Scheduled Live Events

Discussion in 'General' started by Zekh, Aug 8, 2015.

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  1. Zekh

    Zekh Dimensionaut

    Okay so.

    I report this issue that already happened twice this month, to me and a lot of agents, and some will agree this is a lot, considering how things are supposed to go.

    Agents are quick to solve puzzles, that's a thing and even a good thing i don't mind that.
    The fact that we have to react instantly and rush to our PCs as soon as we got the signal, is an issue.

    Events cracked in less than an hour by 10 people who were lucky enough to be there at the right time isn't the way i saw "live events" and "community work"

    Okay it's immersive to recieve the stuff at any moment and keep the mystery around the MMOARG, but missing missions randomly is anything but fun.
    So i now suggest, that we try to give a fairly early warning for these events, so people can actually try to be there and have fun with everyone (which was the intended result of these community events i think).

    We got multiple ways :

    - Situation Room countdown (when it's not hacked).
    - Forum banner countdown (near the logo to get maximum visibility).
    - SMS alert, like 3 hours before the event.
    - Something else.

    The goal of my suggestion is to avoid any more frustration from players who weren't able to join the event only because they were either warned late (1h delay emails ect), not especially reactive (i don't check my inbox every hour) or simply absent from the IRC.

    I see only good things coming out of it : Everyone got a chance to participate, we will obviously have more people, so more resources to crack puzzles and not fail the mission. And the most important point, not discouraging agents who miss everything because of the reasons mentioned above.

    This is to be managed early to avoid any more problems.
    Thanks for reading.
    7 people like this.
  2. dylanamite

    dylanamite Moderator

    I love the idea of text messages from Dispatch instead of emails.
    I don't usually find myself checking my emails, so I've missed all of the datasets (unless I was online at the time.)

    Text messages notify me and I see them pretty much as soon as I get them, or if not, in a much shorter timespan than I would see an email.

    It would be useful if we were to get texts an hour before something went live.
    2 people like this.
  3. cronkllr

    cronkllr Clearance Level: Gold & Black

    A text /SMS would be great. I know todays dataset was solved in less than 30 minutes. I just happened to have checked my email right when it started, otherwise I would have missed it. I would have missed it completely If I Didn't take the day off of work as I don't check my emails but once a hour. But a text I would know Agents need to act at a specific time ETC.

    I know there are programs/websites that will send a mass SMS/TEXT for free.* ( I know from a friend who does this for advertising for his business, I get text daily and he says its free. He just enters what he wants sent out, and It text everyone on the confirmed list.)
  4. riningear

    riningear Division-79

    Texts would be 10/10 honestly.
  5. Zerosh

    Zerosh Sleeper Agent

    I'm assuming that you are talking about CASCADE7.
    As far as I can tell it hasn't been a Live Event. As far as I cant tell a real Live Event has a time limit and some kind of "live" part. I agree that the Situation Room and the Q6 terminal can be seen as live parts but, I repeat, I think there wasn't a time limit, just an urge :p
    I think CASCADE7 has been an alternative way of releasing puzzles (aka missions) and I really loved it.
    What I'm trying to say is that anyone can catch up using the threads in the Archived Missions subforums and try to solve the puzzles by themselves if they want. There are hints and even the solutions if they are needed.

    Agents solving puzzles very fast is another topic. I agree that arriving when everything is solved isn't fun, but sometimes it just happens. You can't keep people from solving things as soon as they're avilable. In CASCADE7 the puzzles are difficult enough to be solved by 1 person with enough background knowledge IMHO. So people beating them in under 1h seems normal to me. As I said before, up until now CASCADE7 doesn't seem like a Live Event, it seems like the introduction to the next big Live Event.

    The whole point of CASCADE7 was that we had lost contact with HQ. Receiving an SMS saying "Hey, in about 5 hours you're going to lost contact with HQ." doesn't seem like a good idea to me.
    Looking back to other Live Events, there was always some kind of point to when they were going up. Pardon me, but I don't really see a problem here other than having agents that cracked the DATASETS in under an hour.

    I can see how additional warnings from the puppet masters can be useful to some agents, but that also means giving them extra work (and in the case of SMS maybe that means also extra expenses). Remember that they are 4 people, more or less.

    To summarize, in my opinion the communications we receive are good enough keeping in mind inmersion and verosimilitude. Everyone has the chance to participate being watchful enough, simply passing by from time to time and keeping an eye on the inbox. There is no need to be 24/7 on IRC or on the forums.

    One thing that really worries me is the "community work" part. I can see why some people can feel out of the loop sometimes, but thats a topic for another thread.
  6. thatangryviking

    thatangryviking Viking Turkey | The Bot Slayer

    As well, remember TBW is global.. It will be not live for someone always. It's how things go, years ago during the paper wall watching, I missed stuff that happened because, I needed to sleep. I had folks emailing me and keeping me in the loop and I received a call from the game at 3am which woke me up and got me back into the game work be dammed. but it was a non stop live feed. Unless you gave up working or living you were not seeing everything that happened.

    For the comment about emails to agents, I have not missed an email yet, that I have noticed, my email is tied to my phone, my phone since I am an yellow agent is with me 24/7, ringer is on loud, or medium if I am at work, and notifications are ON. When I am home, all settings on my phone are on High, do I always like hearing the notifications for non agency related work? - nope - but it's the price I pay for not wanting to miss anything that could be watchmen related.

    I went to see weird-al the other weekend in concert, and missed out on the live badge for Falcon - even though I was an active agent during it, and my recon photos are in the report. At first I was upset that it was such a short notice about the live code that had to be entered in the client, but then I realized that I am not going to be around for everything that happens if I want to keep doing things while the game is happening.

    To the dataset issue, these events are not a one time solved event its over when the community finishes it, everyone is able to go and do it at there own pace and time ( as far as I know its not going anywhere anytime soon ) I received the email, and got notification on my phone during the last 3 hours of my shift at work, which meant I could not really jump in like I wanted to, I was able to join IRC, and get some time with the puzzles, but it was mostly a go team! hey look at this I think its this kinda thing, because work comes first, or so they tell me.

    I am going to end this here, before you all think I turned into Santiak...
    3 people like this.
  7. Silverfox

    Silverfox Senior Agent

    I guess it needs to be examined since during the first of them, when I got the first part of the puzzle, I got an earful of how it was being ruined by a handful of egos.
  8. MochiInvasion

    MochiInvasion Senior Agent

    mostly i wanted to write this to say that i'm glad zerosh and tav are taking up santi's mantel of really really long posts (i approve).

    but also that i can understand why people want more or different notices of live events. because of the way i work, i almost always know when i get an email because my phone tells me, so i can check and if it's tbw stop what i'm doing and pop back into the irc proper. however, i agree with what zerosh said about the cascade7 parts specifically - anyone can still do them, all that's happened is that we've succeeded in our mission, and what you've lost is the community solving aspect and the ability to go 'first!': the puzzles are still there.
    2 people like this.
  9. Zekh

    Zekh Dimensionaut

    Losing that on a community event is both sad and stupid
    I didn't join the game to play alone.
    But fine, stay on the "firsters" format for now, enjoy and see what happens. You're warned.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 8, 2015
    4 people like this.
  10. ccik

    ccik Active Agent

    I somewhat agree with what you are saying, ZEKH, although, it is a difficult topic to solve. The problem here is that we all live in different timezones, everybody has a different day. You can not account for that. Although you can switch the times the live events occour, there are always people who will not be able to attend.

    IMO, the key aspect here is to keep it in good balance, and the way i see it, the cascade 7/Q6/ mission was rather good. It had parts that had to be solved by the community (A-E Warnings, Croupierkey), and parts that could be solved by an individual.

    I think, if you do only missions that have to be solved by the whole community, you are going to loose quite a few people. Not everybody can participate in any live event, and by giving missions like the datasets, you give everybody a chance to solve something on their own, even if it is 2 weeks later. If i had missed the Cascade7 by two weeks, i could not be part of the community anyway, but still have a chance to play some of the missions. Altough it annoyed me a little when i got to the IRC 45 min late and the datasets where already completed.

    Bottom line: I think we should have a variety of missions, some like the datasets, some like friedonion, some like falconreach.
    You are going to miss some of the live event stuff, if you like it or not. There is always somebody who has the solution faster and with fewer dead-ends than you.

    A message with a timer could help, but again, only if it is feasable.
    Or, start the live event, get everybody a chance to assemble, and the drop the tasks/hints one by one, seperate them by days, and give everybody a chance to catch up before the next puzzle piece is released to the community.
    4 people like this.
  11. Tutsie

    Tutsie Senior Agent

    Perhaps there is something the devs can set up that will give an "opt in" option for early notifications for community events and live missions? That solves the problem of immersion for those that like to be kept on their toes as they would choose not to receive them. And allows people to get them if they want them. Whilst it would be more work for the devs, if there is software that would sms enmasse for free as someone posted, then it would just be the initial set up that would be the bulk of the work? The only thing I guess we would have to ask, would be for a rule to be made for the opt inners to keep said notifications to themselves? Although loads of people joining IRC all of a sudden might be a dead giveaway. :p

    Also, Silverfox does make a good point as well, I don't think that it's fair for people to come in and be mad at the IRC for solving the puzzles quickly. (Zekh, I'm not saying this was you) That too is discouraging because it makes the agents that have solved something feel bad for doing so and probably makes them feel like they should step back.

    On the flip side of this, I'm not quite sure why latecomers don't create a sub room to collaborate and solve the missions together - I know it's not on the main IRC chat, but it would only be to avoid the ending being spoilered so why would it be bad? Just because things have been solved in the main IRC doesn't mean that 16 people joining in 20 minutes late can't all hop in to a room together and solve the "solved" puzzles. The puzzles might have been initially solved by one set of people, but that doesn't mean that a second or third group shouldn't or can't? Perhaps someone from the first group can hop in to the room with them and monitor progress and that way when someone comes in and says "I just got this e-mail notification - what's happening?" rather than reply "oh it was solved 10 minutes ago" we can reply "welcome agent, people are working on solving that in *link to room* go ahead and join, good luck!". Or if they just want a link to the google doc then they can have it.

    I don't know. Just some thoughts and suggestions that may or may not be viable. :)
    7 people like this.
  12. Zargh

    Zargh Moderator

    As a friend of direct words, it was me who came in that evening and was frustrated about how this event was handled.
    First, i am a human. I react, i feel, i don't act like Spock, who thinks before he speaks and is only a logical one. It was an emotional reaction, a mixture of frustration and anger being late and too stupid to follow the leader group.
    Second, yes, i am at the same side as Zekh. This is not what i thought it will be. A group of very high motivated individuals tries to solve as far as they can, thats ok. But there is NO time left to explain the steps they made to reach their momentary goal.
    So all others, who join a bit later (and who are maybe as senile and slow as i am with 50), are left out. And if they ask, they often get answers with solutions, but not explanations how to come to this solution.
    Maybe i had false expectations about how this ARG will work. As i said yesterday, looks like i am on the visitors side, where some are on the actors side. I don't like it, but i can't change it. And the way it is managed and controlled or even not managed and not controlled is not how i wish it would be. But on the other side, i can understand that the community itself has to find the best way to manage all this. For me i would prefer more control from the publishers and puppet masters side, but thats my wish.

    Oh, and of course, i really miss Santiak and Bats. Where are you, my old friends?

    All in all, have fun. I will lean back and see what happens. Best way to avoid more frustration.

    Nuff said.
  13. Zerosh

    Zerosh Sleeper Agent

    That is the bigger problem I see. For instance, I've been able to solve DATASETS 1 to 3 single-handedly, but I've spent like 3 to 4 hours preparing hints and breadcrumbs to help other agents. I'm not 24/7 on IRC but the threads are, and if someone needs help because is stuck or need to catch up without spoilers the thread is always there to help them. I don't do this because I'm a Mod, I do this because nobody is doing it. I also feel like a mere spectator sometimes and this is my way of tryining to fight that, but I'm only one person.
    I'm not saying that everyone should spend 2 hours making a guide of a mission, all I'm saying is that if somenone solves a part of a mission/puzzle, spending 15 to 30 min making a post of the steps taken, as spoiler free as possible, would be most helpful both for latecomers and newcomers. And probably it would also help with what @Zargh has said.
    But that's just my opinion.

    One of the reasons I joined this ARG is because I wanted to learn new things (and I still do), not because I wanted to lean back and watch.

    Reading this makes me sad.

    They have gone undercover
    6 people like this.
  14. 4tre

    4tre Senior Agent

    I've been lucky enough to work from home and thus, have been able to quickly react to live missions in the past days. I really feel like the competition to be the first one to solve the clue doesn't help this situation. Instead of explaining to the community what happened, people (and I surely include myself) just say they got the answer and tells it, without any more explainations. And then, specifically with Cascade7, when the answer was found, everyone felt a rush of getting the next answer first, which, unfortunately, didn't help the newcomers. I tried to update forums/google doc too, but I feel not enough people take the time to explain their answers in those, which help the newcomers understanding what is going on.

    On a brighter note, I feel the current mission (with the report about Baup's kidnapping) will be less rushed and I hope people will feel welcome to work altogether and not such as a competition :)
    5 people like this.
  15. dylanamite

    dylanamite Moderator

    It's a tricky one, and I think the situations depend entirely on the type of live mission it is.
    With Falconreach, we had a time period and we knew exactly what to do and when things would happen. We had deadlines for the Recon and for the extraction plan, so we had an idea something would happen soon after the deadlines.

    With this one, the only problem I have was the releasing of the datasets. The times were seemingly random (a long gap between 1 and 2, and then 3 seemed to be released very close to 2, although I understand there were coding issues with the redirect).
    I was the one who set up the Q6 Google doc containing all the links and answers, and I found it rather hard to update, especially for Dataset 3, as once it was solved people didn't seem to give much help or any indication of how the answers were found.
    The datasets were the only times I've had any problems though - I have absolutely loved every other moment of live events. The current one seems to be going well too, now that the datasets are complete.
    The one thing I would suggest to the devs is that the deadlines worked perfectly. For example in Falconreach we knew something would happen at 16.00 UTC on a certain day and it gave some agents time to work to be available at that time. Obviously this is a worldwide thing so time zones do affect it. I think giving us slight warning for live events is a lot more helpful than just throwing us into it (although the situation once again has an effect on this. Dispatch being under attack is something that cant be forewarned.)
    Like I said it's a very tricky thing to balance... I'd just appreciate it if we were told roughly when things were going down. That's my opinion though, and it's good to be able to hear other agents views on things!
    4 people like this.
  16. Zekh

    Zekh Dimensionaut

    I agree with you dylan, the situation presets a lot about the warning and delay before mission, organization ect.
    For the current mission, phonecalls were very efficient to shake up everybody and get them working.
    We drifted away from the main topic ( i merely mentioned competition but i said, and only a few read correctly, that i don't mind that, i'm even pleased to see that we're that efficient, that's encouraging for the future), in which i asked for more efficient warnings and when we can, give some forecast about the next mission (countdown in any form).

    The sudden happening is enjoyable, it adds immersion ect, makes you react and being like "whoa fuck, it's happening right NOW, quick !"
    But it is fair only when the warning comes to you in alarming ways, to make you feel the urge and really wake you up from your normal life.
    Phonecalls works well, texts as well (especially since smartphones are always near us so it as maximum reachability) but it only concerns agents with level Orange and above, Reds will have to count on emails and luck (IRC).
  17. cowbie

    cowbie Senior Agent

    Interesting note - emails don't show up in my gmail account from TBW until about an hour after they are sent (pretty reliably, yesterday it was listed as 'Sent at 11:12am...received 12:11pm) and even though I have confirmed my phone I have never received a phone call. But after missing a few events due to this or real life obligations (including yesterday), I have taken solace in the fact that I will not be at every event. It is actually quite comforting because I no longer feel the need to troll IRC for hours. There will be other events out there.

    I suppose my original point is that I agree that sending out notifications should be more reliable so that everyone gets a crack at it. I don't know how easy it would be for a bot to leave voice messages on thousands of phones, however (I'm not into you kids and your 'computers' so I don't know) and that would still leave the reds out. As noted above, the way email works means it is not instantaneous for everyone. I got my email 45 minutes after dataset 2 was complete. Having a big banner on the forums would seem very telegraphed in some situations ('expect an enemy assault in 4 hours!'; it might would work in others ('expect coded agency communique in 4 hours').
  18. Rohva

    Rohva Gold Member

    The issue as I see it isn't that parts of these kinds of missions get figured out before some even know about them. That will always be an unfortunate fact no matter what.

    The main problem as I see it is that agents online at the time don't always seem to progress in a more coordinated manner as members of a larger organization. Yes, sometimes we do, but we need to do better at it. What seems to happen at times is that someone discovers something significant, shouts it out, sometimes in a manner that is not completely clear unless you backtrack through the IRC logs, and then the race is on by those who happen to be around at the moment. Confusion follows as others log on. Agents then become divided into those trying to figure out what has just been discovered or is being discovered and those on the vanguard moving even further out ahead until they hit a wall and have no choice but to wait for everyone else to catch up. I don’t see that anyone has ever done anything deliberate to cause this, but there seems to an increasing tendency for agents to work these agency wide missions much the way a more casual group might collaborate on a normal mission. I see a fundamental difference between these kinds of missions, and I think that is the root of the issue.

    This is not about being fair, per se, but about being more professional. I don’t have a total solution, but below are what I think might go a long way to achieving this.

    In my opinion, when dispatch has notified all agents of an ongoing or imminent organization wide mission, then agents should consciously treat it as an organizational mission of which they are only a part. When some agent makes a significant discovery his or her first obligation is to stop, take a breath, then very clearly announce the discovery and any relevant details to the agency as a whole. The announcement can be either in forum or IRC or some other way depending on the situation, though a forum post should always be posted by someone as soon as possible in any case. It should not just be something an agent shouts over the shoulder as he or she rushes on to see what is next. The more significant the discovery, the more care should go into sharing information about it.

    It would also be get a good idea to engage in some deliberate discussion among agents about what was discovered, any accompanying revelations and how to proceed before pressing forward with any further significant attempts to resolve the mission. There is always the possibility that in a rush someone could do something to set the mission back. We haven’t seen a mission failure yet due to someone attempting a wrong solution to a puzzle based on incomplete or misunderstood information, but that is always a possibility.

    Not only do such actions fulfill agency obligations, but it necessarily forces agents in the thick of it to pause when something significant happens and proceed more judiciously. That this has the effect of allowing time for other agents to join in is only an added benefit.

    Again, I don’t have a magic formula for how to do all this, and the right way to proceed will probably always be somewhat of a judgement call by the boots on the ground at the time. However, I think if more agents take care to look at these kinds of missions this way, then I am sure we can collectively come up with some good practices that will improve these kinds of missions for all of our benefit.
    5 people like this.
  19. Silverfox

    Silverfox Senior Agent

    Here is part of the problem with asking an agent who solves a section to spent 15 to 20 minutes creating a spoiler free post at that moment. You are now punishing that person for getting a solution. They are now to focus their time writing up something for those who are not there instead of getting to move on with everyone else. Look, I get it. People want to be a part of it but part of the nature of the game is you won't be in on every single part. If we can come up with something that doesn't penalize the person who happens to solve it so they can have fun as well. People complaining that it is being solved too fast, I'm sorry but people aren't trying to get it done fast for bragging or egos. They want to solve it to get to the next part, to get everyone to the next part to see what happens next.
  20. Tejco

    Tejco Active Agent

    What about a separate irc room that has nice trackable logs. Becasuse of separatation, it would be less poluted by random things and you wouldn't need to track too much of irc archive. And when latecomers or people who miss whole live event read those separate room archives, they can see whole train of thought that was put into it. I personally don't care too much if i miss something, because I can't be verywhere at the same time, but just my humble opinion upon this discussion.

    Edit: Plus it would solve the explaining part from the one who solved it to each new newcomer.
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