Originally published at: Rebuilding the Community – Molten Aether News
Usage has been on the decline for a bit now. Even before the server split participation has been on the decline. A few have been pushing forward anyway and being active. I want to support those players who have been active. First off, a shout-out to Winter who has been working on some amazing stuff in Embers of Soteria. Her contributions have been aided by many but her writing, effort, and creativity have been exceptional in adding a flavor to the story and components that fit into the greater narrative of the setting nicely.
I still fully believe that the server split was a good idea; though I do question it at times. Regardless the genie is out of the bottle with that one so either way that is how things are set up. I do recognize that it might not have been my best idea.
For those who want the short version, I’m looking to have people increase participation by using the posts on this site as a starting point to have characters / NPCs who may not otherwise interact to do so. Short or long doesn’t matter, but use these as a source or a topic to talk / interact on in RP sessions. Next, help others, try to gently pull people in via inviting people into scenes. Finally, help get ideas rolling be constructive, be a sounding board providing feedback on pros and cons and help refine and build ideas for play. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or look silly, just create.
Why is there a lack of participation?
We did a survey last year about participation. I have discussed the results at some point with the staff and I don’t think the situation has really changed that much. One of the biggest issues is that people don’t have a lot of time to sink into role playing and if they do, they may not want to role play here. It’s unreasonable to assume everyone with time is going to really become a devoted role player / writer here so I largely classify this as an unfixable problem. We cannot make people have more time and we cannot dictate how people should spend it. I myself have very few bits of time to string together and real life often gets in the way.
The other issue the survey brought up was about the games and playing; there is a feeling that the lore is at times impenetrable and there is a general enthusiasm with plots but a general inhibition or hesitation toward posting. People who are here who have a lot of good ideas, want to role play, are even talented at role play, but have no idea what to add to a game. This timidness toward being wrong or somehow screwing up a game is a huge factor, the second of all factors for people not participating (the biggest being time).
What do we do?
What I’d like to do is to use this site as more than just a collective history or creative narrative to add spice and color to the setting. I would like to use this to provide background that then people can use to base role playing on. So we have some recent posts about the Solas Tempus Marines and what their training is like. As an example, we have a lot of military characters and they could talk about or comment about the marines and their training in Finnegans (good or bad). People could NPC a group of marines for character to interact with or even make a marine character to play. This provides a place to go for shorter (or longer) role plays with characters that may not otherwise have a reason to interact. A drunk marine in Finnegans being an asshole and provides a reason for two military (or non-military) characters to react, talk, be brought together over a drink.
Similarly we had a recent post about troubles brewing around Chicago. This is intended as not just the introduction to a story arc (which it is) but also players in the Saevae could be talking about that and that could bring in other characters who normally wouldn’t interact. There’s a lot of fear that would be going on, fear is a powerful motivator. There would be everything from scam artists to heros showing up and with so much social pressure people are bound to get into conflicts. This is a jumping off point for side-RPs.
One of the biggest things I want people to take from this is to really try the dumb idea out, don’t be afraid to be wrong, don’t be afraid to look stupid. Make stuff up, you won’t be wrong. Often the crap that gets made up becomes part of the story arc and there suddenly you’ve participated in the whole arc!
Pulling vs. Pushing
I also want to ask everyone (especially staff) to begin pulling. I say pulling because I don’t think it is a good idea to go and pester people to role play. A lot of people have @here and @everyone suppressed and the server muted. So ping or DM someone whose on the server that we haven’t seen for a while and invite them to do a role play. Look at what characters they have, don’t push… Don’t ping them 3-4 times in a row and then keep at them but offer… “Hey, haven’t seen you around the server for a while, we’ve got some stuff going on, maybe want to do a scene?”
From what the survey from last year said a lot of people don’t know what to contribute, so I ask everyone to try to help fix that. Be vocal with ideas, advocate for the people that you know are good writers and help them with ideas. It’s often so much easier to see ideas for other people than it is to see ideas for yourself! A lot of this is about collaboration no one has all the ideas on their own.