Why is security so miserable to play? What can be done about it?

This is a continuation of the daily threads about the topic from Discord.

It’s no secret security is often understaffed, likely because it’s a nightmare to be a security officer. The reasons people bring up are numerous:

  • People hate slipping mechanics and how they are abused to violate rule 12 against security

  • For whatever reason, security is the focal point of griefers and shitters in the player base

  • People want to be able roll as either security or antagonist, but they can’t so they pick antag

  • There are too many rules to read and they are spread out across 6 places

  • The consequences for sec are harsher than other departments, including getting retaliatory ahelps even when the sec player didn’t actually break the rules

  • RP is getting worse in LRP and MRP

  • Tider captains and HoPs making everything worse

  • Desired quality of life improvements aren’t in yet

  • It’s unclear when security players are allowed to use lethal force, or should

  • And more! You can read all the 1000+ post threads about it

We have LRP Space Law to look forward to, but is there anything else in the works? Do sec players need to change the way they play? Does the wider player culture need to get better before anything can change? What would that look like? How do we get there? What will happen when the game levels up from early access on Steam?

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A full™ rule rewrite is being worked on so that might have some impact too, though I’m not sure how much

These are the things I think can affect the security situation atm:

  • Security player behavior
  • Non-security player behavior
  • Rules
  • How the rules are presented
  • Game admins
  • How people learn the game
  • Game mechanics

I have no idea which of these have the most impact on creating a change, but I think each of them can probably contribute to a change somehow. To focus on what players can do, I think the more players follow the Leviathan PSYOPs guide, the better the situation will get, though again I’m not trying to say this is the only thing that can improve things, that it can do it by itself, or even that it’s the most effective thing that can happen. All I really know for sure is that for a while, even when it was high pop, Leviathan had a really good server culture, and players seemed to really enjoy it in all roles.

The problem is that following those guidelines can feel draining when it doesn’t feel like other people are too. It doesn’t even matter if everyone else is actually doing their best, when players start feeling like that’s not happening, they start to feel like it’s pointless to hold themselves to a high standard, and they start either burning out or just stop playing the game. I have no idea what can be done about this.

Based on my experience with Leviathan, new players pretty much mirrored what the rest of the player base was like. New players on Leviathan would very regularly use LOOC or ahelp to ask questions about how to do things or what they were and weren’t allowed to do, and they were very rarely an issue. With way more new players, “passenger is RDMing because they don’t understand the rules or the game” was less of an issue than on Lizard, even when Leviathan had as many or more players than Lizard.

Unless the new players come from a somewhere that biases them to act a certain way, good or bad, then new players are probably just going to give more of the same of whatever already exists

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PSYOPS is dope. Should we expect something along the same lines for the full rules rewrite/LRP Space Law?

Did Leviathan maintain this culture? The few times I’ve played there have been good, but it’s on the opposite end of the country from me and I don’t want to incur a ping penalty.

Specifically what do you want security players to change in their behavior? How can we get non-sec to change their behavior?

Unfortunately no, a lot of the stuff there would be super hard to enforce with rules so a lot of it is just up to individual players to practice, like:

Those are just a few of the things that we can’t really require players to do with rules.

I’ve heard mixed things but typically what I’ve heard is that it did not, or at least there’s not nearly as much of a difference as there used to be. I stopped adminning much after becoming headmin so I don’t have the personal experience to be able to tell for myself if I feel it’s changed or how much.

For the same reason as the last question, this is a little hard for me to answer, but the main thing I think I saw when I used to admin a lot was security players having trouble finding a middle ground. Don’t let crewmembers run around with weapons and syndicate gear, but also you probably don’t need to brig someone for 10 minutes just because you took something away from them. A lot of this can probably be fixed, or at least helped, with space law.

Security is one of the only non-antag roles on the station that can force someone to have to interact with them, and people aren’t always going to want to. Sometimes you’ll have to force people to interact with you when they don’t want you so that you can do your job, but just keep in mind that even if it isn’t considered to be in the rules or space law, making someone interact with you for a long time can feel like a punishment to the other player. Basically just avoid forcing a player to interact with you unless you actually need to.

Wardens and HOSs can probably do more than the average secoff, because the experienced players who are trying are probably not the issue with security, it’s probably the combination of new players who need to be taught better and players who just don’t care and need to be demoted if they don’t act better.

It’s really important for me to reiterate that there might be times when some or all of this doesn’t apply, and these might not be the biggest issues happening with security right now.

This I think is all about making it as easy as possible for players to play “correctly”, and not being too harsh on mistakes. Everyone is going to make mistakes sometimes, everyone is going to have awful rounds, sometimes their mistakes will be responsible for making the round awful for everyone. It’s really easy to start metagrudging players if that happens, but you should do your best not to.

Assume anyone doing something dumb is just new, even if you know that they’re not, because even if they’re not new, they might not have had someone try to teach or help them yet.

Give people nudges in the right direction. If someone is using emotes to bypass chat restrictions, act like they’re contorting their body like crazy or something and respond to that instead of whatever they’re trying to say. If someone says “the admins gave me a cookie” IC, imagine someone said that to you irl an ask them what they’re talking about or something. Responding IC is something that you can do regardless of if something is technically a rule violation to nudge them in the right direction, and that you can do even if you ahelp someone.

Mechanical changes can probably help here more than they can with security behavior, but I can’t really point to a lot of things I’d like to see without being more active in-game. When I was active, pepper spray, brig timers, and the gulag were things I wanted security to have to be able to be more effective, but how that changes things depends on how security uses those tools. Brig timers were added, and I don’t know if they helped, but just as an example, they obviously wouldn’t help if security officers frequently set really high brig timers as a joke

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I’ve been doing HOS for a fair while now on Vulture, as a character called Cray Malinn- I try not to suck, and trying new ideas is much of the fun of the game.

Call this my 3 cents, and a forum-worthy wall of text.
At the end I’ll address these post’s grievances from my perspective one at a time, without said wall of text.

I agree, to some degree or another, to every grievance presented on this feedback post- Much of how I have operated, and have gradually trained the security officers on vulture to operate, has been to both address these grievances and empower the security players as much as I can to feel confident in how they work in their role, what they should especially be careful of to stay within server rules, and generally…
How to have fun in the role.

I just read over Chief_Engineer’s psyop post, and was very surprised at just how much of these ideals I was already following and trying to impress upon others, and Liltenhead’s draft of LRP space law is in my opinion a very strong template that should serve as a basis for all communities, not just LRP- It balances the flexibility and effectiveness of the team, minimizes the walking on eggshells around rules, while still being as fair as possible to whoever is on the other side of the baton.
Wastes less time combing rules, wastes less ahelps debating contingencies, less time to LEARN the law, and enough flexibility to handle everything thrown at it.

Most importantly, the core reason I play on LRP and support this philosophy, I see it as a very effective ruleset that can shut down most LOOC threats and flaming that often burns out security officers who are not confident in what they can, cannot, or should not do.
Such social pressure is an overwhelming experience, on top of an information overwhelming job that only bears fruit and good times when you have a good team willing to cooperate, and can feel your impact on the round and maybe even the server culture as a whole.

I’ve heard that Vulture security is staffed more often than other servers, and would suspect it is because the players who frequent the community have learned what tools they have available in behavior and equipment they have to address a threat or unpleasant player, which reinforces my theory that the solution to this issue has for me been to nudge people to embody the change they want to see- which, hilariously, dies as soon as the population flushes over 60 during community events or streams that bring in other playerbases who do not usually frequent vulture.

In general, my solution to this issue that has borne fruit has been to enforce a lightweight space law, teach cadets HOW and WHEN to escalate where possible, and to make sure they know what bedrock they have to stand on when confronting rule lawyering players; and most importantly, how to ignore them and turn it into an in character resolution- because alot of the most toxic players are absolutely breaking rules themselves, and will absolutely self destruct when escalating sentences for re-offense can lead them into perma, or at the end of a warden’s shotgun, therefore removing the problem fairly, and efficiently.

Simply… Enforce the LAW. Bring order to the chaos, right?

(…People hate slipping mechanics…)
-Slipping mechanics have been the way they have been from essentially day one. The development team would take on alot of risk by changing it to any extreme now, as the entire playerbase has either learned to cope with the state of being, countered most threats, or accepted the upsides with the down.
Both sides are well armed if they’re aware, however, with the STUNMETA we live in. Everything still has a place.
I try to train cadets to WALK, and not open carry weapons.
I train them to enforce the law when the “shitter” repeatedly antagonizes them- and to get very ugly with it if necessary during red alert, following medium roleplay precedents from space station 13. …If they slip you when you’re armed, and chasing a criminal, some crossfire might occur to stop the new threat.

(…Security is the focal point of griefers…)
-Security is the focal point because, when overwhelmed by self antagging tiders, it is the most stimulating target for them. Other departments are likely to lock down, kill them, or otherwise not respond to it; Funny cadets losing their batons is what these players are after, so they will seek it.
Put them in a cell and watch them melt down when their actions have consequences.
The problem I find is confidence in the security players combined with the inherent existence of the “Passenger” role. Everyone else has a job to do, and sec players don’t want to get banned for shooting someone that really deserves it.

(…Want to roll as security or antag…)
-This is fairly true, robust players who enjoy combat are forced to choose one side or the other; but the current game design kind of seperates them from one side or the other if they only have security preferences enabled.
I have no super strong opinion on this, as I’m not very good at being an antagonist at time of writing.

(…The consequences for sec are harsher than departments, including rtaliatory ahelps)
(…There are too many rules…)
-These, in my opinion, are part of the same issue.
Not having a clear, easy to learn, and easy to find and read, ruleset for addressing antagonists and contraband short of obvious threats is wasteful of everyone’s time.
Security NEEDS some degree of flexibility of interpreting their own laws, and the playerbase can also be made aware of (and be empowered) to passively show resistance or hostility to the department when their hand is too firm. …This generates roleplay.

Teaching sec players (Like Engineer’s post about how to handle said retaliatiory LOOC complaints) to trust in their actions, and review AFTER, is often the solution for people acting toxic with out of character chat.
Just follow your procedure, waste as little time as possible, do not engage with them.

-If contraband requires too much metagaming to locate or confiscate, it is a MECHANICS issue- Theif gloves being one example.
These generate rule exceptions, and muddy the waters if there is not a clear process of “You have suspicion of X”, “You search for X in this way”, and “you confiscate X, arrest, and sentence appropriately”.
Also the reason why terminators were such a miserable antagonist to address.
Security should NEVER feel like it has to metagame a threat on intuition alone; things like forensics are all good tools to use to provide them undeniable, undebatable, probable cause.

Security’s job is to find, and stop threats.
Threats want to not be found, and to not be stopped.
There’s balance on both sides that is generally pretty good when rules, attitudes, and cultures don’t collide to make it more complicated.

(…Its unclear when security players are allowed to use lethal force, or should…)
-Although it is hard to navigate through, the rules do actually address this, and I teach a condensed form to every cadet; In my good fistful of hours, I have not had any issues with justified use of lethal force from me, or reported from anyone who’s learned this:
A: You percieve an obvious life threat to yourself or others.
(Pointy, shooty, or persistent against someone who’s dying already!)
B: You are in pursuit of a dangerous suspect who has previously qualified for A.
(They critted or kill someone, try to arrest, but do not allow escape without injury, as letting them go will hurt more people!)
C: A stunning weapon is used against you, and you do not have other officers as backup.
(A stunned officer is a dead or robbed officer, dont go down quietly, or you empower others to do more harm!)
…If you think about it, this is pretty similar to real life use of force for police forces.

(RP is getting worse in LRP and MRP)
-I’m a vulturite, so I cannot necessarily tell you you’re wrong; but Engineer’s point of trying to be the best roleplayer you can DOES have direct impacts on those around you. It’s like a conversation- Open conversations, be fun to interact with if you can, and others show respect and repeat the behavior.
Simply, be the best roleplayer you can, and others like you can come out of the woodwork.

(Tider captains and HOPS make it worse…)
-Sometimes players have a… Moment, as a head of staff.
I have dealt with this in character by directly confronting abusive heads, and showing that there are IC ways to address this issue that aren’t an armed mutiny.

When these become patterns, this is absolutely an administration issue, as heads of staff directly dictate the culture and actions of their department- More admins that want to see a good culture, less issues with these heads of staff.

I have a ton of opinions I could dredge up if prompted, but I don’t want to make your eyes bleed with more text than I already have.

LRP space law the way of the future.
Be who you want to see, teach others to be this way and reward them with attention.
Teach officers to enforce the law, and realize that having confidence in cracking heads legally fixes tider issues handily, when said tiders prove to be unreasonable or dangerous to the crew.


Security is miserable to play because shitters/griefers aren’t punished more. Literal riots will break out due to one security officer lethalling a hyper robust shitter who resists nonlethals at every opportunity, and then these rioters barely get punished. I think that actively disrupting security as a non-antag should be temp banworthy and after a second/third offense a very long appeal sentence.

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Once some sort of space law is established, and an official contraband list for LRP is created security will become considerably better. Trying to learn security as a brand new cadet can be extremely frustrating with everything being so vague, and almost all of your senior officers, warden, and HOS also don’t know what they are doing since nobody ever trained them.

Getting a contraband list in I think is going to be a while away. It’s extremely difficult to list out every single contraband item and then keep that list up to date as items are added or changed.

I think the ideal way for it to happen is for items to have some sort of marker so that the game can tell if they’re contraband, and maybe even one so the game can tell if they’re a stealth item. With that info, the game could then show in the description or something whether or not something is contraband and it’d be up to the people making changes to make sure things are appropriately marked. Short of that, I think the best option would be to make things that are contraband need to explicitly say in their description that they’re made by the syndicate or something, but I don’t know how that’d deal with stealth items.

Considering some stealth items require antag cooperation to be confiscated - non-cham thieving gloves for example - perhaps there should be just guidebook entry for sec and traitors on them. It would be at very least something.

The only other problems I have are with the criminal database. Not being able to filter currently wanted/suspects, and all past criminals is a much needed feature. Allowing Hop to add people to the database like Exterminators, and Dna scramblers would be great as well.

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