Help: Common Misconceptions
There are a few common misconceptions about the game, which often come up on a day-to-day basis while doing basic roleplaying, or sometimes when attempting to write a profile. Here are a few things commonly thought to be true that aren't!
- During the War, the Outsiders killed millions and personally occupied cities.
The Outsiders habitually work through proxies and use various forms of coercion. They despise aliens and have absolutely no desire to interact with them directly. To control aliens, they use a procedural method developed over some unknown (but likely quite large) length of time. This procedure seeks to minimize their involvement with an alien species. They did not attack humanity to kill, but rather to control. They destroyed many hundreds of production centers, but actual casualties were comparatively minimal.
Of course, after the events of the Resistance, the form of control they desire now is extinction, but that is a different story.
- The Interalliance is a group of every alliance except the Mutuality.
This misconception is commonly held by Mutuality characters. By actual definition, "interalliance" is a term describing relations among two or more alliances. For example, "interalliance diplomacy" would describe diplomacy between the League and AEU, or the Fringe and Mutuality. There is also "Interalliance Space," a rather archaic name for an area of space containing the first four alliances.
There is no actual Interalliance as an entity. The EAOS, AEU, League, and Fringe have no overarching governmental structure, although they do all work with the Accord of Free Worlds. Referring to these alliances as "the Interalliance" is a bit like a Japanese person grouping Chinese and Koreans into "the Asians." Though perhaps geographically correct, it assumes a homogeny which does not exist. Further, this person would be ignorant of the fact that outside groups would be likely to group the Japanese among "the Asians." It is fine for a Mutuality player to roleplay making these sorts of assumptions, as long as he or she is aware of what it says about their character.
Characters in other alliances would generally not refer to themselves as being "Interalliance" pilots.
- The AEU/Fringe/League pilots still have resentment for some past war with another alliance.
Potentially true depending on the character, but usually should not be. For instance, the AEU's and Fringe's independence wars against the League are often cited as a character motivation, but these were a generation ago and, in addition, the AEU and Fringe have committed their own offenses against the League (and each other) since then. Sentiments now should be equivalent to those of the United States and England after the War of Independence and after the War of 1812; passionately hostile feelings are a fading memory to most.
Similarly, "unreg" pilots have not been actively hunted by the other alliances for over a decade, and while older Mutuality pilots are likely to still remember this, it is not fresh in the minds of younger pilots. Similarly again, the Renegades and the Mutuality have committed their own offenses against the other alliances in the time since, so the situation is not black and white. There have been good faith attempts at better relations since, pursued by both sides. It's certainly reasonable for some Mutuality pilots to still hold resentment over the past, but it's not strictly rational.
- Pilots should trust one another implicitly.
Pilots in other alliances are foreigners. You did not grow up around these people and you do not always understand their culture. This can be a source of strife, particularly between the Mutuality and the other alliances. You should not automatically trust anyone, particularly not someone from another alliance. Even if you know the player outside of the game.
Further, many Mutuality pilots grew up not knowing where their next few days of water or oxygen might be coming from. Trickery and theft were not uncommon. While the Mutuality has stabilized the situation a great deal, a Mutuality pilot should be especially leery of other pilots who might be experiencing scarcity; that is, other "unreg" or Mutuality pilots. There is a certain feeling of brotherhood out Rimward, but it is a brotherhood of thieves.
- Debris is trash!
Pilots apparently love to name their salvaging ships as some form of "Garbage Collector." Debris is not garbage, it is highly valuable metals, minerals, and organic substances worth billions and billions of credits. More than anything else, debris is the reason your alliance has made you a pilot, and the huge industrial credit you receive for collecting it reflects this.
- Pilots regularly sleep for days.
Only if they have a medical condition. We should assume instead that pilots sometimes pursue hobbies or activities that keep them off of their communicator. If you were away for days, there must be an in character reason besides "sleeping." The best thing is to avoid talking about it altogether unless it's actually important to your roleplaying; this is just one of many things we must collectively gloss over.
- Pilots have regular "planetside" obligations or appointments.
Of course, a pilot very well might, but most would not, and any such plotline should be cleared with the staff. Piloting is your job and your access to most planetary locations is heavily restricted, so obligations that exist on a planet would be unusual. The existence of any such obligations should be mentioned in your character profile. As with the "sleeping" example above, the fact that you can't be connected at all times should generally simply be glossed over without explanation. Using the word "planetside" as a substitution for the word "offline" doesn't make it in-character. All of your words and actions should have in-character implications, not out-of-character ones.
- The people I personally interact with are the only people in space, or in my alliance.
This is something we all have to pretend together. There are billions of people in your alliance, and many other groups that fly ships in space. You don't see them in the game currently (mostly because of the server load it would entail) but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Here are a few specific examples:
Pilots do not select who is president. A few billion other people will outvote you.
Pirates/Outsiders/IFS/etc. are not inept. It's true that they often meet their end fighting civilian pilots, but there are merchant, corporate, and navy ships to attack that they have a great deal more success with. Other things which are not much of a threat to you personally can in fact be a tremendous threat to your alliance, and it's important to roleplay accordingly. This includes not only alien invasions but also threats such as RATS and Bari.
The civilian pilot corps is important to an alliance, but you personally are not that important. The attitude and diplomatic efforts of the pilot corps can sway the alliance government to a minor degree, but pilots do not control the entire alliance. Wars and treaties that pilots concern themselves with are between pilot corps, not between alliances.
Conversely, you are not anonymous. While you usually won't be making big decisions for your entire alliance, they do care what you get up to, and will often be monitoring your activities. In addition, civilian pilots who distinguish themselves (or embarrass themselves in a unique manner) will often be named in the news, which can gain them a bit of a fan following (but do not forget that most citizens distrust pilots).
- Pilots are great at designing new starships.
Pilots often have the desire to submit a "design" for a new starship to their government. This "design" will read something like: "It's like a cruiser, but it has 32 torpedo tubes, and a built-in bolt thrower, and exploration-grade sensors, and you can sync all the weapons and fire them from the control room." As if the idea of building the ultimate warship had simply not occurred to the government, and usually, by implication, the game's staff. Once given the idea, these players imagine, ships like this will be coming out of drydock within a week.
Behind the scenes, it's clear that designs like this don't exist because of balance reasons. This was a bit of a ridiculous example, but most player-created designs are not much less ridiculous and would not be a balanced addition to the game. In character, pilots lack a great deal of the necessary knowledge and training to create new designs, in the same way that an airline pilot could not draw up a complete schematic for a 747. What thrust-to-weight ratio is needed from the reactionless drive in order to launch from known planets? How many viewports can a ship have before its structural integrity suffers? Can the ship's battery output handle the addition of a forward power bus to support a greater number of turrets? These and many other questions are ones that a pilot would not know the answer to.
- The news is out to get us!
A common sentiment that embodies several misconceptions. First, "the news" is not a singular entity -- it is several press networks in various alliances and on various planets and space stations reporting for various reasons. Some have different biases, at least one is state-owned, and some (the tabloids) are far more entertainment than news.
Remember that civilian pilots tend to be rather reviled, or are at least seen as careless playboys/girls. Any public misstep will tend to be reported in this light. The news is not obligated to spin things in your favor and will often prefer to do the opposite. However, the news does not lie; there are laws against printing outright falsehoods, just as there are in real life. The exception to this rule are tabloids, which are expected to be mostly fiction.
From an OOC standpoint, the news often exists to show how a real world would react to the player characters' words and actions, which is something often not considered as people make choices for their characters. Players have a tendency to "circle the wagons" and try to sweep another person's bad publicity swiftly under the rug, perhaps hoping that the same will be done for them one day. Headlines will often counter this tendency and ensure that there is a conversation and opportunities for roleplay about good and bad choices alike.
- The Outsiders and IFS are in cahoots! Everything is connected!
Star Conquest has a lot of different plotlines going on, and a lot of different factions. We've done our best to make a big world, and one that's internally consistent. While conspiracies are always a possibility, it's usually best to assume that every faction is doing what they do for their own reasons unless there's compelling evidence to suggest they're connected. Similarly, storylines that have events around the same time are not necessarily directly related to each other.
This list does not exist to restrict what your character can believe. It simply presents the facts of the game world. If your character wishes to believe things that aren't quite true, that is your choice. But in order for this to be a choice, the player behind the character should know the truth.
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