Reasons why you quit a game...
I'm interested in why people quit or check out of games in which they feel heavily invested. Looking for constructive reflection on root causes and what anyone can do to address these root causes (let's learn from each other).
To lay out some ground rules for this thread...
- provide facts and concrete examples (you can analogize or obfuscate names/situations to be classy and protect the assumed innocent)
- present your perspective as your opinion (presenting opinion as fact can muddle root causes and diminish learning)
- try to think of the instance you're sharing from multiple angles
- provide possible solutions - speculate as to how you, other players, staff, etc could have taken action, solved, or alleviated what was going on
- no external reasons (life got you, you lost interest in MUing, etc) - not that we don't care, more that it's not very pertinent.
- not due to player harassment - It's not helpful for this thread's purpose to simply put "harassment" and that's it. While I certainly welcome this as a valid reason, let's not let it take over the thread. There are a lot of interesting other reasons to dig up here.
- totally axe someone else's point of view - This doesn't mean all perspectives are precious or that no one should comment on other people's contributions. It's just basic respect and it acknowledges that something happened to generate this perspective; it is the effect of some cause. Dismissing it misses opportunities for understanding how it came about.
...If someone brings up something and you disagree, this is not the place to go hashing out what happened or didn't happen in a specific instance. You can say, I didn't see it that way. Hopefully, the other person will be interested to know how you saw it, and you guys can get into that on PMs. Maybe you'll both have something to come back to the thread and share constructively about that exercise.
If I hit a point where I feel I can't trust staff enough to think they won't even screw up simple things, I'm out. Blatant mishandling of situations, openly biased decision-making, and hypocrisy in how they enforce their own rules will get me to that point rapidly.
Other than that, pretty much the only other reason I'd leave a place that isn't related to my own availability is if I'm just not having fun with who I'm playing, or I feel there isn't much else for me to do there. However, I have bailed on places that weren't very active and weren't showing growth as well.
Solutions to the first part should be pretty simple to figure out. There's not much that could have changed in the second part when some of it is related to my own declining interest and motivation, and if a place can't bring in new players it doesn't have much of a future.
And, you can try to exclude it all you like, but the "life got you, you lost interest" reason is a valid one. Not everything is about leaving because shit hit the fan in some way, unless that's all you're really interested in reading about. It's not always about the drama.
Also, why would you NOT want to accept harassment as a reason in this thread? What, exactly, are you trying to limit the reasons to?
I check out of a game, generally, for one of three reasons, or a combination thereof:
- I take serious umbrage to a decision made by staff.
- I stop getting RP, or finding RP, during my active times.
- The apparent direction of a game makes me PC unplayable.
Based on the above, I don't think there's anything that staff can do, really. I don't expect to step in and save my RP. My RP is my RP, and I get it where I choose to get it. I suppose, like Wolfs, staff could not do things that are problematic or stupid, but that's a matter of perspective.
Generally I leave games for reasons specifically called out as excluded by the OP, and thus I have nothing to contribute to this thread. None of the other things that have happened to cause me to leave are a pattern or recurring reason that could be boiled down to a productive answer, they were each situational and related to the specific people involved, and as such it's not helpful.
I think ruling out external and harassment reasons when they're really the only repeat offender for game-leaving is not productive.
I generally think of it on two scales of investment and fun. Someone could be super invested and be having zero fun, and still want to play despite being miserable because they can't bear the thought of flushing down the character/stories they are invested in. Someone could be having a ton of fun and not be invested at all. I think when either of those is chipped away, people take off.
First off, I don't think quitting a game is - at all - a negative thing or some kind of slam against a game (or the weird 'failure' some people seem to view it as) a lot of the time. There are lots of perfectly fine games that aren't for me because of code or rules/setting, or that don't have activity at the times I can be around. I think most of the time people hang onto places they aren't enjoying for far too long. Nobody should feel bad for leaving a place they aren't enjoying or be guilted into sticking around something that's not for them.
There's a Star Trek game I tried numerous times and it's a good example of a place that just wasn't for me. I came up with some characters I liked and really enjoyed a lot of the STing in the plot scenes, but there wasn't the churn of 'social' scenes that I feel like I need to invest in a character/build relationships, and I was turned off by the amount of +job virtual paperwork necessary, even though I saw some benefits to it in terms of deciminating information.
I tend to drop off Lords and Ladies games because, while I like fantasy, I feel like they attract players who are really into a type of RP that I'm not (soft politics based around marriages and costume drama stuff).And if the majority of your fellow players are RPing stuff you aren't into, that's not gonna work for me. This is also why I tend to feel uninterested in very sandboxy games. If I can't engage with some sort of consistent game world, it gets just isn't the kind of world I want to play in.
I try lots of games I drop off of after a week or two because the character just doesn't grab me and my ability to invest in my PC is the thing that actually makes me want to play. That's on me. Motivation to do this stuff is more internal than I think a lot of players want to admit. I also don't think it's BAD. If there's nothing something I'm inspired to play at a given time, I'm happier playing video games or reading or whatever, and I'll circle back to MUing eventually when I have an idea I want to play.
I've also quit for what I consider actionable reasons based on staff abuses (oh, Steel and Stone) and just general Ugh-ness (oh, Battlestar Pegasus), but that doesn't fall under my 'quitting isn't bad' point and isn't what I wanted to talk about. Quitting is deserved and logical when staff is screwing with you or cheaters/harassers aren't being booted, but I honestly don't have a ton of negative experiences. Maybe because I tend to Out pretty quick when my annoyance level rises.
Almost always one of two reasons:
I have observed staff behaving in a manner that I find unethical. This is pretty much never 'unethical toward me', but if I've seen them be shitty or shifty to other players, it's not hard to see the writing on the wall. This includes, but is not limited to, not following their own rules, mocking players, taking advantage of the system for their own benefit, applying rules unevenly, spying on players without good reason, or just generally being mean to people.
There's no driving story and I can't get or stay interested in things.This is usually coupled with little interest in or freedom for player run things, or a general game-wide apathy for Things Happening in favor of more quiet, social RP. I can make my own fun for a good while, but if I'm playing on a game where most people want to have babies and drink beer, it's just not going to be a long-term fit for me.
I've also occasionally dabbled in PvP games despite the fact that I really don't like it much, and sometimes I run away because the competitive atmosphere creates more anxiety than fun for me, but that's rarer.
Every game I have quit was due to staff acting in a way I found unethical.
In some cases, history very much agrees with me, and staff members whose behavior I objected to were later fired — but only after yet more damage done. Once, a game collapsed due to that mismanagement maybe two months after I left.
In other cases, the jury is still out.
I can love a theme, setting, characters, and code — even my very best friends can play there. But if I don’t trust staff? I’m out. And I’m usually reinvesting my time in my own games with a renewed grip on my high horse.
Trust is maybe the most valuable and most scarce resource in this community.
I will leave a game if:
- I cannot affect the world in meaningful ways as a player, OR
- I cannot interact with or build or otherwise create stories for players as a GM that have meaning, OR
- Staff are cheating assholes, OR
- Players are cheating assholes, and staff takes no action.
Or any combination of the four.
As a GM, don't be so married to the idea of What Should Happen that you remove player agency. Create a framework where the players can solve a problem, offer them options, but be open to the idea of letting their ideas and plans matter. Create interesting ways to KNOW about those ideas - be it a healthy dialogue before events, or some more formal system, or some other way - so that you can incorporate them into the story. Operate under the "yes, and..." principle, rather than the "no that's not right, here's the real way" idea. Sometimes that's not possible, but where you can, look for a collaborative way to tell a story.
As a player, be flexible. Just because you have The Best Idea Ever doesn't mean it will work. Accept that there are probably a lot of things going on behind the scenes that you just don't know. Develop a good dialogue with the GMs, be willing to talk to them about your disappointments without immediately accusing them of being assholes who don't want you to have any fun. Don't assume the worst - assume ignorance unless you have proof of bias.
As both player and GM - don't be a cheating asshole.
As staff, take action against problem players before they wreck your game and ruin the fun of a bunch of players.
Staff on a super-hero game engaged in behavior that deeply violated player's privacy and then proceeded to organize what I can only describe as an "arranged stoning" of that player in front of people they had communicated with when handing down the decision to expel them from their game. During this, uh, hearing, they refused to provide any concrete examples of genuine malefactor behavior, at least, from the player being banned. This has been talked over extensively in other threads.
More recently on a WoD game, I chose to leave because I realized I had an incompatible temperament with the person running the vampire genre. Some people were (and are) fine with them -- I viewed them as witheringly mean, trying to take a "stern manager" approach and coming off more as "Horrible Boss", trying to use something I wanted to do to steer me toward PvP in ways I wasn't comfortable with (said staffer has, based on my observations, developed a rep for going after people's +sheets without talking to them, and engaging in excessively punitive response without adequate communication as a storyteller, among other things), etc. In the end, I realized my experiences with that person made me dislike and mistrust them tremendously, there was no "corrective action" that could fix that, and that the best solution was for me to say my goodbyes and quit logging in.
Every game I have quit was due to staff acting in a way I found unethical.
This is mostly it for me. Staff seems great at the outset but the longer you play and the more the curtain gets pulled aside the more things you see and experience. Most of it being emotional instability masking some kind of mental deficiency, outright lying, or directly cheating. Its worse when it is one bad staff person among a troupe of great staff people who somehow goes unnoticed.
I've quit games for all kinds of reasons. Usually it's for some justification that led to "I'm not having fun there" but that's the symptom and not the cause per se.
It would be a fallacy though to say it's always had something to do with the game itself. For example I've left a game because I couldn't get into Changeling; I just didn't like the system, there was nothing I felt I wanted to work towards. I wanted to run plot but not to play my own character, and that eventually drove me away.
I've also left games because my friends did. It's as simple as that sometimes... I went there because folks I liked played there, and when they didn't either my character was left without a purpose or I just lost my appetite.
Oh, and life. Sometimes RL hits me, or for whatever reason I'm in no mood to play so I don't.
PvP can be fun ...with people capable of separating OOC from IC. It’s the sort of thing that should be monitored from above, though. Or not! If a game starts to have too many competitive elements, with more and more instances of dramatized butt-hurt ...that’s usually my cue.
Template: Beat the bad guy, win, fin. TPs that require brawn/dexterity/shoot-em-up but not a lot of creative problem solving in and outside of GM'd group scenes don’t really do it for me or help me invest in a character.
I acknowledge that both of these are matters of personal taste.
I quit my first ever MUSH after like, my third scene. It was one of the Kushiel games, and I created a character that I realize now is cliche on MU*s but as a baby roleplayer, I did not realize then was cliche. After my third scene, someone talked down at me about my character being cliche OOCly, joined in by the other person in the scene.
I never logged back in. I am surprised I even tried another MUSH after that, to be honest, but I did and I found good people on an xmen game that took me in and helped me learn good habits.
Usually staff and the rules, or the player culture, undercuts the pretend value of something. I like context, and if there is no scarcity of anything, including say people with super human skill X, it takes away from the sense that anything at all matters about my character.
Who cares if they take risks they shouldn't if they can replace what they lose without thinking?
Who cares if being dedicated to something with skills, or dedication has no weight?
Same with thematic elements.
It makes it all feel like one big improve session, literally an illusion where all the players thought something was happening, but nothing at all was. Maybe some word play.
- PvP can be fun ...with people capable of separating OOC from IC.
Yeah but that's a truism. It's like saying "roleplaying with good players can be fun", because that's one of the primary qualifications for someone being a good player.
Every game I have quit was due to staff acting in a way I found unethical.
This is literally the only reason.
The only one.
If I am actually playing on a game and managed to get involved and active, this is hands down, the only reason.
The Reach, staff lets people un-perma-freeze after they had quit characters and transferred that XP to new characters, (a decision specifically aimed to let a specific group of players in vampire return to a group of old characters), and within a week those characters were taking over the sphere.
CoFaB, I felt a staffer was way too involved in a PK scenario ICly on her player bit and she showed up to judge the PK scene for a PC who was her PC's friend and minion.
Firan, well, doing Firan stuff.
Anything else is generally RL-fu or just a 'never really got into it in the first place'.
It’s usually a balance of rl and in game issues, and where that balance falls tends to vary depending on circumstances.
Soooooooooooooo helpful, I know.
But here is what I mean:
When my rl is jam packed and I’m getting my social/busy bee/feeling like I’m getting Things accomplished with other people, I have pretty low tolerance for ooc drama or nastiness or staffer instability, or a rude game culture. I also will bail no harm no foul if things require more time than I can give.
When I have more time, or the hobby is my main source of “look I did something other than change my underwear today!” enjoyment in life, I have tolerance for more bullshit, because I’m not getting as much bullshit face to face.
The more batshit crazy busy my rl is the less I can deal with it online. I have stayed for years on a batshit crazy place with batshit crazy people when I worked night shift because I didn’t have as much daily contact with normal people my age and my life was relatively stress free so a little drama or narcisstic staff could be kind of fun or easily ignored. Same for when I was a stay at home mom and dealing with mushers meant at least I was talking to someone over the age of 6 for a change. My best mush stickability comes when I have a noob, because I can’t go anywhere anyway and it’s easy to pop them on the boob and cuddle them like the little human grub they are while I type!
But when I’m working a demanding job, dealing with people constantly in severe physical pain or emotional upheaval (like when I had my massage biz), it’s harder to deal with people throwing tantrums online or being dicks. During election season this year I was putting in almost a full time job of hours coordinating volunteers, engaging in activity at the state capitol, helping with fundraisers and events and refereeing fights and personality conflict within the org, etc. my tolerance for anyone wanting me to eat shit on their game, especially if they are yucky to me oocly in game, has been nil. My tolerance level for any kind of boundary invasion at all is almost nil because of my stupid stalker and dealing with court stuff and security stuff.
Mushing is dealing with a group of people. Sometimes everyone is going to be an asshole at least once. I can usually connect with at least one person on a game and get in to most any theme for a little while, as I love to try new things and meet new people. But staying power tends to be directly related to my patience level. I don’t like to be bad company, so if the culture or my rl makes me too crabby or needy, I tend to throw in the towel.
My reasons for quitting is not nearly as grand as everyone else seems to have. It is simple. I decide I am bored with it/don't like the setting as much as I thought/I don't like the people. Nothing more really factors in.