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sndwurks

Keeping the Story Team

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I have to say: If you are writing you are putting yourself out there.

 

Some will love it, some will hate it. If you can't deal with the criticism you should not put yourself out there.

Why the hell are his friends outraged when a bit of criticism is uttered?

 

That should be a non issue. This threat is harmless. Nobody here went full Marcel Reich-Ranicki on him. 

He should be professional enough to just shrug it off. That he is not, is worrying.

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The only time I recall Shawn being on the defensive was when another ST writer was being bashed on (not merely critiqued). As for why Shawn's Facebook friends may have come to his defense likely is a result of the sale to FFG and their desire to see the Story Team retained by FFG in some fashion. There is a lot of anxiety about the future of L5R as far as the ongoing narrative of Rokugan and it was that tradition that made the game unique and interesting, its loss would be viewed negatively by a large vocal fanbase. So the sight of harsh criticism of the most recent Story Team Lead could be seen as counter productive towards the goal of getting FFG to keep onboard a Story Team at all. I wouldn't know for sure as I did not see that particular post of Facebook, but these are the perceptions I have seen since the FFG announcement was made. Also being the internet perceived threats, slights, criticisms are typically viewed more harshly than they were intended.

 

I am not saying I think that the Story Team was flawless as it was, but please realize they were pulled in a lot of directions between Brand Leads general direction for the game and accommodating story prizes which often required weaving the improbable to the absurd into fiction simply due to a CCG player's whim had to be hard at times. That they continued to do what they did and the only payment received was in the form of AEG product which they often gave away as prizes at tournaments they attended is in of itself showed their dedication. That they would deal with the L5R player entitlement mentality to try to make things as good as they could on their end showed their graciousness. That from time to time they could be defensive after all they put into Rokugan showed that they are human.

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I have to say: If you are writing you are putting yourself out there.

 

Some will love it, some will hate it. If you can't deal with the criticism you should not put yourself out there.

Why the hell are his friends outraged when a bit of criticism is uttered?

 

That should be a non issue. This threat is harmless. Nobody here went full Marcel Reich-Ranicki on him. 

He should be professional enough to just shrug it off. That he is not, is worrying.

This. QFT.

As for his times spent being critical, the most recent was in response to a post by someone I know so I've got a pretty good memory of it.

It was just after WCIV. The general consensus, issues with the point scoring aside, was it had been a decent game. That said, even the best of forum games have room for improvement. Kiku Toshi, generally regarded as one of the most solid L5R pbp games ever run, had its share of critics. So, it was no surprise to me when people came forward wanting to offer their insights. Were some rude about it? Sure. However, many took the general tone of wanting to see the next game be even better and wanting to share their thoughts on how to do that.

Anyway, an acquaintance of mine did a post amongst these critiques. He was in one of the point-scoring threads (where criticisms had also been posted), and simply asked if that was the appropriate place to offer constructive criticism, or if the folks involved would like it to be posted elsewhere. Didn't even say anything negative. The most 'negative' he was going to say was how some NPCs weren't all that presence since some GMs fell ill and there was nothing in place to shore up their NPC posting. However, Sean quoted his post and went -OFF-. The overall point of his reply was that the people that worked on WC worked really hard, so people should 'stop telling them what they did wrong'. Personally, I think that's an awful attitude to take, and indicative of a more serious problem. Namely, the recurring habit, by Shawn and others, of swatting down criticism rather than encouraging it.

As for 'earning' lashing out, I will say that members of the playerbase have taken some frustrating stances at times. That said, earned some lashings? No. If they broke rules, they earned an appropriate response in that sense. But under no instance should someone affiliated with a business lash out at its customer base. This is especially true with a community like L5R where a mass majority of commenters are all working toward the same goal- better products from a better game. At worst, where criticism gets unfair/personal, a comment is warranted. Or quietly/politely dismissing it is appropriate. But generally speaking, it should be taken into consideration and perhaps even discussed further. The folks at AEG proved long ago that they put little stock in people's claims that they'll leave the game. So many of those threats are entirely empty.

I accept that human error happens. Emotions are going to go out of control sometimes. But at AEG, this became far too consistent a problem. I was on those forums from the earliest days of them. I watched it over the years and, on occasion, jumped in to defend players and the Story Team (or mods, or whoever) alike. The problem on the AEG forum was a fundamental one- the folks running the show did not trust their players. They went into situations assuming critics did not know what they were talking about, were attempting to manipulate people, or were just trying to start conflict. They regularly assumed the worst of many members of the base, then responded accordingly. It wasn't fair to those players, or to the community as a whole when people attempting to offer criticism were dismissed like that.

If you can't tell from the length of my posts and my tendency to actually respond to counterarguments, I didn't particularly care if people are bothered by my willingness to offer criticism. I've sent it/posted it anyway. At times, it hasn't exactly earned me favors. :P That said, the people I felt bad for were the folks that would post criticism once or twice, get lashed out at about it, and then rarely (if ever) do it again. Or the folks that were new to the forum, excited about the game, and then got to see this sort of treatment, firsthand or otherwise.

Trusting your players and approaching them accordingly is essential if you're going to be actively involved with reading/responding to their opinions. If you initially approach each individual as if they're being deliberately offensive, trolling, etc. there's a real problem with the way you're running things. This was a consistent issue on the AEG forums. I dealt with it first hand in my early instances of offering criticism, and watched many others deal with it too. If ST members can be involved in the product without acting that way, as I said before, I welcome their presence. But if they're going to continue with an unwillingness to fairly accept criticism because they assume the worst in people, that's bad for the game and bad for the community.

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I agree that constructive criticism is a good thing. I did not hover over the AEG forums as much as I would have needed to to catch the moments of lashing out and I was not involved with WC4 at all as I was too busy with RL matters to participate in any fashion. Though your concerns with that type of behavior seems to be put to bed by FFGs policy of staff not interacting on the forum, though I do not know if that is actually a policy even if I have seen it expressed as such several times by people on the forum. Though getting the players used to the idea of an aloof Story Team might be difficult, of course having almost two years to wait may take care of that as well. Myself I just hope that FFG continues the ongoing saga of Rokugan with player actions making a difference expressed in somewhat regular releases of short stories. Like pretty much everything L5R related we are stuck in a wait and see mode...

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I agree that constructive criticism is a good thing. I did not hover over the AEG forums as much as I would have needed to to catch the moments of lashing out and I was not involved with WC4 at all as I was too busy with RL matters to participate in any fashion. Though your concerns with that type of behavior seems to be put to bed by FFGs policy of staff not interacting on the forum, though I do not know if that is actually a policy even if I have seen it expressed as such several times by people on the forum. Though getting the players used to the idea of an aloof Story Team might be difficult, of course having almost two years to wait may take care of that as well. Myself I just hope that FFG continues the ongoing saga of Rokugan with player actions making a difference expressed in somewhat regular releases of short stories. Like pretty much everything L5R related we are stuck in a wait and see mode...

I suppose we could organize a just-for-fun Winter Court 5 if we get really impatient. :P

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I have to say, I start to like the idea that FFG is dropping the whole story thing and make a timeline neutral game instead. By the way is their Star Wars game timeline neutral? Anyway, I get fed up, with all the discussions about the Spider and the Taint, everybody want something different from the things in the game, so why not drop the story and let everybody project unto the cards whatever they want?

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I suppose we could organize a just-for-fun Winter Court 5 if we get really impatient. :P

 

Some WC IV alumni are of the exact same mind... :P

 

Canon or not sounds fun. Just wish I would have time, wrapping up my degree sadly needs to be my priority.

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I don't particularly think that a story-less timeline neutral L5R, given that we're expecting major mechanical changes, will successfully retain much of the original player base.  The impact to the sense of community will do more damage than wonky new mechanics.

 

The "original player base" was small and still shrinking. Keeping those players around will not be FFG's primary concern.

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I have to say, I start to like the idea that FFG is dropping the whole story thing and make a timeline neutral game instead. By the way is their Star Wars game timeline neutral? Anyway, I get fed up, with all the discussions about the Spider and the Taint, everybody want something different from the things in the game, so why not drop the story and let everybody project unto the cards whatever they want?

 

To have a strong stable setting perhaps even time-line neutral together with an RPG which works within that setting is a good idea for me.

 

However the LCG should have more dynamic then this, but I realized that FFG published novels.

To have a novel lining up with the core set release might be a smart move to basiclly picture the directing the LCG is taking.

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As someone else said, to drop the story altogether would be the ultimate blunder.

 

First of all, the ongoing story is one of the main things that attracts people to the setting and the world of L5R. FFG knew this when they purchased the IP, and they knew that it is what moved a large portion of the existing playerbase (that isn't as small as you may think). And secondly, perhaps most importantly... you don't need to spend top dollar to purchase an IP, if all you want is to make a generic LCG samurai game with no story. To do so would be a rather stupid business decision (akin to just dump a load of money in a trash can and set it on fire), and stupid is not something the folks at FFG are.

 

The story will continue. In what molds, that remains to be seen.

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As someone else said, to drop the story altogether would be the ultimate blunder.

 

First of all, the ongoing story is one of the main things that attracts people to the setting and the world of L5R.

 

The ongoing story is as much a hindrance as it is an asset.  When I have to explain to new players why the Sun and Moon have been switched out twice or why the Spider exist, I can feel their interest wane.

Edited by Igarashi

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As someone else said, to drop the story altogether would be the ultimate blunder.

 

First of all, the ongoing story is one of the main things that attracts people to the setting and the world of L5R.

 

The ongoing story is as much a hindrance as it is an asset.  When I have to explain to new players why the Sun and Moon have been switched out twice or why the Spider exist, I can feel their interest wane.

 

 

Both of these points are equally valid to L5R.  The ongoing storyline is a major draw for the RPG, and as someone at my tabletop game put it yesterday, people were willing to accept some of AEG's more questionable decisions with the brand because they were truly invested in story.  The story has compelled many events and decisions outside of the game that have only given strength to L5R.

 

However, Igarashi's point is just as important.  The problem with so much emphasis on story, and more important, so many player-driven decision, is that the ongoing story has become an unwieldy mess.  The reliance on story events and a probable lack of will to do the necessary re-writes and revisions the setting desperately needs, has left the story in awkward place where it is difficult to get new players invested in such a juggernaut, while the Story Team has been painted into a corner trying to move the story forward while being true to its messy history and attempting to appease all fans.

 

This perilous situation for the story brings us to the issue of the previous Story Team and the importance of addressing the issues plaguing the story.  If FFG wishes to keep the current team due to their knowledge of L5R's complex history, I see no fault with that decision.  However, as I have said in other boards, a narrative jump, combined with less player-driven story decisions and a more cohesive vision for the story, will allow the team to address the major problems within the story and begin moving forward in a more approachable, less onerous manner that will appeal to new and returning players.

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The ongoing story is as much a hindrance as it is an asset.  When I have to explain to new players why the Sun and Moon have been switched out twice or why the Spider exist, I can feel their interest wane.

 

That is why I usually don't explain these things.

There are 9 clans.

Everybody get's a cliff-notes version what the clans stand for.

 

Further history lesson will be ignored since it does not add anything to the experience, Except being as boring as a history lesson...  

If someone wants to catch up more power to him, but I will bring not up anything by myself.

 

I guess the point I am trying to make is that the story is important for the player playing now. 

But nobody is interested in story prices from the rain of blood period.

 

So having a setting which does not specify where it stands in comparison to past or future events is not problematic,

as long as you provide story within the setting you describe.

 

There is an emperor is calls himself Hantai (I will not specify the number) and there are 7 great clans and a lot of minor clans

This might be before the 2nd day of thunder or after Onyx.

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I usually take the same route as Yandia. Cliffnotes, relevant tidbits for the current situation (be it the current events in the Story, or the chosen setting for a RPG chronicle), and that's about it.

 

Anything else is just information overload for a newcomer.

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There are 9 clans.

Everybody get's a cliff-notes version what the clans stand for.

 

Further history lesson will be ignored since it does not add anything to the experience, Except being as boring as a history lesson...  

If someone wants to catch up more power to him, but I will bring not up anything by myself.

 

I guess the point I am trying to make is that the story is important for the player playing now. 

But nobody is interested in story prices from the rain of blood period.

 

So having a setting which does not specify where it stands in comparison to past or future events is not problematic,

as long as you provide story within the setting you describe.

 

There is an emperor is calls himself Hantai (I will not specify the number) and there are 7 great clans and a lot of minor clans

This might be before the 2nd day of thunder or after Onyx.

I thought this would be ridiculous at first, but on further consideration it does present an interesting option.

 

Magic has had a great deal of success in its recent attempts to make the story as accessible to players as possible, and the team has shown that they're willing to visit periods other than the "present." Magic Origins was all about how the Planeswalkers who are central to the story moving forward got their start in becoming who they are today. The previous year's three-set block featured a time-travel element in which the first set showed us a world with a problem, the second set went 1200 years into the past to fix that problem, and the third set showed us how fixing the problem created a much bigger one. The fact that this structure has resulted in cards being from different points in time doesn't seem to bother hardly anyone, least of all this deeply-invested lover of game storylines.

One of the interesting things about L5R as a setting is that it has a lot of open spaces in its first millennium, which previously functioned mostly as background, and a place where GMs could run their campaigns freely without running afoul of current story developments. But how cool would it be if this vast part of the mythos were opened up for exploration? I think it could be done without necessarily risking a causality paradox, and IMO the setting's theme of reincarnation and more or less static societal progress makes it very compatible with this kind of non-chronological storytelling.

TL;DR: If FFG decides to make the story timeline-neutral, I wasn't game for that at first but I am now.

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Hmm... I always felt that Magic's story was something pretty accessory and secondary to the game, something the playerbase wasn't really all that invested in - something that's clearly not the case with L5R.

 

Was I mistaken? Because storyline neutrality works (IMHO) in an environment where story isn't important, but when said story takes center stage, then it becomes somewhat complicated to do all the back and forth hopping that Magic does.

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Hmm... I always felt that Magic's story was something pretty accessory and secondary to the game, something the playerbase wasn't really all that invested in - something that's clearly not the case with L5R.

 

Was I mistaken? Because storyline neutrality works (IMHO) in an environment where story isn't important, but when said story takes center stage, then it becomes somewhat complicated to do all the back and forth hopping that Magic does.

This is something that's only come into focus in the last five years or so. But the people in Magic R&D have been very vocal about their desire to make story matter to the players. Not that they want to make it player-driven like L5R, but that they want to create situations that players care about and become invested in. So there's a lot of interaction between Design (the team that makes the cards) and Creative (the team that writes the story) to make the as much of the story translate into the game as possible. There's also a motion picture in development that they can't say much about yet other than that it is happening.

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I hope that FFG keeps the current story team for at least for the two year hiatus as to make the transition between AEG and FFG smoother. They are intimately involved with the setting and they could help other new story team members that FFG could bring.
If FFG keeps some (or all, much better :D) AEG members of the story team in the new FFG ST then I believe is a good start for FFG's L5R.

Hopefully FFG gives green light to Spooky's novel also.

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Marth: Cool :D

 

Going a bit back to topic then, it would stand to reason that players in general like a story to go along with their game. Arguably, the richer the story, the more can the players explore and grow interested in it. And L5R has a **** rich story... :)

 

 

On a total sidenote... *eyes Gulvos' sig* TETSUBRO!  :D

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The ongoing story is as much a hindrance as it is an asset.  When I have to explain to new players why the Sun and Moon have been switched out twice or why the Spider exist, I can feel their interest wane.

 

That is why I usually don't explain these things.

There are 9 clans.

Everybody get's a cliff-notes version what the clans stand for.

 

Further history lesson will be ignored since it does not add anything to the experience, Except being as boring as a history lesson...  

If someone wants to catch up more power to him, but I will bring not up anything by myself.

 

I guess the point I am trying to make is that the story is important for the player playing now. 

But nobody is interested in story prices from the rain of blood period.

 

So having a setting which does not specify where it stands in comparison to past or future events is not problematic,

as long as you provide story within the setting you describe.

 

There is an emperor is calls himself Hantai (I will not specify the number) and there are 7 great clans and a lot of minor clans

This might be before the 2nd day of thunder or after Onyx.

 

 

This advice is sound and it is something I already do, and it helps that the roleplaying games I run avoid the canon storyline and issues I brought up like the plague.  One of the best parts of 4th Edition RPG is its timeline neutrality and divorce from the story.

 

Still for those who are new to the game and want to delve into the story... well its a mess to say the least.  Unfortunately the largest events, and hardest to gloss over, in the story have often been the most problematic.

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