The Realms has many facets to it. You have events, which make up the core of the game and allow us to immerse ourselves in a world different from our own; the community as a whole, an amalgamation of friends and acquaintances from all walks of life united by common interests (the game chief among them); and the players themselves (including event-holders), individuals who come back week after week to enjoy all that the game has to offer, who quest, feast, NPC and throw events, and without whom there would be no Realms at all.
All of these things together are vital to the continued success and long-term functioning of the game. So too is the system of administration that is in place to help ensure that the game is able to endure. Among countless other aspects that we see throughout the year, this system chiefly consists of the Players Meeting and the Event-Holders Council. While the latter is open only to event-holders (as the name implies), the former is open to any person who has attended a legal Realms event within the previous calendar year. Attendance at the Players Meeting is an important way in which players can support the game.
Maybe you have never heard of or attended a Player's meeting in the past. Maybe it’s been a very long time since you've been to one. In any case, if you're thinking about going to the Players Meeting this weekend, here are a few good reasons why you should -
1) Your opportunity as a player to make your individual voice heard.
The meeting affords all players an opportunity to express opinions and engage in constructive discourse about proposed changes to all aspects of the game. If you do not agree with a specific proposal, or if you are in strong support of another, you have the ability to raise your hand and say your piece and to be heard by all who are there. You also have the ability to respond to others as well, thereby fostering an open dialogue with your fellow players which is important to the health of the game. This is your forum to advocate for the change you want to see in the game, and to share that unique perspective with others. It is an opportunity for everyone to learn from one another.
2) The ability to have input into the running of the game.
One of the great aspects of Realms is the ability of any player to affect change within the system, and the Players Meeting is your chance to have an impact on any changes that are being considered for the coming year through your vote. Proposals can only make it to the Event-Holders Council in one of two ways - sent directly through the signature of ten or more EHs, or passed by a "yes" vote by two-thirds of the players present at the meeting. Thus, your votes have real meaning and can profoundly affect change. You also have the ability to submit proposals while at the meeting itself, to be voted on by the players during that time. You and your fellow players also have the responsibility of choosing the Players Rep, who will absorb all of the feedback at the meeting and attend the EHC as a voting member to represent the players as a whole and their wishes.
3) It can help you take "ownership" of the game and give back to the community
The Realms is a community-based game. This means that it belongs to all of us, and all of us in the community have the responsibility to ensure that we are doing what is best for the game. Being a part of the process of submitting and voting on proposals and participating in the different discussions that occur can provide a sense of pride and investment in the game going forward and bring players together to help achieve different goals. In a lot of ways we are used to being consumers of games. If you buy a board game or a video game your only job is to interact with it as a user the way the authors intended. But we are all authors in the Realms - of our characters and our nations and the storylines we enjoy. All of these things foster involvement in ways other games do not. Having a voice at the Player's Meeting is another extension of that investment.
4) It allows you to give back to the game.
Like weapons and armor, playing styles and practices change over time, and in order to stay current and enjoyable the game must evolve over time to support these changes. Getting together once a year to vote on rule changes is a way of ensuring that the Realms stays dynamic and interesting even though it is over 30 years old. Each year we have the opportunity to examine our rules and game experiences for things that we think could be done better or more effectively, and each of us has the opportunity to put forth these suggestions to the rest of the community. We give back to the game by helping to make it better each year.
So there you have it, several good reasons to go to the Players Meeting this year! While any proposal that passes the Players Meeting must still be voted on by the Event-Holders Council before it becomes official, that does not negate the need for the players to get involved with the process. Remember, event-holders are players too!
And then hopefully after you've attended this year's meeting, and you've had time to absorb the discourse on the different proposals and to think about how they relate to the game as a whole, maybe this will get you thinking about things that were not brought up this year and maybe, perhaps by chance you will:
5) Be inspired for next year!
Either to submit a proposal (or two, or three) of your own for the next Players Meeting, or hold an event sometime in the upcoming year for a chance to attend both the Event-Holders Council and the Players Meeting next year.
More information about the meeting (such as location) can be found on the realmsnet event calendar.
See you on Saturday!