You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 08, 2016, 08:41:28 AM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect  (Read 1861 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline AmelitaTopic starter

Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« on: February 11, 2014, 09:37:54 AM »
Why this topic?

A group game was my first taste of collaborative writing, a few years ago. It was a small website, a forum for a single game specifically and the group of active writers counted around twelve. The atmosphere was great, the community was great, the story was engaging and I fell in love with this form of writing. It was an extension of what I have been doing since I was little and opened up to me the rich world of online roleplaying as a creative effort. When that website stalled (as the GM no longer had time to keep it running), I started hunting for another place to write and after a few looks at less than impressive sites, I found Elliquiy.

On here I started, as so many others, with the socializing threads. My writing was mostly just short posts in those threads of what I've later tagged as some kind of hybrid between story writing and conversation. It can be fun and I do venture over there regularly for flirting and the little word games I love. But then my first actual game was Whose Keys?, a small group game with some system elements due to its nature. Since then I have played in a number of groups, some I've started myself and some I've been in from creation date while others were a passing thing. I do enjoy solo stories as well and have plenty of them, but the groups are undeniably my favourite kind of writing. And as such, I have a few things rolling around in my head on the subject.


The Social Aspect
Playing in a big group means interacting with a lot of players both IC and OOC. For some of us this isn't an issue, but for some it is a big one and those can be divided into categories. The shy player is going to have a hard time getting involved and is going to need a little help pushing his or her character into the story if it isn't already placed there by default. The aggressive player is going to have trouble getting along with some of the others as he or she will bulldoze the less aggressive ones in the process of getting to a preferable spot in the story. Neither of those examples are generally intended, I think, but both cause equal issues because in the perfect dream group game, everybody would be happy with the game time they got and how they got it.

I've been on nearly all sides of those issues (I say nearly because I don't think anyone who knows me would ever describe me as 'shy') and while I've had definite negative experiences I do love the sense of community that can form in a group game environment. I've made wonderful friends through it, people I would most likely never have even talked to if not for the games we met in. I think the main trick, or magic if you prefer, is communication. A lot of things may be said or explained while leaving aspects out of the equation that would otherwise be a game-changer, and this isn't a good thing. Negative feelings will always surface at some point and it is so much better to get them honestly out of the way so they can be dealt with and so that things can possibly change to avoid whatever issue caused those feelings in the first place. If we can't share the things we'd like to see done better, how on earth are we going to expect change? But of course, it works both ways and I am a firm believer in compliments when they are due. So to me, communication is about sharing the good and the bad, and trusting that the group as a community will embrace both. Not necessarily jump and change at any issue, but consider every concern to show respect to the player who is voicing his or her thoughts.

But this isn't the only thing a group game's social aspect offers. Not at all. What I adore about it, and what makes it such an addictive form of writing for me, is the joined effort of all these people in creating one big picture out of the small ones. While writing a solo does involve creating the world around the protagonists, it doesn't quite capture the layered and detailed world building of several writes focusing on (often) even more characters. I'm obviously not talking about world building in the traditional sense of country, politics and so on, but the more intimate and personal world of whatever setting explored in the game. I find this absolutely fantastic. As an example, I write a character and in my writing I detail her history, her family and her connections. Places she likes, and activities she enjoys. In addition to my own creation, I have my partner's description of such things to add to add to my writing world. In a group game, I have any number of those extra layers and it can become incredibly complex and interconnected. Delicious, right?

For it to work that way, the social aspect needs to be good. Things won't be worked out into these fantastic patterns unless the players have fun in the ooc, plot and plan and generally enjoy each other's company. Oh things can be planned without all that, through PM's and to-the-point comments, but my experience is that when people have fun, those ideas wind into so much more than just a plot. It becomes a world.

Outside of game play, the group can (and I've seen this in several games) provide a stable support system, so that when something happens in real life, players can rely on the group to first of all not be impatient and secondly empathise. It's a factor I like very much.

I'm going to leave this here, and write about another thing that occupies my mind about group games in my next little post.

Feel free to comment and share your experience with the social aspects of group roleplay!




Offline The Lioness

  • ♥ Boi Crush ♥ BustyGermanGirl ♥ Baby Doll ♥ Lass ♥ Kitten ♥
  • Dame
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2013
  • Location: In my field of paper flowers....
  • Gender: Female
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 03:12:55 PM »
I haven't done group stories in a VERY long time, and even when I did group play, it was through completely different sites. I have been skeptical joining in any group stories here on E though. I haven't really found any that have caught my eye just yet I guess. I worry about those social aspects though, as I usually do 1x1's and don't know many other players here on the site. I have been here for almost a year, and yet, I still feel like a n00b on many levels. I want to stand out and I want to socialize, but I can be a bit of an introvert and a generally shy person.

I will have to keep your thoughts in mind. You made me remember the fun things I really liked in group stories, and would definitely put more consideration towards them in the future....so thank you :)

Offline Nicholas

  • Mr. Nice Guy (or so I am told) :-) Jag's Mulder *muse crack* Deviously delicious - according to a certain, most awesome Liege ;) King of Terrible. Always innocent despite what Caedy says. Spoiler buttons are evil. 42,19km!
  • Knight
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: May 2009
  • Location: My Skype info is available upon request!
  • Gender: Male
  • #JeSuisUnAnge #ReallyIAm #BlameMads
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 03:16:09 PM »
You summed it all up really well, Ames! I have nohing to add! Just that I love my groups and the players in them.

Offline AmelitaTopic starter

Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 04:06:59 PM »
I haven't done group stories in a VERY long time, and even when I did group play, it was through completely different sites. I have been skeptical joining in any group stories here on E though. I haven't really found any that have caught my eye just yet I guess. I worry about those social aspects though, as I usually do 1x1's and don't know many other players here on the site. I have been here for almost a year, and yet, I still feel like a n00b on many levels. I want to stand out and I want to socialize, but I can be a bit of an introvert and a generally shy person.

I will have to keep your thoughts in mind. You made me remember the fun things I really liked in group stories, and would definitely put more consideration towards them in the future....so thank you :)

I'm glad I managed to remind you of these good things! Thank you for reading <3

You summed it all up really well, Ames! I have nohing to add! Just that I love my groups and the players in them.

<3 Well I love your games too, so I guess we're all just awesome like that  :-*

Offline kckolbe

Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2014, 03:13:31 AM »
Look forward to seeing more from you about this.  I love group games, and exclusively play them.  I think communication is underrated in a lot of groups.  It pains me to see a game go from premise to character sheets to IC posts with little to no coordination, yet it frequently happens. 

I don't consider myself a shy player, but I know that I always need help getting integrated into a game both IC and OOC.  I've never understood how most people here are able to just put together a character and be ready to RP said char with no brainstorming or plotting.  Additionally, many of the games I join the players seem to know each other really well, and I generally feel to be outside the loop.  While some of that is undoubtedly social anxiety, you do see a lot of the same players in certain games.

I will also say that on E, group writing is a lot different from what I was used to.  I started in World Of Warcraft, where posts were supposed to be short to allow everyone a chance to interject.  Posting thoughts was considered self-serving or "cheating," taking the fun out of interpreting the character's words and actions from an outside perspective (which can make for interesting, yet honest, complications).

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2014, 11:09:36 PM »
Thanks so much for sharing, Amelita.  Much of what you said can apply equally to table top gaming and I shall take that with me to future sessions.

Offline AmelitaTopic starter

Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 11:11:49 AM »
Look forward to seeing more from you about this.  I love group games, and exclusively play them.  I think communication is underrated in a lot of groups.  It pains me to see a game go from premise to character sheets to IC posts with little to no coordination, yet it frequently happens. 

I don't consider myself a shy player, but I know that I always need help getting integrated into a game both IC and OOC.  I've never understood how most people here are able to just put together a character and be ready to RP said char with no brainstorming or plotting.  Additionally, many of the games I join the players seem to know each other really well, and I generally feel to be outside the loop.  While some of that is undoubtedly social anxiety, you do see a lot of the same players in certain games.

I will also say that on E, group writing is a lot different from what I was used to.  I started in World Of Warcraft, where posts were supposed to be short to allow everyone a chance to interject.  Posting thoughts was considered self-serving or "cheating," taking the fun out of interpreting the character's words and actions from an outside perspective (which can make for interesting, yet honest, complications).

Yep, we're all different about how we approach a beginning of our character's story. There are probably a lot of people who feel the same as you do about it, KC. I think the 'clicks' issue is something I could have gone into as well, since that is definitely both good and bad in group games. I think it's very understandable, and logical really, that the same people tend to write together in different groups. We know this and that writer and how they match with our styles IC and we've interacted with them OOC before, so it's safe. Plus if we meet a player in one game, it's very likely we have more than just that one setting in common interests wise.

It becomes an issue when the groups get so tight knit they don't reach beyond their midst to play. A good group of players who are used to writing together will bring the good storytelling that can create and use it as foundation for other interaction and development in a larger game, in my opinion.
The main thing to remember I think, for those outside a group like that, is to not hesitate to contact these players. The groups may seem a little intimidating to others but I think in most cases people are very open, or in the very least should be. If not, then those players should simply be writing in a game on their own :P

I have a group of 'usual suspects' as it were, but I never have any issue writing with others than those in group games and I usually try to keep a diverse selection of interaction and such for my characters to make the most of playing in a group game. So, even if I don't always succeed, and I am not at all pretending to be some perfect roleplayer haha, I do try. I'd like to believe there are many others just like that :)

As for the posting style, I firmly believe in a good balance in posts between action, dialogue, internal dialogue and description. I wouldn't consider glimpses into a character's mind 'cheating' because I trust my fellow writers to play their character without using player knowledge heh. But I bet it is a process to go from one style to another that is drastically different.

Thanks so much for sharing, Amelita.  Much of what you said can apply equally to table top gaming and I shall take that with me to future sessions.

Thanks for reading and I'm glad you find it useful! ^^

Offline kckolbe

Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2014, 12:15:34 PM »
I wouldn't consider glimpses into a character's mind 'cheating' because I trust my fellow writers to play their character without using player knowledge heh. But I bet it is a process to go from one style to another that is drastically different.

I definitely agree that seeing the same players makes sense.  Even if you take out the idea of wanting someone you know to be a good writer and/or nice person in future games, playing in large group games does result in a lot of familiar faces.  Many times I've PMed someone about a game only to learn he/she was already working on a character for it.

As for the "mind reading," it isn't just about trust.  Seeing the thoughts along with the actions paints a clear picture of things sometimes, and not having those thoughts in can result in misinterpretations that would not have otherwise occurred to a player.  I highly recommend trying it in a small group game.  Lots of fun surprises.

Offline AmelitaTopic starter

Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2014, 12:45:08 PM »
Well as long as you don't write out every single thought your character has, (which I hope no one does because damn would that be a long post), there is plenty of opportunity for surprises like that even if you do add some insight into other things going on inside their skull :P

Offline Oberon

  • Master Confuser
  • Knight
  • Seducer
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2013
  • Location: Where the beginning meets the end.
  • Gender: Male
  • Mysteries abound where most we seek for answers.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2014, 02:28:33 PM »
I don't consider myself a shy player, but I know that I always need help getting integrated into a game both IC and OOC.  I've never understood how most people here are able to just put together a character and be ready to RP said char with no brainstorming or plotting.  Additionally, many of the games I join the players seem to know each other really well, and I generally feel to be outside the loop.  While some of that is undoubtedly social anxiety, you do see a lot of the same players in certain games.

I have to say I share this sentiment. I haven't been part of many group games on here, in fact none that ran more than a couple of weeks. I often see interesting ones pop up and find myself hesitating to join because it seems like everyone already knows everyone else. Character relations etc often seem to have been worked out before the game even starts based on writers joining specifically to write with each other. It's what's often turned me away and even caused me to pull the plug at the last moment on a recent game. I think you are right to say that group games rely heavily on the social aspect and the OOC chatter. For some of us though it's exactly that aspect of them that's daunting.

Offline AmelitaTopic starter

Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2014, 03:55:22 PM »
I have to say I share this sentiment. I haven't been part of many group games on here, in fact none that ran more than a couple of weeks. I often see interesting ones pop up and find myself hesitating to join because it seems like everyone already knows everyone else. Character relations etc often seem to have been worked out before the game even starts based on writers joining specifically to write with each other. It's what's often turned me away and even caused me to pull the plug at the last moment on a recent game. I think you are right to say that group games rely heavily on the social aspect and the OOC chatter. For some of us though it's exactly that aspect of them that's daunting.

I think this is where a good comparison to one-on-one games might be useful. Planning those is different for every player, but I do believe most of us like to speak with the person we are going to write the story with, hash out details and get a feel for what kind of elements we're looking to include. The group games are exactly the same, only you have more people to talk to about these things. Whether you do so in the ooc thread or via PM's doesn't really matter as long as you reach out in some way, to establish the same thing you would were it a game with only one other person.
Now if you are one of those who lay out a story idea and start writing with minimal communication, this comparison is obviously pointless.

Another comparison might be about entering a room full of people whom you are planning on creating something with. Building that shed out back will be considerably more difficult if you don't approach the others, talk with them about who does what and how you all want the shed to turn out. Standing in a corner while the others plot and plan will make it quite awkward when you then show up with a hammer and have no idea where it's needed... If you get where I'm going xD

The bottom line is, I guess, that if you do join group games and are not comfortable with the chatter and reaching out to the others, it's most likely going to be difficult. But then again, groups aren't for all. Enjoying group games or not enjoying them has no weight towards whether or not a person is a good writer or roleplayer in my opinion :)

Offline Oberon

  • Master Confuser
  • Knight
  • Seducer
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2013
  • Location: Where the beginning meets the end.
  • Gender: Male
  • Mysteries abound where most we seek for answers.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2014, 06:10:29 PM »
Yes, you are certainly right in all those things. I guess I just wanted to say to those that do find it difficult to do the socialising thing: you're not the only one. For me I have no problem at all connecting to individuals. A group dynamic though is somehow different for me. I don't really know why that is. It's because of the way my brain is wired up I supposed. Socialising in a group is actually hard work for me. I constantly have to push myself to not go all quiet. People who only interact with me one on one will probably be surprised by that.

Offline AmelitaTopic starter

Re: Amelita's Thoughts on Group Games: the social aspect
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2014, 06:15:02 PM »
I actually know a few people just like that :)

(And they are all good people too ;) )