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Hypnos' Blog


While all of you folks know about the main duties of an CceanMaster- answering petitions and addressing complaints, you may not know about one of the less frequent, but most important jobs that I take very seriously as an OM: animal adoption.

Now and again, I get a petition from a person that picked the wrong color pet from the palace shoppe, or did not mean to purchase a pet at all. I refund their money and pick the pet up off their hands, but what then? The poor animal has no place to go, and 'Trash' is simply not an option.

Thankfully as an OceanMaster, I have access to an allotted sum set aside for unwanted animal care. OOMPAH, or Overseeing OceanMasters for the Protection of Animals' Happiness, has given me access to vessels to house these creatures. I've even named some of them in honor of their humble beginnings.

I can hear what you're asking. "But Hypnos," you might say, "What about tournaments? Can't you find these animals loving homes by putting them up as prizes?"

"Haha, well young pirate," I would answer, "you have to put that in the form of a petition. Go to the YE tab, press the HELP button, then press PETITION. I'm not answering tells."

Inscrutable Petitions

Today's Inscrutable: wath 34-53 more 1 faith man server

A Rhy Note

As an OM I'll tell you this
No matter which festivities you throw
Always people will boo and hiss
"This isn't my favorite game, you know.

I only see tournaments of THIS type
I never see tournaments that I want
The other puzzles get all the hype
My neglected puzzle is left to haunt

The inns, unwanted and loved by none."

Drinking, treasure drop, and swordfighting too
Rumble included, I make every one
Only to have sad pirates hiss and boo
And send me the sad tells that they have no fun.

Heh, I really like putting up tournaments actually, but it never fails. You put up one of any type and you get the following tells: "Why is it always X? I NEVER see Y!" "Why is it always Y?! I NEVER get to play Z tournaments!!" "WHY WHY WHY WITH THE Z WHERE TEH SCUPPER IS THE LOVE FOR A" - I figure this is because the people who like the puzzle are all busy joining the tournament and playing.

This was inspired by some poetry-petitioning folks on Malachite, for whom I felt I would be remiss if I didn't try to write some verse back, however appalling.

In Conversation

In which Hypnos ponders why people want to chat

Read the full article...

(Short) Shorts

In which Hypnos is (ha) brief.

Read the full article...

i petit u

Happy Wednesday, blog readers.

Having recently updating you as to some happenings at the office, I thought this week I'd try showing you some things that happen over a the course of a normal week during the oceanmaster shifts that are part of my job.

Working an oceanmaster shift, as many of you have no doubt guessed, isn't all zipping around in a gold rocket car for hours on end. You get asked a lot of repetitive questions, you deal with bad things such as thefts, and you meet a big range of pirates, from scammers and thieves to friendly souls who want to say hello. Naturally the good and interesting outweigh the bad, and I've met some of the friendliest pirates, from a lass on Viridian who sends me virtual food whenever I'm on duty there, to some pirates on Malachite who made me a little shrine out of crates and bedrolls. (They then tried to trap me in it and make me their pet oceanmaster, but I won't hold that against them.)

Starting with last Wednesday, I specifically kept an eye out for petitions or situations that I thought you all reading here might find entertaining. These are all genuine situations or petitions, though the names of pirates, people, crews, etc. have been edited out.

Petitions we get that stand out from the usual fare of questions range from the strangely obvious:
  "in the manual for navagation it says you need to be an officer in a crew to control a boat but be able to control it what if your not in a crew or you are just a pirate or lower will you"

To the bizarre: (special oceanmaster tip : use punctuation and format!)
  "ok it was this day that j**** call my mom crazy and shes said not to tell my mom, she said if i promised i said yes and i cross my finger them i told her i was going to tell my mom and i was but i didint couse i forgat so she decided to do revange and she have alot of things with her first pirate j**** she told me she pay some people for they could give her all my item to her other pirte o**** ."

(Petition subject: "Please dont!!!")
  "i believe that my friend,****c, sent a pettition about ****** ******(crew), he was acting very rude and my friend stood up for him please dont kill my crew i love it very much please dont!!"

To the WAT:
  "what is the in steronterns to Trusher hule?"

More commonly, I get really friendly petitions asking me to come visit, or to come check out somebody's house, or even invitations to pillages and sea monster hunts. I'm usually too busy answering other petitions or dealing with thefts or scams to give more than a polite decline and a thank you, but when I get the chance, I try to chat with people, sometimes with the oddest results:

  ***z tells you, "Wanna go to Atlantis with me? =P"
  You told ***z, "What kind of vacation invitation is that?!"
  You told ***z, "Who makes faces when asking somebody to the beautiful waters of Atlantis?"
  ***z tells you, "My face is stuck that way. =P"
  ***z tells you, "It was a tragic childhood accident. T_T =P"
  You told ***z, "I can just imagine your future. 'Will you marry me? =p'"
  You told ***z, "'I cannot live without you. =P'"
  ***z tells you, "Why must you mock me so? T_T =P"
  ***z tells you, "You've hurt me deeply today. I don't think I'll ever get over it. =P"

People tend to flock around an OM when we stand on the docks or in a building. I'm not sure what the appeal is, but they do ask very nice questions, and seem to really like discussing what it's like to be an oceanmaster:

  P***** says, "u know wat sucks.. u have to use proper grammer."
  I***** says, "i could never accustom to proper grammer"
  H***** says, "me either"

One of the things I like best about being an oceanmaster is recoloring familiars and renaming them for people. I like to plonk down a big vat of dye for recolors and use a big eraser for renames. And it leaves the most awesome vessel/house logs if I retrieve the familiar from a wardrobe:

July 17, 2008 4:09 PM  Hypnos has left a Snuggles.
July 17, 2008 4:08 PM  Hypnos has taken a Arsonist.

Finally, one thing about being an oceanmaster is getting e-mails and letters from folks around the world who would like to bring the fun they get from the game to other languages. A young man created a very cute blog in Hebrew and he's very eager that I hurry up and share it with other people through this blog. Enjoy!

Mutual Interaction

As an oceanmaster, I deal with quite a few complaints every shift.  Aside from the valid swearing and theft complaints, I get a lot of complaints in which it's very obvious that the complainer just wants the complainee to be punished by a higher authority.

Reasons for complaints range from "she wuz meen" to "he did something and stopped when I threatened to complain" to "threating to report me for no reson."

We all live in very pacifistic societies.  I remember being told over and over in school to not respond to teasing or attempts to pick fights, but to ignore them and walk away.  While I can see the logic of this policy (if you come across two children fighting, you have to punish both of them. you cannot determine who started what or who said what on the kids' say-so.) it obviously doesn't address the human desire for vindication and action.  So quite logically, children tell authority figures and want those figures to do something that they can feel happy about.

That's not the lesson I want children or our players especially to learn.

The problem is of course that you cannot always control what happens to you.  Terrible things can happen to you, especially when you are a child and relatively helpless.  What you always have control of is how you react to a situation and what you do.  Somebody out to provoke you?  You have better things to do with your leisure time.  You can't control of somebody decides to be an jerk on the interwebs, but you can decide whether you're going to waste your game time shouting pixels and getting frustrated or use your game time to go do something fun.  (I plan to come up with a programmatic way to teach this to computer game players and get very wealthy while benefiting society.)

And hey, if arguing with people is your way of having fun in Puzzle Pirates, that's fine.  Don't spam the complaint queue expecting some higher authority to help you with that, though.  Honestly, the higher authority has bigger things to deal with, like that manager who took off with 200 items of black/gold/Atlantean clothing that didn't belong to him from the tailor rack.

Furthermore, there are game tools that take care of problems like these with unbelievable efficiency. Often are the times that I have wished for a /mute function in real life.  I have encountered persons on the bus so personally offensive that I wished for nothing more than a white-hot meteor to come raining down from the sky to incinerate these persons to nothing more than mineral powder from their bones, leaving no trace of organic material so that their accursed DNA was wiped clean from the face of this earth.  By fire. CLEANSING FIRE.

Love the mute command.  The mute command is your friend.  You know that question "What if there was a war and nobody showed up?"  What if there was an idiot in Puzzle Pirates and everybody on the server muted him?


Culture Crew

Today I thought I'd write about an interesting pattern I see in Puzzle Pirates that from my experience is not present in Three Rings's other game, Bang! Howdy.

I'm not sure if this has been blogged about to death (and with better prose) on other game type blogs, so if it has, please leave me a link in the comments so that I can learn. :)

The pattern I see I call Cultural Knowledge.

For example, when we first opened the oceans Cobalt and Viridian, and started advertising on miniclip, I saw an explosion of petitions from people who had been successfully scammed by (frankly) really shoddy scams.  "Hey, give me your account information. Let's trade accounts. I have lots of hidden money that you can't see, and you don't have as much, so I'll give you my account.  Obviously there's nothing in this for me, I'm just a magic altruist who happened to pick you out of the thousand people online to give my tons of money to!" and so on, wherein account holders would be trustingly giving out account information to total strangers.

The thing was, after some time went on, the petitions about those scams got fewer and fewer, and instead the complaints about attempted scammers got more frequent.  People weren't falling for the scams now, they were reporting the people that were trying them and successfully getting them kicked out of the game.

We were still advertising on the same sites, and we still had lots of new people coming into the game, and what's more, the number of people attempting to dupe players hadn't changed, but somehow the general knowledge of the playerbase, and thus the average player, had grown to include not to give your account information out, and that people trying to "giv 200 dubs freE" were up to no good.

I've seen the same pattern repeated with a number of new features that have come out.  The tons of petitions that we got for months after the release of bazaars and stalls regarding basic stall management or about how to give stalls to other people are gone.  We obviously still get petitions about both of these issues, but nowhere near the volume that we used to get.

While some of it is no doubt the work of things added to the game such as tips on the news board, tutorial links in the bazaar news and so on, I think that aspects of the game become "common" knowledge, and that the playerbase assimilates and updates this knowledge as the game changes.  We have a community of older players on each one of our servers now, and they not only create an identity for the oceans that gives each server a unique "feel", but also create a culture of certain wisdoms, knowledge, and "the way things are done."

The reason I think I haven't seen evidence of this same pattern in Bang! Howdy is because that game is not a socially driven game, as Puzzle Pirates is.   Bang does not have the same network of dedicated longtime players exchanging information and teaching newcomers.

There are bonuses and disadvantages to both systems, of course.  When we make changes to Puzzle Pirates, the ramifications on the experienced player base have to be considered carefully.  For example, if we were to rip apart the way pillage currently works and totally dispose of the status quo, we would risk losing our experienced players.  With a more casual and faster cycling playerbase, one can make large changes more easily, as, on a whole, people tend to be less emotionally invested in the way things currently are.

Overall, this has given me a little more understanding and patience when regarding organizations and governments that seem slow to implement what I personally view as necessary fixes or changes.  It's given me more faith in culture and the ability of the human race to collectively become wiser and learn over time.

Lastly, it's given me another viewpoint to bring to another book I've started, Everything Bad Is Good For You, which is a book that presents the argument that popular culture is increasing in depth and is actually forcing us to think in increasingly complex ways, rather than bringing humanity down in a spiral of escapism and mindless entertainment.  It starts off with a chapter on video/computer games, about which perceptions may be changing.  People have sent me some articles recently about things like video games treating chronic pain that might indicate this is so.  Hooray, a future for my profession!

Cons and Piracy Theory

The eyepatch business of last week took longer than it sounds like, but just this week it was released in all of its smooth and unjagged glory. Hooray!

On the support front, we've been getting a lot of petitions lately from people convinced that poker is "rigged" and that winning hands are predetermined.  I do not know if this is because too many people stay in with bad cards and then sometimes see unlikely hands turned/rivered or if there's a rumor going around.

One pirate claimed that people were "hacking" poker.  The proof of this was because he had been beaten at poker by one of the hackers, so it was obvious there was a hack to win at poker.

Another of the petitioners said that it was obvious that less established pirates (with lower all around experience stats, I am assuming) got better cards.  I had an amusing time trying to think of how we would code such a thing into the game of poker, while still keeping up the card randomization and reshuffling things every time somebody got up from a seat or joined a table, and how much longer it would take to program in this strangely illogical algorithm into the game instead of say, just programming a game of poker.

Mostly though, it reminded me that the human mind naturally looks for patterns.  We search for a larger overall scheme in everything that we do.  It serves us well in areas like battle navigation, where some people are so good at it that they can predict where the AI will move reliably, and makes things like programming an AI that people won't figure out quickly complicated, indeed.

Sometimes though, I feel that this ability to watch for patterns comes up with bizarre and convoluted scenarios that would be far harder to implement than they would be worth.

For example, as an OM I have been told that it's obvious we always side with the customer who has spent the most money.  Actually calculating who has spent more money in resolving a dispute would take a long time.  We'd have to add up all past purchases, look for alt accounts and purchases there, or in the case of subscribers, see who had been subscribing longer, take into account the discounted rate of discounts like buying a year at once, as well as see who had been gifting away months and things like that.  In the cases involving multiple people such as flags, I suppose we'd have to calculate what every member had spent, add it all up, and divide by number of members?

It takes far less time to look at the case and try to decide as fairly as we can (though I admit that we are human and will certainly not always find a solution satisfactory to everybody) than adding up all of those numbers for a judgement.

Taking this to a greater extreme, I once had somebody petition that his friend was claiming to be a close friend of a specific OM's, which meant that she got all sorts of free gifts and that she could never be banned.  The proof that this was true, in the petitioner's mind, was that this pirate was obviously not banned.

He was quite incensed that OMs were allowed to give away free gifts and be so biased as to promise people that they could never be banned, and no OM was going to tell him that this was not the case, since OMs obviously weren't going to tell anybody outside of their special circle of favored friends.  Every new item that his friend bought was further proof to him that an OM was giving her free things and not banning her.

I couldn't convince this person to /complain his friend for claiming to get special treatment from OMs, as this was against the Terms of Service, since he had been told that his friend could get other people banned by her special OM friend for telling on her.

Now that I think back on it, I'm not exactly sure what he expected us to do if all of this were indeed true, nor can I figure out why he was petitioning an OM about it, since we were obviously paragons of corruption.

Regardless, please take my gentle warning readers: you are all very smart, and as this is a puzzle game, very good at disseminating and spotting patterns in the game.  Beware of patterns that don't exist because in a game as social as this, word of mouth and rumors are powerful things, indeed.  I just wish I could give them all old style male eyepatches, so you could see them coming.

In for a pound

Tycho at Penny Arcade mentioned us today in his article on Puzzle Quest.  While Three Rings has no current plans to port Y!PP to the Nintendo DS, being compared to a halon fire suppression system is always nice.  It has a mighty powerful ring to it.  Yarr!  Check out the article and fine words here.  Discussion has already been started here on the forums because you guys notice everything!

This week has been the first time we've gotten to take a breather for a few days.  The latest releases for Puzzle Pirates have spurred a furious set of discussion threads in the Game Design forum and it's been a strenuous race to keep up with you all.  I remain proud as always that Puzzle Pirates has a group of intelligent, lucid, and passionate players that can always be counted on to provide a ton of feedback and suggestions, but occasionally I find myself wishing that you were not quite so fast. ;)  I always feel at least a few steps behind on the forums.

While we relax a bit, I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you all about some of the OceanMaster powers that I keep getting questions about.

OMs have the ability to teleport to a player or a place by using a text command.  It's a highly useful command that overrides permissions, which is why we can pop into people's houses when we're not roommates, or onto people's ships when we haven't been jobbed or the vessels are in battle.  One thing that's humorously not perfect about it is that it also identifies zones by text fragments, so you can get the following situation:

If I want to go to a vessel named Active Bass, typing in the command takes me to a random location with the characters 'active bass' somewhere in its name.  This means that I could pop onto a random ship named Active Bass (if there are multiple ships of the same name on the ocean) as well as any vessel named Attractive Bass, Hyperactive Bass, Reactive Bass, and so on.  This includes brigand and merchant vessels too, so I've popped onto brigand ships in battle while trying to rename a ship for somebody before at exactly the wrong moment and gotten tossed into the swordfight against some really confused players.

For a tour of the ocean, I could try zipping to any zone named 'bass', because that will take me on all vessels with 'bass' in their names as well as islands such as Basset.

Teleporting to a player is more straightforward, because you zip to the player by his name, not by name fragment.  The only time it booches is if the pirate is in that limbo state in the docks between ship and island, and in that case it doesn't work.  There's a whole metaphysical argument that can be made, there.

We can conjure up furniture and other items out of nowhere instead of having to buy it, but remembering text strings for hundreds of items is a challenge and a half, especially when they're things like table_shady_square, table_rectangle, table_square_fancy, and so on.  Even more fun is making swords, where instead of colors and sword types you have to enter numbers.  I hear Arcturus just spams the random free familiar command until one of the type he needs comes up, rather than tangle with the digits and which one's the primary color and which one's the secondary color.

We can rename crews and flags, and it's free if you just need a typo, misspelling, or capitalization problem corrected, so feel free to spread that around and promote a tidily named ocean. :)  We can also assign crew and flag ranks to people, though that is only in the case of emergencies or game bugs.  No punishing the people that shout at us by making them cabin persons, or any of that.  It's a pretty rare command.

It's much more common for us to rename ships, rename vessels, and rename familiars for people.  You get to be very familiar with fishbase.org when you're an OceanMaster, and I have to say that it's really underused.  There are so many fantastic fish names out there that I haven't seen in use yet.  You may take that as my prompting to you all to poke around the website.

Lastly I'll mention that we have the ability to port vessels that are at sea.  Do not under any circumstance petition an OM if you feel like abandoning a pillage or you don't want to finish it, but if you are ever abandoned at sea without any officers or anybody that can command the ship on board, petition an OM to help you get back into port.  It's handy. :)

That's all from me for this week, mates.  I'm off to do a little forum moderating and discuss what is coming for the next release.  I can't say anything naturally, but I am pretty excited about what's coming up.  :D  Fair winds!

Break Out the Beakers and the Test Tubes

On a whim, I decided to experiment tonight and post blurbs to Twitter while I worked my shift.  Nemesis joined me for a while, as did a few curious and tolerant players, and Hypnos slept through most of it.  The results are here:  http://twitter.com/Eurydice/with_friends

It's not something I'd do on every shift, but it was fun.  I'll make another post in Shore Leave ahead of time if/when I do it again.

I also made a Eurydice page on MySpace, like Clio's.  Social networking is hard, let's go shopping.

OceanMaster Tools

As requested, today I'll be going into some detail of how the OceanMaster support tools and petition system works.  Hopefully this article will also address some of the common questions that I get asked, so pass this information around to your crews and flags and whomever else you think might find it useful or interesting!

When an OceanMaster comes onto an ocean to work, he signs on duty.  This is what causes his name to appear at the top of the screen if a pirate does a /who query, whereas an OceanMaster that is online, but not on duty, will not appear in that list.

The petitions and complaints that you send in are sent to a queue, which is ordered by the time and date that it was sent in.  OceanMasters access the queue through a website, and we toggle which oceans we are working on.  Please note that blackspots do not appear in the queue of pending events, so if you feel you were wrongfully blackspotted, please either petition us or send in a complaint so that we can look up your full account history, which will include blackspots.

Sometimes when an OceanMaster calls in sick and no one can be found to cover his shift, you may notice that there is no OceanMaster on active duty on your ocean.  While there may not be an OceanMaster present on the ocean, an OM will have toggled on your ocean's queue in his web browser to answer petitions and address complaints that you send in.

You may also notice that if you send OceanMasters tells, they will often not respond to you.  This is because we spend a lot of time looking at the queue in our web browsers, and if there are a lot of petitions and complaints flying in, there is little to no time to check who is chatting with us in the clients.

To give you an idea, during my shift, which is 2pm-6pm game time most days, I'll get around 30-35 petitions an hour, and between 40-100 complaints per hour.  Some of these complaints are quickly dismissed of course, such as "he said the word stupid", but some are thefts that involve multiple ships or the theft of a large number of items, and then the transactions of those characters have to be tracked, we have to look up to see if he tried to pass the money or items off onto another account, and so on.  This takes quite a bit of time and attention to detail.

When we click on a petition, we see the name of the person that sent it, and the name of that person's login, like so: Hypnos (Hypnos_Account).  That is all.  What we don't see is your crew, your rank, your stats, what you own, whether your are a subscriber/doublooner/trial user, or any of that information.  That's why for things like ship renames and thefts, you are asked to include your crew and the names of the vessels or what stall the theft took place in and where it is located so we know where to go and if the ship or island we are on is the right one.  The more information you include, the less time the OceanMaster has to spend asking you for more details or looking them up.

Once we answer a petition, we can set it to resolved or request more information.  Both of these options send an alert back to the player in his game client.  Once either a player or an OceanMaster closes a petition, it is removed from the queue.  If your petition needs to be looked into and an OceanMaster asks you to leave it open, realize that closing it removes it from the queue, and no one will know it is there unless somebody looks up your account and petition history!

Clicking on a person's account allows us to check his petition and complaint history in chronological order.  Resolved and closed petitions are all listed here.  This is why it is handy to have people petition for ship renames; if there is ever a problem with the shanghai points that were charged, the spelling of the name, or anything like that, a person's petition history can be pulled up, and the exact petition and response can be reviewed.  I also find it handy in the cases of complaints; we sometimes get e-mails saying that a pirate has been repeatedly complained for harassment and nothing was done.  When this happens, we check that person's history and review the complaints against him.  (In almost all cases, there is nothing in the chat log that would be in itself considered harassment.  One example I can think of is a person saying, "hello there" and getting complained for stalking.)

When petitioning an OceanMaster, it is always a good idea to include as much relevant information as you can.  This way we don't have to keep asking for more information from you and sending you back into the queue of open events.

I hope that this has been informative and helpful in letting you all know what tools we use to work our shifts, and hopefully to let you know why it is that when you send me a friendly hello, I may not ever see your message!  Take care, and petition wisely. O.O

Vessel Vent: All aboard!

Ah, the shiny clean landscape of a new year.  I like making the first blog post of the year.  It's a little like making a big pink bunny-shaped footprint in an expanse of fresh snow.

I hope that everybody's years' ends went well; I had a lovely time visiting family, though a 24.4 dial-up connection prevented me from keeping up on a lot of the forums and, well, from seeing much of anything online at all.  Ha!

To start the year off and mark the noel on a nautical note, I thought I'd write up a Top 5 list about some vessel-related things that people might not realize about oceanmasters.

#1: Since people report bugs and things of that nature to us, we have a small collection of bugged ships in the Dread Ringers crew.  For example, there's a war brig that has two deeds, a few ships that are eternally stuck in sea battle, and one with an invisible hold.  I fondly remember one vessel that showed folks' names on board even after they'd left and logged off.  The ships normally don't stay bugged forever, but they're a lot of fun to have around.

#2: I know that a lot of folks wish that oceanmasters didn't stand on their vessels and stood about on islands instead to socialize, but there's a reason for our ships that many people might not know about: the typical oceanmaster ship is a platform on which he can place every game table, a tournament board, and other pieces of furniture that might be needed while on shift.

For example, I might get a petition that somebody is doing something suspicious in a Spades game.  On board a vessel it takes much less time to click on a nearby Spades table to check the game than it would to walk into an inn.  A ship is also a handy place to test possible furniture or clothing color bugs, in a setting that won't cause a spectacle or ruin a surprise for people, or to store event prizes so that other oceanmasters can retrieve them when it's time to give them out.

#3: El Pollo Diablo looks like and is a normal grand frigate, except there are a hundred and fifty skellies on the main deck, standing perfectly still.  The hold is empty, or at least it was until some wise guy put 1,337 pieces of eight in it.

#4: Oceanmasters can whisk aboard any ship, but only by its name.  If there are five Arrogant Guppy ships on an ocean, we can jump to the Arrogant Guppy, but we'll go to a random one, so there's no guarantee we'll hit the right ship.  We have to be careful when doing ship renames, especially when there are multiple ships with the same name in the same crew, or two ships with the same name in two different crews but ported at the same island.  That's the reason that we ask folks to specify the ship type, the crew the ship belongs to and the island at which the ship is ported in the renaming petition.  That's also why we ask for a list of ships in cases of theft- without the names of the vessels, we cannot board them and check the holds or refund them.

If you've ever been out innocently sailing and an oceanmaster appeared on your ship, looked embarassed and said, "Oops. Wrong ship." before disappearing, that's most likely what happened.

#5. Our ships look just like yours.  We too have the choices of sloop, cutter, merchant brig, war brig, etc.  We cannot make custom two-man dinghies with sixteen guns or anything like that.  So for those folks that are always asking me what oceanmaster ships look like, the answer is: probably worse than yours.  Take a normal, unpainted ship, remove most of the props, and dump a bunch of game tables in a circle around the boarding point, and you have a typical Hypnos ship.  She ain't pretty, but she helps me get the job done.

The Anatomy of an OM Shift

Ahoy, mates!  This is not yer cap'n speaking.  It's Eurydice, and I've hijacked this blog.

It's evening (at least it is in MY timezone), and I'm about to start a shift.  I thought I'd give you all a blow-by-blow of how a typical Ocean Master shift goes for me.

To start:  I like to prepare for a shift a bit in advance of its start so I can dive right in when it's my turn to take over.  So first, I get roaring drunk some soothing tea and read the Puzzle Pirates forums.  It is often the case that things I'll want to keep an eye on during my shift are mentioned there.  I also catch up on the recent changes log on YPPedia and read my YPP email and PMs.

In addition, I launch YPP on the oceans I'll be covering, open up the support events so I can see complaints and petitions, and fire up my chat program so I can heckle and annoy communicate with my coworkers.  Last but not least, I deploy my two secret weapons.  During the course of my shift, they will try to eat everything I have on my desk, fight with each other, and advise me on iffy ship renames.  Hey, if Hypnos gets to post about her hair, I'm gonna show you grainy photos of my cats.  That's just how it works.

I'm going to timestamp my entries from here on out, but please note that I'm not on "Pirate Time."  The times are just there for frame of reference.

7:55 - I'm covering Viridian and Hunter tonight, so I hop on.  I'm a couple of minutes early, so I stop by Dragon's Nest on Viridian to empty some pineapples and rambutan out of the palace.  Then I move back to my ship on both oceans.  That way I can work in quiet, without a lot of chat.  To be frank, I won't see a lot of in-game chat during my shifts anyway; a large portion of my time is spent with my head in petitions and complaints.  That's why I use an /afk message:  "Ahoy!  To contact an Ocean Master, please go to your 'Ye' panel, click the 'Help' button, and select the option appropriate to your situation.  Thank ye kindly!"

8:00 - I'm on duty.  The Ocean Master I'm relieving says that things haven't been too crazy tonight, and so far it's just some standard petitions and complaints.  The complaints so far are some valid swearing complaints, one "ban him bcuz he told me 2 shut up," and one "shes being mean."

8:30 - The questions I'm getting are still the usual:

  • "If I upgrade my stall, do I lose all my stock and orders?"  (Nope.)
  • "If I successfully blockade Typhoon, do I get to keep it?"  (Nope, it's an event blockade island.)
  • "How do I make money fast in this game?"  (Pillage, or purchase doubloons.)

Greeter chat on Viridian, while I was working on the above and other petitions, exploded into activity and became silent again.  They were conferring on how the Refer-a-Friend system works.  I think it's coincidental, but now there are a ton of "How do I become a greeter?" and "Why am I not a greeter?" petitions in the queue.

8:45 - Amidst all the regular complaints and petitions, this gem:  the gentleman who asked about Typhoon island has petitioned again about its event blockade island status.  He wants to know whether we gave it that status because we're scared we'd lose in a real blockade.

9:00 - I'm surprised there haven't been any ship rename requests yet.  Ah, but here's a yucky petition where someone lent a friend their monkey, and that friend is never around anymore.

9:20 - I've just looked in my chat window, and there are about seven messages from someone asking me if I will give them "koinz."  They've also petitioned about the matter!  Persistence, in this case, will not pay off for them.  I let them know this.  Apart from the familiar matter and a bunch of standard complaints and petitions, I've also become embroiled in tracking down a person who scams people out of their accounts by tricking them into giving out their account information.  He just claimed another victim.  Luckily, someone caught on and complained.  I'm digging through our records to see what else he might have done.

9:35 - Another victim of this guy's scam.  She was about to hand him her account information when I banned him.  This is like a giant game of whack-a-mole, but I'm gonna win it.

9:55 - I win.  Moles = whacked.  Okay, so, the moral of this story is:  NEVER give anyone your password, EVER, for ANY reason.  Just don't do it.  The other moral is:  Don't scam people, because you won't end up getting away with it.  I like tracking this stuff down too much, and so do many of my colleagues.

10:00 - End of shift.  I've briefed the incoming Ocean Master on the account scamming issue and given him the necessary records.  The major time suckage during this shift was in familiar tracking and dealing with the scammed accounts, but while that was going on I also had 39 complaints to investigate and 23 petitions to answer.  Five of those petitions were multi-part, back-and-forth sorts.  (There wasn't a single ship rename petition, how weird.) 

This was an easy shift.  Sometimes Ocean Masters get shifts where three events come in per minute.  I've done those before, and you can feel the burn in your forearms from trying to type so fast.

That is all, mates!  Thanks for reading along, and fair winds for now.  It's time for my nightly spam session on a greenie alt beauty sleep.

- Eurydice

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