raisingproject: (Default)
Raising Project Mods! ([personal profile] raisingproject) wrote in [community profile] raisingooc2017-05-06 08:04 pm
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THE FINAL FEEDBACK + ENDGAME

Hello there, everyone! We'd like to thank everyone for participating in Magical Girl Raising Project! for these last seven months. This is our final feedback post in closing, since there's a lot that we'd like to go over, and we'd like to hear your thoughts on how to improve for the next murdergame.

Here are our personal comments from us, as moderators:

Len (Head Mod):

    Len here, as you guys can probably tell. I would like to thank everyone - again - for participating in this game, even with the rockiness the moderator team had at the start. We're all new to modding a murdergame, and even to me, as a murdergame veteran, this was a completely different and difficult experience for me, but it is one that I will honestly say that I would do again. While I say that I would definitely run a murdergame again - and there are plans for one in the future that is not MGRP related - it won't be happening in the near future, due to real life constrictions. But I digress.

    Magical Girl Raising Project's conception was in late November 2016. There were several behind the scenes trouble that could have caused the game's early closure, but two of my good, trustworthy friends stepped up to the plate and assisted me in moderating the game. I honestly could not have done it without them.

    I would also like to apologize in advance for my behavior at times on the Discord server as well that cropped up on occasion. It was not my intention to wall anybody from doing things from an IC standpoint or an OOC one in the slightest bit, and I heavily encourage characters to push past the decisions of the NPCs or the moderator played characters.

    Anyway, there were several kinks that I was working with when I was moderating this game, and many of them were based on the original systems that were being tested out, but I'll speak on that in depth below.

    Cases, Investigations and Trials:


    As the head mod, I was primarily in charge of sending out the PMs for the cases and creating the Google Documents that would encase the clues. The first case was a bit rocky because we decided to give freedom to the players and give input depending on what they gave us, and that lead to a bit of a mess. Thanks to some feedback, in future cases, we opted to use a template, which helped smooth things out in the latter cases.

    One of the biggest issues I realized was we never got scheduling down completely perfectly. The reason for this was due to timezone differences and a good portion of the players were also new to this format, which meant a lot of conflict in choosing players who were both available and also fitting for who did the crime.

    Because of this, in future games that we plan on running, we plan on giving the times ahead of schedule and polling ahead of schedule.

    The Plot, Secret Roles:


    First of all, I'd like to apologize severely to Zero, our Joshua player, for not utilizing the role as the traitor as efficiently as I should have. The reason for this was because while we had most of the plot fleshed out, we... actually didn't come up with the ritual until a few weeks into the game.

    The original plan was to have him investigate the others and potentially do something - which he did, due to a death roll - and also deal with the impurity and key gathering.

    We also had a second secret role, and that was actually the medium, whose role was to speak with the dead and pass on the message to the living without seeming suspicious. That role was played by our Renji player who had to drop, so that was definitely rather unfortunate.

    I'd like to say that a lot of the plot shifted out of circumstance -- there was a lot of things that I had to change from the original plans due to the tasks not working out like I wanted to and a lot of things behind the scenes work that I'm not going to go over here. But overall, I would like to hope that everyone enjoyed their time trying to figure out what's going on in the town and investigating.

    Also, here is where I'd like to bring up Zange, and her role as the mastermind. As the mastermind, Zange had all access to her abilities, which means that she was able to swap with Hakua at will. I tried to show Hakua at certain moments -- one example being during the Dia's meeting when M appeared, the other example being during one of her talks with Taiki at the end of the second trial. Zange and Hakua are complete opposites; Hakua acts timid, awkward, shy. Zange is active, bold, and willing to do whatever she wants to get what she wants. Zange's role as the mastermind was not supposed to be the big plot twist. The circumstances behind it were.

    I'm not going to lie that the plot was not perfect and this is something that I need to work on for the next game, hence why the next game will not be happening for a while, so that more of the preparation work will be done in advance.

    NPCs:


    I'm not going to lie that I kind of overwhelmed myself by adding in too many functional, working NPCs in the building of this game. Before the opening of the game, the NPC count was going to be as such:

  • The Mastermind, who wouldn't show up much, who was Zange
  • The Task NPCs -- which we cut, as spoken about a few weeks ago on how the system just didn't outright work for a short time.
  • Snow White, who was going to be a "helper" NPC until she murdered near the end of the game.
  • Ozuma, who was the "impurity".
  • The ten ghost NPCs, which were split amongst the mods evenly.

    Personally, Ozuma and the Mastermind were not going to show up much. The Mastermind being for the sole reason that she was Zange and had to do her posts while nobody was watching, and Ozuma was always planned to not show up until the end. In any case, I sincerely apologize to those who didn't get their tags in ample time, especially in deadland. All the notifications for the moderator account go directly to my e-mail, but I tend to clean out my e-mail of mod replies because I'm trying to get to them by directly checking. I tried my best to respond in as timely of a fashion that I possibly could, especially when it came to not only the NPC responses, but the mod investigation replies as well.

    Now, I'm going to talk a little bit here on the Snow White murder plot because it was actually switched from my original plans due to the scheduling. First of all: murderweek was not a part of the original plan. The original plan was to have an "unsolvable murder" and scapegoat someone and then have a retrial for it as the final trial. And I say 'unsolvable' in the way that the case itself could be solved, but the murderer would not have gotten caught.

    The Final Trial (Endgame):


    To be honest, the final trial did feel a bit... easy, but everyone put in a lot of hard work during the final investigation which made the trial run smoothly (although there were some Dreamwidth errors, I admit) but if there was anything that was confusing or felt missing, that's all on me, and I am honestly deeply sorry for that.

    Other:


    Other than what I've said above, overall, this was a huge learning experience for me. There are a lot of things that I figured out worked or didn't work and I had to adjust accordingly or come up with things on the spot when necessary. I will admit here - as I've admitted on Discord as well - that we will not have a round two for Magical Girl Raising Project. The reasoning for this is due to parts of the game structure just not working and the overall storyline being closed. The arc for this murdergame is done.

    However, this does not mean that I will not be moderating a short term murdergame in the future! I just need some time to reflect and figure out what things we could improve on and tighten up to make everyone's experience of the game better overall.

    I can't help but thank everyone enough for your participation and that doubly goes for Sam and Steve, my fellow mods. You guys did wonderful work, both during game play and behind the scenes, and I cannot express how much I appreciate all of it. And again, I'd like to thank for those who submitted their feedback in the last few posts and through our private contact. It helped us a lot in growing and finalizing a lot of things and how we can deal with things next time!


Steve (Tasks NPC Mod, Item Shop Mod):

    All right, so like I think I told everyone way back when, this was actually my first murdergame, both as a mod and a player. And it's definitely been...interesting. In a good way though! Before we started, and definitely when I was only planning on playing, not modding, I was under the impression that murder games were like regular games just....fast.

    This is the part where everyone laughs. Go ahead.

    Okay, so now getting to feedback, the first thing I'd like to do is apologize for leaving people hanging with NPCs back during the tasks. I was in the middle of switching jobs when we started, and honestly didn't think it would be as intensive as it was. So I apologize for that, and thanks a ton fellow for picking things up when I couldn't.

    I definitely think though, it was kind of a mistake. It was a good idea and did a lot to try and give you guys stuff to do when there wasn't murder, but I think an approach like that, in hindsight, is way better suited to a regular game or a different kind of game. With some retooling, it could probably work.

    As far as the item shop goes, that was pretty much the RNG's fault. I take no responsibility for anything other than the joke items and terrible descriptions. I'm sorry, my sense of humor leaves a lot to be desired. In all seriousness, I hope you guys had fun with it, and I was actually pretty surprised there wasn't more item sniping. Okay, there was a little, but you guys all played such nice characters, it was kind of amazing.

    Being at work for investigations, I can't really talk there. It looked like a ton of fun though, and I'm sad I couldn't participate!

    Trials were definitely the bulk of the learning experience...I think. We never really got room search timing down, then when things worked out we didn't need it, it just turned out to be kind of a mess, in my opinion. Which isn't really anyone's fault, things just kind of never lined up, and that's okay. It's a learning experience for next time.

    I can't really comment too much on the deadland stuff, I had fun trying out some new characters, and I hope you guys had fun interacting with them.

    So now let's get to the thing I've been wanting to give feedback on forever now. Let's talk about trial 2! So when Kaine got rolled, I wanted to go for a simple case because he's not going to go for the most creative murder ever, that's just not...him. But that was also my first time crafting one of these things, so I can definitely say that in hindsight I should've thrown more evidence at you guys. Still, it wasn't meant to turn into a giant clusterfuck, that was all you guys, and I love all of you for that.

    With that being said, we know we had a bit of a rocky start, and sometimes things didn't quite work out the way we intended, I still think, or hope, everyone had fun, even with us learning how to do this as we went along. And I can definitely say I'd be willing to play in one of these or help out again. But maybe with somebody more social next time!


Sam (Deadland Mod + Helper Mod)

    Hello, I'd like to again thank everyone for their time and patience with us getting ourselves sorted out. This was my return to modding games, but my first time modding a murder game. This has been a new and interesting experience. I barely knew anything about murder games before I stepped in to assist.

    As all of you know, I'm the one that handled dead land business. I tried to give all of you something to do there and later learned dead lands in murder games are supposed to be chill places. I will say next time I rule the land of the dead, I'll have like one poor sod be there.

    I was mostly using Hinata anyway and sorry for all his dumb drama. Next time I want to set up some kind of guidelines and structure but something really loose so there's still stuff to do. I want it to be fun there without any kind of major pressure. Whatever I will do I promise I'll have a much easier time keeping track of things. I'll make sure nothing gets in the way like some things in my real life unfortunately did.

    I apologize for any confusion I myself caused. Me being mobile a lot meant I missed things. That aside, I'll take that extra second from now on to be sure I don't. Once again, thank you for participating and hopefully having a good time.


Overall, we'd like to give yet again, a final thanks to everyone in game for everything and open up the floor to any last thoughts and feedback that you would like to give to us as a game or to us as moderators. You are also free to leave us a comment privately on our contact post. Thank you so much for playing in Magical Girl Raising Project!
telecosmetic: (hmm...)

[personal profile] telecosmetic 2017-05-07 03:20 am (UTC)(link)
One of the big problems I feel wasn't really addressed was the fact that Moeka's player had no access to the Discord, which I didn't realize until she died. Since most of the information and plotting was passed through the Discord, I feel that put her at a distinct disadvantage. I remember there being a few times pings were sent from the Discord but not posted on Plurk.
moes: (rin » zettai ryouiki)

[personal profile] moes 2017-05-07 03:46 am (UTC)(link)
Len here, I'm just replying on my main account so that you know that it's me that's replying. First and foremost, I'd like to say that I honestly didn't bar anyone from the Discord channel and that it was a definite opt-out thing; it was not mandatory for someone to actually join it.

All of the major posts were posted both on Plurk and on Discord; I also sent out PMs to reach out to those who did not vote via Plurk and all of the trial cases were done through the Plurk medium as well. So I honestly cannot say that someone had an advantage over the other when all of the information was given out. While there were some questions that were raised that I did not put on Plurk, which was probably a mistake on my part, most things were brought up in the posts themselves.
telecosmetic: (staring)

[personal profile] telecosmetic 2017-05-07 03:50 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I know it wasn't mandatory, but it does kind of become that when everyone but one person ends up opting in to join it. While I can acknowledge that Moeka's player probably had all the game-important information, there were incidents where a lot of OOC speculation or inter-player plotting ended up being mostly done on Discord. I suppose that in this case it was more a player issue as well, though.
telecosmetic: (hmm...)

[personal profile] telecosmetic 2017-05-07 05:48 am (UTC)(link)
Well, you did kind of already do that. I feel it would be good to just remind people in chat that there are people who won't be able to read it?
selfloving: (Default)

[personal profile] selfloving 2017-05-07 04:53 am (UTC)(link)
First of all, thanks for stepping up to mod this game and for opening this feedback post up to comments! I really appreciate that you are all willing to listen to your players. I have a lot of typing to do, so I apologize for the wall of text that’s about to follow. Before I get to that, though, I do want to say that I built some really fantastic CR here, that I enjoyed writing vaguely PA letters to the living every week, and that I appreciated the feedback posts and tried to utilize them whenever possible so we could grow as a game together!

I’m sad there won’t be more magical girl-based murdering in the future, since one of the things I liked most about this game was its premise, even if I don’t care for the MGRP series. I thought that tweaking that concept for a murdergame was pretty original, and I’d have loved to see those magical girl themes given more development and room to breathe in the future! I’m not sure how they could have been more integrated into the game itself, but I was definitely intrigued by that concept. As for the medium role, it’s too bad that it got placed on someone who had to leave the game, but I wonder if in that case something could have been passed onto another character? The little roles and complexities that were inherent in the worldbuilding were so exciting!

Obviously, a lot of my feedback is going to be based around my character being dead for most of the game. I don’t want to speak too much to how the living plot went after a certain point because I just wasn’t there to play through it.

As a player who spent most of the game in the graveyard, I will say that I spent most of my time in confusion about how much it was or was not going to be involved in the plot. As Sam said, I know that graveyards are usually pretty chill, but the appearance of the ghost NPCs, as well as Zange, had me anticipating that it was very important to do everything correctly while dead for the sake of the game’s plot. Unfortunately, it was very difficult for me to understand the scope of things, fundamentally, on an OOC level. I would have really liked to see the rules clarified a bit from the start, as I think that might have helped me figure out what role, if any, I had as a ghost.

I did have a good time playing the mod ghost NPCs. Sam, since you were the dead mod, I did appreciate how engaging Hinata and Rose were. Having NPCs in the graveyard provides something interesting for dead people to do and sort of a completely different world to engage with. (This is actually a concept that I think could be really cool in a longer game, too, where more intricate CR could be possible… Hm. That might be worth stealing.) I do think that for short-term games like this, the number of distinct mod NPC characters, even in the graveyard and especially since they are all fandom characters themselves, was a little high. I like your suggestion to plop like one or two people in there, tops. I think that’d be much more manageable and would also help out with one of the things that really hung me up as far as a player.

I think my biggest struggle in keeping engaged with this game as a player is that after a certain point, especially from the graveyard, it felt like it was the NPCs’ and Zange’s story and that the PCs were just pieces in that narrative. It’s a little hard for me to articulate, but these last few weeks especially I will admit I found it hard to stay motivated. I know there weren’t a lot of PCs who stuck around in the graveyard for the game’s entire run, so that might have also had something to do with it. But I guess—this may sound harsh, and I apologize—after a certain point it felt like it didn’t matter if I played in the game or not because it wasn’t a story in which my character had any part. I think that clarifying the graveyard role, streamlining NPCs so that more structured things (maybe not tasks, but like, chill stuff with a purpose), and limiting Zange’s presence a little bit on the IC stage (having her “die” during murderweek, a glitch limiting her powers, maybe something like that?) might be ways to do a similar plot structure in the future while mitigating some of those feelings for me. I have very little modding experience, so I’m just spitballing with these suggestions, but I hope they reflect some of the places I felt discouraged as a player and ways that might be different in another game!

This was my first murdergame, so it was a learning experience for me, as well. I’ve discovered a lot of things about how they’re structured and run. I admit, I came in with some of the same expectations that Steve had. Huge surprise! Thanks again for your work and for opening up lines of communication! Trial 2 was a real nailbiter for me and I really enjoyed trying to develop CR in a much differently-paced setting.
selfloving: (Default)

[personal profile] selfloving 2017-05-20 05:38 am (UTC)(link)
Sorry for not responding to this for ages. Finals week + working commencement + celebrating + immediately coming down with a cold flattened me out for the past couple of weeks and I have been slowly dragging my way through life.

Thanks for your response, Sam! I appreciate you getting back to me. I definitely look forward to seeing what you do when you tweak the system next time. Like you said in your original post, graveyards are usually seen as the no-stress dead place, and this one had an interesting mix of that lower stress and an impetus to solve mysteries. I think that balance is both exciting (because I've never seen it before) and one of those things that needs to be played by ear a lot depending on what happens in gmae.

Like I said, I really had a lot of fun threading with Hinata and the other ghosties. I was just always worried that I wasn't doing...enough dead stuff. I always found you really respectful and responsive as a mod and I appreciate all the thought you put into making deadland more exciting, even if a lot of it did come around last minute.
moes: (chidori » thinking of you)

[personal profile] moes 2017-05-07 05:31 am (UTC)(link)
Hey there: Len here. I'm going to be speaking primarily for myself in regards to the plot and especially Zange's involvement in the game, but I'll also address the other things on the list as best as I can as well.

First of all, let's talk about the medium role. It was kind of difficult for us to pick someone for that role to begin with because we wanted it to go to a player that would not be dying in the first week, someone who wasn't the traitor, and someone who would actually help the cast significantly. We spoke on this as a moderator team when we first decided to implement the role and then we gave it to Renji's player, who gave us the OK for it. It is rather unfortunate that the role didn't end up utilized more, and that is hugely due to circumstance. It is because of this drop that I personally decided to use the letters as a form of communication between the living and the dead.

Now, since I am speaking about the deadland, I should first formally apologize on my part that I didn't make the rules and guidelines of Deadland clear from the get go. In any case, the major plan for deadland was for the characters to investigate the oddities of deadland and to see if they could find things that the living may have missed and pass that information onto the living characters. Like Sam said above me, I sincerely apologize for any of the major confusions that we might have caused in regards to the structure of how it works; we definitely plan on utilizing this input that we're getting from you in future murdergame deadlands, so we really appreciate it a lot.

Again, I've already spoken my two cents re: NPCs for the most part, but I would like to add that we plan on cutting down on the NPC usage for the next game. The concept was decent and we tried hard to keep up with the execution, but we do realize that it was a bit... much, especially for a short term game like this one.

As for re: Zange, it was my personal decision to allow Zange to live when I honestly should have purposely let her die during murderweek - to be more specific, she was not rolled. Again, I'd like to reiterate that murderweek was not a part of the original set up, but since I miscalculated when the game would end and did not want to have endgame on Mother's Day weekend, that I had to come up with an alternate solution. I also wanted to make sure that the people who would survive to endgame were people who were relatively active players as well, so the last murders were a mix of some people getting rolled due to inactivity and some people getting rolled because of RNG and perhaps that was a mistake on my part for not swapping one of the more active players for Zange.

Also I do want to apologize, again, for making you feel that your character was a piece, because that was definitely not the plan at all, as we wanted to give characters a chance to help out.

If you have any other comments or concerns that you have in regards to this specific comment or anything else, feel free to reply either here or privately and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I am definitely taking all of this feedback into deep thought and consideration, so I heavily appreciate your reply. Thank you very much, and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself, regardless of our fumbling.
Edited 2017-05-07 05:38 (UTC)
selfloving: (Default)

[personal profile] selfloving 2017-05-20 05:46 am (UTC)(link)
Copypastes dis: Sorry for not responding to this for ages. Finals week + working commencement + celebrating + immediately coming down with a cold flattened me out for the past couple of weeks and I have been slowly dragging my way through life.

I totally didn't even realize that the letters were in place as a stand-in for the medium LOL. I thought they were their own thing, but now that you've explained it I totally see it. I apologize for not putting two and two together--I think that solution was a good compromise with the cards you were dealt on that. I actually thought the letter set-up was pretty interesting, that said--with the right group of characters in the cast it could be used for some really intense suspicion and doubt and backstabbing.

I appreciate your perspective on the stuff about deadland and murderweek! I can see that you and Sam are thinking about how to do graveyard stuff in the future and I look forward to seeing where that goes. I'm glad some of the feedback you've gotten from people has been helpful!

Thanks for your response and for taking the time to be so thorough with your comment! I really appreciate your attentiveness in answering here, and I'm sorry it took so long to get back to you. I'm definitely glad that we were all able to make your first murdergame get off the ground and cause some trauma for our characters!
enthrallingly: (pic#9789030)

[personal profile] enthrallingly 2017-05-07 09:57 am (UTC)(link)
Having a little bit of experience being in your position, I know a little bit about the crazy workload that goes into it. So first and foremost I want to say how much I appreciate all of you for your hard work. The setting you took on and the ideas you implemented were ambitious and creative (and that's not even to say anything about all the characters you took on to flesh it out), and even when they didn't work every time, you dealt with those problems in a smooth way and always kept us informed as players. The communication you guys had with us was refreshing and so, so helpful. I always like we were in good hands, even when things had to be changed around. So for all of that I have nothing but the utmost respect for you all. I apologize in advance for the blurb that will follow but I wanted to completely acknowledge the things I loved about the game too. SO BEAR WITH ME.

I will also admit to being one of the people who are sad there won't be another round like it, because it was a very different experience and the setting played so well and was so much fun; especially knowing I would have been there 9000% myself. Knowing very little about the series it's based on, I'm really glad it could offer throwbacks to the canon without making me feel silly for knowing nothing/making me feel at a disadvantage. The circumstances surrounding not being able to utilize the roles were understandable although I do agree that I feel like it's a shame something wasn't able to be done to leave a medium among the living rather than utilizing the letters.

I do feel like you all took on a lot NPC-wise but for the most part you all managed very well and they were engaging and an interesting addition. Although they were not all necessary, their presence was definitely felt and it really felt like they added a great deal of depth to the game behind the scenes. To have that many and not have it feel like they were just slapped in there specifically for X information is really cool and I applaud you all for that.

While I had mixed feelings on Zange actually surviving to endgame, I also feel like it might not have been possible if she wasn't still there, so on one hand I can understand that. My concern was more rooted in wishing that it could have been a fourth player who would have been able to experience the final week and trial who wasn't involved. And honestly I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it if it weren't a case where it really was such a small number of people who got to make it that far. If it were a surviving pool of six or so I probably wouldn't have thought much of it honestly.

Endgame was a little interesting going into the last week. I feel like maybe we didn't get enough direction at certain times, especially since there was not a proper investigation or direction on what additional information we were searching for. But luckily we were an active group that relied on GO EVERYWHERE so it didn't feel like we missed anything. But it did actually feel like we might have been able to without combing the entire town. Which... when you have three surviving characters (not counting Zange because of her circumstances) is a tall order. I can't complain too much because we managed decently but it definitely would have been problematic if not for everyone working together well to comb different areas.

Now. About that "villainous" reveal. It was an interesting twist to have a surviving character be responsible and it made for a great twist that I still had the great fortune of being surprised by when Edna died. But I do also know that was in part to other people looking stuff up and then making mention that something was there. It's tough because it was an absolutely entertaining story-line but I do also see how it seems based on the idea that we weren't supposed to know anything about the character when she was, as we thought, one of the player characters and that could be a little messy. Knowing what you were going for, I totally understand the choices you made and on a whole I feel like you tried to handle them the best you could.

I suppose my only suggestion would have been relying more on her actions rather than her history as clues to try and avoid that but again-- for what I got out of it, I don't feel like it was a terrible choice, but more of a situation where there were natural sacrifices made to get a desired effect. And for what it was, I think you did well. It's hard to spring something like that on a group when they're supposed to be gradually leading up to the truth. I just happened to get lucky that I didn't look any further on her during the game.

While I didn't get to experience too much Deadland due to late death/Seraphina not dying, what I did experience was fun and it was really nice to see the cameos of the characters they were snooping into actually in the graveyard, despite the fact that I didn't have a lot of time to dig into it!

Basically-- for every concern I had, I had just as much praise and I am absolutely looking forward to whatever you may do in the future. I know you'll only get better. Thanks for such a great game guys.
starflare: (pic#7248059)

[personal profile] starflare 2017-05-07 02:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Sam here. I also agree that the survivor pool being larger could have helped with some of the feel of the end. While murder week wasn't planned, in the future survivor pool and endgame feel is something we'll heavily consider long before any game is set out for reserves.

I have nothing but respect for our players. I feel that part of why we had such communication is we were all willing to work together to make things possible.

Again, thank you for playing and I definitely think we have learned a great deal from this experience.
moes: (katalina » knightly ways)

[personal profile] moes 2017-05-07 03:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Len here, just so that you know which one of us is talking. I'll get through all of this since it's a lot but I'd like to first thank you so much; I don't mind the long blurb in the slightest, since I completely understand and a reply such as this one is very encouraging to us in improving things as a whole. Also please bear with me here, since I just literally woke up but hopefully I'll word my responses properly.

First of all, we definitely tried our best, as mods who were very canon familiar with the series to make sure that everyone who was playing didn't need the canon familiarity - and in this particular case, of not only the main setting, which was only loosely based of the Magical Girl Raising Project series, but also the ghost NPCs, who were also canonical characters.

Readdressing Zange here a bit: I did, in fact, have a plan B for her if she was rolled for death -- a golden ending was in fact possible even with her death as I had have a branching storyline in case things did head in that direction. So rest assured that even if she had gotten rolled, things would not have ended badly unless player choice skewed in that particular direction. But RNG is a cruel mistress that seemed to not have it out for Zange at all, apparently.

Also I definitely do agree about the lack of direction - and I'm specifically talking about, in this case, re: the final investigation week - and that's a failure primarily on my part as a new moderator and not knowing exactly how to deal with it, but the plan was definitely to have the investigation go in the new, unlocked areas for the most part and perhaps have characters look at some of the older areas, but perhaps there should have been more direction with that, as you've said, and I'll definitely be taking that much in account for next time.

While murderweek wasn't planned, as Sam said above me, I could have cut the deaths off on Friday during the initial announcement and just have had five characters die instead of the full seven to allow some breathing room for the characters to investigate. This is definitely something we're keeping heavily in mind for next time, along with the set up and the plot, whenever we get the chance to prepare for another game in the not so distant future.

Nevertheless, again, thank you very much for all of your input and for playing; I will definitely echo the sentiment that we have learned a lot from this and plan on improving based on all the feedback we've been given overall, as we're taking it into some deep thought and consideration. If there's anything else that you'd like to bring up that stems off of my reply, please feel free to respond here or to me privately, as I am definitely willing to listen, and I appreciate any response you give to me as a player.
Edited 2017-05-07 22:51 (UTC)
selfloving: (Default)

[personal profile] selfloving 2017-05-07 04:33 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree with a lot of this comment! I like the ideas for the future re: having a larger survivor pool at the very end and using actions to drop some hints over the course of the game. And like Michi, I want to reiterate that it is very nice to have lines of communication open between mods and players.
imitationsoul: [official art] (72 - smile)

[personal profile] imitationsoul 2017-05-07 08:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey everyone, I'm first going to echo what has been said in regards to constant mod communication, it was nice to always have access to a mod for quick clarifications and within the constraints of the pre-established plot I think my concerns have always been answered. I especially thank Sam in that regard.

Nevertheless, I do have some major concerns that I feel are worth bringing up since you guys are looking into running a second murder game in the future.

Starting off with the most simple thing, I think that if you are going to introduce a controversial element like fourth walling, it would be good courtesy to warn of that in the FAQs from the get-go. It's not a trope everyone likes to play out and more importantly, it is not a trope that works with every character. Picking a canon point is generally an act of choice that says “this is the standard of knowledge I want to play this character with” and it can be essentially nullified by revealing their canon to them. I know for myself that I would have apped a different muse for sure had I known this would be a major part of the gameplay, but I do sincerely hope I'm an outlier with that problem.
Another thing about the fourth walling aspect that left me wondering during the gameplay was how it was stretched out to single out video game characters. I think this was unfair both to those players and the others – while video game characters had near the entire game duration to deal with their fourth walling (whether this be positive or negative for the player), all other canons had basically no chance to do anything impactful with this mechanic. By the time it became available the characters from other canons were either dead or had lost their CR entirely, which made the option of reading their canon rather meaningless in the long run.
I very much appreciate you guys working with me in regards to avoiding having Miach experience her canon here, because it really would have only amounted to “breaking her whole character with no CR there to do anything about it” OTL......

Then I will sadly have to agree with Shay with regards to this game feeling NPC-centered. Maybe this would have stuck out less had the NPCs been designed for this game, but given they were canon character muses of the mods it felt like there was no way for player characters to measure up to their involvement in the world's lore. This especially correlates with Zange being the mastermind – in the end, the entire plot hinged on the mod character. We got to decide whether Zange could live or die, but the only one who even had the power to do any meaningful alterations to the plot seemed to be Zange. I understand that the ritual was a last minute addition made to rectify an OOC issue, but it being mostly centered around the NPCs, with Zange being the one to find it (and be able to cast it) definitely played into that larger issue. PCs were victims of the situation who did not seem to gain own power or agency the whole way through. To be fair to you guys though, there were also major activity issues in the game that I am sure hindered the amount of PC involvement that was planned (see the Medium, especially).
With this already weighing on my mind, the intended hilarity of “Producer Len” kind of fell flat for me because it seemed to drive the point home that mod characters / a mod insert were the centralized parts of the game's plot.

Speaking of the Medium, I was originally going to critisize the letters as being a too early and too direct form of communication that took the emotional force out of dying, but now that I know this was a make-shift solution, I won't dwell on it any more. You weren't able to predict a drop after all.

For a next quick point, I absolutely agree that four was too small for a survivor pool, especially since two of the players had deadland knowledge one way or another and thus could not investigate unbiased, leaving us with only two characters who could truly participate in the final trial 'as normal'.

And finally, I think this game would have profited from a reduced plot, but that is an issue that definitely came with adapting the concept of a pre-existing anime for a game. I absolutly understand that you had to make the game so that people who watched and people who didn't watch MGRP could enjoy the plot the same way, putting you under pressure to both explain the anime and add new twists. That's a lot to juggle.
In the end though, it felt like a lot of plotlines were sidelined (including the huge TV reveal) and a lot of questions were left open because there simply wasn't the time and space to have everything cleared up fully.
I'm not sure myself how an effective reduction of this would have gone, but simplicity of plot is something to keep in mind as a general bit of advice.

Ultimately, some of this comes down to taste issues. Your game has been greatly loved by the active playerbase, so I am very ready to concede that “it wasn't what I imagined” is no valid point of critique. There is no shame in a game premise not suiting the taste of everyone. Sometimes you just app to a game that is perfectly fun but not for you – I still found ways to make this work for me and had some great threads and CR, so all's well that ends well.
In the months preceding the game I was seeing Len put such hard work into this set-up on plurk, so I am very happy to see that it completed a relatively smooth run to the end. Congratulations and thanks for all the time and effort!
starflare: (pic#7248061)

[personal profile] starflare 2017-05-07 10:10 pm (UTC)(link)
First and foremost, thank you for your feedback. Your concerns are being noted. I will say if we do make another game it's in the very distant future. This aside, on the subject of npcs.

Yes, activity was an issue. That's why I chose to deal with deadland the way I did. I didn't want anyone sitting by themselves in deadland. That didn't feel fair. However alternatives could have made to pushing the plot among the living and threads of it. This will all be taken into account.

It was noted to me by multiple sources that Murder games have fourth wall'd people without warning before, but again this will be taken into consideration. As Len has said before a lot of dust happened and we had a lot to sort through. Including learning on the fly what worked for the format and what didn't. Vision doesn't always match up with reality and we learned that.

However, to get back to a point you made earlier. I want to go over the choice for memoryloss ending was not solely because of the npcs. It had a lot to do with what some of us are used to in other games and cultural influences. I've since been educated on what people expect out of a murder game ending. That will not happen again.

I don't want to continually reiterate what I've said to others above. However, I do want to stress despite the problems I'm glad you made some fun out of this experience. The chief business of people taking the mod role is all of us as a community having fun.
moes: (alisha » i'm interested)

[personal profile] moes 2017-05-07 11:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Len here. I'm going to echo what Sam said above for the most part in regards to crafting up another murdergame that it's definitely not going to be in the near future, but something more distant. This is primarily due a lot of restructuring and taking into account what everyone's said here in order to improve and make the next game an even better one than the last.

I appreciate you bringing up your concerns in regards to the fourth walling, and this will be taken into account for next time. It was not meant to be stretched out to just video game characters, as the library was going to be the final location that had the rest of the fourth walling, but I honestly should have split it so that there was a location with each opening that gradually grew and leaned more towards that (i.e: video game place > DVD store > library, as an example) if we were going through with this plot. In the end, the plot itself revolving around the concept is not something that everyone is going to enjoy, and I honestly can't expect everyone to wholly like something, as all games and all stories have flaws. I will not disagree that we didn't have our problems, especially when it came to the plot.

I've already spoken my pieces in regards to the plot itself above and this is some we are all heavily keeping in mind for the next game. The same goes for the amount of characters and who will be chosen for the final investigation. In any case, the ritual itself was a last minute addition, something that I will concede to. Nevertheless, we plan on restructuring endgame in the next murdergame we plan on running in the distant future, taking these concerns into account.

I think that's all I have to say on my part, and again, I'd like to thank you so much for the input and that we plan on improving from here on out based on everything that's said here. We're all taking this to heart so that we make sure that we have everything straightened out for next time and we do not make the same mistakes as we have here. In any case, if there is anything you would like to bring up that stems from this response, you are free to reply to me directly here or to me privately, as I am willing to listen. Thank you so much for your time and we are all glad that you had fun playing in spite of everything.
hawthorned: (Sweetest smile :3)

[personal profile] hawthorned 2017-05-09 07:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Hello, mods! This is a couple of days late, but I was a) having some difficulty articulating what I wanted to say, and b) didn't want to waste your time with feedback that was already given to you guys. I did debate for a while with myself whether to post this crit or not because I do think the TL;DR of it comes down to ideological differences and ultimately there's no real "answer" for that other than coming to terms with the fact that not all games can be for everyone. That's, imo, a perfectly legit thing and in this case I accepted that and had fun in MGRP regardless. And frankly, as I said to you guys in chat, you guys deserve medals for managing to juggle what was an intense NPC load with speedy communication and openness to change, so first and foremost, thank you for all your hard work and effort in creating and moderating this game. i know it must not have been easy and modding is, at times, really thankless work.

So the reason I did end up deciding to post this was because I hoped to offer some perspective, both as a player in your game and as a former mod (albeit not of murdergames). Whether you take my perspective into consideration for the future is, of course, entirely up to your discretion! Before I get into it though, I want to emphasize that this is not meant to be an attack or personal criticism, but as the bulk of what I'd like to point out as being (at least imo) a bit problematic pertains to Zange's role in the plot. I do worry that it might get taken as such. I can only reiterate that these are observations I've made, not attacks or accusations and I hope they won't be taken as such.

Both Shay and Luna both pointed out the issue of PC's feeling somewhat irrelevant to the overall plot of this game, and I would honestly have to agree that this is indeed how it felt. I understand fully that this was in no way your intention, and as you guys said, sometimes intention doesn't always carry through in execution.. and that happens sometimes! However, I do think the issue stems from a broader issue relating to the way this game had built into the very concept of it, some notable mod bias that skewed the playing field of the game in favor of the mod's PCs and NPCs. I realize that "mod bias" sounds kind of provocative and kinda inspires a kneejerk defensiveness, but as I stated I genuinely do not think it was intentional on your parts. I think the issue was that in trying to create a compelling fleshed out story to immerse your players, the unintentional result was that it left too little for your playable characters to do because so much of the mystery had already been worked out by pre-existing characters in the setting (ie. Zange and the NPCs).

In a way the amount of backstory you guys had I think was a bit of a double edged sword in execution, imo. As Shay said, the lore was pretty cool and I'm glad you guys got to share it with us to the detail that you did! But because you could simply ask an NPC for answers/clues on most things, it did occasionally feel rather like the PC was just there to be infodumped and do fetch questy things without really contributing to the game in a more meaningful way. I guess my advice here, and feel free to take it or leave it because it's one of those annoying "easier said than done" things, is to write a concept that doesn't have a cast of essential characters in it just yet. ....If that makes sense? Like have as much background/story that the story could go fascinating places, but try not to fill in too many roles before the players who will eventually provide essential characters have a shot at it.

Which then brings me to what I would like to say about Zange's role in the plot. I'll be honest here, I was shocked that a mod's PC was playing such a pivotal role in the plot of the game. I've been RPing on DW/LJ for a couple of years now on and off and I've never actually seen a game open to the public where the mod's PC was elevated to the point of (essentially) being singlehandedly responsible for the driving the core plot. In PSLs or friend-only invite games, I can certainly see that being fine, but MGRP was neither of those things. Perhas this goes back to what I was saying about ideological differences because as a mod I would not have made those choices, but it did make me uncomfortable as a player that Zange was given so many advantages over other players because the plot dictated it. Again, I understand this was not what you were aiming for, but because it was unintentional I feel this point needs to be said.

By creating a plot where the mod's PC by design has the distinct advantages over everyone else, that raises legitimate concerns about mod favoritism and mod bias for their own characters. At least for me, that put in this pretty awkward situation where I felt I could not voice my concern about how centralized around Zange and banking on unfamiliarity with Kannagi this game was because I could see that it was at least partially designed to be that way and nothing could actually be done about it even if I did bring up my concerns for that reason. It made things like the fact that manga 4th walling never happened until the very last week, Zange being the one to discover the ritual, the final trial revolving around trying to prove Zange was secretly a Good Person (and the fairly self aggrandizing implication that this was the most important question about Town A), the fact that in endgame people had their powers only weakly restored while Zange had no such handicap -- though I'm sure they all likely had their foundations in plot given how incredibly detailed and thorough you guys were! -- feel increasingly like the mod's PC was being put on a pedestal and given a lot of preferential treatment and that was a touch frustrating at times. Especially after the last trial, I was left wondering if this was still a murdergame based on MGRP or an AU Kannagi game. Again, please understand that I'm not saying this to accuse or point fingers, but rather to provide perspective on what these things can look like from the viewpoint of a player in your game.

One other more general concern I had related to what can be perceived as mod bias was the fact that the NPCs were all technically playable characters that could have been apped into the game. I understand why that choice was made and that it was tied to the nature of the plot you guys had created, but I do think there is valid criticism in pointing out that it effectively allowed the mods to play more PC's and bypass the regular app system by rebranding them as NPCs. Understand that I did enjoy threading with many of the NPCs in this game, but that doesn't really change the fact that it does feel like the mods were held to a different standard than the players. Again, this falls into the category of things I would find alright in a PSL/friend-only type of game, but less so in a game that's open to the public.

That all said, mods have every right to create the game they want to play because it is ultimately their sandbox? The fact that you guys decided to go for a concept that went against murdergame convention by making the mastermind the mod's PC is interesting in its own right and I can appreciate that you guys were going for different and unique plot twists. Ultimately, my conclusion here may be that "it wasn't my cup of tea, but it could very well be someone else's cup of tea" and that's a-okay! But even so I think the (let's face it) inevitable concerns about mod favoritism/bias for their own PC that accompanies this kind of concept needed more reflection, especially given the way those issues manifested during the course of MGRP as I briefly outlined above. I do know some of the expansion of mod characters' roles (both PC & NPC) was difficult to avoid simply because, as Luna pointed out, there was that issue with activity and you guys had to make a lot of on the fly adjustments, so I do sympathize there.

Overall, you guys were receptive to ideas and listened to your players concerns and showed a lot of flexibility in thinking and making swift adjustments as necessary and I can tell that you guys care a lot about your players. Those are all incredible assets, and as I said, despite some of our ideological differences, I did have a swell time here and that's definitely what counts most in the end. Even if I do have mixed feelings about how the game was executed, I have all the respect for the creativity and dedication each of you put into MGRP.

Again, thank you Len, Sam and Steve for all the time and energy you invested into MGRP. I wish you guys the best of luck with your future murdergame endeavors!
moes: (lucina » future princess)

[personal profile] moes 2017-05-09 08:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Hello there, Len here! First and foremost, allow me to thank you for your time in writing this up; it's heavily appreciated, regardless of how late it is. I'll be going over all of this in detail and try my best not to be repetitive, but I sincerely apologize beforehand if I repeat anything that I've spoken about in the above threads.

In regards to Zange and the moderated NPCs, I honestly have to apologize about how a lot of the plot-related clues were done through word of mouth instead of actually allowing the characters to hunt things for themselves and effect the overall plotline and game experience.

I will admit that I had to swap a lot of the plot last minute due to some unforeseen circumstances and this experience has made me learn a lot and improve overall as a first time moderator. Bias towards the moderated PCs and NPCs were not a part of our intentions in the slightest, and I again sincerely apologize for giving that impression.

All in all, we are all taking all of this into deep consideration and keeping everyone's thoughts in mind if and when we decide to dip our toes into another murdergame. Regardless of the mixed feelings overall in regards to our execution, we would like to, once again, thank you very much for playing here as well as taking your time in writing this response. We do appreciate the feedback, as it will only help us improve in the long run and make an attempt to not repeat the same mistakes and straighten things out better in our next endeavor. Nevertheless, if there's anything that you would like to add that stems from my response, feel free to reply here or speak to me privately, as I am willing to listen.
Edited 2017-05-09 20:56 (UTC)