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How much should I play? [poll]

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How much do -you- play (per week)?

5 hours or less
4
15%
5-10 hours
4
15%
10-20 hours
5
19%
20 hours or more
13
50%
 
Total votes : 26

How much should I play? [poll]

Postby EltanimRas » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:12 am

How much do you have to play before you feel involved in the game, before you feel that your PC is connected to others, part of a larger story, etc.? Is it one or two hours a day, three to four days a week? Just weekends, but five to six hours at a time?

Do you feel you have to play more if you're off-peak? More if you're independent? More if your hours are erratic, less if they're consistent?

If these factors matter, how much do they matter?

Does it help to play a PC who's outdoorsy and/or adventurous enough to go looking for activity when the inn is empty? Or do you find it more useful to be willing to park your PC, pmote, and idle, trying to trap whoever might speedwalk by? Do the in-game boards help you spark interaction?

***

On a related note:

Does anyone have tips for bridging the gap from 'acquaintance'-level roleplay (transactions, news, weather) to more interesting topics (politics, philosophy, personal story)?

It feels as if this progression used to happen much more naturally for me when either (a) I spent a whole lot of time in game or (b) I had a character who was more or less obviously 'special' (or, more often, publicly linked to someone else's 'special' PC) -- so that other characters would take the initiative in opening nontrivial conversations.

Right now, though, even when I'm playing relatively proactively, I feel as if more than half my conversations are some variation on the "Hi, what's your name?" type. :?

Is there an X hours or days played at which most people feel they pass that stage?

[Edited to add the poll.]
Last edited by EltanimRas on Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby Saellyn » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:20 am

Depends on your sphere, but honestly I'd say after a few rl days of talking you could probably start transitioning into that more philosophy based chat. Let it grow naturally like a real friendship would.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby EltanimRas » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:44 am

To clarify, briefly, in my specific case of about two weeks' intermittent playtime (say 10 hours total), I've had repeat interactions with ... maybe one or two PCs? So I begin to suspect that either I need to play more (or more consistently, or more proactively) or else that I need to practice working more character and depth into those initial interactions. Or all of the above!

I'm still very interested in the more general case, though -- how much other people play, what they feel their minimum for engagement is, etc.

Also, are other people fans of the notify command?
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby Rivean » Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:18 am

I think two weeks of regular play has historically been the right amount for me. But then, back in those days, 'regular play' used to mean upwards of four hours a day.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby Ava » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:34 am

I have a hard time finding people, and when I do those interactions are often business-based, revolving around crafting, objects or coin. I'm not sure if playing more really helps, or if it's a problem of character design on my part, or if I'm looking in the wrong places.

I like the notify command especially if it's direct. Often getting one is enough to keep me from logging off. I notice I get only one or two responses from the same people when I mass notify, so I wonder if it really works for people or if it's just an annoyance.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby Rivean » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:00 am

Well, back in ye olde days, there used to be a naturally evolved notify etiquette whereby one would only respond to mass notifies if one's PC was reasonably accessible.

So, I might not respond to your notify if my PC were out in the sticks with no present plans for returning. If it were a personal notify, I might respond and concoct some reason for my PC to head back to town (easily done if one is alone).

Also, I usually responded to personal notifies if my PC is online, even if they're not accessible (unless I'm about to log off shortly).
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby EltanimRas » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:32 am

Ava wrote:character design

Character design is another angle on this question that's probably worth exploring. Perhaps some character traits work better for initiating non-transactional, individualized roleplay when you have higher or lower playtimes, or when you're working with different amounts of meta-plot involvement, or when your preferred playstyle is more or less confrontational?

Do people have favorite roleplay-generating traits, whether proactive or reactive? (Naive, curious, ambitious, etc.?)
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby Songweaver » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:49 am

If you are averaging less than an hour of play a day, which is really a very casual amount of play, it can be tough to hook into relationships. Most of the PCs you'll interact with average much more, which means their opportunities to hook into relationships with other, more active PCs, is greater.

You can combat this to some degree in a few ways. Here's a few of my suggestions, for what it's worth:

- Play more (obviously).

- Play a social character who is quick to make either friends or enemies.

- Be curious.

- Be proactive with projects that can be worked on in the amount of time you play per session, and are designed to be short-term enough to be completed.

- Find time to write dreams, events that happen while your character is a vNPC, journal entries, further background and development for your character while not playing and plug it into the game via jwrite when you are logged in. Then, use "set status Journal Updated (8/6): Read Me, Admins!" to encourage the staff to learn more about your character.

- Be fortuitous. Don't get discouraged if those relationships don't come easily, because low playtimes do make a big difference here, but doesn't have to be the nail-in-your-roleplay-coffin.

- Be impressive. I can't always maintain the same level of effort in my emotes, interactivity with vNPCs, the environment, in every moment that I play. Sometimes, I am tired, and sometimes I need to adjust to quicker-paced scenes based on the characters that I'm with. But anyone can, with some effort, wow the players of characters they are interacting with. Doing this during your short play-times will help make those players hungry to interact with you again the next time that you play.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby hobbitboots » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:55 am

I have found that it helps to have regular play times. Even if you don't have many hours to offer, if people know when you'll be around, and they want to play with you, you'll be surprised how often they show up.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby tehkory » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:42 am

Be nosy. Be opinionated. Be quick to forgive or quick to form a grudge. Or both! Play a character that doesn't care for the everyday, play a character that openly opines and play a character that deeply wonders. Play someone that cares.

If you want something, build a character that meshes around and with it.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby Brian » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:51 am

Same deal for me EltanimRas. I haven't played in a couple weeks and I'm not finding myself driven to do so. I am beginning to have a niggling suspicion that I simply feel that my best days are behind me, that I've told the stories that I wanted to tell, and I'm not sure what story, if any, I want to tell with the character I most recently wrote up. In fact, I'm sure I don't know what story I want to tell because I couldn't tell you what it is :p.

It's almost like I achieved my goals in SoI2. From the moment I started I wanted to play an Elf, and then finally, after a few years of working at it, I got to. I got to do it a couple of times even, and take a few different angles and have a few different experiences. I would have been happy to continue doing so, but now that it's all in the misty past, I'm not sure what my motivation is anymore.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby Rivean » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:10 pm

Brian wrote:Same deal for me EltanimRas. I haven't played in a couple weeks and I'm not finding myself driven to do so. I am beginning to have a niggling suspicion that I simply feel that my best days are behind me, that I've told the stories that I wanted to tell, and I'm not sure what story, if any, I want to tell with the character I most recently wrote up. In fact, I'm sure I don't know what story I want to tell because I couldn't tell you what it is :p.

It's almost like I achieved my goals in SoI2. From the moment I started I wanted to play an Elf, and then finally, after a few years of working at it, I got to. I got to do it a couple of times even, and take a few different angles and have a few different experiences. I would have been happy to continue doing so, but now that it's all in the misty past, I'm not sure what my motivation is anymore.


We're all has-beens, my friend. I get this feeling every time I log in :P

ETA: Which, btw, is something like twice a week, not counting the recent five day absence due to having guests over.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby EltanimRas » Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:14 pm

tehkory wrote:If you want something, build a character that meshes around and with it.

Brian wrote:In fact, I'm sure I don't know what story I want to tell because I couldn't tell you what it is :p.

You know, I think that in the old days, I used to write very loosely-sketched, open-ended character concepts to start with, then 'discover' their themes organically, as I played. Arguably, this was something of a cheat, as themes 'discovered' in this way would very conveniently fit both the character and their circumstances.

What I find myself trying to do now is a much more top-down sort of design, and I'm struggling with it.
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby ThinkTwice » Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:43 pm

I'm not sure you'll be able to use a hard, numbers-based answer for this. So much of this depends more on the quality of the hours than the quantity ... Three, four hours a day, sitting in the Ironwood or spamcrafting isn't going to get me any political/meaningful social RP. While it's easy to tell you to go be proactive and start those conversations, a lot of it depends upon the PCs that you fall in with/happen to randomly meet. It requires kind of an odd confluence of events that, in my experience, has been more luck based than anything else.
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Re: How much should I play?

Postby Olthadir » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:12 pm

Brian wrote:Same deal for me EltanimRas. I haven't played in a couple weeks and I'm not finding myself driven to do so. I am beginning to have a niggling suspicion that I simply feel that my best days are behind me, that I've told the stories that I wanted to tell, and I'm not sure what story, if any, I want to tell with the character I most recently wrote up. In fact, I'm sure I don't know what story I want to tell because I couldn't tell you what it is :p.

It's almost like I achieved my goals in SoI2. From the moment I started I wanted to play an Elf, and then finally, after a few years of working at it, I got to. I got to do it a couple of times even, and take a few different angles and have a few different experiences. I would have been happy to continue doing so, but now that it's all in the misty past, I'm not sure what my motivation is anymore.


Wow, this really sums up my feelings too. I'm on vacation at my mother-in-laws and don't have much time to play, however I also don't have much desire to do so either. I feel that the best is behind me too, my character before was the best I could do and the one I wrote now isn't all that good, I've done something wrong, or is too underdeveloped to be meaningful.

I don't know what to do, or how to fix it. I'm curious for additional the comments in this thread and anything that has been said. Thank you.

I'm not done yet, and I hope that things change when I head up north again.
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby Tepes » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:26 pm

I usually feel unengaged, so I play about 5ish hours a week, maybe a bit more.
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby Matt » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:40 pm

I'm unemployed right now so I play a looooot. Starting a new job soon though so that'll change.
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby krelm » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:43 pm

I play when I want, and when I don't want to play, I don't.
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby EltanimRas » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:19 am

ThinkTwice wrote:So much of this depends more on the quality of the hours than the quantity ... Three, four hours a day, sitting in the Ironwood or spamcrafting isn't going to get me any political/meaningful social RP.

Historically, I think it's helped me a lot to join clans, even if it requires some stretching of the IC reality for me to justify it. As a general rule, I find more interesting roleplay in more secluded places. Do you have other higher-quality examples to contrast witn tavern-sitting, though? It seems like the natural opening interaction for a lot of PC concepts.

Olthadir wrote:I feel that the best is behind me too, my character before was the best I could do and the one I wrote now isn't all that good, I've done something wrong, or is too underdeveloped to be meaningful.

You know, if I'm honest with myself, I don't think I loved any of my PCs when they were new, not really. I certainly don't think any of them were at their best in their first few weeks or months of playtime.

Maybe I should be spending less thought trying to work out a PC concept and playstyle that will be good from the start, and more figuring out how to keep myself motivated through an inevitably less than engaging beginning?

More IC/OOC goals and ambitions, even if some might seem cliched and/or twinkish? Character traits and skills that I enjoy imagining myself possessing, even if they skirt the edges of MarySue-dom? IC traits and goals engineered to align well with activities I find OOCly satisfying? To avoid those I find OOCly stressful or stultifying?

Anyway, thanks to everyone who posted suggestions (helpful!) or playtimes (fascinating!).
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby gyre » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:53 am

EltanimRas wrote:Maybe I should be spending less thought trying to work out a PC concept and playstyle that will be good from the start, and more figuring out how to keep myself motivated through an inevitably less than engaging beginning?


This is what I did for my current, having taken the other approach for previous characters and it's worked much better. I'm really enjoying my current character.

I'm not very driven by coded reward. I like character development and interaction, and I'm easily bored by resource gathering, although I like combat and playing a complete non-com usually doesn't appeal. I'm all about the stories.

That said, generally tavern sitting drives me crazy because while it can be a good way to meet people, it's often so superficial that it doesn't do much for me.

I'm off peak (although with a lot of time to spare at the moment), so I'm used to having to make my own fun. I very much started this character at an earlier point in their story than I might typically, with a big question mark over what they were doing in Utterby so that things were left more open. Finding this out in game has provided me with much entertainment and seems to have left enough space to fit in with plots and other characters, as well as letting me do all that fun development stuff.

I had a few definite OOC goals, although mostly loose things like finding people I enjoy playing with, not getting dragged into stuff I don't enjoy. This approach seems to have worked a lot better than my first PC, who had a concept I really loved but didn't quite fit in with the way the game was and proved difficult to integrate.
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby EltanimRas » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:27 am

Thanks, gyre!

***

Tangent: Do people feel their settling-in / niche-finding / interaction-seeking experiences differ between male and female PCs?
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby Brian » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:39 am

If I were to try and add something helpful, I would suggest that sometimes if I'm feeling uninspired instead of thinking too much about my own PC it can work to think "How can I make something interesting for something else with my character?" Putting the focus on creating for others I still have to play my character but it gets me outside of the shell and into active involvement.
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby ThinkTwice » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:21 am

EltanimRas wrote:As a general rule, I find more interesting roleplay in more secluded places. Do you have other higher-quality examples to contrast witn tavern-sitting, though? It seems like the natural opening interaction for a lot of PC concepts.


I believe this is absolutely true. I feel like I play my best when it's me and up to two other people, if we're getting into really meaty char dev and plot stuff. I can stretch to three; even a four-person scene can still feel natural and engaging, with everyone feeling equally included, if all four are pretty legit.

Any more than that and I'm less interested. Two is awesome. Three is okay. Four is doable, I guess, if I have to, and someone's pointing guns at me.

As for "secluded" locations, I encourage picking either the square either outside the Ironwood or the intersection one room south of the square. Plant yourself there with an engaging, open-ended pmote, and you have a good sluice set up already. Just by engaging with you at that point, you know the person is A) Paying attention to what's on their screen and B) interested in striking up RP with you. At that point, it's probably just the two of you, and you can talk about whatever you want to your heart's content. Draw them in, ask those leading questions, get off of 'how's the weather' and into 'what is the nature of power, light, and darkness.' It's like fishing for players.
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby Nimrod » Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:45 am

Pining for the old days, I always feel like Soran (Star Trek: Generations) chasing the ribbon to the Nexus.

For me, it's all about giving up what I want up front and letting the story unfold how it wants to be unfolded. Kite had the right of it whenever he spoke of 'The goddess of SoI'.

It is a great mystery, one that unfolds around us as we play through the mundane, daily things. The most unlikely characters grow into heroes that are spoken of for years. Those willing to sacrifice rather than seek only their own agenda are the heart of this game to me and characters that I love to play. (Though, of course, I have no character in this game now.)

It's not about how many hours I do or don't play. When I play a character, I'm even playing in my head when I'm not online and have a bit of time to let my mind wander. (I also relive a lot of old times too - weird huh?) Nostalgia is a powerful thing.
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Re: How much should I play? [poll]

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:21 am

Nimrod wrote:Those willing to sacrifice rather than seek only their own agenda are the heart of this game to me...


Actually, I think that historically, the PCs who were most driven and had the most ambitious outlook on life were the ones that most lasting impact and were most appreciated IG. There's an inherent self-centeredness to that sort of ambition. There's one PC I can think of who's IG now that fits this mold, I think, and I expect him to have a lasting impact, should he stick around.

Of late, I've tended towards PCs whose grand stories are largely behind them - and these PCs can be wonderful to play, with their rich sense of history and battles won and tragedies endured. But I don't think they're as impactful on the rest of the game, I don't think they're as memorable to other players.

Nimrod wrote:(I also relive a lot of old times too - weird huh?) Nostalgia is a powerful thing.


You owe me a cheesebun for not making an old man joke :P
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