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Cleaner, not Harder
[06/27/2013] [Bowen]

"If someone sloughs you, don't crank up. Fight cleaner, make it impossible for them to slough without embarrassing themselves." - Belkev, paraphrased.

There are few simple statements I hear in this game that change my outlook on things, but this is one of them. Previous to hearing this, my normal response to sloughing, like most people, was to simply hit the person harder. I like to think that I never reached an unsafe level, but I don't know that I can say that 100%.

What Belkev says here is important. This is the path to dealing with sloughers that doesn't rely on thuggery to get the job done.

I would be lying to everyone if I said that being sloughed doesn't get me a little riled up, and I think that everyone who plays and gets cheated feels the same way at least at some point. Thuggery needs to be laid to rest, though. This game is at a crossroads, we have a much cleaner and clearer ruleset on the horizon, and we are taking more responsibility for our image and recognizing how that image affects our recruitment in a time of dwindling numbers game-wide.

Intentional sloughing happens.
Not every person who sloughs is purposefully cheating.
Just because you think they sloughed doesn't mean they did.

There, now that we have that out of the way, how do we deal with it? Primarily through three steps. Stick with me and I think you will see how this will, through a stronger focus on skill, responsibility and positive reinforcement diminish what "hit him/her harder" never could.

1) Competent Reeves. You need Reeves. If you have 5, 50, or 500 people; you need Reeves. That said, you need competent, trained Reeves. Are you one of your field's top fighters? Do you wish there was less sloughing on the field? How much time do you spend working with Reeves and sharing your knowledge of combat to make them more competent and comfortable identifying shots?

Reeves need to be trained, especially for combat Reeving. Top tier fighters in each park should be working with these players to make sure that things remain fair. The second side of this is that if a Reeve calls a hit on you, you shut your mouth and move on. After the game/bout is over is the appropriate time to discuss with the Reeve why they made that call and to get the Guildmaster of Reeves or Officers involved as appropriate.

2) Orders of the Griffin. Pop quiz, when was the last time you saw an Order of the Griffin given out? How much hoopla was made about it? Griffins are in most corporas that I see kicking around. If your group doesn't have them, add them. They are an award given for honor on the battlefield. When people are super great about taking shots, they should be getting Griffins. This not only gives new players some award love, but it sets a different attitude for your park; instead of "Slough and we hurt you" it becomes, "Get rewarded for playing by the rules!"

3) Make it clean. You got sloughed because you left the person you hit with the chance to deny the shot. Nobody takes a straight, clean stab to the sternum and tries to pretend it hit their leg. That shot that connected just above a graze, or just a few inches into hip territory? Those are the ones they don't take or take incorrectly. Again, not always on purpose.

If you up your game so that the shots you throw are, on a whole, undeniable in their execution, you will be sloughed less. Not one person who cheats wants to be caught, not a single one. If they are purposefully ignoring shots, they are ignoring the ones that they think they can get away with ignoring.

Stop giving them the option. Hit solid. Hit often. Hit clean.

Sloughers are bad, but ramping up your blow strength is not the right answer. You cannot be a danger to players, even ones who cheat; it isn’t just bad for the individuals involved, it is bad for their group, and by extension, the game.

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