Author Topic: stopping ForumMaster from destroying BattleMaster  (Read 30356 times)

Bendix

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In my opinion, this is possibly the most important discussion we could be having to improve the game culture.

1. The forums, in their current form, actually discourage a roleplaying atmosphere in-game. This is because players seem to want to share in-game information about their charactersand what is happening in their realms, etc. If we are reading these things OOC, it eliminates the need to do many things IC, and creates what some call 'metagaming', which in this case is not exactly etymologically correct, but essentially means that the player's character knows things they shouldn't.

What personally disenchants me the most is when players define their characters and actions OOC. For instance, some players might be talking about events in a Locals channel, and one player says something like "It looks like Realm A and Realm B are going to war. I wonder how Ruler #1 is going to react to that", and then the player of Ruler #1 says "Well, ruler #1 is a stubborn old bastard who doesn't like it when his allies get attacked, so...."

Instead of actually playing your character as a 'Stubborn Old Bastard', you're just saying it. And now that all the people on the forum know that, they will act accordingly with their characters. No one needed to do anything in-game at all, because an unimaginable number of RP opportunities were passed up because of one sentence in one post by one player.

Do you see how insane it is that we have entire channels devoted to this? In my opinion, players should not be discussing game events in the forums whatsoever. 'Playing' is better than 'saying'.

2. Because it is players talking, it becomes personal. In the game of Battlemaster, we get to play as corrupt, conniving, or downright wicked characters Oftentimes those are the best characters: just look at the Himoura Family: people don't hate the Himouras- they LOVE to hate the Himouras! And that's a good thing, because we're talking about Medieval Lords, not saints- the type of people who would be considered thugs and criminals today. I think one reason a lot of people play Battlemaster is so they can act out that heedless ambition or bloodthirsty drive to conquer.

But when you remove things from the game, its no longer a character talking to another character in a fantasyland 1,000 years ago. It becomes more 'real', and the anonymity of the internet certainly doesn't make people any more polite. Actually, it has been proven that it makes people less likely to be friendly. Possibly because you're talking to strangers, not friends. And don't even get me started on how the IRC feeds into this.

Yet we have a basic rule: "Play the game as though playing a board game with friends." This becomes more difficult to do when the people you should be treating as friendly adversaries are treating you like crap.

Basically we need to reign in the boundaries of this system to accommodate our human flaws.

3. As Tom pointed out, most of the people who play Battlemaster do not post on the forums. Personally, I envy those people. I wish I had never started viewing the forums, and would rather return to a more naive state where I am not disillusioned about virtually every aspect of the game.

My point is that the forums are inevitably going to be exclusionary. For a game where in-game discussion and character-building is not important, like a First-Person Shooter, for instance, this is entirely fine: the game itself is not being affected by anything that happens in the forums. But for a game like Battlemaster, where writing is 90% of the game itself, it makes little sense to encourage players to be writing outside the game.

The true joy of BM comes from the politics, character-building, and roleplaying. So it isn't the 100-200 forum frequenters who are the "elite" of BM- it's everyone who isn't on the forums, who is having a good time playing their character.

Conclusion- I would recommend discouraging two things on the forums/IRC: discussion of game events, and insulting other players.

Foxglove

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I think both the forum and IRC have a part to play in this, if we're talking about a negative impact on the game. I actually held off on making a forum account for a year because I didn't feel it added much to the game experience. However, things like the Helpline are extremely useful (there have been times when that's been the only source of help when fellow players didn't know how to do something). But if people posted less on the forum and more in-game, or wrote a roleplay instead of hanging out on IRC, it might increase liveliness in the game and enhance the experience for all the players rather than the minority. I'm fully aware that might just be a biased opinion on my behalf, though.

If you curb the forum, I think you also have to curb IRC (as in remove the 'offical' link from the side menu). But, to act as devil's advocate here, it's possible that many of the negative problems in terms of player behaviours that are being discussed might have existed in the game before the forum and it's just a case that the forum has brought them out into the open and shone a light on them in a public arena. I find it very hard to believe that the OOC "we hate the players of realm X" attitude held by some players didn't exist privately before the forum was created.

pcw27

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I'm going to respond to a few ideas expressed here most of which I don't really agree with.

1. The Forums create the sense of needing to participate in order to advance in game.

I feel this is completely untrue. I had a very prominent character well before ever visiting the forums. I actually got into the forums to participate in feature requests and development discussions because I frequently come up with game ideas and want to share them.

2. Abusive forum users and people who can't differentiate between character and player.

I've seen this a bit I can only think of one heated argument that I've had myself. I remember in a thread someone complaining that "People who play in Astrum are cowards" not that their characters are cowards but that the actual people are.  I haven't noticed this very often. If it is a problem then some moderators would help.

3. Abuse of OOC information.

Again I haven't seen this first hand too much. There are times when I see people discussing things in the forum which I think would be more interesting if they shared them in character. How damaging OOC info is depends on how good people are at RPing dramatic irony.

Another problem mentioned was explaining the character motivations you play by. For starters the limited number of people on the forum makes this less of a problem. Second I don't think its necessarily a detriment. I'm a very experienced roleplayer and GM for pen and paper games. I like to see these kind of discussions because it shows my players are really thinking about who their characters are. I don't think it's a pure case of OOC information, remember when you talk to people in real life you learn a great deal through body language. On top of that presumably there's a whole world of gossip which supposedly goes on in the background in game. Therefore a player might not be picking up on a personality trait that a character absolutely should pick up on.

Velax

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If you want to get rid of 90% of the bad things about this forum, get rid of the Local boards. People get attached to their characters and people get attached to their realms. Those are the things people get emotional about and start arguments over, and those are the things that are talked about mainly in the Local boards.

Tom

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Great discussion, thank you all.

I'm surprised by how quickly everyone converges on the Locals boards being the major problem, because I didn't think in that direction at all when I started this thread, but now that it has been pointed out, it seems to obvious that I don't understand how I didn't see it right from the start.

And yes, I agree that if we close down the Locals forum, we should also close down the equivalent IRC channels, or rather: Ask people to not use them anymore and put their IC stuff into the game itself, exclusively.

I've temporarily locked the locals and the roleplaying board. If we all agree so much, let's see what the effect is and if we can reverse the drain of character interaction. Maybe this is really all it takes.

Valast

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I can not even go to most forums any more.  I hate the know it all attitude that many people put off just because they can hide behind a computer and be more cool than in real life.  It reminds me of yahoo answers some times,  where I could say how much does a hen way and someone has to tell me how dangerous it is to have chickens when a bird flu could happen at any moment.

This forum is ok.  You still get the people who want to be overly involved and in your face... and I get a lot of players who think that because they are against my character or against an idea, they can talk down to me... but I know that for what it is...game play emotion thinly veiled under the surface but coming out.

However I doubt most people would think of life and forums the same way I do.  I can see how that would put people off from even coming here. 





Valast

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Can we please get the facebook threads relocated so that they can still be used?  Or an option on the game interface to contact?  Hmm...or I suppose everyone could just go to facebook and type in what they will for propaganda

Gustav Kuriga

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You guys realize that people will just start putting local stuff in BM General...

SaDiablo

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Even if they put stuff in the General section, it should be a quick report/strike it down thing.   But I agree the locals should be removed along with the role-play.  In game communication is lower than I'm used to.

The courthouse is one thing I see as a negative and the questions most of the time are plain manure.  Those things should be kept to a private viewing for those that deal with those issues.  This is one thing I think hurts communication in game because you get to fearful that everything you write could be reported.  Character development then stops and people just turn to power gaming more.

Tom

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Can we please get the facebook threads relocated so that they can still be used?  Or an option on the game interface to contact?  Hmm...or I suppose everyone could just go to facebook and type in what they will for propaganda

Frankly, I don't think the FB threads are very positive, either. But that's a different discussion. There's a thread about FB elsewhere, and the general consensus is that as they are now, those postings do nothing to interested not-yet-players. We'll have to rethink our FB management anyways.

Tom

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You guys realize that people will just start putting local stuff in BM General...

Where I will delete it. It will stop quickly.

Tom

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This is one thing I think hurts communication in game because you get to fearful that everything you write could be reported.  Character development then stops and people just turn to power gaming more.

Which is precisely why the Magistrate cases are public. With the Titans, there were crazy rumours about what they would punish people for, it was just ridiculous. With the Magistrates, if someone claims you can be punished for xyz, you can check if there ever has been a case like that. Or, better, ask the guy making the claim for a link to it.


Gustav Kuriga

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Like I said, confirmation bias. Be very careful about that...

Daycryn

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While I agree with most, I don't think the roleplaying forum need be locked and certainly not deleted. Here's why.

1. The roleplaying forum gets relatively little use at all. It's not a major source of the kind of detraction from the game that, say, the locals fora are, with regards to OOC conflict, metagaming or generalized distraction.
2. The roleplaying forum is a decent place for roleplays that generally never get seen by players who aren't in the realm, religion, or region. This can demonstrate roleplaying to others in a way that otherwise might not be apparent ever and maybe inspire.
3. Eliminating it might have the inadvertent implication that we are generally opposed to roleplaying itself.

Generally I'd like to put roleplays that I particularly enjoy up in the wiki, but wiki-ing is a tad more difficult to someone who isn't familiar with it, whereas posting on a forum is pretty much accessible to everyone. It's quicker too.
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SaDiablo

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Actually I read somewhere on forums that I agree with that when you write a letter you are roleplaying your character same for orders, reports, and requests.  Roleplays based on the selecting the roleplay to get that fancy yellow box is really just yourself narrating a moment of time its not really a role play.  I think eliminating that part overall will actually provide a bigger impact if you have people realize that all features you use besides OOC is your character development.