The internet is evil. Get an exorcist stat. Or why the internet is spoiling our hobby.

So I’m torn about in character mail that does stuff that should be in a field and statements like ‘which army do I support?’, ‘why have you nerfed my make believe hamster warrior build’ or political meetings outside the main game that should be happening in a field.

When I say torn, what I actually mean is I think it’s shit. No really, not a little subtle thing here it’s shit.

Dum dum dum. Yep i’m possibly starting a shitstorm, but you know what? I think other than my contentious way of presenting this, I reckon we can have a constructive conversation around this, right? No of course not, we are LARPers and this is the internet and we a literally worse than kindergarten kids when we lose our shit.

So what do I mean about this? Well what I really mean is the internet damaging our hobby? No seriously, I mean it. The global interweb machine is great. Don’t get me wrong it’s a wonderful thing to use for communication and to share ideas, It helps us meet up and do stuff, trello and Skype are godsends to convey ideas and make plot meetings with people who live in Iceland (above Watford) possible. The ability to quickly fire background, character sheets, rules etc backwards and forwards means our hobby is more accessible and easier to run.

You no longer need to print rules, post cheques and can get to know other people via facebook, that readymade forum, so you don’t have too.

So what do I mean about spoiling games? Well it boils down to two things:

  • OMG you nerfed Ryu’s dragon punch.
  • OMG we can play the game away from the field.

So which to start with, I reckon the second, it’s the most insidious, but also the most tempting of them (and one I have once been guilty of once or twice, until I realised how awful it was.).

OMG we can play the game away from the field.

I have a rule now about IC letters, unless it’s someone from my little group, or from an npc I don’t discuss anything important. I’ll ballgown like a baws, comment on fashion and discuss something I have already discussed with that person in a field already. Anything that could affect the field, anything that is potential cool rp stays out.

Now you look aghast at me, ‘what manner of crazy is this, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage in a political pvp game?’ or ‘But surly in the real world you could do this?’. The first one, well doh, yeah, but i’m not in larp to win, actually bad things happening gives you something to do and the second, you know pixies don’t exist in the real world ever? Or fireballs?

What I’m getting at is those conversations that effect the field should be played in it, that at some level the game loses something every time you do something that could be done in the field elsewhere, you have taken a bit of the games soul and teabagged it until it’s coughing up fur balls. I’m not talking about your group discussing what they want to do, sorting out ooc logistics etc, but what I am talking about is those conversations that potentially screw everyone else up.

For example let’s say I am a ‘king’ in the game ‘nations’ and I need x many votes to stay king. I could do that in a field or I could go down my fb friend list (of three) and poke people till I get enough votes. This is utter cock, massive crowing in the backyard cock. Not only have I sewn up the deal before getting to the field so I can continue to rub my larp penis in people’s faces, but also I’m not ‘playing the game’. I have actually used an ooc resource to block people out of the game. But hey I won, other people lost and I get to hold my pretend title close to my chest at night to keep me warm.

I could elaborate more, but I won’t. You are all smart people and know where all of this applies. All the little out of the field moments, that could have been a golden moment in the field, It’s so easy to do as well. Half the time it’s driven by pure froth and a love of a great game. As they say the path to hell is paved with good intentions.

Why is this the internets fault? Well with ease of communication, you no longer have to post things or go and see someone, so the ease combined with keen leads to whole games being played out without real face to face social interactions, which are by definition the difference between playing mass effect and playing a Larp. I mean would we be happy if people running games created a web button that you clicked to win at battles? Well some of you would and I hope Trevor McDonald steals your remote control and shits in your coffee.

trev

OMG you nerfed Ryu’s dragon punch.

Or the opposite of this Ward wrote this codex syndrome’. Now the interconnected cyber highway of the future is a great way of communicating and in the old days when something changed, you would cry, get over it or say something in a constructive way on the day to the organiser…..

Oh but not now…..no, now we have instant feedback.

Let us pretend that Ryu’s dragon punch used to do a triple and unfortunately, everyone is using Ryu as it is the most cost effective build, and the dragon punch, which was designed as a super is being rolled out for everything. You, know this, I know this, the games designers know this, It is a bug not a feature. So rules change, it’s still a triple, but can only be used once a day.

Internet explodes. We all in our hearts know it’s wrong, we were meta gaming the fuck out of it or it was just plain broken, but when the announcement comes rage rains across the net.

Now if you don’t like a rules change and walk away, that’s fine. I was in that position earlier this year where if there had been a rules change in the way something worked I was walking from that system. That fine, I did not rage on the web, I made a decision and thanks to something not becoming another homogenised ‘this is how other larps do it’ I didn’t walk. That is personal choice and personal accountability.

NO we are talking about upset over background change or rules changes, as if it is a personal attack. Trust me when Gary games designer makes these changes, that designer or plot writer isn’t thinking of you, they are thinking of the greater whole. (Not counting ref’s etc who use larp as a substitute for their inadequacies in real life buy using a perceived position of power to make them feel hard.). It is not a personal attack, so why does it become a personal attack back? Or perceived as personal? Well it’s the internet and with various parts of the larp machine grinding people under it’s rusty, bleeding deadline cogs, the fact you think that pixies should have pink hats is….well let’s just say.. annoying…

So what can you do? Well don’t use Facebook for feedback. (Ironic I know, but bare with me.). Is Facebook the right place to air a complaint about a system, problem, STD? Also is that immediacy the best way to go? Do you need time to cool off before posting that the plot teams describing pixies as having pink hats destroys your characters background as you were raised by pixies with red caps and they are literally worse than Nigel Farage? I mean if I listed all your faults in public and got twenty mates to shout ‘yeah, what he said’ at you like the guy behind the school bully, would you keep coming back for more?

Empathy is a thing, I think I may have mentioned it elsewhere, but I find it more and more disconcerting that via the web magic boxes we seem to just scream, we don’t listen, we don’t discuss, but we use I and are upset about what happens to our corner of the world. Would it hurt to look at changes, think about them and then communicate politely? Maybe after taking some time to process them?

I always feel a little bit like when I see, ‘it’s not fair, they changed stuff’ as it’s a bit like dirty protest. Like a prisoner who didn’t get enough cornflakes, has decided to smeared shit over their face and are screaming through the bars. Trust me when I say they aren’t getting cornflakes and the guards don’t want to listen to it.

Again why is this the internet’s fault? Well I can be angry instantly, just scream and shout into the silicon void, problem is people read it and then are hurt by it. Want to know why plots in your fav system have dropped in quality? It’s probably because the people writing the damned things have given up the will to live and will just go ‘let em have a snacky thing, that will keep em happy, they only complain when I challenge them.’

So boys and girls, the web making interbox may be a magic way of helping our hobby, but remember to use it responsibly, remember it’s the field where our focus should be and no one gives a flying baboon toss about your elf problems.

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