One problem I’ve seen and experienced myself it that when someone first joins the TSN, he or she probably doesn’t know all that much about the universe our characters live in. Just the other day on discord there was a discussion about the admiral Xavier answers to, Admiral Coates. If I hadn’t been around during a couple shift where Coates was mentioned or gave orders himself, I wouldn’t know his name, either.
There’s so much information scattered around that we consider canon, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know all that much of it, and knowing the background is an important aspect of RP. For example, I’ll bet most of the cadets and possibly some of the Ensigns and Lt. Jrs. have no idea what the Unukalhai uprising was, yet we fight the USF fairly frequently.
I’m currently working on updating the Campaigns section of the forums so that everyone can learn more about past events, which will help to mitigate that particular issue, but it’s a work in progress.
One thing I’d like to see is more discussion in the bar about the missions and overall arcs going on that ONI is so lovingly trying to make enjoyable. There’s usually something in the missions that relates to the current arc, and having IC discussion about the missions can help us to gauge how well we’re doing in terms of story design. Sometimes IC discussion can give us ideas for later missions.
Nhaima’s problem #2 is certainly valid to some extent. We GMs try to keep things interesting, and while combat is the simplest way to keep y’all occupied, it shouldn’t be the only way. Realistically, a GM can only do so much. I can’t speak for Hall or Matsiyan or Donovan, but if we were in the middle of an escort mission and I was the GM, I’d be tickled pink if someone were to spontaneously come up with an idea and report to CIC that “our sensors are picking up an odd signal coming from one of the ships we’re escorting. We think there may be a traitor aboard. May we have permission to board the ship and search for the transmission?” Or something like that. Maybe not every five minutes, but I’d love to see people having ideas and making their own mini-stories.
Even in transit, you can have a lot of fun with spontaneous stuff. I remember back when I was an Ensign on the Phoenix, Dante had me go and inventory our supplies or something silly like that. Every couple minutes he’d ask for a progress report, and at one point I said something like “Looks like we’ve got plenty of chocolate, but we’re running really low on TP”.
My point being, feel free to take make your own stories when you have time for it. If you’re feeling bored, find a way to make the situation exciting, or at least interesting. Don’t leave it all up to the GMs.