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The SEA Role

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Feedback' started by Ozwell, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. Ozwell

    Ozwell Sol Gov Pilot

    Hi guys!

    I just want to preface this with a huge disclaimer:

    I am not against the SEA role. I do not want to see it removed, because there are people out there who really enjoy the role and play it very well. Punishing a collective group to target an individual is extremely pointless and never makes anyone happy. I am also not saying that every single SEA player does the following examples I am about to highlight, and I am not going to make this post versus the SEA role, and the SEA player.

    Let's talk a bit about the SEA role. (Feel free to please comment on what you believe the role is, as well.) What is it? Well..

    It's a role designed to enhance roleplay in a militarized environment. As the Senior Enlisted Advisor, you represent someone who has been enlisted in the Fleet for a few decades or more. You are usually on the bridge as a wise enlisted member who has climbed the ladder to an administrative position. In your position, you provide experience and wisdom in the form of advice and suggestions to those inexperienced around you (inclusive of other command members, especially the CO and XO), and you also act in the capacity of ensuring members of the crew (particularly fleet-enlisted) are following set-out military courtesies and practices they are required to abide by. I see this capacity as being a support person to: department supervisors, the XO, and department heads alike.

    The above example has been distorted quite a bit. The current definition of the SEA role as perceived by the majority of what I see is basically what I call "SE". Senior Enlisted. No advisor at all. Sometimes I see SEAs bypass the lack of the "advisor" descriptor by doing things such as backseating departments, micromanaging departments in lieu of (despite the fact there usually is one) a department head, among other things. These are the kind of people who play the SEA as supersoldiers that fought in Space 'Nam and lost an arm.

    Honestly, two things would make me satisfied with the SEA role.

    The SEA whitelist solution:

    Whitelist SEAs. Simple. The SEA role requires a significant and exhaustive amount of knowledge about the Baystation lore and environment, and the expectation is and should be on par with persons who attempt to whitelist for species. To play any species, you must have a significant and exhaustive knowledge of your species lore. Why can't the SEA role be the same?

    The SEA "reiteration" solution:

    Have staff reiterate the SEA role and make a point to as many players as possible (hopefully through discord #news channel), and highlight the above (and more) as best as possible.

    Please discuss. I really want to see a beautiful role (albeit outdated) which I have seen players put lots of effort into roleplaying fulfilled to its' best extent.
    thebest_player757 likes this.
  2. afterthought

    afterthought Head Developer Developer

    We are not going to whitelist jobs in the foreseeable future. I see it suggested pretty often as a way of fixing various things, but it's just not happening.

    If you see bad SEA play, ahelp it; that's your best bet. If there are mechanical solutions available, can discuss below, but seems unlikely given the role has no mechanical backing to speak of in the first place.
    SierraKomodo likes this.
  3. Persona E

    Persona E Game Administrator

    The SEA role should be kept. You didn't say otherwise, but I want to get out ahead of the inevitable whining about the role, and it's been a while since I actually wrote down my defense of the role. The SEA is a great addition to the game that adds a ton of flavor and fills a great niche that I would say is only ever approached by a couple of other roles. The SEA has as much or more experience than the CO and XO and all of it is in a different perspective: working their way up through the enlisted ranks. The SEA gives advice that no other role is really fit to provide, it comes from experience that is totally different than the kind bridge officers and department heads should have. The SEA is a reference for procedure and, in practice, for all sorts of other general and specific advice to officers. The SEA acts adjacent to the command structure to allow enlisted voices to be heard, to deal with issues at the enlisted level that line officers shouldn't be getting bogged down in, and to handle behavior from officers' subordinates that they don't wish to be handled judicially or by security. The SEA has a unique relationship with each group of ranks on the ship, a set of relationships that no other role has. The SEA sways command decisions with literally just common sense and good advice, not having the authority to order officers around but nevertheless in practice consistently swaying their opinions and consistently having a positive outcome by doing so.

    I've had a ton of great experiences as SEA. I'm not going to spend time here listing some of them out, nobody who is upset about the SEA role is going to be swayed by narratives of good rounds.

    The SEA role should be whitelisted. The amount and type of knowledge required to play SEA well is more comparable to playing another species than it is to playing other roles. I've had the opposite opinion in the past, but I'm not going to go against the sheer number of people ostensibly upset about an interacting they had with the role who want it restricted somehow or removed. It's been whitelisted before and no bad came of it. It's obviously not seen as a practical solution by devs despite that fact.

    I also see far more complaining about bad SEAs and calls for the role to be removed than I see ahelps about bad SEAs.
    Tristan63, Eckles and Ozwell like this.
  4. Ozwell

    Ozwell Sol Gov Pilot

    I adminhelp bad SEAs where possible, and I'm sure other people do as well. It is definitely something people can do to make an impact, but it is by no means a solution to the SEA problem I speak of here. This discussion is hopefully dedicated towards picking one of the two (or another) solutions I have mentioned in my initial post.

    I don't understand the "we aren't going to whitelist the role" perspective. We might as well just not whitelist species, because the commitment to the SEA role is just the same lore level as a species is. It also seems like a fairly popular solution.
    Imienny likes this.
  5. FearTheBlackout

    FearTheBlackout Retired Staff

    The SEA has always been a vestigial role, but unlike, say, the SolGov Representative, it often causes more harm than good due to a combination of the authority it's given and the potential it has to be played poorly. That, along with its overall poor influence over the course of a round, makes me believe that it should either be retooled as an Expeditionary Corps role or removed entirely.
  6. I do think the SEA should be whitelisted, but I worry that doing so would create a slippery slope. I can see the argument now...

    Well, if the SEA is whitelisted, then surely the CO and AI should be whitelisted, and the XO... honestly let's just whitelist all of command...

    It's not like that, though. The SEA is a lore role. It involves understanding things like uniform code, standard operating procedure, an above-average understanding of interstellar relations, background on the Fleet and the Expeditionary Corps, and most of all, what it means to be enlisted, the importance of following legal orders from superiors and when/how to object to illegal ones.

    There have been really good SEA's (I haven't seen @Persona E's Ally Reynolds in quite some time). I do agree that recently there has been a lot of backseating of departments, SEAcurity and other play that is not the intent of the role. I think it is a byproduct of the significant access the SEA has, though let me make clear I am against any reduction in the SEA's access. At the same time, playing an advisor, especially in lowpop, can be tough. Access is golden when there's just 10-15 crew aboard. And in lowpop, if there's just 3 or 4 enlisted crew besides yourself, there wouldn't be many opportunities to mentor.

    As much as I've seen less than stellar SEA play, I've just as often see no SEA play. Whitelisting the role might make an occasional jobslot go vacant more often. Or maybe not, it might encourage individuals to be more active in the role after investing in the research/application process.

    If SEA isn't whitelisted, perhaps the slot could be tethered to the size of the crew so that there is no reason the SEA should be doing things they shouldn't be doing. But even that would be unfair to those who live in timezones where usual play times would mostly correspond with lowpop.

    Or, a blurb could be added to the text the SEA receives when they spawn. Something that in so many words says Here is the lore you should know. If you suck you will be jobbanned. We are watching you bwahaha.

    I think the SEA is a highly valuable role when played correctly. I think this discussion is important and hope it results in something concrete to assist the roleplay in that jobslot to improve.
    Ozwell and Persona E like this.
  7. samsone700

    samsone700 Petty Officer First Class

    But shouldn't CO and XO also have a very good understanding of that? Even the SCG Rep should have a shitton of knowledge about the history. I'd say we can't whitelist SEA without logically whitelisting those roles. Even the heads of departments often show incompetence compared to their subordinates.

    Problem is, we simply don't have the player count for it to be feasible option. Having whitelist on aliens makes sense because they're /supposed/ to be somewhat uncommon on a military SOL ship, in fact, if aliens didn't need whitelist, i'd bet we would have so many of them that it wouldn't make sense lore-wise.
    Command staff should not be uncommon. We should have command staff on every shift, and even with no whitelist, we have trouble achieving that.
  8. Persona E

    Persona E Game Administrator

    Suggesting the SEA should be an EC role reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of both the SEA and the EC. The SEA works only because of how Fleet ranks work.

    Like I said in my post, the SEA has no actual authority over officers. It has almost exactly the same amount of authority as the SCGR. Their influence over the round is and can only be because of the advice they can provide to people who do hold that authority. Nobody is suggesting the SCGR should be removed because "what if someone played it poorly?"
    Ozwell likes this.
  9. Persona E

    Persona E Game Administrator

    I disagree. The SEA could easily be twice as experienced as the CO or XO, especially given that the CO is EC-only. Not only that, but the SEA's utility comes exclusively from that experience, not from any mechanical knowledge at all. You can excuse a CO or XO only knowing how the ship should be run and nothing else, because that's the bare minimum to play the roles. The SEA's bare minimum isn't knowing how to run the ship, it's knowing a ton of stuff from the wiki, much more like playing an alien species.
    Ozwell likes this.
  10. Ozwell

    Ozwell Sol Gov Pilot

    @Eckles would you care to weigh in? Not only to get your opinion in the pot, but since you're the lore manager, I am really eager to find out if either of our outcomes can be met of the role being whitelisted or staff reiteration of what the role actually is. Persona E and alexpkeaton have made some great points about the role.

    edit: apologies in advance if this isn't your area of responsibility
  11. Loaf

    Loaf Developer Ascent Species Maintainer Deputy Vox Maintainer

    The head developer has told you that the role is not being whitelisted. Admin shopping is not going to work around that.
  12. Eckles

    Eckles Senior Administrator Game Administrator Skrell Species Maintainer

    The head dev literally said no whitelisting. That's sorta the end of the matter, there is nothing to weigh in on.

    Edit: This doesn't need lots of discussion. IF a person is being bad in a role. Ahelp it.
    Ozwell likes this.
  13. Ozwell

    Ozwell Sol Gov Pilot

    Accusatory language contributes nicely, thanks.

    Of course. I was hoping for at least a staff reiteration of the role to be a possibility. "Ahelp it" is a good way we can contribute against a problem, yes, but it is by no means an end solution. Neither is a public reminder, but it's a good idea to educate people.
  14. I think there are potential ways to improve SEA play without whitelisting, I even suggested a couple myself. Indeed, the head dev suggested that they are open to mechanical ways to improve SEA play if any existed. Let's figure out how we can improve the play without whitelisting, then. I think a pointed blurb upon joining in the role wouldn't be a bad idea. Something like:

    This role involves having a strong understanding of regulations and an above-average familiarity with the lore (links). Because of lackluster SEA play recently, this role has been identified for targeted enforcement by staff. You will not be punished if you turn around and reenter cryo. If you play and show an ignorance of basic notions of the role, you will be subject to a jobban until you demonstrate that you understand what the role involves.
  15. Deadmon_Wonderland

    Deadmon_Wonderland Game Moderator Laser Tag 2019 Participant

    With the general demilitarization of the Torch the SEA's role has diminished. This isn't really saying the role is obsolete but fleet makes up a much smaller portion of the ship than any other group a larger portion of the time (most times I play it's a handful at best)

    I think the issue is that the SEA has just sort of become a dog that command lets loose when they need someone yelled at. There's little power they hold over upper echelons of command rank wise and at the same time they also have little power when it comes to individual departments when they are run by a Lieutenant or SLT, seeing as they can override them due to rank. I've played SEA a few times and while I do think it's enjoyable, the direction the Torch has gone with the emphasis on military diminishing over time has led to the role becoming less needed over time and having it become more restricted in that regard.
  16. Anticept

    Anticept Chef

    If we have a problem with SEAs behaving poorly, then perhaps the wiki article on them is not communicating very well what the role is. Perhaps the wiki could use a gameplay ideas section for the SEA to help them find ways to feel like they're contributing in a positive way. Most role problems I've seen that isn't a lack of experience related, is instead related to being *bored*.

    I rarely see poor SEA behavior, I think only once as CO that I had to reel an SEA in. I've never had to ahelp one, and I'm not bragging or anything, just saying I am curious if perhaps people complaining about them might be trying to push their own standards on the role.

    There are roles on the torch that I have been on the fence about in regards to whitelisting. I've been on the border about CO whitelists, but I've seen admins handle a poor CO via IC means and remove them from the round too. I've made mistakes as CO, and they'll address the issue with me and I'll learn from it. Because of that, I've not yet been a vocal advocate of whitelisting any role.

    What I would like to see though is every position having, at minimum, two ranks or trainee titles in the case of contractors. Every role should default to the lower rank or trainee title, and encourage that to be used whenever learning a new role. A senior chief would be someone who is still fresh to such a prestigious position and announces to everyone to cut *a little* slack, while if someone wears a master chief ranks, they ARE held to high standards.
    YodaDoge and Tristan63 like this.