So you have a character, it’s your main, and you want to RP it. Things happen, good things, with someone else’s character. Everything looks like it’s going swimmingly! Until you realize that the person your character has clicked with is someone’s tertiary alt, and they intend to invest limited time into it. The problem of course is that this usually doesn’t manifest right away. People get excited about new things, new characters and situations, so they play their alt exclusively for a few weeks while they gear it and flush it out. Then the niggling reminder comes back that they have other characters that are sadly neglected. If you are party A, the person whose main is now RP’ly tied up in this relationship, it sucks when your playmate wanders off because you’re going from UBER RP TIMEZ to nothing or near nothing. If you’re party B, you are in something of a tricky spot, aren’t you, trying to balance your main and alts with raiding and all the other things this lovely game of ours has to offer?
I’ve been both party A and party B in this scenario, and I can tell you this is one of the most stressful things I’ve dealt with. I think when someone finds a player in game they click with, they get a mini adrenaline rush – someone has tantalized your brain, yay! A bit like when you meet someone outside of game you really click with, ain’t it? That makes it really, really hard to turn the LET’S DO IT synapses off and take the necessary breath to make sure you’re not going into something you’re not prepared for. Will the other person stick with their alt? Will they be able to give you time during the week so your main’s not stuck? Will they keep your playing time in mind when they’re off raiding or cybering with a squirrel? These are all very pertinent questions we all forget to ask up front.
I think the biggest complaint I had being in this situation was (when I was party A, the one who was the main) Assumed RP. You know, it’s where you don’t want to just rp out the mundane stuff like eating breakfast and going to get groceries, and everything is swimming and copacetic in the relationship, so you’re just functioning on the assumption that everything is groovy and there’s nothing important to talk about. You have some options at that point, but by then, you’re usually asking yourself HOW DID I GET HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE, WE USED TO HAVE STUFF TO TALK ABOUT BEFORE WE HOOKED UP. Those types of questions build the frustration even higher, and rightfully so. Personally, I think the “Well things are good, assume things are good” argument makes an incredibly convenient excuse at times. It’s too easy and (I’ll say it) lazy. What if I don’t want to assume it? What if I want to assume your alt’s long absence is due to the character being away? What if that makes playing my main more tolerable because then I have something say when I’m asked about where my IC boyfriend went?
It’s all about setting expectations and sticking to the rules you set up ahead of time.
So, having been the guilty party here, the one where I’ve committed an alt to someone’s main and haven’t given up the time I should, and having been on the receiving end, too, a few tips from a cardinal rp sinner. Don’t be me – you’ll spare yourself a lot of headaches.
Set clear time expectations and honor your commitments. If you say you’ll log one day a week to play your toon, do it. If you don’t, don’t be surprised when you find out your formerly awesometastic rp is either awful or you’re IC’ly dumped.
If you’re being asked to assume RP and you’re not comfortable with it, speak up. Say that it doesn’t work for you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you sticking up for yourself.
Evaluate WHY the other person isn’t as into it as they were. Is there something inherently wrong with the RP that it doesn’t spark them anymore? Is there a way to light a fire under their ass so their not blowing you off for knitting circles with Thrall.
Know when to cut the cord. If you’ve tried everything else and the situation isn’t improving, even after discussions and tweaking RP, know when it’s time to walk away and move on. It’s hard, abandoning hours of heart and soul rp is always painful, but there comes a point when you’re not doing anything to help your character anymore, you’re just frustrating them and in turn yourself.
That’s all I have for today. Drive safe, don’t run with scissors, and avoid the yellow snow.