Wednesday, August 14, 2019

On Marshaling

by Angie "Phoenix" Gray

We have a problem in our game. Discussion around the code of conduct has convinced me that our problems are best dealt with by open conversation.

We have very few people who have extensive experience marshaling the super fast combat of today. The small number of people who are confident in their abilities in this area frequently want to play at the same events. This frequently leaves event holders relying on a high percentage of marshals who are newer or out of practice.

Before you misunderstand me, while I do think this is a problem, the quality of marshaling isn’t the problem I think we need to be talking about. The bigger issue to me is how the people who do step up to marshal, understanding they aren’t the best but rather the best available, get treated.

I’ve opted to rotate in and marshal at Queen of Hearts multiple times throughout my two decades in game. I do this understanding it is an event that our strongest combatants love to play at, and it is an event that requires a large dedicated marshaling staff. It was a disappointing experience.

Prior to this event, I hadn’t fully comprehended that we have people who value winning to the point where they are willing to publicly complain and make snide comments about calls made by community members who are providing a needed service to the game to the best of their ability. To be clear I’m not talking about single incidents where an individual responds in a heated manner, and I absolutely think it is appropriate to tell the head marshal if there are concerns about a staff member's competency.

At one point on Saturday, I could hear someone repeatedly questioning marshals' calls throughout a tournament. Late in it I could hear them complaining about a call I made and trying to have it reversed loudly enough to be audible from across the field. I’m a veteran and was confident that my call was consistent with how the tournament was being marshaled. It still gave me pause. How do we expect to have newer players step up and be willing to take on these type of roles when the community accepts them being blatantly disrespected.

Some may voice a perspective that Queen of Hearts is intended to be the most competitive event of the year. That it is a time where it is appropriate to be highly invested in winning and it’s understandable that people get extra competitive. While that was historically true, a high percentage of the Realms community has moved away from wanting it to be that type of event, and more than that Rhiassa has made it clear that that is not the type of event they want to be throwing at this point in history. Again they as a group, giving service to the game, deserve to have that respected. If you don’t want to play at the type of event they are trying to throw, support them in an alternate way.

If we want to have people continue to be willing to step up and invest their time and money in throwing events or people continue to donate their time so that others can play we need to not just have a rule saying that we need to listen to the marshals, but we as a community need to treat them in a way that reflects valuing their service.

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