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Datapad Notes: Arguing The Point

By Kovani - Posted Feb 17, 12


When I was a kid – not that, by any stretch of the imagination, I consider myself to be a grown-up now – the majority of my time was spent out of the house. Me and the local kids wasted our time playing around the neighborhood; my mother described our behavior as being remarkably similar to a pack of mangy dogs. Our days were spent brawling, building forts, or hitting tennis balls with whatever we could find, or whatever else occupied us. I'm not telling you this, might I say, to reminisce about those golden times before video games, but to discuss one of the frequent disputes that occurred when we pretended to shoot each other with our fingers.

"I shot you!"
"Nah, I had my shield up!"
"But she shot ya!"
"Doesn't matter, I have a laser shield!"


Even today, I remember this argument: mostly because Alex was an idiot, since laser shields should not exist in a game set in the wild west. It did, however, teach me a few things about resolving problems when you're playing a game, though not all of them are particularly relevant now that I'm mature. I do miss my childhood methods of punching each other up, or whinging to Dad about someone cheating, though. In this Datapad Notes, we're going to look at how players resolve disputes between each other, and between characters. Take a look after the break.

The people in the background are farming Valor, I bet.

The first issue I'd like to discuss is the notion of resolving an IC dispute – and, this being Star Wars, that almost certainly means two characters attacking each other with ray guns, glow sticks, or slave dancers. If you roleplay a character that seeks out combat, there's typically only two ways it's solved. The first involves a simple duel, while the other involves out-and-out combat. I've seen people who prefer one or the other.

Dueling's always going to be the standby. "[I'm okay with...] letting game mechanics solve our dispute. It's why I work to get all my characters to 50 and to get them well-geared, at least for PvE," offered Mordecia. I've seen multiple people, and found myself thrust against them, and, quite often, I'll find myself dueling them, regardless of my preference towards emote-based combat. The fact is, however, that I still do. Game mechanics provide an incredible framework to indicate a character's strength, while keeping things moderately realistic as well. They can always be abused – you can't make someone duel you – but when it comes to conflict, there's a reason PvP is always a standby.

The other solution, of course, is for emote-based combat, or roleplaying out the entire brawl. Often, this can be fun, enjoyable, and interesting to take part in, but the problems that come with it should be obvious. Despite everyone's claims to the contrary, a large number of people want their characters to win. "Some people I trust eneugh to emote fight out without god modding. Others I do not," Raath offered.

Allow me to add, as a final caveat, that completely destroying an opponent through wits is immensely satisfying. Be it suddenly having an army ready to ambush, taking someone hostage, or destroying their powerbase, it's a far more interesting and drawn-out way to resolve a dispute or disagreement.


This article's about ignoring problems caused by other idiots. Get it? You get it, right?

Of late, I've noticed that while I have my fair share of IC conflict, I've copped a far larger amount of flak in out of character disputes. I'm also willing to wager that I'm far from innocent in this regard, either. While my acidic attitude makes for occasionally interesting writing – in the right circumstances – it's far more likely to get me involved with an argument and on the wrong end of the ignore, or, as is frequently the case on SWTOR-RP, the wrong end of a warning. Thankfully, others are far more level-headed than me, pointing out my flaws or the times I step over the line, and I've taken something from that. Rule one of resolving an OOC argument? You're probably wrong. Be willing to admit and compromise. "Be tactful, and know when to give in or take a loss, just like in a duel," offers Balkito.

Secondly, at times, you need to be willing to stand your ground. "I am not one to set gasoline to a flame war, nor am I one either to lay quiet when my opinion dissents from others," Nai Cash argues. Remember that roleplay's meant to be fun for everyone, yourself included, and that person running around slinging muck around might not be affected too adversely if you don't follow his advice. There's a difference, however, between abusing the ignore function to avoid anybody disdaining you, and the simple statement, "Thanks for your opinion, but I'm not sure I'll agree." A disagreement isn't an insult, and respecting someone's correction or opinion means listening to them for a reasonable time, not ignoring them at the first sign of dissent.

I'll also add a third suggestion: be friendly. Anyone who is willing to disagree with you likely wants to correct you. There's a decent intention to their actions that you shouldn't ignore. "Key to remember is that no matter what, there is another human being on the other side, so respect and compromise are paramount," Irenica said on the forums.

Finally, and most importantly, you need to be willing to fight back. Typically, this is saved for those few cases, and I'm sure we know the ones; the people who'll grief roleplay zones, constantly flame you, or insist you make Futa-Snu-Snu with their Twi'lek, regardless of how often you tell them otherwise. I'm also vaguely disappointed that nobody offered their solutions for dealing with trolls or significant annoyances, but I'm sure everyone knows that the best solution is to simply use /ignore, and continue doing what you're doing. Another personal trick is to take a few screenshots and save them in a safe place. You never, ever know when pointing out a player's hypocrisy may be useful.

With that, this brief Datapad Notes finishes up for the evening, and, hopefully, I'm not the only one who's become a bit more level-headed as a result. It's a topic, and subject, that I hope to revisit in the future, but until such a time, I invite you to fight it out – politely – in the comments, and see what you can learn, neh? Come back next week for the next Datapad Notes, as we learn another way IC and OOC can intersect – the fun of making new friends, companions, and family!



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