3/18/2010

Roleplaying Guilds & Representation

I know, an actual post. Alarming, right? I have more to write about on my Bad PUG'ers blog, but I don't feel like reliving the past few experiences I've had just yet.

This is about my quest to find a roleplaying guild. I think that I would be an asset to an RP group, but I may be "too picky" about quality and behavior to ever find one in WoW.

I have a level 70 mage. She's been a heavily roleplayed character since her creation (in fact, she was recreated to be heavily roleplayed through her leveling progression), and I have had my eye on a guild on my server for some time. The Silvermoon Academy. It's a busy RP guild, and from all appearances, a very good guild to consider if you are a roleplayer.

There's where the trouble starts, for me.



If you are a dedicated roleplayer, you can pretty much get in. How could this be a problem?

Not all roleplayers, or more specifically their characters, are suited to the VERY SPECIFIC environment of a guild such as SMA. The Silvermoon Academy is a niche guild. They are a SCHOOL. As such, your character needs to fit into the mesh of a teacher/consultant/student. There are MANY student characters that simply don't behave that way. IC they are insubordinate, and just generally? Mean and spiteful even (mostly!) to authority. It's as though the players are making up for all the bad things in their life by acting out through their characters. All the 'bad ass' things they never did in high school? Here's their chance!

As a non-member, my character was introduced as a prospective student. I was attached, RP-wise, to a prominent character functioning within the guild, but unless I was with that person, I was all but ignored. I provided uniforms that I only got thanked for once I was at an event where they weren't wearing them. It was heartwarming to know that they liked them, even preferred what I sent to what they ended up wearing... but they couldn't have sent a note back that simply said "Thanks!" in response to my IC letter/package?

Further events, during a plotline, discouraged me even more (and refers back to the "not every roleplayer belongs in a niche guild" point): Professors sassing off to the Academy Guard (the Captain!), students blatantly defying rules and orders that were set down during the plotline (and complaining about the consequences).

Through all of that, I told myself "I could still join and make my own experience better." Until one day, my character was introduced to two professors, and a conversation ensued about how they only mock/belittle students in the privacy of the lounge.

Is this something you honestly say in front of someone who has said "I am interested in your guild"?

Their most vocal members are horrible. (The players may be fantastic, but the characters are obnoxious, bratty, arrogant, and generally intolerable. And before you can think 'all blood elves are like that', they aren't. Look into the lore. Elves are not Human Teenagers.)

I don't understand RP guilds in WoW at all. They never seem to recruit in-character, and it is worse when people are so caught up in their individual character story (you should NEVER call yourself a good roleplayer if you feel like your character has to tell everyone under the sun that their problems are so much worse because "i had to murder my own family") that they forget they are representing a Roleplayed Organization.

I ran the Dark Tower on the Baja Server of Ultima Online for a long time. I was a member for a longer time than that, and if I ever saw my members representing us badly, there were consequences! That isn't to say that I moderated their own character story... but there's a reasonable line where I expected my members to abide by our rules of conduct in-character. (Our IC rules were sometimes more strict than the OOC ones.) We were a niche guild (villains), but we were more "Lawful Evil" - if you need an alignment - so you HAD TO FIT.

If I were to visit a college as a prospective student, I can bet that I am not going to find a professor on the college grounds meeting with me, shitfaced, and cursing up a storm. Nor is the Dean going to ignore me when I'm introduced.

This is the problem with a niche-RP-guild just letting in anyone who RPs.

Or maybe I am "too picky"?

4 comments:

Sok said...

I don’t think you’re too picky. I do think that whoever is running the guild needs to get more officers in place who grasp the nature of the guild and who are willing to expel those characters who are insubordinate, mean, and spiteful – at least in a way that would get the higher-ups annoyed.

Unlike a LARP or a MUSH where, depending on the setting, characters can get (permanently) killed or maimed or imprisoned as part of the game mechanics, in a MMO you’re rather more restricted. Locking tabs on the guild vault; denying access to the guild headquarters/castle/whatever, and ostracization are the only real sticks available. (Keeping in mind that carrots are good too – rewarding the students who do play well with others may help get the surly ones on board.)

So, sure, not every roleplayer belongs in a niche guild, but it’s up to the guild heads to enforce the niche. Go right ahead and play a sarcastic, unhelpful, backbiting waste of flesh, but expect to get shown the door as a result. Heck, having the guild heads grill the prospective member might prevent them entering in the first place.

Slight tangent:

Through all of that, I told myself "I could still join and make my own experience better." Until one day, my character was introduced to two professors, and a conversation ensued about how they only mock/belittle students in the privacy of the lounge.

Is this something you honestly say in front of someone who has said "I am interested in your guild"?


Short answer: No.
Long answer: It depends a bit on the IC/OOC nature of the discussion. I think it is bad form to say that your character mocks the students (I’m generally iffy on talking about your character’s life to other players in general), but if it were the players talking to you I’d cut some slack. If the professors were talking to your prospective student, though, then I’d fully expect your character to say, “Thank you for your time; I believe I will seek tutelage someplace where my back is less exposed.”

Avaryse said...

I try to avoid OOC contact, especially before there's been any IC contact. (I'm kind of a purist when it comes to RP. I don't need to know you as a person to play make believe with you, so long as you leave 'you' at the door.) So, yes. The conversation occurred in front of my character - who is more like furniture "when the grown ups are talking" (or was, at that juncture). Still, I'd JUST been intro'd as a potential.

The guild, despite my bitchiness here, is still a decent collection of RPers. I just get a little butthurt by the fact that they "promote RP" with some people (people they complain about in their OOC channel, apparently), but not with others (others that haven't given them reasons to complain). ...when I'm part of the "others".

Sok said...

Makes perfect sense. I also suspect there's just the typical clique mentality at work here (typical in my RP experience, anyhow) -- new players are looked over in favor of the old standbys, even if the new character may be rather more pleasant/entertaining than the old.

(I also have to wonder if "promote RP" translates, in some cases, to "try to get these people on board with how to actually handle a character without scaring them off, even though they've decided to play a complete prat -- possibly because they don't know any better." A... tad more wordy, but maybe accurate...)

Avaryse said...

The clique mentality, even if a group tries to avoid it, seems inescapable. I fought very hard, for many years, to make sure that any group I was in did its best to operate outside of "Whose alt are you?" Sadly, it's too often very true.

And worse with some groups. Where all the stories you read/hear involve X character with Alt of A, and Y with Alt of X, etc.

...I have called those situations one of two things. RP-Circle-Jerks or an online version of the Good Ol' Boys Club.

Your definition may be spot on.

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