One recurring question we Ocean Masters get is "how do you become an Ocean Master?"
The answers we give may vary. Often the player is asking how he or she may become one. To this the answer is usually that we are not hiring at this time, but may in the future, along with a link to the Three Rings job page.
On occasion, the player will elaborate by asking how we specifically became Ocean Masters. While this is often a request about the hiring process (which is rather typical of any hiring process), it has had me thinking about what skills and abilities one needs to become one.
Obviously, knowledge of Puzzle Pirates is critical. But while depth of knowledge is necessary, it is not sufficient. Many players have equivalent understanding of the game as we do, and some will have a greater understanding in certain areas. But many of these same players would not be good Ocean Masters and often have no wish to become one, either.
To me, the most important skills would be a good ability to establish a rapport with other people, an ability to handle stressful and tense situations, and an good sense of humour. This is important because the primary purpose of being an Ocean Master is to improve the game experience. This is a very general task that covers nearly everything we do in some fashion. Whether it is answering questions from the newest players, dealing with problems that arise, or providing some insight to our veterans, the goal of improvement is there.
The skills I have listed are important because not all situations we approach are easy. We will occasionally have to make a judgment that will be unpopular because it ultimately does improve the game. In such cases we will face angry players, criticism, and be questioned. In such cases, being able to metaphorically smile, explain the decision as best we are able, and remain calm is difficult but necessary.
A greater difficulty arises when we must make a decision which will affect multiple players. This may often be the case of a judgment between two or more positions. A choice that will positively affect one may negatively affect the other. While it may be easy to determine which would affect more players directly, when we consider the effect down the line as well as other situations it becomes more difficult to determine what is the best decision.
Sometimes the difficulty is in keeping a clear picture of what matters, both by not getting caught up in the moment nor by letting ourselves be handicapped by taking a decision to the illogical, slippery slope conclusion. Weighing the consequences between action and inaction is part of the job as well.
We will on occasion make mistakes. Despite our otherworldly appearance, we are only human, after all. In such situations, as with making the difficult decisions, a smile and a helpful demeanor is important as well.