I've been working on an article off and on for a while that I'd eventually like to post in the RP Discussion forum, but I thought I would toss it up here for some feedback first. Additions? Suggestions?
This is not intended to replace Vanth's Guilde, which you can read here
if you haven't already. This is more designed for the player of the noble who has 20, 30, 40, or maybe even more days played, and whose player feels like he or she has hit the wall. Playing a noble is the hardest leadership role in the game. It comes with all of the responsibility of a commoner leader or templar, without as many possibilities for built-in interaction. It is a position that attracts people that want to "do" things in the game, while also being part of a game world that is stagnant and change-averse by its very nature.
So, you have a noble. The shiny newness has worn off and you're now into the slog of actually, truly playing a noble, and wondering if you even want to keep doing it. This is a list of things you should do when you feel yourself starting to stagnate in your role.Update Your List Of Goals
You probably came into this role with lofty goals and ideals. You have probably only accomplished one or two of the very minor ones, or it's possible that you haven't accomplished anything at all. Don't freak out. This is normal.
Now that you have a handle on how long things take, you should re-organize your list of short (1 to 5 IC years), medium (5 to 20 IC years), and long-term (20+ IC years) goals. You might notice that you have entirely forgotten about some goals. This is also normal. Either make a concentrated effort to start working on them again, or kick them off the list. Add new goals that are based on your character's present interests. Make sure you have a variety of goals in each category.
You will also have several old goals that you may believe are impossible to accomplish, or that you have talked to staff about and staff say are impossible to accomplish. You have a few choices with these goals. If the just frustrate you complete, kick them off the list. But simply because staff has said that something is not possible or not likely, this does not mean that your character absolutely has to stop working on them. IC 'no's usually come in the form of 'your Seniors wouldn't like that.' You can choose to accept the consequences, or you can try to revise the goals to fit better what your Seniors would like. OOC 'no's might come in the form of 'we don't have code to support that' or 'we think that would unbalance the game.' Unless staff has explicitly told you an OOC no and please stop doing that, you can still work on these goals.
While you are updating your list of goals, be sure to manage your expectations. It takes an extremely lot of work and time to get things "accomplished" in the game. Your idea of accomplishing something might require a lot of staff work and it might receive IC as well as OOC pushback. Try to rely on staff as little as possible when creating your goals, and communicate them to staff right away. Try to have fun with the process, and try not to get married to your own personal vision of the end result.
You should also consult with your friends and minions and determine if they have any new goals that you can or should help them with. You don't have to solely be a plot dispenser, you can also help others facilitate their own plots.Make New Friends
Now that you have an updated list of goals, you should review the list of friends, minions, and enemies that you already have. Determine which two people you are trying to rope in to helping you with any given goal. Make sure to build redundancies into your friends list. If you only have one person that you are relying on for the Great Knifevest Plot of 2012, if that person dies, you're going to have to start the Great Knifevest Plot again from the ground floor. You may have already done this five or six times.
If you aren't keeping this list and attempting to "contact" all of your friends, minions, and enemies from the moment you log in until the moment you find some interaction, you should start. A noble is the most isolated role in the game. You have less excuses to interact with a huge portion of the playerbase (commoners) than anyone else, you have fewer places to congregate where people actually go, and a lot of your contacts are hopefully busy with their own plots (friends/enemies) or working on your plots (minions). If you aren't contacting people regularly, this may be why you're bored.
Do you have enemies that you've stopped interacting with? Find some reason to interact with them again. It's very easy to fall into the "ignore your enemies" trap, but if you're ignoring them you're missing good opportunities for conflict. Plus, you probably don't have any idea about the ways they're working against you. Ignoring your enemies is the easiest way to keep them enemies, but it is also the most predictable and boring.
If part of the problem is that you don't have anyone to interact with, possible because your minions have all died and your friends have all stored, it might be tempting to log into the game, see that no one is around, and log out again. Do not do this. It is only going to exacerbate your problem, because you cannot find new friends, minions, enemies, or interaction if you're not playing the game. The game cycles, and it is probably going to cycle back around. Meanwhile, sit somewhere public, load up Minecraft, Wikipedia, TVTropes, or your distraction of choice, and try to force yourself to be available for an hour or two. You might be amazed at how much of your interaction problem is simply because you're not playing.Paint Yourself Back Out of the Corner
People rarely get frustrated for no reason. Is there something wrong with your character that is making it hard to enjoy them? Are you tired of playing a hard-bitten know-it-all or a complete dunce? Map out what you would need to do to make some changes to your character to turn them into the kind of person you would enjoy playing.
If you've painted yourself into a corner, figure out how to paint a trapdoor into it. Staff might be able to help you here. Your clan staff is probably invested in your character and really does want to help you.
And if you think your noble would never be able to be X or Y, rethink yourself. If your noble isn't changing and growing, your noble is a caricature instead of a person. Keep in mind that trauma changes people, and conflict is what makes stories interesting and enjoyable. Don't be afraid to make changes to your initial concept to make your character more enjoyable to play. The other option is just to store, and if you didn't care about your noble, you wouldn't be reading this thread.
Sit On Storage
If you are absolutely positive that you want to store, sit in your storage request for at least a week. Take a week off from the game honestly assess what is broken about your character and how you might want to fix it. Decide whether the enjoyment you get out of your character is going to be worth the effort of fixing it.
Also, ask yourself if you've clearly communicated your frustrations to your staff. Do they have any ideas? Are you giving them the benefit of the doubt? When you're in a negative frame of mind, it's extremely easy to put a negative spin on everything.
Ultimately, store if you are really and truly not enjoying yourself. Do not feel guilty about this. Playing a noble is the hardest role in the game, and it isn't for everyone. At least you gave it a shot.