Saturday, 15 November 2014

The TSN - Duty and Honour

The recent departure of my two highest ranking officers, two individuals who I had held the utmost respect for and trusted immensely, has been a blow that has prompted me to reflect on the TSN RP Community.

What are we? Who are we? What is our purpose? Where are we headed? These are all questions that, although I think on them often, have taken on renewed importance. In thinking on these, the answers have been brought into a much sharper focus in my mind. So.. where to begin...

When I first set out to created the TSN RP Community, I wanted to create the best crews possible. I wanted to take the game to the next level. But what does this mean? To me, it is not about playing the highest level game possible, it is not about finding exploits or loopholes, or using tactics like monster baiting to destroy enemies in the quickest and most efficient way. I have heard about solo players play level 11, and beat it in a scout. And I have no doubt that it is possible. I have seen groups of 4 or 5 ships controlled by 4 or 5 players take on some of the most difficult simulations and win. I have played as part of a crew that are so in tune with each other that hardly a word needs to be said. The experience of the players is so great that the ship almost seems to run itself.

But it is not what I ever aimed to do with the TSN.

The focus of the TSN is, and always has been, on the crews. When it was first set up, a rule was outlined - 'no ship can run if there are less than 4 crew aboard.' This rule underpins everything, and I think clearly shows my intention. The crews come first, because it is about the people running the ships and their interaction.

The rank system was also established from the beginning, and for a reason. It isn't easy to advance through the ranks. Everyone begins at the same level, the lowest rank, and has to prove themselves over a long period to be able to become a higher ranking officer. In the past, crews have wanted to join as their own rank, or people, both experienced and inexperienced, have wanted to command a ship straight away. This has never been allowed. The simple reason behind it is because those who are in command, those who are the higher ranking officers, as those who have proven themselves capable, and shown their clear commitment to the TSN RP. Every high ranking officer is there because they have earned it and have proven experience.

This simply means, the people in charge of crews are the best. They know what they are doing and have been doing it a long time. It is easy to criticise or think they are doing it wrong, but everyone who has tried to fill their shoes soon discover that it is much tougher than they first realise.

What are we? Who are we? We are people who work together to make the best possible crews out there. 

In every duty shift, all crews and command officers work on developing their experience and tactics, yet some tactics are banned. Monster baiting has become somewhat of a controversial issue for example. Baiting monsters and using them to destroy enemy fleets is not a viable course of action. Other tactics, exploiting other aspects of the game are also not used. It is seen by me as a matter of honour. How could a TSN, that is built to protect vulnerable alien species, exploit a space dwelling creature? It is not attacking of its own will, it has been deliberatly provoked, almost coerced, into attacking. Surely this would stand against the principles of the USFP and the organisation given the honour and duty of protecting it. And that is where the problem lies. We are an RP group, set out to create a place where we can play as real officers of the TSN. Yes, there are tactics tgat can be used to decimate enemies. Yes, destroying that enemy that has surrendered, but you know will rejoin the fight, means they are out and will not be a threat again. But then what if other rules? If you want honour and respect, you have to take the tough line of not breaking those rules. It is much harder, but to me much more rewarding and challening, and how I see the TSN working. I want to be a TSN Officer, and to me a TSN Officer is the best example of a member of the USFP. Respected and held in the highest regard. And that must be demonstrated through the actions we take and how we behave in game.

What our purpose? To be the officers of the TSN. To build and uphold honourable principles that are in line with what it would be like to be a real TSN Officer.

So where are we headed? This is the final question which I ask myself. I have a commitment to this group. There have been times when I have considered walking away. I have been criticised by many people for decisions I make, for ideas I reject, or for not moving things on quick enough. But on every occasion, I have reflected on all the things I have done, the decisions I have made and the reasons for doing so. I do not intend to step down. I will not. My work and vision is too important, and I would be a betrayal to all those who have joined and made a commitment to the group. At the beginning, I started with few. We have evolved. What has been achieved so far is something in which I am proud, and to look back on this helps to give a direction on where to go next. There are protocols in place, procedures developed. The next step is having scenarios to test and extend these. A mod is one idea, to add new generic meshes, new possible ships for story lines, and ultimately to create new opportunities. With this, we can move the game to the next level, and the role play element. Port Arthur was an amazing creation by Fish Evans. To be able to have a better stock of generic meshes at hand for such creations would enhance the game even further. Perhaps rather than ask "where are we headed", the question should be "what do we want?" The answer to that would be to add to the game to enhance the experience and create more possibilities to take on the challenges of a TSN crew. It wouldn't be to change the base game, the player ships, or their function, but to add more elements that create more possibilities in story development and encounters.

The Final Word
This has been quite a long post. As it has been so long since I last posted, and with recent developments, it had to be. The TSN RP will keep going. It will adhere to the principles first set out, and the values and aims on which it is based. I will remain committed to running and developing it, with the assistance of those in whom I trust. Those who wish to join, to play as TSN Officers in as true a way as possible, and to be part of the best crews may do so.

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