Friday, April 10, 2015

10 Questions- Alex "Arivarri" Sokolowski

How long have you been playing?

The first event I ever attended was Tournaments of Creathrone circa 2004 t’was a good year; Predators, acid spitting Draco-Liches and explosions, lots of explosions. Prior to attending ToC ‘04 I had went to the Tinker Fight Practices in Easthampton MA for a few months before actually attending an event.

How has the game changed since you've been playing?

The game, I’ve noticed has its own natural ebb and flow shifting between a few cycles; lots of active players at big events to very small events with few people, lots of hard hitting combat events to story filled less combat focused events, spellcasters on the rise to fighters on the rise, churches to your IC God/ess having power to nations having power, this is all part of the game.

Some players mention an “in game decline over the past few years” but there really is no such thing. The game is constantly shifting and changing, that is the one thing that remains constant within our game. It is apart of that ebb and flow I mentioned before. If it feels like we are on a decline, rest assured that the game will pick back up as it always does.

We, as a community are always adjusting the system to reflect the changes we want to see, some changes are more welcome than others. Just remember that this game is community driven and if you want to see a change rally the people to your cause. Easier said than done, right?

Back to the actual question...

When I joined back in 2004 there was a lot of emphasis on Nation. What nation are you in? Don’t talk to that nation. That nation will help you but only if you stay away from so and so. What nation do you want to join? Oh sorry, we only help people in our nation... There was still some talk about Churches to this God and that God but I, looking back at the time realized that the Realms must have just went through a shift prior to me joining. It was neither good nor bad, players at that time just had their focus on nations and close-knit groups. Which can be very intimidating as a new player trying to jump into such a big community.

Currently, I feel the national lines have been blurred. Players are working together, in most cases, against common foes and threats to the Realms. What color your tabard is, is almost irrelevant during these times. Many nations are now interwoven because their members are in the same plots,
churches, guilds, orders, and other non national groups that have members from other nations. This has made working with people in other nations more common  place. Players from opposing nations often have to work together to defeat the real baddies and not each other. This, to me is a good thing. When the focus was on national allegiance player vs player conflict happened a lot more, tensions were often high. Generally I try to avoid PvP unless I know that player is ok with the in game conflict on an out of game level. Our characters can “hate” each other as long as that IC feud doesn’t spill into the OOC.

Who have you learned the most from?

This question, I believe is one of the most difficult questions to answer as there have been many people who have taught me or otherwise formed me into the player that I am. In no particular order; Andy Disbrow, Jason & Angie Gray and William Pappas.

Andy Disbrow taught me my understanding of the importance of Realms history and hierarchy. Andy was also instrumental in teaching me how to quest. The major parts of those questing skills are stealth, how to use proper wording for spells (I was an amazing Seer once, I literally solved an entire night quest and got the widget before any of the PCs left the portal area, the staff actually had to do a quest reset so it could still be fun for everyone) and most importantly how to make your own fun.

Jason and Angie continue to teach me, not in an IC way but on a OOC way. They are constant reminders of what our community can and should be, they truly push me as a player to be true to myself.

William ‘Billy’ Pappas, IC known as Salem of Creathrone he taught me my foundation and appreciation of the spell system and spell casting. He and I could talk for hours about the system and different builds. His knowledge often goes overlooked because he can be very shy. But with out him I probably never would have been a spell caster and that is what I made my IC careers out of.

What was your best moment IC? 

When Airavarri sacrificed himself to save the Twilight Fae from a Bedlam Portal. He grew very tired and frustrated over the “heroes of the Realms” lack of desire to do the right thing. No one, at the time would give up a Magic Item to be sacrificed, so Airavarri decided he would stand in as a Magic Item. He was a three path so the logic was there (if you are a crazy half fae). Once he gathered up the additional materials that were needed he literally started sprinting for the portal. Sir Shawn of Creathrone realized what Airavarri was about to do and made a mad dash after him, but it was too late. Airavarri slid into the portal and shouted “I sacrifice myself and all my magic!” the portal closed. The Twilight Fae were saved.

During the next few hours I as a player witnessed some of the best role playing I have ever seen. There were members of Airavarri’s IC family throwing themselves on the ground and actually crying real tears. It was very touching to see the amount of people my character had impacted. A ritual was done to save his soul or to return him, I think almost every Magi of the Realms that was present called “Mage!”

It was a very powerful moment to watch.

What was your best moment as a NPC/EH/Player? 

During my years I have had many favorite moments as an NPC/EH/Player, to say that there has only been one would insult the other experiences. That being said, I will gladly share one.

As an NPC, one of my more memorable roles was in the Five Councilors Plot as the Curse Rune of Midoru. First off, the costuming and makeup was amazing. Midoru is/was a businessman, very
dapper, very sly, very evil. He had a long black trench coat, underneath he wore a black pinstriped vest and pants with a high collared white shirt and neck cravat. He wore a tall black top hat to tie the look together and he walked with a cane, not for support but for the status. Oh, did I mention his face and body were completely covered in red and black tattoos? Think Darth Maul from Episode I of Star Wars, instead of horns he had facial piercings everywhere. The look was tied together really well thanks to the staff. The fun part though, was when the PCs finally figured out who exactly I was, you could hear a pin drop from a mile away. Not to mention the amount of amazing role playing that went on between him and the PCs. He knew many dirty secrets and was not afraid to sell them to the highest bidder, and bid they did. I enjoy playing villain types, were their power comes from their confidence. Its a pat on the back as an NPC when the PCs are still talking about the role months after the event.

What would you like to see changed or developed more in game? 

The Magic System. There was a play test option called the Aspect System which broke up our current Path system and allowed you to more freely pick spells as opposed to being limited in the buy down only Path system. I am always in support of making spell casters more powerful. This just stems from my views on fantasy settings, casters have power plain and simple.

If you want to be a fighter that is wonderful and adds to our game, however if you want more power pick up spells. It is an option available to everyone just like being a fighter. To me the core of being a fighter should never change, 2 points of armor and any legal weapon combination. As long a caster can not do exactly that, I see no issue giving them more freedom. Which to me would be no cost buy downs. Meaning you can learn any spell from that circle of spells in that slot; all seventh circles for seventh circles and so forth.

There are also some spells in our current system that are so under used that they need to be reworked to make them viable options within our current game. I will not list them all, but by all means if you want to know which and my thoughts on them I will gladly share them with you in person.
When I refer to power, I do not mean shear combat ability. For me at least, I would enjoy the freedom and complete customization of a no cost buy down system. Yes, I understand the concern that players could “power game” or “power build” but this is a game of personal honor.

What advice would you give new players? 

The best advice I can give a new player who feels like they can’t get involved with a plot or a story line is to seek out information and be vocal. This can be really hard to do at first, just remember there is no such thing as a stupid question. If you aren’t sure about something like a plot, a ritual, a deity, or whatever else you’d like to be apart of, seek out the information yourself. Be proactive, make yourself available. Ask around, talk to the NPCs, and don’t be afraid to take some Seer magic. Once you’ve found out some answers, tell other players this will get you more involved, this will get your name out, this will help you to connect with other people.

As a newbie I looked up to people who were “in the know” they always knew what was going on and I admired that. Now that I’ve been around for a few years I’ve found that I’m becoming one of those people. I’ve found myself walking onto a site and before I can even reg in I’m being asked information about the plot of the event. This is truly flattering because I know that people are comfortable approaching me for information. I can only hope as a new player that you find your sense of belonging.

What do you love most about the game? 

 The Community.

Who would you like to see the next interview be with? 

Travis Wilcox. Travis has a very unique and inspiring take on the game and the magic system. I tend to idolize anyone who puts their own spin on our system with the goal of making the event more fun for everyone.

Anything else you'd like to take the opportunity to put into print?

Over the past two years I have not been around but that gave me perspective and the realization that I missed our game and community greatly.

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