Somervillain mentioned the idea of making a Zeus pre-flight checklist and I thought it sounded like a grand idea. I’ve put some things here to get the discussion going, so feel free to reply with other things you think should be added or to tell me why I’m wrong:
Start a timer or make note of the real-world time so you know how long you’ve been using the server (Zeus rule #13)
Specify any equipment requests or restrictions on map
Provide a short mission profile (1 sentence, even) on map; include list of available player assets (vehicles, CAS, artillery, etc.)
Provide a suggested organizational structure on map with space available for players to sign up as leaders or fill special roles
Indicate expected real-world start time for mission on map (in US Eastern time)
Create a sample loadout and save it publicly (if possible with modset) or create an NPC entity with baseline gear for copy/pasting and player reference
Provide voice briefing, including mention of any roles or equipment needed
Ensure that players have selected a leader and filled all special roles
Delegate player leadership to do a gear and comms check
Ensure that player leaders and comms channels are listed on map
Provide specified limited amount of time for last-minute gear changes and commit to starting your mission at a certain real-world time if reasonable
I have to say that I am always against uses making the players have to use one loadout. Unless it’s 100% important to the mission, the Zeus should let the players use the gear they like. that’s what the game is all about.
I think there are two extremes here. Sure, there are some missions where Zeus (and I feel like this is a bit of a Crater trademark at this point) sets up 4-8 loadouts and says “stand in front of one and I’ll copy it onto you; don’t change anything.”
On the other end of the spectrum. it’s not infrequent that Zeus asks players to play as some faction or another and then there’s a conga line of “what’s the uniform/camo called for that faction?” You can preempt that by providing a loadout as simple as “here’s some clothing with nothing in the pockets.”
For example—and I see it a lot specifically with this faction—if you’re doing a mission where you want players to be Russians then you might make a loadout that’s just a uniform/vest/backpack/helmet in EMR so that there is a brainless option, but then players might go look at the uniform tab and say “Oh, this comes in rolled sleeves!” and that’s okay. You’ve pointed the players in the right direction but then still given them freedom to personalize within reason.
The checklist items are great, I have some hours playing as a zeus and wish I knew those things in my first missions!
Completely agree with you in regards to the “cosmetic” items in the loadout, something that always bugs me is the uniformity for the sake of uniformity argument in loadout restrictions.
Sometimes the Zeus (myself included) goes on a bit of a realism fixation, almost like a fetish, I don’t see a problem on missions that are intend to be more realist per say but the player experience should be our top priority, I find useful to ask if the playerbase is in the mood for a more realistic/immersive experience or if they want a more action oriented zeus session