Me and Doner organised this quickly, we wanted to know afew things and of course have fun at the same time. With Doner he wanted somthing he could enjoy and have fun at whilst at the same time be granted huge amounts of freedom. I wanted these things too of course yet at the same time wanted to find certain specifics out that the people I previously worked with in previous communities cried "It'd never work."
Communities like Reeplex, TnB, etc.
I'll without a doubt admit, a douchy move on my end to sort of use an entire thriving player base as a testing ground but it yielded some very amazing results which I'll be sure to make use of in the future for the communities I work with or run myself. Let's start with what we learned shall we?
The character sheet & Skill system
This was one of the most important features I wanted to test out. I had a feeling this would loosen strain on in-game decision making and allow for much more smoother role play on part of the player base and administration. I also felt it'd be great hand with potential events. As time has moved on using this system we've learned few extra things too, things that augment the entire experience however we've also learned the drawbacks and necessities of how to run such a system.
We've learned the Character sheet and skill system works perfectly and it's effects have actually helped players come to a finer decision on close-quarter combat. It's also proven to me another side of "The Player" most people didnt recognise which is infact, whilst yes every player wants to win as they should and even attempts luddicrus IC actions to win. Many will adhere to their characters abilities and in many cases respect the oppositions abilities without ANY administration. Usually when running a HL2, Stalker community etc, you'll find people argue more in a melee scenario then that of a shoot out.
The sheets have proven a great problem solver. Some people are naturally stronger, some people are naturally quicker etc.
At the same time, we've learned there is a negative to the character sheet system and it lays within' administration. You see, many players wonder why admins are not responding and often loose patience yet do not realize this system is what is causing us to be busy most of the time. It seems like every five minutes someone is asking for somthing, whether it's a passive earned from long roleplay, a new skill or even trying to let us know they're deserving of some kind of "Level up.". Yes, it's a administrative time sinker and whilst I love the system with what it does I also hate it. Theres nothing worse then having to go through the sheets for the hundredth time and further more one has to think, how would we be as admins in the future? I've known myself to become less patient with players, more desensitized to their problems and I think Rem, Doner and Death suffer to the same issue.
There is a fix to this problem however requires scripting knowledge. A in-game view character sheet command would allow an administrative team to be much more flexible in-game whilst also providing every player with the ability to go /viewsheet opposed to hitting up the forums and searching through the list. I believe there would need to be some sort of in-game system where it allows you to only assign 4 points and then dis-allows access completely other then to view your own sheet to avoid cheating.
In summery: The sheet has proven to be beautiful yet such a burden.
Administration & Players
This is something I'll go over, it's something that should ALWAYS happen in every community but rarely does. Because every community isn't unique anymore, the player base is mixed with regular, new role players and ex-administrators. In fact, i'm pretty sure everyone has been an admin at least once or twice by now. I try to hold the lessons of what Shhroleplay taught me true. That was a time where not every player was a ex-admin and there wasnt as many roleplay communities. People would stick with a community thick and thin and be less willing to go on a tantrum if they died because there wasnt any where else. Today is very different, servers are cheaper (20 slots 10 bucks) So cheap a 10 year old could run one out of pocket money (Hence why so many servers are ran by 10 year olds) and of course there is hundreds if not thousands of HL2 servers and Stalker servers. With a good 98% of these communities no longer communities but simply dead servers. We can see quite easily building a stable community is hard, harder then ever. The reason this is hard is simple. Any action you implement will anger one person or one group whilst making another group or individual happy, the only difference is todays age, people go to the extreme when somthing happens they dislike. (Sounds like afew situations merely afew weeks ago.) I'll use a single example: Afew weeks back I had issues with the way some people was going about their characters and jumped on it on the forums talking about it. Now, I never enforced anything, I merely just said "I dislike this, please cutt your habits" essentially. Well, you guys know what happened, within 12 hours people are jumping to conclusions. Infact, most believed I was ordering them to stop being who they was. Observing that situation of course went into what I was doing with this community, testing and observing things.
Stage 1: Take to the forums
Scream about what you dislike, make assumptions and make things fit your side of the story. Whether or not its right doesnt matter, you're the victim here.
Stage 2: Tell your friends
Do you guys know how many people Zeddicus has actually only killed before the last event? 2, one was unintentionally and the other had been a goblin. Since last event it's 4 but I think the fact it was another realm where you don't truly die has something to do with it. According to Stage 2, I've killed ALOT of player characters and mostly for no reason.
Yes that's right, Stage 2 entails telling your friends about what you perceive as wrong, augmenting your story to fit your bill and convincing them to follow your crusade.
Stage 3: Organise you and your group
Well, clearly the best path to find out what the truth is is not to talk to the ones in-charge but instead to listen to that single voice who's complaining about everything. So what do we do now? We started a big commotion, made ourselves look like assholes for no aparent reason. Put a foul taste in the administrations mouth for us. Do we play here? Lets go contribute to the problem and make another community.
Observe ladies and gentlemen, who would've known?
I'll be straight with many of you as I have from the very beginning. ^ That doesn't work, all you essentially do is make not only a dead server but you also contribute to the problem of Garrysmod as a whole. I've seen many communities all led by very VERY creative and problem solving people and believe it or not, when it comes to the crunch of decision making, one guy is going to suffer and the other isn't. But doing those 3 steps above is what caused the entire problem in the first place with gmod as a whole. There is a reason communities like TnB work and it isnt because they give you what you want, infact rarely do they. Does that stop people from leaving? Heck no, the difference there is everyone takes what is said with a pinch of salt. TnB gets many leavers yet the true gripe of a community like TnB doesn't do the 3 stages above.
So how do we fix this problem? Well it's not that simple, this problem -is- the cancer of cheap server and easily accessable scripts. TnB, Shhroleplay, Minedog.net, Melonbrew, HL2.net all worked beautifully in a time where the only script avalible was Tacoscript 1, and even Johnny Guitar wouldnt dare looking into that mess so the average joe of a player simply couldnt bring up a new community. Sadly, Gmod roleplay is doomed to do this. It's abit like Dark souls, a community will rise, die and from the ash arise again only to enter a ceaseless cycle. The only exception is this community splits into 2 each time. I've worked with many communities in the past 11 years, to this day I don't see how we can fix this problem and I don't think it can be fixed. Garrys mod is doomed to repeat itself and most of the time, these new communities arent being ran for the right reason. See Stage 3, they're running a community to get back at original community to "Out-do" them. Where as original community merely wants to try something out and be fresh on it.
This is why 80 percent of the servers on gmod suck.
A lesson I take from my good friend Josef Nader who essentially made the system for HL2's Universal Union today.
"Never copy another guys system, make your own as you will never run that system of another guy as well as him."
I've come to realize somthing fully and the importance of this. Every up-coming community has an initial playerbase of friends, most of these friends are admins. They usually become admins based on the friendship and past experiance with their friend. However, as the community develops, the friend you placed trust in begins to make use of that trust and do his own thing, Not realizing he's crossing boundaries. In many cases, a new admin is just left to do his own thing. He tends to start out just tending to the cries of the average joe player and trying to solve it. Its mostly guess work for him. Things are pretty chaotic. Everyone has their own idea of what an admin should be, everyone has been an admin at some point and to some front is quite elitist about it. Lets face it, admin work isnt hard. You're playing people for fools if you're saying it is and the reason it isnt hard is because most of the time on an average server including TnB you're not actually administrating. You're sitting on a forums, listening and hearing out rumours and acting on them.
To point it true, in most communities an administrative team is mostly a gang
So what've we learned?
Well, it's normal to start with friends but I think administrative rules must always be implemented at the higher level and I think even your friends must be trained in administration, atleast given a run down on whats not and what to do. I also believe the only truely capable person in any community is yourself thus' everyone new or old must be trained by yourself. Training truthfully doesnt take long, it's more an induction then anything. Take Rem for example:
We had Rem go on the forums, run through what was what with a character sheet ensuring Rem understood and from there on. Observed Rem tackle a single sheet, watching him to ensure he did it correctly. This serves as a sort of test and Q&A too, allows us to see how competent a person is. Despite Rem being a newer roleplayer and newer admin, Rem is the perfect vision of what an owner wants for an admin. He'll take things slow and progress slow, asking questions whilst keeping himself flexable. If I left Rem to his own thing, he wouldn't be focused. Training also serves as another thing, a filter for what you don't want.
Sorry for this one person who I wont mention who's name:
But on day one of being made an admin, I proceeded to give this person an induction to the forums only to hear them complain argueing "I know what to do." and "This is annoying."
This of course is a red-light for me, it shows me this admin isnt listening nor' does he value what I am trying to do. He's a rogue admin. I however continued through and let this admin go on. What I observed what a whiny individual who did his own thing asking no questions and respecting no boundries, we also found him to be quite aggressive taking his previous experiance as an admin slamming it straight down on our community as if it was his previous.
So in Summery, training of an admin is somthing I will change for my future servers. Not only will I commit to lower-ranking training but also the higher ranking.
I could go on folks, sharing what we've learned as a team and what I've learned personally. There are afew other things I'd go into but it'd cause another riot. However, I will say this. I've ran this community intentionally as a dictative leader who just wants to play normally. I've avoided ranking myself up, avoided trying to be the center of an event and most of all avoided giving myself something special. I've played as a player, the one last thing I've learned and it's important:
As an owner, you are doomed to slave yourself to your community.
Believe it or not, but I am the most vile and most disgusting thing to look at in this community. Why? I do not know.
Perhaps the final lesson of this entire thread is that no matter what you change, whether you try to be a fair hand or right iron fist. You'll never be treaten as what you try to establish yourself as. Believe it or not, but the past 2 months has been an real eye opener. Over 11 years I've tried leading communities democratically to being a dictator.
Bare in mind, being a dictator isnt a bad thing as long as you listen to the advise given to you and keep a open mind.
But this time round of running a community has been vastly different to when I helped Reeplex, ran 2BN, worked with Shh or any other community. What made it different?
Well I'll be pretty brutal when I say this, this community is full of dicks. No straight up, there is no other community I've worked with that have proven to be as dickish and as vile as this one. TnB pales in comparison. Many people here are "Me me me." they do not care about the interests of others. They also have a VERY unusual look on administraive teams and owners. See, in my day kids, when we fought against the law we fought for good reason. We fought because there was some seriously unjust shit going on like the owner turning around and making somthing that would click his fingers and kill you on the spot, dead PK in a NLR server. Or an corrupt admin team branding together into a single faction wiping everyone out. Giving their personal friends guns etc. Shit like that used to warrent getting angsty and pissy in a community.
But here? Shit, we've given many of you only what you've asked for. Wanna' be a mage, heres the path follow it. Wanna be a demon? Heres the path, follow it.
We left sections of the lore out for one very simple reason that I think people finally took to 2 weeks ago. We wanted you guys to build it yourself, we wanted to see if your love with what you was playing in would be strong enough to write things yourself. No one did that except Oaker who generally loved the concept of magic and other shit. We never forced -anything- on you. All we did was establish a setting, "you're in a land called Surna, the main religion here is the light. Okay, go."
As a team what we received was different, we saw horrific things in the player base. As I said, I've ran many places but here was just shocking. I've never seen a community need to be babied so badly, I'm used to as a player writing my own rules and going with them. If an admin stops by and says "No, can't do that." I stop my path and make an alternative as any player should do. I work around my problems. But here... a single obstacle will drive one insane. Half the time the challenge isn't even that big. Some players dont work around their problems they expect some magical hand of an admin to do it for them. It's quite disturbing to be honest considering many players here are 16+.
This community has taken me to the edge many times, I've contemplated stopping the server entirely due to the random abuse we receive as team members. So, I'm glad to tell you guys one final bit of news.
This wouldnt be in the news section otherwise.
We're closing down in 2 weeks, it's got nothing to do with the playerbase. Whether it's 6/20 or 20/20, that isnt the issue. The issue is, I personally don't want to continue to submit myself to a community like this nor' does my team members. I purchase a server for my enjoyment as well as others and all you guys have managed to acheive is whine, bitch and toss insults at me and my team. We've heard wild rumours about us too and quite frankly, it's pushed us to the edge. Rarely does a server shut down because of this, usually it closes because it dies or simply runs out of money. Money isnt the issue.
Like no kidding, you litterally think we're your slaves. You've got it in your heads we're designed to serve you. I'm a pretty chill and loving guy really, but jesus. You act like your being oppressed when really no one is oppressing you. Hell, theres time I sit here wondering how I can further a bunch of peoples characters like Olaf, I go further out of my way to find a way for you guys to progress, sacrificing my personal time and enjoyment litterally for you but I personally recieve nothing. I'm not even allowed to play my own -normal- character that has zero administrative influence. You push your own admin team away and expect things to get better? Get real.
I would however like to use this post to give honorable mention to some players I've had great fun with.
Katarina - You've been great fun to roleplay with, a little newbish when it comes to roleplaying itself but great non-the less. Always willing to deal with the consequence and go with the flow.
Rem - You're welcome to administrate at any community I run in the future, any time. You listen, take in what is said and take things slow. P-friendly too.
Oaker - You didnt play too much but you defiantly are the type of lore writer I am after. You're a good example of what gmod needs.
Doner - Same boat as me, you know whats up.
Scottman - Really wish you played more
Jos - Give me the pussy boss.