What MU/RPG opinions have you changed or maintained?


  • Pitcrew

    This post is starting as a discussion. What did you do 1, 5, 10 or more years ago in games that you regret? What do you still believe is a proper and right decision?

    My answer follows:

    I started my "modern" MU career in 2010-2011. I had played in the 90s, and a small bit on a Scion game in the aughts, but my real heavy return was on NYC Mush. I played Werewolf and Vampire (and briefly Mage) and staffed as well.

    I introduced my ex girlfriend and we played together there, and then briefly on HM, and then for a long fucking time on The Reach.

    It doesn't seem that long ago, but when I started on TR, when I began STAFFING, was still in my 20s (barely, I'm 37 now). But I had opinions on games and how to play them. Some of them I feel were right and some I feel may have been misguided.

    Strong opinion I now regret? ICA always equals ICC. If you did something that my character felt justified a certain response, I'd respond as such. I engaged in some serious (and not so serious) PVP - from hacking and stalking, to financial warfare, to outright murder (or Torpor, which is often just as bad). I always put my character's decisions front and center, they were the lead character of their own film.

    This is, I reflect back, more than a little bit of a dick move. I always say I try to stick as close to Tabletop as possible, and in tabletop, the PCs are the protagonists, the ones who matter. On a MU, every PC presumably matters to the person playing them. I didn't consider their OOC feelings, usually. It was OOCly to me "just business".

    tl;dr on that front I was a dick to you, probably. My B.

    A strong opinion I still hold, is that a game needs to stick to the fucking theme of whatever game it is meant to be. If you are a Chronicles of Darkness game, you should either reflect the books, or mak eit clear what you are doing. Tone should be, while not consistent and omnipresent in every scene, reinforced and supported. Significant departures from established lore, such as Pure-Forsaken handholding, or Vampire's being completely nice and sweet and just humans with cool goth powers, should either be frowned upon and removed, or else reflected in the game's specific lore and story. Don't punish a player for playing the game you advertise to be playing.


  • Pitcrew

    When I started way back in the 90's, I primarily played on WoD type MUs during the OOC Masq period. At the time this was what I knew and I enjoyed the mystery and uncertainty of not knowing if the person I was taunting in a bar scene could turn around and rip my head off at any given moment, etc.

    I stopped playing for a decade, then came back about the time The Reach was at the height of its popularity (Right before some of the ICA/ICC situations TJ is talking about above in fact....and yes he WAS a dick to me, but it was all IC and I knew that ;)), and I was against the whole open wiki no OOC Masq thing.

    I quickly changed my mind as I played. Being able to be a bit more open in poses knowing that everyone already knew what I was, and I didn't have to try and hide things OOCly was a weight lifted that I didn't know i had before.


  • Pitcrew

    @Alamias Do you think OOC masquerade was at least in part because of the technology of the times? Few people could play and visit a website. Hell when I started my web browser was text based.


  • Pitcrew

    @tragedyjones I'm sure that could have been at least a part of it? But there were strict rules against reveling yourself OOCly in any form or fashion, so it wasn't the entirety of the reason. A lot of places used the OOC Masq to add that air of danger/suspense/whatever to keep a player/character in the dark until the player/character found out IC what was going on.

    It has been a very long time since those days, and even though I staffed during a good portion of that time, I can barely remember what I did last week let alone what reasons there were 25+ years ago for the OOC Masq above and beyond the surface of just trying to keep the mystery.



  • Hrm. Introspective moment.

    For me, I struggled with a few things. There are my opinions on the "social game" that I've mentioned in a few other posts so I won't expound here.

    One thing that was always difficult for me was the concept of plotting and planning. I always wanted to plot and plan without detailing ahead of time everything I was thinking of doing because doing so always made the RP feel railroaded and overorchestrated to me. So I'd have an idea, play my cards close to my chest, and run into some OOC issue because I didn't detail it ahead of time; which I didn't because something felt non-gamey about getting "buyoff" on what my character would do or outline everything that was going to happen, thus giving other players the ability to ponder SUPER PREPARED RESPONSE to things I wanted to do. At that point it always felt like getting permission to do what my char would do, so it was a balancing act that I would probably still struggle with today.

    I like being able to have surprises to unveil, and I like to be surprised. Overplanning and detailing things Oocly beforehand kills that. My characters, to me, were less of an investment and more of a replaceable element.

    For me, I always viewed these games as "RPGs with some writing" rather than "cooperative writing in an RPG backdrop", which explains my preferences clearly. I always wanted an online space to play VtM/WoD/etc, but mushing isn't exactly that. Hindsight being 20/20, if I could do it again, I probably would prefer to have come to that understanding sooner rather than to pluck the chicken for 10+ years.

    Not sure how I would tackle this if I played again. It's something I think about when I consider redownloading Potato.



  • @tragedyjones said in What MU/RPG opinions have you changed or maintained?:

    Don't punish a player for playing the game you advertise to be playing.

    The issue I frequently run into is the opposite: players playing something entirely different (usually this is someone who knows absolutely nothing about the theme or setting and just wants to play somewhere active while investing low effort into learning).

    I have been one of those people who is a staunch believer in playing to theme. And I know I've upset some people over the years by being that stickler, but I don't regret it. I'm still that way. I will remain that way.

    And the reason is because if 9 out of 10 people are within spec and the 10th person goes off the rails? That's one person ruining immersion and potentially even gameplay for nine. It's a collaborative environment: fucking collaborate. Be a team player.

    That said, I absolutely regret some of the angsty RP I engaged in during my formative years (as it were) as a MUer. Drama and angst are big deals and drive story in media (books, TV, film), but they aren't great for people you're playing with. It pretty much strongarms people into RP they may not want to engage in.

    Is all drama or angst bad? No. But some of us (and I totally did for my first 5 years or so!) take it to an extreme it need not be. Don't get your character horrifically injured in an on-camera scene just to explain your absence while on vacation. If you need to explain it (srsly usually you don't; our characters are presumably doing things off-camera all the time), there's a plethora of options that don't corner people into either RPing out this OMG TERRIBLE THING or looking like an uncaring asshole.

    Communication. Arguably, it could be said that joining MSB or getting to know people is a terrible thing and maybe (probably definitely in MSB's case) it is. For me, however, it was beneficial. I spent the first, oh, 13? years of my MUing career playing in a vacuum. I rarely got to know people. I rarely established myself anywhere. As a result, I never knew what plots were going on. What the 'greater story' was. I often sighed from afar as people I wanted to play with did things that I wasn't a part of.

    I did know people. I did go out and RP and generate RP. But I kept this massive wall at all times and in turn, it made me afraid to even page people to ask things (to RP, to have BG hooks, to...).

    It was on a game with @Ghost where I wanted to see a possible path of RP that I finally swallowed down the fear and reached out. And I'm glad I did. It led to months of great RP. So I try to be social now. I try to be open. I communicate: even if it's the unfun ('Hey what you're doing is bothering me.') stuff. It has enhanced my engagement and RP so much.


  • Tutorialist

    My big thing is, I used to think that players should have more say in how things go on the game. That they, as invested citizens of a MU, should have a much larger voice in how things go down.

    Now I don't. Or at least, not nearly as much as I used to. I realize that was a dumb way to look at things when I repeatedly saw the consequences of that.

    I strongly feel that many of the staff on games are incapable of just telling players 'no' in the face of popular-but-terrible ideas, but sometimes there are very good reasons to do so. Because it's against the rules. Because it's against the theme. Because it frankly interferes too much with the story that you're putting in a ton of work to tell. You have every right to tell players 'no', and they can either accept it or move on to a different game. (Yes, there are some times when negotiation is probably the better answer, and I engage in those too -- but frankly, I'm not having a three-hour argument with you every time you disagree with a decision I made. Deal. We both have better things to do with our lives.) Sometimes, you just need to say 'no'.

    And that includes things that players think that they're entitled to, and I used to agree with. Like -- leadership of entire groups. You think that your characters should be able to get there to give them something to 'strive for', or whatever. Except, in almost every case where this has actually happened, they sit on those positions and do nothing and enforce nothing, and everything goes off the rails and dies, and you can't do jack about it because you've effectively neutered your own staff bit by ceding power to the players in the first place.

    So now? Now I care much less about 'what players want'. I'll listen, I'll take suggestions. But the ultimate decision is mine, and if I think that an idea is destructive or counter to what I'm trying to build, I'm going to tell you 'no', regardless of how popular it may be.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice said in What MU/RPG opinions have you changed or maintained?:

    The issue I frequently run into is the opposite: players playing something entirely different (usually this is someone who knows absolutely nothing about the theme or setting and just wants to play somewhere active while investing low effort into learning).

    This is really common, especially right now. There's such a dry spell in open games that people are just trying to shove concepts onto games where they don't really fit, and then they're miffed when the game doesn't adapt to accept them.

    Which actually leads into my "then vs now."

    Back in the day, I used to wish ill-will on any other game that wasn't the one I specifically was playing at the time. I remember thinking often and strongly that I hope Other Game implodes and people come play on Game I Like instead.

    Now, I realize that variety and options are really good for this hobby. We need release valves, even if they're places that I personally wouldn't play.



  • @tragedyjones said in What MU/RPG opinions have you changed or maintained?:

    @Alamias Do you think OOC masquerade was at least in part because of the technology of the times?

    I can speak from (specifically WoD) history: OOC Masq was pushed because on mixed-sphere games players were using the information about who's where to flash-mob attack players of the enemy factions.

    There was also a long-lasting layer of the same philosophy applied to what anyone can know about anything. One game (Tartarus) infamously changed what Werewolves took aggravated damage from silver to platinum then yelled at anyone who claimed they knew.

    I do think that the ease of availability of wikis gave people an easy reason to change.

    I had played on several games—AetherMUX being the most notable in my mind—where the lack of OOC Masq was a selling point and almost everyone was always careful about keeping IC and OOC separate enough to keep everything fun.



  • Double Post: Good god, I could provide a counter-view to every post here.

    @krmbm:

    We need release valves, even if they're places that I personally wouldn't play.

    I feel bad for helping start Dark Metal, which was started for that exact reason, but spawned many clones of itself that hurt instead of helping.

    @Derp:

    I used to think that players should have more say in how things go on the game.

    I'm in a discussion this very moment that players are so used to having no control on what goes on in a game that they're behaving as if they can't do anything without staff approval, thus the term "there's nothing to do". There are areas where players need to be taught it's okay for them to control.

    That said, Staff always, ALWAYS have the right to say "no". But they too should be doing it in service to the game. But there's a point where too many "no"s means "don't bother trying".

    @Auspice:

    ... Actually I have nothing here. That saying, I did play a character on an Elfquest game that "heard voices of the gods" when I was code-testing. I did try to keep it in-theme, but it was still possibly annoying.

    Or who the hell let me keep "Thenomain" as the name of a Pern character?

    Clearly they only cared to have a light social game where people could play in theme at their own pace and desire.

    How dare they, right?



  • @Thenomain said in What MU/RPG opinions have you changed or maintained?:

    Or who the hell let me keep "Thenomain" as the name of a Pern character?

    Pern games had only one hard and fast rule on character names: that they not end in -th.
    That said I had a guy once, on Star Stones (sort of doubt anyone here ever played there but ehhh) throw an absolute and utter tantrum at me when, as a Guide (Player Helper sort) I told him no, he cannot be named Sephiroth.

    Anyway: Pern games often had ridiculous names. Usually because someone knew what they wanted their 'Impression' name to be and built up a name around it. They might have thought you wanted to shorten to 'Th'ain' or somesuch. Heck I went from "Tadiera" to "Era" on Star Stones (and later renamed to Tad'ra because I missed the "Tad" part of the name).

    So yeah, ridiculous names were just sort of a thing on Pern games.


  • Pitcrew

    @Thenomain said in What MU/RPG opinions have you changed or maintained?:

    I feel bad for helping start Dark Metal, which was started for that exact reason, but spawned many clones of itself that hurt instead of helping.

    Enh. DM served a purpose, and its clones probably did, too - gave people a place to go be twinks, even if the people in question were just the ones playing the WoD equivalent of a GOMO game.

    Don't feel bad. You were doing community service: we all knew where to avoid if we didn't want to deal with the twinkery and where to go if we did! :D


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice I played there!



  • @krmbm said in What MU/RPG opinions have you changed or maintained?:

    Don't feel bad. You were doing community service: we all knew where to avoid if we didn't want to deal with the twinkery and where to go if we did! :D

    I felt bad because there were almost no GOOD WoD games during that era, and Dark Metal may have just been a symptom, but it was a symptom I encouraged.

    I would drop the "almost" but I played on one that the staff ended with a real end-of-the-world scenario and it was just...good. Not great. Not blow-your-mind fantastic. But solid enough that players continued there and played without staff supervision for several months after they said they were done.

    As much as there was vitriol and poison from that era, I absolutely miss how easy it was to find AND MAKE things to do. We have precious little of that these days.

    (edit: I didn't think "and make" had enough emphasis. Now it probably has too much. Such as it is.)


  • Pitcrew

    So as just about anyone who knows me knows I am prone to ranting. I have a mountain of peeves of which only a few are remotely rational.

    As a staffer and as someone building a game (no i haven't forgotten) I have changed my philosophy quite a bit. Instead of doubling down against things that players like that I do not like, i have instead started focusing extra creative attention, to implement these things i don't like, in a manner that is deep and rich and part of the setting that I am building.

    Since I have at times been kind of a tyrant when it comes to certain theme flavors, this is helping get over myself in a healthy way and in a way that doesnt make me feel resentful when players through no fault of thier own have the audacity to want to RP things that hit one of my innumerable peeves.


  • Pitcrew

    I don't know if I could itemize my regrets after this long, but I do know one thing that is both a regret and the opposite:

    Making the transition from MUDs to MUX/MUSH/etc.

    Why is that transition a regret? It's led to some :| places and upsets in my years (because I was waaaaaaay sensitive to feedback at the time this was going on), but the good has come in equal measure. If there's one thing I'm grateful for, it's RP MU*ing, because I don't think I would have had nearly as much progress as a would-be writer without it.

    I am so glad I don't have a record of my first-ever char background, because I would be mortified for anyone to see what my then 16yo self wrote.


  • Pitcrew

    Apparently @tragedyjones and I have a similar history. Down to our first MU (his "modern") and time period of entrance on the scene and staffing on TR. We kinda grew up together and that's kinda neat. RIP BITN.

    Anyway, I've never held any strong opinions. I'm just easy like that. Or two faced. or I'm an indecisive fence sitter. Maybe I am just easily swayed. I won't even weigh in on that.

    But I have said for years that Mage is a single sphere only game. I want someone to change my mind so badly. So, so badly.



  • I used to think that staff victimized players. Now I realize we just victimize ourselves.



  • I used to view MUSHing as a combat sport, like arena terrorism or a Yakuza lemonade stand.

    Now, I view it as more of a way to be pretentious towards my own delusions of peculiarity.

    They call me Hamburger Harry, and I am a MUSHer.


  • Admin

    Your well-being is not expendable, your presence on a game is.

    I didn't always realize this and I hadn't always enforced that on myself, and I should have. But the power to leave when the cons of being on a MU* outweigh the positives is essential.

    Nothing excuses it. I firmly believe that now. Not 'but I still have friends there...', certainly not 'but I've already invested so much time in it...', or even 'if this one person finally leaves...'if that person finally understands...' .

    If I stop having fun I leave. That's it.

    Also leaving shouldn't be a statement aimed to be leverage. Don't expect people to follow you ("If you're my friend why are you still on <X>?" - it's because they might still be having fun, dummy), don't hold your breath for the game to suffer because you're gone (and if you do, please examine your motives).

    And for the love of Cthulhu don't make any last-second melodramatic motions, long posts or bridge-burning to signal your exit. Inform any actual friends or regular partners you're going or how to reach you if they want to, then make a graceful exit.


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