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Force Majeure

Easy Objectives, Difficult Decisions

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.


Posted by Lawless

Let me preface this comment by saying I can definitely appreciate the importance you find in your position and the level at which your job requires you to operate.

With that said, you make it sound as if you're dealing with Fortune 500 clients here. Not only are the whining/complaining/HWFO clients you mention often under 18, you have the shroud of anonymity due to the internet. You're not dealing with your angry clients face-to-face or even over the phone, which makes your job exponentially easier than most administrative customer service personnel. When Three Rings starts providing support over the phone, and OM's are required to make those same decisions in real-time without taking hours to deliberate, then you can talk about difficult choices.

...and people with that kind of employment history have been turned down for OM jobs multiple times in the past. Go figure.

August 30, 2007 at 02:39 PM PDT | permalink

Posted by Omni

I work with Fortune 500 folks all the time. Somehow they never seen to achieve the whiny sense of entitlement that you just embodied. I'm guessing that people like you make the young customers look easy.

August 30, 2007 at 09:32 PM PDT | permalink

Posted by Ghyslaine Rhodin

I'm sure the difficult decisions are "Should we ban this famous monarch and his deedholding alt 2 days before the blockade?" and not "Should I ban some dumb kid who hasn't contributed anything to the ocean or to OOO's bank account?" The difficult decisions are the ones that cause explosions in Parley, not the ones that are mocked in DJL.

August 31, 2007 at 04:19 PM PDT | permalink

Posted by supersnailie

OMs do more than once might think...i thank you for that

August 31, 2007 at 10:41 PM PDT | permalink

Posted by Robinjh, Sage

I just thank the Ocean Masters for what they do. Without them we wouldn't have a game with such a friendly, enjoyable enviroment. ;D

September 02, 2007 at 10:17 AM PDT | permalink

Posted by Castawayjoe

Dying from lack of new entries!

September 22, 2007 at 01:52 AM PDT | permalink

Posted by tarhata cobalt seas

In tricky situations and various concerns too great for an ordinary pirate to fathom, OM's are really a blessing to behold.

Glad to know you are just but a click away.

September 25, 2007 at 09:48 AM PDT | permalink

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