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Help me understand Character Centrism vs Player Centrism


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I'll start my doing my best with some definitions I've made up.

Hard RP - Everyone knows what this is. "What is this RL you speak of?" "Obama? never heard of them"

Soft RP - This is character centrism and the way I play. Yes i know who Obama is. Yes I might say afk. But outside of the necessary, I "am" my character. Here's a good example. Sometimes when I tell people "I'm central time zone" they say, "yeah but what country/state???" and this has always really made me angry. At first I thought it was purely a safety thing... like stop trying to find me creeper. But then I realized I was angry because they were trying to find out more about "me" and I want them to speak to my character. Its a little difficult for me to define Soft RP because to me its just such a normal and, dare i say, correct way to play. So lets moves on for a moment.

No RP - This is player centrism. It comes in a dozen flavors. I'll start with the most obvious, obnoxious, and baffling example. "Hey girl, I'm 6'3 IRL, you think thats hot?" This is someone projecting "themselves" into SL. Its so weird to a soft RP'r like me because like, wouldn't it be way better to make your character look like you then say, "Hey, notice how tall I am? Hot isn't it? Want to grab a drink?" Also why is this guy "himself" but I am my character? Ok sure, maybe he says the same thing to every first day Ruth but I doubt it. Anyway lets keep going.

So at this point you might be thinking, "Well duh, some people really like Hard RP and some people are noobs, whats your point?" So here's the point.

Being pervy and bothering people in SL with your IRL dimensions is just part of "No RP" play. Many people treat their "character" like their car irl. Sure, it represents them to a little extent, but not really. For example, one thing I've noticed older characters do is swap up their Avatars. Is it formal night? Time to be tall and skinny for that dress. Country night? Now they're short and thick for those shorts. Or maybe they don't customize at all. I've seen 8 year old accounts in starter avi's wearing the same freebie outfit from London City every day. It doesn't matter to them, just like a lot of people don't care one bit about what car they drive. The biggest indicator of a No RP player is a RL profile picture.

"Ok, so you came up with some definitions, who cares? Let everyone play SL however they want!"

Yes but it does cause problems. Here, lets have an example conversation:

Them: "You should come to this party and enter the contest, it'll be fun!"

Me: "Ok I'll go but I'm not going to enter the contest, I don't have anything to wear for it"

Them: "Haha well you can just go naked like me"

Me: "Oh dear, I'm a bit too shy to walk around naked in this game"

Them: "First of all, SL isn't a game, at worst you can call it an interactive chat experience but really its a whole world where people can live and be themselves, their true selves. Second, saying 'your uncomfortable about walking around naked' is a bit childish, you know its just pixels right? It doesn't matter? Are you trying to RP or something? Anyway there are sims to go RP in if you want, so lets go to the party"

Hopefully this illustrates it well enough, especially because I've had this type of conversation many times. This is what Character Centrism vs Player Centrism looks like, or Soft RP vs No RP. The wild part of it is we both feel like the other is "playing the game wrong" and also ruining our experience to some extent. Also I threw in the whole "in this game" part just to illustrate how I might commit "Player centrist" heresy. I dont say it often so please don't focus on that. 

There are so many other examples. I'll keep this G rated but I'll see people doing the *thing* and they'll be like, two feet away from each other. My first thought is "Are they seductively thrusting at each other?" and I have to remember, "Nope, they're just sex chatting." Another is when people say things like, "great job on your outfit! You should really change your face though!" and I'll get super mad about it. I'll be halfway into typing out, "who do you think you are?!" until I stop myself. A third thing is when I date people they almost want to spend every date where we met, where they know people in nearby chat, where they always hang out. (What, you mean people like to go experience new places and have specific experiences to remember the person they just met through? Does having a different environment and seeing that person in that setting help you learn more about a person? Nah, lets sit on the same barstools, what does it matter where our cars park anyway.)

This is a bit of a rant because I'm not sure there is a solution. I think I came to SL a bit late and now people are through the looking glass, so to speak. I feel like I'm in a bit of a small minority in the Soft RP group.  Maybe I should just learn to Hard RP and escape the problem completely. Anyway I really needed to type this out because its been driving me crazy but if you have any insight I'd love to hear it 😃

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Those approaches to SL are well known, and yes, interacting with someone who takes a different approach to SL than you do can be annoying, frustrating, or even anger-inducing.

For that reason, most long term SL friendships tend to be between people who take a similar approach to virtual worlds and the degree of immersion therein.

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Seems pretty narrow to only think of those situations, or even choosing the "correct" one.

Maybe it's different in my circles (furries), where most people don't primarily use human avatars, but it seems generally understood that "you" and "your avatar" are separate entities. ("player centrism") Regardless, most people tend to refer to each other according to their avatars. A person is a she/he/it based on whatever avatar they're using right now, or whatever avatar/gender they mostly associate as. ("character centrism")

And I simultaneously have tons of very different avatars but only really use the same avatar I've been using for at least 6 years, and everybody associates me with it even when I'm not using it -- even when I'm not in SL. Is that "soft RP" or "no RP?" Is it player or character centric?

You're gonna need more boxes.

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I think I fall somewhere between Soft RP and No RP.  My avatar doesn't look anything the way I look in RL, and it changes frequently, but regardless of the avatar I'm wearing it's just a costume, not a character. It's me in fancy-dress, not me on stage.

That said, I don't really mind which way other people play it. I interact with everyone based on the avatar they present; for example if someone has a female avatar in SL, I'll use female pronouns for them, unless they tell me otherwise. I do talk about my RL, I'll happily talk about what I'm doing at work or in my spare time, I'll talk about my family etc, I'll talk about RL politics or whatever. I don't usually share much about what I look like in RL though. It's simply not relevant here.

And I definitely don't care what other people choose to share or not share about their RL. I have one friend who shares everything, he sends me RL photos on a regular basis, and I know enough about where he lives that I could turn up on his doorstep if I wanted to. That's not my approach but it's his, and that's fine. I have other friends who share absolutely nothing, and that's fine too.

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My avatar does not look like me (how uncanny would that be?), but I do not consider this RP in any form. Your "No RP" example is a little unflattering. I would not like to interact with someone like that, but that has nothing to do with the amount of RP involved.

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7 hours ago, xTornTwilightx said:

This is a bit of a rant because I'm not sure there is a solution. I think I came to SL a bit late and now people are through the looking glass, so to speak. I feel like I'm in a bit of a small minority in the Soft RP group.  Maybe I should just learn to Hard RP and escape the problem completely. Anyway I really needed to type this out because its been driving me crazy but if you have any insight I'd love to hear it 😃

Are you inclined to over think things? It feels like it from the amount you wrote.

It might go better if you simply accept people as they are and not worry about it. Like anything else, because we're all still people, there will be some you click with and some you don't. In real life we just carry on adjusting to each situation, so why not do it here too? Not everyone will be your cup of tea, but sometimes someone different will surprise you.

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Maybe in the Roleplay forum you’ll hit more people who are “into” the subject?

Personally I use the old reliable /me and “ “ to denote In Character action.

If I am in RP and need to say something Out Of Character I post it in (( ))

That pretty much seems to keep the dialogue straight, so long as everyone involved takes turns and knows we were IN Roleplay.

SL has this odd thing where people will just walk up outside the RP setting and start emoting at people who have no idea what’s up. I kinda scratch my head at that one as it’s more about confusion than a Live Action Role Play.

Personally, I don’t consider people chat-sexting just as a stand alone hookup to be “Roleplay” . I classify that as old-fashioned cybering (nothing wrong with that), unless it is a small component of a larger non-sex-centric RP. Sexplayers are free to do their thing of course, and all is in the eye of the beholder.

Greetings from someone who also loves good, immersive, literate Roleplay. I hope you can find all that satisfies !

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I had to perform a job interview with a Super Rock Hard RP person in SL once. A real job, requiring real work for real pay. He kept on emoting during the whole interview, which was really awkward. Of course, we didn't hire him. Maybe he mistakenly thought we were looking for someone to roleplay as a scripter.

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So, what you are saying in far more words than necessary and which we all already know, is that people approach and view life differently, whether it be first or second life, and it is hard to have a productive relationship with someone with a very different world view.  Thank you for the insight.

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11 hours ago, xTornTwilightx said:

No RP - This is player centrism.

Me 100%

its-all-about-me-quote-2.jpg

 

 

11 hours ago, xTornTwilightx said:

I'll start with the most obvious, obnoxious, and baffling example. "Hey girl, I'm 6'3 IRL, you think thats hot?" This is someone projecting "themselves" into SL. Its so weird to a soft RP'r like me because like, wouldn't it be way better to make your character look like you then say, "Hey, notice how tall I am? Hot isn't it? Want to grab a drink?" Also why is this guy "himself" but I am my character? Ok sure, maybe he says the same thing to every first day Ruth but I doubt it.

But none of that 'No RP' description fits me.

I shop, I build, I do hunts, I play Barbie-dress-up, but only for my self - don't really care much what others think - and definitely not in the SLex or partying scene at all anymore.

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"I would like to defend my use of multiple avatars"

Ok so this is where I do get a little stuck and it highlights another thing. I don't think its criminal to have multiple accounts but many people do. If you look at it through player centrism, that person is the same person on every account, therefore they must be hiding or doing something nefarious. Through Character centrism its simply something like, "I'm playing a game and in this game this is who 'i' am." When I started I actually made three accounts with the intention of giving them all different personalities and then nope'd out of that once I realized the work that would be involved.

What I *want* to tell you is "You're messing with my immersion, please create a different account for each of your characters" but I don't actually think that because, lets face it, who has that kind of money.

"My avatar does not share my personal look"

This doesn't violate either approach. To me you decided to be that character. To player centrism your avatar is like the car you drive.

"Are you inclined to over think things?"

Yes BUT I'm trying to rationalize the frustration so I can better understand it.

"Your "No RP" example is a little unflattering. "

Well to soften it, most No RP players do not exhibit all or most of these qualities. Also its hard for me to make it flattering because I find it so.... flawed. I think the pervy dude example highlights it well. There's a very, "people judge themselves by their intentions and others by their actions" feel to it. If SL really is 99% chat boxes and friend lists why even load up a laggy game where you have to pay all this money? I'm sure there are other chat services out there and you could find one that's tailored to your specific interests. Or maybe someone treats the avatars as just pixels but they love getting compliments on their avatar... I mean I guess that works, people like compliments on their car. But "youre pretty" and "sweet ride" have totally different intentions and effects.

"You're gonna need more boxes."

The outline of the current boxes are already fragile and hard to define enough but I get the sentiment. At first I just considered it as people just being "bad at SL." I've had to listen to someone pontificate so many times about the magical world of SL being more than a game, nay, more than RL, and on and on while they have a RL profile picture and their avatar is half-clipped through the ground. I've even met really nice people and spent time getting to know them and we just couldn't bridge this "gap" that I'm talking about.

"But none of that 'No RP' description fits me."

Without specific examples its hard to tell you how you play. Also the line is blurry until you come in contrast with someone who plays the other way. 

"I had to perform a job interview with a Super Rock Hard RP person in SL once"

It can be difficult dealing with Hard RP when it isn't your thing, and its definitely not mine. Like someone said above, if I was limited to only talking about what my SL character has going on conversation would run dry pretty fast. That's why I gave it a second name, Soft RP. My character can talk about the coronavirus outbreak because in their world its a thing that exists.

"Maybe in the Roleplay forum you’ll hit more people who are “into” the subject?"

I really should put more effort into trying it out. I was just hoping for more a base-level RP here. Both creeper noobs and long-term, mature players seem to be focused on who I am behind the keyboard and that's breaking a basic rule for me.

"For that reason, most long term SL friendships tend to be between people who take a similar approach to virtual worlds and the degree of immersion therein."

I find myself wishing there was a character preference option visible somewhere so we could find out quicker = /

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2 minutes ago, xTornTwilightx said:

Well to soften it, most No RP players do not exhibit all or most of these qualities. Also its hard for me to make it flattering because I find it so.... flawed.

Who the hell are you to say that the way anyone uses SL is "flawed"? I do not RP. I dislike it. I am quite fond of myself and don't feel the need to play a character. You find my self-esteem flawed? 

I don't care if others RP - their world, their imagination. Go for it. RP to your little heart's content in whatever way you want to RP. Be 100% in character all the time if you want. Have 50 characters if you want. 

Do I think you are flawed because you RP? No. It's not for me, but I don't look down at others who enjoy it - especially during the times we're living in right now. 

I do think you're flawed, however, by the way you are insulting others due to your definition of what SL is. 

My Second Life is not your Second Life. Your Second Life is not my Second Life. 

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Well done on trying to define these intuitions in a personal manner, this discussion has been going on since the beginning of SL , and it can get quite thorny at times.

The terms us oldbies always used were Immersionists and Augmentationists, it is worth noting though,  that this is something of a spectrum and few live 100% of the time at the extremes.

I offer 2 links for further food for thought.

https://theunlimiteddreamcompany.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/augmentationism-immersionism-and-other-theological-dilemmas/

https://gwynethllewelyn.net/2009/01/10/post-immersionism/

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1 hour ago, xTornTwilightx said:

"I would like to defend my use of multiple avatars"

Ok so this is where I do get a little stuck and it highlights another thing. I don't think its criminal to have multiple accounts but many people do. If you look at it through player centrism, that person is the same person on every account, therefore they must be hiding or doing something nefarious.

/me skips off to tell the boy alt he's nefarious. He'll be delighted as he thought his sole purpose these days was to paint the Belli house. He does it very well, mind you.

He did remind me not to tell the building alt. She's already taken on a slife of her own. Clean inventory for the beta grid we said. Yeah right said she.

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1 hour ago, xTornTwilightx said:

I don't think its criminal to have multiple accounts but many people do. If you look at it through player centrism, that person is the same person on every account, therefore they must be hiding or doing something nefarious.

Or they need a second account simply because groups get a 10% bonus on the amount of land they can hold, but a group requires 2 accounts minimum to be in it.

Or they want multiple Premium accounts to donate the Premium Tier allowance to their land group because the extra Premium is cheaper than more tier on a single account.

Or they want multiple Premium accounts to have different types of Linden Homes.

Or they want a few extra accounts for testing things like permissions & land security settings - or to help adjust poses in furniture.

Or ......... probably more non-nefarious reasons that just aren't jumping to mind right away.

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5 hours ago, Tolya Ugajin said:

So, what you are saying in far more words than necessary and which we all already know, is that people approach and view life differently, whether it be first or second life, and it is hard to have a productive relationship with someone with a very different world view.  Thank you for the insight.

Thank you Tolya for consolidating the way too long/DR OP. At least there were paragraph breaks and white spaces. As to the topic, and based upon the replies (much more readable), "Meh." We all come to SL with different views, different agendas, different language abilities, different... hey... wait! I just hit upon a brilliant realization: We're people. We're all different! 

Talk to find common ground. Do not pronounce declarations to force common ground. ?

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2 hours ago, Selene Gregoire said:

 

You know, for the longest time this was always my knock on Tom Cruise - race car driver, secret agent, cocktail slinger, flyboy - all just Tom Cruise doing a different profession.  Then he did that samurai movie, and I was like, "Hey, Tom Cruise can actually play someone who is not Tom Cruise".

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6 minutes ago, Seicher Rae said:

Thank you Tolya for consolidating the way too long/DR OP. At least there were paragraph breaks and white spaces. As to the topic, and based upon the replies (much more readable), "Meh." We all come to SL with different views, different agendas, different language abilities, different... hey... wait! I just hit upon a brilliant realization: We're people. We're all different! 

Talk to find common ground. Do not pronounce declarations to force common ground. ?

I should not pick on people for tl/dr - I'm way too verbose myself.

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2 hours ago, xTornTwilightx said:

Well to soften it, most No RP players do not exhibit all or most of these qualities. Also its hard for me to make it flattering because I find it so.... flawed. I think the pervy dude example highlights it well. There's a very, "people judge themselves by their intentions and others by their actions" feel to it. If SL really is 99% chat boxes and friend lists why even load up a laggy game where you have to pay all this money? I'm sure there are other chat services out there and you could find one that's tailored to your specific interests. Or maybe someone treats the avatars as just pixels but they love getting compliments on their avatar... I mean I guess that works, people like compliments on their car. But "youre pretty" and "sweet ride" have totally different intentions and effects.

Whoa, dude! I did read this in its entirety based upon @Beth Macbain's response. "Flawed"? "Laggy game"? "Chat services"? "Compliments on their avatar"? Talk about a narrow view of SL! Yes, absolutely some people look upon SL as a place to solely do role play. Some view it only as a game (laggy or otherwise). Some only use it for chatting. Some only enjoy putting together nice avatars as a type of self-expression and compliments are nice. There are a lot of people who do all of these things. There are some who do none of these things, like those who come here to create art. Maybe you're all confused and need to overthink things because your basic premise of SL is seriously, dare I say it?, FLAWED.

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