The PD is severely underpowered.

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steph-lowensztark

said

There, now that I have your attention….
A lot of people seem to think the DEPD is overpowered. To me this stems from some misconceptions on what the DEPD’s role and OOC function on sim are, what power level is required in order to properly fill those ic and ooc roles, what fairness means, and the difference between desire and rational expectation. In order to determine what power level the DEPD should have, the threshold questions of “what function do they serve?” and “what’s required to do that?” have to be answered. After that, examining why the perception that the DEPD is overpowered persists can be addressed. Finally, suggestions will follow to help players be better role players, and evade PD rp (which is an actual laudable goal, if pursued properly).

THE PURPOSE:

The DEPD serves a few purposes, but principally the purpose of the DEPD is to stop the sim from devolving into a morass of stupid street violence without plot, and general rape/sex rp without plot or context. It is important to note that the sim theme is not THUNDERDOME RP. It is also not RAPE ALL THE BITCHES rp. There are sims for that. This is not one. What prevents the sim from devolving into this sort of ridiculous free for all is a combination of players interested in good RP, and swift and merciless correction of players that are attempting to transform the sim into something that it’s not, either by purposeful or lazy disregard for the sim theme and conventions.

Historically, the DEPD started off as something any admin could announce the arrival of. If bikers were shooting up your shop, the DEPD came and shot them and drove them off. They were invoked to keep the dumbest of bullshit out of the public eye, and curb the abuses of players more invested in their own coolness than in rp that makes sense or respected the theme of the sim. Despite this (and some current players can attest to this) some players just didn’t get that DE isn’t a shooting gallery. In response more people were given the ability to NPC the cops.
While there were, in the early days, PC cops… there was also the core of NPC cops that could be invoked to stop ridiculousness. At some point, the decision was made to invest that OOC responsibility in a core of PC’s and a system was introduced for having official jail times and interaction with the PD. While the mechanism may have changed, the raison d’etre of the police department remains the same, which is STOP THIS FROM BECOMING A BRAINLESS RAPE AND VIOLENCE SIM IN ORDER TO FOSTER DECENT, INTELLIGENT RP. The more realistic and story focused the sim is, the more impactful episodes of violence and conflict and sex become, so that you don’t have to murder someone every Wednesday to feel like something important happened.

HOW MUCH POWER DOES THAT REQUIRE?

To steal from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, “I can’t articulate it, but I know it when I see it.” It is hard to say how much power the PD needs to accomplish its ooc mission, in part because it requires an examination of the players in sim and how much they will require in terms of policing. The PD needs to be powerful enough that their existence and the possibility of interaction with the PD changes the plans of characters such that they take that power and presence into account. The plain fact of the matter is there is a huge portion of the DE player base that is just “so fucking awesome” that the PD “are my bitches”. The PD thus needs to be powerful enough to handle those characters. It may be that some players will not realistically RP their relationship to the PD until the PD is given the ability to murder players without their consent (not a position I am advocating for currently). As such, the only way to evaluate whether or not the PD is over or under powered is to look around and see if there are still a substantial amount of players who do things like start fights with weapons in the street, like this is post apocalypse Australia, and not 2015 Michigan. As long as players continue to engage in shitty rp where their ostensible criminal mastermind makes stupid and very public choices as if the PD does not exist, it is demonstrably true that the reason for that is the PD is underpowered. To put it simply, since the DEPD’s function is to be powerful enough that it is fear enough to end that sort of rp, that Rp’s continued existence demands more power for the PD.

So why do people think the DEPD is over powered?

There are reasons, both legitimate and illegitimate for why people are left with the impression the DEPD is overpowered. Let’s start with the legitimate ones.

THERE IS A BREED OF COP THAT THINKS HIS JOB IS TO BE A GOD DAMN ACTION HERO (AND FORGETS THE CENTRAL LESSON OF SPIDER MAN).

We all know the type. He’s a former mercenary (cause you know, that’s totally a real thing) and he’s killed all over the globe, he’s parachuted into Taliban strongholds and murdered every one of the bastards he found there. He’s taking a break from his million dollar contract with the US government….to be a mostly unarmed cop in a shitty town in northern Michigan. For you know. Reasons? Essentially, he’s the kind of player the DEPD is in existence to thwart. The kind that if he didn’t have a badge would be walking around with his spiked bat saying douchey things about playing baseball with it. Unfortunately he does have a badge, and he makes everyone around him miserable as he’s the star of his very own action film. Bad guys cant hit him, they are just there to be a backdrop to his coolness!

DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND I WAS A NAVY SEAL BEFORE I WAS A JAGERPANTHER BEFORE I WAS A SPETZNAZ OFFICER BEFORE I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL? OF COURSE I SPEAK YOUR SUPER RARE DIALECT FROM YOUR STONE AGE TRIBE FROM THE AMAZON. PLEASE HAVE A 100 DOLLAR BILL. I HAVE LOTS IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT I AM NOT A COCAINE WHOLESALER.

Sadly, while those players are usually weeded out via the contempt of their peers… there are enough of them and their presence is persistent enough that they present a problem in terms of PD image. They forget the main lesson uncle Ben taught “with great power comes great responsibility.”

THE DEPD’S POWER MUST BE SET TO DEAL WITH THE WORST OFFENDERS

If you are not the kind of person that thinks its ok to hit people with a hammer on the street, sometimes you have interactions with the police and might reasonably think “their capability far exceeds what’s necessary to deal with a rational role player like myself”. That’s accurate. It’s easy to think that means that the DEPD is overpowered, because there’s a tendency to think “I am rational and I don’t start hammer fights in the street, ergo all people are rational and don’t start hammer fights in the street” sadly, that is not the case. There’s a breed of Roleplayer that ignores the fact that this isn’t “street fightin crazy time sim” and expects that its alright to just walk around with weapons, using them on people in arguments. More importantly, these are often sim regulars who are looked to by their faction mates as examples of proper behavior. Since the DEPD has to deal with players like this, if you are a decent rper who acts as if there’s consequence to the things you do… the DEPD at its full might is probably too much for you, and should scale back their interaction a bit.

NOT ALL REASONS FOR THE NOTION THE DEPD IS OVERPOWERED ARE LEGITIMATE.

IT IS A MISCONCEPTION THAT FAIR PLAY REQUIRES THE SIM TO BECOME SOME SORT OF HARRISON-BERGERONESQUE NIGHTMARE OF FORCED EQUALITY FOR ALL ATTRIBUTES ACROSS ALL PEOPLE.

Often, accusations are leveled that the DEPD’s power is greater than other players, and therefore it is “unfair”. That is an absurd premise. Everyone would agree that a fit male player in full possession of his physical faculties, uninjured, and with some martial arts training should whip the ass of the 80 pound girl in the wheel chair with cystic fibrosis. Why isn’t that unfair? Shouldn’t they have to have exactly equal capabilities? Anyone being honest with themselves will admit that that shouldn’t be a 50/50 shot of victory. Choices are made in character creation and development that give advantages or disadvantages. Having an advantage does not make the RP unfair. Having an advantage without paying any kind of cost for it DOES make it unfair.
So what cost does the DEPD pay? The costs far outstrip the “additional power” depd players are perceived as having. For starters, forget about having a long scene or developing a serious and intense role play over the course of the night. The minute you get involved in something you will be the only cop online when there’s 20 people fighting in lulu’s square with bats. 10 minutes after you sort that out, if you aren’t in the hospital, there’s a girl stabbing another girl and screaming about the devil, and before that’s even done you’re being asked if you can come collect a body because one of DE’s many murderers is killing folks with no fear of repercussion. again. This is of course, in addition to the fact that somewhere around 60 percent of your rp will involve someone saying “fuck the police” like “straight out of Compton” didn’t come out 25 years ago and the guys that recorded it aren’t megamillionaires who would call the police in a New York minute, if they saw someone resembling their teenage selves in the neighborhood.
If you don’t thing the police have a disadvantage to go with their taser, try being whined at all day every day. It’s less awesome than you’d think.

YOUR DESIRE FOR A FOUR HOUR EPIC BATTLE DOES NOT TRANSLATE INTO AN OBLIGATION ON THE PART OF THE PD TO INDULGE YOU / THIS IS NOT A COMBAT SIM.

A main point in the “depd is too powerful” arsenal is the taser. People that want a big long fight often complain as to its use. The taser is a fight ender for the most part. It’s designed to be a fight ender for the most part. The plain fact of the matter is, there’s a very good reason for that. Well, lots of very good reasons.

Principally, some people are under the misconception that this is a fight sim. It is not a fight sim. It’s not a series of fights with some words around it, like a dragon ball z episode. Physical conflict should resolve story issues, not be the story. Lots of folks who play in this sim don’t have a yearning for long involved drawn out fights that take all night.

More importantly “all night” to you, at 7 oclock on the west coast, is far longer than “all night” to me, at 10 oclock on the east coast, or 4 am in the Netherlands. The fact that you have 4 hours to blow having a super indulgent fight scene where you get taken out finally, after giving the fight of your life does not mean the rest of us do. There are time zones, and people have jobs. Often, this sort of thing STARTS at a time that many east coast role players simply can’t handle. There’s a simultaneous obligation as a cop to show up when there’s calls, and also handle your real life… including going to bed so you can keep your job so you can pay your internet so you can come back and do the often thankless job of being a cop in dead end. This means needing to use the taser to move the story along, because there’s also STRAIGHT UP REAL PAPERWORK we have to do AND GET YELLED AT FOR IF ITS NOT UP TO SNUFF. This occurs after your arrest.

FURTHERMORE BEING TASED IS LESS THAN MOST PLAYERS WOULD HAVE HAPPEN TO THEM IN REALITY.

Run towards a cop with a hammer in your hand telling them you’re gonna smash their face in. Its entirely possible youll be shot so many times there’s more of your blood on the ground than in your corpse. Players totally ignore their powergaming and taking advantage of the lack of real consequence to their actions to do just the most absurd shit.

PLAYERS ARE QUICK TO CALL US POWERGAMERS WITHOUT PAYING ANY ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT POWERGAMING AGAINST US IS SO PREVALENT, INTERROGATIONS HAVE BECOME USELESS AND FUTILE EXERCISES.

Not one of you rats your partners out ever. Dead end is full of the most loyal criminals in the universe… why? Because nobody rps like there’s any consequence at all to their fifteenth arrest. Are there consequences? No not really. Is it shitty rp to act as if there’s no consequences? You bet your ass. Every time you are like “screw off cop I’m not givin anyone up I don’t need a deal” you’re basically saying “I am going to totally take advantage of the fact that you can’t do anything and I will distort the rp and not have a genuine and realistic reaction to your offer, all in the name of my super coolness.” In fact, you probably go so far as to IM and explain how “its just your character”. No. No its just you being a powergamer who icly is acting on the fact that there won’t be anything that comes of your arrest.

In the light of that, I’m gonna be so bold as to say the taser is really the least offensive power gaming that occurs in PD interaction.

BUT STEPH! HOW DO I NOT GET TASED?

TRY ACTUALLY RPING A CRIMINAL.

There are two kinds of criminals in this world. Discrete ones, and stupid assholes who swiftly go to prison, or get arrested and stay out of prison by ratting on all the people dumb enough to do business with them. I lived for many years with a street pharmacist. He was successful at his craft because he didn’t call the police and announce what a bad mother fucker he was and tell them he owned the streets. He was respectful of the cops and gave them no reason to fuck with him, or search him or have anything to do with him. He was circumspect in his dealings and wasn’t public or flashing his cash around.

Conversely, when I interned at the public defender’s office there were a lot of the “im a bad mother fucker” types… who had been free for about a month and were on their way back in on a parole violation and new charges. Now, if your character is acknowledged by you as being a stupid mother fucker, ok that’s one thing. I’m willing to bet they aren’t though. PS… if you’re character is a stupid asshole he probably doesn’t have the money to pay 10s of thousands of dollars in fines and replace his knives after his 12th confiscation. If your character has accumulated 10s of thousands of dollars in fines… well you get it.

The conflict criminals should be having is with each other, and with innocents and people that get caught up in their web. Remember, if the PD failed so badly that you really “ran this town” the state police would come in and clean out the lot of you. There’s a lot of good rp to be had being clandestine. The sim’s roots are kidnap rp. If you need to fight another gang, why do it in lulu’s square where it will be busted up by the cops? Why not take 2 seconds to arrange to meet somewhere secluded, or inside? Or underground? Why not play a competent criminal and do the 2 seconds of thought it would take to figure out a way to do what you want without waving a giant flag at the cops? When you are ridiculous and public about your bad behavior, you should expect to be stomped quickly. By the same token, you should be able to expect that if you aren’t, that the cops will leave you alone. Obviously, if the cops are shaking you down when you’ve taken steps and don’t really want the arrest… that’s a problem.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MANY HIDDEN AREAS IN DEAD END

Grab your prey, drag them into the sewer, or off to the trainyard, or the docks. Wait like a hungry cheetah and separate them from the herd.

BUT WONT YOU JUST TASE ME AFTER THEY TURN ME IN?

Buy a fucking mask and put on a shirt so they can’t describe your tattoos? Sheesh. And not a big fancy mask that totally identifies you. A balaclava.

TRY TO REMEMBER THIS ISN’T MAD MAX.

Leave your fucking spiked bat at home, princess, and nobody has to be tased. You know who carries spiked bats in real life? Actors in bad movies. Period.
Furthermore, the less people engage in lazy public crime, the less powerful the DEPD needs to be to discourage it.

SOLUTIONS

Ultimately, the question of the DEPD’s power level will continue for as long as they are necessary to hold back the waters of worse rp. There are of course, other solutions. You could allow any person on sim to npc the cops coming turning every person into the DEPD. Alternatively, the PD could always show up after the fact and write a report. After so many public reports, the admins could explain to a player that they’ve gone away now and its time for a new character (with attendant loss in power and prestige, meaning group leads will only be people who can manage not to end up in reports).

I think, ultimately, that the real solution is two-fold. One, I’ve often proposed changes that require permission when people are trying to be discrete about kidnaps and such, before calling the cops, and criminals need to not be going crazy on the street. Ultimately, the sim will function best when the PD has little reason to exist outside of a club of rapists with a novel approach. That requires a change in the player base’s approach to Rp more than a change to the PD itself.
Of course, no matter the solution, keeping an eye out for supercops and reminding the good pd rpers to not go hog wild on criminals that aren’t being nuisances publicly is a must. If you’ve been “supercopped” feel free to drop a notecard with a log of events on Kerri Oakleaf. If there’s a notecard I will do my level best to talk to my fellow cops and brass about fixing any issues. I won’t respond to assertions without a notecard, as its unfair to rely on someone’s memory of an event when SL generally logs all this sort of thing and gives you the ability to log it even if your viewer doesn’t automatically log it (singularity does, btw).

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warumono-mode

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July 10, 2015 at 12:48 am
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shade-manx

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