Monday, 12 July 2010

Is this some karmic-chi love thing happening here baby or what?

This is why I RP as a belf...

Online liaisons are a topic that is (in my experience) rarely talked about. The RP community understandably isn't wild about discussing this, as they feel, rightly or wrongly, that the 'public' perception of RP-ers are people hanging around in Goldshire/Silvermoon looking for ways to get their cyber rocks off at the expense of true RP (however you wish to define this) and they would like to move away from that perception thankyouverymuchindeed. Like I said, completely understandable and I'm sure that 'public' cyberlols (my chosen term as I can't write ERP with a straight face) are against a multitude of T&Cs as well as giving offence to most people around.

But... how many people, especially, I would suggest, playing a female character, haven't been on the receiving end of a suggestive whisper or six? And, you know, if you can't write your own flirts, Blizz has given your character the ability to do this. I would point you in the direction of the new goblin flirts which I'm sure will be toned down but presently are very unsubtle and require, well, very little imagination to interpret: "I like my women the way I like my fuses: Short, fast and ready to blow." - goblin male. "So then, he asked me to go up on him!" - goblin female. [Gold star if you spot the, ahem, recurring theme...?]

And how do you account for the quantity of people who walk round with 'Mature Roleplayer' as their Flag RSP setting? Maybe it's me, maybe 'Mature RPer' merely indicates your willingness to engage in a deep and complex in-character storyline; my view is that indicates your willingness to engage in cyberlols. But I could be completely wrong and utterly prejudiced, I'm going off my own experiences here. And, in the interests of honesty, I'm willing to say that I've been on the receiving end of a multitude of flirts, some discreet, others exceedingly full-on. I'm equally willing to say that Pilf has been known to engage in some heavy flirting, and on one occasion, something, that in retrospect, could have been better thought through. And this is where things get sticky - and the separation between the 'character' and the 'player' get confused by some, if not many, people.

Examples - during Pure Shores it was Pilf and Zal flirting, not Sven and I. A fairly good example, of a RP 'liasion'. Not 'euch I need a shower with bleach and a brillo pad' yukky. Not 'insert Tab A into Slot B' graphic. But with... overtones. The separation between character and player was clear and as a result there haven't been issues. When Pilf met her poet, again it was intense but it was good RP. And again, it didn't breach any comfort (or decency) barriers. Again, character/player separation very clear. My one misjudged RP 'liaison' has made it damn near impossible to play Pilf and this is a problem. The mis-alignment between myself and the other player was fairly huge and this is a serious issue for me. I'm at the point of transferring servers because basically it feels unpleasant playing her on AD. And this is NOT a plea for sympathy here - I made an ill-judged decision and I know that I have to deal with the consequences of this.

So if we accept that cyberlols do happen, it is possible to put prejudice aside and look at why? Or do we get too clouded by, and hung up with moral judgements to be able to do this dispassionately? I'm not convinced, personally, that cyberlols can be particularly fulfilling, but I would also wager that they're a lot less risky than picking up a stranger in a bar for a one night stand. (And I also realise that it isn't and either/or scenario!) Seriously, if you've never had an issue with misjudgement 'romantically' I salute you. But I have and I'm here to say that the situations you can create in a virtual world are a great deal less fucking dangerous than you can in the real world. Worst case scenario is that you write /ignore a lot of times. Or server transfer, if push comes to shove. Is it then 'acceptable' for consenting adults to partake in a liaison of their choosing, in private when they are not impinging on the game time of other players? Yes, you can argue that it's hard to define 'consenting adult' in Azeroth and I realise that this raises a whole barrel of other 'issues' but again, putting that aside, is it acceptable to sit in judgement on what people do and how they get their kicks? Would it not be better to be glad that people are fulfilling their need for excitement/kicks/whatever virtually?

10 comments:

  1. I admittedly don't play on an RP server - but I do find this a very interesting topic. Long before I started playing WoW I played something called a MUD.. it was kind of like WoW - only completely text based. It meant you had to use your imagination a lot - even if you did the same things you now do in WoW.. kill monsters, gain xp and levels, new skills and spells..

    I loved getting to use my imagination, and in that setting I RolePlayed a LOT. Every character I created had a backstory and a personality, and I sometimes miss this in WoW. Some of my characters still have that - even if now only in my head since I don't RP anymore.

    I think RP can be a really good thing if done right, it allows you to use your imagination and even be a bit of an actress. (My greatest feat to this day was keeping a character completely separate from me, and despite being a well-known GM in a small community no one ever figured out that character was me.)

    I'd love to try an RP server on WoW - but I wouldn't know where to start, and I know I'd not get any of my friends to come with me. I tried once for maybe 5 levels but stopped when the first whisper was "wanna cyber?" I mean, c'mon he didn't even woe me first!

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  2. Sorry if I'm missing the nuances but ... let me get this straight. Somebody is sexually harrassing you and you think you should move servers? That is not right.

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  3. The Physician's log did a really good post about ERP a while back, that had some really good points in about why it is a legitimate part of RP for somepeople, sorry I couldn't be arsed to dig it out I am on my way to bed :)

    Pilf, I would seriously recommend reporting the guy if he is harrassing you. Server transferring is not the answer - especially if that means he'll turn his attentions elsewhere and carry on not knowing that he is actually doing something very wrong. Don't blame yourself for his actions, and maybe misjudging - we all do that sometimes - we can't always see the consequences of something that seems harmless at the time :)

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  4. @ Saga - oh see, re-rolling on an RP server totally revitalised the game for me! Best decision I ever made, most of these delightful folks who comment here are from the same guild and server and they're a fab bunch. And it is very easy to avoid dodgy RP, it's just that Pilf (the character) managed to get embroiled in a one-off thing that was an issue. All the other RP I have had has been a joy and a delight - as you may have gathered!

    @ Tam - there are nuances but at a base level, yeah. And I know it isn't right but I'm getting progressively more creeped out. I'm not making any decisions right now though, and tbh Pilf could do with a breather so...

    @ Issy - ah yeah. I remember that post actually, it's this one: http://thephysicianslog.blogspot.com/2010/03/lets-talk-about-sex-baby.html

    (Why can't I turn links into one word hyperlinks like I can on my blog? *sulks*)

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  5. I don't play on an RP server any more, but when I did I never engaged in cyber there. That is not to say that I haven't ever cybered. I don't think there is anything wrong with cybering with a consensual adult in game in private whispers or in private party chat as long as both parties understand what is going on.

    The biggest issue with cybering and with online relationships in general is the opportunity for miscommunication. I've never been one of those who just comes up to strangers and asks if they want to cyber. That is creepy. I don't see any problem if two people flirt and gradually work up to that and both agree, but it takes a lot of mutual respect and understanding for it to work smoothly.

    I think maybe I've been lucky that I haven't run into any trouble in this regard, but cybering isn't something I rush into either.

    I'm sorry you're having issues with someone that you flirted with in RP. Have you discussed it with him OOC and made clear how you as a person (not Pilf) are feeling? Without more details it's difficult to give advice.

    Like others have said, if it becomes harassment, contact Blizz.

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  6. @ Anon. Hulloes - I'm trying to work out if I know you :)

    I agree 100% with the miscommunication issue - this is the crux of the current Pilf thing, I read something into the 'encounter' and my fellow RP-er presumabably read something TOTALLY different into it. I have stated, in words of one syllable exactly how I feel about what they're trying to 'do' but so far haven't got anywhere. However, that's my issue!

    I do however want to thank you for your honesty in your comment - I'm not sure that people are happy to put their hands up and say 'yep, I've tried that' with regard to cybering, and that was actually the debate I was trying to open up with the post. Having had a slightly wild child period IRL, I think that online stuff could be described in some ways as 'safer' (with obvious caveats such as witholding personal info etc) but I find it interesting that people still get very uncomfortable discussing this.

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  7. Whilst it isn't really my cup of tea, I have no problem with consenting adults cybering as long as they do it in private. What does worry me about MMOs is that you can never really be sure that the recipient of your smutty messages really is an adult IRL. I've seen that happen to a guildy in the past and she was absolutely mortified when it turned out that her "lover" turned out to be a teenager. Even though she had no idea, it seems to me that it's too big a risk to take.

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  8. @ Sven - on noes, are you actually a teenager IRL? Can I no longer post smutty innuendo filled comments on your blog?? *sniffles*

    And, come to think of it, why are you on my blog when you have yet to provide me (and Issy) with a decent Colin Firth post *glares* ;)

    In all seriousness though, you raise a totally valid point and one that I chose not to address in my post, on the basis that actually, it's bloody hard to 'verify' age isn't it? I guess it also links in with Anon's comment about 'working up to' the liaison, but even then if you want a cast iron guarantee that you're cyber-partner is over the age of consent (or a 'suitable' age, if like me, the age of consent is stil waaaaaay to young in comparison to my advanced years) you'll struggle.

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  9. I am a fellow blogger, and I've posted here before, so you do kinda know me, but due to the nature of this post I'm choosing to remain anonymous.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on this. It is shocking that this is such a taboo subject. Cybering, in my opinion, is far safer than picking someone up in the bar, both physically and emotionally.

    I concur with Sven, there is danger in not knowing how old your partner is, and not really having any means of verifying it.

    That said, I think if you take the time to get to know someone you at least are able to gauge their maturity, if not their actual age.

    I'm no young'un myself, so I tend to shy away from those who are quite obviously young. Not to say I couldn't be fooled, but I don't think I have been yet. ;)

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  10. @ Anon. Sincere apologies - I wasn't trying to 'unveil' you - I was musing aloud :)

    I'm not sure that I can say much more - other then 'I agree' and then I think we'll end up in a little pool of mutual agreement comment-wise. I would like to comment further apropos of your remark about RL liaisons but feel that I'd end up (badly) in the TMI river which would be less than appropriate.

    Again, thanks for your comments - and your honesty :)

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