Author Topic: Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it  (Read 4801 times)

Fedaykin

  • Posts: 474
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« on: April 07, 2003, 02:07:03 AM »
**I'd like to start with a short a disclaimer here for my current clan immortals and clanmates: As a player I am currently not bored with my character, clan or role (quite the opposite in fact) and nothing in this post is meant to be directed at our clan or its members specifically.  I just feel the need to adress an ongoing problem I've seen over the years.**

Weíve all been there at one time or another.  Weíve all experienced it.  Sometimes there is nothing you can do to avoid itÖ

Boredom.

Boredom can be temporary, or it can be with an entire role in general.  Iíve seen boredom cause people to stop logging in, and in some cases even retire characters.  I could never bring myself to retire a character, but personally, I can never blame people for either behavior.  It is a game after all; one we play with in the confines of the harsh world of Zalanthas, but a game nonetheless.  If youíre not enjoying a role or character, you canít be expected or forced to continue playing that role.

Still, even though I canít blame anyone for doing it, I do find it disheartening when in the past Iíve seen great characters stop playing or get retired.  Iíve seen a rash of this in certain areas in the not so distant past, sometimes with characters in leadership roles who PCís depend on.  Particularly in the case of retirement, it can have a tremendous effect on the continuity of IC storylines and life in general.

Some causes of temporary and role boredom:[/b]

Lack of things to do.  This is the most basic of problems causing boredom and perhaps the hardest to alleviate.  I think this is a problem everyone has experienced now and then.  Every now and then it just seems as if there is absolutely nothing you or your character can think to do.  You canít find something for yourself, so what happens?  First you continue logging in, find yourself a comfortable chair or barstool and your favorite tavern and idle, hoping that something interesting will find you.  Then when youíve idled long enough and nothing has come your way, idling can lead to a lack of logging in.  In extreme cases this may even lead to retiring.

Lack of interest.  Sometimes no matter how good a role or a character sounds initially, even when you have things to do, as a player you can find yourself bored.  Either you find yourself going through repetitive motions, or nothing that youíre involved in is actually all that exciting.  It can be a result of the role itself, or perhaps a lack of other PCís to start conflicts and storylines with or against.  This is probably the number one reason Iíve seen for players retiring their characters.

Restrictions.  Restrictions can come in various forms.  Sometimes people take a role that can sound exciting at first but actually playing in that role leaves them feeling trapped.  For example, joining certain clans.  Perhaps you want to go do something but a clan regulation prevents it.  You donít enjoy it and decide maybe you should leave the clan but canít because of a life long employment rule.  This maybe leads you to feel like all you can do is sit around and wait, or lead you to feel like youíre not having fun with the role, which again will lead down the path of not logging in.

Burnout.  This isnít necessarily a boredom thing, because it is more about having too much to do instead of to little.  Burnout is a problem that typically plagues leader PCs.  Sometimes roles exist which have too much to do.  Every time you log on there are people needing things from you.  Itís up to you to guide them, pay them, and keep track of them.  Up to you to find things for them to do and coordinate for your clan.  There comes a point where you might be sick of dealing with it, sick of all the effort required, sick of leading.  Always so much to do, and it never ends.  This can also be the bane of an interesting role because when youíre always spending your time on things your clan or doing things for others, it allows little time to develop your own character or enjoy the role itself.

Suggestions for Players:[/b]

We know the problem and we know some of the causes, but what can we do about it?

Take a step back.  Now initially this sounds like a lack of logging in, one of the problems weíre trying to combat.  However, a lack of logging in only becomes a problem when it continues to happen on a regular basis.  Sometimes a lot can happen to a character, particularly long lived ones, and you can lose sight of them and their goals, or maybe youíve just lost interest in playing them.  Iíve always found that itís helpful to take a step back every now and then, and maybe take a day or two off.  This can give you the time you need to think about your character and put things into focus.  Then when you do log in afte the break you'll probably feel refreshed; eager and ready to go.

Taking a step back doesnít necessarily mean taking time off, either.  Particularly in cases of burnout, its good to free up some time whenever possible.  Let the clan run on autopilot for a little while if you have to.  A better choice would be to find some good underlings to delegate some responsibilities to.  If youíre a leader PC, chances are you can manage to get your self a second in command, assistant or aide.  Allow yourself some time to experience your character and play them.

Change.  One thing Iíve been surprised by now and then is people not allowing their characters to change.  In real life people are always changing.  People may be changed by events around them or they may consciously decide to change things on their own.  Either way, we have that freedom in RL.  If things in your characterís life arenít working out the way they want them to, maybe they decide to make a drastic change.  Maybe they have a mid-life crisis.  Maybe they have a vision that spurs them toward some goal, or they simply hear a good bard and decide they want to take up the mandolin.  Allow you characters to have that freedom.  Itís only realistic.  

Donít be afraid to go against the grain.  Sure, clans have rules and regulations.  That doesnít mean if itís IC for your character that you canít break them.  People break rules all the time.  Does your clan have a "no being drunk on duty" regulation?  Maybe your character likes to drink and thinks he can get away with it.  Just remember, your character can and probably should be reprimanded ICly for certain actions if heís caught.  It doesnít mean youíre a bad player for not following clan regulations, it just means your character is a bad employee ICly.  The immortals arenít going to look down on you as a player if youíre realistically playing your character.  Allow your character to react however they would in all circumstances, even if it may result in negative IC consequences for them.  Some of the best and most interesting characters have their rough edges and negative areas.  

Realize there are possibilities.  Except in very limited instances, youíre never completely stuck.  There is an entire world out there with near infinite possibilities.  All you need to do is find one of them.  Find a goal to work towards, find a new enemy to work against.  Just donít have a defeatist attitude.  Iíve heard players complain that they might as well not try anything because itíll do no good anyways.  If you try something and it doesnít fly, keep pursuing it, this time trying even harder, or simply try something else. You Ėcan- change the world in both minor and major ways.  It just takes imagination and effort.

Suggestions for Immortals:[/b]

Now boredom is a playerís own problem, not the staffís, in my opinion.  The immortals already do wonderful work running this game, interacting with players though various means, creating plots etc. Still though, I do think there are a couple of minor things that the staff could maybe look at to help prevent players from encountering these problems in the first place.  Now these are just suggestions of course.  Iím not trying to point fingers at the staff or anyone on it, just trying to help alleviate a problem Iíve seen a lot of over the years and recently.

Take a look at life long employment.  Yes, it is perfectly legitimate in almost all instances for any house or organization on Zalanthas to have a life long employment requirement.  Zalanthas is harsh.  People are going to want to hire characters that they believe are going to be loyal so that they feel they can trust them, even if that loyalty has to be a little forced.  However, the game world is what we make it to be (we meaning you all of course :)).

Maybe its just been the area Iíve been in recently and it isnít as wide spread as I think, and its possible its already been toned down some.  In my opinion though, it isnít necessary for certain organizations to require their PCís to stay with them for life.  This would allow for those characters who wind up in certain roles or clans that later realize they do not want to be there to go ahead and leave without having to flee under penalty of death.  Personally Iíve always liked the employment for life policy in certain clans, but I think that playability, in the form of players being able to enjoy their characters and having a little more freedom in finding roles for them to play in, should win out here.  I also think it could allow for more conflict RP by allowing more organizations to try and steal or turn each otherís employees and allowing for more betrayals of a minor sort.

Allow the players within your clan the freedom to act.  Now, Iíve almost always been blessed with what Iíve thought to be amazing clan imms.  Still, over the years I have witnessed certain limited instances of a low number of immortals being ever so slightly over controlling of their clans and those in them.  When youíre the immortal for a clan, you may have a particular vision for your clan and its characters.  However, Iíve found the best way to do this is to nudge your clan in the direction you want it to go, preferably through some sort of IC means or interaction.  

More importantly, for the players within the clan than for the clan as a whole, try to avoid walling them too much into very narrow confines with their roles both within the clan, and their characterís lives outside it.  Allow them the freedom to make their own choices and act on them, and maybe even encourage them to do so.  Let them cause a little trouble now and then if need be, and get reprimanded ICly for it if necessary.  Iíd much rather see characters that are individuals with personality and even some flaws than Cookie Cutter Merchant #275 and Cookie Cutter Noble #539 because theyíre better for the clan.  It makes for a much more interesting game.

Feedback, discussion and other suggestions is, as always, not only welcomed, but appreciated.
iva La Resistance!
<Miee> The Helper Death Commando is right.

Callisto

  • Posts: 895
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2003, 05:35:33 AM »
Good post with some solid suggestions. You're my hero.

Taking a step back is, in my opinion, once of the best cures for being bored. Get a life for a week or two and then decide you were happier as a geek, go back to the game. Problem solved.
quote="Teleri"]I would highly reccomend some Russian mail-order bride thing.  I've looked it over, and it seems good.[/quote]

Bestatte

  • Posting Privileges Revoked
  • Posts: 2861
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2003, 07:48:44 AM »
Fedaykin's suggestions are wonderful! They're also far-reaching and broad, so I'll add a more "momentary" kind of suggestion, for those pockets of times when maybe there just aren't any other PCs around (like at 6 in the morning EST).

In Allanak there are several quarters, and within each quarter there are several areas. Each area has its own flavor, as does each quarter it resides in. EXPLORE THEM.

I don't mean auto-walk from the Gaj to the Merchant's Quarter and stare at that mustachioed guard. I mean turn it into its own adventure. Walk (manually!) from point A to point B, and read every single room description along the way. See if there are things within those descriptions you can examine. Don't just skim over the descs.. actually pay attention to what they're telling you.

I've been totally amazed at some of the fun little things I've found in my own "strolls about the city." Things that I'm sure veteran players know all about, but that people who've been playing a year, even two years, might never even realize exists. And they're all right there, screaming at you to notice them.

Pick one location at a time. Don't plan on exploring the entire city in a single day. Example.. if you're starting at the Gaj, try going SOUTH instead of EAST. Follow the southern perimeter of the inside of the city eastward, and then take the next available northern route back up. Look at each building, if one exists according to the room's description. If there are gates leading north, LOOK at the northern entry. If there's a big-ass room description that's usually just too huge to bother with most days, stop and READ it. Every single word of it. Let the description sink in and ask yourself if your character has any questions about that description, or comments about it.

You can turn a single "unusual" room description into your own little mini solo RPT that can keep you entertained for an hour. Hopefully by then, some elf has shown up and tried to steal your 'sids, and you can get involved in some interactive RP.

:)

crymerci

  • Posts: 1565
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2003, 08:37:03 AM »
What a great post, Fedaykin.  :D

As someone who is easily bored, I found a lot of good suggestions in there. When my character's is so boring even I have trouble staying awake at the keyboard, I know there's serious problems. Probably a great deal of the blame lies on my shoulders; perhaps I'm not good at starting plots, imagining alternatives, or sustaining interest in the mundane, and I'm definitely not fond of extended soloplaying.

I would have to say that, looking back at the characters I've enjoyed, they've all been involved in plots or at least extensive socialization from the start of their existence as PCs. So, for me anyhow, it makes sense to look for roles that will provide that for me. There are two main obstacles that I've found to this strategy. First, there's a tendency for others not to get involved with new characters, because of what I'm guessing is concern that they may not last long. Conversely, new characters that don't get involved in things tend not to last long. A Catch-22. This problem tends to be compounded if the person is an obvious newbie, and may lead to them not staying in the game, but that's probably better left to another post.

The second concern, and this is one touched on in Fedaykin's post, is that clans tend to provide the most opportunities for roleplay and interaction, but getting stuck in a clan gone dead is a very bad thing(tm). We've all seen it happen, to our own PCs and to others: a clan is going along well, and one or more dynamic players/leaders die or retire. The remaining PCs drop like flies, until all that is left is that one stubborn straggler, whose boredom and frustration you can smell all the way across the tavern, like a week-old yogurt left out in the sun.

I've had the privilege of playing with a couple of extraordinary leader PCs. Frankly, I think they've spoiled me for everyone else. Maybe it's twinkish to do so, but I've come to the decision that I'm not going to get my characters recruited unless I know I'm going to have a decent leader. Making a lifetime comittment on behalf of your PC is no small matter.

I agree with Fedaykin's point about lifetime employment: I don't think it's necessary for every position in every clan. Furthermore, I would suggest to clan leaders that they open themselves to the idea of being able to employ someone without hiring them. Be a patron to that bard without making them a servant; form a contract with a mercenary without making them part of your guard; make that shady type a confidential informant rather than your own personal spy. This also opens avenues for another of Fedaykin's points: people stealing employees from one another.  :wink:  Hell, don't even be afraid of trying to 'turn' one of those lifetime employees: I mean, if we're going to insist on a comittment, there's gonna be a possibility of some cheating around.
I think we might need to change World Discussion to Armchair Zalanthan Anthropology.

House Rising Sun

  • Posts: 519
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2003, 01:43:50 PM »
Great suggestions, from both posts. A lot of people, myself included, could learn from those examples and suggestions as to what to do when bored in the game. I'm actually doing some of them right now. Er... now as in recently. Not this moment.

I'm sure the other half of the ideas are just as great! I got bored halfway through and stopped reading...
Dig?

The7DeadlyVenomz

  • Posts: 8730
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2003, 02:16:19 PM »
i agree...with all of these suggestions....

(no color...no color...no co...oops.)
Wynning since October 25, 2008.

>craft newbie into good player

You accidentally snap newbie into useless pieces.


adrien

  • Posts: 397
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2003, 04:16:21 PM »
boardom i suffer from that :( i am with a clan with 1 rule i hate
YOU CAN LEAVE THE CITY unless another one of that clan is there....
Not byn clan if your thinking of that one...im not saying
also all they do is gather crafting material (forage) and hunts usless animals and RIP ME OF for my months pay... IM board
now that off my mind where the closes mekillot
dd my msn if you want, longvaladrien@hotmail.com

krelin

  • Posts: 291
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2003, 04:27:20 PM »
In your spare time, you could practice your punctuation, capitalization and grammar...  (finally, I offer a boredom-relieving hint!)

Anonymous

  • Guest
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2003, 05:41:39 PM »
Quote from: "Bestatte"
Example.. if you're starting at the Gaj, try going SOUTH instead of EAST.


Don't you go back IN to the Gaj if you go south?   :twisted:

Fedaykin

  • Posts: 474
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2003, 07:36:59 PM »
Quote from: "adrien"
i am with a clan with 1 rule i hate
YOU CAN LEAVE THE CITY unless another one of that clan is there....


Well, adrien, I'd refer you to this part of my post then:
Quote

Donít be afraid to go against the grain. Sure, clans have rules and regulations. That doesnít mean if itís IC for your character that you canít break them. People break rules all the time. Does your clan have a "no being drunk on duty" regulation? Maybe your character likes to drink and thinks he can get away with it. Just remember, your character can and probably should be reprimanded ICly for certain actions if heís caught. It doesnít mean youíre a bad player for not following clan regulations, it just means your character is a bad employee ICly. The immortals arenít going to look down on you as a player if youíre realistically playing your character. Allow your character to react however they would in all circumstances, even if it may result in negative IC consequences for them. Some of the best and most interesting characters have their rough edges and negative areas.


However, I'd strongly remind you that you should not go breaking your clan's rules with your character simply because you as a player are bored.  Your character should only break the rules if they have a good reason of their own to do so, and don't complain if you suffer consequences.  That being said, it is very dificult to justify breaking a rule for your character's own safety so he can go ride out into the harsh wilds alone, risking his life and safety.
iva La Resistance!
<Miee> The Helper Death Commando is right.

Anonymous

  • Guest
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2003, 07:42:52 PM »
Quote from: "krelin"
In your spare time, you could practice your punctuation, capitalization and grammar...  (finally, I offer a boredom-relieving hint!)


was DAT directed at me?

krelin

  • Posts: 291
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2003, 07:46:25 PM »
Quote from: "Anonymous"
Quote from: "krelin"
In your spare time, you could practice your punctuation, capitalization and grammar...  (finally, I offer a boredom-relieving hint!)


was DAT directed at me?


If you feel this might apply to you, then yes.    :twisted:  :shock:  :wink:

adrien

  • Posts: 397
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2003, 07:46:35 PM »
That was me sorry the last post....
dd my msn if you want, longvaladrien@hotmail.com

Stroker

  • Posting Privileges Revoked
  • Posts: 1325
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2003, 09:16:31 PM »
There are reasons why almost every Clan forbids their members to hunt alone - No matter how good you become you can always be killed, especially when alone and the Clan doesn't want to lose their investment in you. Thus, they make it mandatory for you to hunt with someone else to ensure that you don't die.
musashi: It's also been argued that jesus was a fictional storybook character.

Delirium

  • Helper
  • Posts: 11967
Boredom: Common causes and what you can do about it
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2004, 01:05:03 PM »
Could we have this archived? :)
"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends." - Schmendrick