The Killing Zone:
Codes of Conduct

 
"Enemies in roleplay, but friends in life"

It is VERY important that all players become friends with your opponents.This is why the ladder motto is "Enemies in roleplay, but friends in life". Friends are more likely not to cheat. Friends are more likely not to argue. For many reasons it is much more fun to play your friends. How you behave online can have a major impact not only on how much fun you have, but also how much fun others have. So it is very important for you to behave well online. We want all players in TKZ to uphold the highest ideals. For all intents purposes we want players to uphold codes akin to the knights code of the chivalry. Each time you come online you represent not only yourself, but also reflect the group you belong to, the entire TKZ ladder, the zone council and everyone in between. It only takes a few people to make a bad reputation, so it is imperative that you take these codes seriously and guard them with the utmost level of honor and respect.

Remember that once you DO make friends with your opponents, do NOT stop fighting them. Attack people you like. You will both have more fun, since you can trust each other to act properly.

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Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

This question has been posed online many times, as a rhetorical question. There are actual differences between face to face communication and email or chat communication that have side effects that make disagreements more likely. So here is the answer to that question. In face to face communication there are additional information besides just the spoken words that are communicated, like your smile, eye contact and facial expressions. Even tonal changes effect the meaning of the spoken word. Online communication, such as chat and email cannot convey this information so readily. Things like sarcasm translate very badly! The absence of these visual cues can lead the recipient to read something than what the sender intended. A poorly crafted email message can cause quite a stir.

Another factor is that since the people talking are not face to face, this may lead them to do things they would never do in real life because they don't take it seriously, forget there is another person on the other end of the communication, or since there is not immediate accountability (and retaliation) online they feel immune to recourse for their actions. Trust me, online interactions can have positive(and negative) consequences in your real life if you plan to spend any length of time in our virtual community.

The instabilities of the internet can also cause variations in pings where one day someone can seem indestructible and then later on a different server is not be able to hit anything. It is natural for those new to the internet to accuse the other person of cheating, when most likely it has more to do with the person's connection or the server. Cheating does happen, but it is much rarer than most people seem to think. Whenever people accuse another of cheating in public they can cause escalations that could be handled otherwise and lead to bad blood on both sides. See more below.

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What Can I Do to Help?

The codes themselves will give many things you can do to help. Some general guidelines to help replace the lost facial cues is to use emotions. Emotions are small symbols used to denote the tone of the email or chat.

Examples are '<G>' grin, ;) winking smily, :) smily face and many others. For more information ask veteran players. They are commonly used, so most people will know the answers to your question. Whenever you are role playing you can use tags in your email like html tags so that they know where you are playing around.

For example:

<ROLE PLAY>

Bow down to the might of Clan Black Shadow. Resistance is futile. You shall be no more. You cannot stand against my might, honorable foe.

</ROLE PLAY>

Hey man, that was a blast. Wanna play again Saturday 10am PST on the Mechwarrior HQ server?

Signed, your friend, Slasher

Sometimes this is not enough and voice communication is recommended to help resolve disputes. Actually talking on the phone has stopped disputes that had been ongoing for months with a single phone call. A cheaper, yet still effective approach is internet phone or cool talk. This is something that group leaders should eventually standardize on. We realize some people might be hesitant to give their phone numbers, so consider this a last resort.

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Freebooters

Freebooters add a lot of fun to the game because for a price they even outhow many pilots there are on both sides and allow for quicker battles. It is imperative that freebooters uphold these codes to the highest level. When you choose to freeboot the entire league's honor rests on your shoulders to the deepest degree. So freebooters must pledge to honor these codes. Always play your very best no matter who you are playing for. Know the missile boat rules and it is more important than ever that as a freebooter you do not break these rules. Freebooters breaking rules will have their serial numbers noted. TKZ recommends sometimes playing for those that are normally your opponents. The reason is so that members of various groups can meet each other and make friends by working together for a common goal. It is also very important to treat all people will respect. If you treat others poorly, you may find no one willing to freeboot for you at a critical juncture down the road when YOU need someone there to help you.

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Cheating Missile Boat Rule 
(Netmech Zone)

This rule has stood the test of time. That's right, you can't have a full-fledged missile boat. A legal mech may have a maximum of three missile racks total (LRM and SRM together). Your mech cannot be capable of doing more than 30 points of damage with each "type" of missile (LRM or SRM). This is NOT to be construed as to mean that if you use chain fire as opposed to group fire, you are allowed to carry more missiles. The only exception to this rule is unmodified, standard configs that came with the game. If you so much as move a heat sink, your mech becomes a custom config and is subject to the missile boat rule. Because this rule has been so widely misunderstood in the past, we have included below a partial list of legal configurations under this rule. Examples of some legal mech configurations:
  • 1) No missiles at all (for those who truly seek a challenge) 
  • 2) 1 SRM pack of any size and no LRMs 
  • 3) 1 LRM pack of any size and no SRMs 
  • 4) 1 LRM pack of any size and 1 SRM pack of any size 
  • 5) 1 LRM pack of any size and 2 SRM packs of any size 
  • 6) 2 LRM 10 or 15 packs and no SRMs 
  • 7) 2 LRM 10 or 15 packs and 1 SRM pack of any size 
  • 8) 3 LRM 10s or 5s and no SRMs 
  • 9) 2 SRM 6s and 1 SRM 2 with no LRMs 
  • 10) 3 SRM 4s with no LRMs 
  • 11) 2 SRM 4s and 1 SRM 2 with no LRMs 
  • 12) 3 SRM 2s with no LRMs 
  • 13) Any unmodified, standard mech configuration that came with the game. If you so much as move a heat sink, your mech becomes a custom config and is subject to the above rule. 

 
Missile Boat Rule
(Mercnet Zone)

Only 4 lock on weapons total that cause damage can be used and only 2 of those can be Infernos (because of the inferno bug). There are no ammo restrictions. Nukes are illegal. You are recommended to use the NAIS shell, but add-on shells like MW2SIM are prohibited. NAIS mechs are only legal if they have been placed on the approved list.

Even if both parties agree to certain rules, the missile boat rule overrides that. Only in the Tournament Zone can people agree to other conditions. This is to prevent confusion on the large scale battles that take place in the Netmech Zone. The tournament Zone is however, smaller scale battles, where it is less likely to cause confusion to allow such lattitude.

First we need to make a distinction between legal, illegal and cheat mechs. It is important to use the same terminology to avoid confusion and heated disputes. A legal mech is one that meets the missile boat rule above. An illegal mech is a mech that was created using normal utilities that don't break netmech's own rules, although they can have more missiles. In the tournament zone, where these are sometimes legal, they are known as unlimited mechs and can only be used when both sides agree in zone2 combats or it is declared unlimited class for a tournament. A mech known as a cheat mech is never legal anywhere or anytime in a TKZ function and are very highly discouraged from even use in a practice. Anyone caught using a cheat mech in league play will be kicked out of the league. Cheat mechs are mechs created using a utility such as mech edit which creates things like 100 ton elementals or configurations to do extra damage with weapons.

Since the rules are different in various leagues, and many people in TKZ also play in other leagues as well, people will sometimes select the wrong mech and grab one that is an illegal mech. When these mistakes happen, do not get angry, but follow this simple procedure. After fights check your mechs. Ask your group leader if you do not know how. If they are an illegal mech, notify the group leaders ONLY. Then the leaders can confirm it with their pilots. If someone took a mech that wasn't in compliance, both they and their star mate lose their mech and the people they were fighting take no losses on that drop they only lose 1 mech each, but are disqualified from the rest of the battle and no one can use their regen mechs for that battle either. The very next battle they can once again play. You can only look at the very last mechs that you played against, so if you do not bring up an illegal mech on the day of the battle on the spot, it is too late for any action and none will be taken. So speak up or forever hold your peace. If you want to use a missile boat, then play in the tournament zone when appropriate, but do not use one in zone 3. Without following this, simple infractions can lead to angry mobs.

If a cheat mech is found, then after confirmation from both groups, the individual is thrown out of their previous group by their group leader and that group is required to send the council their kali serial number to add to the banned list.

It is imperative that players bring any illegal mechs to the attention of the group leaders for that battle only. Such matters are NOT to be discussed openly on kali chat or widely distributed emails. Also do not call someone a cheater in public. Players that do so and their group may face sanctions from the zone council. Any such discussions are to be done in private and resolved immediately. Cheating is a very emotional issue and unless they use a cheat mech, the word cheating should be avoided. So if you suspect someone of cheating, then inform your group leader with whatever evidence you may have. Then the group leaders can discuss it privately and call on any witnesses if needed. Making accusations of cheating over public kali chat, chat board or any public forum may be grounds for removal from the league.

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Packet Loss

To lower packet loss, you should always play with 320x200 resolution and configure kali in the game menu NOT to drop packets. For zone 3 combat, you need to always use at least a 28.8 modem as your connection. If you still have a 14.4 either upgrade or stick to zone 2 combat with people that agree to play you.

TKZ advises all players to do a /ping on all players in any rooms during official battles. If a player's lag response comes back at 100% loss, then players have the option to ask for a rehost. If this is asked for, the opposing unit MUST comply. If it reoccurs then it is possibly caused by someone with packet loss "on" or a bad modem connection.

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Using Bugs to Advantage

There are some flaws that could be exploited by the unscrupulous. These are not to be employed in official TKZ battles. If you don't know what these are then all the better. These bugs include but are not limited to the following.

no jump jet bugs such as the "shut down and slide" or the "stay in the air forever" tricks.

no "shooting through walls" trick

The "unlimited ammo " trick is not condoned! For netmech, see the tips page for how to avoid this.

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Language

All codes of conduct for kali itself also apply to TKZ and are further amplified. Let me remind everyone to avoid foul language. Not all players in TKZ are adults, so keep in mind that people of all ages are present.

Please use near-cusses like 'fek' sparingly. There aren't any sanctions for near cussing, but instead you should find creative ways not to use them. So what can you do when you get angry? Well here are several examples of replacing cuss words with your personal style:

Fred Flinstone approach: @@#$%! (non-sensical gibberish, helpful for when you are so angry you can't type)

Simpson's Neighbor's approach: Okely - Dokely

Television approach: well <beep> <beep>!!

So how will YOU use creativity and style instead of profanity? Someday we may have an "I'm not cussing" contest to see who's got the most style.

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Conduct

When a player is regening, you must wait for the player regening to fire first, use jump jets, or a full 10 seconds from the time of regeneration. If someone shuts down at any other time they are fair game. They only get this when regening.

Avoid insulting others at all costs. Even in role-play do not make comments about some one's honor. Many people take their personal honor seriously and this is sure to begin an unhealthy escalation. Many people will associate their honor in real life with their honor in the game. More fights on kali get started because one person insulted someone's honor and they both had too much pride to let it go. The most important thing to do is respect all the other players. You can be macho and tell everyone how great you are, but don't put others down to make yourself feel better. Easy to say, hard to do, but we must all try.

Try not to make or take take things personally. Sometimes this can be difficult also. To be of the highest honor, you should try to compliment your opponent whenever an opportunity arises to do so. Say something when something good happens, do not just complain when things aren't going well. Taking a positive attitude will help everyone to respect and trust each other. Group leaders need to do what they can to be an inspiration in these matters. If you had fun, tell your opponent how much you appreciated playing them. Trust us, this is a key to enjoying your time in the league. Your personal attitude will color how you view things. Cheer people up, not piss them off. There are some groups that already do this well.

When you have a bad day and loose your cool, don't hold onto your pride. APOLOGIZE!!! Say something nice while you're at it. We aren't perfect, so when things get out of hand, don't escalate, apologize and listen to what issues your opponent has to say. Often the real issues are clouded when an argument erupts.

Do not mail bomb or hack someone else's account. Never harass others with email or over the phone. Note that several of these actions are against the law and could even be pursued in extreme cases. Your actions are not without consequences. For more information consult applicable laws.

If your group becomes unpopular due to being impolite, it may effect your group negatively in subtle ways, such as people being unwilling to freeboot for your group when you're in a dire situation. Treat others poorly and expect they will retaliate.

Do not spam ALL group leaders, as in more than 40 people at a time or your group will be fined 5000 points per message. If you want to discuss something publicly, you can either forward it to the council to be included in messages sent out or post it on the chat boards. Group leaders already get loads of mail and this ruling was the most popular of all time.

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Punctuality

It is very important that you have at least one person in a group's leader list that is very responsive to mail. If group leaders are going to be absent, they need to make arrangements so that the mail is covered. This league is not called the waiting zone. If you can't be responsive with email, then add more people to your leader list. With the freebooter rule, there is no longer a reason to stall so that all your men are able to play. You can hold a battle even with a few people from your group and a bunch of freebooters. You need to give each other as much notice as possible and confirm the times of the battle have been accepted.

When the time comes for battle, be on time. If you are more than 30 minutes late, you will forfeit the battle. If a series of battles was scheduled, the first is forfeited.

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Battle Length

The drop phase can take a maximum amount of 75 minutes to complete. (There may be lower maximums in certain leagues. Check the combat rules in your league for details.) It is a valid practice to use ranging tactics to do extra damage to an opponent. So unless you are at that 60 minute marker (or the 25 minute marker for 30 minute limits), at least, you have no right to complain. There is a time limit to prevent abuse or excessive stalling, so use F12 to check elapsed time and if it's not time yet, do not complain. With regens this is not as great an issue.

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Trust in the Council

Running a league is a lot of work and this is all done by volunteers, so you have no real rights to complain unless you want to make a generous donation. The council will allow you the privilege to complain, but it is not a right.

Those of us running this ladder are people with real lives. Your comments can adversely affect the entire league and after the major amount of work done voluntarily, sometimes the ingratitude of the few can impact more than it should. If you have something positive to say, go for it. Sometimes a positive comment is just what we need to keep going on a bad day.

Be sure to be extremely polite in your messages to the council. Always make polite requests, never demands. Never question the fairness of the council. We try very hard to be fair and even group leaders are far from knowing everything that is going on. Sometimes actions may seem unfair to a group because they do not know the whole story. The council is very busy and most likely does not have time to explain it. TKZ creates the illusion of an alternate reality with the cooperation of the council to create an infrastructure and the players to flesh out this construct. If you do not put complete faith in the zone council, then you have no place being a player in zone 3 and should restrict yourself to zone 2 play. If you don't believe and trust in the council, you dispel the illusion. Do not keep asking if something has been done. Multiple messages may confuse us and delay your processing. It will undoubtedly slow down processing for everyone else in the entire league. Group leaders should be the ONLY ones contacting the zone council.

People who cause problems for the council may receive sanctions from the council, applied first to the individual(s) causing the problem(s), and going so far as up to and including group expulsion from the league. REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE, HAVE F_U_N!

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