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Antag Gimmicks

Discussion in 'Public Staff Forum' started by Earthcrusher, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. Earthcrusher

    Earthcrusher SMASHER/DEVOURER Game Administrator

    The problem.
    Players of group antag types seem to think they need to come up with a gimmick. I don't know precisely when this started happening - it certainly occurred in the Exodus days, but it was the exception, not the rule. It was a nice little change-up from the usual routine, but players were just as happy to go without and play a good ol' round of Mercenary or Cult.

    Why is this a problem?
    • Indecisiveness: from the very second the round starts, players try to work out a gimmick. They fight over it. They disagree. People threaten to leave because they don't want to play a Miranian or a Tritonian. Sometimes they say "fuck it" and ghost.
    • Administrative Burden: despite having a warehouse full of guns and chameleon kits, players are repeatedly asking for extra goodies for their gimmicks. Sometimes they have time, but sometimes admin are busy doing much more pressing things.
    • Tardiness: even when a gimmick is agreed upon, nine times out of ten, it requires so much prep work that it is not at all uncommon for mercenary squads to linger in their base until the 1:30 mark, or even more. We once had a merc squad hang around so long they quite literally began to choke to death because they filled their base with CO2 from breathing.
    • Lack of Payout: The gimmicks aren't always a flop. We just had a round where Miranians took some hostages, and they shouted suitably Miranian things, and generally conveyed to the crew that Mirania was up to no good. That was a pleasant change from how it usually goes - an hour and a half of painstaking preparation, only to board the Torch and have everything end in the same shootout, every time. What was the point?
    What do we do about it?
    Crack down on gimmick stuff. Inform players that they should actually play the antagonists as presented, instead of trying to invent their own every single time. If they absolutely must do a gimmick, they are equipped with a surgeon's station and chameleon kits - any gimmick they can't accomplish with those isn't worth pursuing.

    We seriously gotta do something about this.
     
  2. Loaf

    Loaf THE SIGNAL THE SIGNAL THE SIGNAL

    Not a lot to add to this other than agreement and support.

    It's enough to make me regret changing nuke to merc. Nuke at least had an overt theme you couldn't really wiggle around without it feeling like an exception.
     
  3. Miraviel

    Miraviel Game Administrator

    (I can see why it's almost worth regretting but with our pre-hub population, nuke ops could have just steamrolled us easily.)

    I support this. I already squint at traitors who team up in AOOC and do stuff together when I believe they have codewords and should find each other in-game. I think one of the main reasons for this is that AOOC is not very defined - it is an OOC channel but we let a lot of IC in OOC happen on it at roundstart, including traitors finding each other there, mercenaries making a battle plan, renegades revealing that there are not only traitors in the round and so on.

    I don't think though it needs more rules, players need more nudging to let go of the AOOC preplanning phase and just jump straight into their kit. As you said, mercenaries are well-equipped for a wide variety of options.

    And I should really write a list on traitor items because lately most of our traitors only buy guns, emag, and nothing more.
     
  4. GracieGrace0

    GracieGrace0 Petty Officer First Class

    One of the things about bay is that antagonists have the ability to crate their own gimmick/background/whatever for their character. A role play server should not be forcing people to play “the same old mercenary drone” every time merc is selected. Gimmicks have the potential to make things unique or absolute shit but it should not be looked down oncfor actually creating a background or mission or whatever to act on instead of “let’s go kill the crew” or “let’s try to blow up the ship” every time. Maybe I’m the minority on this but I stand by roleplay over “let’s do this same thing every single time we get this round type and we’re gonna yell at you if you don’t do it that way”
     
    Miraviel likes this.
  5. Earthcrusher

    Earthcrusher SMASHER/DEVOURER Game Administrator

    That's not what I'm saying, and is in fact a false dichotomy. You've presented two options: roleplay, or play merc/heist/cult/whatever as written. The two are not mutually exclusive. Some of the best roleplaying we've ever had was "generic" nuke ops teams on the Exodus doing generic nuke ops things. Being from Mirania or posing as ice cream vendors didn't make their emotes better, they were just good at roleplaying.

    I admit I've probably strewn my point around by going on about how much I dislike the gimmick culture in general - let me clarify what my actual point is: group-style antags take an unreasonable amount of time to get started, and it's become expected that they can borrow an admin to set up their gimmick, when they've been given mapped-in tools to do it themselves. We don't hold the hands of traitors or the Godcult like this, why should they be special?

    If all we do is say "no, use the chameleon kits" and bug them in AOOC every half hour, even that little effort might get them thinking on their feet. I want them to use the vital skill of creative improv, instead of turning a mode in which armed mercenaries storm the ship into a fucking stage play.
     
  6. GracieGrace0

    GracieGrace0 Petty Officer First Class

    The point of them constantly asking admins for help is fair, but your original post did seem to suggest going back to "generic mercs" which on Torch just leads to a big firefight with very little room to roleplay. Mostly this is due to the way Torch is played and people act on it being a government ship they are heavily influenced to go after "illegal boarders" and the like. It just turns into a massive firefight where gimmicks might just get stonewalled at the dock or allowed on board. I definitely agree that generic mercs create the most antagonistic actions there is really no disputing that however gimmick do offer the most roleplay opportunities. With that being said I also agree that they should for the most part do all the work themselves with what they have. If an admin is asked for just to replace an item from the chameleon kit though (such as spawning a first responder jacket or a hoodie because the cham one can't be zipped) I find nothing wrong with it. I also agree that they do need to be nudged a bit more so they aren't always coming in at the 1:30 mark of every round they are in. I do however agree with you EC that I have seen some very good roleplay with generic merc situations and I would absolutely love to see more, but I still feel that Torch makes that a whole lot harder than a station like Exodus did.