Home > Game Development, Jointhesaga.com, OtherSpace > Thinking About: Oldbies vs. Newbies

Thinking About: Oldbies vs. Newbies

I received a message today from a departing OtherSpace player – a MUSHer with more than a decade of experience as a player and staffer who was with us for a little more than a month.

Her departure comes, she explained, because of conversations with veteran players who had the temerity to say that newbies aren’t worth the trouble of inclusion, that they’re a pain to deal with, that they don’t stick around. So why should anyone bother?

She didn’t name names, except to point out some specific players and staffers who had gone out of their way to make her feel welcome. But the attitudes demonstrated by a couple of sour-mouthed veterans were enough to outweigh the potential she saw in the game.

Frankly, I don’t blame her. Frankly, it pisses me right the hell off. I’ve done a lot of work promoting OtherSpace, trying to recruit new players, and to have it undermined by the very people who might benefit from the arrival of new blood just appalls me. I don’t know who did this, who said these things, but I do have something I want to say to them if they happen to read this blog post:

Maybe you think it’s a great idea to try and preserve your little elitist corner of a text-based roleplaying game. Maybe you don’t want new people encroaching on your clique. You’ve found a good thing, and maybe you think YOU are what’s best for OtherSpace. I’ve got news for you: You’re WRONG. You’re the worst thing possible for the game. You’re a poison. A cancer. If you really want to help, please move on to another diversion of choice before I find out it was you.

Think I’m being too harsh? Not harsh enough?

  1. Kallyn
    April 8, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    *cheers* Too harsh? HAH! You’re damn right to be pissed, man, that’s just pathetic. I can’t believe there’s a person or persons here being such (an) asshat(s)…

  2. Wik
    April 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    This makes me insanely angry. As a newbie helper and someone who has done a decent chunk of recruiting over the years, the idea that someone would dare to turn away, let alone usher away a newbie is absolutely reprehensible. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior.

  3. Newt
    April 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Definitely not too harsh.

    If said player is reading this. Come back and don’t let a couple of dropkicks ruin the fun. Theirs is not an attitude shared by the rest of us. Take Mikage, for example. He’s a player who’s starting up the SGX so as to specifically include newbies in on the fun and help get them integrated into the flow of things (and who has Swiftfoot and myself in on it too). There be fun in them thar hills!

  4. ShanG
    April 8, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    If you ask me? You’re not being harsh enough.

    I’d like to think that people know I’m firmly in the anti-elitism camp. I was the guy who gave a rather scathing response a while back when you posted that ‘thinking about exclusivity’ article. I’ve had a few spats with other players – people who I consider friends, and enjoy playing with – over this sort of thing.

    It isn’t just about ‘oldbies and newbies’. It’s about ‘staff versus players’ and it’s about ‘combat versus noncombat chars’ and it’s about… /whatever/.

    Here’s the thing. I can be a jerk. I *know* I can be a jerk. And there are people on the MUSH who I don’t like. Who annoy me. Or who I annoy. I do my best to suck it up. I’m not perfect, I am a self-admitted jerk, but I try.

    Because, simply put: if every time somebody doesn’t get along with someone else, the solution is to have one of them quit? The logical conclusion is Brody, sitting along on the MUSH, wondering why nobody else plays anymore.

    Do we want that?

    Think of that player.
    The one whose poses are shorter than you like.
    Or longer than you like.
    Who takes forever to pose.
    Who gets overeager and stomps you.
    The person who asks annoying questions.
    The person who never asks any questions at all.
    The person who chases staffer plots.
    The person who avoids them like the plague.
    The person who favors combat RP.
    The person who favors social RP.
    The person who loves math.
    The person who hates math.
    The person who optimizes their character.
    The person who doesn’t optimize.
    The person who likes coded systems.
    The person who hates coded systems.
    The person who prefers hard sci-fi.
    The person who prefers soft sci-fantasy.
    The person who only plays humans.
    The person who only plays aliens.
    The person who plays aliens as humans in costumes.
    Or who suffers from mental problems.
    Or who has IRL issues tying up their time.
    Or who complains about everything.
    That staffer.
    That player.
    That oldbie.
    That newbie.
    That guy.
    That girl.

    Can you honestly say, with a clear conscience, that this MUSH would be better off without that person?
    Even if you, personally,
    even if I, personally,
    find them annoying.
    Don’t like them.
    Can’t stand them.
    Having that player here, with *very few* exceptions, makes the game better.

    It’s one more person to RP with – and even if /you/ don’t want to RP with them, someone else might – and the more people there are RPing, the more people are having fun, the more people are playing the game, the healthier the game as a whole is.

    There’s stuff that bugs me. There’s stuff that drives me *crazy*. In particular, there’s this one element that I just… grrr. If you know me, you probably know what it is. So yeah, sometimes I complain. But I’ve got this thing I do, when I’m getting too worked up: I reboot my brain. I shut it down. Stop thinking about it. Count to 10. And move on.

    Because it’s just a game.
    It’s not the end of the world.
    We’re all here to play.
    We’re all here to have fun.
    We’ve got to work together to make that happen.
    Even jerks like me.

  5. Michela
    April 8, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I don’t know who these individuals were who were rude and arogant enough to express such a thing but allow me to apologize to the individual that left if he or she is reading. It pains me to know that rotten attitudes like those I have experienced elsewhere is present here on OS. it is actually a particular joy of mine to see playeers who are just as brody described skilled rPers and writers who reinvigorate our game with their ideas and enthusiasm. rarer still, the joy of watching someone discover this form of gaming for the first time. As someone with a background in education, I have long believed in the social and educational benefits of text-based online gaming. All of us may be a little guilty of getting to wrapped up in ourselves at times, but i think most players at OS are more than willing to welcome new blood. We mustn’t let those whose attitudes amount to that of a schoolyard bully diminish the enjoyment of our OS community.

  6. Chiro
    April 8, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Not harsh enough. Not nearly harsh enough. I only hope that the SGX improves that situation in future. A point of note, I was newbie a few months ago and I cannot say I felt the way she described at all. If anything most of the players I met were more than inclusive. Maybe that was luck, maybe not.

  7. Dizzy
    April 9, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Well, I’m vaguely irritated by the aggressive poll that lead me here, but unless it’s a persistent problem and names come to light it all seems a little redundant. I’m sorry to see any new person go, but it sounds to me like there is more to it – at least it seems like a weak reason to leave, unless you were looking for an excuse or something else happened – and it’s possible something was misunderstood or misconstrued.

    • Wes Platt
      April 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm

      Right, because I’ve never been guilty of hyperbole and always kill people who refuse to follow a link when I say “read this or die.” Come now. I’m glad she didn’t name names, because, really, the names don’t matter. The attitude does. And it’s no weaker a reason to leave than anything else. The fact of the matter is: She’s not the first to complain about this to me, she’s just the first in a long time to leave and SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT on the way out.

      • Dizzy
        April 11, 2010 at 10:29 am

        I can see you care about the issue, and are upset by it, and hope you can view this post as it is intended, a constructive contrasting view. I considered if I should make either post, aware they might antagonise you, but felt that someone should.

        I didn’t assume your ‘read this or die’ was a genuine threat, but I did find it unpleasant as a poll message, and wonder what impression it gives to anyone new.

        Obviously if the same reasons keep showing up from new players then there is a problem, but I don’t think this is a positive approach to tackling it, and have reservations about its effectiveness. Maybe there have been a lot of comments and complaints – it’s hard to tell from your post – but I think if you go in looking for a problem and someone to blame for it you’ll likely find both, even if something else is going on.

        In my experience people are rarely malicious, and I think it’s better to tread softly and look for misunderstandings, miscommunication, and subsidiary causes, rather than go club in hand. I think if you can work out who might have upset the new players and have a quiet, private, conversation, you’d net a lot more information and be better able to resolve the issue.

      • April 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm

        I don’t care enough about the issue to act like the school principal, call everybody in one at a time, and interrogate them about whether they were the ones who’ve been rude. I’m not looking for a witch hunt.

        Generally, I just want people to be aware that, as usual, actions have consequences. Right now, the consequence is: Brody’s grumpy.

        Let’s hope that’s all it ever has to be 😉

  8. Colchek
    April 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Honestly, I think it’s a dead on the money observation. I’ve been involved with OS and JTS since day 1, and as the years have passed, this tendency for players to congregate in cliques has become stronger and stronger. Are cliques, overall, a bad thing? Depends on how they’re used. Are they used to create crews and activity spots? Either of which anyone can join in and have a good time? That’s a good thing. Used to create a sense of eliteness and exclude anyone who is perceived as not as ‘good’ at RP as the members of the group? Unacceptable. /Totally/ unacceptable, and from the sound of it, this is exactly what happened.

    Once a player creates a character, gets through the approval process and is on the grid, they are just as eligible to join in activity and plots as anyone else. Doesn’t matter if the character is 12 seconds old or 12 years old. Over the years, I have actually found myself on the receiving end of these exclusive tendencies. So in all honesty, I can understand exactly how this player would have felt. It’s not fun. I can also say that if this mindset is still going strong today, I am quite saddened. Overall, I don’t think Brody’s reaction is harsh at all. A lot of work goes into making OS work for everyone, not just an elite few who think the game exists solely for their benefit, and if there are people on the game that do feel this way, they should exit stage right.

  9. Dizzy
    April 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I just want people to be aware that, as usual, actions have consequences. Right now, the consequence is: Brody’s grumpy.

    I can work with that, have a hug and a cookie! 🙂

  10. Bahamut
    April 11, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Dizzy :I didn’t assume your ‘read this or die’ was a genuine threat, but I did find it unpleasant as a poll message, and wonder what impression it gives to anyone new.

    I do not think that anyone – new or otherwise – would seriously believe that Brody would literally turn up at their doorstep and murder them if they did not read the post.

    I mean, c’mon.

    • April 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm

      Lies. Everyone knows I eat babies.

  11. Komrade Rarriskitovanova
    April 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Wes Platt :Lies. Everyone knows I eat babies.

    In Soviet Russia, babies eat YOU!

  12. Jeff Ryan
    June 29, 2010 at 5:41 am

    I’ve found newbies annoying. Mainly because I introduce myself, introduce the game, talk to them OOC about stuff, give them advice. And then never see them again. New player joins, rinse and repeat.

    There can be few things more disheartening than going through those steps again and again and again. And occasionally I’d actually leave new players alone for a bit to see if they were going to stick around before trying to involve them in my schemes. And then I’d go through a high energy phase of going through the rinse and repeat thing again as I tried to haul new players around me.

    It’s always been the basis of my rp-style. Do my own stuff, run my own plots and launch as many people as possible into other people’s plots (The Watchers were amazing for that).

    And we need new people for when the old people die, I’ve always been aware of that, and always been aware of the fact that the MUSH didn’t have the playerbase to run the Watchers the way I’d originally envisioned (which would have required about all the current playerbase and about 10 tens the current playerbase to work with/against).

    I’ve found people annoying and don’t like everyone and there’s been a sense of relief sometimes when certain players/admin/whatever left and didn’t come back. Never been a newb on that list though. And I’ve always felt newbies should be given a break, hell I even defended Goldenfur’s right to MUSH (and in his early days he annoyed the crap out of me). A certain scene with that crazy cat chasing butterflies whilst the rest of us were preparing for the OATO meeting proves me right too 😉

    Veterans who think we don’t need newbies are horribly horribly horribly wrong. And very very stupid and short-sighted.

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