The 16% Question

zehnyu

Squire
What I've seen from various chapters is the following:
1. Gobby Item list - you were unable to buy items/rit scrolls/etc with gobbies unless you NPCed the weekend.
2. Guaranteed personal Mod - take your team to npc, and you were rewarded with a single mod either that weekend or the following.
3. Npcing incentives - named NPCs to play, important stuff to do for the weekend. This usually occured with people who chose to NPC ahead of time.

Right now, as a base, your character already gets the weekend blanket, and a free teacher card if I'm remembering correctly. So, there are already rewards.

Sometimes, honestly, I think the question needs to turn to why are people not NPCing? Were they NPC staff who burned out? Are they PCs who just enjoy the PC side too much? Obviously this is going to vary from chapter to chapter, but I don't necessarily think a rewards increase is well..necessary. Dig out the root of the problem, then see if you can find a solution for it.

Just some food for thought.
-Ali
 
Totally agree with that Ali.

When thinking about this 'problem' myself it tends to seem that there are increasing 'rewards' and 'incentives' if you will when on PC's and keeps PC'ing. You get more and more involved with the plot and other players and those innate rewards/incentives keep growing every event.

Currently as I see it there is not a whole lot like that to 'incent' NPC's to keep coming back again and again with growing rewards as they NPC. Maybe the WC 'npc guild' structure is that answer, I think there are a couple chapters that I am involved with that are going to try that out next year. But currently what I see is that a lot of the 'NPC rewards' just go further to encourage everyone to PC. Those rewards are xp for a character, magic item picks, plot mods etc. Those are all great... But I think we need to think of things that encourage repeat/career NPCs.

Ideally I'd love for NPC's to come to game with as much personal gear/preparation that many people make for PCs. And again maybe something like NPC guilds is a perfect way to create that investment. NPC shifts and/or 'coupon' incentives are another possible way to get that investment. And again this will vary chapter to chapter so lets not worry about some sort of 'enforced/prescribed' universal 'solution' that would ruin everything for someone.

If there's one thing I know for sure about Alliance it's that change comes slowly, if it comes at all. And for the most part I think that's a pretty good thing. :thumbsup:
 

Kitaruen

Squire
Owner
Chicago Staff
I will say I am against forcing mandatory npcing on anyone even for a couple hours. I know several players who events are largely ruined by double hooks as they really hate npcing. It is also very unfair to make up heavy/prosthetic races.

I also think plot teams like to use low npc counts as a crutch/excuse too often for not putting out a good event. It is a challenge nothing more. I feel like 4:1 is actually the sweet spot but anything less than 8:1 is very doable. At some point you dont have the bodies to run multiple mods and keep things running smoothly. And more npcs is always better but I feel when you close in on the 2:1 ratio or coming even you actually have too many people involved and end with more logistical issues of running a good monster camp than it is worth.

Please note I npc atleast 4 hours almost every event I play...I am all for calling for volunteers and feel plot needs to not be afraid of asking for help. I just npced all of Saturday night because plot said I would like your help at an event. I just feel any system that requires mandatory npcing or a mark system that leads to having to npc or pay a penalty to not npc is crap. And I have no interest in being part of that game.
 

SkollWolfrun

Squire
Oregon Staff
Kitaruen said:
I also think plot teams like to use low npc counts as a crutch/excuse too often for not putting out a good event. It is a challenge nothing more. I feel like 4:1 is actually the sweet spot but anything less than 8:1 is very doable. At some point you dont have the bodies to run multiple mods and keep things running smoothly. And more npcs is always better but I feel when you close in on the 2:1 ratio or coming even you actually have too many people involved and end with more logistical issues of running a good monster camp than it is worth.
Could be.
I think the WC sees good events using around 2:1 numbers because that combined with the dedicated NPC Guildmembers, we have key people that are in the know to keep things moving smoothly.
 

Kitaruen

Squire
Owner
Chicago Staff
I can see the npc guild being a strength in a case like that as they are all more invested and more informed as to what is occuring. In most cases out of every 10 npcs only about 3 really know whats going on and roughly half dont have the experience to adapt and add live with out instruction.
 

jpariury

Duke
Mike Ventrella said:
LCO magic items for NPCing? No problem. More XP though kind of goes against the whole concept.
Personally, I would rather see extra XP over LCO magic items. Not because of transferability, but because I see magic items as superior to XP anyways. People who get magic items for NPCing -are- advancing faster, because they don't have to grind and negotiate their way into build-reproduction as it is.

The suggestion that LCO magic items are preferable to additional XP is inconsistent with what appear to be the underlying philosophies of the game design. We run a system that doesn't cap levels, suggesting that there is a belief that unlimited build gains over time are not game breaking. Otoh, ostensibly, we do cap magic items, both hardcoded (treasure limits) and softcoded (expirations), suggesting that, as an organization, we've decided that unlimited magic items are detrimental to the game. Why then do we limit the rewards of the former while suggesting that you can operate outside of the restrictions for the latter?

Finally, if a chapter is in the spot of having to ask "How do we get a better ratio?", aren't they already saying "NPCs are more needed than PCs right now"?
 

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
jpariury said:
Mike Ventrella said:
LCO magic items for NPCing? No problem. More XP though kind of goes against the whole concept.
Personally, I would rather see extra XP over LCO magic items. Not because of transferability, but because I see magic items as superior to XP anyways. People who get magic items for NPCing -are- advancing faster, because they don't have to grind and negotiate their way into build-reproduction as it is.
How can you compare? While items "reproduce" build bought skills, skills can never be taken away, lost, stolen, destroyed, not used because you are sleeping/unconscious/dead.

At the end of the day, you can have your teams whole treasury on you, doesn't make you advance faster. You still have to know when to use what.
 

jpariury

Duke
Gilwing said:
How can you compare? While items "reproduce" build bought skills, skills can never be taken away, lost, stolen, destroyed, not used because you are sleeping/unconscious/dead.
Skills can be removed by skill-removing effects, when magic items remain usable. Earning 30 levels of magic items is harder than NPCing into them, but achieving 30th level build-wise is largely just a function of time and real-life resources.

At the end of the day, you can have your teams whole treasury on you, doesn't make you advance faster. You still have to know when to use what.
That's a function of player familiarity and competence, not character skill, though. Clearly, me with a 1st level character and 90 levels of magic items will be substantially more effective than a new player with a 90th level character card.

Again, though, this skips over the more inconsistent bit about game design. High amounts of build is rarely seen as a problem, but high amounts of magic items are. Yet we disallow LCO build and allow LCO magic items. We encourage rewarding NPCs with additional LCO magic items, but discourage rewarding with additional build.
 

evi1r0n

Baron
Kitaruen said:
I will say I am against forcing mandatory npcing on anyone even for a couple hours. I know several players who events are largely ruined by double hooks as they really hate npcing. It is also very unfair to make up heavy/prosthetic races.
I fully agree. We never force double hooking or NPCing. We ask for double hookers but it's never a requirement.

Kitaruen said:
I also think plot teams like to use low npc counts as a crutch/excuse too often for not putting out a good event. It is a challenge nothing more. I feel like 4:1 is actually the sweet spot but anything less than 8:1 is very doable.
I am not sure how your run games but 8:1 is a crap ratio. 4:1+ is a huge pain in the neck to entertain the 65+ PC that show up (sometimes 80+). Calling it a "crutch" is a little insulting. We had a game with 5:1. We did our best to run a great game. We pulled off a pretty good game in the end. Sure it was doable but our staff members and NPCs were kinda homicidal at the end. It was 3 days of go go go, for no pay. Even with our fake currency and guild sometimes it isn't enough. Trivializing ratios is like saying you don't care how stressful ratios above 3:1 can be on our UNPAID VOLUNTEERS and will result in your unpaid volunteers, no longer wanting to volunteer. The next event we ran close to 2:1 and all our volunteers were happy.

Here's how we got our ratios pretty good:
Establish a NPC guild with a competent rules marshal as the lead
Give excellent reoccurring characters to our NPCs
Give NPCs a say in how their character grows and how their build is allocated (NPCs should gain XP too)
Never put out a "throw-away" NPC role
Allow guildies to build their own villain (corrupt), like a build a bear workshop of murder
Give a gobby salary to our guildies and give them gobbies, an XP blanket, and a teacher card per logistics period
Allow access to a LCO ritual purchase list
Create a friendly and open environment in monster camp with plenty of avenues to voice concerns, face to face or anonymously
Allow NPCs to take breaks when they need to
Make NPCing free! The only cost to NPC for us is an optional meal plan, you pay $15, we feed your face all weekend with tasty morsels
Once there in, give them a reason to come back
 
I think mandatory NPCing is a bad call, on many levels but the biggest for me is something a few others have skimmed upon.

Someone pulling an NPC shift and then missing out on a plot that they have been highly involved in and waiting to continue with. I think this can be the biggest PC morale killer there is, especially when the schedule for things can be so off and the communication between staff so poor on occasion (game dependent of course). I as a PC in the past have had a hard enough time trying to make sure I do not miss stuff when I have to eat off site etc...adding this would make it even harder.

I think the other thing people are not taking into account is how normal NPC's will feel, when a four hour shift NPC'ing begins to rival the normal NPC rewards. I completely understand the need to reward a paying player, but I think there is a balance there that must be maintained to show full timers they are valued. For example, people have mentioned the "Let the PC play the big bad field boss"...From my experience in monster camps, I think this is a huge driver of the already present wedge between PC and NPC and in many cases comes across as playing favorites.
 
For the issue of people missing their plotlines-

With such a notable addition that this would make a necessary component would be to have people pre-reg for their shift when they pre-reg for the event. Then plot can either tell them "do not register at this time" or even better just shift that encounter. Problem solved.

Heavy Make Up Races-

Heavy make up races would either want to reg for their NPC shift BEFORE they get into costume or after they shower. Yes it is more of a pain in the butt but it can work.

I hope ALL chapters look into NPC Guild structures that are effective. This is the something extra that I would like to see so that I can make sure that all the work that I put into writing a weekend/showing up to PC is worth it. 4:1 or worse is NOT as much fun. When things that are supposed to happen do not because of NPC numbers that is just worse.
 

Kitaruen

Squire
Owner
Chicago Staff
I mean no insult to anyone who runs a good game with the crutch comment. I just dont like when an event is so/so or bad, and the main excuse given is we did not have enough npcs. Can this be the reason? Yes, but is it usually the actual problem? No.

8:1 is a terrible ratio and leaves a stressful event for plot and npcs. It is however the outside number of what I believe can be made to work. Far far from ideal just possible. I just wanted to clarify my meaning.
 

evi1r0n

Baron
I guess the one thing folks keep glossing over is that this isn't an Alliance wide issue, so there is no need to implement forced NPCing, for the whole organization. If it works for your chapter staff and owner, then go for it.
 

Avaran

Baron
evi1r0n said:
I guess the one thing folks keep glossing over is that this isn't an Alliance wide issue, so there is no need to implement forced NPCing, for the whole organization. If it works for your chapter staff and owner, then go for it.
I think people that make the decisions on an organizational level realize this, so I wouldn't worry too much about something happening on a National Level.


Something else:

I think another perk that could come into play, especially for giving people an incentive to full-time NPC in a chapter, would be to do the following:

1) The player/person must agree to NPC for a specified number of events. In Oregon's case, we required a 1 year commitment or 7 weekend events worth of blankets (so 14 blankets), broken up however the player wanted -- attending 2 game days was the same as attending 1 weekend event. Require a minimum number of commitment met before applying the rest (so if you require 14 blankets, make them attend at least 7 before following the below).

I think one of the biggest deterrents for people NPC'ing full-time is the ability to use their rewards; EC chapters tend to not allow LCO items to transfer, so if a player wants to use/spend their gobbies on their cool item, they would probably have to quit NPC'ing (guild) in the chapter to use it. There are ways around this, of course, like trading MI's between people in other chapters, but in the interest of maybe making that easier..

2) Allow the player spend their goblin stamps earned on LCO scrolls/components/items/whatever-setup-you-have.
3) Allow the player to choose ONE (and only 1) chapter for said LCO items to transfer to for them to use for their PC, with the permission of both chapter's plot teams beforehand. No non-standard effects/items though. Said chapter must be noted on the item tag.
4) Item must be noted as being a Guild or Plot item; meaning, it was created during the time the player was performing their chapter-based duties.
5) Put a cap on the number of LCO rituals a person can have in your chapter (not counting extenders/link/lock).
6) People who volunteer to give up the ability to PC in a chapter should be rewarded beyond what people who do not are, so give full-time staff people (plot, guild, etc.) a higher limit. Want that higher limit? Find a chapter to volunteer full-time for (meaning, you do not PC in that chapter, ever). Join plot or join a chapter's NPC guild, etc.


edit: spelling
 

phedre

Squire
Adam: I like a lot of those ideas, I just don't know the exact wording of the rule that allows LCO transfers and if it would get violated. I'm sure it could be tweaked on either end though.

I think if there was a designation of "Staff" or something similar which would include guild NPCs that could be put on tags (rather than just "Restricted," "LCO" or "Artifact") it would be amazing. They could be accepted by chapters and be separate from the current LCO policy, it would make a huge difference in "Well, I'm going to stop NPCing this chapter because I want to make this item with gobbies and use it frequently enough to make the expenditure worth it" on the east coast.
 

MaxIrons

Squire
Oregon Staff
Marshal
phedre said:
I think if there was a designation of "Staff" or something similar which would include guild NPCs that could be put on tags (rather than just "Restricted," "LCO" or "Artifact") it would be amazing. They could be accepted by chapters and be separate from the current LCO policy, it would make a huge difference in "Well, I'm going to stop NPCing this chapter because I want to make this item with gobbies and use it frequently enough to make the expenditure worth it" on the east coast.
"Staff LCO - Seattle/Oregon" maybe? It's a Staff LCO item, built in Seattle, and allowable in Oregon. To use an EC example: "Staff LCO - HQ/Connecticut" It's a Staff LCO item, built in HQ, and allowable in Connecticut. For this to work, the two chapters would have to have a reciprocity agreement. So if you have Seattle/Oregon as an option, Oregon/Seattle has to be an option as well. That way you can get the informal agreements that we have here on the WC where staff of one area tends to PC in the other.
 

phedre

Squire
You could make it that specific. You could also just give chapters the option to take "Staff" items but not "LCO." It seems to be a major reason chapters take LCO items in the first place.

LCO items can be put out by a chapter with no restriction whatsoever. They're not governed by Treasure Policy the same way Restricted items are. It's why most of the NE chapters don't allow them.
 

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
jpariury said:
Gilwing said:
How can you compare? While items "reproduce" build bought skills, skills can never be taken away, lost, stolen, destroyed, not used because you are sleeping/unconscious/dead.
Skills can be removed by skill-removing effects, when magic items remain usable. Earning 30 levels of magic items is harder than NPCing into them, but achieving 30th level build-wise is largely just a function of time and real-life resources.
Can we both agree that there are situation where you can use skills and not items as well as the other way around?

jpariury said:
Gilwing said:
At the end of the day, you can have your teams whole treasury on you, doesn't make you advance faster. You still have to know when to use what.
That's a function of player familiarity and competence, not character skill, though. Clearly, me with a 1st level character and 90 levels of magic items will be substantially more effective than a new player with a 90th level character card.
The theory is that a 90th level character will have some type of Game experience but correct it is the player familiarity/competence
 

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
jpariury said:
Gilwing said:
Can we both agree that there are situation where you can use skills and not items
I don't know of this situation existing as a function of the game design, beyond "You don't have your items". Is there one?
Silence is one I can think of.
 
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