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 OOC, Unspoken Rules ?

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Posts : 57
Join date : 2011-10-12
Age : 32
Location : Saint-Sauvant, France

PostSubject: OOC, Unspoken Rules ?   Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:55 am

Quoted from : OOC; Unspoken Rules...?... From Ardenn (FERP)

So while writing my journal over the past few weeks, I've gotten an opportunity to dodge the spotlight and be an extra in a couple peoples stories, a wallflower observing the chaos that arises when you mash 20 people together and they start talking, and new players stumbling into the action and getting excited enough to play along with a new concept to them. I've slowly been piecing together IC content as well as OOC past and I've been debating over some things that don't seem adequately covered. I've been Roleplaying for a really long time so there are a lot of things I've learned a long time ago through trial and error in different and sometimes more forgiving communities, some of these things I've forgotten I had to learn the hard way because there WERE no written rules to Roleplay back then.

My current observations are as follows;

1) Telling the difference between IC and OOC. New players get told these two acronyms a lot it seems but older players can sometimes forget that newer people don't understand what the letters mean. I've had times where I've told people being "In Character" is like being on a stage while being "Out Of Character" is like being in the audience. As someone in the audience you might see the killer being presented to the audience, but when your on the stage and your back is turned, you cant act until its in your line of sight. A person in the audience doesn't spring from their seat and run up on stage to grab the princess and carry her away from the danger, it destroys the story. Taking information you've learned while not actively playing your character and applying it to a situation in which you could not have known that information without talking to another particular actor is also called Metagaming and generally is frowned upon.

2) Without knowing the separates, issues can come up, some issues of which aren't really spoken about until it happens and people explode and feelings are hurt. This is something I personally learned through Trial and Error at a young age, but I had mentors willing to take me aside and explain why it was a bad thing. The most common issue I've seen when someone is struggling to tell IC and OOC apart is when another user has multiple characters, each with their own identity. Openly calling out a player while they are trying to play a completely different character is much like Robin showing up in the middle of Batman fighting and screaming "Bruce Wayne, get your ass over here!" Or Mary Jane screaming "Peter Parker!" when Spiderman is in the clutches of a mortal enemy. It just isn't done.

3) If your asking me for my IRL information and gender, then you probably don't actually care about the character I'm presenting and are just looking for a hookup. This is bad form. If we play well together, I might tell you this kind of information on a casual basis as I get more comfortable with you or your play style, but it really should not be something demanded for. Yes, there are guys who play female characters and girls that play male characters. If you are the type of person that wants to make a romantic character and woo those around you, IRL gender shouldn't make a difference in how you flirt with the CHARACTER.

4) Emotes. There are actually quite a few little sub-laws to how an emote should be used that no one really discusses. I was able to pick up on a lot of nice little hints given to me by my clan but mostly because I've been community hopping and adapting to my surroundings for a long time. New players don't really have access to a treasure trove of information like that normally though and can struggle with how to use them properly.

This can be split up two two distinct categories; Emotions and Cheating.

On an emotional level, Emotes involving smiling, laughing, tears, jumping around or anything physical is generally what people prefer, especially in a 3D MMO like this one. Things they can supposedly see with their characters eyes and react to. Things that are generally discouraged would be just standing there and emoting that you were thinking about killing someone or thinking something insulting. Telepathy isn't really common here and even then the Travelers typically don't want to know whats on your mind. A Thought emote cant be reacted to on a general basis and people don't like seeing them.

Other emotes can be considered Cheating, also called Godmoding or Power Play. These emotes are typically forced actions which the other player has not agreed to, or an action which tries to forcibly make another person take injury or submit to the will of another in a way that would be substantially Out Of character for the personality they are trying to play. Bad-ass characters don't like having skinny little kids magically outsmart them and push them down on the ground. Flirtatious characters do not like having someone run up and cut off their heads. Police characters don't like a bomb going off in their station with no previous mention of how it got there or being unable to notice it.

5) Plot Lines. Also referred to Story lines or Session Chains. This is generally something that's considered a little more advanced than just playing the Extra in someone else's show. While an Event typically is a one day kind of thing or a "one-shot", a plot line typically entwines the lives of many people together for a game period that may last a few days or even a few months.

These are much harder to manage because typically you have to ask people on an OOC level if they are even willing to have their character deeply involved in one storyline or another first. If Yes, great, you can set up some ideas and boundaries about what you do and don't want to do with the story and what your willing to have done to your character. If not, however, you cant really FORCE someone to interact as this would be considered another side of Cheating.

The most important thing to remember about a plot line is to not refer to people who haven't openly agreed to being involved. If you've been shot, for example, and your character thinks he knows who it is but that person has not been engaged in your storyline and may not know about the storyline at all, its bad form to name someone who hasn't been involved with your character. Galactus will never come to fight Neo of the Matrix in hand to hand combat because the characters cannot have any direct ties to one another, even if Neo may have read comic books about Galactus or has the ability to morph his reality.

Another important aspect of a Plotline is if you change the plots objectives or want to focus the attention on someone else for a while, the other parties need to know about this on an OOC level at the very least. If people are putting their ideas, time and effort into your story, everyone needs to have some idea of what the direction and ultimate goal is, or things start to fall apart very quickly.

6) In an MMO like this, Roleplay is pretty open ended. Each character has the ability to throw something out into the community and hope for someone to bite and explore that idea with you. The Aftermath of something that has been explored will have long term changes on the feelings and emotions of the characters that were involved and can change the flow of the history of the clans, even just a little bit. People who have long quit the game are still talked about, and new people coming in can quickly develop a reputation as a cheerful person or a trouble maker with something as little as drawing a gun on someone in a bar or buying someone else a drink.

There is, however, some disconnection in the community at the moment. Because of our ability to be our own role models and achivers, there is no Dungeon Master sitting around linking up characters so they can play with one another. There isn't a really hard, core little rulebook for new and old players both to look at and go "Okay, I know not to do that now!" or "So there's this legendary bad guy I should have heard about if my character is XXX months/years out of the pod..."

Lacking this ability to tie people into a bigger story kind of messes with some things. A lot of it has to do with how the Clans generally stick with themselves, since a lot of people have different ways they like to present their character. New players eventually get recruited based on what kind of habits they display and once in a clan, they tend to specifically stick with that clan's brand of storytelling. While in itself this is not a bad idea, it can cause problems when, for example, poster for a Bounty is put up but no one knows about it because there isn't someone passing on the word through local game channels about this chance for more roleplay.

You are ultimatly only going to get out of the community as much effort as your going to put in to interacting with it. There are a lot of people who go out of their way to introduce themselves to new people and help them get around town and into a clan as their characters.

Beyond that, however, its up to you to get the attention and acceptance of those outside of your own RP clan. If a big story is what your looking for instead of the basic survival and growth of your character, your going to have to go out and look for people who want to participate, either in or out of character.

Just remember; A plot cant always be resolved in a single day and your actions can have a butterfly effect on the rest of the community. Word of Mouth is a great way to advertise, but if you dont tell anyone first, its not going to get very far.




That's all I can think of for now, I still have some snooping to do as far as community ethics and morals when it comes to standard play and how groups interact with one another, but these have been my thoughts regarding a few subjects of discussion. I'm probably missing some things that could be valuable to other new players that haven't been covered in the standard list of do's and dont's, but I've got other things to do today. Smile

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