Friday, September 30, 2016

From the Desk of Diana

From the Editors Desk: Thoughts on What Have You Done?
By Diana “Sir Kiira” LaPierre
Diana's pencil, not to actual size

There has been a recent trend in the Realms Community of players, especially veteran players, complaining about the decline of the game and community. Some have described this in terms of event attendance, event quality, new player influxes, or what-have-you. I would have to tend to agree with them.  They say they are finding it harder and harder to attend events and staff at them. However, might I ask a simple question that should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind?

What have YOU done to reverse the declination of the game?

Event attendance is a prime example.  You cannot complain about attendance and not show up.  It’s hypocritical and wrong. I understand not wanting to go to certain types of events, and I get it. I, personally, love all event types.

The socialization that happens at feast, when I am in and out of the kitchen, is simply entertaining. Whether there’s atmosphere provided or not, I can spend hours just talking with my friends. Tournaments, group or individual, provide ample time to improve my martial skill, and still fraternize with people. It provides a bar that you can keep pushing yourself toward and beyond. That leaves us with questing, which let’s our imaginations soar into new worlds of exploration and adventure. We live and act through a story that someone else is setting up for us.

So, you don’t like tournaments? It’s a good thing there are two other types of events for you to attend. Same goes for Feasts and Quests. Most of the time, however, the event types melt into one another, and though an event may be a Tournament, it’ll have shrunken down feasts, or in-character quests or scavenger hunts. You could even offer to help the event holder with new tournaments, bring a food to sell or another type of shop, or offer to provide questing content to those who may not want to participate in tournaments.

This leads into Event Quality. Be it inedible foods, lack of NPCs or quality NPCs, poorly run plotlines, bad marshalling, poorly run tournaments.  All of these are things that people complain about, even me. However, have you offered the staff your comments, either in person or online about the quality, or have you just stayed in your little protective bubble and complain instead to only your friends?

I understand not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, but constructive criticism is a NORMAL PART OF ADULT LIFE. If you can’t tolerate someone telling you that something you created sucked, then you clearly have never made clown pants like I have. If you are not doing it to spare someone’s feelings and would simply like to mock them behind their backs, then you are the problem, not the solution to it.

On the flip side, maybe you have spoken with the Event Holder, and they choose to ignore your helpful suggestions. That is another problem that is creating a dwindling event quality, lack of utilizing what the community is telling us they want and don’t want. Some people believe that their way is the only possible one and are unable to step away from their own awesomeness and see things from others’ perspectives.

If you are able, you can offer to help at their next event; whether you NPC, help cook or do dishes, or offer to help organize event running, and even making props.  All of these things are something you can do to help a struggling event holder, and there is something on that list that everyone can do. That is a way to improve areas of the game you may feel are lacking.

When that time of year comes around to vote for THE VIEW FROM VALEHAVEN AWARDS, don’t just vote for your friends because they’re your friends. Vote for people who really deserve the credit. If someone losses something that they had every right to win, it could dishearten them and create a bitterness which will take away from the future quality of the game.

As far as new players joining, have you attempted to recruit people? Are you running practices in spaces open to the public, telling friends and co-workers about Realms, or helping at Universities and Colleges which hold practices?

 I recently wrote an article that anyone can follow along to and help bring an influx of new players to the game. Have you read it? More importantly, have you contributed to our View from Valehaven Blog? Or will you just continue to complain about its lack of content and thought provoking articles and continue to not suggest articles to be written or what you like to see?

In my work as a preschool teacher, I see small children (ages 2-5) playing in Dramatic Play, mimicking the world around them: bringing into school what they see at home. When it’s a positive environment, the kids are warm and nurturing. When it’s a negative environment, there’s violence and authoritarianism. Maybe now is a time in the Realms where the real world is bleeding into our pretend one.  We see terrible things through the media and in our places of employment that have soured our lives, and it’s overwhelming. We do our best to bring warmth and love into our lives and that of our loved ones. We attempt to drown out the negative and fill it with the positive.

I ask that every time you think of something that bothers you in the Realms, think of figuring out a way to change it for the better. We can have a significant impact on our LARPing community and our game in a way that could really improve it for the better.  There is something that everyone can do make the Realms a better LARP.  I know that is not on the forefront of everyone’s mind all the time, but if you haven’t done anything recently to improve it, I don’t want to hear you complain, ‘cause, frankly, I don’t give a damn.

In the great almost words of President John F. Kennedy, Jr., “My fellow [Realmsies], ask not what your [LARP] can do for you, ask what you can do for your [LARP].”

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