Shawn and I both volunteer on a MUSH, an online gaming community based on the Champions role playing game system. Now, there’s a reason I stopped playing RPGs, mainly, the players. I’ve taken to calling them “gamers” and not meaning it in a good way. Anyway, Shawn got me playing this game a little over a year ago and it was fun, I was having a good time, learning a new game system and meeting some nice people in their virtual personas. Plus I got to play someone with superpowers! And as the year passed I got to know the people I enjoyed hanging out with online and the ones I didn’t. The ones I didn’t were exhibiting typical gamer behaviors, which include:
- Believing that they know everything about the game system and that their opinions should be adhered to regardless of whether they’re running the game or not.
- Constantly quoting (mostly mis-quoting) fantasy novels & movies, Weird Al and Corky & the Juice Pigs songs, and Hitchhiker’s Guide and Monty Python lines.
- The absolute refusal to allow someone else to have the last word in an argument.
- General lack of manners, tact, style and taste.
And those are just a few of them. Well after being online I notice even more traits exhibited by online gamers, most of which aren’t worth mentioning.
But I digress.
Like I said, the MUSH was fun, players had a good time and a good rapport with the GMs. Then… one GM got a little fed up with players exhibiting the above behaviors and resigned, leaving a post on the bulletin board expressing exactly that and things changed. Players were a bit more lax, spending more time in the out-of-character (OOC) areas and less time interacting with other characters in the in-character (IC) areas. They’d only go IC if they thought that a GM was going to run a scene, and complaints started and grew, about the system, the admins, the other players, just about anything that seemed like it could be wrong with the place, was, at least in one player or another’s eyes. To put it simply, things got less fun. Most of this I didn’t notice ‘cos I can get online from work and role-play a little bit during the day and my GM (Chris, in Germany) was on during the day as well, so we’d do things. And there was almost always something going on to do, since it’s a MUSH, it’s a 24/7 gaming community!
Well lately, it’s a LOT less fun. There are a few players in particular that are making it NO fun for me. All of them gossip mongers, some of them subversive, one has a martyr complex, another a “MUSH savior” complex. And it’s to the point where almost no one goes in-character anymore. They use the MUSH like it’s a chat room. And when people do go in-character, they quickly come back into OOC areas complaining of nothing going on. I should mention that I’m an admin there as well, a builder, so I don’t have to deal with players like a GM does, I just try to keep the peace. Which needs a lot of keeping sometimes, as we have Jerry Springer type drama taking place. Which is another reason players won’t go IC. Why role-play with others, when you can watch players biting each others’ heads off?
To add to this, the admins, either don’t know what to do, don’t care to do anything, or are too busy participating in the shenanigans to notice that they might be part of the problem. Michael, who I visited in California, suggests that I take a break, and even if after the break it’s still no fun, I should consider leaving the MUSH. Which I can’t argue with. Why do something that’s supposed to be fun if it’s not fun?
Well I’m feeling all ranted out, but do I feel a bit better. Sadly enough, this had me so mad I didn’t even notice the bad scrape on my knee from falling on an escalator this morning.. Oh wait, there’s that pain now.. lovely.