Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Playing the Game

So, as I've noted before, I usually tend to GM the games I play. Mostly this is because I tend to be the person who introduced my players to the game, and so I am more familiar with it than they are, plus I have all the books. Therefore, I get a lot of experience running games, though not as much as I would like actually playing.

One of the things that tends to happen to me is that I tend to end up with two types of players. These aren't the kind of players talked about in the Dungeon Master's Guide, or on various DMing advice sites - I wish it were that easy. No, these are the kinds of players that drive me up the wall.

First, there is the type of player who is terrified of big, open, sandbox-type games. If you put their character in a world that is wide open, with plenty of stuff to do, they will look around like a deer caught in the headlights. They won't be able to do or say anything. This is the type of player I run into most frequently, since after some experiences early on in my gaming career, I started running more open games, or trying to. These players need to be given a direction, and then they're OK, but give them more than 2-3 options and they just can't seem to deal with it.

Then there is the polar opposite of those players - the ones who want to go everywhere and do everything. Now, at least to start, this is a fun kind of player to have, because they will go create their own adventures, and they will go off on tangents that you mention just to see what there is to do. The problem is, they won't stay on any one path long enough for anything significant to happen. With these players, I end up feeling like a quest provider in World of Warcraft, providing random quests that go random places, because the players don't want to work on any kind of story for longer than a session or two. This makes it very hard to develop a world around them, or for them to really develop their characters.

I don't play with these types exclusively - usually only one or two of any given group will end up like either of these two types of player. But that means that the player who fits either description will probably receive less attention than others, because either they can't make decisions or they try and take every decision. I prefer players who will try and follow some sort of pattern or path to develop their character, because it is something I can understand. I have never understood how, faced with a fantastic world with tons of options, you could fail to choose anything, or try and do everything at once. Kind of like life, I guess - pick something and stick to it, and you'll likely be rewarded.

Edit: This has nothing to do with tabletop RPGs, but I found an interesting test for videogames that attempts to tell you what kind of gamer you are at BrainHex. I ended up being a Socializer-Seeker. What are you?

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