How important is it to be 'needed'?
Auspice last edited by
We keep an up-to-date list of what concepts we think are most needed, open but overdone, closed until further notice, and (a very short list of) banned concepts.
This is almost exactly what I've done on SGM. I need to update the needed list (meant to add that to my to-do list, thanks for the reminder!), but I've absolutely been sliding things into the 'restricted' list based on being overdone. Because of that 'you CAN app this if you really want, but we're going to be extra critical and it's for YOUR benefit' factor.
As to whether or not people have more or less success picking up needed concepts than what they'd prefer to play? Enh. There are several characters on GH right now that I would have sworn would never get any traction, but now they're right there in the thick of things. And then there are several that were awesome concepts that I thought for sure would slot right into plots... and they wind up doing a few coffee shop scenes and wandering off. So it kinda seems like a crap-shoot.
So my feeling here is along these lines:
The person in the former category? Is probably playing what they want to play.
The person in the latter category? Was either trying a new-to-them idea or made a char that they thought the game needed, but wasn't their personal interest/forte.
On BSU, I tried playing a doctor. I rarely play medical types, but damnit I had an idea and I wanted to make myself expand my horizons. She was a really cool character with a great backstory and I absolutely got some amazing interpersonal RP in with the person who was hooked into her backstory....... but actual stuff relating to her being a doctor? I hated it. It just didn't work for me.
So yes, she was really cool. Had a lot of potential. But it just didn't work for me because.... I made a char that wasn't what I enjoy playing.
So I am generally of the camp that makes wtf ever i want and then make it work. However I also like to play characters over a long period of time, so even if someone is occupying my niche now, good chances say they wont be in a few months.
And even if they are playing a character similar to mine, just make it your own and play it better. So what if there are 3 hookah lounge ogre blacksmiths... compete with each other, advertize ridiculous sales, Team Up. I find the best success comes from really finding something you are interested in playing, rather than looking for whatever others want/need, because people will often react more to seeing someone playing something they are passionate about, and see that reflect in the interest they put into their RP and character, rather than someone going 'yeah we need a badminton instructor, no one is playing one.
Auspice last edited by
I've been mulling this evening on character concepts and one I'm hung up on is the 'jack of all trades' or 'can do all the things' character.
I do not think these are done maliciously, but I've been mulling the why of it. And yes, while I do believe some cases are people just wanting to literally be able to do any/everything, I think it actually falls more into the following:
1- Being afraid of not being involved ('needed'). So instead of specializing, they try to be 'decent' at everything.
The problem here is that other players tend to not like these characters and avoid them. Understandably, IMO. When Bob-the-JoaT can do everything and Jane the specialist needs someone on a plot, she's scared to go to Bob because Bob can do ALL THE THINGS... including her thing.
So people taking this tact find themselves actually left out more as people go for other specialists.
2- Their concept isn't 'tight' enough. So they toss points here and there and over there because they only have a general idea of who/what their character is.
We've all done this one, I think. Where we have a vague idea and we're just trying to get through CG. So we're like ehhh iiiiiiis she 5-dots worth of that skill or should I hedge my bets with 3 and put another 2 here and another 3 there and another.....
I've learned to catch this in myself in FS3 at least. If I start out CG and pick out 2-3 stats to boost up first before filling in the others and BG skills around them, I know I've landed on a solid idea of who my character is and what role they're meant to fill.
Neither of the above is malicious or wrong, but I think both cases need firm guidance from app staff. 'Hey, we really love this part of your concept and background and think you should absolutely focus here.'
I generally try to think of a concept that will a) fit the game setting/theme as best I can, b) has a 'hook' that I can see being desired and useful within the concept of the game, and c) is something that I can really see myself playing. Needed/wanted concepts lists (or questions) are an inspiration to me, because it helps fill in that A and B requirement right up front.
Having a character that feels USEFUL really is important to me. I don't need things to revolve around the character, or for the character to be vital, but I do need to be able to look around and go, "Okay, my character can help progress things by doing THAT." It does mean that when I'm looking for regular playgroups, I tend to stay away from characters which are similar to mine in skillsets/abilities UNLESS the other character's personality/circumstances are different enough that how the two characters USE those abilities are likely to be very different.
Paradox last edited by
For myself, I think that the concept of being needed ties in with the concept of being integral. Being part of a community for a lot of people I think comes down to feeling that you're actually a component of it. Not an outlier or someone on the periphery. This for me brings up two issues however,
Sometimes people go over the top to integrate themselves into the community (the do everything people who want to be able to connect) and thus they are needed in all things.
Staff guiding and circulating the spotlight for individuals to have that moment to feel integral.
On SGM I've been experimenting with styles of Storytelling to try to address issue #2. So far it's mixed success and I'm going to continue working on it, but the base concept comes from Dusk City Outlaws (which if you haven't played is a really interesting and fun game).
In the game, each players gets to be essentially a spotlight, they choose an action they are trying to accomplish and the other players are aiding in accomplishing this. Bob wants to scout out the building and learn the guard routes. All the other players can choose to join Bob on this, or not, because everyone will be having their own spotlight action. It takes a bit of time unfortunately, which I'm working on streamlining and of course communication. But in the end, there's a definite goal in mind for me, the ST. I'm not trying to just tell MY story, but I'm trying to create opportunities for each character to have a time to shine in THEIR story under the umbrella of the plot.
Again, work in progress but I believe it's at least a step in the right direction to help players feel needed and integral to what's going on. If successful, then the concept won't matter as much since any concept could feel needed and important to the game and if that becomes the culture then things (hopefully) begin to drift away from the jack of all trades as players learn that they will get their opportunity to be the spotlight.