On Cyrene

Over the last few months we've received a lot of feedback from numerous players in Cyrene regarding the direction of the game, particularly as it pertains to Cyrene's role in the world narrative, events large and small, competitive games, and of course God interaction, general day to day roleplay standards/expectations, and a perceived poor relationship with the game staff (myself, Nicola, Makarios).

While we've so far addressed these individually when they've come up, on this most recent occasion we've decided to make this post in order to provide a more elaborate and in depth response to various concerns that have been brought up, while also clarifying our position on certain issues and dispelling a number of rumours and misconceptions that have been allowed to breed among the Cyrenian playerbase.

We also want to reply in this manner because previous requests for explanation or information have suffered from a game of Telephone when being relayed to others. The message is often coloured by personal perspective and assumptions are made about the administration's message that simply do not feature in the initial response. We are also locking this thread as we do not wish for the message to be lost in response, or for the person who contacted us to be maligned for their feelings or questions.


Q1: People in the CAC clan should've been told to be quiet by other players when they were being rude and abusive toward volunteers/admin, but a sudden leap to credibility docking seemed severe, when instead a warning could have been given to those many players that were told "this is an OOC clan for all of your coding needs."

A1: Credibility docking is considered a very minor nudge in its initial use. This compounds and becomes more severe if credibility loss is levelled repeatedly, but it is often the first step when basic information given in help files about conduct is ignored.


Q2: Kog got his credibility docked presumably for being on HISTORY CAC, even though he wasn't online during the ranting about administration. Is it true that the Hashani OOC clan, COL, was also an org-owned clan, with mentions of discord links in its help scrolls, but no Hashani had their credibility docked, or is that part of the rumor mill?

A2: Credibility docking and policing of OOC in IC venues occurs when the OOC communication is noticed or reported. It had been made clear to Cyrene's leadership in the past that org owned clans must remain IC (we assumed that the org leader would resolve this with the clan's use/actions), and we consider the note in HELP CLANS to be the warning given to all players.

Unfortunately we cannot watch every communication sent in game and police it for suitability, nor do we want to. Org ownership was removed from ELT some weeks ago, it was removed from COL at the same time as CAC, and is about to be removed from Targossas' OOC clan. While some people have been griping about admin using the COL clan, I have done so briefly but was unaware of its status as an org owned clan (we cannot tell this without checking a player's clan list). It was also not a common occurrence.


Q3: A lot of Cyrenian players are concerned about unfair advantages between cities. Of course, the cities don't need to be exactly fair by any means, but there are cities with objectively more opportunities for fun and involvement provided by volunteers/admin. The biggest example is Hashan, who constantly have roleplaying opportunities with possessed denizens and their divine patron, and in many/most situations these are positive interactions. Hashan get to contribute to customizing their denizens, their denizens' wares, they get a new facility, and there's rumors of Hashan getting new skills in skillsets. The most interaction I've ever had with a Divine, or with a Divine-played denizen, was when I interacted with Twilight or Telaan. Hashan gets interactions from admin joking around with them on their OOC channels.

On the flipside of this, Phaestus seemed very obviously more invested in the coding aspect of Achaea. I have no doubt that he produced a great deal of benefit for the game as a whole, but as a Cyrenian, in character, we saw very little from him other than he appears, talks about how the Senate is dumb, and then leaves. He made the wellspring and repainted the city after the occupation, which is all great, but only for a pretty small portion of players. Phaestian players tell me how much happier he seems to be now that he isn't Cyrene's patron, which represents the problem pretty well.

A3: Ultimately, the Patron/Organisation interaction has to be a relationship. Patrons volunteer to help these organisations and Cyrene has been very hard on patrons in recent years, from the outside treating them as OOC/labourers rather than honouring the in character relationship between a god, their ideals, and the organisation.

It is very easy to point fingers at Hashan and claim that you want to be treated the same as them, but Hashan's players have worked very hard this past few years to rebuild their relationship with Twilight (not by becoming His city, instead by mutual respect, understanding, and communication) and to build an identity for themselves. After being an actual joke for 10+ years, Hashan actually has a defined purpose and mission and has been consistently playing this role in day to day interactions and using it as their guide for how they interact with opportunities on the world's stage. This is, 100%, what makes a faction a successful faction.

Conversely, we have consistently witnessed the opposite from a large portion of the Cyrenian playerbase. There is a pervasive tendency to view things through an out of character lens and entirely dismiss any and all roleplay or in character context surrounding any given scenario. This has led to the extremely unfortunate mindset that everything involving Cyrene is part of some out of character conspiracy by the admin, or by the gods.

On the broader scope of factionalisation and factional classes, being a "faction" has weight and meaning. It is a responsibility. It means you're willing to repeatedly get your ass kicked on the daily for your ideals, and "you" means the organisation not two or three individuals. It means you'd rather take the loss in a game or event because of your ideals rather than try for an easier win by allying up with someone who last week was your enemy or was treating your faction poorly. 

Being a faction means committing, and in this actions speak far louder than words. Factions also get fun toys to reward their work, and these enhance the faction identity, but these additions, updates, class skills, labs, cathedrals, tank updates, and so on cannot create an identity. The roleplay justifies the tools, not the other way around.

These additions aren't given because 3 leaders want this identity for their faction. These come when the faction has put in the legwork and consistent roleplay to be recognised as their factional identity. These additions reward everyone in the faction for their effort, and are always unsuccessful when used to force a cultural shift on an organisation.


Q4: The obvious and time honored "Cyrene has no factional class or skillset" gripe. This one I understand, since the city hasn't really been into combat for long at all, but it is now, and its main struggle is a lack of competent fighters, and a factional class would obviously improve Cyrene's appeal to combatants. I know it takes a long time to make something like this, but if Hashan is getting new skills to three skillsets (consider this complain null and void if this is just a rumor) then it seems like a lot more love is being given to a different subsection of players.

A4: Rumours of more skills for Hashan are entirely untrue as of our current plans. But this is a prime example of leaping to the worst conclusion, assuming the worst with no actual information, and adding this to a list of rumour-mongered grudges against the administration. The willingness to always believe the worst is not healthy for the faction and is often transmitted to every new Cyrenian player who ends up in one of the Cyrene focussed OOC clans. See above for our comments on faction building as a whole. 


Q5: Your message said that the volunteers/admin aren't our punching bags, and that is absolutely true. I think that Cyrene is often everyone's punching bag, though, and so there's a perception of "you need to suffer it, but can't vent," even though there's the very valid argument that what Cyrene takes is all in-character. But they are constantly mocked in shouts by every Divine, every city, and eventually it goes from "playing the team that's down right now" to being very exhausting and not very fun. Combine this with the fact that a lot of us pay money for this experience, and it breeds a lot of discontent.

A5: Venting is entirely fine, but not OOC in an IC venue, not by spamming the THINK command, not using OOC says around people who have not opted into being OOC with you, and not to the point of issuing gods or admin and using profanity and all caps to call them names. In an OOC clan would be entirely fine and is allowed within the scope of our language rules.

Playing the team that is at the bottom of the ladder is definitely not fun, and we appreciate that, but every event is not black and white Cyrene vs the world. Cyrene's reactions tend to place it in those positions, ignoring the fact that most events are created as opportunities rather than win/lose situations. 


Final Thoughts:

Another common complaint we hear is the idea that Cyrene has no agency and no ability to affect the outcome of their situation and are deliberately set up to fail. I want to make it abundantly clear: this is categorically false.

In the six weeks since Phaestus departed and Pandora took up residence, we have discussed a number of possible options for Cyrene to pursue. We have also kept a close eye on any ideas percolating among the Cyrenian playerbase so that we can react to them as appropriate. Unfortunately, despite a number of ideas being floated and discussed in meetings and various public conversations, no action whatsoever has been taken on the part of Cyrene in pursuing any of these. In addition to that, any approaches made by others have been rejected out of hand.

Negotiations were conducted successfully by Laedha, and this course of action was then promptly discarded despite being proven to work. Further, Lorielan was floated as a possible patron by many Cyrenians, and contact was made with her order head, but this too was abandoned. These are the two examples that were actually pursued but not seen through to any lasting resolution; all other ideas seem to have been similarly discarded in favour of no action.

We do not think Cyrene is a failed faction. We think they have multiple opportunities for success, growth, and to move forward as an organisation, none of which are explicitly related to PK or combat in any way. We are rooting for Cyrene to not only choose an identity for itself, but to actually stand by this identity and adhere to it in the day to day as well as on the world scale. This means sticking with it especially when it's difficult. 


Ictinus, Nicola, Makarios

"If you build it, they will come."


  • We've recieved a number of emails this week in regards to the above emailed questions and answers. We believe the answers to this one answer much of the new questions, and are valuable for public consumption also.

    As before we've attempted to remove any identifying aspects for the sender, and cut somewhat for readability. 

    The email:

    The first concern I have is that it feels like you want the leadership to better police the faction's ooc behavior if we are to have any chance of getting admin support. You reference ooc clans and issues and the THINK command. That sucks that people are doing that. I think you should absolutely punish people individually for it. And I am trying really, really hard to try to improve the overall culture. But Achaea has a lot of different types of players, and Cyrene does tend to attract people who want to be left alone to do their thing while having a loose community. Having a city that makes space for them is good for the game, financially and in terms of the overall playerbase, because sometimes those mostly passive players do grow into something bigger. But it feels a bit like you are saying that as long as Cyrene has a lot of these people, we're not ever going to be able to move forward. Is that what you're saying? I don't feel like actively trying to drive out a big chunk of the city because they act like entitled jerks is really a good idea, nor do I know how we would even do that. The game population isn't so high that it feels like a good idea, either. So I want to figure out how to move forward and make at least some progress while accepting the reality that a big chunk of the city is probably going to continue being passive. If the non-passive core group isn't ever going to be able to participate on a similar level to the other cities because the admin expects unity and motivation from the whole faction before considering anything like a factional class, they're going to continue leaving for other cities. 

    I also want to address the part about Cyrene being hard on Patrons and treating them as transactional. Does that apply to recent past Patrons also? Because my impression was that we had a pretty solid relation with Neraeos. Lots of Cyrenians joined the order, his goals affected our roleplay in general, and it was a positive relationship. That seemed to be how it started with Phaestus. When he first patroned the Virtuosi, he teased us on HNT sometimes, made one of the orchard blackbirds drunken (which we latched onto and played with a lot), and created some really cool events and interactions. I personally tried to make a big deal about him waking up, I wrote a song about it and performed it in his honor, there were sermons in Cyrene. The Senate also tried to specifically reference some of his teachings when we wrote the Pillars. But from my perspective, after the first month or so, he never interacted with anyone outside his order besides making confusing and rude comments in senate meetings about how awful we were, particularly Keorin. I don't expect 'stuff' from a patron--all patron requests we ever put in were for things that would be nice if we got them, and not anything we counted on or expected. What I do think we expected, and is fair for us to expect, is interaction. I can't even explain how much divine interaction adds to the game. We recently lost Gurklukke in part because while he was out wandering, he had an encounter with Twilight that was really interesting. Given that Phaestus' role seems to primarily be coding and that's where he puts his focus, I feel a bit like we were both set up to fail. The things that he worked on aren't actually roleplayed as being done by him--we know OOC that he did the coding work, but IC, they're done by the city administrator or hired dwarves, so we couldn't use them as roleplay hooks. 

    I really, really do appreciate all that coding work, in Cyrene and elsewhere. It's amazing. I can completely understand that to him, it probably feels like he's worked his ass off and gotten nothing from us in return. If he's willing to respond, I would be interested in hearing what we could have done better to keep the relationship from souring. Honestly, the only concrete thing I know he wanted was for us to get rid of Keorin. Other than that, I have no idea what we could have done differently to make the relationship feel less transactional. It might at least help us do better the next time around, assuming there is a next time.  

    In previous Q&As, you all have said that God players are primarily there for roleplay and do not have expectations beyond that. You've also said that there are things in place to handle Patron requests now that don't require orgs to have an official patron. Is there any reason you couldn't completely separate those concepts? Make 'patron requests' become 'city administrator requests' that are handled by the admin and garden as a whole, so you all decide what is and isn't worthy of coding time? That would end the awkward dynamic of cities badly wanting a Patron in order to get tangible things done, but being unable to actually use it as an aspect of roleplay with their Patron. It would also reduce the sense of favoritism. All I personally want from a Patron is roleplay and interaction. Almost nothing helps a story or city feel more vibrant than regular interactions with Divine and NPCs. Look at how Eleusis has exploded now that Gaia is there. I will happily accept never having any 'patron requests' completed ever again if it means more roleplay interactions with god players.  

    Cyrene's pillars include fighting for our sovereignty. I don't really see how treating Pandora as an honored guest and negotiating with her is consistent with those pillars that we are trying really hard to make our roleplay focus. On top of that, Cyrene particularly has issues with Pandora because of what happened with Borak right when she came back. I abandoned the negotiation attempts because I felt it was inconsistent with our roleplay approach. So it feels a bit like we're being told two contradicting ideas--we should have a clear and consistent position and defend it even if it means we lose, and we should also be flexible and offer Pandora things to get her to give us our garden back. We're not giving up, and I know it seems like we lost focus lately, but frankly most of Cyrene's leadership is pretty burned out from the last month of intense roleplay conflict. We'll be back at it soon.  

    "If you build it, they will come."
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