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Kyet's Tier Guide for Captain


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This is a guide to how to, and how NOT to, play Captain.
Starting off from the lowest (worst) tier, and working our way up towards the best, we have:

F Tier: The Baldie

  • These are the Captains that do so badly, they break server rules and get banned or job banned.
  • Examples include: mutinying against or otherwise defying CentCom, committing murder with their rapier/gun, performing an illegal execution, abandoning the station by going into space/gateway, or acting like a standard security officer and constantly chasing EoCs through maint.
  • Note that higher standards apply to Captain than any other crew role. As such, Captain is the easiest job to earn a job and/or server ban with if you aren't doing your job properly.

E Tier: The Clueless

  • These are Captains that fail to do any of the basic IC requirements of the job, such as securing the critical items (disk, spare ID, pinpointer, etc), raising the alert level, or calling the shuttle.
  • These are the sort of Captains openly mocked by CentCom and the crew for being terrible, and usually making the station dramatically worse by their negligence.
  • You can still earn a job ban from Command by repeatedly playing Captain at this level of incompetence, but unlike F-tier, it usually takes a Captain doing this across multiple rounds before admins apply a job ban.

D Tier: The "What Does Command Mean?" Captain

  • These Captains have some idea that their job is to command the station, but they don't understand how to command.
  • For example, they might neglect to ensure each department has a head, for the whole shift, because they don't realize that appointing acting heads is up to them.
  • They might carry around their antique laser / chain of command, or wear their hardsuit, on green, thinking that this makes them look like they're in charge, but in reality, it makes them look like an idiot.
  • Another common error at this tier is violating basic practices for hiring and job transfers, like hiring crew into security during a changeling-caused red alert, or hiring people into head jobs from outside that department.
  • This tier of Captain is trying to command the station, they just don't understand how to do it properly, which leads to frequent SOP violations.

C Tier: The Bridge Captain

  • These Captains meet all the basic requirements of the job. They follow all points of server rules, space law and SOP, but don't do anything significant beyond this minimum.
  • For example, they'll ensure every department has a head (or acting head) but then never check in on the departments, or verify that their heads are actually leading their departments well.
  • They'll relay emergency information over comms, but they won't dig into things to investigate if what they are being told is true.
  • They'll end up standing around on the bridge a lot, seemingly not doing very much, to the point you could almost mistake them for a piece of bridge furniture.
  • They're the sort of Captain who is taken completely by surprise, and quickly killed, when nuke ops burst into the bridge, because they just weren't paying attention, too overwhelmed with trying to listen to all radio channels at once.
  • All in all this sort of Captain is the hardest to notice, as they don't do anything particularly notable or memorable.

B Tier: The Good Captain

  • These Captains do a good job of commanding the station. You can identify them because they go beyond the minimum requirements, and find ways to make life better for other players on the station.
  • For example, they don't just ensure that every department has a head. They also ask their heads to check in every once in awhile, and send the BS to locate any who fail to report in.
  • They don't just secure the spare/disk/etc. They also give the pinpointer to the BS, and the spare to the HoS or BS during emergencies.
  • They don't just relay information on radio. They also make smart use of crew-wide announcements to ensure the whole station knows critical information. E.g: "everyone weld vents now".
  • They'll hand-deliver the Chain of Command to R&D, encourage the CE to take the teleporter's hand tele because they know the CE can use it, and ask the RD if they want a lawset change.
  • They'll react to changes in the situation, like lowering the alert level if the situation warrants it.
  • They don't just sit there passively, they're proactively looking for ways to enchance station productivity (ie: help other roles function better).

A Tier: The Awesome Manager Captain

  • These Captains are like B-tier, except that they're truly exceptional managers. They provide broad leadership to all, while knowing exactly when to delegate versus handle something personally.
  • For example, while a B-tier Captain might announce "weld the vents", an A-tier would announce: "We have xenomorphs. Engineering, weld vents. Cargo, order guns. Medical, be ready for surgery and acid injuries. Security, arm up and start sweeping the station in pairs. Science, give people experimental welders." This second announcement makes sure everyone knows what the threat is, and gives every department a specific action plan to help deal with it. It is miles better than the B-tier announcement.
  • While a B-tier Captain might order a rogue HoS to the bridge for questioning, an A-tier Captain would question the HoS in the Captain's office, with the BS present, so if the HoS turned out to be truly rogue or bad, they could be demoted on the spot without risk of the HoS escaping. More generally, an A-tier Captain is a lot more willing to demote AWOL or otherwise incompetent heads of department than a B-tier Captain is. Making the correct call as to when a head of department deserves demotion, then demoting them without a hitch, is the mark of an A-tier Captain.
  • A B-tier Captain might deliver the chain to R&D, but an A-tier Captain would actually check with the RD that ORM/cloner are upgraded, and that disks are being shipped to CentCom. More generally, an A-tier Captain knows how to do every head of department job well enough that they can ask specific, probing questions of their heads, which reveal how well that department is really doing. They can then give department-specific orders based on that knowledge.
  • A-tier Captains actively avoid combat. They know they can fight, but they also know that they shouldn't fight if any other option exists (and it usually does). They'll help out sec during low pop, without putting themselves at risk, but during high pop they avoid doing security work as there are already enough officers, and their mantra is "delegate whenever possible. If not possible, look for a better option than doing it yourself". In the case of insufficient sec officers, that would be ERT or giving the officer role priority in the ID console, or both.
  • A-tier Captains make good use of the PDA system for getting peoples' attention, as well as crew monitors and cameras to watch goings-on remotely. That way they can monitor the station without putting themselves in danger.
  • Captain is perhaps the most serious job on the station. Running a "gimmick" as Captain is probably not a good idea, as it tends to distract you from the job's actual duties. You can do it, but the more weird/gimmicky the gimmick, the more likely it is to reduce your perceived competence, and thus your place on the tier list. When in doubt, this is one job where you should avoid character gimmicks.
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I wouldn’t say being a hardass makes you a great captain, but being properly professionally can. Hardasses can cause more trouble than they fix due to their stubborn insistence on staying a course of action, or inability to see a better way. Being flexible is important. Something I think you forgot to mention is that a Captain not only needs to know when go raise the alert, but also lower it. All too many shifts are spent almost entirely on red due to this.

Once again I find the C and B tiers most fun. Bridge Captains are effective and can be fun to play.

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@Breenland

  • I've removed the reference to "hardass". Originally, I meant "being willing to handle difficult situations", but that wasn't clear, so I've edited it out.
  • I've also added that good Captains are willing to change course when the situation changes. This includes lowering the alert level.
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Funnily, I was about to address the fact you seem to not mention tough decisions, but I guess it's just not exactly clear.

There are too many captains who ignore problems only they can solve. Most common is obviously the eternal problem of Supply and Science either loving each other or waging economic war. Sometimes just a regular war.
I have seen HoPs shooting at RDs who are breaking into cargo warehouse to get to the ORM. I have seen CEs having to beg cargo for a sheet of metal to patch anything, because "ORM is no longer public". I have seen HoSs trying to solve the problem by applying the Space Law where the application of captain's authority was needed. All while the captain was sitting silently and hoping no one notices them.

As a captain, you will make massive mistakes. You are supposed to make big decisions with limited knowledge and time. That's it. An A-tier captain must be aware they will make wrong shot calls. Once that is achieved, they can work on humility. It's a funny little thing that helps a lot with calming down the disgruntled crew and becoming a leader that's actually liked by their people.

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I like this guide more than the others, will try to follow the advises ;D

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I think a-tier captains should really push themselves towards really high rp standarts. 

People dont follow the glorified assistant with all access, generic unknown captain in standart clothes, even if he is robust and competent, wont inspire people. People follow the personality standing behind all access and rapier, not the tools themselves. A-tier captain must be a character, with backstory and such, which of course will lead to captain having interesting unique look (due to his character preferences) and the way he talks and thinks about stuff will indicate that this is a person we are looking at, not an avatar of some player who learned game mechanics.

Edited by McRamon
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@McRamon

This is the tier guide for Captain. Not the tier guide for RPing. That would be a different guide.

You can play Captain pretty well without deliberately setting out to RP, simply by doing your job well, as that counts as playing the role of Captain well. Actions, not just words, are RP.

Conversely, you can play Captain badly by setting out to "RP" your own personal gimmick / weird character, at the expense of actually doing your job. In fact this is a pretty common excuse of Captains who neglect their duties. Stereotypical examples include Captains who choose quirks that make communicating with them harder.

The relationship between RPing and doing well is more complicated than you'd expect, so I don't want to focus on it in this guide. I'd rather be crystal clear about what the Captain is supposed to do (effectively manage the station overall) and any RP you do on top of that is a bonus. There are plenty of examples of Captains who use RP flavor to make themselves more memorable (e.g: former pirate Captain hired by NT), without neglecting their job. That said, its really hard to teach people how to pick gimmicks which are fun and interesting but don't encourage them to neglect their duties or act in an un-Captain-like way. It is a deep enough topic that it really deserves its own tier guide on RPing.

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My command rounds end up somewhere between C and B. I do like this guide thanks for putting it up.

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  • 6 months later...

When I play command I do often have trouble completely understanding what is going on in the station. Not to mention getting heads to actually report in timely. I'm not sure what I should do to improve though other than practice.

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47 minutes ago, Schalkguy said:

When I play command I do often have trouble completely understanding what is going on in the station. Not to mention getting heads to actually report in timely. I'm not sure what I should do to improve though other than practice.

Some tips:

  1. Verify command is actually alive. During hectic rounds, they might be dead before you notice. You can check via suit sensors.
  2. Think for a moment about how busy the department is. If the brig is under attack, the HOS is probably in a firefight, and not even looking at their chat window. So they won't hear anything you say. In these situations, try again in a few mins.
  3. If you need to get the heads to report in, station-wide announcement is best. Partly for the 'ding' it makes. Partly as it appears in large font. You can also PDA message them, which has a 'ding' as well, no large font, but it will stay on their PDA until they look at it.
  4. As a last resort, you can send the Blueshield on a mission to find and check on a head if they aren't responding.
  5. Another option is PDAing the IAAs or other roles that provide oversight (IAA, Magi, NTR) and ask them to help you check on the heads in person.
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  • 1 month later...

Lack of mention about cooperating with IAA to receive reports and request reviews of departments trouble me on this one.

Captain doesn't necessarily needs to go to a department to check up on it if Internal Affairs is on board and the job can be delegated to them. Thats what they live for anyway.

EDIT:
@SchalkguyIn my personal opinion if all of the points listed by Kyet on reaching a head fail and they remain / continue being inaccesible, simply demote them and replace with an acting that is actually there.

heads are there to be part of command and if they do all the work they could otherwise delegate... they can do that while not being a head.

I can't recount the number of times RD locked himself in Xenobio making slimes while captain has issues reaching them for consulting law changes to AI and other AI/borg related emergencies. 

Edited by procdrone
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9 hours ago, procdrone said:

Lack of mention about cooperating with IAA to receive reports and request reviews of departments trouble me on this one.

Captain doesn't necessarily needs to go to a department to check up on it if Internal Affairs is on board and the job can be delegated to them. Thats what they live for anyway.

EDIT:
@SchalkguyIn my personal opinion if all of the points listed by Kyet on reaching a head fail and they remain / continue being inaccesible, simply demote them and replace with an acting that is actually there.

heads are there to be part of command and if they do all the work they could otherwise delegate... they can do that while not being a head.

I can't recount the number of times RD locked himself in Xenobio making slimes while captain has issues reaching them for consulting law changes to AI and other AI/borg related emergencies. 

IAAs should usually deliver their reports to the department heads, not to the Captain. If an IAA feels a department head is ignoring their concern without good cause, then they can go to the Captain, but at that point the Captain's concern is the department head not managing their department. Not the original issue.
Captains can ask NTR or IAA to investigate something, but they're more likely to ask the NTR (if its serious enough to warrant the Captain's attention, it almost certainly involves a department head, so asking the NTR to look into it is appropriate). The one case where a Captain should be referring matters to an IAA is if a regular crew member comes to them with something that's sub-head-level, e.g. Chemistry isn't making medicine. In that situation they can tell the person to inform the IAAs and/or CMO.

While the Captain can in theory check up on a department remotely, simply walking around it and checking it out in person is vastly faster and more efficient.

If faced with an unresponsive head, first step is to ask the AI to locate them. They might be dead somewhere. Or SSD. Or just busy with a crisis. Or AFK. If they're alive/etc and active, but ignoring the Captain, send them a couple of messages to give them the chance to respond. If they still fail to respond to an order from the Captain, then order them demoted under the "refusal to follow orders" clause. The key thing here is that it has to be deliberate - getting distracted by your work is not generally enough to get demoted, by deliberately ignoring orders from your boss is.

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Quote

IAAs should usually deliver their reports to the department heads

What i meant by this, that the Captain could ask for performance reports on departments without involving himself personally in such. of course nothing stops him from doing so personally - but i feel like giving a task to IAA while Captain can still occupy himself with other duties is something to do. At least my perspective. 

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