Over at one of the RPG forums I frequent one game shop guy was raging out about those Storygames quasi RPGs almost nobody plays or cares about in real life, and about 4th edition. (Which I can't criticize too much as I have sadly done quite a bit of that over the years.)
It has lead into some interesting discussion about gaming in general with one fellow making a rather good comment:
Originally Posted by John Morrow
And when those communities disappear because all of the people have decided it's easier to play World of Warcraft or want to play a game you can't stand, instead? Role-playing is a social hobby that requires other people to play and while you may not have a problem finding or making new players and while there will always be some small number of people who keep the hobby going in some form (just as wargaming never entirely died), it's going to make things more difficult for a lot of people if they can't find people to play with and can't buy game material for the sort of games that they want to play. It's also going to impact people if their group breaks up over it.
HE IS DAMNED RIGHT. And it lead me to my own commentary of which I shall repost here and edit/expand upon to make a nice proper blog post.
What? This blog is supposed to be nothing more than my comic reviews of things?
I know its my gimmick and all but I can write if I want to, leaving my party members behind...
I am getting to the point where I am ready to quit buying gaming stuff and possibly give up on gaming with other people its become so hard to find a group. If it wasn't for a once yearly con and D&D Encounters I am not sure I would have done much of ANYTHING for gaming the last 6 months outside of a couple pickup games that never got a single person to play what we were playing.
People don't seem interested in finding groups at all. I mean, I even bought into D&D Essentials I was so desperate to get an RPG group going. You know, the latest version of the most popular RPG in existence? The one I have ranted about for most of this blog's lifetime?
Its all been an utter failure. Nobody on player finders, nobody on forums, nobody through Player's Wanted posters, nobody through store Yahoo groups or Facebook pages. Nobody on IRC. Nobody at work who claims to be a gamer.
Either people only want to play with a select group (which means as soon as the inevitabilities of real life take over as they did with my old group its OVER), or they only want to play one certain game in one certain style on one certain day and everyone else might as well not even EXIST. (Battletech players in my region are the absolute WORST at this. Though in the mid 90s the Battletech scene in Virginia was just as awful. So its not just typical New England Douchebaggery in effect here!)
And what happens? Many people are looking for a game but can't find anyone to game with. Maybe their friends aren't gamers. In some cases people won't even MENTION being into nerdy stuff because the nature of their job and the people there would ostracize them and it would negatively impact their career! (There was a thread about this a couple seasons back at Fear the Boot's forum.) Heck, high school kids are EVIL to each other. Do something the majority says is wrong and get found out and your ass will endure a LIVING HELL for it. So folks can't find a game so why bother buying anything new or even bothering?
A videogame is always there provided the machine works and the power/internet isn't out as needed. And we then lose more and more people due to clannish, antisocial, and ONE WAY ONLY douchebags.
Now add in those people whose games actually run people away. You know, the guys whose campaigns all have massive amounts of Player vs Player killing, whose characters are lesbian Drow priestesses who eat eyeballs daily as a sacrifice to their god, the powergamers who look down on anyone who talks too much or too loud or whose army isn't painted and constructed to their tournament standard. Or who spent 5000 bucks on the latest Magic set so they crush every other deck by turn 5 or clearly they didn't make it good enough. The guys who yell at anyone whose arm even rests on their 8' 4' table with 4 2" long ships on it total. The guys who run off any kids and teens by saying such vulgar and horrible things. Who if they decide the kids' hygiene isn't good enough they spray them with air freshener. (These are all REAL events I have either seen or been told about. I could easily go on.)
Why the hell would anyone want to even BOTHER?
And then if somehow you GET a good group going real life takes folks away or a new edition comes out and fragments everyone with some refusing to play the new version, and others refusing to play the OMG OOOOOLLD version that was perfectly fine until some beancounter said it was time to get a quick cash infusion.
Its sort of the same kind of reasons many people have stopped trying to find jobs or get into a meaningful romantic relationship.
You put all your heart and soul into it and get SQUAT ALL BACK for doing so. If nobody else seems to give a damn why should you?
Why spend money on this stuff, or time to learn the rules when nobody is interested and nobody cares?
Why try to make new friends who have your similar interests when clearly its a waste of bloody time, and a little bit soul crushing to know what you care about nobody else does?
Why bust your hump preparing a great game and cleaning up the house and having a game table all set to go when everyone decides to cancel 30 minutes before gametime? (And that's if they bother to inform you AT ALL?)
And that just leads to the obvious fact buying all this stuff and putting any effort in is STUPID. One would be better off buying a videogame or a DVD or something. Or heck, showing some REAL SMARTS and saving for a rainy day.
Some folks would say I am just angry and should take a break from it all.
I've basically been on a break. THATS THE BLASTED PROBLEM.
And look at many of the examples I listed. If you were either a new potential gamer or one who was trying to get a group would you want to put up with any of that nonsense?
Probably not. Its a lot faster to slap a disk into your game machine of choice and just kill some Radscorpions or Orcs in 5 minutes rather than try to go through all that work and hope someone will actually want to play and not be a freak or jerk.
Why spend hours reading rules and trying to find someone to fight Napoleon's Wars on a hex map when you can drop 30 bucks and download Commander: Napoleon at War and start playing within minutes and not have to worry about it?
Why paint dozens of Space Marines and drive to a shop in hopes of getting a game when you can grab Dawn of War 1 or 2 off Steam and watch Orks go splat for the Emperor and not have some asshole poo poo your paint job and army list?
I mean if you were a single female, especially a younger one would you even want to risk dealing with some creepy SOBs when you could just throw Valkyria Chronicles 2 in your PSP and not deal with it? There are tons of women who are into nerd things now and who want to roleplay. But it looks about as safe as cutting yourself and jumping into shark infested waters. Where the sharks are creepy middle aged men and younger ones whose hygiene is only less questionable than the creepy anime they might watch.
Why would any sane person try to deal with it?
This is why gaming which is already niche as hell just gets niche cubed.
Gaming seems to be infested by a pile of freaks and antisocial jerks who just make one question why we should bother.
Thus us sane folks just start giving the Hell up.
Its kind of soul crushing. When I as a DM that has had two seperate groups basically gush over how much they liked my DMing, and who won Best Roleplayer at a LARP with 20 strangers in a game I had never played before can't even find a dang game something is incredibly WRONG.
So this is my challenge dear reader. And I want you to spread this post far and wide. Gaming needs to see this, to know this, to heed this, to think about it even if you think I am full of it. (And I may be.) You see someone doing some bad juju? Link em to this. Give them knowledge and wisdom.
Start trying to welcome new players. Stop being creepy and mean. Stop others from being creepy and mean. Get the word out about games you like. Be willing to try other games. Respectfully change the bad attitudes of the stinky, the creepy, the elitist. Look at Player's Wanted billboards, forums, and websites. Get new players. Encourage the lapsed ones to come back.
BRING THE JOY OF GAMING BACK.
Cuz if we don't pretty soon we won't have gaming at all.
If enough people quit playing they will quit buying. If they quit buying the stores close down, the games companies go out of business and you are left with a pile of books, games, and miniatures that will just join everyone else who gave up on Ebay, leaving a handful of insular little cliques to play till real life intrudes and they break up, never gaming again.
Extend your hand in friendship to others.
And if they choose to spit in it? Let em know why they suck.