rp

Life in Tyria: How roleplaying in GW2 works…

It’s been a week since the Crimson Ashes Guild accepted me in on a trial period and in that time I’ve been on a steeeeep learning curve about what RP in GW2 is and how it works. Here’s what I’ve uncovered so far.

As in SL, live RP is just a matter of typing out loud (/s) and emoting (/e) the words, deeds and thoughts of your character whilst remaining totally in character. any out of character stuff is done via private, group or guild chat (/w, /p & /g respectively*). There is a lot of suspension of disbelief as well as a lot of nothing happening to the characters on screen, with all the action being described in chat rather than ‘acted out’ on screen.

With the monster hunt I took part in on Saturday I had expected it to be a group fight against a real in-game monster but the day before I had the opportunity to ask the leader, Craywin, about how this would work. Bloody good job I did otherwise I’d have gone in all guns blazing and looking like a right nutter! No, instead of fighting a real game monster, the ice brood minotaur was imaginary and operated by Craywin, who was also there as Craywin. It worked like this:

  • We met up in game and were from then on in totally IC with all OOC chat behind the scenes.
  • We walked to the location Craywin had in mind for the encounter (along the way taking part in any dynamic events that naturally happen but doing so totally IC).
  • Once at the location Craywin OOCed us to start the encounter. From then on in he was being both player and DM and he emoted the beast’s movements and actions in chat.
  • A marker was used to show the rough position of the beast (in this case a banner) so we could better work out a reply.
  • After each batch of emotes describing the beast’s actions, we could emote our actions and talk/shout out loud to each other IC.
  • The length of each ‘turn’ was not set but quickly found a natural pace.Essentially not too much action and no players saying “I hit it dead in the eye and it dies!”, the DM decides those kinds of things both to keep the experience fair & fun for all but also building to an exciting conclusion.
  • Dice rolls weren’t enforced, it’s up to the players if they want to use them to add an element of chance to the action otherwise it’s much more about a shared trust that all parties work together on a shared narrative.
  • It took about 4 turns to kill the beast which took us 40 mins or so.
  • Afterwards we RPed about the aftermath, healed the wounded, etc, Again, most of this was done with out loud IC chat & /e emotes but there was also some use of positional emotes such as /kneel for bending to a fallen player and /sleep to be that player.

All in all it was both not what I was expecting and exactly what I should have expected. It was great fun. It was back to my teen yaers playing MERP on the kitchen table. It was collaborative story telling. It was roleplaying and it was good. It’s a long time since I’ve been this excited about a game, probably since writing Steal Head if I’m honest and that’s because I get to create the story once more. Hell it’s even made me think about SL again, something I never thought could happen!

*GW2 commands are listed here with the emotes here and a guide from the emotes programmer here.

Roleplaying in Guild Wars 2: Meeting the Family…

I was hoping to have written up a follow up to my ‘Humble Beginnings’ post by now but alas, I need to sleep in between work and playing GW2 😀

When I last left off I’d met some of the Crimson Ashes Guild in the Maiden’s Whisper and had been invited to an IC meeting with the rest of the Guild at the same place the next day. I only just made it after tearing down the motorway from work, but make it I did and I walked Jurak up into the pub – right past all the Guildies who were watching my with what I can only imagine was bemused pity as I strode on by. Luckily the same player who had met me both the previous night and in the Lomar’s pass camp was on hand to save the day (and my blushes).

gw570

Victoria introduced me to the group, including who I think is the boss, Craywin (although they may have no overall leader, it’s hard to tell) and we all chatted in character for a while. In the end they agreed to give Jurak (and me, lest I forget) a trial period. Jurak was invited him on a beast hunt deep into Svanir held territory whilst I was told that whilst attendance was casual they do expect active participation a couple of times a week, which seems both fair and manageable to me. They came across like a nice, friendly bunch. I’ve not been in many guilds in my gaming life (this is number three) but I’ve always been lucky to pick friendly ones. My only complaint in the past has been the last of a cohesive narrative for the group to exist, something to hang the whole suspension of disbelief on. Yes it’s nice to chat in the guild channel about the game and the wider real world and that is invaluable, but it can’t (for me at least) be all there is. I think that in Crimson Ashes I’ve found something really special – a group with which to grow and share stories.

Roleplaying in Guild Wars 2: Humble Beginnings

It was, I have to say, a weird night in Tyria last night. I started in Divinity’s Reach at the bank where I had logged off the day before in order to sort, recycle, bank & sell the bag load of bumpf I had picked up from a couple of tours of Lion’s Arch. After that I toyed with the idea of TPing back to LA to start all over again but in the end opted for donning my town clothes (the second time I have ever done so since the game started), toggling the run speed to ‘walk’ and heading off to my home instance to see what was happening. Had I thought about it, I could have answered my own question with a big, fat “Nothing!” because the home instance only ever has one real person in it, you. Luckily I mis-remembered the name of the home instance and didn’t read the map carefully enough and headed over to Rurikton which, in hindsight, was a lovely piece of serendipity.

I walked through the old Ascalonian settlers’ quarter half suspecting this wasn’t my home instance and half determined to keep up my frustratingly slow walk through the town and into the next area (which, given the fact I was heading north, would have been Salma, my home instance). As I passed a large building I heard (and saw thanks to faint chat bubbles visible in the air and through walls) NPCs chatting away. They were coming from the large building, which turned out to be the Maiden’s Whisper pub, so I headed in and straight away found it was full of not just NPCs but also players. Standing around. In town clothes. I glanced down at my chat box and saw they were chatting in character and realised I’d blundered into an RP event! Again!

I didn’t recognise anyone from my previous encounter with RPers but what were the chances of that, eh? I tentatively began to RP with the Charr landlord (the pub seems to be open to all so I guess enterprising RPers just RP they own – I do wonder what would happen if two characters were there at the same time and both their RP stories claimed they owned it independently – what would an RP fight like that look like?). It was fun, I bought beer which didn’t exist with money I didn’t really give and talked to the Charr about how he kept a good brew. It was fun. Odd but fun. In a tabletop game it’s a given the beer & money wouldn’t exist but in a richly detailed 3D world I sort of expected they would. In Second Life the bar could give you scripted drink. In LOTRO I’d have to buy a drink and then use it. I *think* that’s the same in GW2 but I’m not sure. So I just stood there and typed /e takes a deep drink of the ale “That’s a good brew there, barkeep!” and the like*.

After a while I grew a little restless and wandered off. I headed to the Salma district and regretted 1.284 seconds after entering as I was remembered that I would be the only person there! What a waste! I have more to say on home areas and instances but that’s for another “World Building…” posts in the future. I turned around and left, heading back to Rurikton abut before I could get there real life interrupted and took me away from the game for an hour or so,

I logged back in after the kids were in bed and took up where I had left off. I walked back to where I thought the pub was but got hopelessly lost. I saw a couple of other non-armoured, non-running players and took them to be RPers but rather than stop them I pressed on. I became aware that the chat window was cycling over with player chats nearby but it was only after a few minutes I began to recognise names. Names I had last seen in the RP session outside Lion’s Arch by the Durmond Priory. Almost at the same time I realised this I received an in game mail which turned out to be from the RPer I’d spoken to during that event and who had promised to get back with details of an in-game, in-character interview – not only that but it was one of the players in the pub I was stood near to at that exact moment! Someone somewhere was leading me down a path and so who am I to refuse them?

I met up with the RPers in the pub, they were a different bunch from the ones earlier in the evening and I think they were all part of the same guild, Crimson Ashes. I was made very welcome and some faltering RP (faltering on my part I hasten to add) took place in which I was gently interviewed to see what kind of player I was. In the end I was invited to a second interview (tonight – must remember! 8pm! Set a reminder with Google Now!) and if I pass that I’ll end up in a RP guild on a probation period. I’m still really unsure what the players do – hopefully it’s more than RPing in pubs as I don’t think that will suit me. Ideally I’d like to run game story content & dungeons with them but in character as well as plan some interesting storylines we can act out in world, but as it stands right now it’s all a bit of a mystery. Still, so was RP in Second Life but I worked that out in the end 😀 I’ll keep you posted.

Roleplaying in the Maiden's Whisper pub (I'm the blue top).

Roleplaying in the Maiden’s Whisper pub (I’m the blue top).

*The /e means that what appears in the chat window starts with your character’s name so that line would appear as Jurak Gearwright takes a deep drink of the ale “That’s a good brew there, barkeep!” to everyone nearby. I’ve yet to figure out all the conventions of RP but this is a mainstay as far as I can tell. This appears to be a great resource site I have yet to mine for more guidance: http://guildwars2roleplay.wikispaces.com/Roleplay+Guide

 

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the camp…

As I’ve mentioned I’ve restarted my Guild Wars 2 game playing and although I’m enjoying it I’m still left with that weird, empty feeling afterwards. There are several reasons for this, not all of which I can adequately express despite several hours in the last few days of quite serious introspection. What it boils down to seems to be a feeling of disconnection from the game brought about by an unsatisfactory social play model and the inability of the game to tailor an experience for me to lose myself in. I feel it is only fair to say this is not unique to GW2 for me but so far all MMOs such as LOTRO, Star Trek and even Second Life have shared this exact same issue. I plan to write more on this but I’m still trying to organise my thoughts and feelings into a coherent body that I can lay out for inspection but before I do I just wanted to share with you an experience from last night that made my soul sing with the sweet possibility of a solution.

I logged into GW2 and rezzed where I had left off, in Lion’s Arch in the second phase of the invasion storyline. It’s fun but unless you are with a zerg you are screwed. The previous night I reached near the end and fought the Prime Hologram that is somewhere just before the final fight with Scarlet Briar but we (the zerg) fluffed it and poof! I was back on Terra Firma with no more clue of how I got there than I did of how I got into the hologram fight or what the bloody hell I was doing for 99% of it. I was, it’s fair to say, despondent. My time is limited and to find myself so close to the end, whether by accident or design, and then plopped right back at the start felt like a total waste of my evening. Worse, it made me want to give up on the content because I could see no hope of ever getting to the end of it again. I left Lion’s Arch and headed for the old refugee camps to see if I could trade in the guff I had uncovered from the city (in itself another sticky point as I was unable to get an achievement in time due to being a solo player and now I’m stuck with a permanent 80% record despite my best efforts – argh!) only to find the bloody vendors have now gone!

I was, as you can imagine, more than a little hacked off. What is the point in playing if I can’t take part in any but the most trivial of content? Why carry on at all if all I can ever hope to be is a dull foot soldier lobbing in grenades from the side-lines and never getting to the end of the battle? What, I wondered, was the point of playing the game at all?

It was at this point I noticed some players walking. In MMOs this is unheard of except for role-players. I stopped dead, realising I’d just run directly into one of them and our bodies were now clipped together. If this was an RPer then this is just the sort of thoughtless action that would piss them off and I quickly disengaged and backed off. Sure enough the group, which all sported the same guild tag, began to talk to each other. Out loud. Without using LOLZ. Jesus! they *were* RPers! I set my guy to walking speed, found a seat by the camp fire and sat right down to watch.

gw886

The story began to unfold in front of me, each player using a mixture of IC & OOC chat to drive the tale on. After a while I began to join in and rather than getting a private message to butt out they actually let me join in. It was all very tentative, me wondering if I was going to fut my size nines in it and they no doubt wondering if I was about to take the piss or do something to ruin their carefully nurtured sense of immersion. Neither party was, I think I’m justified in saying, disappointed in the behaviour of the other – I tried my best to fit in and not be a cock whilst they certainly didn’t come over as elitist jerks and they were very welcoming. In fact so much so that I ended up asking if I could join their guild. I have no idea what came over me but I just decided that nothing ventured nothing gained – the logical outcome of me not asking would be the removal of the game from my machine in a few weeks so I asked. And they said yes! Well, a qualified yes. I will have to have an interview with them to see if I fit in, but that’s fair enough. If we both like each other then maybe this is the start of a new renaissance* on my gaming. Maybe, after all I have tried this before in SL but never found an RP community I really liked. Maybe in Tyria I will. I’m willing to try if they are 🙂

gw894

 

Bryce Carter’s Office… take 1

I’ve been working on and off to recreate a Marlowe-esque office for my Bay City PI, Bryce Carter. This is it so far (although the av’s look and AO have changed now)
Bryce Carter in his office_003

This it the old Bryce look:
Bryce Carter - thru the blinds_008

This is the new (the one above looked very odd in profile):
Bryce Carter

I’ll keep tinkering and posting 🙂

Loki Eliot’s New Babbage RP – The Black Heart

Loki Eliot’s been a busy lad of late – he’s rebuilt his Goonie Island and started up a new Babbage-based RP called The Black Heart. Like his previous Shadow of 13, The Black Heart has its own website (http://babbagechronicles.co.uk/) and it was during my search for this site I found a posting on his personal blog I’d missed and boy does it give a great run down of his previous stories. Oddly enough, given my love of shared RP in SL, I’ve never taken part in one of his – despite stumbling across them all in one way or another(1). I don’t know why this is, but I put it down to three things:

1) I’ve always wanted to do my own thing – at the times I’ve come across Loki’s RP I’ve been busy doing my own stuff and that brings me to…

2) I simply don’t have enough time! I never have had enough online time to do what I want to – not just in-world, but externally as well. This blog is as important to me as my stuff in-world. Some of you might not see why and that’s fine because to me it is and that’s all that matters. I can be in-world more but write less, or write more and be in-world less – the line has to be drawn and quite often writing and blogging win out. But under all that lies the fact that…

3) I’ve never felt part of the Babbage community. I tried back in late 2007, but it’s always seen like the preserve of builders and creators and so I just have never followed its development much. Same goes for Caledon really. In fact all steampunk. In truth I don’t much care for Steampunk – it just doesn’t interest me in the same way Star Trek/Wars doesn’t (2).

Anyhoo because I didn’t follow Babbage and because I had ideas to do my own stuff and because I have never been in-world as much as I feel I need to be I tended to miss the stuff that went on in the telling of the tales and that sense of ‘going it alone’ doesn’t do it for me (see my recent rant about Call of Duty Black Ops). This is why in the recent Steelhead RP I wanted to collect all the posts from everyone and make a “Story In Full” list so the whole thing felt like a collaborative effort.

Yet my personal foibles aside (3) I really want to get involved in this one, partly because I know some folks already involved (Myrtil and Miss Chernov) and partly because I want to learn more about multiparticipatory RP (as opposed to the other type of multiparticipatory activity this blog is famed for) and who better to learn from than the master (4). I’m sure that in a year from now Steelhead will be putting on this kind of RP – I have, you’ll be unsurprised to hear, several good ideas I’ve already pitched to the bosses ;-D

****{*}****

(1) This post (https://headburroantfarm.wordpress.com/2007/09/26/in-other-news-murder-most-foul/) is from 3 years ago and shows how even then I was looking for a RP experience (as well as being quite keen on eldrich horror, a fact that hasn’t – and I doubt ever will – change).

(2) I still haven’t found my perfect world in SL, but when I do it’s going to be horror and/or 1940s LA detective noir based 🙂

(3) None of which have anything to do with Loki, who I’ve never met, or his excellent work, which I love.

(4) Although his building, texturing & scripting skills will always be beyond me – Loki is the perfect package for RP!

p.s. You can read more of my RP waffle posts here.

Amazing Map of New Babbage

Thanks to the Heliograph, I was alerted to a thread on the New Babbage Ning about a simply stunning piece piece of work to map New Babbage in a style that befits its steampunk heart. Pop over to the Ning and see for yourself just what a wonderful job Mr. Elika Sieyes has done 🙂

New Babbage Map (as of 7th Jan 2010)

New Babbage Map (as of 7th Jan 2010)

p.s. While I’m at it, TY to Breezy Carver for alerting to me to what looks like a very interesting roleplaying development in New Babbage – pop over to the Shadow of the 13 site for more details.

Shanghaied by the Aether Salon

You heard of the Aether Salon? I hadn’t until recently, but I’m really glad I did. The Ather Salon is a traveling symposium of Stempunkers, Victorianas and other assorted thoughtful SLer-types that recently came to Steelhead Shanghai for its December 2009 meeting. I happened along and found it incredibly informative and entertaining.

First off Riven Homewood (who runs the Steelhead Public Library) gave a great slideshow and talk about the history of Chinese people in the NW US (Steelhead being in Oregon, you see). Now as it happens in August last year I was in Vancouver, BC and found myself in a small museum in Steveson’s post office. The museum contained much about the history of the Japanese and Chinese immigrant workers who came to and settled in the area and as Vancouver is very close to Oregon I found Riven’s talk highly illuminating indeed. I’m trying very hard with my ‘Dr Beck in the slums’ tales to relfect as faithfully as I can what life was like for the poor sods who worked in the canneries and lived in the ghettos and slums of the time so I drank in all the wonderful details Riven presented to the Salon.
Aether Salon in Shanghai

Next up was Elegia Underwood (who created and owns the Dragon Lands in Shanghai, more about which I posted here) who talked about roleplaying in Shanghai, as well as in SL at large, and launched a wonderful contest in which she is searching for people to pen a mystery that can be played out in Steelhead.
Aether Salon in Steelhead Shanghai

Lastly was Lunar who talked about his (and Tensai’s) hard work and vision for Steelhead. Anyone who is thinking of visiting or looking at moving in should read what he says to whet your appetite – they put so much thought and love into their building and management of the sims and it really shines through.
The Aether Salon

The full unedited and edited transcripts of the Shanghai Aether Salon are on the blog. Riven & Elegia have some pics here.

Check out Elegia’s great buildings for rent here and read more about her wonderful contest here (the closing date is the 15th January 2010 so why not enter?)

For all my Steelhead related posts click here.

For all my Shanghai related posts click here.

*****{*}*****

Re-Rezzing Ryne

Now that HBA is a crispy chip, I’ve decided to resurrect my old roleplaying av, Ryne Beck. I created Ryne  in 07 so I could RP in somewhere like Toxian City but I never found a place I actually liked so I retired him. He came out briefly for the CSI sims and for a murder mystery Enjah ran in Grignano, but these were brief excursions and all too soon he was one again consigned to the assert server of forgotten avs.

So when I decided HBA needed a rest (and a shit load of salve) I turned to Ryne. But he needed some work. The clothes had to go, and the hair and skin – the new Ryne was to be from a ruined Manchester in the 1880s, and his beefcake, tough, black NY cop look just didn’t fit. So here is a pictorial record of his metamorphosis…

Rezzing Ryne  4

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck Gravatar 2

Ryne, or Dr Rynehold Beck, will be moving into Steelhead’s Shanghai slums to look after the poor of the parish – look out for his tales appearing here soon 🙂

Roleplaying in SL: Lessons Learnt from Lost & Found

If you’ve been following my blog for the last few months you’ll know I’ve been musing on the nature and mechanics of roleplaying in SL. Indeed, it was those conversations that led me directly to leave HBA Island and join Steelhead. Once in that fair city I immediately set about embroiling myself in a complex storyline of lost memories, assumed identities and exploding laboratories and is this experience I’d like to talk about here.

To start with the “Lost & Found” tale was just collaborative writing RP with a few photos thrown in which, bar the collaborative stuff, is meat & potatoes to me as that’s how I’ve always done all my RP, simple tales told by a simple bugger on a simple blog with some pictures sprinkled hither and yon for good measure.

Apart from plot ideas from Darien, the collaborative bit wasn’t, at first, really all that collaborative. I merely approached the other folks involved with IMed or emailed requests to involve their characters and then asked them to OK the draft results to ensure I captured them correctly and that I hadn’t dropped a ruddy huge clanger. I was bowled over by people’s enthusiasm to read through a post and agree or amend & agree it – this meant not only was the turn around time for posts really quick, but I knew that they were all happy with their ‘parts’.

Collaboration really began by accident. I was out taking pictures of Steelhead just near the lab when TotalLunar Elipse, the estate manager, turned up. We got to chatting and IMing about OOC issues. I asked him about the pentacle in the Labs and bang! we fell into IC RPing – it was my first time and he was very gentle 😉

I gained a lot from this – in fact it altered the direction of the tale as Lunar downloaded a lot of history and information in that one encounter and I began to plot immediately how I could work it all into a post.

From there I had some very fruitful email conversations with Annechen Lowey and Amarantis Belfire – both were kind enough to read my draft offerings and help flesh them out until I could see the finished post before me.

So far so good – writing and photographing on my own, emailing to & fro with others and even an in-world, in-character exchange. This was, using my earlier definitions, Written and Character RP in action and was obviously producing some small measure of Community RP as a small handful of other Steelheadians had linked to my tale in their own, a big result for me I should add 🙂 But what of Event RP?

Well, dear reader, let me enlighten you as to my plans right from the start – the destruction of Mason Labs and cruel injury of our hero, HBA. And to do this I wanted to burn down the lab in an act of community supported Event RP (in the end I opted for an explosion, but the plan was the same). I talked to Darien, Lunar, Anechen & Amarantis right from the start and then nearer the time IMed & emailed my neighbours to explain my plans and to ask if they’d be willing to help out by allowing wreckage to be strewn across their plots and even damaging their buildings. To my amazement all but one replied and all those said yes! The only problem was I had no idea how to do it* 😀

In the end it proved easier than I had imagined – I deleted the lab on the land (I couldn’t edit the pieces as they weren’t mine and the person they belonged to is no longer in SL) and used my PrimFinder tool to make some simple jagged shapes which I them textured as metal and scattered about. I also bought some smoke scripts and bunged them into transparent prims to make the wreckage look hot.

Destroying the lab

Destroying Mason Lab

Destroying Mason Lab

One Bloody Big Cog

I then tested out some explosives I’d bought for the end of <a href=”https://headburroantfarm.wordpress.com/category/the-lost-journal/”>The Lost Journal</a> and I found some excellent free sculptie fire that grows, smokes and dies all on its own.

Firefighting in Steelhead

Firefighting in Steelhead

Lost and Found - Explosion 1

It was as I was testing this lot that I ballsed up. I was showing my friend Warren Daines and, in the spirit of goofing about, we announced FIRE! in the group chat. Within 30 seconds we were involved in the roleplay I had planned, except it had all been arranged with my neighbours to take place three days later! They then had to rush about placing wreckage and damaging buildings – I felt a right berk!

Lost & Found Chapter 11

Lost & Found Chapter 12 - Epilogue

Lost & Found Chapter 12 - Epilogue

Anyhoo, as it turned out it went well and people enjoyed it – it even got a mention in dispatches:

** RANDOM ACTS OF RP IN STEELHEAD **

Mason Labs in Steelhead Harborside was accidentally blown up. Several pieces of debris landed on homes, the bridge, and underwater. We ask that you not try to move the objects as they’re being tested to make sure they don’t have any sort of contaminant and we don’t want someone accidentally squishing themselves.

The Steelhead Sentinel

So what lessons have I learnt?

Communication is vital and planning is a must. But don’t pop your cork earlier than you promised 😀

Now… Let’s get one with another, shall we?

* Lunar had a good tip for destroying a building which I would never have thought of – turn the pieces of the building (or in my case, the wreckage) physical and watch it fall, then turn them all non-physical… et voila! One destroyed building. I recently saw a good example of this here.