Sat, Jun 30, 2018, 9:33 PM
I want to preface this by emphasizing that I don't have a dog in this fight. I didn't lose any characters in EoE, the only one in direct danger was one who was already dead. I'm not 'mad because I got permed'. What I am is somewhat disappointed.
Typically, End of Era events are intended to provide a sense of closure to the story and set the scene for the next era while allowing, inviting, practically requiring players from every part of the game to participate in and make their mark on a climactic event. It isn't just important that the good guys or bad guys win, but that good guys, bad guys, and even total randoms have a seat at the table, a role to play and a risk to take.
I don't think anyone would claim the recent EoE event went 'well' or 'as planned' and the ending was certainly underwhelming all around, but I believe that structurally it was flawed before players ever really got their hands on it.
Era 2 EoEs tend to mainly be between the Empire and the forces opposed to them, so the lack of an explicit role for third parties that aren't directly involved is normal and fine, there was still room for them to get involved and a few did. But, the structure of the event was such that the opportunities for meaningful participation were basically nil. And not just for third parties, but for everyone.
The players of the Jedi are understandably very disappointed that they were killed two minutes after their active participation in the event began with nothing they could do about it, which is something I don't think is unreasonable for them to be upset about. While it was well within Halo's character and stated intentions to kill the Jedi, and being killed was a risk they agreed to take, the repeated insistence on the ludicrously short self destruct timer ensured that there was absolutely nothing they could do except die. Their sole participation in the event was getting killed.
But had Halo not set the self-destruct at all, it's still not a tremendously interesting event. So what, a half dozen Jedi charge up the turbolifts, maybe fight some NPCs or whatever, and murder him. Not super interesting
A longer self destruct timer would have been fairer, and more interesting of a story to tell, certainly, and given those participating in the event a chance to see more of the beautiful Death Star that a lot of work seems to have gone in to building. At the end of the day, however, the entire concept of the event from the beginning seems to have been that Halo would take his Death Star, destroy the enemy fleet (which he could easily have soloed in the Death Star, or defeated conventionally without it), destroy a couple planets, then destroy the Death Star and himself. The role of the good guys was 'to try and stop it'.
So already we have the difficult prospect of 'stopping a murder-suicide', but on top of that the tremendous difference in strengths between the clans, with the ORA having ridiculous numbers of Jedi and ground troops and a barely-present fleet, and the Morgukai having a large fleet with experienced and competent pilots and very few if any ground troops left means that any sort of conflict between the two is going to be vastly unsatisfying. In past events, ground forces have been provided or augmented by Immstaff or RPC on event characters. While the RPC tends to be very involved in the mort side of the game already by the very nature of the council, half a handful of semi-competent RPC-alt MagnaGuards might have made a respectable obstacle for the boarding team in the hypothetical event they weren't all immediately incinerated.
Whether or not that route is worth taking or feasible in any given event is not something I am in a position to judge, but it is an available tool that has been used in the past in situations where additional stooges would be needed, and something was certainly needed to give the boarding team a reason to be there other than 'immediately kill Halo' or 'immediately be killed by Halo'.
The deeper concern, one that also resonates with the EoE pre-game-show event the night before where the Death Star was stolen, is the feeling that the majority of player agency was in the hands of one or two players and the link between IC actions and IC consequences was warped by this. In the EoE proper, Halo's choices were the only ones of particular relevance, and the nature of the rest of the pbase's options was limited mainly to 'show up and die' or 'don't show up and maybe not die but possibly die anyway'. In the Heist event, despite the seeming lack of any actual IC action to create the situation, Herk Mondo 'stole' the Death Star and took it on an hour long joyride killing people and blowing up Dac.
Dac was a garbage planet, certainly, and Herk, after all the trouble he's caused, probably merited going out with a bang, but the foundation for that event seems to have had no real relationship to IC events, it simply happened, and the rest of the game was largely powerless to do anything except be unceremoniously murdered until the Morgukai regained control of it. An event that was no doubt very enjoyable for Herk, perhaps moderately interesting to the small handful of Morgukai players, and a complete non sequitur for the entire rest of the game. A lot of work has obviously gone into putting these events together, so it is unfortunate that exactly two players seem to be pleased with how it has unfolded.
While I certainly agree with the notion that EoEs should carry risks and that nobody should be guaranteed not to die and permadeath should be a real and present risk during an event, the degree to which mayhem was spread, largely in the Herk event but also in the underwhelming deaths of many participants in EoE proper, and the degree to which those character deaths tended to be both unavoidable, and purposeless, seems more like the kind of hilariously wanton slaughter we've come to expect of an EoT event. Many players who were hoping for heroic deaths for their characters and closure for their stories came away disappointed.
Obviously I am not privy to what was discussed among staff prior to, during, or after this event, and while I'm in the somewhat unusual position of having been largely included in both sides' EOE planning, I am fully aware that there is a great deal I don't know, so I may have come to conclusions in this ridiculously lengthy effort-mail that are incorrect or based on misunderstandings, but nonetheless I wanted to offer a hopefully coherent piece of feedback based on what I was able to see and participate in.
Similarly, I don't have any easy fixes to suggest to you. Whether certain deaths stand or not, someone or other is going to be unhappy. People are going to be unhappy with the crash ending and that's something that couldn't even really be prevented. Nothing will please everyone, time cannot be unwound, it is what it is. My hope, however, is that from this feedback, and the feedback of others, internal staff discussion will be able to focus on finding ways to guide future events towards a structure that encourages participation and provides risks and rewards on all sides, that is not wholly reliant on the whims of a single player, and that the lessons of past events, successful and not, can help refine event design and avoid some of these pitfalls in the future.