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Why do we talk OOC and why do we hide our writing - a discussion



 
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Imogen Moreau

With the recent correspondence from Cersei Lannister regarding bounties, cavern kills and war, I started thinking about my own experiences and observations of character kills for supposed ‘OOC reasons’. And this in turn got me to thinking ‘how’ this worry comes about.

At its very core, Bloodletting is ‘an interactive Vampire role play game’ where ‘players role play in the various forums by creating stories for other players to read and join in on.’

With this in mind, it brings me to wonder how ‘OOC reasons’ become a concern and indeed a reason for some character killings within the game. If played correctly, this shouldn’t be an issue. But it is.

When Bloodletting first started, the internet was still in its social media infancy. While MySpace existed, Facebook was still only for students of certain higher education institutions, Skype wasn’t a thing, and instant messaging lived solely within the joyous MSN Messenger. Any OOC communication between players of BL was rare, and when it did take place, it was via direct message with OOC in bold letters in the subject line.

But now, with increased social media communication such as Facebook and Twitter, players of Bloodletting are conversing across more platforms that the Bloodletting site and this, without question, causes more problems, problems that didn’t even exist when the game first came to be. Arguments can start on one platform and quickly spread across others. And as we’re all hidden behind screens, people feel a greater sense of fearlessness, able to say nasty things without much fear of retaliation. I work in social media and I see this daily from ’trolls’ across the internet. And if people get in a fight on Facebook or Twitter with another player, and this brings about a black cloud in Bloodletting, is it really the responsibility of the unpaid volunteer admins to sort this out? Or should we be taking responsibility for the way we interact with other players outside of Bloodletting?

No one wants to see their character killed. With so so many clicks and hours required to boost ranks, seeing your characters name in the Graveyard is obviously upsetting. But it’s part of the game. It’s as much a part of the game as dungeon breaks and city searches are.

But the true heart of Bloodletting is writing. It’s role play. For, as stated above, Bloodletting is ‘an interactive Vampire role play game’.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed the public interaction between characters dwindle, as more and more people move their story writing into direct messages. Through chats with players in various threads, I realise that some of this is to do with peoples concerns that they’re ‘not good enough’ and fears that others will judge their writing skills. Please know that this has never been the case with Bloodletting. And if someone does give you grief for your writing skills, they don’t deserve to be playing this game.

Every single player in this game came here as a poorer writer than they are now. Those who are seen as ‘amazing, creative writers’ by others were, frankly, rubbish when they got here. We all were. And it was by writing with fellow players, and observing peoples styles of writing, that these players improved. We improve by reading stories and interacting with others. It’s why so many published writers are so well read. But it’s become harder to do that when so many role plays never see the light of day outside of character inboxes.

You may wonder why this is relevant when talking about OOC reasons for bounties, and it’s this: by keeping your role playing public, you remove the ability for miscommunication between players. It’s not hard for your writing partner to go back down the copy in a reply and change the text. And it’s not hard for messages to be deleted, irretrievable by the admins, lost forever into the depths of the internet. By keeping as much communication as possible public, you lessen the chance for misunderstanding and abuse.

Really, the inbox shouldn’t be used for anything other than communications with admin, conversations with your crew management, and light OOC communication to straighten out any plot points for your public role plays. Anything further than this should be considered outside the responsibility of the admins, and you should be taking responsibility for it yourself, and for whatever may come from it in turn. Obviously you should report any cyber bullying sent you in messages, but this should be a forward to an admin and you shouldn’t reply to the abuser or retaliate. If someone gives you abuse in the game, they’re likely the sort of person who enjoy doing so, and replying will only given them more fuel for their sick little game.

I would love to open up this view point to discussion because we all have our own opinions. And if you believe anything I said to be wrong, please tell me so and why. But I stick by the argument that we need to become more responsible for our actions both inside Bloodletting and outside it, and not rely on admins to come to the rescue after the fact when unfair retaliation could have been avoided by putting on our grownup responsibility hats. And I really do implore you all to write more in the public forums.

And slightly unrelated, but while I’m here, it would be lovely to see more players interaction with new comers to the game. If someone joins BL and receives radio silence in their first 24 hours of joining, they’re not going to stick around. And this game needs new blood, new players and less alts, to get the creativity levels higher.

Peace.

TPB Imogen Moreau

July 10, 2018 06:42 pm

Mackenzie

So much, ALL of this.

Fact: When I first came to BL, I was writing two lines. Two. The very first thing I did, in fact, was drop into a thread between Jack Horton and Fleta. Two. Lines. No idea who they were. It took years to get where I am now, and I still see my writing as flawed and lacking. But I know it is improved. And that is because I was able to collaborate and write with others, and read other's writings.

Thinking you are not good enough for forums is absolutely not good enough. You are good enough.

By writing publicly, you share so much with others. And, as Imogen pointed out so beautifully, it lessens the chances of any OOC anything getting in the way of your game.

So, use the forums. Get out of your mailbox.

Play the game.
July 10, 2018 07:28 pm

Camille

I agree, mostly. The only exception being the mail feature, and that I have often (and still do) utilize mail RPing to further some relationships without feeling it necessary to over-saturate the forums. Also for shorter correspondences, too. Things that aren't terribly plot heavy, etc.

That said, it's fine for people to be using whatever they're comfortable with! But Imogen up there is totally right. There's a lot of OOC communication that should be cut out of BL all together. Personal feelings shouldn't be getting in the way of your plotting, or your writing. Disconnecting from your character is both healthy and liberating, let me tell you. But I can completely understand how it is difficult to detach when you put so much time and dedication into building this character who feels both very real and is in every way a part of you.

Aside from that I'd like to point out that everyone dies.

Mackenzie herself has died a billion times. I (Camille) have died. We've been warred. Been bountied. Accidentally gone RED(!!!). This is why the game's creators gave us donation packages. If you can't afford one, you sometimes find them in the market, or by asking around or putting up a notice on your profile.

As an after thought, I'd like to disclose that sometimes I even catch myself being paranoid about new people I start roleplaying with. 'Who's alt is this???', or 'I wonder if this is some sort of witchy BL trap!'. People, this is a freaking poisonous side effect of too much OOC communication. It's time to overcome it, get out there, and start having fun. Myself included.
July 11, 2018 02:39 pm

Summer

Quoting Camille: "I'd like to disclose that sometimes I even catch myself being paranoid about new people I start roleplaying with."--
I confess I do this with every single new character. I can't help it. I'm fairly certain they ARE all alts and they've already established their storyline with others (tell me I'm wrong). So I hesitate and frequently don't engage. Which is bullsh!t because that is super offputting to a new player. It makes the game seem even more exclusive than it already is (and it is, fight me on this).

Anyway. I fully agree with Imogen. Aside from some specific character encounters, let that creativity fly and write out in the open! It's okay if nobody reads your thread. It isn't for anyone else. It is for you and your creative outlet for these magically weird characters. I will vow to walk the walk, doing just that.
July 17, 2018 11:36 pm

Xander James

I'm not much of a talkative person when it comes to Forums like this one, so I'll say this. I have encountered countless personalities both IC and OOC on this game since I first came here. As such I can totally see how the whole game in and of itself has changed along with the kind of people who play it.

All I can really say is, this game has gone from being a free form of expression with multiple voices, to a watered-down version of its former self. But then again, who am I to talk? I'm just a nobody...

July 18, 2018 12:21 am

Devin Landry

I used to feel like this.. to an extent on certain parts. It's hard to greet people and start talking. People make character for certain 'things'. They have storylines already built and sometimes interaction with others isn't part of it. Makes you feel like, you aren't good enough. I've felt it. Especially since I'm someone, like Summer, who greets new characters. I can say I've seen Summer put in a lot of effort and get very little back. I've done it. I just keep going. You might find a hidden jewel. 

I think the "watered-down version of its former self" sounds a little bitter. I'm just saying. Do I agree there is a lot less killing and conflict? Yes. Do I see people making circles that they aren't stepping out of? Yes. Do you have to kill or be a punk to be here? No. Do you have to talk to everyone to be accepted here? No. 

I use mail like Camille does. Asking questions about characters. Writing out and building relationships that aren't really crucial to the story but the end result is. Will removing OOC chatter bring down the drama? Unfortunately, no. I could throw out some examples but it would really expose me and I'm not down for that but let me tell you. It won't. Some just happens.

I have to say I've really been disappointed in some things. Like, I wish people would go ahead and play things out instead of ignoring stuff or bringing it OOC. Prime example is a very conflicting character was brought back and everyone ignored them instead of using the oppertunity to basically start a war, kill one another, IC drama. It just shows how petty some people can be and unwilling to remove themselves from this comfortable position of boring. 

I can say that Camille and Mack are probably some of the most nicest, warmest, most helpful people OOC on this game. You'd never think from their characters but they are and I'm not even a friend of theirs. I just know if I ever needed anything under any character, I could go to one of them and they would be there helping me. They are literally the best.

July 24, 2018 06:04 pm

Mackenzie

On the topic of being paranoid of new characters, I'm going to play devil's advocate.

Most people aren't very welcoming. And while it is likely for the reasons listed above by Cam and Summer... I would argue that yes, a lot of them are alts. We probably see more alts, than we do new characters. And when you see an alt with a storyline, don't let that deter you. I've had the honor of being involved with some super intricate plots that I was not meant to be part of, and it is great fun.

On the flip side, you might see these package deal characters because lone characters don't often get any attention. They usually die out quickly due to lack of anything... unless the planets align and people decide to shower them with affection. And yes, I'm going to call it out.

The planets usually seem to align for male characters.

Ladies. Tsk.

I had a big long thing typed out, and I timed out, and lost it.. so I'm going to make this second half short.

BL is not watered down because of the people who play. It is 'watered down' because of the way people play. People don't play the way it was intended to be played, as outlined by Imogen. People have attached themselves to their characters, made it personal, and get upset when they die. But they forget that for every action, there is a reaction.

So honestly.. just play the game.
Don't demonize those that play the game in whole.
Stop talking so OOCly and discover other characters ICly.Embrace discord and conflict.
Embrace all these fun killing features.
Embrace the unknown.
Reach out to others, and write.

Also.

#ThanksDevin
#MackHatesCam4Eva
July 24, 2018 06:58 pm

Blood Maw

I know I am guilty of not forum writing cause I know I have my issues. I am not the greatest of writers and so I tend to chat with a small group of people in mail. I have to admit I have been on the game for a long time and Once upon a time I would get upset when a toon died. Even if it was my fault for starting a war with AD with a former toon. But as I have gotten older I have realized that its easier to move on then to be pissed off.

So after reading this I have decided I want to try harder and move myself to maybe some forum post where I think I will fit in.
July 31, 2018 10:55 am
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