When Staff No Longer Cares


  • Pitcrew

    I'm here to gather some opinions on how to proceed; out of respect, I'll try to keep details vague.

    There is a decently popular MU right now that boasts about 60-70 logins a night, and sometimes even more than that. There's plots, there's activity, and there's logs.

    However, there's no staff.

    I think we're going into a second or third week of no logins from the husband/wife headstaffer team, and the only staffer left is no doubt carrying the load (and probably tanking the complaints that are cropping up in the lounge about the wait times, without any actual authority to resolve them).

    This isn't a single incident. The headstaffers are on a wax/wane cycle of activity and non-activity that goes back months and months. When they crop up, they see to +job approvals, etc, engage a couple scenes, but don't participate in plots or really keep up-to-date on the social minutiae of the game. And then they are gone again.

    The times spent "gone" are starting to become longer than the times they are here. Players have volunteered for admin roles to keep things going, received some tepid answer, and weeks and weeks on, no one has been hired on to do anything. Neither have the headstaffers made sounds to want to transfer ownership of the game, or have someone else take over server costs and just run it in their stead. Despite that, they continue to retain control of the policies, plot directions, and major decisions of the game and don't really seem to be giving off the airs of someone willing to delegate any of that authority or control.

    What is plain to me is the husband/wife are checked out. Whatever or wherever their time and energy is being spent, either willingly or not, it's no longer on the game. Nonetheless, they're lingering; their characters are no longer integral to plots, but OOCly, they are the ones solely responsible for all decision-making, so they are still forced to remain integral to the game.

    So what does a game do when its creators no longer care?

    Left is a significant PB with years of RP that no one wants to give up, and daily activity that keeps going strong despite the lack of administrative leadership. Does the PB hold on until things linger off, and hope that the headstaffers will care again and keep up work? Even then, should the volunteers accept staff roles, knowing they are going to do 100% of the busywork while not really having "control" over the game? Do they make a new game, transfer over previous storylines, and invite others on to continue? Does it end up looking like an awkward revenge game, or worse, go the way of a sandbox?

    I'm curious what others have done in situations like this, and if there were any happy endings.



  • @morewinepls

    1. Keep playing. If the game can be played, play it.
    2. Ask to take over the game. If people are willing to take it over, and the staff is willing to let it go, do that.
    3. GOMO it. That’s “Game Of My Own”. If you can find people who are willing to create and code a splinter game, do that. Open the game as soon as you have enough framework to let people. DO NOT BE A DICK ABOUT IT.
    4. Let go, move on, find somewhere else. From the post I’m guessing this is the least desirable, but it should always be kept as an option. This is a hobby, you do it for fun. If you can’t have fun, accept that not playing is something that’s okay to do.

    I hope that helps.


  • Pitcrew

    I may be off base, but I think I know the game you’re speaking of. I understand the frustration because while they’re great people, they have a habit of doing this often. There have been many games with similar themes opened by them and they go gang busters at first but then fizzle out within months when the PB get tired of the little interaction from those who hold all the cards. The only advice I can give, and this would be true for any game suffering from this, is to hang on and find a group of people to run with. On the game that I’m thinking of, most of the plots are run by players and they seem to be crazy-good at running scenes and including people. We have a really good batch of players who can hopefully just carry the game along without staff interaction. If the game does start going the way of the Dodo, find out where other people are playing. Branch out. Our hobbie is pretty insular at this point that it feels like there are really only about 20 good games out the odds are, you may already be playing with them elsemu*.

    Basically I’m just asking you to not give up. There’s a good thing going and I’d hate to see anyone miss out due to how staff represents themselves. They will not relinquish, they will not bring new staffers on. They never do. I say just do as much as you can without bothering with staff. I hope to see you around.

    And if this isn’t the game I’m thinking of, well, the advice should still ring true and I still hope to see you around. :)


  • Pitcrew



  • At the risk of possibly starting a shit hurricane, it would help to know this game for context.

    Having experience with staffing where headstaff are checked out or pouting or some combination of the two, it's a bullet train to burnout. You can't make significant decisions without the input of headstaff which means you can't respond to any major crisis or semi-crisis, plot actions, PVP actions, any action really that isn't an XP spend or a rules check. It's sort of like working for the DMV but on an unpaid basis where players take their extreme displeasure at absent headstaff out on you, while you stamp widgets on their sheets.

    Don't do it.
    Save yourself.


  • Pitcrew

    It all depends on what you want, and how much you can tolerate.

    Sometimes if your primary interest is in more personal stories (that are unlikely to be affected by staffers anyway) and you've got a good group going who also don't care too much about absent (or incompetent) staff, then it's worth staying until the environment bugs you too much.

    If you or people that you're enjoying RPing with find that you need more support/feedback than staff can give, it's probably time to move on.

    But you can't MAKE anyone be more present. You cannot MAKE anyone get more engaged. So it's just a matter of how much you're fine kind of creating/being in your own bubble, and different people have different levels of tolerance for that.

    For me, if I have the right group around me, who ST for each other, and where there's rich RP and PC development, I really don't care about active or absent staff.. And I have been known to leave games who had super active staff but I found their STing annoying or they seemed to be way too invasive. You will start to eventually lose people to staff check-out though, because I think most folks like to think there's at least a potential of staff responding to things you're doing!



  • @mietze said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    Sometimes if your primary interest is in more personal stories (that are unlikely to be affected by staffers anyway) and you've got a good group going who also don't care too much about absent (or incompetent) staff, then it's worth staying until the environment bugs you too much.

    This. Also it depends on the game and how much autonomy they ceded to players and how much the coded systems support you. It's hard to make grand, sweeping generalizations.



  • A note about GOMOing it: If it's an original setting, don't.

    Make a game that takes the parts that you like and create your own original thing.

    Then be both stunned and awed when you average 135 logins at a time.

    Just sayin'.



  • @thenomain said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    Make a game that takes the parts that you like and create your own original thing.

    I'd also add that one should build their game with the idea that 1) It will eventually end, and 2) You might not be the one to guide it there. If a game relies entirely on you to function, then all it takes is a week off with the flu to send your work crashing down.



  • @tinuviel I don't disagree but this hobby is full of flakes. Any implication that a game runner is not incredibly dedicated is basically a red flag for anyone debating whether or not they want to invest time in the game. They generally won't if they think they'll do more work than the head staffer and see their investment evaporate due to someone else's flaking. Ie this thread.

    Saying 'this game will have a one year run' probably means it is effectively dead by month five, since no one will want to join a game that's half over.


  • Pitcrew

    It might depend on what kind of game you're running. Honestly, I would hope that a staffer run of the flu for one week would not crash a game; that sounds like it's populated by some seriously needy and demanding players. Now if that happens on a regular basis, that's different.

    I do think that players have to think about longevity also. In the sense of "I like this place, I like these staff people, they seem to be doing a good job. Maybe I won't suck this place dry immediately by having the expectation that I never ever should have to wait a week on anything, and that there won't ever be slow periods or RL happenings."



  • @apos said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    Any implication that a game runner is not incredibly dedicated is basically a red flag for anyone debating whether or not they want to invest time in the game.

    There's a difference between dedication and being the sole linchpin to an entire operation. I'm saying that one should spread the load and not concentrate the entire story of the game in your own head, as has been done before.

    @apos said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    Saying 'this game will have a one year run' probably means it is effectively dead by month five, since no one will want to join a game that's half over.

    True, but again that's not what I said. Every story has an ending, so too should every game. Go out with a bang than with a whimper. Games will die, regardless of staff's wishes, though 'people not joining' isn't at all the same as a game being dead.

    @mietze said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    that sounds like it's populated by some seriously needy and demanding players

    It's more that it was run by a controlling headstaff that refused to spread the responsibility around.


  • Pitcrew

    If they were destroyed by being out of commission for a /week/, I'm sorry man but that seems like it's just as much a player problem as a staff problem. I really can't think of anything on a game that can't wait a week once. I can think of several players who I know make life hell for everyone around them if they have to wait like longer than 24 hours.

    I agree that probably no one but the actual game owner/headstaff should be indispensible, but I also think players should learn to chill the f out about an absence of 7 days.

    I have played and enjoyed 1 or 2 person operated games before, or games with minimal staffing. Sometimes that meant I had to wait even TWO weeks before I got a response. But they were communicative and respectful, and luckily many people will chill enough to not like totally crash and burn and freak out about it.



  • @mietze said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    I agree that probably no one but the actual game owner/headstaff should be indispensible

    That's actually not what I'm saying. Nobody should be entirely indispensable.

    @mietze said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    If they were destroyed by being out of commission for a /week/,

    This part was mostly hyperbole. If a game can't survive without you, you're doing it wrong.



  • @tinuviel said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    If a game can't survive without you, you're doing it wrong.

    I think it's more about whether you've made yourself a bottleneck to reasonable RP. I've run almost all of my games by myself, but they all gave players a lot of freedom to run things on their own (i.e. "just don't burn the place down.") and tools (like +combat and plot hooks) to do so. They were also set up so players weren't constantly at odds with each other (because PvP requires a different level of refereeing.) My games have weathered any number of RL illnesses and vacations through the years without issue.

    A game like that could run for ages without staff intervention if players were being proactive about doing their own stuff.

    And if they weren't? Well, their loss. My reasons for running a game this way are more important to me than the potential of the game not surviving without me.


  • Pitcrew

    @tinuviel why are you doing it wrong? It seems kind of silly to say that unless you as headstaff/game owner can create something to run in perpetuity in your absence/after you have long lost interest you're "doing it wrong."

    Frankly the places that can survive for years without meaningful staff guidance have been some of the shittier ones I've played on.

    This seems like a really strange player expectation to me, though I have seen people get very pissed about a game ending before they personally were ready for it to end because the owner didn't have time or interest anymore. Like behaving as if they were owed the game to go on because they were having fun and the owner was a horrible person for denying them this game going on past the owner's vision or ability to keep it running in a way they felt comfortable with.

    I think that is a failure of those players to be that unappreciative/unable to handle disappointment, not a failure on the part of owner/headstaff.

    No one is owed a game they didn't create and do not run existing in perpetuity.



  • @mietze said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    It seems kind of silly to say that unless you as headstaff/game owner can create something to run in perpetuity in your absence/after you have long lost interest you're "doing it wrong."

    That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that if the game relies on you, entirely on you, then you are doing it wrong. I have been on several games with a control-freak headstaff that burnt out and the game died because nobody else could do anything - staff or players while the headstaffer took a break.


  • Pitcrew

    @mietze A staffer away from the game for a week should not be a huge deal. My favorite thing I've ever seen said in a game is "but what if it's an emergency"

    It makes me giggle and giggle.

    An emergency. A roleplay emergency.

    giggle


  • Pitcrew

    @kanye-qwest said in When Staff No Longer Cares:

    An emergency. A roleplay emergency.

    But what if something happens so I'm no longer winning!?



  • @kanye-qwest Eh, if you're the only staffer that can actually do anything? Take a week off, then next week spend time catching up on all the stuff you didn't do, some jobs sit idle for that week, some jobs take a while to process for reasons, more jobs come in and you have to do those, you burn out hard again and take another week...

    Not being available isn't the problem, it's being unavailable while also having the entire thing pinned to you, exclusively, being around.


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