Author Topic: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest  (Read 5125 times)

Rindan

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How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« on: October 17, 2003, 03:59:56 PM »
This is from an old GDB post by Thanas.  It sums up nicely why OOC talk is bad.  It is refered to every now and then as an example.  I figured the new GDB should have this post hanging around too.  The original is located at http://www.armageddon.org/HyperNews/get/general-archive1996/7.html
-Rindan


Many times, I've heard players say they'd like to be able to see behind the scenes of Armageddon. That they'd like to be able to find out what the whole story is.

This will be a chance to see one small part of the world, that you probably haven't seen before. I'm going to tell you about a quest, some of the motivations behind it, and the actions that transpired. Why am I going to do this?

Because some people were talking on isca, and spread some OOC info. I could continue the quest even with people knowing what they've heard there, but it just won't be that much fun for anyone involved, myself included. Those players spreading OOC info effectively killed the quest.

I hope that you take the time to read this, and that the next time that you are in a situation where you might feel like telling someone something that happened In Character, that you will think about how you may be ruining someone else's fun.

There was a dwarf, a defiler, named Freil. He used his magick to put people to sleep and rob them, while he slowly grew in power. For over 5 months his attacks in Tuluk and Allanak had people hunting for the sorcerer, although none knew what he looked like. Freil had his own motivations for his actions, most of which was to extend his life, as the old dwarf was nearing the end of his days. I would give you his whole life history, but this post will be too lengthy already.

Finally, Freil got overly greedy, and set upon a group of 4 Jkarr who were outside of the city. One was able to see the invisible dwarf, and Freil fled, angry that after several years of robberies, his description was now going to get out. He tried to talk the Jkarr into saying that he'd killed Freil, in exchange for money and help, but the Jkarr refused. At this point, probably 15 or more players were involved in the quest, either hunting Freil, or having been targets of his.

It is at this point, that the first player who engaged in the OOC talk that ultimitely ruined the quest, became involved. PC1 walked widely through the streets of Tuluk, asking people if they wished to go "hunting defilers", and one of Freil's spies heard him, and reported it to the dwarf. PC1 was ambushed on the road, and his backpack stolen while he slept a magickal sleep. Several more encounters between the two took place, Freil managing to stay a step ahead of PC1. Freil again, tried to bribe PC1 into telling others Freil was dead, but PC1 refused, and boasted of killing other sorcerers, and what he'd do to Freil. At this point, Freil grew so angry at PC1, that he dedicated his focus to ruining PC1's life.

Freil, in searching to extend his life, developed a new magick. He gained the ability to create an image of PC1, though the cost was great. It would only last for a short time, but Freil was able to control the fake-PC1 while his body lay dormant, for periods up to an hour or two.

Several times, the fake PC1 went forth, insulting friends, and causing trouble. Freil's goal was to eventually make things so bad for PC1, that his own friends would kill him.

Freil also never gave PC1 rest, and several times tried to drag PC1 away from his friends, put him to sleep, then defile the land until he could create the fake-PC1, and send him back in.

It was soon after this, that PC1 and PC2, out hunting for Freil, were attacked by undead from an entirely different source. PC2 sent out a message to a third person (PC3), telling him that they were probably going to die, and to pass on some final words to a loved one of his if they didn't make it out.

They made it out, although PC 3 was not around at the time to know it. PC1 and PC2 went on to have several very high-profile adventures over the next few real life days. PC1 and PC2 though, went out exploring some more, and managed to get themselves killed. No one knew where they had gone, or that they were dead.

I, as an immortal, knew they had died. However, Freil had no way of knowing, and so he continued using the fake-PC1 to set the character up. I was very gratified to see the puzzled reactions of some of PC1's friends as he told them he'd struck an agreement with the defiler, but that they couldn't talk about it until he said it was safe (so that they wouldn't mention it again to the real PC1).

I planned to continue like this, and saw many possibilities for if Freil and the fake-PC. I guesstimate that over 20 characters had been involved in the quest to this point, and if I played the fake-PC well, I could probably involve a lot of players in the game.

Until... I log in, and hear people talking about how both of these characters are dead. PC3, who had been told the two were dying, had heard OOC that they'd died. Because of this, he never bothered to ask around to see if they were still alive. He instead just started telling people they were dead. If the players of the 2 dead PC's had not spread the word on ISCA they had died, PC3, who heard of the other adventures these 2 had had after their close call, would have inquired as to the timing, and found out they had been seen for IC weeks after he'd received the contact. Indeed, soon after their death, the fake-PC1 showed up and was seen by at least 10 players.

Well, now that everyone knows they are really dead, it really does make it hard me to run the quest. Those people who were directly interacting with the fake-PC1, would have had a lot of fun, I think, as they gradually figured out their friend wasn't what they thought he was. But now they know he is really dead, even OOCly, they were robbed of the chance to figure it all out on their own by the OOC actions of all 3 players.

That is why I'm posting this. That is why I'm taking the time to tell you the whole story. When you talk OOC, you are screwing over your fellow players. Even seemingly insignificant things like this, hurt the game, and ruin other people's fun.

The next time you find yourself in a situation where you want to tell a friend something that happened on the mud, please remember this story. We all love Armageddon, and it is natural to want to talk about it. But maybe you can reminesce about a character who is long dead instead, and save that new tale for somewhere down the road.

- Thanas

creeper386

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How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2003, 04:08:09 PM »
Good idea, Rindan. Though I would have also included a link to the original post for validity. Or whichever that is.

But I don't have the link... I saw Myrd post it someplace else though... SHRUG.
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Dan

  • Posts: 2395
How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2003, 04:09:24 PM »
OOC info spreading is very, very bad...

 :cry:
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Marauder Moe

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How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2003, 04:15:39 PM »
A little off-topic, but wouldn't it be -really- creepy to meet such a copy of one or your own old characters?

DustMight

  • Posts: 937
Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 03:54:39 PM »
After many times of reading this story I think I have a slightly different opinion these days.  It's not the talking OOC that ruined the quest - it's the player's inability to separate IC from OOC knowledge.  It is, I think, a little naive to think that every player is going to not talk about a game they obsess over, that they love, and that they spend countless hours on.   

We like to talk about what we love and spend our time on.  It takes some serious legal penalties to not talk about RL secret information (thinking of military and business secrets here), why should we expect different behavior about a game we love.
 
I'm not saying it's OOC to talk about the game - but that it is natural and should really be expected.

What I am saying is that if you don't separate what you know from what your character knows, then you are not role-playing and you are hurting the game for yourself and everyone else.
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Barzalene

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 04:11:27 PM »
DustMight, I half agree with you.

I think it's true we will want to discuss Arm. But I think we need to exercise discretion. I don't want to know things my pc doesn't, most of the time. And once I know, I can't unknow. I'd rather find out after it doesn't matter.
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musashi

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2011, 04:13:12 PM »
Yeah, I agree that people are going to talk about the game and it's a losing battle to try and stop them from doing it altogether.

But ... people really should refrain from talking about currently happening IC events if only because it spoils the fun in the same way that having someone tell you the ending spoils a movie.
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Lizzie

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2011, 09:16:53 PM »
Yeah, I agree that people are going to talk about the game and it's a losing battle to try and stop them from doing it altogether.

But ... people really should refrain from talking about currently happening IC events if only because it spoils the fun in the same way that having someone tell you the ending spoils a movie.

Dumbledorf dies.

And yet, I still get weepy when I see the funeral scene. It doesn't spoil it for me.

"Admiral, thar be whales here!" still gives me hope for humanity, after having watched -that- scene over a dozen times now.

It's not a surprise anymore, but it still has the intended effect.

You need to bump up your movie-watching skills dood.
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lordcooper

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2011, 09:53:31 PM »
Awful lot of info in the OP.

Just sayin'.
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BleakOne

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2011, 10:00:16 PM »
My first thought was - 'I dinnae know they could do that'
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mansa

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2011, 10:17:53 PM »
the original post was from 1996.

also, the original post was from an immortal, in 1996.
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lordcooper

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 10:18:36 PM »
Even so, I still didn't know they could do that.
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mansa

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 10:19:09 PM »
Even so, I still didn't know they could do that.

immortals can do anything.
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number13

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2011, 10:25:17 PM »
Even so, I still didn't know they could do that.

A lot of the gonzo shit from the early days of the game is subdued now.

mansa

  • Posts: 10134
Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2011, 10:28:40 PM »
Even so, I still didn't know they could do that.

A lot of the gonzo shit from the early days of the game is subdued now.


Yeah, I should of expanded on that.

The game in the 90s had a lot of hands-on plots.  Immortals would create their own plots and let the players go through with stuff.  It was -waaay- more hands on than the staff is now.  It was a plot that an Immortal created, and as he was trying to run it, OOC information ruined it.

Armageddon, at some points, felt like it was a dungeon crawl run by a dungeon master.  Like killing a dragon in World of Warcraft.   Very hack and slash.
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Sokotra

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2011, 01:22:28 PM »
A good thing when combined with RP reasons to back up the action.  Action = fun.

I remember hearing about Freil while playing back then, but was not involved.  My question from the original post is why didn't Freil just continue using the fake-PC1?  PC's in game would just have to RP along with whatever was happening... or was the spread of information so bad, it couldn't even happen that way?  Or am I missing some other information.

maxid

  • Posts: 740
Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2011, 01:47:37 PM »
But there's always the potential exact opposite issue.

PC 1 tells PC 2 'If I die after this trip next week, it was PC3, avenge me.'

PC 1 then stores -right- after saying that.

ICly, PC 1 is around, they're present, and even if they might be barriered, they're still there and the barrier will come down/be broken now and again.

PC 2 is unable to contact PC 1, so PC 2 then kills PC 3.  Because there was no communication that PC 1 stored, even though ICly, PC 1 is alive and well, and PC 3 never intended to harm PC 1.

In the end, it's a cooperative storytelling game, most of which -thrive- on OOC communication, and mature adults being able to play their characters even with more OOC knowledge than their characters have.  The secretmongering is kinda weird, but it's, by now, a part of the culture that is inextricable, so it's not -really- worth arguing against.  But it is, at least, worth pointing out, that this obsession with secrecy is strange, and not 100% perfectly the best for IC at all times, in the exact same way that people plotting OOC to do IC things isn't the best for IC either.

Riev

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2011, 02:22:12 PM »
A good thing when combined with RP reasons to back up the action.  Action = fun.

I remember hearing about Freil while playing back then, but was not involved.  My question from the original post is why didn't Freil just continue using the fake-PC1?  PC's in game would just have to RP along with whatever was happening... or was the spread of information so bad, it couldn't even happen that way?  Or am I missing some other information.

I think what was trying to be said, was the staff felt that the ability for the players around PC1 to 'discover' what had been happening was stripped away by OOC information. Part of the Arm Experience (trademark) is about not knowing until the very end. Akin to reading the end of a book before you begin, you go through the story knowing what happens, so you're just going through the motions.

It killed the plot, for the staff, because the interest on the part of the Storyteller was lost, now that his audience knew the ending. Its not just about us, its about the ones telling the story (back when Storytellers... you know. Told stories.)
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Nao

  • Posts: 2034
Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2011, 02:43:38 PM »
This just makes me wonder - was Freil's rest named after that PC?
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EldritchOrigins

  • Posts: 391
Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2011, 02:52:06 PM »
This just makes me wonder - was Freil's rest named after that PC?

If it was, that'd be ironic.

Sokotra

  • Posts: 1731
Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2011, 02:54:01 PM »
It was... or was not.  Find out IC.  ;)

A good thing when combined with RP reasons to back up the action.  Action = fun.

I remember hearing about Freil while playing back then, but was not involved.  My question from the original post is why didn't Freil just continue using the fake-PC1?  PC's in game would just have to RP along with whatever was happening... or was the spread of information so bad, it couldn't even happen that way?  Or am I missing some other information.

I think what was trying to be said, was the staff felt that the ability for the players around PC1 to 'discover' what had been happening was stripped away by OOC information. Part of the Arm Experience (trademark) is about not knowing until the very end. Akin to reading the end of a book before you begin, you go through the story knowing what happens, so you're just going through the motions.

It killed the plot, for the staff, because the interest on the part of the Storyteller was lost, now that his audience knew the ending. Its not just about us, its about the ones telling the story (back when Storytellers... you know. Told stories.)

Heh, yeah... I know, I get the whole point and I agree with it.  I was just curious about what else happened in the plot and stuff.  The IC stuff I guess I can find out IC.  ;)

Edited:  Fixed for you Thunk.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 03:02:57 PM by Sokotra »

Thunkkin

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2011, 03:01:19 PM »
IC INFOS!
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Drayab

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Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2011, 03:20:57 PM »
Metagaming is cancer, and OOC communication is a slippery slope at best. I avoid it, and I wish my fellow players did as well - for the good of the game.

EldritchOrigins

  • Posts: 391
Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2011, 03:30:21 PM »
It requires extra energy to not let the OOC knowledge from affecting one, causing an extra brain process in every action.  Older experienced players know a lot more about the game world than newer, less experienced players, so they generally understand this better.  People know where to find X item or that certain things exist and are dangerous and deadly, this effects their roleplay, but not always in a bad way.  However knowing things that aren't always constant, like what noble X is doing, or that Y is a spy for templar Z.  Knowing these kinds of things usually (if not always) result in some combination of either in loss of enjoyment, dedication of more energy to try to not be effected by the knowledge, or doing something one wouldn't otherwise do because of knowing these things.

So just knowing things that aren't intended for a player to know does effect both the person that knows, as well as anyone that might be effected by altered play.

Cindy42

  • Posts: 1180
Re: How OOC Talk Killed a Quest
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2011, 05:51:29 PM »
This thread makes me sad
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