Job Timers Need Replaced with a Better System

This post will be long as I try to be comprehensive and expressive with details. I will organize it into sections so that the reader can peruse it easier and there will be a TLDR at the end.

Where this Thread Came From

This thread is a response to the thread Job Timers Need to be Lowered. While someone else already began this conversation there and I and others participated, I feel that this problems needs tackled from a different perspective and with a different approach. It’s far too easy for people to pop into a thread that says ‘Job Timers Need to be Lowered’ and respond with ‘Job timers are here for a reason, list the reasons, they will not be lowered.’ and the conversation just plain dies.

The Problem

The problem with approaching this entire discussion from ‘Job timers need to be lowered’ and responding with ‘No they don’t, this is why they’re here, if anything they need to be raised’ fails completely to address the real problem; which is the failure in the Job Timer system to do what it was designed to do.

Yes, Job Timers Failed

This should be obvious, but the fact that they needed to be extended is proof in and of itself that they failed to achieve what they were designed to achieve. And, if my suspicions are correct, it’s also a pretty good indicator that the extensions will fails as well and for the same reasons.

Why Do Job Timers Exist?

I think it’s important to start this discussion off here. The entire point of job timers is to teach players how to play the game. They exist to buffer players from getting into high level positions where they do not yet belong. That way they do not ruin the shift by being incompetent in high places.

Round 1

Did job timers succeed at their goal? Did they stop inexperienced players from reaching high level positions and ruining shifts with their inexperience? Well, clearly, this is a resounding no. This is why there is a horde of people who clap back at ‘we need to lower job timers’ with ‘No! If anything we need to raise them!’

Round 2, The Failed Fix

The reaction to this was to extend job timers. Now… let us pause and actually think about this for a second. How likely is it that extending the duration of job timers (a system that has already proven its failure) is really going to do anything to fix the problem?

My Thesis

Job timers will continue to fail to fix the problem no matter how many times they are extended because the job timer idea has several key oversights in its philosophical construction that doom it to fail to fix the problem.

It Creates a Class System in SS14

At its absolute ‘best,’ job timers act as nothing more than a band-aid fix to keep shoving inexperienced players back down into subordinate roles and away from the very lead roles they are trying to play and learn; all while doing nothing to actually teach them how to play these roles. It creates a perpetual class system where ‘the in crowd’ can always bitch at the admins to ‘raise the timers’ in the name of ‘fixing the problem’ every time they start getting shifts ruined by inexperienced players in high places. The answer is masked in the guise of ‘It’s for the quality of the shifts and will teach new players how to play better.’ when in reality it’s really just ‘We’re tired of inexperienced players ruining the shifts for us, just shove them back down into subordinate roles so they stop bothering us by ruining the shifts for us. We really don’t care if they ever learn or ever play these higher jobs. If anything, we’re the OG crowd, we’d rather them just stay down there anyway. This is our game, not theirs. It’s no real loss to us. So, why should we care?’

Real Talk

This is where, as a community, we really do need to collectively all pause and come together for a moment and ask ourselves this question. Because it really is key to the entire conversation here.

Do Job Timers exist just to please OG players from SS13 who migrated here and shut them up by pushing the inexperienced players down into subordinate roles and locking them down there forever by getting into a perpetual cycle of always raising the Job Timers every time the OG crowd bitches to the admins? Or, are Job Timers really supposed to be teaching new players something instead of just locking them away to shut up the OG players?

If the answer is that Job Timers really do just exist as a measure of appeasement to the OG crowd; then congratulations, they work perfectly. The system is flawless exactly how it is and does its job very well. Every time enough OG people bitch, just raise the timers again. Done. Discussion over. No need to read anything else I write here and no need to change anything about Job Timers.

However, if Job Timers really do exist because the developers of the game really do care about the quality of the game for everyone (not just the OG Players) and actually want to teach new players how to play the game; then we have a lot more to talk about here.

Assuming Everyone Actually Really Does Care About Teaching New Players; I Will Continue

Why Do Job Timers Fail?

I think Job Timers Fail because of 3 Key Oversights in their design.

1: Job Timers expect you to learn one job while working another job.

I think that this is the biggest problem with job timers. They work under the assumption that time spent playing one job in a department equals knowledge/skill/experience gained about working an adjacent job in a department. That, somehow and for some undefined reason, there is going to be some sort of proximity based knowledge osmosis where you’ll just pick up on what’s going on around you.

Why? Why would this be the assumption? It clearly doesn’t work this way.

[From Previous Thread]

“Basic department roles (to unlock head roles): 5-8 hours (something like 4-10 rounds depending on length) is generally enough to ensure that player has a good grasp of the general workflow or expectations of that function. It also hopefully lets them interact with an experienced head of their department to get an idea of what an experienced head should do.”

[My Response in This Thread]

Yes, I agree, that people do learn by doing and the more they play the role the more they learn about it; if nothing else by trial and error. So, I agree that “is generally enough to ensure that player has a good grasp of the general workflow or expectations of that function.” We learn our role by playing our role. We learn how to be SEC Officer by playing SEC Officer.

But, here is the exact problem.

“It also hopefully lets them interact with an experienced head of their department to get an idea of what an experienced head should do.”

You see, “hopefully” is a pretty pie in the sky word here. I mean, really, why would it? That’s not what actually happens in the game at all. What actually happens varies greatly by department. But, in general, it’s a chain of command system here. So, as such, there really isn’t a lot of “interacting” going on here. At least, not with explanation.

If you’re in Medical, here is what actually goes down. Medical is a total and complete crap show. The CMO is jumping over desks and pretending to be Chemist/Doctor/whatever needs done depending on what roles need filled and how experienced the medical crew is. Doctors are frantically trying to revive dead/critical patients. Everyone is in a constant rush and very rarely does anybody ever have to to actually teach. Well meaning people try, but can really only cover the basics while they try to juggle doing their job and teach you (not their job) at the same time. Ass holes will very often yell at you for trying to help and make it very clear to you that they DO NOT want you here.

Case in point, as a Doctor, all anyone bothered to teach me was how to scan people and to pop patients pills for damage categories. Some kind other Doctors did take the time to teach me that in the medical lobby. Nobody taught me anything else. So… I would try to use this knowledge to help treat incoming patients. That is when Doctors kept telling me to stop popping pills into peoples’ mouths because I was ODing them when compared with what they were doing and that I should start calling out what I’m doing so that they would know and not clash with that I’m doing. So, yeah, that makes sense. So, I started doing that. Well, medical is so hectic that they didn’t bother to read me calling out the pills and people started falsely accusing me of ODing people by not calling out the pills I was giving them while other Doctors were also treating.

It was very clear to make that the CMO and more experienced Doctors saw me as in the way and causing more harm than good. So, I would just swap back and forth between treating easy patients in the lobby and drinking beer at the bar until I accrued enough hours to be able to play CMO myself. But, I stopped trying to learn how to be a good Doctor because every single time I tried the Doctors and CMO would just cuss me out for trying to help; all the while doing absolutely nothing to actually teach me.

They were too busing playing their roles to teach me how to do mine. So, they gave me the brush off while I learned nothing except to stop bothering trying to learn.

That’s the real truth about what really happens with the “interactions” in this game that you have with department heads as subordinate roles. You’re seen as a hanger on that is getting underfoot. You’re treated like a child and either yelled at, cursed out, excused, or ignored by the people you’re ‘supposed’ to be having ‘interactions with’ and ‘learning from.’

So, “It also hopefully lets them interact with an experienced head of their department to get an idea of what an experienced head should do.” actually breaks down entirely and instead translates into ‘Best of luck to you learning how to player higher level roles as you get cursed out by these people who are clearly bothered by the very fact that you’re even trying to play and learn. You should probably just go away or something. This is really their game, after all. But, if you do want to stick around and actually learn, good luck. Because it’s going to be a very painful experience for you and your department head will do nothing to help you. And, instead, will yell at you for bothering him and getting in the way while trying to learn.’

Now, I accurately painted medical and a very bad light. But, this is true for all departments in one way or another. Ironically, I actually find SEC a lot easier to play than medical. This is because HOS actually does interact with subordinates more directly by giving orders. Though, education here still only goes so far. It’s not too often you’re given clear order or the reason behind orders. So, like, you’ll get an arrest on sight order for someone. Then about 20-30 minutes later you’ll find this person and arrest them and bring then in. Then Warden or HOS will cuss you out for arrest the person HOS told you to arrest. Why? Because that person was already arrested, served his time, and was released. Yes, neither Warden or HOS bothered to convey this information over the SEC radio. Now, it’s somehow your fault as a SEC Officer for fallowing the orders HOS gave you even though it’s really HOS’s fault for not bothering to update everyone over the SEC radio on the fact that the AOS has already been completed. This happens a lot in SEC where you’re yelled at by Warden or HOS because neither of them bothered to update the rest of the officers over the radio about what’s happening. You’ll get order after order after order; usually without any fallow ups to what happened in the mean time. HOS just assumes that sense he dealt with it in the SEC office, that all the SEC Officers out in the field just automatically know this for no damn good reason at all. It’s a failure in communication. Yet, the crap rolls downhill and HOS will blame subordinates for not knowing up to date information that HOS failed to provide.

Salvage head is perpetually MIA. The head will go on missions with the salvage crew and leave you to operate the front desk computer on your own. But, good news! The moment he gets back he will (you guessed it) cuss you out for not knowing what you’re doing. ‘Why did you order this? Why did you sell that? Why can’t you dock a ship?’ All the while, you were completely abandoned at the start of the shift at the front desk for about 20-30 minutes having no direction at all from Salvage Head on what you should or should not be ordering, selling, doing at all. So, Salvage Head will blame you for his absence. Salvage head will blame you for his brain fart of not bothering to stay in communication with you and give you any sort of direction at all. I have an entire list of things I can buy. How the flying fudge am I supposed to know what I should be and should not be buying for the people coming to the window and asking for stuff? Absolutely nothing in the game bothers to tell me this. I’ve gathered you by stuff only for departments that (in your best guess) needs it. So, like, don’t buy a crate of guns for the Mime. But, aside from that, nothing and no one tells you what you should be doing. Yet, somehow, still feel entitled to come back from playing the completely unrelated Xenomorph shooter mini game and cuss you out for buying things for people you shouldn’t have; with no guidance at all coming from higher ranks.

I could go on, and on, and on.

Is this the “It also hopefully lets them interact with an experienced head of their department to get an idea of what an experienced head should do.” that you’re talking about? Because, I can tell you as a matter of fact that it doesn’t teach you anything except how to be yelled at by ass holes and how to go hide at the bar for the rest of your shift.

“Experienced head of their department” do NOT teach. They expect, truly expect, you to somehow already know. And when you don’t, they cuss you out for it. There is no learning that goes on here. This is why this is the first, and biggest, reason why Role Timers fail. Because spending time getting cursed out by your “Experienced head of their department” doesn’t really teach you “an idea of what an experienced head should do.” All it teaches you is that you’re underfoot and that you really just need to go away and stop bothering them.

2: Playing Subordinate Roles Doesn’t Teach You How to Coordinate Subordinates

Learning how to be a Paramedic, Doctor, and Chemist doesn’t teach you how to be a CMO; it teaches you how to be a Paramedic, Doctor, and Chemist. While it is true that each department head should know how to do the jobs their are overseeing; nothing about learning how to do those jobs teaches you how to oversee and coordinate the people doing them.

Take for example, I spent 8 years at my job being a cashier. That taught me how to work register. Yet, I had very little interactions with Front Desk. I’d ask them policy questions, I’d get rulings handed down. When I moved to Front Desk; I trully had to learn Front Desk basically from scratch because learning how to run the register teaches you nothing about coordinating Cashiers; even though they’re both in ‘Front End’ department. This is because learning how to coordinate people is a skill set all on its own. You don’t pick up how to be a good leader by always being a follower. Nothing about fallowing orders teaches you have to give them. Nothing about running a register teaches you the social skills and multitasking skills needed to coordinate other cashiers. It’s like spinning plates. You’re constantly dealing with stuff coming at you from all directions. All while also needing to keep up social graces. You don’t get that experience at all just running one lane handling one customer at a time.

The same is true in SS14. Being a Doctor doesn’t teach you how to be a CMO and coordinate medical. Being a SEC Officer doesn’t teach you how to coordinate SEC Officers as HOS. Nothing about fallowing orders from HOS teaches you about how to give orders and coordinate an entire crew beneath you. As a subordinate you receive order, fallow it, wait for next order. You’re only seeing the department from a very small window. It’s not an interactive enough and encompassing enough experience to teach you what coordinating the bigger picture of the entire department looks like. Nothing on the ship teaches you how to be a Captain and coordinate everyone else.

It’s complete shell shock going from Doctor to CMO or SEC Officer to HOS because nothing about the lower rung experience teaches you coordination and management skills. It just plain and simply doesn’t.

“Head of Staff roles: Also have an overall playtime requirement of 30 hours across the entire game. Heads of staff manage the whole station and run whole departments, and we frequently had aforementioned issues with players who knew nothing but playing Engineer and failing to realize other things go on outside of engineering.”

Yes, I’m sure you did have issues. My point entirely being that not only is this correct, but that it digs further down than you think. Not only does “playing Engineer and failing to realize other things go on outside of engineering.” The correct answer here is, to paraphrase, ‘playing SEC Officer and failing to realize other things go on in the same department of Security.’ Or, ‘playing Doctor and failing to realize other things go in the same department of Medical.’

Doctor, Chemist, and Paramedic are three separate jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Their functions within medical interlock, but not really in interactable ways.

Let me explain how disconnected things are within the same department. And, thus, why all of these jobs have absolutely nothing to do with each other; to spite being in the same department.

What is the job of a Paramedic? To grab injured people, throw them on a rolling bed, inject them with a medical pin if needed, dump them off into medical lobby; lather rinse repeat for the rest of the shift.

Now, you tell me how this teaches the Paramedic anything about being a Chemist or a Doctor?

What is the job of the Chemist? To crap out a pile of pills onto the table for Doctors to treat Patients with. They do share the overlap of needing to know what treats what damage so they know what pills they need to make and keep in stock on. Otherwise, playing Chemist has absolutely nothing to do with Doctor.

What is the job of the Doctor? To scan patients, and treat them. You don’t get patients, they come to the lobby either from the Paramedic, or are dragged there, or walk in. You don’t make pills. The Chemist does that.

These three jobs all have some small overlap in that they all are about healing people.

The patient goes through the healing journey of being picked up by Paramedic, delivered to the Doctor, who treats with the pills Chemist made.

But, truth be told, the patient is more connected to the Paramedic, Doctor, and Chemist through this journey than the Paramedic, Doctor, and Chemist are connected to each other by naturally doing their jobs.

Each of these three jobs are separate and entirely different jobs. You do not need to be paying attention to or leaning anything about the other two jobs to do the job you’re doing well. Doctor yells in ‘we need more bicar’ and you make more bicar. It’s used to treat brute or something. That’s all you need to learn as a Chemist. Why on Earth would you ever leave your Chem Lab and go out into the rest of medical to see what the Doctors are doing? It’s completely unnatural and completely not needed to do your job as Chemist well. Same reason why a Paramedic has no reason to have anything more to do with the Doctors than dropping off patients.

Yet, because you played these three completely disconnected roles for enough hours, you’re now somehow worthy of being the CMO? You now somehow know how to instantly see the bigger picture of the entire medical department coordinate these three different roles beneath you. Nothing about playing these three roles taught you anything about how to coordinate them.

Same as in SEC. Sec Officer walks around, looks for crime, fallows arrest on sight or kill on sight orders from HOS. Warden dolls out how many minutes prisoners stay in jail and looks after armory. Detective solves cases. HOS gives orders.

Again, much like medical, the departments are far more connected in the criminals journey than working any individual jobs those departments.

As a criminal, the HOS sends out an order for your arrest. A SEC Officers sees and arrests you. He hands you off to Warden. SEC Officers now leaves SEC Offices and goes back on patrol, because it is not natural and there is absolutely no need for SEC Officer to stay behind and watch Warden do his job. Warden decides how long to lock you up if it’s a small crime. If it’s a big one, you are dragged into a room where you are left until a Detective shows up to interrogate you. SEC Officer is not here for this most times. Heck, often Warden and or HOS is not here for this. You’ll either have criminal and Detective or Criminal, Lawyer, and Detective. Detective will report finding to Warden or HOS and one of them will decide if you are going into perma or if they are just going to shoot you.

As you can see, all of these roles are very disjointed. Each one has it’s own duty, division of labor, that doesn’t have a lot to do with the other roles. There is some reporting and communication, sure. But, not really enough to teach one role how to do the job of the other.

3: It’s Too easy to Cheese Timers

As a RPG social game, it’s way to easy to just do the bare minimum of your job so that you’re not neglecting your duties and then go socialize for the rest of the shift while running the job timers down and learning basically nothing new.

Take Chemist. Make pills, go to bar for 10-15 minutes. Go back, if pills need re-stocked, make more pills, leave for another 10-15 minutes. As long as medical doesn’t run out of needed pills, you’re doing your job. But, you’re away from your desk more than you’re at your desk.

Same for SEC Officer. Most general mayhem from rowdy passengers happen at the bar anyway. So, do a lap around the station, sit at bar for like 5-10 minutes. Do another lap around the station, sit at bar for 5-10 minutes. Even if it’s not the bar, you can just hang out in the eating section of SEC or MED. Or at the arcade.

This isn’t like ranked mode in a fighting game where when you’re constantly playing ranked you’re constantly engaged in fighting and thus constantly improving your skills. You can easily slack off hard core in this game, chat it up for more than half the shift, learn absolutely nothing new about your job, learn even less about adjacent jobs like your department lead, all while fulfilling the absolute basics of your role perfectly.

This is just how these game is designed. This is why time spent in a role doesn’t not directly mean time spent learning the role/getting better at the role. Because the game-play is so loose and free flowing that you’re can largely ignore your job while at the same time still be doing your job well enough to not be neglecting it. Case and point, you can be a syndicate agent, keep up the bare minimum of doing your job, and still go off and by syndicate all at the same time. The game was designed this way and for this reason.

Well, as easily as you can keep up the bare minimum of your job and still go off and be syndicate at the same time; you can just as easily keep up the bare minimum of your job and go hang out at the bar, arcade, department meal room at the same time. The game is far too loosely designed to think that just because player spent X Hours as a Doctor and not AFK that this somehow meant that player spent X Hours learning how to be a good Doctor and or learning how to be a good CMO. That logic jut plain doesn’t track here at all. You can chew through these trivial timers easily while learning basically nothing about your job. Making these timers longer doesn’t make them any more effective at teaching the player.

TLDR

Job Timers fail to fix the problem because:

1: Playing your own role teaches you little to nothing about how to play other roles around you, even in the same department.

2: Playing every role in a department teaches you nothing about how to coordinate subordinates or interoperate between other departments.

3: Timers are too easy to cheese. The game is too free form to equate time spent playing with time spent learning (learning your job, adjacent jobs, or deparment leads.) You can easily cheese the timers by doing the bare minimum of your job and spend the rest of the shift socializing. Then you can unlock higher job roles while learning nothing new about your current job role or the job role you just unlocked.

Where to Go From Here?

The problem needs to be fixed by tackling it through education. Not with an arbitrary and easy to cheese job timer system.

You learn by doing. Not really by getting brief glimpses of watching other people do.

The Cadet to SEC Officer system is a good example of this. A Cadet is the same job as SEC Officer, just as a ‘student driver.’ You’re out there with other SEC Officers actually learning how to be one. Medical has the same for Doctor.

Yet, for some reason, this system is not extended through the rest of all the other jobs on the station. Once you get out of the entry level, you’re expected to learn new positions not by doing them alongside other people who are in the same job, but instead by somehow learning about them through brief and mostly trivial interactions with them where they shout orders at you without explanation and cuss you out for not knowing what you’re doing.

Also, for some reason, you’re pushed up and out of learning roles on a timer instead of your own discretion. For instance, in all honesty, I can go on a server right now and play CMO. Yet, to be honest with you all, I still feel like a need to still be in ‘Student Driver’ Doctor. Yet, I timed out of that and now not only am I forced to play real Doctor instead of self-labeling as ‘student driver’ because I still don’t know how to be a Doctor very well; I can even be a CMO!

I’m not qualified to be a CMO. I’m not even qualified to be a Doctor. Yet, Job Timers say I can’t play as Student Doctor because I spent too much time there not learning my job very well. I spent so much time not learning Doctor very well that I can now play CMO. Really stop and think about how bad that is.

Yet, under the job timer system, the problem was supposed to be fixed by simply extending the timers. I chewed through the new timers. I learned nothing new.

Setting the egg timer for longer and longer times does nothing to fix the problem that nobody and nothing within this game in and of itself does a very good job at teaching you how to play this game.

It’s like if a kid flunks his math test. So, the teacher puts a dunce cap on his head and makes him go sit in a corner and look at the wall for 5 minutes. Then kids fails again. What does the teacher do? Of course, puts the dunce cap back on and sends the kid to go sit in the corner and look at the wall for 10 minutes this time. What did the teacher not do? Oh, yeah, take the one on one time to actually teach the kid.

That’s what’s happening here and why you’ll see that extending the timers will not work. Because you’re doing zero extra to actually teach anyone anything. They’ll just go sit in the dunce hat corner for another 8 hours and they’ll be back again not knowing how to be HOS just as equally as they don’t know now.

Or, you’ll keep having people like me who play long enough anyway that we’ll just keep cheesing the timers and still learning nothing.

Either wait, none of this fixes the problem.

This is way too much text for something that’s real self explanatory.

Job timers are great and they need to stay. They do mend a lot of the issues. If we do not have timers there’ll be even more dumb heads who got no clue what they are doing. Simple as.

Whenever job timers “fail” that’s simply the player’s fault. I don’t even know how many collective hours are required at minimum to be any of the department heads. But it’s definitely up there and enough to have basic expectations for anybody playing a head.

In my opinion all we need is temporary job bans being handed out more often or a way for admemes to reset your hours for a job. Plus an amendment or two of the rules so we can actually report every single instance of somebody being absolutely painfully bad at their job. No, I don’t mean the average HoS getting ambushed and killed off in maints. I mean the type of shit where a department head will quite literally abandon their duties and go ride a taxi bot for 30 minutes and not spend a single thought on if his department is doing alright. I mean the type of player who signed up to be a head, then doesn’t want to do his job but instead of handing the position over he just scadoodles around for an entire shift. The type of captain who will call the shuttle because the station is getting a bit hot. A HoP who is never at his office. Those egregious types of heads need their hours straight up removed or a job ban applied for things in the community to change.

Some might think I am going a bit far with this but no. If I sit down and decide to play a round of SS14 I want to have the usual random (and often times unfair) fun that SS14 provides. Working for some absolutely incompetent egomaniac who doesn’t even do his job is not what that should entail. 

2 hours ago, Rich0rd said:

Some might think I am going a bit far with this but no. If I sit down and decide to play a round of SS14 I want to have the usual random (and often times unfair) fun that SS14 provides. Working for some absolutely incompetent egomaniac who doesn’t even do his job is not what that should entail. 

So, thank you, this is the absolute perfect example off the entitled class system that I spoke of in my thesis.

The idea here being that Rich0rd here doesn’t care at all about actually helping teach new players how to play the game better. And is instead just upset that his game is being ruined by them.

His selfish solution to this problem is simply to blame the players and ban then.

If Rich0rd had bothered to read my post, maybe he would have already seen that I addressed this entirely.

Thank you very much for your class A example, Rich0rd.

Here is my quote from my original post above that already summarizes Rich0rd’s post before he even made it.

“‘We’re tired of inexperienced players ruining the shifts for us, just shove them back down into subordinate roles so they stop bothering us by ruining the shifts for us. We really don’t care if they ever learn or ever play these higher jobs. If anything, we’re the OG crowd, we’d rather them just stay down there anyway. This is our game, not theirs. It’s no real loss to us. So, why should we care?’”

Does anyone have any actual suggestions for how to better educate new players; rather than avoiding the topic entirely, like Rich0rd did, by just throwing new players into role bans and longer egg timers?

25 minutes ago, EVIL_ED said:

So, thank you, this is the absolute perfect example off the entitled class system that I spoke of in my thesis.

The idea here being that Rich0rd here doesn’t care at all about actually helping teach new players how to play the game better. And is instead just upset that his game is being ruined by them.

His selfish solution to this problem is simply to blame the players and ban then.

If Rich0rd had bothered to read my post, maybe he would have already seen that I addressed this entirely.

Thank you very much for your class A example, Rich0rd.

Here is my quote from my original post above that already summarizes Rich0rd’s post before he even made it.

“‘We’re tired of inexperienced players ruining the shifts for us, just shove them back down into subordinate roles so they stop bothering us by ruining the shifts for us. We really don’t care if they ever learn or ever play these higher jobs. If anything, we’re the OG crowd, we’d rather them just stay down there anyway. This is our game, not theirs. It’s no real loss to us. So, why should we care?’”

Does anyone have any actual suggestions for how to better educate new players; rather than avoiding the topic entirely, like Rich0rd did, by just throwing new players into role bans and longer egg timers?

oh shit

finna get lit with this one once again like priority queue and that very other strange post you made

idk how you do it man, but this truly feels like a atomwaffles thing

36 minutes ago, Jacksepticeye said:

oh shit

finna get lit with this one once again like priority queue and that very other strange post you made

idk how you do it man, but this truly feels like a atomwaffles thing

It’s just frustrating to me to see people so casually screw over new players with their entitled attitudes.

If this game is going to grow and be welcoming to new players; there needs to be some sort of educational system in place to actually help teach new players how to play the game well. The closest thing we have is Liltenhead’s ever updating videos.

Constantly throwing players back down into the egg timer well hoping that the result will be different when they come back up after each time extension is clearly not working. That’s why people keep calling for extensions. Because the timers are not working.

I think that this is a good application of this quote. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

If the goal of the egg timers is just to get rid of the new players. Then, yes, they work perfectly. If the goal is to actually teach them. Then, again, the fact that people keep calling for extensions is the proof that they’re not working.

10 hours ago, EVIL_ED said:

-pointless and childish snide remarks-

I think going after someone like this, especially with your history, makes whatever you say moot.

That is not at all what Rich0rd said. No one is screwing over new players. There are guidebooks in-game and also other players to help teach. Even a role in each department specialized to teach. Most people who don’t know what they’re doing in a high command role aren’t actually new players.

New Players are welcomed to ask questions in-game or out and I’ve seen plenty of new players get the gist of things. Role Timers don’t affect this at all nor is it a thing to get rid of new players. That line of thinking is silly.

your TLDR needs a TLDR…
Anyways, onto the content.

Now I don’t mean any harm or insult when I say this, but… Respectfuly? This is a skill issue.
That sounds bad, but hear me out.
When I was brand new, not even an hour of playtime, all my first rounds were Sci. I basically played SOLO in sci, because everyone else was too busy doing anomalies. I used basic reasoning to figure out that; “Artifacts are a lot more profitable, and they are easier to manage since they are all in the same place.” And I somehow, still being a research assistant, managed to learn ALL artifact basics in ONE round, Graph structure in the next, and by the third round I was basically RD in Assistant’s clothing.
A few rounds in, and I, an assistant, was teaching people how to conceptualize, interact with, and modify artifact graphs.
Edit: Also, I never saw job timer as a way to restrict newbies from OGs, just as an opportunity to refine my muscle memory and grasp of concepts.

This same concept applied to Sec, Med, and Engineering (Still learning chem, and need more muscle memory for basic chems).

10 hours ago, EVIL_ED said:

there needs to be some sort of educational system in place to actually help teach new players how to play the game well

I will ask a question… Have you ever pressed 0 on your numpad?
That sounds mean, but you can actually get a lot of info by reading the tutorial pages. Even if it’s a bit vague, it’s still a pretty good foundation for learning.

Also, I don’t wanna get caught in the drama, so I’ll probably unfollow this topic as soon as I reply, but please stop being a dick…

13 hours ago, EVIL_ED said:

‘We’re tired of inexperienced players ruining the shifts for us, just shove them back down into subordinate roles so they stop bothering us by ruining the shifts for us. We really don’t care if they ever learn or ever play these higher jobs. If anything, we’re the OG crowd, we’d rather them just stay down there anyway. This is our game, not theirs. It’s no real loss to us. So, why should we care?’

Alright, real simple.
Yes, I do not want to be bothered by extremely incompetent Heads.
No, I do not mind somebody being a first timer on the job.

You willfully skipped over that I gave several examples of very egregious and problematic head behavior, the kind of shit that definitely should deserve a job ban or deduction of playtime hours.

If a new Head is on the shift and says “Hey, first time Head of (whatever) here” I will not metaphorically speaking rip their head off for not being an expert at their job.

There’s a dozen degrees of incompetence between “oh they are just new” and “they’re blatantly ignoring their duties and just fucking around”.

Furthermore, if somebody is not in the mood to play a job they can take the 10 to maybe 30 seconds of time it takes to just unselect the job from their job preference tab in their character customization.

1 hour ago, Warentan said:

your TLDR needs a TLDR…
Anyways, onto the content.

Now I don’t mean any harm or insult when I say this, but… Respectfuly? This is a skill issue.
That sounds bad, but hear me out.
When I was brand new, not even an hour of playtime, all my first rounds were Sci. I basically played SOLO in sci, because everyone else was too busy doing anomalies. I used basic reasoning to figure out that; “Artifacts are a lot more profitable, and they are easier to manage since they are all in the same place.” And I somehow, still being a research assistant, managed to learn ALL artifact basics in ONE round, Graph structure in the next, and by the third round I was basically RD in Assistant’s clothing.
A few rounds in, and I, an assistant, was teaching people how to conceptualize, interact with, and modify artifact graphs.
Edit: Also, I never saw job timer as a way to restrict newbies from OGs, just as an opportunity to refine my muscle memory and grasp of concepts.

This same concept applied to Sec, Med, and Engineering (Still learning chem, and need more muscle memory for basic chems).

I will ask a question… Have you ever pressed 0 on your numpad?
That sounds mean, but you can actually get a lot of info by reading the tutorial pages. Even if it’s a bit vague, it’s still a pretty good foundation for learning.

Also, I don’t wanna get caught in the drama, so I’ll probably unfollow this topic as soon as I reply, but please stop being a dick…

fire response

IMG2667.jpeg

7 hours ago, kaishiba said:

I think going after someone like this, especially with your history, makes whatever you say moot.

That is not at all what Rich0rd said. No one is screwing over new players. There are guidebooks in-game and also other players to help teach. Even a role in each department specialized to teach. Most people who don’t know what they’re doing in a high command role aren’t actually new players.

New Players are welcomed to ask questions in-game or out and I’ve seen plenty of new players get the gist of things. Role Timers don’t affect this at all nor is it a thing to get rid of new players. That line of thinking is silly.

In my experience other players in higher roles do not teach. Instead, they cuss out because they are annoyed that I am trying to learn and help.

So, and to be fair, everyone is different. But, I run into far more assholes who cuss me out for being underfoot than who take the time to teach me when I try to get involved. Maybe other people have had better interactions.

That is why I don’t really see relying on others to teach others in the game as a reliable method. Because every time I ever tried to help someone and do my job I get told to buzz off.

I’d love to know where all the nice people willing to teach me are at. I’ve never seen any of them outside of entry level roles. Seriously, please tell me.

Also, my history? What, my history of speaking my mind? Kind of thought that’s what forums are for.

5 hours ago, Warentan said:

your TLDR needs a TLDR…
Anyways, onto the content.

Now I don’t mean any harm or insult when I say this, but… Respectfuly? This is a skill issue.
That sounds bad, but hear me out.
When I was brand new, not even an hour of playtime, all my first rounds were Sci. I basically played SOLO in sci, because everyone else was too busy doing anomalies. I used basic reasoning to figure out that; “Artifacts are a lot more profitable, and they are easier to manage since they are all in the same place.” And I somehow, still being a research assistant, managed to learn ALL artifact basics in ONE round, Graph structure in the next, and by the third round I was basically RD in Assistant’s clothing.
A few rounds in, and I, an assistant, was teaching people how to conceptualize, interact with, and modify artifact graphs.
Edit: Also, I never saw job timer as a way to restrict newbies from OGs, just as an opportunity to refine my muscle memory and grasp of concepts.

This same concept applied to Sec, Med, and Engineering (Still learning chem, and need more muscle memory for basic chems).

I will ask a question… Have you ever pressed 0 on your numpad?
That sounds mean, but you can actually get a lot of info by reading the tutorial pages. Even if it’s a bit vague, it’s still a pretty good foundation for learning.

Also, I don’t wanna get caught in the drama, so I’ll probably unfollow this topic as soon as I reply, but please stop being a dick…

You have a lot of good points, actually. No, I don’t ever use the guide to learn a new role because I don’t learn tasks by reading. I learn either by doing or by videos. I struggled a lot in college because everything went through reading pages and pages of dry text that is uninteresting.

There are different ways different people learn better. Some learn by reading, others by doing, others by watching, etc. I have never been a learner by reading so that guide is basically useless to me. I use it for Chem Recipes so I don’t have to commit to them memory. It’s nice for that.

Which is not to say the guide is useless. I’m sure it is useful to people who learn by reading. I’m just not one of them.

A lot of what I’m experiencing here is truly a skill issue. I don’t take offense to that in relation to this conversation. The point I am making is that the job timer system shoving me back down into  lower jobs by being extended isn’t going to do anything to fix my skill issue.

I’m one of those people who will just chew through a timer while learning nothing new. Because I am very insular in my thinking and don’t really pay attention to other people around me. At work, I do my task and everyone does their tasks and I don’t really care what everyone else around me is doing because they’re not me so why should I care? I don’t have to understand them or their jobs to do my job well.

I don’t know what I am. I actually spent many years researching and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were an Inverted Narcissist and or some Asperger level of Autism. I don’t really take the time to pay attention to what other people are thinking/doing/feeling unless it somehow benefits me.

This is why learning to do job B while performing job A is a skill issue to me. Because I only ever focus on what my job duties are and either can’t/don’t want to have to pay attention on top of that to what other people are doing. My mind just doesn’t work that way. My minder prefers to drill down to the one thing I am doing at the expense of all others. It’s like when I play video games and become dead to the rest of the world. I can only ever really focus on one this at one and I hate multitasking.

That is how I played enough Doctor and Chem that I unlocked CMO yet have no idea how to be a CMO. An example of how the timer system betrayed me by deciding that I am qualified when I’m not. So much so I can’t even go back to ‘driver student’ Doctor what I will freely admit I should still be at because I don’t even know how to be a Doctor very well.

That is also why extending the timers and taking half my roles away from me about two weeks after I unlocked them doesn’t do anything to help me. I chewed CMO right back open and am well on my way to do the same with HOS.

But, I just don’t/can’t learn from watching others do one job while I do mine. You could set it for one thousand hours and I will still never be a competent CMO or HOS this way. Because I can’t learn one job while doing a different job. My mind does not work that way. I can’t divide my attention. My lack of ability to divide my attention is also why I can’t multitask. It’s what I can’t play FNAF or RTS games like Starcrat. It’s why I prefer fighting games or platform games usually; because I can focus on one things (either the space ahead of me in a platform game or my opponent in a Fighting game.)

I guess it could be called a skill issue. I would probably more call it a mind difference. A sort of processing difference. I just can’t learn that way because I can’t divide my attention that way.

I learn better being hand held through a process in a mentorship like way. A good example of this was my college work study. I was told that I have all the skills of an IT 1. He went around and showed me everything. One day he asked if I could replace a mother board. I said no. So, he showed me step by step; explaining why he did each step in full detail. Then, I replicated it across multiple other computers. Now, I can replace motherboards.

Contrast this with one of my other jobs where they said they would train me, then didn’t, and I was expected to just learn how to do my job and what was going on by watching the people around me and not being hand held. Result? I learned nothing and was fired in a few months.

I tried to replicate this hand holding experience here in SS14, but every time I try the upper level people get annoyed by me. They treat me like I’m stupid or in the way instead of taking the time to teach me. So, I just socialize for the rest of my shift while I chew through the timers learning nothing new about the jobs because nobody is taking the time to actually teach me and are instead just yelling at me whenever I try to implement what little I have learned.

But, unlike you, I can’t just pay attention to others around me in my department and start picking things up. My mind doesn’t work that way. What you described as your experience feels like an entirely alien concept to me and is something that I could never, ever, ever do. No matter how much time I spent in a department. Case in point, under the old timers, I unlocked every position on the ship including Captain and I still don’t know how to do basic jobs. Given enough time, I’ll do it again with the some lack of knowledge. For no other reason that I can’t learn by dividing my attention between my job and paying attention to those around me. I don’t have the ability to do that; my mind doesn’t work that way.

I can hyper focus and learn things better than most others. I did very well in school because of this hyper focus ability. I can block everyone and everything else out to focus on the 1 thing I’m doing. It’s like Sheldon blocking out the world to focus on his thoughts or on the task he is obsessed with. What I cannot do is do one thing while focusing on the other. So, my mind traded in dividing attention for hyper focused attention. Which is why I accel at driving down to the core point of a specific topic, but can’t do or think about more than one thing at a time.

5 hours ago, Rich0rd said:

Alright, real simple.
Yes, I do not want to be bothered by extremely incompetent Heads.
No, I do not mind somebody being a first timer on the job.

You willfully skipped over that I gave several examples of very egregious and problematic head behavior, the kind of shit that definitely should deserve a job ban or deduction of playtime hours.

If a new Head is on the shift and says “Hey, first time Head of (whatever) here” I will not metaphorically speaking rip their head off for not being an expert at their job.

There’s a dozen degrees of incompetence between “oh they are just new” and “they’re blatantly ignoring their duties and just fucking around”.

Furthermore, if somebody is not in the mood to play a job they can take the 10 to maybe 30 seconds of time it takes to just unselect the job from their job preference tab in their character customization.

True, but you also didn’t suggest any new ideas for people struggling. Which is the entire point I made the thread for. To have a discussion on how to teach people better who are not learning by just being dumped into longer timers.

That is nice of you to be nice to new people learning higher roles. Most times I try people are not nice to me and make me feel not welcome and like I’m getting in the way and causing more harm than helping.

I cannot tell you how many times I got cussed out for not knowing how to do my job while trying to learn it by doing. The expectation being that I should somehow just automatically know.

I learned to just stop trying to learn and just focus on running timers down because every time I try to learn I get yelled at.

As I replied to the other person, I can’t do my job while learning another. I can’t divide my attention. It’s like I have a single core CPU for my mind that’s way better than almost everyone else’s in the world. Yet, I lack even the most basic level of CPU multitasking / multi-cores that even grade school people have.

I can obsess and focus one thing and dig down deep for hours. But, I can not day my job and still be paying attention to what’s going on around me with people in other jobs. My mind just doesn’t work like that.

This is why I listed my biggest problem with job timers as doing 1 job while being expected to learn another. No matter how long the timers placed on a role are; I will never learn a new role this way. I can’t.

So, I think this is what is happening. What you wrote here is very helpful.

“When I was brand new, not even an hour of playtime, all my first rounds were Sci. I basically played SOLO in sci, because everyone else was too busy doing anomalies. I used basic reasoning to figure out that; “Artifacts are a lot more profitable, and they are easier to manage since they are all in the same place.” And I somehow, still being a research assistant, managed to learn ALL artifact basics in ONE round, Graph structure in the next, and by the third round I was basically RD in Assistant’s clothing.
A few rounds in, and I, an assistant, was teaching people how to conceptualize, interact with, and modify artifact graphs.”

I think job timers exist because the expectation is that if you lock someone into a level like this they will have the experience you had. That they will just start to ‘get it on their own’ by ‘paying attention to other people and their surroundings’ naturally.

When that failed to work for some people, the timers were extended in the hopes that pushing them down there for a little longer would eventually force the experience you had.

They key to what I am trying to say, at least speaking about myself and from my own perspective, I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever have the experience that you had no matter how long the timers keep getting set for specifically because my mind doesn’t work like that. I am aware most peoples’ minds do. Mine doesn’t.

For me, extending the timers is like punishing me and forcing me to smack my head repeatedly against a brick wall because it’s never going to get the light bulb to come on over my head where I some day ‘just get it’ because my mind doesn’t work like that.

If I am ever going to learn how to play higher level roles in this game, someone is going to have to hand-hold teach me this in a calm and patient one on one manner because I am not capable of learning how to do this the way you described in your experience; no matter how much longer timers are made. I don’t learn that way.

A respectable thesis, but I ain’t readin all that.
Antag timers when?

its already been

OK, so I read through all that. I am not going to lie, when I first read your thesis, my first thought was ‘Nah, timer good.’ I still think timers are important, but I think you have also kind of explained another problem with departments.

Theres really no mechanic beyond demotion for dealing with players that don’t want to learn. I am primarily a HoS player, but I play basically all the departments but Cargo and Sci. One issue I find quite often, is that when I call out at the start of the round if any interns/ cadets want training, they just don’t respond. At that point, what can be done? When people join a job assuming they know everything that needs to be known, and refuse training, all you can do is demote them. But that doesn’t help anybody. The newbie doesn’t learn anything besides maybe one thing they shouldn’t have done, and the issue with people slacking their way into higher ranks continues. If I decide not to demote someone 20 minutes into the round, and my senior is busy for some reason, I as the head just don’t have time to teach them, because usually I am busy doing my duties by then.

I agree with what was said higher up in the thread. As you indicated in the OP, intern roles should no longer be time gated, so people can choose to show themselves as an intern for as long as they want. I would also go an additional step, and make it so there is a lower cap on the amount  of learners. On some shifts, I have seen upwards of 6 cadets or interns. That is utter insanity, there is no way to supervise that many learners, especially if they refuse training. Let interns be a smaller proportion of the department, so the actual department can give them each more attention.

In addition, I agree with the other idea, that admins need to be more willing to remove peoples role times. A CE that does not know how to work Solars or the AME has, in my opinion, proved that they have not given a fuck about how to learn their job, and should have to start from scratch. It takes 10 seconds to ask someone how to do these jobs, and they are done every shift. I would also add nonantags that refuse to be tasked duties by their head to the list, and make refusing to do your job an ahelpable violation. Nothing  feels worse than asking for an engineering team to go fix spacing somewhere, only to hear absolutely no response on comms. In the absence of a whitelist for certain roles, this is the way to go I think.

As for head roles themselves and learning how to coordinate, I think having inexperienced heads is fine. As long as they know the basics of their duty, they can learn the social aspect.

Just my stream of consciousness on the matter.

there is way too much to read here but I will point out a major issue I have with this entire thread: Job Timers are not a “teaching” mechanism they are a “gating” mechanism. They function as a way to try and introduce players slowly into the landslide of content the game has and to try and minimize damage that bad actors or incompetent/still learning persons can realistically do.

We already recognize that playing time assigned to a job does not instantly equate to learning. This isn’t something we pretend that a job timer does. We merely recognize that usually it is enough game time that most people have figured out the workflow and what to do, sometimes without needing to be taught.

Furthermore personnel management is not a skill that is easily taught nor one that is easy to learn. It is possible for a line-level person to “take charge” of a situation and start directing people using their own knowledge and experience, which is what the equivalent head should be doing. The reality is it is a video game and the person playing the character may just lack management skills and experience in general which no amount of time, teaching, or tests will  give.

I also personally think that bulk of station jobs are built up by line-level jobs and there is no shame in being experienced but playing a line level position. You do not “need” to play the associated head role. Stations need experienced and competent line level personnel as much as they need an experienced and competent head of staff. 

lastly is people are faliable and a head who does not act optimally does not mean that person should never be a head of staff. Heads who are extremely negligent, break the rules, or show no investment in the department are different from heads who are merely inadequate or make the wrong choice in a given situation. 

And just so it is all in one place (since for some reason you made a new thread on this subject even directly referencing the prior thread about a very similar subject), “Job Timers” shouldn’t be “replaced” as much as they should be “supported” by other methods of gauging player competency, some of which I spitballed in the other thread:

  • Admins evaluating player’s performance - Massive administrative burden, not at all feasible or worthwhile to keep up with
  • Players evaluating player’s performance - favoritism and not indicative of learning
  • Automatically administered tests after playtime met - Probably the best but needs tests programmed and designed, tests have to keep up with job content, and the test answers if not sufficiently randomized would be easy to give out the answers to
  • Automatically detected milestones - Difficult to detect, needs extensive programming, may not apply to all situations, needs admin oversight in that case
  • No role timers - incompetent/stupid people sign up for important jobs and griefers get instant access to the most destructive jobs on the station

At the end of the day part of the game is about your co-workers not being 100% optimal at their jobs, nor do we want to force everyone to always show they can do everything to a high standard. It’s a videogame. We want to ensure at least a basic degree of common sense and basic ability to do the tasks demanded of the department (on LRP), but any more restrictive form of gating outside of a timer I feel is unlikely to be healthy for the game.

just keep the job timers

6 hours ago, Germo555 said:

just keep the job timers

honestly prob would be cool if job timers were replaced with something better