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[edit] Obsidius' Rules of the STO Forums

As a guy who's lurked and participated on various online forums, I've come up with rules that will help in partipating in the STO forums, or any MMO forum in general. I'll add more when they come to mind or as I come across them. Enjoy.

[edit] Forum posts are not legally binding contracts.

You wonder why devs don't talk about a lot of stuff on the forums? Because every time they talk about something in development that doesn't actually make it into they game, it bites them in the ass. But when they do, don't hoist it on your shoulders like the Ten Commandments, Moses. Sometimes stuff just doesn't pan out in the long run. Anything a dev "promise" on the forums isn't actually a promise (unless they actually use the word "promise" in their posts, which is pretty farking unlikely). But seriously, Cryptic and PWE don't guaranty the legality of anything said on the forums, so deal.

  • This rule can also applies to a developer's tweets on a personal Twitter account, etc. In short, things might get said on any forum or social platform about things that actually never make it into the game. Don't get your knickers in a twist.

[edit] Why haven't the devs put in <insert feature here> yet?

Priorities. In Dev Land, you have to get the most bang for your buck with the resources at hand, and there's usually not enough resources to do everything at the same time. It gets frustrating when the feature you want keeps getting pushed back, but it's probably because the devs have to concentrate on different priorities set upon them by higher-ups (see Calling the devs lazy is lazy, below). Sometimes devs will work on personal projects outside of the normal scope of their work, but usually it means that particular items will take longer to see the light of day, if it ever does. Remember, forum posts are not legally binding contracts (see above), and that the schedule constantly changes. Just deal with it.

[edit] Demanding a Dev response is a good way not to get one.

The community forums are for the community. Sometimes, you'll get a dev to chime up about something. They do this during their free time, out of "the kindness of their hearts". They get paid to develop MMOs, not sit around on the forums all day (aren't you supposed to be working, buddy?). So demanding a dev response from anyone but the community representative just makes you look petulant. Your supper-important issue will be addressed when it's prudent to do so, and when there aren't a lot of more important things ahead of it on the schedule. Besides, this isn't Beetlejuice, and many devs won't reply when someone is trying to call them out; it sets a bad precedent.

[edit] Why don't the developers post more?

See the above rules. They're probably busy - you know - developing things. Or making sure they don't post any "promises" or anything else that can be taken completely out of context by players.

[edit] Calling developers lazy is lazy.

If you think developers are "lazy" just because they haven't inserted whatever feature or function you've been holding your breath for, there's probably a better reason than lethargy. Unfortunately, you're probably too lazy yourself to consider things like demand of the player majority, budgets, timeframes, other things in the developers' schedule, adding things that benefit the greatest amount of the playerbase, etc. Congratulations, lazy thinker. You win teh interwebz.

The truth is: you are probably placing the blame on the people who have the least amount of control over the schedule. Developers tackle the schedule delivered to them by the lead developers; who in turn answer to the studio managers, publisher, investors, etc. If anything, any blame should be with their higher-ups. And it's honestly not a question of laziness, rather than player demand and priority. However, if you can convince them, in a civil fashion, that something is in demand, it might help to increase the priority. But slinging insults (ie: calling people lazy) at the people you're trying to sway to your point of view is probably the worst way in which to accomplish this.

[edit] Don't Nitpick.

If you seriously believe that fixing every last window on a Galaxy class star cruiser or fixing some deflector art on a drop-box unlocked ship is the top priority of the art team, I want to know what you're smoking, and where I can get some. Well, I guess you can nitpick, but it won't get you very far and will probably just chafe the people that can actually "fix" your "problem". Just ask CapnLogan. Go ahead, send him a PM about a weapons hardpoint. Oh wait, you can't, because he got tired of all the nitpicking and left STO (damned if you do, damned if you don't I guess).

[edit] Do you ask loaded questions because you eat babies?

See what I did there? I hope so. The devs sure love to respond to threads with titles like "Devs: why do you hate <insert faction or gameplay here>?" OK, not really. If you want to get a serious response to your thread, maybe even by an actual developer, instead of just looking like a troll, leave your questions unloaded. Don't be "that person".

[edit] It's not like a slap in the face. Ever.

Often heard on Internet forums is people stating silly things. One example is comparing a missing feature, lack of content, or other perceived sleight "like a slap in the face" to some players or player group.

Have people who say this ever been slapped in the face? It's not enough to have seen someone get slapped in the face, but to actually have experienced this. I wonder because I think it's a rather different experience than not having enough content or features. In a video game. Video. Game.

Unless a developer literally slaps you in the face, punches you in the groin, or otherwise physically assaults you, whatever you're comparing in an MMO (read: a collection of data points that people play for entertainment purposes only) is probably nothing like a slap in the face.

[edit] Calling someone a fanboy is usually a desperate act of a losing argument.

You've just used the word "fanboy" to describe a fellow poster. My compliments on using the most clichéd insult in the history of Internet fights. You've gone with the lowest-hanging fruit on the debate tree, and made yourself look like someone who can't win an argument without going for the ad hominem. Perhaps you should look towards actually debating facts with facts, instead of looking like a poo-flinging monkey. It will probably go a long way towards making yourself looking cogent and knowledgeable instead. Even if the person is an actual sycophantic lapdog to whom the development team or publisher could do no wrong, there are a million other ways to point it out, instead of using the same tired insult that's been tossed around so much that it's become a joke.

[edit] Asking for compensation is overt entitlement.

So the servers were down for a few hours, or someone hacked into your account. Besides restoring your account to a previous state, you're not entitled to anything, not limited but included compensation for lost game time, extra Zen, etc. Look it up on the End User License Agreement and the Terms of Service. You know, those things you agree to whenever you log into the game. Don't ask for something not owed to you; if you lost a few hours of game time due to server maintenance, you agreed to that in the Terms of Service, so you don't get that $0.03 of your sub back (assuming you're actually paying for a sub).

[edit] Unless You Work at Cryptic's Data Center, You Are Ill Prepared to Discuss Network Improvements.

Queues. Nobody likes them. You can go Gold or buy a LT Sub to bypass a lot of the line, but otherwise, you might get stuck in a queue, especially when the next big Season launches.

"Bring another server online," some will say. Well, this ain't WoW. Cryptic runs one big shard, with multiple servers hosting multiple maps, and multiple copies of the same map (i.e.: Earth Space Dock #8). We're all one big happy shard (hosted on several servers), but it's all still tied to one database and one authentication "server".

But the truth is: that's just the tip of the iceberg. Data centers are more than just servers: they're about bandwidth, total supported concurrent sessions, virtual machines, managed switches, firewalls, ACLs, round robin hosting, VLAN, ingress & egress tagging, VRRP, OSPF, RIP, hardware redundancy, and all of the copper and fiber optic cable that brings everything together. If you don't know what any of that means, you probably shouldn't speculate on how Cryptic's back-end is configured. Even if you do understand what this stuff is, you have no idea about their topology and configuration of their server and network assets. The only people who have a clue about any of that work at Cryptic's data center.

[edit] The maintenance windows don't revolve around you.

Look, I'm sorry it's your day off, or you live outside of the US, and the maintenance window happens right during your prime afternoon or evening hours. It's a US hosted game, and most people in the US are at work during the standard maintenance windows (emergency maintenance notwithstanding). Also, the guys doing the maintenance would have to be paid overtime to do it during weird hours, like 2am CST, a time that might otherwise benefit you, but may actually detriment other players in other places. Deal with it. If nothing else, and heavens forbid if you don't get a chance to play today, you'll get to play tomorrow, maintenance-downtime free. With plenty of time to complete your limited-run event, get your Reputation projects turned in, etc. Missing a few hours, or even a whole day, probably won't kill you. Check your ego.

[edit] We're all paying customers, beautiful and unique snowflake.

One of the most overused logical fallacies for justifying that a developer add X, do Y, or any other justification of entitlement is because "I'm a paying customer".

Congratulations. You're just like thousands of other players playing STO. If a F2P player has ever used the C-Store, if a Silver member has ever gone Gold for even a single month, if a player has every purchased a Lifetime Sub, and so on, they're paying customers too.

If one has ever wondered why the devs have never bothered to fix some art on one's ship skin, add the special feature that only a handful of players are asking for, or tried to justify any other feature add or whim because one is a "paying customer", that person can get in line with everyone else. Being a paying customer doesn't make one special if most other players are paying customers. In this case, it's a democracy, not one's dictatorship. Unless one has another special avenue to use to push one's agenda for what STO should and shouldn't have (ex.: the publisher), then the features and goals of the development team are going to be driven by the player majority, or the publisher (which, if smart, takes into account the desires of the player majority).

"You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile."

[edit] Spending X amount of money on STO Doesn't Automatically Entitle You To Magic Ponies

It's true. You could spend $20,000* on STO (I'm not sure how, unless you really like Master Keys or playing the Dilithium Exchange) and not get anything more special than someone who has spent nothing.

But you knew this when you read the EULA. You read the EULA, right?

The only caveat are Gold and Lifetime Members, who get some benefits, like extra character slots, a monthly stipend of Zen, preferred login when there's a queue, etc. But unless part of that $20,000 went towards a sub or a LT Membership, then you can get in line with all of your fancy ships and lock box toys. Spending: ur not doin it rite.

  • I shouldn't say something big like "a billion dollars," because if you spent that much money on STO you're probably buying Cryptic and maybe PWE at that point.

[edit] Threatening to leave for <insert game here> displays a lack of maturity.

You're mad and upset about something the developers have (or haven't) done in the game. You start dropping names of a studio or a game in context such as "<Insert game here> is coming out next month, hope you like loosing customers" or "I guess not everyone can be like <insert studio or developer here>".

Congratulations. Perhaps the grass will actually be greener on the other side. But what you're actually saying isn't very constructive; it's just trolling, plain and simple. Frankly, the forums and the game would probably be better without you, so please go over to your new-found love, and try not to let the novelty wear off too fast, lest you simply repeat this same process on that title's forums. After all, if that other title is so perfect and incomparable, why bother even posting here, unless your only point is to call the devs lazy or just troll for the sake of trolling? Really, the door's over there; don't let it hit your posterior on the way out. Just remember that the only thing worse than insulting a game as you leave for a "better" one is the shame of crawling back when all your dreams and novelty are tarnished and shattered (as much as dreams can be applied to a simple video game).

In short, if you're going to leave or take a break, let your friends know about it, but don't be a drama queen about it or flip the bird on your way out the door; it's just tasteless and immature.

[edit] (Almost) no one cares about the forums.

Game forums in general are known to be stereotyped as the place where petulant man-children rant and rave about everything that's "wrong" with the game. Therefore, there's no such thing as "bad press" on the forums, because by association, forums are known to be nothing but the home of ranting tirades. Rarely, someone in the game press will refer to a game's forums, but typically to reinforce something already in a story. Press or breaking info rarely starts wholly from the forums (usually Marketing posts something elsewhere first or in conjunction with a thread), because, by their reputation, no one but die-hard fans and community reps read them. On rare occasion, a forum announcement or a poster's thread will blossom into something truly newsworthy, but that's typically an exception rather than the rule.

[edit] Get some perspective - it's a video game.

People will complain incessantly on the forums about even the most trivial things. Look, I understand that you're upset about your ship's turn rate or the latest "nerf" for whatever. It doesn't main you have to go on a tirade every chance you get. You're in your 30s for crying out loud, be mature and realize that it's just a video game. Otherwise you just end up getting wrapped around the axle, getting kicked off the forums and keeping track of every little developer-induced injustice. Is this how you want to live your life? Or would you rather enjoy a warm summer day with friends and/or loved ones and blow up some Borg when you want to relax and put your feet up? That's what I thought.

Obsidius' Rules of the STO Forums: Player-written, developer approved! (