game is player-resource intensive, so there's a lot of investment that goes in from players and some kinds of "rock the boat" storylines that are appropriate or even interesting might disrupt ages of time, effort, and money put in. When players have relatively little story agency outside of those specific player-lore areas, doing something to disrupt the few robust storylines players do have control over can feel really bad. 
  • DrastrathDrastrath Member Posts: 88 Apprentice
    That is a valid and fair point. @Enya

  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 981 Transcendent
    Enya said:
    I misread [skimmed] the original post and thought this was a thread about gameplay design choices and had a very different post queued. 

    Yah, part of the thing for me though is that a lot of the game is player-resource intensive, so there's a lot of investment that goes in from players and some kinds of "rock the boat" storylines that are appropriate or even interesting might disrupt ages of time, effort, and money put in. When players have relatively little story agency outside of those specific player-lore areas, doing something to disrupt the few robust storylines players do have control over can feel really bad. 
    Thank you for pointing this out, because this is exactly the dilemma I have in thinking about these situations. And I don't know the answer in every case. If I did, I wouldn't lose sleep thinking about it. People should be allowed to take risks and roleplay how they want, but our actions in-game do also affect other players. I think it just depends on the expected impact, and what reasonable responses could be taken.

    Like, org theft. There are legitimate IC reasons why someone would steal gold/credits from an org. But I always think that it in some ways blurs the line between IC/OOC betrayal. Even if it didn't, it's demoralizing to a large group of players to benefit one. So I definitely think there's lines to what is fair and reasonable roleplay.
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
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