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DanseMacabre

The problem with rev.

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Woe unto rev, that most unengaging of gamemodes! For eons, rev has plagued HRP servers as a conversion gamemode, where others have thrived. Consider cult- By all means it should be less successful as a mode than rev is. It is a much louder mode, attracting security's ire more quickly. It is a mode that is less grounded and therefore harder to deal with realistically. It is a mode that would, logically speaking, attract less characters to the antagonist's side. And yet, cult can destroy the station. It can embroil it in chaos, force an evacuation. Cult is the successful conversion gamemode, and rev is the mediocre one, a filler mode that frequently begets nothing but disinterest. A "successful" rev round would be lucky to see a fifth of the action that occurs during a successful cult round. Why is there such a contrast?

Because of two things: an endgame, and an ultimatum.

Consider the conversion process for rev- You are given a choice when someone attempts to recruit you. "Yes" or "no". What are the consequences for declining? Nothing. The recruiter may attempt to attack you- but more likely than not, they'll move on, unwilling to blow their cover over a single person. And chances are, you'll either politely not inform security of this sedition, or you'll give them a one way ticket to the permabrig.

Now consider cult- Your choice? Conversion or death. Like a zealous inquisitor, the cultist who has captured you will press the conversion attempt until you dissolve into nothingness or join their ranks. Unlike rev, your choice is to die and be removed from the round, or succumb and continue to play. Naturally, this is far more effective from a gameplay perspective. This is why you can see rounds where there are a dozen cultists. If you found a rev round with a dozen members of the fellowship or the contenders, I would be impressed. Astonished, in fact.

Now, consider the endgame for rev:
There is none. You set your own goals, but as far as achieving them is concerned, there's no tangible reward. There's no goodies. No impressive spectacle. No annihilation of all order on the station, unless you somehow manage to kill the entire security department and their respawns (in the form of an ERT).

Meanwhile, on cult, you summon an eldritch blood God who annihilates the station and evaporates all those who come into contact with him, turning them into constructs of his nefarious and foul faith.  An evacuation is forced, and if Nar'sie is summoned, it'd be a lucky thing indeed to escape alive.

 

Here's the thing:

Rev's problems come down to two things. A lack of engaged manpower on the side of the antagonists, and a lack of goodies. Even if cult can't perform many conversions, they can create constructs that close the gap- they can summon ghostpeople to serve as their faceless shock troops. And as far as rev equipment is concerned, their leaders can summon some guns. That's the extent of things.

I am a total advocate for player agency, but to be frank, the choice system for rev does not work. 90% of characters do not wish to be engaged willingly. Simple fact of the matter? Rev leaders need to have a way to force the allegiance of crewmembers. Even flashrev would be preferable to choicerev. What I would propose is some sort of brainwashing device- similar to cult's conversion method, it would give the player a choice- join, or die. Or in this case, have your brain wiped and replaced by a brand new, fresh consciousness. 

As far as an endgame is concerned, perhaps if one side captures a comms console, they could summon a large term of well-equipped mercenaries to help them out? Better, high quality equipment? Something that really has the same oomph as Nar'sie. All in all, suggestions welcome!

Edited by DanseMacabre
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There are many who would not call cult "successful," because some people just really hate being forcefully converted.  I think at least a part of it is because most of the time, antagonists are chosen in secret.  When you join a secret round, you're sort of agreeing to be ready for anything, and you settle in to your routines... and then suddenly, if it's a conversion type round, you get slapped in the face with being ripped from what you expected/were hoping to play, into something else, which you may or may not actually find enjoyment in.  And conversion type rounds are somewhat infrequent, so people learn to set their expectations around having their round go a certain way without the idea of possibly being conscripted into antag, so when it does happen, they're upset because their expectations were ruined.  "Tough shit, suck it up"?  Sure, I guess... but I think it's worth pointing out.

I think it might be beneficial to not have secret, but just have a "random" round type instead that announces the round type that gets chosen, so people know what they're expecting.  Sure, people might metagame it, but maybe it's better than people being upset because they didn't set their expectations well.

...Or split up round types into different categories - "conversion", "outsiders", and "infiltrators" - and then have people vote on the round *style* but not the particular antagonist, so that there's some protection against metagaming but also people have an idea of what kind of game they're signing up for.

In re: endgame:  perhaps if the renegades capture the bridge's comms console, they can call a really big bluespace artillery strike?  The mercenaries idea is cool too, but relies on there being competent ghosts... kinda plagued with the same problem ERTs can have, really.  The better equipment idea is good - maybe some droppods with some badass mechs or hardsuits...?  What would be a good round-ender type deal for revs, equivalent to "NAR'SIE HAS RISEN"?

Edited by MalMalumam
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For me, I'd like to see more people selected to be part of the rev's at round start. If not, maybe the rev's are given a "rev radio" with which they can summon in off station recruits dependant on the number of rev's and or money cost.

Have it so they can teleport in a machine that converts precious items/minerals like gold into credits with which they can then "call in" support from off station. Essentially all the good stuff cult can do but with the rev aesthetic:

- Merc - armed combat unit

- Spys - sneaky stealth unit

- Borg - essentially a borg bound to the revs which can choose a module

I still like the fact that the rev's can choose what they're goal is but it's true that I've seen and been part of rev rounds where we just cannot think of a good gimmick. Perhaps maybe their should be some random objectives which the group can choose to follow if they wish?

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Rev at its highest apex behaves like a small, self contained noncanon event, with AOOC buzzing with activity about where things should go next. These rounds are typically mixed round types, with merc + rev being the best pair, since the mercs can act as destabilizing agents to force action, are well equipped enough to take on the station, and are versatile to fit the narrative of nearly any gimmick. A lot of our canon events are pretty similar to Merc + rev, come to think of it.

Rev is a gamemode that benefits greatly from being mixed into other roundtypes. The other valids can be used to facilitate the progress of the narrative, and therefore, incentivize people to choose sides. Pure rev has the problem of hideous complacency: escalation and manpower is almost completely out of the hands of the rev heads. You can win rev by not playing; saying no to every join prompt, refusing to escalate along with your rev head even if you have a sizable presence on the station. Ignoring the centcomm announcements as they come, growing more servile with each passing update.

Four things could potentially be done to remedy this issue, in my view. They do not necessarily have to be all adopted together, this is brainstorming:

1. Remove rev as an unmixed gametype from the secret rotation, due to how people treat the gamemode at a meta level. Having additional antag types back up the rev heads would make it so you can't really ignore them.

2. Introduce new policy regarding converts. Choosing the rev role means that you've now devoted yourself to whatever the rev head is proposing. Similar to how a cult convert has their priorities re-ordered to service nar'sie, a rev will acquire similar, strong convictions to the rev head or whatever ideology/plan they're following. I've seen so many rev rounds where the participants will sign on to a faction yet shirk away once things begin to escalate to violence.

3. What Zundy said, except maybe even include other server-shaking abilities. How about being able to deploy a signal jammer that prevents faxes/distress beacons from being sent, like what we see in canon rounds?

4. Introduce force-conversion tools that can be taken from the uplink, but only once the station has hit a certain % of total crew converted. maybe even expand the concept further and have a whole side progression tree based off of % crew conversion.

As for overall goals? Besides whatever gimmick the rev team devises, I think the solution will come with the NBT: When the revolution on the Spaceship has domination over the crew, they will begin working towards some kind of endgame construct, device, what have you, that will conclude the round with the entire corporate fleet going mutinous and turning their allegiances towards whatever gimmick the revs were doing that round. With cute cinematics and shit. 

 

Edited by Boggle08
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Ooh!  I discussed this in the discord but want to bring it here.

Since we have defined corporations instead of a "Syndicate", why not have revs vote for a certain corporation to be working for?  Or even one of the nations, e.g. Jargon Federation, Sol Alliance, Empire of Dominia, Eridani Corporate Federation, etc.?  And then they unlock special equipment, or get telecrystal discounts on certain items?  E.g. Zavod gets you really good weapons and armor, Eridani gets you force-conversion flashes (unethical mind control tech #1!), Einstein Engines gets you warp teleporters, etc. etc.?  And then for each faction, some quick roleplay guidance to detail how and why they want to take over the station.  Zavod with lots of guns because they want more guns, Sol with marines because expansionism, Jargon because "your research is too dangerous", and so on.

And maybe even prompt individual revs with pre-written background motivations that they (or even other types of antags, like traitors!) can choose from, in case the "Set Ambition" verb is too much for them!

And of course there's always the option to have an outsider/unaligned, in case any of those prepackaged suggestions don't sound good. (Or maybe a randomize button!)

Mechanically nudging players to tie in their antaggery with the lore honestly sounds really cool.  Something a bit more fleshed-out and integrated than e.g. the contract database.

Edited by MalMalumam
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As you said, people go into a round with certain expectations. Everyone have their preferred round types. If they know the gamemode at round start, they can decide to join or not. Secret is intentionally a wildcard, and to many, not knowing is half the fun. You know something is up, but don't know what exactly, and it can be exciting. You were never forced to play a gamemode you don't like. People could always leave or join at any point in the round, so when they eventually find out what's going on, they can simply cryo or, in fact, join in if it's to their liking. This method has worked pretty well so far, I don't see the need to change this.

As for rev specifically, it has multiple issues. For one, it's the most RP heavy game mode, since most of the fun/point comes from the revs making up a believable enough reason to revolt in the first place and convince a bunch of others to share this reason and having the opposing side react properly. Revolutions don't happen overnight, it's always a slow process of rising discontent, spreading anger and emotions, each small attrocity feeding the fire, years of having to suffer from one thing or another, until it finally boils over to a proper revolt. It's almost impossible to establish a proper narrative in like 5 minutes and rope so many people into it, even with insane RP skills. It's really hard to RP joining rev too, just yank your boring miner or bartender from it's job and switch your brain over to rev-think when really nothing bad has happened to your character, definitely not enough to just throw away your job and possibly your life. Even if you wanna join, desperately trying to come up with some sort of narrative for your character so your choice would make sense, it's very hard if you don't wanna half-ass it. Even harder if you are simply not invested in the narrative. Realistically, no one's gonna launch into a full armed rebellion over timed bathroom breaks. Even if the opposition/command plays their part, it's kinda hard to justify sudden pay-cuts, enforcing silly, overbearing rules, oppression or even declaring martial law without any prior reason. What I mean by all this, it's really hard to make rev work without a TON of preparation. It can work really well as an event, when there is an interesting pre-made narrative for the revs and the opposition to start from, but it doesn't really work to thrust a player in there and tell them to "be pissed about...something".

But narrative issues aside, the meta also needs a lot of work, as described above. The lack of endgame especially. Let's say you successfully formed a revolt, for the declaration of The Station State of Cargonia or something. You barricade all the doors, you get some KAs from mining and....then what? Command has a whole slew of resources they can use, the entire sec department, riot gear, weapons, the ERT, etc. The revs usually don't have much of anything but the proverbial pitchforks and torches. And blowing up enough of the station and/or crew to force an evaq seems like a very phyrric victory. Even the most robust rev rounds end in a giant bloodbath where the stations gets evaq'd either way, so nobody wins really. The revs need something to strive for, some kinda end goal. Like comandeering a shuttle to go and join their brothers and sisters in arms. Or force the command staff to testify live on air about the attrocities NT is committing. Something. They also need some support mechanisms, being able to get outside help like items, or reaching the comms array and calling in their own form or ERT, like Zundy said, mercs, Syndie, etc.

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In re: expectations... yeah, secret being a wildcard is part of the fun!  But I wonder if it'd be a good idea to have more narrow wildcards?  As it stands right now, there's basically too many things to vote for - unless a well-liked admin pushes for a particular round type in pre-round OOC, or people are joking so much about a round type that a high enough number explicitly votes for it for the memes, a vote for not-secret or not-extended is essentially a wasted vote, and so the practical choice boils down to "Do I want extended, or do I want the high possibility of some random antag I may or may not like?"

Hmm, I wanna do some research into voting theory to see which kind of voting system would be better for round-type selection.  First-past-the-post (single choice, one winner, majority wins, etc.) leaves a lot to be desired, and it'd be nice for people to be able to express their desires with as little gaming of the system as possible.

Edited by MalMalumam
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This is rather quite curious to me. I actually like Rev for every reason listed, whilst heavily disliking Cult for the exact reasons of the conversion process and the 'endgame'. Rev feels like one of the most freeform, open-ended round types that's capable of involving everyone all the while allowing people to act naturally, something Cult doesn't really allow for it's converts.

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11 hours ago, Carver said:

This is rather quite curious to me. I actually like Rev for every reason listed, whilst heavily disliking Cult for the exact reasons of the conversion process and the 'endgame'. Rev feels like one of the most freeform, open-ended round types that's capable of involving everyone all the while allowing people to act naturally, something Cult doesn't really allow for it's converts.

Exactly that freedom is the issue here. For some people, it's a great outlet to let their RP shine. For other's it's a chore to try and RP something they are not proficient doing. For the rest, it's a straight up dealbreaker because they either prefer more action-oriented game modes or they are just here for the glorious Extended and just wanna play as a simple janitor, miner or whatever in peace. You can't really force people to do such intensive RP that rev requires if they are either unable or unwilling to do so. Cult is a lot easier and a lot less demanding in this sense, since you don't even have to RP much if you don't want to, you can just yeet people into maint over a conversion rune and be done with it, and just go through the motions of summoning the DestroyStation.exe or die trying. Rev has no end goal and no established mechanics you can ground people to, something they can hang on to if they are either not good at or unwilling to RP that hard. Some people actually want to play rev, but they rather don't do it because they are not sure what even to do. I that's the major problem we need to change, add a sort of scaffold to rev.

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16 hours ago, Playbahnosh said:

Exactly that freedom is the issue here. For some people, it's a great outlet to let their RP shine. For other's it's a chore to try and RP something they are not proficient doing. For the rest, it's a straight up dealbreaker because they either prefer more action-oriented game modes or they are just here for the glorious Extended and just wanna play as a simple janitor, miner or whatever in peace. You can't really force people to do such intensive RP that rev requires if they are either unable or unwilling to do so. Cult is a lot easier and a lot less demanding in this sense, since you don't even have to RP much if you don't want to, you can just yeet people into maint over a conversion rune and be done with it, and just go through the motions of summoning the DestroyStation.exe or die trying. Rev has no end goal and no established mechanics you can ground people to, something they can hang on to if they are either not good at or unwilling to RP that hard. Some people actually want to play rev, but they rather don't do it because they are not sure what even to do. I that's the major problem we need to change, add a sort of scaffold to rev.

Yet I remain curious, how is this different from traitors whom are given more or less the exact same tools and freeform thought as revs? Cult's intense flaw is being an LRP mode hamfisted into HRP, with it's goal being removing player freedoms and ending the round in a short and wholly mechanical method (Nar-Sie being effectively a stronger equivalent to any other antagonist just calling the shuttle, something typically looked down upon). Rev meanwhile is simply, at the start, a handful of opposing treacherous groups with uplink backing that can go any way they so desire - traitors that can enable other crew to act without restraint, if the crew so wish. It's not actually demanded that they need to recruit people, if they don't wish to do so, but rather an option on the table for them (and dare I say that it's better to stay small and focus on recruiting valuable individuals at most rather than 'go wide' as cult prefers).

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@Playbahnosh@Carver Maybe y'all are looking at two different ways of seeing roleplay?

On the one hand, roleplay is - being given a role, and acting it out.  Having a defined structure, a story, and a role, and you play that role.  The roleplay is strict; you have a script; and there's not much deviance.  Everyone knows what to expect, and you get to do things that people playing the "normal" roles don't get to.  And that's fun for some people.

On the other hand is - being given a toolkit, and told to make a story out of those tools.  No role is made, no structure or flavor besides that which the tools impose- just the freedom to free-form, create a story and create the role that you play, and to get others into the role you're playing too.

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On 30/09/2020 at 03:02, MalMalumam said:

 

...Or split up round types into different categories - "conversion", "outsiders", and "infiltrators" - and then have people vote on the round *style* but not the particular antagonist, so that there's some protection against metagaming but also people have an idea of what kind of game they're signing up for.

 

I would actually really like to see something like that... and based on the voting results we could see if others would too?

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Hello, I'm the one who mostly reworked the Revolution gamemode, tho I had been consistently making changes and adjusting via feedback, I'm likely not going to have the time to change it further, so I'm v. much open to any changes that could fix it's current problems, as for removing it from rotation, that likely wouldn't fix the problems since I've already upped the fellow/contender round start members by 2x the old amount, the problem is so few people actually *have* their preferences for rev on, so it's barely noticeable except in high pop.

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