I've been doing online roleplaying for what feels like a long time. I've done a lot of really cool things. I've grown as both a person and a writer over that time. And I've learned some things along the way. I thought I'd create a place for me to muse, and possible share some worthwhile lessons for those of you who care. For anyone that likes (or even reads it!) this: let me know, and I'll see if I can't keep them coming. (As a side note, I put this on my most high-profile character in order to get a few more views, though I might move it over to my writer later on if I feel that is more appropriate.)
Where were we?
Oh, right. I'm old (not really, though).
In all the time that I've been roleplaying, I've seen people do things that they might later regret. They alienate, offer scathing or unwarranted criticism, or just generally troll, frustrate, and aggravate their fellow community members. No one wins, people get their feelings hurt, and subsequently quit. It happens more times than it should.
I, myself, am guilty of one such occurrence. It is the only thing I have ever done as a roleplayer that I regret. The story, with just enough background to understand, is as follows:
I started my rping days on the Star Wars Combine. This thing had come out called Star Wars Galaxies and I was super excited until I found out that my computer couldn't handle the bandwidth requirement. Then, in my disparity, I came across the Combine. Little me thought: "You mean there's a place where a bunch of Star Wars fans can get together and play a cool game and it doesn't cost me money or need a fancy machine? AWESOME!"
And I jumped in head first. This was in 2004. I had just turned 15. I was excited. I was young. I was naïve. I was impatient. I was a big dumb-dumb-head.
I think I managed to kill of my first character within the first three months of playing the game, in a game where combat doesn't even function today (11 years later!), and knowing full well that there was a one-month long respawn.
My second character went through the ringer though. A nobody in one faction after another. Hapes is the only one I really remember, though I managed to stick it out there for about 4 months (a record for me!).
And then I got to BlasTech. Weapon factions had just recently become a thing, and all the big governments were snatching up names as quickly as they could get the credits together. BlasTech needed people, and I thought that a gun-toting Ithorian would be hilarious. At the time, they were a subsidiary of the Wraiths, a rather popular criminally-oriented government. I was a member there for quite some time, I don't remember exactly how long. I garnered the trust of not only my peers but the peers I held in the other affiliated factions.
Enough trust where I was inevitably appointed XO and then CO after two of the front-runners went on long-term LOAs. The Chaos equivalent was Faction Owner.
Me? A dumb-dumb-headed 16 year old kid? Responsibility?
I didn't know what that meant. I was young, naïve, impatient, AS EXCITED AS A KID ON CHRISTMAS MORNING GETTING EVERYTHING S/HE COULD HAVE EVER ASKED TO RECEIVE. I was somebody. I was important. I got privileges I never knew existed. It was pretty awesome.
But of course, there wasn't much for a weapons faction to do in those days. Items hadn't even been implemented yet. So we were really just a bunch of idiots flying around making silly promises to the future. Lots of talking, not a lot of doing. And because of all of the aforementioned qualities, that was boring. We were playing a game right? Games are meant to exciting and fun right?
So I wanted to make things interesting.
I ended up making things too interesting. I dissolved the faction claiming that the rights of our faction members were less than those of others, that we were neglected, just a commodity, a name for our parent faction to use. It sounded cool, and to some of the members in the faction, it sounded like the kind of thing you would want your leader to say.
Naturally, the Wraiths weren't too happy. But more than that, they felt betrayed. Here I was; a person they trusted. Some of them would even call me a friend. I knew many of the leaders quite well for just people you meet over the internet. Venix, Kyle, Angel, and many more whose names have faded over the years. I don't remember them all, but I remember the feelings.
I claimed it was all for the fun of the game. But they had put a lot of work into this thing. Probably close to a year and a half' worth of time, and effort, and energy to get the faction going, and funded, and populated. That takes commitment. That takes passion.
What was I? I was nothing more than a jerk. And within the month I had been hunted down, arrested and executed, in game. My name got put on a blacklist and any faction I joined with whoever my new character would be would have to be taken with an asterisk next to it. An asterisk that meant "untrustworthy."
I thought I was somebody, somebody important. I had power, credits, the ability to make real things happen in a game that more than 4 thousand people were playing at the time.
What I really had were things I didn't value until much later. I had friends. People whose respect I had garnered and then shattered. I had responsibility and the trust of those around me, which I threw away as if it were nothing but waste.
I didn't feel badly at the time. I had my moment in the spotlight, and it was great. It wasn't until a few years later that I really regretted my actions. Not because I gave up something cool, but because I had lost the friendships that made that experience so awesome.
If I could, I'd say sorry. But as the internet goes, contact info is lost, technologies change, and I don't even know if any of those folks are still active. And at 10 years later, why would they even care to hear my voice again after so long?
The lesson here, folks, is this: your actions, not just OOC but IC as well, have real consequences. This is a community that has come together over a love of Star Wars, of writing, of roleplaying. Value the people around you, because they are what makes this experience truly special.