Season 2 Live Mission Experience Feedback

Discussion in 'General' started by crux, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. crux

    crux Special Adviser

    Hello agents!

    With Live Mission 1 of Season 2 now closed, we will be reviewing feedback from players concerning the live event experience. You can use this thread to give your constructive thoughts and we will take it into consideration when planning for future live missions.

    We welcome any suggestions concerning how we set up information channels and would love to work together with the community to find ways to make our live events as inclusive and fun as possible.

    We hope that you enjoyed this live mission and look forward to hearing your feedback!

    EDIT: If you feel that you would be more comfortable leaving your feedback in the form of a PM to a Dev, we welcome that as well!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2015
    6 people like this.
  2. MidDipper

    MidDipper Division-79

    I think the live mission went well from a gameplay perspective. I wasn’t around much for the first part of the mission, just came in on the tail end of it. However, I was made aware near the end of the 3rd and 4th parts that a lack of communication and respect were weighing on our abilities to work as a community.

    Some people, for various reasons, cannot use the teamspeak channel. Even those who can use the teamspeak channel choose not to, because in the teamspeak it is not uncommon to be spoken over by other players. Many of the players who spend live missions in the teamspeak are ‘power players’—players who(like myself, arguably) will steamroll their way through missions, hyperfocused on the end-goal and not focused on teamwork and cooperation. However, because these power players do use the teamspeak, many(if not most) of the puzzles are solved there. Due to a lack of communication between the teamspeak and IRC, people in the IRC weren’t a part of many of the puzzle solving endeavors being undertaken by the teamspeak group, and things were being solved with very little input from the IRC.

    The main problems, as I see them, are these:

    1) Teamspeak isn’t accessible to everyone, due to issues with internet bandwidth, disabilities, hardware limitations (cell phone vs laptop), et cetera.
    2) Even to the people that teamspeak is accessible to, only a few users in the channel make major contributions, due to them having loud voices, strong personalities, or being known ‘power players’
    3) Information from teamspeak discussions is not equally shared to the IRC discussions
    4) Information from non ‘power players’ is not equally respected as information from ‘power players’
    My suggestions are as follows:

    1) Use Teamspeak less. This needs to be a community effort. I’m not saying DON’T use Teamspeak, but if we focus our abilities into the IRC for actual puzzle solving, and leave the trash talk and boasting to the Teamspeak, we can still have fun.
    2) Appoint someone in the Teamspeak to moderate conversation to make sure all voices are heard equally (not allowing people to interrupt others, put others down, etc), and share information across to the IRC.
    3) Remind ALL AGENTS to be mindful that we are a team, and every Agent has something valuable to add to an investigation. Live missions are a team event, don’t try to be the MVP.
    17 people like this.
  3. dylanamite

    dylanamite Moderator

    Gameplay point of view

    I loved it. It had a very interesting storyline, and was a lot of fun (especially for me!). Seeing things happening so close to my house got a little weird but boosted the immersion a lot. The code was pretty tricky and I remember us coming up with the solution about 3 or 4 times before we finally realised it was right. After that, the puzzles seemed to be fairly easy. Finding the craigslist, IDing the creature and finding the location happened very quickly.
    The Attack Plan was fun, but seemed to cause a few issues in the fact that we had to submit one. I feel that Falconreach worked a lot better, when Agents came up with their own routes and we collected them all on a Google Doc to send into Dispatch.
    Other than that, from a gameplay point of view I thought it was great and a nice introduction to the Live Events of Season 2.

    Community point of view

    We had a few problems during the live event that have been bought up since it ended. Firstly was the communication aspect of the event.
    This started way before the live event when I remember a few agents were talking about using Discord as a means of communication but that idea was quickly rejected.
    The main problem seems to be that we have too many different groups, and the groups don't relay information between them. I, for one, was sitting in the client, the IRC, the TeamSpeak and on JK's livestream for both evenings of the event, which meant that I pretty much had access to everything ever during the mission. Understandably other people won't be able to do so, and might have to rely on only being in the IRC for example.
    During the first part of the mission, the code breaking, I think we were able to work together fairly well. Someone set up a Google Doc which everyone could contribute to, and I remember it being linked quite a few times in the IRC and at least once on the forums. There still felt like a rift between the IRC and the TS, but it didn't feel as strong during the first part of the mission.

    I can't comment on much of what happened in the earlier stages of this evening as I only had brief access to the IRC and obviously Periscope when I was in the field. I remember having 55 people in my Periscope stream at one point, so it seemed that the community were able to access it and watch along, which was good. When I had the documents I sent them to MidDipper who quickly posted them to the forums, IRC and TeamSpeak.

    After that things seemed to fall apart, especially during the Attack Plan phase. The group in the TeamSpeak commenced working on the plan, while I presume the people in the IRC didn't have really much idea of what was happening. The main bulk of that mission was worked out on JKKennedy's stream with contribution from the TeamSpeak group.
    I feel that this might have been due to the nature of the mission. We're working from a map, and so having it in a visual place where people can see (JK's stream) would make it a lot easier to work from. However, this obviously disadvantages people who aren't able to be in the TeamSpeak or watch JK's stream on Twitch.

    I think we need to try and revert back to how it was during Season 1. In Season 1 we only really used the Forums and the IRC. If you go back and look at any of the threads for the Live Events last season, they were at least 10 pages long. People would discuss the mission in the IRC and instantly post on the forums when they found something significant. The forums are, in essence, the main centralised hub of the game. Especially during live events. We shouldn't stop using them!

    I think the TeamSpeak is a useful tool. Speaking things through with people using voice instead of chat can help. But there's no way that it should become more important than the IRC and there's no way we should be telling people that they have to be able to join the TS. Not everyone can, and if there's a resource that not everybody can have access to, then it shouldn't be a main resource.


    I also saw the topic of leadership and respect bought up during the live event. I think in missions, we need a few people to take a leadership role. But they need to be good leaders. We need people who can help others who might be falling behind or unsure about what's happening in the event.
    I will admit that I myself tend to take a leadership role during events. I've been the one who, most of the time, sets up Google documents and I tend to lead some of the conversations forwards. But I make sure I update the forum thread, or post to the IRC, or answer questions that people have to try and keep people up to speed.

    I'm not throwing any names out here, and this is in no way against any of the other players.
    We've got to remember that this is a game. It's an experience for us all and it should be a good experience.

    If people are asking for help, or if they feel left behind, particularly during a live event, we should help them. This is called a "community" for a reason and I think we should all just try our hardest to be nice to each other and get along and have a fun time solving puzzles!
    After all, we're all human beings here and we all deserve the same level of respect. Just something for people to keep in mind.


    This turned into a little bit of a rant but I just want to say how much I love this game, and I want to give huge credit to all the developers for being able to bring us all together and do something that we all enjoy.

    Big love guys <3
    17 people like this.
  4. Aetheros

    Aetheros Senior Agent

    On individual mission parts, the first part actually had no real information gap between IRC and TS because of the commonly posted Google Doc, which contained all thoughts of all players both on IRC and on TS.

    The main problem was the last following parts of the mission, which were alot faster to solve by people communicating and sharing thoughts via voice. Though now, the live missions are a thing thats aimed to be solved as fast as possible, so it should be obvious why this happened.
    The final part was among these aswell, it was a one hour time trial and the people using IRC constantly went on about ways how to defeat the creature, I've personally read very little suggestions about general troup placement. So I think that were the main reasons why the 30 Agents on TS didn't post their ideas back to the IRC. So the time trial nature of the missions sometimes demands faster means of communication.

    You also can't deny users from using voice communication methods to collaborate on missions because the game would get slower, and less fun for alot of people. In my case, I live in GMT+1, so the live mission usually starts 7PM my time and goes on till about 5AM, I couldn't keep myself awake any longer then that and I don't want to miss out on too much. So making the mission solving process slower is not an option in live missions. Also, no matter where you move the timeslot for livemissions, there will always be players who are in an unfortunate timezone.

    I also want to add that alot of people who were online during the live mission on IRC weren't collaborating at all. So the community wasn't actually that much bigger compared to the portion of it using IRC. I might aswell be mistaken on this one though.

    This is just an oppinion though, I won't make any suggestions towards solving the problem, because I am not sure if there actually is a problem due to my perception described in the last paragraph.
    2 people like this.
  5. Kageoni

    Kageoni Active Agent

    My general experience with the live event was positive. It is a remarkable experience when so many people across the world share the same cause and try to solve an issue while seeing the impact of their effort immediately after.

    However there was a main obstacle which become more obvious during the latter parts of the live event. The huge intel gap between irc and ts. During the atack plan phase it surely felt like ts was taking over. Hell even the voting of atacking plan in irc lasted under a minute and I am note even sure if they were going to consider a remake if we voted/improved that plan. Not all of us can participate in ts all the time and there is also the issue with limited open seats in ts. In my opinion the main issue is not whether one should be the main channel or the other considering both have their ups and downs, irc gives you the chance to check what was said by simply scrolling and ts gives you the chance of faster brainstorming. But as above-mentioned when one channel takes over the other is left in the dark, like during the last phase I felt disoriented for a while. So the main issue is equal distribution of intel between two channels. If this gap can be closed "some people -who usually regarded as the loudest- are taking over the whole situation while others simply wonder what's going on" attitude would be minimized.

    This issue also empowers another problem regarding "respect". People are feeling like their opinions are less important than the opinions of those who have a certain recognition -be it stream or common faces in ts- or people who are just good at shutting opinions down. This also involves community; community-wise we need to establish a more sharing and kinder attitude since this is a community based game and new people should feel welcomed instead of being pushed aside.

    From the mods side there are two solutions I can come up with.
    1) An official hub where we can add our audio logs, theories and related content for sharing. Like a community black archive. With the right amount of participation it would cut down the data gap between two channels.
    2) A channel where we can participate with both audio and text. Like a fusion of two main channels atm.

    As for community-wise I have three solutions.
    1) Sharing is caring people. Even if you are using only one channel, make sure you are not holding back. But don't forget to clarify if it is a theory or an actual solution for the issue at hand.
    2) We need some willing agents who would help community by instantly transferring data between two channels. If something important is going on write it on irc while listening the ts and vice versa.
    3) Don't be "that guy" who disregards new theories while a better looking theory is being discussed. Don't look down on new agents and their theories. As an agency we need to cover each other's back, this also involves being kind towards each other and hearing all mission related opinions.

    This is all I can think at the moment. If I come up with something better I will try to update this.
    9 people like this.
  6. Santiak

    Santiak MIA

    First and foremost, I'd like to start off my response here with saying that I feel that there is no one to blame for this.
    It's an issue that I've personally seen prop up in a lot of ARGs, and it's never something that starts out with anything but good intentions.

    Let me immediately follow that by saying that, if anyone feels that blame needs to be placed with anyone, then place it with me.
    As Community Manager it was/is my responsibility to solve this issue, or at the least work towards a solution.
    I'll add in my reasons for not actively working against this development sooner, despite seeing it coming from some distance away, so to speak, at the end of this post - whether or not that was the right choice is something I'll leave you to be the judge of.

    But back to the matter at hand:

    The Problem:
    The issue arises, in my opinion, as a result of the shared desire to organize. This is a deeply human motivational factor, and it is one I know all too well.
    However, the more organized anything becomes, the harder it becomes to penetrate, and the harder something becomes to penetrate, the less welcoming it becomes to newly introduced individuals.
    In addition, the more organized anything becomes, the more self-strengthening that organization becomes, and a very real threat of clique-forming - or even worse; elitism - begins to take shape, if not from the view of the participants themselves, then from onlookers, and that is more or less the single biggest nail on the proverbial ARG coffin.

    The Reason(s):
    - As hinted above, part of the reason for this is the fragmentation of communication.
    It can be caused by something as harmless as setting up a private space to talk for oneself and a few friends, or something as well-meant as working together more efficiently.
    It happened during the End of Days, it happened in the early days of TBW alpha (although a small and isolated incident), and it may likely happen again. As mentioned, there is no inherent malice initially, but it very easily spins out of control, and becomes exacerbated when people for one reason or another feel left out, as if their ideas aren't heard, or what not.

    - The other part of it can, as odd as it sounds, be how familiar we've become with each other.
    This directly feeds into the "organizations become self-strengthening" issue mentioned above; the more friendly we become, the more prone we are to joke around, knowing where each of us are coming from, but to outsiders it could easily be construed as actual mockery or hostility.

    I know that some people may prefer voice-chat, as it can be very demanding to keep up with chat. The latter of which is the exact reason why we've tried to create a system where a singular thread is established, and if possible, that threads OP is updated with current information.
    The thing to keep in mind, however, is that the more additional avenues of communication we add onto the infrastructure of TBW, the harder it becomes to keep all of those avenues in sync.
    Keeping forums and IRC in sync can already be very taxing, and if left to a single person, something that can easily mean that person won't get to participate, as they'll literally be doing nothing but syncing.
    Add in voice-chat, and this applies doubly so.

    This was the very reason the forum-system was implemented after careful deliberation on how to go about it.
    In the end - if memory serves - it was decided that whoever starts a thread for a mission, is encouraged to either keep the OP updated, or relay the responsibility to a Mod who has the time to do so.
    But I'm getting off-topic.

    The Suggestions:

    - I think the best way to try and nip this in the butt, is first and foremost by avoiding the use of other avenues of communication.
    There are two main reasons for this suggestion:

    1. The fact that they so easily begin to fracture the community, not only in terms of interpersonal relationships, but also in terms of information organization (say that three times fast), especially considering we already have one secondary "official" system in place to try and avoid the taxation of keeping up with IRC manually (i.e. the Forums and updating OP of singular threads)

    2. There is another, "In-Game" reason as well, and it's one I've proffered to the Devs.
    Extranuous modes of communication are very open to infiltration, and could potentially mean the failure of a mission if, for example, a rival agency catches wind of our plans. This is already hinted at lore-wise as IRC is the only guaranteed "secure channel" for intra-agency communication.
    This in itself, as a solution, has an inherent risk.
    It can either cause those extranuous modes of communications to clam shut, nurture distrust among Agents, and so on, exacerbating the issue. Or it can encourage players to defer to IRC and forums, resolving it.

    Regardless, in my personal opinion, I'd much rather see all private/group oriented channels of communication used in a very limited capacity - like if you're playing a different game altogether, like having a round of Cards Against Humanity, and then join everyone else in the main channel as soon as there's a hint of it being something TBW related/relevant.
    It opens up the community, it becomes easier for everyone to be heard, and we can more easily get to know each other - it's more or less the proverbial "win/win", in my opinion.

    - It of course, also, leads to the second issue mentioned earlier: interpersonal familiarity and resulting atmosphere.
    I think the only way we can deal with this, is to try and be mindful of others when we take part in the friendly atmosphere we've come to share. Not only because the in-jokes can seem hostile or mocking to outsiders, but because it opens up the community for outsiders to join in.
    I'm happy to say that I do feel this is something I've seen many Agents being aware of, making a point out of quickly putting to ease any concern that any perceived hostility is construed as actual hostility, for example.

    The other side of this, also rears its head in regards to things like google docs, or when Dispatch joins the channel.
    It's ripe with in-jokes and "attempts at the funneh", and quickly seems hostile, hard to penetrate, or otherwise obtuse for any outsider.
    The same needs to be said in regards to responses on proffered ideas. I don't think the wholesale disregarding of ideas based on a perceived notion of a relevancy/substantiation/ability of the proffering Agent to argue for it, is a good thing. It's prone to collateral damage.

    Instead, I'd perhaps suggest that we try to stay as civil and professional as possible in google docs, and keep jokes to an absolute minimum there - same when Dispatch joins.
    If we know we aren't using the doc as a notepad-for-jokes, we can leave in all suggestions proffered there, even the ones that are unsubstantiated or seem "silly" (although there really is no such thing), and we all - new- and old-farts alike - have a chance at being heard - even if it is in retrospection (*waves at CID-10*).

    Likewise, if someone proffers an answer but not the path to it, I'd suggest we refrain from "witch-hunting" that person down, or deleting the answer.
    At best we can reproduce the answer eventually, at worst, it's a red herring - either way, leaving it in and not hunting the player who proffered it, means that player got heard, and was welcomed in doing so.

    Now to explaining why I haven't proactively worked against this development:
    Quite honestly, because I couldn't, and shouldn't.
    There is nothing constructive about enforcing any mode of communication (or lack thereof, as it were) on anyone - or any issue that hasn't yet arisen, for that matter.
    First and foremost because it's really up to the community how it wants to evolve, and secondly because any active discouragement could potentially exacerbate any given issue.

    As mentioned, I've seen this happen before in previous ARGs; it's the defining moment in time where a community either continues being open, warm and welcoming, or where it becomes efficient, closed, and professional.
    Which way the community wants to go, has never been my place to say - quite the contrary, I feel its imperative that is something the community as a whole organically evolves into on its own; after all, you are the game, and how you want to play the game - while it may not be what or how I personally would like to play it - shapes the game.

    The short of the long of it is, that I felt this was something that would have to be resolved via "Trial by fire".
    Not actively trying to enforce anything but established rules is something I take very seriously as Community Manager ( by which I mean not making an issue of anything the community hasn't made an issue of yet - and not that I ignore things that aren't written down, such as code of conduct or gently poking players to play nicely if need be ).
    I know this makes me come off as nonchalant/absent-minded in the face of some issues at times, but it is something I do because I want to see the community grow - both in terms of numbers, but also in terms of interpersonal relationships - and me trying to forcefully steer the community in a given direction, is counter-productive to that.

    Now don't take that as me saying "I have the answer-sheet right here; just do this. I always knew this would happen".
    Take it as me saying "Blame me if need be; not each other. I believe enough in all of you to pull through this the only way that'll matter; as a community."
    14 people like this.
  7. Timothy Fox

    Timothy Fox Gold Member

    I think Santiak sums up the communication issue quite well. I would like to add a couple of points that I have also noticed on that issue and other issues:

    1. I have noticed that some people tend to form their own private groups for events like this and keep their developments and actions hidden from the community (Don't ask how

    I know this or to name any names). I can understand having these private groups for people that want to work together to solve special things (i.e. puzzle pieces) on their own, but this is not something that should be happening during a Live Event. This has a couple of harmful side-effects to a game like this:

    a. It splits up the community. This is like saying "you are not in my circle of friends and not welcome here". Making people feel unwelcome.
    b. Creates "elitism" within the game. This makes those in the group feel like they are "Elite Agents" that cannot be bothered with the community aspect.

    2. Voice communication (i.e. TeamSpeak), while efficient in theory, should not be used as a means of communication for missions. There are so many people that cannot access voice communication for various reasons and so much can go on that it could become absolutely impossible to relay to other channels. If everyone were able to use it, there would be too many voices going at once, creating confusion and very little would get done. People not able to use voice communication feel left out and lost. This can also split up the community by making it feel like a requirement to have voice communication capabilities and those without it will lose interest in the live missions. I know this point has come up so many times, just putting my 2 cents in.

    3. One idea I've had is to have a live mission's parts take place in different places in the world. What this does is allow more of the community to actually get out in their area for a mission instead of feeling like their area isn't good for the game. This also creates more of a plot and makes the game feel less localised and more worldwide. This will also allow objectives to be done in various time zones and allow a more worldwide community interaction. I feel too many live missions are localised to a certain part of the world. We have had a couple of worldwide live missions, but the majority of them have been very localised.

    4. While I agree with streaming live missions on sites like twitch, this can also have some harmful side effects. For example, people could be bouncing ideas back and forth within the stream instead of IRC or the forums, which will lead to information not getting to the masses even if we have a relay, not all information will be relayed. Streaming and recording is good for a recap, but not good for being very utilized during a live mission.

    5. Google docs are a great way of keeping information in a single place and constantly updated. This is an excellent tool to use for any mission and encourage its continued use with almost zero side effects.

    6. I think we need a dedicated person to make a post in the forums and keep it updated during a live mission with a couple of backup people in the event one or more are unable to do the job. This will ensure the OP will be kept updated at all times. The forums are good for a quick catch up for those that missed anything in the live mission.

    7. I think IRC should be the main channel of communication since it is logged and anyone can go through the logs to get a more detailed timeline of what they missed. This avenue is very important to making sure people are kept up to date if they missed something. I use mIRC and have everything logged and if I stay logged in it is very easy for me to scroll through the logs to get caught up, but I still rely on the log page in the event I am ever disconnected in order to stay more up to date. The forums are good to get up to speed, but they aren't updated often enough.
  8. Aquilas

    Aquilas Senior Agent

    Maybe because I stream, or perhaps it is my personality, but my views on it seems to differ a bit from a lot posted here.

    I 100% agree that we need to avoid:
    1. Elitism
    2. Cliques
    3. Split/secret information
    However, I also do not agree with this idea of trying to keep things consolidated. a chat room. If you observe twitch chat...which is IRC, you will see that as the number of participants increases, the conversations start to change. This is not a bad thing, but it is a fact. In our case, IRC can only sustain a deep level of conversation, discussion, analysis, etc when it's numbers are on the lower end. I have no fact on what that number starts to change, but I would say certainly after 30-50 people talking simultaneously.

    Due to this it is near impossible to maintain the high level of conversation required for live missions in a chat form. Therefore, IRC itself becomes extremely broken we too many people are in it trying to discuss brain taxing topics.

    Now, I have to be fair and say that this same issue happens with voice chat. In fact, voice chat probably has a lower threshold, especially in regards to the number of people who can talk, however, it does offset this a bit with the ability of faster communication and an easier method of pinging off of each person's input as well as maintaining a singular thought process.

    It is to this very fact that expecting a singular chat method such as IRC to work or just voice to work is asking for the impossible. You quite frankly need the multiple forms of input, the multiple methods.

    As a teacher, I 100% am well aware that not all people learn in the same method. Look at all the possible ways to learn:
    • Visual (Spatial)
    • Aural (Auditory/Musical)
    • Verbal (Linguistic)
    • Physical (Kinesthetic)
    • Solitary (Intrapersonal)
    • Social (Interpersonal)
    • Logical (Mathematical)
    Everyone is different in these respects. For me personally I cannot work off of just IRC. I have to talk my ideas through in a more social environment that includes aural/verbal enhancements along with visuals for confirmation, but I am also logical in many ways and can always find the physical side useful.

    As you can see I am stimulated in multiple ways to reach my potential, but what I cannot do is be in a solitary (chat is solitary enough for me) and then expect to get anywhere just "reading". I never really read my textbooks in school. I only learned through active participation in classes, even if it drove my teacher nuts when I would ask questions or challenge ideas.

    Therefore, we are hurting everyone's capacity to learn and work these puzzles by trying to limit it to a few resources, which all rely on almost the exact same learning styles. You will see more and more people become disinterested quickly by this as they may not feel left out, but they feel disconnected from the whole thing.

    So what do we do then? For starters, I think the hard line resistance to Discord is more out of stubbornness than anything else. I am not saying Discord solves everything, but Discord does provide the following.

    • Text chat which is saved so ppl who come in late can easily go back and read up on previous or most recent discussion
    • Easy access in and out of voice communications with the ability to still participate in the chat room (Voice does not have it's own chat room, you still use the same chat channel)
    • Visual confirmation of people in the chat who are also in Voice, so you can see them in chat and them catch them in voice real quick to break down an idea etc when it gets too intense for text
    • MULTI-PLATFORM SUPPORT: Browser, Mobile App, and Physical PC Application
    • Visually see additional channels for specific missions (much easier for new ppl to see than in IRC)
    • Image/Tweet/Webpage URLs automatically present their content for quick and easy viewing.
    • Ability to upload files for others directly to Discord so we can more reliably transfer files to the community faster
    To top all this off Discord plans to bring many other features down the road that will be great for us. Perhaps game integration to link our Discord to our game accounts, bots, api, and more.


    While I personally believe what Discord offers is far greater than anything we can achieve through IRC at this point, I also don't believe it is the full solution to our problem. Nothing magical comes out of just switching to Discord and all is fine and dandy. The rest is actually just up to us personally to handle and keep each other in check.

    1. Always assume someone new is around and you are trying to make them want to stay
    2. Keep jokes to a very brief period and preferable not during the beginning stages of a mission
    3. Furthermore, if the other person did not laugh...they probably did not find it funny so don't push it further.
    4. Always assume you will miss something (I got a little upset I missed a little mission the other day...but I should expect that at times)
    5. Be always open (We all close our personal communication channels at times, but during missions we need to allow others to speak)
    These are just some simple things and may not be written in the best of manners. The overall deal is that we cannot remove the joking without creating disdain, and we cannot be inviting without checking ourselves each time we open our mouth. So it is a hard balance between these things and we need to not be afraid to talk to each other.

    That is right we need to NOT BE AFRAID TO TALK TO EACH OTHER. In a world that has gone stir crazy over being POLITICALLY CORRECT, we have forgotten how to share our thoughts with people. Ironically, because we have forgotten this we end up blowing a fuse and try to communicate it in the most negative way possible and then get defensive because we are just "speaking our mind".

    We have to more often just talk to people about our thoughts, sort of like this thread is doing. This thread actually came at a perfect time. If this thread had waited until after the next live mission...some people might have blown their tops off during the next live mission because we never said anything about it.


    I have typed a lot in here, and perhaps too much. The short is that I think the distaste for Discord is misplaced and that it would do us a lot of good to use, and that the rest of our issues lies in us remember that we are all different people. We learn differently, we have different personalities, and we all want to feel invited. So always act like you are trying to make the next person want to be a part of what you do.
    9 people like this.
  9. riningear

    riningear Division-79

    Dylan, Dipper, Santiak, and Tim sum up a lot of my main concerns extremely well.

    To speak to JK's attempt to break down his perspective of the situation - and as someone else with mild attention/communication/processing anomalies that make being acclimated to certain situations difficult though, in my case, with audio instructions being harder to process instead - we're on a much different platform than a classroom and, more often than not, not conveying a message but instead working towards a solution that none of us really know. It's more like a live art collaboration than a live teaching session, where we're building up to a point from scratch instead of breaking something down to understand and reconstruct it. That latter part does come when we eventually figure out what's going on, which, as you may have seen in the past, does eventually happen with all the puzzles that are done on here.

    On a more wide-scale basis, unfortunately, getting people to build from scratch with us means that we have to have an accessible way of getting people onto the boat with us. Unless someone's willing to log down all the information we've spoken about - which, by the looks of it, nobody is because we're all lazy or talking too damn fast - we're unfortunately going to have to stick with IRC. And trust me, I love Discord and I wish it were used more in the general gaming sphere. The point is, given it has voice and text still, it'll create the same effect -- it's not accessible like IRC servers are, and even if it were, there are people I'm familiar with who cannot access audio means or refuse to speak for a multitude of reasons (we aren't all hyper-confident streamers here), which means it'll end up drowning out voices, whether literally or through a lack of accessibility to the audio itself. It's not the platform, it's the intent.

    I think the key in the future is going to be trying to take a community-wide responsibility for creating an inclusive-as-possible environment. I was in the TeamSpeak as well, and it was enjoyable at times, but even I myself couldn't keep up all the time with the audio discussion, and I've talked to quite a few people who were intimidated - yes, intimidated - by the fact that there was a few of us talking in some chat that wasn't even publicly spoken about unless asked about, and/or the audio aspect. That's a legitimate problem. (Take note, I do a bit of leadership outside of this game in a diverse environment and so I'm speaking quite a bit from that perspective.)

    So I'm making a promise to myself and everyone that was concerned to try to be more involved in the IRC during these events, because that is where I know for a fact everyone will be, and we already have hashed out the means of making the discussions there as accessible as possible through logs, and we might as well use that so new agents can feel welcome again.

    Also, on a gameplay basis: That last puzzle had great intentions and was really awesome to mull over, but in terms of bringing together the community, it was kinda awkward. We as a community don't really have a visual collaboration method that can actually accommodate the sorts of expectations that were given to us, especially not in the time we were given, and especially not without creating a hierarchy of "who's literally controlling the pieces and has the voice." We managed to find something mid-tier but it was mostly - again - shared in TeamSpeak, controlled by a few people, executed by a few. And the time given to us was insufficient for us to find those resources and whatnot.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2015
    9 people like this.
  10. Zargh

    Zargh Moderator

    Nice discussion. Tons of words. So many good points. But...there will be no way to change humanity!

    In other words: There will always be people who wanted to be first, who wants to win. And they don't care about the others. And there will always be groups, lead by those "alpha people".
    And it doesn't matter what you try, they will always find a way to build their groups and to communicate and solve and win.

    The only way to solve this is game design and moderation! I know nobody wants to hear this, but thats it:

    If you don't want to have rat races, design your game in a way where there is no need to rush.

    If you don't want to have so called elite groups, filter the input with moderation and game masters who manage the tempo.

    If you don't want to have people using their own tools, force them to use the tools you developed.

    If you don't want to have players who feel useless or left behind because of their language skills, slow down the communication.

    If you don't want to have such a game, then there is no solution.

    Nuff said...
  11. Aquilas

    Aquilas Senior Agent

    On terms of accessibility, I don't quite agree with you that IRC is more accessible. IRC has an easy web client for sure, that you can just put in a name, but beyond that it is not very accessible. If you are not in a browser for it then you are worrying about what server, channel name, how to type that in with /server /ns etc.

    To those of us with past experience with IRC these seem like easy things, but IRC is not a common tool anymore and I guarantee that there are tons of people who have probably bought The Black Watchmen, but we are 100% unaware of because of "IRC". I personally believe we have super low participation numbers b/c of this hurdle.

    Now, Discord may just be the same hurdle, but at least I can access it on browser form, PC client form, and mobile app in a very simple process. The first time I click the link I have access to it on anywhere I have Discord. No need to set-up server address etc. I think this is much more accessible than IRC when you look at it from more than just the web access. If you only look at the Web access then yes IRC is more accessible.


    I did not speak about mission types earlier, but I meant to. Part of the "flow of information" is related to the missions as many above have said. I for one love these "be quick, react, and short time limited" missions, but I also see their flaw. It is obvious they generate this frenzy and intense feeling, but from a community perspective they leave no choice but to isolate or have the alpha community members lead the charge.

    I think we need to be ok as a community with having these time based missions that are shorter at times, but I also think that you all as the developers need to be sure to craft missions that are complicated enough that they are intended to take a couple days just to solve 1 part.

    All the lost information or miscommunication would most likely go away if the mission was going to take 2-3 days. Then people would still work in their solo or group methods, but they will also share information more likely and utilize the shared info documents. Sometimes they wont, but you are less likely to know as an individual unless they gloat about it.

    Some things to do to increase the time length which will naturally avoid the TS vs IRC issue:
    1. Increase difficulty level (this is hard I am have to be able to outsmart us quite a bit)
    2. No hints (hints are nice, but I think that perhaps they need to be 100% left out and allow us to fail or simply take longer to solve)
    3. Involve heavy and long planning (like the escort/trip planning mission)
    I just woke up, so I am not sure what else at the moment, but I am sure others can think of things.
    2 people like this.
  12. Kakuzen

    Kakuzen Gold Member

    I decided I might as well throw my two cents in here as well. Santiak and Aquilas made good points in my opinion, but I might as well chime in.

    I feel that IRC is a great way to go regarding Live Missions, etc, BUT that cannot be the only way of communication. TeamSpeak is helpful, but it can rapidly lead to people talking over each other (this was a major issue in this last Live Mission), confusion, and all around uncoordination.

    In my opinion, this isn't sonething that can really be fixed without a slow evolution of the community. I feel that IRC and forums are the best places to keep up to date on missions, but everything can't be just there. Too many people leads to too many ideas and too many messages, and this can make the experience chaotic at best, and uninviting to new players that aren't used to this sort of thing.

    When it comes to what community does what with which program, etc? Honestly I feel that is going to be a "survival of the fittest" type of deal. Whichever client gets the most amount of participators will usually be the main spot for communication.

    There are programs like Discord, which are great, but can still lead to the same issues regarding elitism, people talking over each other, etc... Really, with a large community with voice channels, that is bound to happen no matter what. I would say to keep most communication via IRC for brainstorming, and forums if you have any ideas that should be looked at. Forums are much more organized, and tend to have way more information you can gather from it.

    I have noticed that the live mission threads for this Season have had nothing but basic updates, with no real communication and honestly that is unacceptable. There should be a way for new players to go along with what the community did to lead to their answer. It promotes a community mindset, and that is what this game thrives off of.

    I feel that while a lot of us try to take in new players, and teach them the ways of The Black Watchmen, we are also pushing them away by forming cliques, etc. I can't really say much about my experience, since I was able to merge into the community without any issues, but the issue still stands. A few people join, while as Santiak put, we attempt to make certain jokes (Which is okay, but we gotta be careful to not confuse them. They don't know how we joke yet), and that scares them off.

    So honestly, in my opinion, we will have to make changes, but it'll be slow. We need to learn how to post in both IRC and Forums if we wish to do voice communication. We need some kind of, idk, "Live Event Representative" that keeps things up to date, while the players themselves post their thoughts on the board and chatroom.

    Anyway, apart from all that crap, I had fun! But, we just need to work as a community to better ourselves and be a more informative community. Typing on my phone, so sorry for any typos! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2015
    6 people like this.
  13. Dungasaur

    Dungasaur Active Agent

    I'm pretty new to TBW. I also don't generally use forums, chat rooms, Reddit etc. and I feel a bit uncomfortable communicating with people I don't know over the internet (I don't know if I'm getting across what I want to say how I want to say it).

    That being said, I had a phenomenal time during the Live Mission! I spent most of it in Teamspeak. While I did not speak up very often (I only activated my mike maybe 4 times during the event) I felt like the ideas I offered were taken seriously and that my contributions were respected by those who have been active in the community for a lot longer than I have. The atmosphere on the channel was lighthearted and fun, which did a lot to help me feel like I was welcome.

    I did notice the informational disconnect between TS and IRC, but personally I would have had an extremely difficult time following what was going on if I was using the IRC. I don't have a lot of screen space, so when I was researching I was not able to also keep track of what was being said, as the IRC was obscured by other windows. Most of my experience would have been just reading chat and I would not feel like I could actively contribute. Plus the nature of these sorts of puzzles is going to guarantee at least some fragmentation of information as different groups are going to try to solve it in different ways.

    I can only speak from doing this one LE but I absolutely think that some sort of voice chat in the community is vital to having a satisfying experience.
    9 people like this.
  14. MochiInvasion

    MochiInvasion Senior Agent

    keeping in mind that a) i struggle with live missions anyway because brain stuff and b) i was only here for half of this live mission, here's what i think:

    someone people cannot - physically, mentally - etc use teamspeak or ANY voice thing, including discord or skype groups or whatever. i know this isn't true for everyone, but i reckon it is for the majority, even if they are the silent majority. the issue is when people solve a puzzle/whatever in one channel and then don't pass that information onto the others. so someone can say "i solved it!!!" and then after 10 minutes of being asked how someone else will explain it. which fucking sucks, basically.
    also wrt twitch: twitch, for whatever reason, basically never works for me. sorry aquilas, but the fact is that it's another way to split the community which we don't need. you can say whatever you want about TS being quicker or twitch allowing people to look and chat at the same time, but that's excluding people for whom that's not possible and that's a FACT. i know this, because i am an example *fingergun emoji*

    also wrt elitism + leadership, as a very strong follower i appreciate having people take charge, lead conversation, start gdocs or take a role as communicating with NPCs or dispatch, etc etc. however there definitely are/are going to be people who will see themselves as "better" and won't share information because they want to leave it a "challenge" when that's not how the fucking game works (see: season two puzzle pieces). partially, that's a side-effect of people being people, but i also think there's an onus on people to understand when they're being an asshole about it, or be fine with people calling them out, as it were. also, to people taking offence at the fact that most people in the irc may be quiet just remember that just because you don't particpate doesn't mean you don't take part. i've had times where i've done plenty of research and never contributed because nothing i found was worth contributing. if you're being a dick about this: congratulations. you're the one excluding people. it's you.

    i'm fairly certain i remember the event santiak is talking about in the alpha, and that was a shitstorm, because people decided who they thought was clever or better equipped to answer, etc. i have a distinct memory of being one of those people, despite contributing fuck all, because i'd been about for previous missions and was often in the irc. elitism at play people, and i'll happily confess that i shouldn't have been in that group, because i was completely useless. *waves tbw cane about*


    here's the breaks: official forms of communications are a) IRC b) FORUM. that's it. anything else is unoffifical, despite what anyone (....) may say. if people wanna use teamspeak or twitch, fine, but a) it is unofficial and b) you gotta take the onus for sharing information, or the blame for helping fracture the community. for live missions or puzzle pieces, where the emphasis is on sharing information, i feel like if you find a piece of information you should be responsible for sharing it on irc, forums, etc. so the more methods we use, the more work you have to do. i'm a tbw veteran and i think the live missions in season 1 - and the purely text based communication we've used for the last...18 months? jesus - is better for a larger community. and also myself because i'm selfish and salty af.

    also, if any of this seems like a personal attack, it's because i remember your actions, and i'm not naming ppl because i'm like 20% not an asshole, but i am also salty af. so bear that in mind.

    *more fingergun emojis*
    6 people like this.
  15. Daedalus

    Daedalus Division-79

    Alright, crying about this on IRC means I've got to wonder over here and weigh in.

    Since I started up here, I've been trying to edge this community away from the cesspool of elitism TSWRP became. This is a game, we're here to have fun. I've had people PM me furious that I dared point out this isn't a canon part of the secret world, and largely unconnected. Apparently telling a new player who hadn't played TSW that he wasn't really missing anything was quite offensive to someone who felt the games should be synonymous. But, two main points that are popping up here.

    With the idea of Green and Black clearances, live missions, and time sensitive events, the idea of an elite class of agent or "power player" as it was previously put is appealing for its efficiency. It's also downright stupid. If you're quick witted in a live mission, you should try to keep others informed and help clear things up for them, it's not a competitive PVP setting. I've noticed the perverse pride some players are taking in being snide, or pedantic, or just generally assholes. Often citing some special reason as to why it's okay for them. In a community game like this, everyone should be trying their hardest to include others. If someone cares about how much of a super cool elite power gamer you are, they're either feigning politeness or part of the same circlejerk.

    As has been stated ad nauseam. There are two proper methods of communication, IRC and the forums. The fan made teamspeak, that feels more and more like it was set up to fluff its unnamed creator's ego, despite virtually everyone saying it's a bad idea because this exact thing would happen, should not be used as a major factor in missions. Speaking of, can some admin remove the word "official" from the thread on that? Anyway, I digress. Hanging out in someone's twitch stream or teamspeak is fine, especially if you want to bounce ideas around with friends. But as a whole, IRC should be your mainstay, and should always be consulted before making a decision. How would the Toronto finale have felt if I didn't tell you guys about the monkey paw, and only talked it over with the handful of players that hang out in the teamspeak I frequent?
    14 people like this.
  16. atunacat

    atunacat Senior Agent

    Everything I feel has been said in one form or another. But going to add a couple points here.

    A) Accessibility- People seem to have a misconception about what this actually means, no I'm not talking about everyone here but there are definitely people who think this means how easy the community / missions are to take part in as someone who has no disabilities.

    In actual fact, accessibility is, as anyone who's done web development courses or other product design type things- is how easy something is to use for someone with disabilities. Anyone saying, "Teamspeak / other voice chat is easy- all you have to do is open up this VOIP program!!" is REALLY missing the point. As for people who feel that fast scrolling text is also difficult and can be really uncomfortable for people, I understand and urge you to consider that the fact you can scroll back through IRC and take things at your own pace is something those of us who are unable to use teamspeak can not do, but I do understand that this probably doesn't make you feel better- I wish I had a better solution, maybe Skype one on one with someone doing the mission who can keep them informed? Or maybe Teamspeak is suitable for small groups as long as communication is kept to IRC by some means.

    B) Yeah no actually all my other points to do with elitism, cliques and power players has been covered. I'm in agreement with a lot of the above posts as people are likely aware. The only thing I want to add is that this game needs new players, it needs a growing fan base because the game is not subscription based. If we give off an unfriendly community, and make new players who might not be as up to date OR make those with disabilities feel unwelcome the game will die.

    Let me reiterate, IF we push people away in any form- WE will kill this game, maybe sooner than later.

    14 people like this.
  17. Timothy Fox

    Timothy Fox Gold Member

    After reading all the posts in this thread, I have noticed that people are getting things out that have been bottled up. I admire that people are doing this without becoming too deconstructive.

    In response to Atunacat, "Accessibility" actually has multiple meanings based on where you are coming from. What was explained in the post is from one viewpoint, but what other posts are talking about refer more to the word "Accessible" (reference:

    I have actually noticed a downward spiral a bit with live events and the release of new missions. I have seen so many people feeling ignored and new agents feel unwelcome. When I notice this start happening, I try to take a diplomatic role with those people to try and keep the newcomers playing and feeling as welcome as possible, as well as keeping the people that feel ignored from leaving all together. I have looked through the logs and have seen so many newcomers come in and ask for help only to leave 30 mins to an hour later without even being acknowledged. People seem to be ignored the most when new missions are released. I remember one time I had to say the same thing several times before anyone would even acknowledge I said something. I used to love playing MMOs until this kind of thing started happening, then steered clear of them as it took all the fun out of playing. I have noticed a similar situation forming with this community. I have been with this community since the End of Days ARG and don't want it to fail.

    I think quite a few people are missing the point when using multiple forms of communication. I have been in many different positions with varying types and amounts of communication. One thing I have seen in my experience is the more types of communication you have going at once (i.e. Forums, IRC, TeamSpeak, Streams, etc.), the more information that will be left out when communicating between the different forms. For that reason we need to keep the types of communication for community events as low as possible, even though it may get crowded. The whole reason for this is to keep as much information as possible flowing to everyone at once so that as few people as possible can be left out. This mission was a perfect example of it. For client missions, information does not need to flow like it does for live missions, so I can see many avenues of communication for client missions.

    Here is a little war story for you from my military days (I spent 5 years navy and almost 5 years air force):

    When I was in the Navy we would get low scores on communication almost every war scenario. This was due to too many avenues of communication (Hand-held radios, ship to ship radios, satellite radios, IRC (classified and unclassified), internal ship communications, and satellite telephones). There was no way we could effectively use all those types of communication, so we had to take a hit on it all the time. When I was in the air force we only had radios, IRC, and telephones for communication and our scores were always 100% better. This was due to less types of communication and less avenues to relay.
    8 people like this.
  18. Kakuzen

    Kakuzen Gold Member

    I absolutely agree with that statement. That is why I feel that the community will change and once they see what works and what doesn't, they will start to use the main ones. IMO, IRC and Forums are the best methods of sharing info and helping others, especially becauae of the fact that they are the official channels of communication.
    2 people like this.
  19. MidDipper

    MidDipper Division-79

    On the issue of IRC becoming too crowded/chatty during live events, I propose the following suggestion:

    Create a separate channel JUST for posting theories/clues and possible solutions to the live event. Use the operation name as the name of the channel, for clarity. For instance, during a the last live event, you would have two channels active: #division66 and #jadelion. #division66 would be for casual chat, just the way it is now. #jadelion would be more heavily moderated, and postings in that chat would be expected to only contain work on the ongoing mission, in a professional tone. Not following those guidelines could result in being kicked from the channel or other repercussions, whereas #division66 could continue to be the sort of place it already is: very casual, very chatty, very hard to follow while working on live missions. :)
    11 people like this.
  20. Steelgramps

    Steelgramps Gold Member

    This sounds like a great idea!
    7 people like this.

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