I’ve been a champion, twice, and a lurker since these boards began, and honestly I think it’s time for the community at large to address the problems that keep coming up, but no one discusses. There is a serious, inherent problem with the roleplaying forums as it is. People keep making big threads about it, and ones with solid points (such as this one http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/....php?t=2634589 ) but they all take the form of rants, and don’t actually facilitate discussion or improvement, even if the mean well. Everyone nods along and upvotes because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do, and next week we’re back into the same mess we were before with drama, hurt feelings, and expectations.
So here’s where I get to my main point;
The inherent problem of the roleplaying forums is they aren’t attractive to new people, and roleplay communities require new ideas to keep from becoming stale.
There’s some major sub points to this big one, but I’ll address those one at a time.
1) The ‘closed-ness’ of the Ask threads and ‘Board Canon’.
The ask threads started as a hub to interact with a specific champion, or as a specific champion. These days they have grown into the ‘official’ roleplay of the roleplaying boards and the ‘official’ canon. I seriously feel this limits what our RPing boards could be doing for League roleplayers as a whole.
Say you really have an awesome storyline in mind for champions X, Y, and Z. It’s one that you really wanna handle as an RP story, not a fanfiction. Maybe you’ve got an extra cool villan you want to spring into a specific environment. Roleplaying boards seem the place to do it!
Except, if you can’t pick up one of the ask threads for the champion you want to involve, tough luck. And even if you do, chances are the others you might want to involve, aren’t interested, or aren’t active. Instead of being able to find roleplaying partners interested in the same things as you, you need to chose to mingle in a group that already doesn’t play nice and hope for the best. Closed RP threads, held in their own canon, seem to be the answer to this, but I have found that nearly 90% of the time those threads still follow ‘Ask Thread’ canon.
The fact of the matter is, not everyone is going to want to roleplay the same way. The best and most enjoyable roleplay happens when you have like minded people all in one place, and don’t try to mix people with vastly different expectations and desires for roleplay. This brings me to my next point;
2) Board Expectations and ‘mob mentality moderation.’
How many times has someone else marched into a thread and made a fuss out of how someone else is roleplaying? How many times has it exploded? How many people have been hurt, or quit, or stopped roleplaying because of it?
One of the most insane examples I recall was when people weren’t fond of the Mordekaier ask thread, and after pages of tearing into this person OOCly, encouraged the creation of a new Ask Mordekaiser and forcibly kicked the old one out. You could spin this as the masses rising up against a ‘bad roleplayer’ but the fact is a mob justice act happened, and the victim was swept aside because their writing wasn’t good enough. This alone shows an extremely unhealthy elitist attitude that drives people away. Over time, this aggressive side seemed to narrow into a list of expectations based on personal preference;
- Your writing must be good.
- You must portray a champion in a way I feel is canon.
- If you violate either of the above, I may rouse an army of like minded people to harass, downvote, and push you out.
- If you do the same to me, it will turn into a flame war.
This doesn’t create a better roleplay environment. Beating other people up doesn’t make your writing magically better. This is a byproduct of people with different expectations and different opinions all being forced to interact and feeling that they, as peers to one another, have the right to judge each other.
3) The Ask Threads in general, become somewhat of a popularity contest.
I’m not really interested in going back to high school and playing cheerleaders and jocks. This sort of mob mentality we’ve seen elevates particular people (whom are sometimes fantastic people) as role models and ‘popular kids.’ Those people get away with anything they desire until someone with a bigger standing takes them down. This sort of artificial pecking order leads to people feeling ignored, lesser, and otherwise run over. It leads to people doing dramatic things like posting ‘I’M LEAVING’ threads or ‘IF PEOPLE DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO ME, I’M GONNA LEAVE’ posts. You see upvote/downvote spam, and seemingly petty fights spawned. Both sides of this coin are annoying, and further enforce a bad community.
Getting back to my main point, you might think I’m ragging really hard on the ask thread model, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been very critical of it. I don’t feel the Ask Thread model of RP has really done us any favors, but I also don’t think it needs to be abolished or anything else so drastic to improve our boards in general or make way for new RP. I feel people need to think outside of it, however, in moving forward.
Here’s where I’m useful and propose changes that might help make these boards a better place for everyone.
Change starts on the individual level, but if everyone could keep to these main points, we’d have a much more peaceful environment;
- If you don’t like someone’s roleplay, don’t roleplay with them.
Roleplaying with someone who you don’t like is frustrating for both of you. No one has fun.
- Be polite to one another.
No one is telling you to love everyone. False kindness and smiles is almost just as bad, but you can be polite to everyone.
- Unsolicited OOC ‘feedback’ is generally never a good idea.
Going into someone else’s thread and telling them what they need to fix, without first being asked, is usually just an attempt to lure out drama. It’s not coy, and everyone knows you’re just being insulting.
And here the other changes I’d like to see in order to bolster and flesh out the RP here, so we can have a more robust and healthy roleplaying community.
- More ‘closed RP’ threads outside of the Ask canon with their own internal plots, canon, and storylines.
Be creative, and don’t be discouraged easily. Not every thread will take off, but when they do, you’ll have the time of your life. If one idea fails, try another.
- A thread of roleplayers and how to contact them, what characters they like to play (both OCs and Champions), and their preferred mediums (forum posting, messengers, etc).
I may seriously consider doing this myself, if people think they’d use it.
I don’t really want to see replies of ‘I agree’ and ‘I disagree’. I really ask people to reply thoughtfully, and explain what they do, or don’t agree with.