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Essays and House Requirements

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  • AlysseaAlyssea Member Posts: 417 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited November 2012
    Alright. I agree that it'd be good to implement multiple options for people who dislike writing essays, as long as it's just an alternative. Essays shouldn't be removed though, it certainly can be easier for some to write an essay than a ritual or have a long conversation.
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    Idelisa
  • SenaSena Member Posts: 3,957 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I agree that a different word should be used. "Essay" has a lot of connotations that don't fit with how it's used in Achaea, and is a huge turn-off before you even have a chance to explain to the novice that it's really just 10-15 minutes of research (which primarily involves reading through help files) and 5 minutes of writing.

    I also agree that those sorts of writing requirements should be optional, either by offering alternatives or by having multiple paths/sects/whatever that don't all require writing.

    I don't think that it's such an inherently terrible requirement, though. I see the "essays" as about 50% flavour (such as reinforcing that you're joining a scholarly house), and 50% filler (a short, easy assignment just to fill out the novice tests a bit). It may be somewhat pointless (almost as pointless as most writing assignments in school), and personal interaction is obviously preferable (though not always practical, in small houses), but it doesn't seem like the writing requirements are at all difficult or unreasonable. And I say this as someone who generally hates writing and is absolutely terrible at it, and even in school just skipped most of the writing portions of assignments/tests/exams no matter how much it hurt my grades.
    Alyssea
  • AlysseaAlyssea Member Posts: 417 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    @Sena I find it hard to believe that you hate writing. Your posts are always written very well imo. That post basically sums up all my thoughts on this.
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    IdelisaHalos
  • MishgulMishgul ROTHERHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMember Posts: 5,372 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Your character has a duty to defend. You do not. If you are struggling with something or not having fun, leave the game. I learned this lesson the long way, but now I enjoy achaea much more because of it. If i'm not having fun, I will stop playing and then log in when I want to. 

    You are not responsible for your character's actions, your character is responsible for his or her actions, but you can stop whenever you want on an OOC level.

    -

    One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important

    As drawn by Shayde
    hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae
    ChryenthWysteriaKyrraTvistor
  • SylvanceSylvance Member Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    edited November 2012
    Mishgul said:

    You are not responsible for your character's actions, your character is responsible for his or her actions...



    ETA: <effing quotes hate me> I've only ever heard griefers use this logic in the past.
    Tvistor: If that was a troll, it was masterful.
    I take my hat off to you.
  • CrathenCrathen IrelandMember Posts: 111 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Maybe you talk to griefers too much then :/ it's a perfectly reasonable, healthy attitude towards the game.
    ChryenthTvistor
  • MathonwyMathonwy Member Posts: 914 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Sylvance - the point that he wants to make, I think, is more that if you're not having fun with your character the way s/he has developed, you're free to not have to continue pursuing that character (alternatively, you're free to pursue something with that character that you do find entertaining, though if you faction-hop too much, it will likely destroy any credibility your character has). The character does not, in fact, have some weird power over you OOCly.

    As for griefers, the only logic I've ever heard them apply is 'I like griefing.'
    Saeva said:
    If Mathonwy is 2006 I wish 2007 had never come.
    Xenomorph said:
    heh. Mathowned.
    Message #12872 Sent by Jurixe
    4/16/0:41
    MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.
    Sherazad
  • WysteriaWysteria Member Posts: 1,826 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Mishgul: This was what happened to me last time when —because of my particular timezone making me the only novice aide present— I was around doing something like 4-5 novice intros, 3+ novice tests and having people arguing with me for whatever reason within a 4 hour timespan each day. I actually got burnout from it. What kept me going though were indeed my own essays and studies I did for the House—they gave me the perfect reason to explore vast areas of Sapience and learn about the lore and histories of different aspects of Achaean life that I wouldn't have otherwise; and since most of those areas were offplane and tells weren't accessible at the time, gave me the quiet I needed. Nowadays when I'm around there's no novices popping up because they're on the other half of the day to me ^_^

    @Idelisa: I'm all for mentor/protege interaction, but this would only work if I didn't have my record of having the lot of them suicide. Also because I can't assess them further for Quaero etc if they're my proteges…at least one of them is still alive!
    "Faded away like the stars in the morning,
     Losing their light in the glorious sun,
     Thus would we pass from this earth and its toiling,
     Only remembered for what we have done."

    Exelethril
  • IdelisaIdelisa Member Posts: 385 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    @Wysteria, I think you just proved my point. :P
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    Wysteria
  • MathonwyMathonwy Member Posts: 914 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Also, I think 'essay' in the context of Achaea is probably better understood as being more akin to Montaigne's Essays than the five-paragraph-inverted-pyramid-into-thesis-statement etc. sort of essay you use right up until about the end of English 101. Calling them 'essays' probably has a detrimental psychological effect, though I'm not sure calling them anything else would have any real effect at this point, given the hoary, possibly apocryphal stories of having to write what amounts to RL dissertations in the days of guilds-- the association's there and probably always will be.

    That being said, I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with having some required written pieces for House tasks (as long as you're not actually requiring them to do the aforementioned five-paragraph/dissertation monstrosities) because in a text-based game, required reading/writing in some format is basically unavoidable. The onus is always on the House, however, to make sure that the requirements, whatever they may be, are some combination of entertaining, useful, not terribly burdensome, and serve some sort of RP purpose. Approaches encouraging people to sit down and think about their characters' backstories for ten minutes or so while integrating references to the House's ideals are always good, I've found (e.g., 'drawing on your experiences of life before the House/Flame/etc., what do you think about <House ideal>?').
    Saeva said:
    If Mathonwy is 2006 I wish 2007 had never come.
    Xenomorph said:
    heh. Mathowned.
    Message #12872 Sent by Jurixe
    4/16/0:41
    MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.
    Alyssea
  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,128 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I make newbies write reports. Works fine. I make grown-up spies write reports too. I think being practical makes a difference.

    DISCLAIMER: I have no idea if anything I just wrote was already covered because I read about halfway through page 2, got bored, and skipped to the last couple posts. Thanks.
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
    TvistorChryenth
  • JacenJacen Member Posts: 2,305 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Alyssea said:
    @Idelisa Not everything in games is fun. Sure, the whole reason most people game is to have fun, but that doesn't mean every moment is going to just be doing what's most interesting for you. You train to get better at things, you die repeatedly to bosses before you learn their weaknesses. In Achaea, you learn and have to write about the House you're in. Sure, you may not be a historian/scholar, but it's perfectly fine for a House to require their novices to learn some about it. You certainly don't use all the random tidbits of information you learn throughout school once you're done with it, but that doesn't mean you should have only have learned about math if you decided you were going to be a math teacher after high school and you just get to skip English, or vice versa. It's important to be exposed to a variety of things.
    I'm a little late on this, but I do agree with this statement, contrary to popular opinion, it seems. Yes, the "long term" goal (adjective "long" used loosely here) is to have fun. There will inevitably be short term obstacles that you must cross that won't be fun, though. For example, my long term goals with Jacen are to be a respected member of Hashan and the Black Lotus, and to become a Regent and House leader one day. Having these positions are ( I believe, might change my mind when/if I ever get there :P) my ideas of fun. In order to achieve this goal, I'm going to have to do several things that won't be fun. I really don't enjoy being HoN, for one thing. Newbie tours are fruitless and often end with house quit/suicide. I didn't have the slightest bit of fun rewriting the HR1-HR4 requirements, but it was something that needed to be done. I definitely didn't have fun during my stint as MinWar. However, these are all stepping stones to my end goal, and if I achieve that goal, I'll consider the journey well worth it.

    You're not going to have fun every waking minute you're logged in to Achaea. That's impossible. I honestly can't think of a single game that was 100% fun and 0% damn it I just need to get past this part. You're going to have to sleep/meditate to recover the endurance/willpower spend bashing. You're gonna have to track down a supplier to refill your vials and rift. You're gonna walk all the freakin way to Tenwat just to find a couple of dragons camping it, and turn around and walk back. But its all okay, because you've had fun, and now you only have to push through this little bit of tediousness to move on to bigger and more fun things. As long as the prevailing result is a sense of fun, and not why the hell did i just waste months of my life, then the game has given you all you can expect of it.
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    AlysseaJhaeli
  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,128 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Some people find the tedium of grinding and sleeping enough to make them quit the game as newbies. It's easier to cut your loss and quit before you are truly invested in the character, and it can be hard to see that there -is- an ultimate goal.



    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
    Tvistor
  • ArillesArilles Member Posts: 32
    Um, I was just wondering if there were things other than essays that people wanted to discuss?
  • NellaundraNellaundra Member Posts: 1,556 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I'm curious.

    What do other Houses beyond Mojushai use as their requirements?  We have a lot of essays and...well, that's about it.  I want to try and fix everything there, but as it stands we have the least culture of any House and we're more just an OOC method of embracing class and then people never leave cause we never put any pressure on them.
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  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    I'm curious.

    What do other Houses beyond Mojushai use as their requirements?  We have a lot of essays and...well, that's about it.  I want to try and fix everything there, but as it stands we have the least culture of any House and we're more just an OOC method of embracing class and then people never leave cause we never put any pressure on them.
    I'm not quite sure what you're basing the "a lot of essays" on. The term "essay" appears a single time in the requirements from HR 3 to HR 5 and even there it's an optional requirement. There's absolutely no writing (save for a personal description) required for getting HR 2.
  • NellaundraNellaundra Member Posts: 1,556 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    @Iocun Those are the only requirements with any actual RP aside from an interview or two.  The lessons are jokes, the rest is just getting your rift stocked up and getting to <insert level here>

    Or maybe I'm just being bitter at this point.
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  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2012
    All RP-related requirements have the potential of being seen as "jokes", depending on who executes them and how. That won't change if you turn a "lesson" into a "ritual" or whatever.

    I'm personally all for cool and exciting RP requirements in contrast to "checkbox requirements", but sometimes that's easier said than done. Going all hardcore with challenging RP requirements may sound cool, but it will also stop quite a few people in their tracks from advancing at all. At the same time, they tend to require much more work and time from the "teachers", as well as appear to be "jokes", like you mentioned, to quite a few others when not done excellently. It's easy to spot the problems, which most definitely exist, but coming up with a series of engaging, effective, and inviting requirements in practice and making them work is quite a bit harder than it sounds, even more so when you consider how vastly different ideas people tend to have of what might be "fun" or "important". I have been involved with groups responsible for designing all sorts of requirements for long enough in-game to be talking from some experience there.

    There's one further issue in that respect that's been troubling me for quite a while: the lack of clearly OOC communication channels/devices for houses, cities, etc. As it is, the only choice to really discuss such matters from an OOC perspective (and thus make things like "RP" actual topics of discussion) is either getting an OOC clan (which I find a bit messy, as it may get confusing with already existing IC leadership clans) or some external things like a facebook group or whatever, which is also awkward. There are parties in-game, but they only work for people who are currently online, and do not come with a lasting record of what was discussed there. I sometimes wish there was a way of setting up a limited-access newsboard that is clearly designated as OOC for organisations that doesn't require getting an extra clan.
    Post edited by Iocun on
  • NellaundraNellaundra Member Posts: 1,556 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I legitimately like writing and giving the lessons at Mojushai.  I enjoy listening to them as well - the big thing is that we -require- lessons to be heard and given to advance.  But, no interaction is required.  In several cases, it's literally just sitting there afk for fifteen minutes while one of our people vomits twelve paragraphs up onto the screen.  Whenever I go to a lesson, I try my best to throw it off and make them come at it from different directions and break them off whatever script they have.  Lessons thrive on interaction, but I've given entire lessons where I literally said every word even when I asked them for opinions, thoughts, questions, etc.  And I try to leave in plenty of ambiguity to my lessons so that if they find a hole, they can try to think from that direction and spear it.

    The thing is though, almost every lesson that's given is only requested because they have them as requirements.  And then another one is never given again.
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  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    And how would this be different with other types of requirements? It's just a given that many people only complete requirements because they are requirements.
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,900 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2012
    I've had an experience in a schooling system where when presentations were provided, questions were mandatory to make the presentation more than someone spewing facts and everyone else dozing off. This resulted in nothing more than a classroom of teenagers coming up with increasingly stupid questions for the sake of them. The right answer was to provide a wider range of potential presentation topics to genuinely grip attention, but then it seems like a universal rule that the Ministry of Education (in any country, anywhere) has to constantly make seemingly dumb decisions. I can only assume there's a reason for that, but let us try not to fall into that hole ourselves.

    I believe Ty Beirdd (ages ago, don't know if this still holds true) had some really interesting requirements for the Lore people. Since whatever area of history they investigated was up to them and unique, that addressed the problem of repetition and the mechanical regurgitation of something they wrote down earlier to pass their reqs.

    On the other hand, the person inducting novices at the time had a talking pink flamingo, and while she had a lovely personality, I was promised epic adventure. Not talking flamingos.

    @Iocun People are going to complete requirements simply because they are requirements, that's true. For an organization with an active, aggressive purpose such as the Naga I've no problem coming up with interesting requirements. For the Mojushai, I don't know. It seems to me that the requirements are exactly what they need to be for that kind of House (keeping in mind I don't have a character there) with all the advantages/disadvantages that brings.
  • NellaundraNellaundra Member Posts: 1,556 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2012
    Tvistor said:
    talking pink flamingo
    That thing is the nemesis of my lessons.  Last time I saw it, it absolutely ruined the experimental lesson I was trying to give.
    I cussed about it at length on the rants page.
    image
    Tvistor
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited November 2012
    Tvistor said:
    I've had an experience in a schooling system where when presentations were provided, questions were mandatory to make the presentation more than someone spewing facts and everyone else dozing off. This resulted in nothing more than a classroom of teenagers coming up with increasingly stupid questions for the sake of them. 
    Exactly. This is precisely why I often enjoy lectures over interactive lessons by far. Lectures may be static, however they can sometimes be worked out extremely well and flow nicely, while interactive lessons can easily turn into sluggish circular regurgitating of the same points over and over and derail into absolutely unrelated topics. Personally, I always preferred a good, strong lecture to a tattered, arbitrary debate, and it actually makes me doze off way less (partly also because lectures tend to be shorter than debates). But this just goes to show again how different people's views on that matter are.
    TvistorHalos
  • TvistorTvistor Member Posts: 2,900 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Keep in mind those mandatory lectures tended to be boring as hell anyway! Making them interactive simply didn't help. I adore a strongly delivered IG sermon, but more often than not I find myself looking up new songs with Mudlet minimized. Making them mandatory just encourages newbies to churn out something boring rather than genuinely feel inspired to write something amazing.
    Idelisa
  • WysteriaWysteria Member Posts: 1,826 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I'm at the stage I actually have macros for my newbie intros, if they're the same class as me I spend literally 2 hours teaching them the ins and outs + tips on how to use their class skills so they won't die so quickly and so often. A lot of the rules I point out in the intros are already in the "read these or else" scrolls they begin with, but from my experience, most of them don't read it anyway, so when they do break those rules I can always go, "Well you didn't read the scrolls and you clearly weren't paying attention when I was talking to you about it less 30mins ago, which is not very scholarly like (etc etc)". The attentive ones tend to be from other Houses who freak at how helpful I seem to be just by giving them some vials and tattoos, those ones are still in the House over one rl year later and haven't suicided yet, so I might be doing something right by them.

    A lot of our requirements are stuff you end up doing passively anyway (get an honours line, get level X, go increase your explorer rank) but there's the ones that make people think on their feet too like with combat tests and stuff that prove whether or not you're totally reliant on a script to survive. I love RP'ing out the interviews on Nature vs their essays and making them really try hard in how their backgrounds affect their current outlook on life. It's not all pieces of paper, there's variety in our assessments. It's just up to the assessor to make do with what they got. Write the essays, but use that as a basis for a debate and watch 'em squirm :D
    "Faded away like the stars in the morning,
     Losing their light in the glorious sun,
     Thus would we pass from this earth and its toiling,
     Only remembered for what we have done."

    ExelethrilHalos
  • KyrraKyrra AustraliaMember Posts: 4,866 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    In a sense I miss guilds and orientations. When I first started playing, it was overwhelming. I joined the Runewardens, someone immediately came to talk to me, explained a bit about my skills, taught me a few more. It was no more than maybe 15-20 minutes of my time that left me more knowledgeable and I was happy to read through the scrolls from there.

    I have a few alts. The few times that I've joined a house immediately from the Flame, I get told to read half a library worth of information before getting to talk to someone. I think the sheer amount of knowledge that -new- players are supposed to absorb right away from an introduction like that is ridiculous. Most of the time, I feel like I have to rush through the process so I don't keep a novice helper waiting, One of those houses was the Sylvans, and the other, was the Mojushai.

    I'd love being a newbie again if @Tvistor gave me my orientation. I think having the player interaction there right away is more important than reading half a dozen different help files, which aren't likely going to make a lot of sense. In my own experience, this made me not want to stick around because, in both instances, it didn't seem like anyone wanted to bother helping beyond "If you have any questions, use HNT <whatever> to ask". I know a lot of novice helpers get put off when the novices quit or suicide - but not everyone that is truly new knows what they want to be, if they are in the right city or if said house is right for them (assuming you get more than one choice). I can pretty much guarantee that those who -did- get the personal treatment, would have appreciated the time spent, more often than not, and would be more inclined to hang around.

    I wrote a -lot- as part of my guild requirements but I understand that was part of having a class where Lore was a key foundation. I didn't mind those requirements, I know that others did. From my time spent as a Keeper, it was a mix of both theory and practical applications which cover the things you learn about as a newbie, both in terms of survival and learning about your class. Someone from the Wardens can probably correct me if the Novitiate requirements have changed that much, in which case I apologise. I couldn't bring myself to join a House. Tangents aside, I think my point was that player interaction fosters a lot more desire to stick around, complete tasks and contribute in return, but different people have different approaches.
    (D.M.A.): Cooper says, "Kyrra is either the most innocent person in the world, or the girl who uses the most innuendo seemingly unintentionally but really on purpose."

    Tvistor
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