AOU interview with Pheats
Pheats has recently been promoted into the top seat in the ARK Events team so the AOU team decided to ask him some questions about his time in ARK, especially within the Events team and also some questions surrounding Roleplaying in Anarchy Online so that you could hopefully all get to know him a little better.
Hi Pheats, firstly congratulations on your promotion to Events Director. How does it feel to be in the top seat?
Pretty much the same, just now I get a bit more work as I can no longer send things up to Devdas stating it needs the full directors approval... I've tried delegating all this down but it invariably comes back to me.
When you joined ARK, who was the Events Team Director and were you interested in roleplay when you joined?
Ohh... I can't really remember that far back, was a fair few years now. I think I joined just a month or two before Socialfly stepped down and Neverstiyeh took the reigns but I couldn't say for sure, my memory is terrible. As for being interested in roleplay, I've always been interested in it even before I joined, however before I joined ARK I didn't realize how much support and actual roleplay happened in game. Once I did however I immediately signed up for the Events team, and have in fact spent all my time in ARK in the Events team.
Since being in ARK Events, what is the most difficult decision you have had to make (e.g. regarding running / not running a story line, continuing annual events, killing off a character.. etc.)?
Hmm that's a tough question, there have been lots of decisions to be made but I've never really had much of an issue with them. I think the hardest one is always whether to intervene in a player-ran story that's getting out of hand or not.
Seeing you lot running your own stuff is always great as it means you're active and roleplaying and it makes it easy for us to see what you're doing and get involved with you; having to step in and stop something is always something we want to avoid, unfortunately its sometimes unavoidable when things get taken too far and start having a negative impact on other players. Those are always the decisions I hate making but I will make them.
When you aren't doing ARK things, do you still play AO? If so, do you roleplay with your characters or do you RP so much as Events Director that you take a break from it?
Unfortunately not as much as I used to or would like too, I do try to play at least once or twice a week and whenever anything new gets released, but the fact that I still enjoy playing after 9 years always astounds me.
As for roleplaying, I have so many characters that sometimes I don't get as far as in game but just sit at log-in trying to choose. I do have a bunch of roleplay only characters that I like to log in from time to time but because of the time spent doing Events stuff I'm usually always out of the loop in a non-official capacity, so I just sit in the backyards chatting with a grecko or something.
The new Fourth Wall forum has got stacks of great information in it regarding how to meet LTCs and where you are most likely going to find them. Do you have any tips though on where we are most likely to find a LTC depending on which faction we are?
Another tricky question. I don't actually monitor all the LTC's constantly so I haven't a clue where they've been hanging out lately, though the most common areas are the clubs such as Rompa's, Neuters'r'us or the Happy Rebel and the Cup; other than that they mostly wander around. Omni ones will almost always wander through Omni-Ent, Omni-Trade or sometimes even Borealis, neutrals will always wander through Borealis or Newland and clans will generally wander through Old and West Athen, especially down the main streets near the Cup, the stores, or wandering randomly around Tir.
There's a few other spots I know some used to frequent but I honestly can't say if they do anymore, when it comes down to it the best spots will always be the bars and the high streets near the shops, as that's were everyone hangs out. Another thing to note is that some (not all) LTC's can appear in the roleplay channels such as NRPB or Channel42, granted depending on the characters background they might not.
What advice can you give someone who perhaps does meet a LTC and is talking to them, but really has no idea what they are talking about?
If you have no idea what they're talking about that's fine, all you have to do is keep your character. Eventually it should dawn on the LTC that your Atrox miner has sat there spacing out for 5 minutes while he talked about complex scientific theories and adjust what they're talking about to a more suitable level. If that doesn't work or isn't an option a simple “I have no clue what you're talking about” is usually a good way to clear up the confusion. Talking with an LTC should be just like talking to any other roleplaying player, the only difference is that the LTC won't go out of character so everything has to be in character.
A little disclaimer here as well: Not all LTCs will be friendly, and if they're rude or nasty to you that is just their character, not an attack on you.
You have been trying recently to outline guidelines on how people can submit an event to the Events team (here). Do you tend to get many submissions from the community? If you don't but as a team would like to receive more, have you had any ideas on how to encourage more people to submit ideas?
We don't actually get all that much mail at all, even those times when we explicitly ask for something to get sent into us. Other than making sure everyone knows the address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and that they know we're open to most emails about roleplay there is not much we can do to make sure people know they can mail in.
Do you think that it would perhaps be possible to create an event submission form so that all the areas that you require were submitted by the player? It would also then give people an outline so that they could use it as a guideline for planning their own events.
See now I wonder what you mean by form, I have posted a run down of the info we'd like to see when requesting help with a player ran event/story; I guess I could format it into a form of sorts but that's about as far as I am able. If you meant some sort of full-on electronic form webpage or such I'm afraid that is a bit beyond us at the moment.
Many of the AOU teams RPers have witnessed people who seem to enjoy causing grief at RP events. Do you have guidelines on how you can deal with them, or are you allowed to be creative in your actions depending on which LTC you are playing? Also what advice can you give to RPers who are trying to run their own event but find that they are being griefed by a non-roleplayer?
Ahh griefers, one of many perpetual thorns in the side. It's inevitable that they will appear in absolutely everything. ARK Events does has a series of policies we follow when we encounter them - First of all we will ignore them, if not given any rise most griefers will get bored and wander off. Should they persist in a manner that starts greatly effecting the event and/or players trying to interact seriously, an in-character attempt to remove them will be made dependant on the event/characters present - For example if its a guard patrol then just shooting them is often used (after some warnings of course), however it gets a bit harder if the characters are not aggressive types and have to make do with trying to persuade them to leave or by running away and losing them. Should that not work then we will actively remove them from the area, after which hopefully they will not return. Should they return it is then handed over to other ARK departments to be treated as normal harassment.
My advice to players encountering griefers is first politely ask them to stop the behaviour; if they do not after a few warnings just ignore them, hopefully they will then leave. If they continue then petition them for harassment and let ARK have a word with them.
Windguaerd specifically wanted to know about the "prison". Can you tell us where the "prison" is located where players used to be sent for 1 hour when they disrupted RP Events?
I don't really know how much I can say about this place - It's an area where characters can be detained if they're causing trouble. ARK Events dislikes using it as we're here to make players game time enjoyable, not lock them up in the box, but if people misbehave to a certain extent (and not just around events and roleplay) they can find themselves in their looking at some very serious issues coming their way.
When you are playing a LTC and running an event, has there ever been a time where you have received an unexpected reply or reaction that either made you unable to continue through a fit of giggles or that the player completely got the wrong end of the stick and didn't understand what was going on?
All the time, if there's one thing I've come to expect from you players its for you to do the unexpected. That is one of the major issues we have in our work and why things often sputter and die or disappear for a while, if you lot go off and do something completely unexpected (we usually work out a bunch of outcomes per event/story) it really throws us for a loop and depending on who's behind said event things can either be quickly adapted or fall apart to be repaired/ended later.
It's also what makes statements such as "But it can't be that hard to come up with something for us" rather annoying - no it isn't hard to come up with something, but coming up with something we can keep on top of should you lot run a random direction with it while not letting it falter and then have you complain that it was awful and fell apart, that's what's hard!
There was a suggestion from Trgeorge on the team regarding giving the LTCs more involvement in the day to day life on Rubi Ka. As an example, it was commented that we see very little in terms of a characters background within the cities. When, for example, will someone like Alan Jacobi be able to involve the community (permanently instead of just along the lines of a task) more in his either limited supplies or surplus stocks? Or when could Jaita start hiring waitresses?
An interesting idea, it's not something we have really thought of before and I can see some issues with players being given "authority" in certain places and abusing it, but we can definitely talk about it and see if we can't come up with something to get some characters more involved. Though I have to point out that most LTCs are meant to be just the run of the mill people with no real authority for most situations. So only a few would even have a hope of giving players jobs.
We have noticed that unfortunately there have been issues with the RSS again this last week. When it is back up again, and looking into the future, do you think that the RSS could perhaps work along side other player driven initiatives that have news feeds, like the Rubi Ka Times at AO Universe and so there can be more sources of news being submitted?
As I mentioned to people before, we have no issue with other news articles being submitted - IRRK itself is a very open editing program and will accept articles from any reporter or news system, however there is a limit to what we can do. For example we probably wouldn't be able to advertise Rub-Ka Times nor have a special publication for it but the reporters are welcome to submit the articles to IRRK just like anyone else.
I would also point out that for the time being while we are sorting out issues with the Reporter Support System we have a system in place to allow people to still submit articles, as shown in this thread.
For the time being we are also removing the level limit and accepting articles from anyone who wishes to submit one, though we don't guarantee every article submitted will get through the editing checks.
Another point that a lot of people raise is regarding better pre-warning of events (obviously where possible), are there any ongoing discussions to get the ARK Events calendar back up and running again? If not, do you think that with the changes that have been happening recently that there could now be the possibility of using fansites and their calendars to do this instead?
Strangely enough the events calender has popped up in conversations recently, so it isn't forgotten, however I cannot say much more than that. It is unlikely that we will actively use other peoples calenders but we have no issue with players posting events up that they learn about. Very often we wouldn't be able to post an event on a calender anyway as it wouldn't fit with the event and OOC posts from us generally aren't possible (though we are working on things) but you lot are free to post anything you learn up to let others know, in fact the more you do so the better for us.
And now we all know... if you are curious as to which player character Pheats owns... just look for the one talking to a Grecko in a backyard!! *grins* Thank you very much for the time you took to answer our questions Director Pheats, Sir!
Last updated on 12.07.2011 by Khuri
Article written by Ukblizzard
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