Investment Vs Return

  • I've come back to visit CoA. I say visit because I don't know if I intend to stay. Its still the same old CoA. Quests, random evil dudes, massive half-orcs, faction drama.

    I have probably invested about 1000 hours in Arabel. In fact, its probably more than that, since CoA is the game I have played the longest of all. I have played role-playing games since I was 13 years old, and enjoy it. Since I am 26 this year, that means I have spent half of my life playing RPGs. I love immersing myself in a character, enjoying the ups and downs, building history, making friends that I would die to protect, enemies that I would want to eliminate at all costs.

    Yet one thing that has really bothered me in Arabel is that my investment has never really paid off. I am constantly "leaving" Arabel because I am severely frustrated with it as a game. I am constantly coming back because it has a "hometown" feel to it for me.

    I love Arabel. I hate to leave it. But playing Arabel imparts on me a sense of defeat and frustration and irritability that I cannot overcome. I spend a hundred hours building up a character, slowly molding the PC according to experiences and interactions, changing where necessary, hardening or softening based on what happens in game. This, to some, is sufficient reward. To play the game is the reward.

    That is not enough for me.

    I see people going on amazing adventures, having awesome, often incredibly powerful gear. I see people with great DM support, applying for and getting approved for things I cannot even imagine.

    I want that. I want in. I want to be part of that clique. I want to be a groupie with amazing loot. I want to be a half-dragon. I want to have a PrC.

    Across all my characters, I don't think I have ever received DM loot that did not come with a +1 behind it. My Australian timezone and the fact that I live and play in a "dead" zone means that my efforts almost always go unrecognized.

    I have woken up for months at 4am in the morning to push plots and work with people who are asleep when I am awake. Because I am my own boss, I regularly spend 12-16 hours in game, plotting, adventuring, and trying to accomplish things.

    I have come close a few times. Except that one time the DM I was working with vanished, and no other DM picked up the plot. Or that other time my entire group got PvPed and whitelighted. Or that other time I nearly made it, then got called up to join the Air Force for a few years.

    I have invested over 1000 hours into CoA. I just wish I could point at one of my character and say "That one was a success. That one made it." All I have is a closet of failed concepts, dead characters, and the worst of them all…

    ...the ones who came in second place.

    Arabel is like a basketball game to me. I don't always get the ball, but when I do, I try to score. I have never scored, despite trying many times. Often, the experience is actually sitting on the bench while other people play, watching them have fun and wishing I could participate.

    Its like showing up for a basketball game and finding out no one else is there. Its like showing up at half time and the referee tells you you can't join in because you weren't there for the first half. Its like shooting hoops by yourself. Its like trying to start a pick-up game that no one attends.

    I want a better return on my investment in CoA. I am not complaining. I have gone past the stages where I am bitter, angry, sad and depressed. What I want is a solution to my problem. This is a game I have played for 9 years. A server I have played on for 7 years.

    Tell me what I have to do. I want in.

  • I often feel very much like you.. but with the quality of my sentences I find it easy to blame myself for it. 😃

  • My mistake, I do actually have one item which is custom made!
    I get -6 Move Silently and Sneak with this on my Full-plate fighter! :mrgreen:

    That damn gnome, he said he was gonna set up a shop….

  • I think I played for about 5 years before I managed a DM Faction character. And that was an Earn In Game one rather than pre-creation. I think I was just trying too hard to "Make Things Happen" rather than just having fun and helping others to have fun. Once I relaxed and just played, not caring what loot, level, XP, DM favorite or what ever, I found the game much more enjoyable and for some reason, things started to happen.

  • I can relate to your pain mate. Yet I can tell you, there is only one thing worse, one many of my old fellow veterans here can likely recognise. The feeling of actually having a succes, having a character who you spend a year or so on, one that is a succes in just about every way. The one that likely gets the dm team talking about whether you should be invited into the "My forum name is written with red", and then spending year after year trying to optain that feeling you once had, and never ever coming close.

    My absolute best characters were years ago. Many years. In fact, I played said character before the majority of the team team began playing.

    I have come close a few times since. But either RL came in the way, or I lost interest because the character didnt give the same feeling as it did back in the day. I had a small score of characters who achieved awesome. The CG swashbuckler who earned the Harper Badge IG, finished plots upon plots, had loot worthy of a deity. That was in 2005 or 2006. Thats 6 years where I can at best name two characters who came somewhat close of being awesome.

    The truth is, it takes four things to make it.
    1: DM support, and lots of it. The sooner it comes, the easier it is. Once you have some, it gets easier to get more. Once a dm is involved with your character, it becomes easier to do that cool stuff that gets the attention of other pcs. Once you get them, more dms come to help you, and more pcs react to what you do, and the ball starts rolling.

    2: Something to attract the attention of the audience. Half Dragons or similar very visible traits make getting minions and allies easier. Faction positions is another. Because to be honest, Starting at lvl 1 in rags, and building an empire out of nothing, happens very very rarely, if ever.

    3: Time. Time sadly equals succes. I have failed a number of concepts on being busy during weekends and late evenings. Its usually when dms have time to run things for you, and when you can get your allies IG to join you. The more busy I get in RL, the less likely I have been to succeed on CoA.

    4: The most important one, is the Right Mind Set and Attitude. In short, dont be a whiner. People on CoA, people in RL, everyone hates a cry baby. So if all the dms and the players hear from you, is how unfair stuff is, how unfair PvP is, how annoying it is to lose the latest plot battle, how unbalanced things are, the more you whine about only having 4 different glowy weapons, or how you cant get things done, whether you whine IG or OOC, the less likely you are to get any attention, getting any perks, or getting things done.

    Now, the last statement isnt aimed at your post. In any way. But merely a somewhat objective view of how whenever someone started the above, they stopped doing awesome, or recieving awesome, and quickly quit their character or died.

  • I was also in the same boat. Whether it be real life or frustration and the subtle forknowledge that a plot/character arc will never get finished and I should'nt waste my time.

    What I did was turn my frustration into something tangible, because I never felt satisfied with the way things went at someone else's command (whether it be DM dues ex machina or a PC who I'd never seen coming out of left field). I decided I'd say screw it and just write instead. It's sorely lacking in the interactivity department, but I'm a lot happier with myself when I see dozens of hours invested into a manuscript I can touch, hold and read.

    To be honest, the way the system is structured requires a DM for things just about every step of the way to have any meaningful impact, or being a flat out drama llama causing conflict for the sake of it. While these things might generate stories, they're not in and of themselves stories, nor terribly interesting, I don't think. But so long as these're the requirements for building 'conflict' or 'getting the win', then unfortunately a side effect is always going to be people who just don't fit the mold or have fun doing so.

    I could be wrong and I'm sure a lot of people would like to tell me I am, but the results speak for themselves; a lot of disaffected players lament about 'the old days' where characters were interesting and fleshed out, plots were (smaller scaled?) situations that were more personal or just quit all together and fade into obscurity. Everyone has a source of their frustration and stories behind it but ultimately and wholly, it comes down to the same basic problem; people don't feel as though they're accomplishing things.

    Sure, they might not be going about it the right way or any number of other things, I'm not here to offer solutions as I don't have any. I have only my own experiences to go from and the things I hear from other people.

  • It's a game of friends. You need players that are your friends OOCly that you can play with and have a good laugh, and the same for DMs. You need to have a give and take with DMs, where you both entertain each other - that being said, if you're trying then you may as well quit the character.

    If you're not having fun, don't bother.

    Once you stop trying to win, stop trying to stand out as a player, roleplayer, pusher or whatnot, and just have relax and have fun, you'll find that fun starts to swarm around you.

    It's a Catch-22. You'll get loot, rewards, attention, xp, factions, bases, good rp tokens and npc allies once you stop caring whether or not you get any of it. Just play a character that you don't take seriously. The character can take itself seriously, but once you care too much, it isn't going to be fun.

  • Hmmm, i find it mostly related to how much fun i am having. If i am having fun with a character and the char "clicks", honestly, things just seem to fall into place. If i am not enjoying a character or they do not "click" on me, i will quit the concept.

    I am not here to work hard to have fun, i am only here to have fun, self-inflicted-obligations be damned!

  • 9pm, time for some RP and…er....crap.

    So I guess I'll make a post.

    Fun is entirely subjective I feel. I think it would be alright, fine and dandy if so much of CoA was not a competition nowadays. I had one whole faction destroyed in PvP. I did not know many of the players in my faction well. Many of them were new to CoA entirely. When they lost the PvP, I never saw many of the players log in again. Months later, when I had a chance to see the loot of the opposing side, I was flabbergasted. If I had 10 more PCs in my faction present at the PvP we would still never have had a chance.

    3 months of RP dead in a single battle, against a foe we never had a chance against.

    It makes for a great story I agree. But whether it was fun or not is subjective. Considering so many of them ragequit (I ragequit too 1 week later when I realized I didn't have a faction any more), I don't think they had fun.

    If CoA was not a competition. If events didn't always set one side against another. If there was only one side to the story.

    The advice given above would be solid.

    It's a Catch-22. You'll get loot, rewards, attention, xp, factions, bases, good rp tokens and npc allies once you stop caring whether or not you get any of it. Just play a character that you don't take seriously. The character can take itself seriously, but once you care too much, it isn't going to be fun.

    For illustrative purposes, this is the most given piece of advice so far. Essentially, stop caring, stop trying so hard, stop trying to win.

    I have to ask a question however. I've only really been "trying" for the past 2-3 years since about 2009, ever since the Adventure & Intrigue thing started. Before that, I was just playing to play. I've tried that not-trying route. I didn't "get" anywhere either. I am not sure how I am supposed to try not trying if it didn't work for 3-4 years from 2006-2009, when I was not trying.

    I don't want to sound difficult.
    I just don't understand.

    A friend advised me to essentially spam the forum. Make tons of posts, make lots of journal entries, be extremely visible and generally act like an attention whore. Another told me to basically make enemies of as many people on the server as possible. I think these are quite legitimate suggestions, and my observations over the last few years indicate they have quite a bit of accuracy. I think I have always known they were "methods of success" but have managed to subconsciously ignore it until someone brought it up again.

  • I feel the same way as you.

    I have been with Arabel for 6 years. I still want my App character to be approved with no luck. I did finally managed to get a DM custom item, after running to every single DM sending I heard of. Sadly the character was killed shortly after…....

    Plots, they always seem to fail. Involvements IG badly ends a Character I come to love. DM attentions seems to be sucked up by other players. Sadly don't tell the DMs this.....I started to make plots that requires no DMs.. I am scared to death of the Character applications now. I made characters that never even seen a DM looking at them.

    However, I am still with it. I am still trying to read over the forums trying to find how to get my Half-Fairy accepted. I watch other players how they play and take notes. I try and get involved with other players plots and stories and work with them as well. (This is how I got my first DM item) I PM different DMs with plot ideas and together trash what they say won't work and try ways they suggest. So I stuck with it for 6 years I finally have a goal that a DM is working with on.

    SO never give up. I never and it is slowly starting to bloom....A long way from fruiting.

  • If you are enjoying the server by just having fun, where's the issue? If lack of success on the server is breaking your fun, you have an issue. Equating winning at PvP to success is a recipe for dissapointment. If you managed to build up a faction to be a threat that was worthy of being opposed by the PvP nuts, you have "Won CoA". You have succeeded.

  • I also think it bears mentioning also that if you actively seek to avoid pvp, i don't think anyone is going to force it on you.

  • But if you avoid PvP like the plague, than its going to be damn difficult to get anywhere. You cant move and shake the Tree without there falling down a few apples.

  • Excactly.

  • Storyteller [DM]


    But if you avoid PvP like the plague, than its going to be damn difficult to get anywhere. You cant move and shake the Tree without there falling down a few apples.


    You can be become extremely prominent by avoiding PvP and being a political leader. I haven't heard of the Golden Wyrvern Company crushing faces recently.

  • Yes, but thing is, IF you really did not want pvp conflict and someone started to oppose them, what are you going to do, walk away?

  • I find that most people want to start their character as a "Hero" with either Monster Race stats, Subrace stats, Faction armour, and all sorts of other benefits. Why not attempt to play the third son of a farmer who has no chance of becoming anything unless he walks, 'cos he can't afford even a pony, to the big city, with nothing of course, and tries to make his fortune from nothing. You can "Win CoA" just as easily starting with the "Nobody" character.

  • I started to make plots that requires no DMs..

    This was the basis that Thunderholme Trades was made. We planned to mine, to run caravans, to do stuff that entertained us, and to hire out to other factions as muscle where wanted.

    We have some DM attention for the faction, a forum, etc. But if it was all removed we would still have the core activities that make playing the characters fun… because they do not need to have DM quests to be fullfilling.

  • Kreyla, it depends on what you want to achieve. I'm not gonna sugar-coat anything.

    Do you want a 'successful character'? Those ones people always talk about and percieve you, as player, to be so awesome and amazing for like a week? You want to play a Kreswell? I'll tell you what. I was in Kreswell's faction when he was a PC and I left within two weeks. It was boring as fuck, others found it fun, but I thought it was bland. I went off and joined a little adventuring party that noone outside of the party itself would remember and got little to no DM support. That was more fun and memorable to me, as a player. (Sorry Hinx

  • It's not a competition, I think I can agree with that statement. It's a challange, and there's no second place when it comes to completing a challange - everyone who does is notable, so long as the bar is high enough.

    How high is the bar? Well you have to make the shot from a non-app spot if you ask me. Maybe you'll miss a dozen times, maybe you'll get it in one, but what matters is that getting what you want is not as satisfying or as memorable as going through hell and back for it first.

    Just don't consider who is doing what on an OOC level. CoA is like a theater, and standing around backstage is not the fun part. Just hop into your character's shoes, jump on stage and add another level of depth to what's going on. The audience doesn't just love a joker, or a blood-frenzied monster - they'll take just about anything so long as it has depth and the best way to play a character with such depth is to distance yourself from what's OOC entirely. Don't get caught up in wishing you had the app someone else just got approved for. Don't get bitter that someone else achieved what you wanted to. Act it out IC, IG, and maybe you will find some satisfaction in the character you played.

    I'm a sucker for tragedies thanks to CoA.

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