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What is the Relation Between Player and PC Nation?

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Symphony D., Aug 17, 2014.

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What is YOUR Understanding of the Relation Between Player and PC Nations?

Poll closed Oct 16, 2014.
  1. Disembodied Noncorporeal Zeitgeist of the Nation

    25.0%
  2. Gestalt Government Apparatus

    18.2%
  3. Ruling Party/Faction

    25.0%
  4. Executive Government

    9.1%
  5. Executive Ruler

    2.3%
  6. Immortal Being/Beings Guiding Civilization Directly/Indirectly

    11.4%
  7. Other/Please Explain

    9.1%
  1. Amon Savag

    Amon Savag The Great

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    Holy crap how hostile. Did I pee in your cheerios, mate?
     
  2. Luckymoose

    Luckymoose The World is Mine

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    I'm clarifying my point, rather than allowing you to assume you share it with me.
     
  3. Amon Savag

    Amon Savag The Great

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    You clarified nothing, only made a rather abrupt and seemingly hostile comment that brought me no closer to a clarification on what view you actually have on the matter.
     
  4. Luckymoose

    Luckymoose The World is Mine

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    Fine, let's go to school.

    I do not agree that you have the right through stories to alter your government however you wish, or alter anything however you wish. You must align yourself to the NES, mod and players, through collaboration and cooperation, not whimsical fancies of "I'm Hitler nao!" Within reason is a good way to describe it, but even within reason I believe you must dedicate your efforts to prove why something must occur, rather than simply wishing for it as if a NES was a magical lamp you could rub down for self-indulgent fantasies. If you wish to have a great leader, do not simply say you have one, make the content speak for itself. Don't just walk in and write a story about how everyone in your empire is suddenly super aroused over the pecs of your god king. No. Give reason to believe people would like said leader. Give reason to believe the actions he takes make sense within the world, and aren't simply your own Out of Character fascinations with conquest (as your signature quotes show your history of violent warmongering with very little reasoning beyond it being your OOC personality). NESing works best when you paint a narrative that is at least entertaining to your enemies, rather than downright abusive or gamey. You as the player have no right to spoil the fun of others, and should be spending your time doing the opposite through encouragement and collaborative storytelling.
     
  5. Amon Savag

    Amon Savag The Great

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    Your post differs in no way to my view. Congratulations.
     
  6. Luckymoose

    Luckymoose The World is Mine

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    Only it does, for I specifically said you do not have a right. :p
     
  7. Amon Savag

    Amon Savag The Great

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    Hmm maybe "right" was a wrong word to use. Point granted.
     
  8. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Yes and no. That's one way to play, but it's not the only way. Collaborative and competitive playstyles are both acceptable. And both can be a lot of "fun" for everyone involved!

    I like seeing talented people fight and fighting talented people. Maybe I should just go watch mixed martial arts, but I like the intellectual aspect of conflict. Anyhow, once people can realize that losing is fun, Dwarf Fortress-style, they'll be less afraid to put themselves on the line and take interesting risks.
     
  9. Luckymoose

    Luckymoose The World is Mine

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    I did not say that conflict is excluded in the collaborative form. I just believe there is a divide between the purely competitive and the former. Because you cannot win a NES, but you certainly can lose it if you are excluded from the fun or forced out by player conflict. And yes, losing can be fun, I agree. But losing is different from losing. If you catch my drift.
     
  10. Perfectionist

    Perfectionist Angel of Verdun

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    Are you asking what it is in practice, or what I think it should be? If the former, it varies a bit from NES to NES, but it's usually somewhere in between 1 and 2, I think. As to my preference, and how I generally try to conduct myself, I'd say as the leader and his immediate inner circle, somewhere between 4 and 5; in this analogy, playing as Obama+Cabinet and top appointees (but not including Harry Reid and the Democratic power brokers), but not including the several million other people in the Executive Branch. Arguing with Clinton about the correct course of action on Syria takes place within the player's head, but the Foreign Service vehemently opposing something you decide is a mod thing, if you see what I mean.

    This is going to sound horribly conceited, but my problem with that is that very, very few of you are good enough at strategy and know enough about war to do anything actually interesting from a purely competitive standpoint. It always turns into the same old dull, predictable slog, and that's no fun at all. That being the case, I'd rather the hyper-competitive sorts not ruin the mood.
     
  11. spryllino

    spryllino Deity

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    I think this puts it well.
     
  12. North King

    North King blech

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    I've given this a lot of thought, and after much deliberation, I'll take the brave stand of "I'm not sure." I think my ideal world would be at 1 -- the player should be able to direct vague cultural aspects and generally craft their civilization in their entirety.

    But the problem is that, sadly, this puts a lot of pressure on players. For one thing, they are disincentivized from doing something that deliberately harms their country, which a sufficiently motivated player will ignore, but not all of them. Even assuming you compensate from that, there could be subtle variations which will handicap some civilizations compared to others. It is also very easy, in the heat of things, to present your people as a united group despite the fact that many internal divisions might arise, especially in existentially threatening circumstances -- and even if that's plausible, people are going to cry foul.

    I also really like the idea of having multiple player PCs, which I think would add a depth and realism far greater than what we have presently to the whole ensemble, and would allow different people to focus on what they want to focus on. But this, by nature, would take it down a peg.

    Probably the end result of all this hemming and hawing is something more akin to 3, but with the caveat that the player can suggest things that a federal government would not: cultural and religious aspects, or economic activities of peasants, or -- and this is crucial -- they could suggest what the other factions might be doing in their polity. They do not have complete control here; i.e. rebellions and civil wars and coups might happen without their knowledge... but they would have input.
     
  13. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    Another thing is that you know, different NESes demand different things of the players. We're talking about the 'ideal NES' here, but on the ground, players can and should be able to adopt to many bandwidths of role depending on the setting of that particular NES.
     
  14. talonschild

    talonschild Drive-By NESer

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    Yes, that. Thank you for articulating it.
     
  15. Darksaber1

    Darksaber1 Secret Emperor

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    While I don't do a whole lot of Nes's, I usually very all the way from 2-5, largely for reasons described by North King. It depends on the Nes and the nation, though that too can cross multiple categories; is an absolute autocracy a 5, or more of a 3, since one person has the power to dictate the nature of the government and it's plans and play whatever role they want to that day.
     
  16. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Deity

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    More should be than what it is; for example, I voted for 4 but that only sort of describes one of my last two actual play experiences; in the other I was heading up a rival party and fomenting civil war, and in describing the reactions of both sides up until a certain cut-off point, was more engaged in 2 in practice, transitioning toward 3 and 4. Circumstances definitely do alter things. Historically sweeping games tend to veer toward lower numbers as well due to a narrative "need" for them.

    I do think that in actual practice these could be treated as separate things, leading to a practice of 7: you, the player, as author, selectively putting on this hat (say, the executive), or that hat (say, the travel guide writer) as you describe different parts of the whole in different voices from different perspectives. This is more akin to what NK suggests in his final paragraph, but cast in a different format.

    This. For a long time I wanted something set in the 1950s+ just to actually use every obscure technical invention nobody else had ever heard of but which was or was almost developed to pulverize other people as opposed to just conventional combined arms blah blah blah because it seems most people fixate on a specific time period or mode of war and have difficulty moving away from it. I'm pretty sure I've seen at least two games supposedly set in the future where trench warfare was once again somehow a thing.

    I like this in theory but I think the main problem with this is two-fold: first (and less importantly) you have the zero-sum competitive perspective a lot of people bring to the game, which could either gridlock every country or could result in unfettered free action by one party (the more active and engaged) over the other (either of these may or may not happen in practice, but based on historical anecdote I'd say they're both at least possibilities); second, this logistically constrains the type of games that can be played.

    We already know the forum doesn't have anywhere near the people to fill up a 200-nation game (nor any mod the attention to manage that many people). So we tend to present scenarios with, let's say, 20-60 actors (finding the average would and correlating that to game length would be an interesting exercise), and fill out the most powerful ones and largely ignore the minor ones. If we want two players per, suddenly we've halved the number we can fill. In practice, not every country will be doubled up, so it'll probably be more like 2/3 to 4/5 capacity depending on how one cuts it up or player interest. Given the average game that's widely well-received gets maybe 30 players, you're looking at 20 to 24 countries. You can narrow a lot of scenarios down to "important" nations of about that number, sure

    Most countries have more than two important factions though, and each you represent cuts down on the player pool. In some ways what's really being done is trading focus on NPC domestic policy (wherein, if you do not subscribe to or do not feel that a player can accurately represent what's occurring, events are done by NPCs) with the focus on foreign policy, for more NPC foreign policy and a greater focus on domestic policy.

    While I don't think this is essentially a bad thing (a lot of NES boils down to a war game due to the focus on foreign policy) it would require some additional development of the domestic sphere, because traditionally there isn't all that much to do domestically (e.g., "Whoo my education is now 7 instead of 5!") and also a lot of people at least initially don't care about the domestic sphere. On the other hand, the domestic has an enormous effect on the foreign policy sphere: how many people have ever actually dealt themselves a sovereign debt crisis perpetuated by one political party purely for grandstanding, or any of the other ridiculous things we've seen happen in real life over the last 20 years?

    This leads to a possible third problem though: we already know people have difficulty caring enough about military tactics and strategy or global macroeconomics or what have you to develop a real understanding of them; how many will care about estate taxes, education vouchers, border tariffs, or environmental policy?
     
  17. bombshoo

    bombshoo Never mind...

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    This is actually a very good articulation of how I feel, on top of my previous answer.
     
  18. J.K. Stockholme

    J.K. Stockholme Right Opposition

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    Yeah you do create an interesting spectrum with these options; if you move number 6 to the top of the list you go from most general to most distinct from top to bottom. It'd be interesting to see data over time for this question, if there are usually two local maximums at Zeitgeist and Ruling Faction.
     
  19. Thlayli

    Thlayli Le Pétit Prince

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    It does sound horribly conceited, but it's not necessarily wrong. I always consult a few cursory online sources when assessing the plausibility of things that I'm trying to do; but rarely do I do the kind of deep dive into authoritative secondary literature that's really necessary. I hope to do more of this in the future now that we have the Library and other such resources.
     

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