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2019 and the Future

Posted on Wed Jan 9th, 2019 @ 6:12am by Captain James McCullen
Edited on Wed Jan 9th, 2019 @ 6:14am

Hello, crew of the USS Sentinel and Happy New Year.

2018 was a good year, we started the USS Sentinel and you have all been integral in helping to build and develop the Simm from a bare-bones idea into a fully-fledged and running Star Trek RP Simm, and I want to thank all of you for that, and encourage you to keep up your wonderful efforts.

Moving into 2019, we (Commander Bast and I) have been talking about some of the problems we face. Here are the problems as we see them.

1. Speed
As I'm sure some of you are aware, the Sentinel is a fairly slow simm. It's taken us months and months to get through about two thirds of our first mission, we still have a ways to go and at this rate, it's going to be the middle of 2019 before we start mission 2. Now, I am aware that some people prefer a slow simm, real life time constraints and writing speed make it this way. However, there is slow, and then there is slow. The command team would very much like to speed up a bit in 2019, and to that effect, we're going to be proposing some changes to the posting rules.

2. Timeliness
One of the problems the Sentinel has in relation to the speed of the simm is the timeliness of hitting tags. As I said above, we are aware that people have real lives and obligations which take precedent over a game. The way we feel about it is, Star Trek writing is a pastime, a hobby, people enjoy it at their own pace and on their own terms. On the other hand, if Player A is waiting too long for Player B's response, it might decrease A's interest in the game. At the same time, it slows down the simm and causes posts to take a lot longer than we feel they should.

The current suggestion is to set a tag response limit of 48 hours. Players on the Sentinel will be required to hit tags within 48 hours. This will require communication - the NOVA system is frankly not great at notifications, players will have to reach out to each other via the PM system on the website or via Discord to let people know that there are tags waiting.

Our fear is if we start setting deadlines and raising expectations, treating players like employees who must meet certain targets, it's going be less fun for everyone, and it'll drive people away. This is why the 48 hour time limit is a suggestion at the moment, and we want to hear people's thoughts about it.

3. Divergence of Story
Sometimes, it feels like the Sentinel is a broke donkey pulling a cart, with a martingale and blinkers, only capable of going one direction, not seeing or thinking about anything else. What I mean is that there is a severe lack of sub-plots, side posts and story outside of the primary, command driven storyline. Now, we are aware that this is likely because of the Sentinel's current situation, but that doesn't mean there's not room for side-posts and side-plots. What are your characters doing all day, when they're not participating in a main story post? Wouldn't you like to explore that?

Now let's be honest, the command team is just as guilty as everyone else for this problem, we haven't been doing it enough (or at all) either. But the first step to solving a problem is recognizing that there is one, and so going into 2019 we'd like to see more side posts and will try to lead by example.

4. Command Driven Story
As above, it often feels to the command team that the Sentinel is on rails and we're the engine, with everyone else just following on behind. Perhaps that's how it generally is on a Starship, but in a Star Trek Simm we're aiming for democracy and a shared story. We want the players of the simm not only to participate in the story which the command team creates, but to direct and influence that story in a real and meaningful way. This means that players are encouraged to take charge of storylines. Have an idea? Use it! Change the direction of a main storyline post, cause that problem, solve that issue, complicate and mix things up, make things interesting!

In regards to the suggestion made above in point 2, timeliness, I would dearly like to hear everyone's feedback. Please let me know via PM in Discord or via the website about your opinion and the reasons behind it. I also welcome (and hope for) other suggestions, recommendations and comments that you have in order to improve and develop the simm.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2019 and I'll see you in Discord.

Commander William Griffin
C/O USS Sentinel

 

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