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"You know you can't ever go back to then!"
MUSHing: A toxic hobby? 
7th-Dec-2011 02:00 am
Yay! Genghis! (Kate Beaton)
Now this one sort of occurred to me as I read a friend's post about leaving. He said he went out, did some stuff and felt better than he had.

It made me think. See, once upon a time, MUSHing was a glorious alternative to the free and wild craziness of chat RPs. I didn't have many folks locally I could tabletop with. So let's hit the internet! And hit it we did. Oh, the wonders that could be had! Myriads of games with scads of theme to choose from. I could go nearly anywhere and find something that suited me.


I think that MU* took a bit hit with the advent of WoW. It was hard to compete with graphics and stuff, even if people didn't really go to RP. WoW's just mindless, addictive fun. While thankfully, a South Park episode inspired us to not be such metaphorical neckbeards... well. It still took a good chunk of the userbase out. Even today, I still see people in MU* chatting about WoW. Granted, I tend to consider WoW a mindkiller and don't really keep it on when there's stuff I need to write/keep attention on.

Over time, log ins dropped. People stopped coming to RP. A lot of us are getting older, having kids, graduating, hitting grad school... We just don't /have/ hours upon hours of free time anymore. I might have a couple of hours, study, couple more hours and so on. Folks left because it is honestly tough to MUSH when you don't have a lot of free time. Much like MMOs, it's a time sink. But does it offer the same amount of award for my time? Some days, it feels like all I get is things to snark at, be snarked by and generally deal with idiots.

Getting scenes together feels a lot harder than it did before. People rarely venture out of their clique. Plot is rarely run by staff anymore. I guess it's the new thing to mostly rely on player run plots. Nostalgia factors in too, I suspect. I took my stint away for studying/wow. The medium itself has a lot of issues versus say, a chat, forum or tabletop.

And unfortunately, the number of games has dropped. Hard. The pool of players has shrunk. These days it feels like the same old shit. Gone are the days you could just jump ship and go elsewhere if you ran into a bad group/staff/whatever.

It's hard not to get emotionally invested when you spend hours on something I think. Sadly, a lot of the people left just... feel really emotionally toxic. The worst part is I don't think many of them do it deliberately. Then on places like WoD games, you have to jump hurdles and all but write an essay to raise your character's stats or whatever. While one or two games are still free spends, egads. I don't want to write an essay on why my character deserves to be slightly better at lobbing a fireball and the nature of fireballs to buy a skill.

So you combine toxic people, time and emotional investment and... I dunno. While I like a couple of the games I'm on, it feels like some days I'm happier just not logging in. Maybe I've grown past the hobby, no longer able to look past a lot of what I did. Maybe I went back looking for something that just wasn't there anymore.

It's not to bash the medium. I made a lot of friends through these games. I'm grateful for a lot of the fun I had.

But some days, I wonder where that fun went.
Comments 
7th-Dec-2011 08:18 am (UTC)
"Maybe I went back looking for something that just wasn't there anymore."

This is where I end up everytime I go prodding at MU*'s these days. I remember fondly the really great stories I was involved in, the friends I made...

And then I remember a lot more of the drama and shit people would pull because they wanted to be the center of attention.

I go and prod at SWORA every blue moon and see the same shit still going on, even though the population seems to have dwindled. The young blood goes to RP eboards now mostly. Or, even finds RP on WoW and other graphical MUDs. (See: Moonguard. Ever full. It is a frightening experience to go through Goldshire there.)

So now, the friends I made long ago on MU*'s, the ones that have stayed long time friends, we still RP. We just found a new forum to do it -- one that suits our time as adults, parents, and people who generally have other things going on in our lives, but still want to enjoy the collaborative storytelling we once did on MU*'s.

We went back to PbEm. We moved to Wave. We tried LJ... it... didn't thread well for RP. So PbEm and Wave worked better. Now that Wave is going away, we're using Google docs. But by god, we're going to use Wave up until the very day it goes read-only, then we'll switch over to something else. One of our players has been trying to set up a Wave in a Box open source server. It's been a headache. Another (a damn good web dev friend), has been writing his own web app aimed at RP in play by post that would more mimic SimpleMU* meets play by post.

It's easy to walk away from MU*'s. It's harder to walk away from collaborative storytelling. If you enjoy the creative outlet, it's a very satisfying one. You just need do it with others of a like mind and be willing to walk away (or block the offender) when/if someone starts up drama.

Wow. I just rambled. >.
8th-Dec-2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
To be fair, this post was born of rambling. But I definitely see what you mean. A lot of the times, I just wonder why I'm still logging on. :| There's a few nice ones but...
7th-Dec-2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
There have always been different cultures in the hobby.

I've pretty much given up on WoD, now. As you said, too toxic - and I can't abide the nWoD. They stripped out the stuff I liked about oWoD and left nothing in its place.

I'm having a lot of fun on Road to Amber, though - the game's set up for people to do stuff and run stuff. Every character is Awesome, and players are trusted to (and expected to) negotiate like adults. It makes for an entirely different experience.
8th-Dec-2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
I like both n and o WoD, but I'm in the minority. I'm digging Sweetwater Crossing with Faraday. I may have to look at that Road to Amber. It sounds nifty. I'm not sure how I feel about Pern. Tried Star Wars a bit.

But yeah, there definitely seems to be something about WoD these days that's just ... toxic. I hate to throw the word around but that's about one of the best ways to sum it up.
7th-Feb-2012 03:02 am (UTC)
Was skimming my inbox (after not logging in for like 2 months) and saw this. Something about the hobby just festers too easily and moves from hobby to habit.
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