Rant 17: Why people are quitting
For a while now, I have begun to notice a trend. More and more veteran players have begun to take a deep understanding of why I started this rants page, and have seen it's attempts to better the community as unsuccessful. Very few had my respect, and they are beginning to leave now for the same reason why I started this rants page - people are stupid.
What Epic Mafia means to us
See there was a time where Epic Mafia was a pretty small site. You only really found out about it by word of mouth among circles that were already playing games of mafia. The result was that the majority of people on the site knew their stuff, and... At the risk of giving out a complement, were of adequate intelligence. We were a small community, but we were happy that way. Everyone knew pretty much everyone else, the majority of us knew our stuff, and there were a select few super-stars who were not totally untouchable. All was warm, inviting, friendly, and I had no need to draw my power from hate. Believe it or not, when I am in the company of intelligent human beings, I'm actually rather pleasant, but I digress.
Epic Mafia was fun for us because as a community, we all had an understanding of each other, the game mechanics, and how to read people and bluff. We were a challenge for each other. And after a fierce battle of wits, we would have a good laugh.
Epic Mafia ended up growing too large to remain in that state. As the site continued to attract more and more users, more and more people would get told about it and come. Right away, this does not sound like a horrible thing, but let us consider a few other factors...
As friends invite their friends
The first who find the site are inevitably going to know their stuff. They found it because they had a desire to play mafia and sought it out. This is a good player.
Then you get that first person who invites his friends. Some of them might be skilled as well, and come from a circle that has played before.
But eventually, as friends invite friends and they invite friends, you start to snowball into an area where inevitably, people are inviting people who have never played mafia before in their life, and have no idea what they are doing. Furthermore, because the majority of games they play are now with people like themselves who also have no idea what they are doing, they get into a mindset where they accept that their style is effective, and that they are good and should trust their random guesses over logic, reason, and discussion.
Who are you again?
One of the favorite things of Epic Mafia in the early days was the fact that we all knew each other. Games would often go long because we would get caught up discussing things unrelated to the game rather than picking a lynch. Nobody really cared, we all knew each other and were having a good chat. In present day Epic Mafia, I consider myself lucky if I know 1 other person at the table.
But just from the sheer mass of people, we inevitably do not know everyone else as well as we had before. There are too many to know. Too many to care about. Everyone is just another face in the crowd. Which brings me to my next point...
One of the things that made the old Epic Mafia so fun was the fact that we could enjoy each other's company. There was a bunch of us, sure. However, we all knew most of us. We all had our little quirks and jokes and reputations which jokes were made about.
Consider, if you will, that you have a group of friends. They are your best buddies, and you might even consider taking a bullet for some of them. Now consider what happens to your group when every one of them brings another person into this group... Now everyone there brings another... Your small group of friends is now quite large, and it just isn't the same anymore. Not really a group of friends anymore as much as it is a mob of people.
With more and more people joining, more and more people begin to settle into their comfort zone when under the impression that because most people do not seem to scumhunt, it isn't necessary. This can lead to amazing feats of stupidity.
The first night, I was missing. Killed and had my role hidden by the Janitor. Alas, I was the Bodyguard.
As luck would have it, the Watcher was watching me that night, and revealed a report containing two names. They were the Yakuza and the Janitor.
Janitor claimed to be the drunk, and posted a meeting which read as follows:
Drunk meeting Teksura
Any player who had even seen a night meeting or at the very least seen the voting board for the day should have known instantly that was a bad fake which didn't even contain all of the words. this was compared side-by-side to the real drunk's counter-claim report.
Drunk meeting You choose no one
The town looked at the two reports, and determined that there was no way to tell which was fake, and therefore they must lynch the Yakuza.
Now, no matter what, the Yakuza was the better lynch just from luck alone. Things quickly get stupider from there.
As night 2 started, the scum had determined that they needed to kill the watcher. However, neither of the remaining scum could remember who the watcher was. So, rather than spend 10 seconds to check the previous day, they guessed. their dumb luck paid off when they killed the tracker.
Here is where the situation stood. Because the Janitor must have visited me when I died, and they had lynched the Yakuza, the only possibility is that the other person in the report must be the janitor. Going into night 2, there should have been no question who the Janitor was. The drunk targeted the Janitor that night, and by morning had determined he obviously couldn't be scum because the Stalker was able to preform the kill even with the Janator targeted by the Drunk. Note how a mafia nightkill can not be stopped by drinking unless all members of the mafia have been targeted by a drunk. The Drunk had determined that the Janitor must actually be a blue who fake claimed Drunk.
Janitor then posted another meeting
DRunk Meeting You Choose Noone
And this was compared to the actual Drunk's meeting:
Drunk meeting You choose Janitor
In spite of continued glaring differences in the reports, the Watcher had determined that there was absolutely no way to tell which drunk was the real drunk. He encouraged the entire town to no lynch in spite of the fact that the town had a mislynch anyway. The result was him getting killed that night. Big shocker there.
The town still isn't sure which Drunk claim is real, and determine that they shouldn't lynch again because now it is mylo.
That night, one of the players suicides, and the remaining scum begin patting each other on the back for "A game well won"
This is the level of play I see now.
Who do we blame?
Well, nobody really. Epic Mafia simply outgrew itself and became too large to remain as the thing that most of the original players liked about it in the first place.
You're welcome to take offense to that, get defensive and challenge me on it. I encourage you to dare to ask on my own rants page what steps I have been doing to provide people detailed reasons why they are stupid and how they can avoid it. I would just love to see that I have struck a nerve in you to the point where you can't move on with your life without validation from me. It has happened before on this site, and you'll be frustrated to know that I have no intention of ever giving you the approval you seek. You want to argue that I'm wrong to blame YOU? Then YOU need to show me what YOU have done to teach people how to recognize stupid and avoid it and play smart games.
Just because we will never have the old Epic Mafia ever again, doesn't mean the new Epic Mafia can't be an intellectual challenge. It doesn't mean this can't go back to games being a battle of wits and deception against powers of deduction and logic. And it certainly does not mean that hope should be given up. If we're going to stomp the stupid out of this place, it is going to take a group effort. Anyone who has even a minimal level of cleverness should be attempting to use that to help those who have none at all to reach their level. Anyone with a merely adequate level of intelligence should be encouraging discussion, explaining the obvious to people who can't see it themselves, and just all around be less stupid.
You'd think that "be less stupid" wouldn't have to be advice I'd need to give. --<font="gothic">Teksura</font> 12:18, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
i just got bored. -Wizky 15:03, 6 October 2009 (UTC)
lol teksura - manning015
I enjoy what you say until it reaches the second paragraph of "Who Do We Blame?". I am more willing to admit that I am not the most adept player around, and I wouldn't make being aware of EpicMafia for only two days an excuse. However, keep in mind that their are those that wish to play the game seriously and properly. Some like myself haven't reached a point of understanding the clockwork that goes into playing and winning successfully.
Time and time again, I'm battered by f***wads (not swearing for the sake of swearing, check link: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/3/19/) for not playing up to scratch and I've had this in both Ranked and UnRanked games. Of course, I'm 'asking for it' once I join a Ranked game, but pushing new players away in a negative fashion (by pointing stupid with insults) doesn't help and makes everything else even worse.
Of course, most would agree that this 'elitist idiocy' is silly, and it sounds like you enjoyed a period where players took it to heart in a friendly manner without filtering the newbies. But once you reach that 2nd paragraph, you start promoting the idea that everyone is stupid, that new players are stupid whether or not you mean it as an insult. It lets other veteran players who aren't as forgiving as you to take the position you hold and push it further and further where terms become derogatory and insulting. THEN sadly.. you attract new players who see this attitude and arrives to the game with the only purpose to troll, insult and batter other players for no reason, because they see many others do it. Then the website loses its edge, and the cycle repeats.
EpicMafia is a fantastic game, with a lot of F**kwads. Veteran players should be educating serious newbies to play successfully rather than pushing them away. I understand you are doing so, but you also support the other mentality that some people push too far. - Cybrmynd 2010