My Adventures in Explaining the Stress of Staffing (To a non-Geek)


  • Pitcrew

    As the least sane of us know, staffing is a challenge. Being a Headwiz, even more so. But tonight while talking to a girl I am seeing, who is not a MUer, or even a gamer, and who was only fairly sure she had a vague idea what D&D was, I tried to explain my stress.

    ME: Ok so. I explained I run an online game of sorts yes?

    THEM:Yes

    ME: Because that is where I met my friend from (referring to meeting another player for dinner a few days ago)

    THEM: Following so far lol

    ME: Right now there are 21 people logged in, we have about 50 players of varying levels of activity
    ME: The hobby is VERY time intensive. An average session can be 2-8 hours, with 2-3 probably average
    ME: I do NOT have that kind of time except maybe once or twice a month, I may play twice a month
    ME: But I am responsible for the fun of dozens of peoiple and that can be exhausting

    THEM: I mean I don't fully understand that in that context but i understand the being responsible for people's fun aspect

    ME: Right. Also many of the people in this hobby - which is a niche of a niche - have issues
    ME: Drama and interpersonal conflicts are not uncommon, and I am the resolution system

    THEM: Issues that don't allow them to realize this is just a hobby and not your life (or theirs)?

    ME: Depends on the person lol
    ME: Also, as all things in life, it gets even better when sex is involved

    THEM: I'm a little perplexed with how sex is involved lol

    ME: Well, it is a social activity and any social activity can involve flirtation, first of all
    ME: Second, ugh, I am going to feel so nerdy.
    ME: The entire way the game is played is basically colaborative fiction
    ME: And that OFTEN leads to people collaboratively describing their charactersf ucking

    THEM: I see lol

    ME: And some people have a hard time detaching reality and fiction
    ME: RIGHT NOW we are at a very low drama cycle, but I still feel responsible for making all the things happen
    ME: Also with your permission can I share this conversation, identifiers removed, with my friends who will be amused at how I am trying to make this make sense to a complete outsider?

    THEM: That sounds like a pain in the ass. This is part of the reason I think I have no passion for anything lol

    THEM:Of course lol

    THEM: And you don't even need to remove identifiers, I don't care lol


  • Pitcrew

    @tragedyjones said:

    As the least sane of us know, staffing is a challenge. Being a Headwiz, even more so. But tonight while talking to a girl I am seeing, who is not a MUer, or even a gamer, and who was only fairly sure she had a vague idea what D&D was, I tried to explain my stress.

    ME: Ok so. I explained I run an online game of sorts yes?

    THEM:Yes

    ME: Because that is where I met my friend from (referring to meeting another player for dinner a few days ago)

    THEM: Following so far lol

    ME: Right now there are 21 people logged in, we have about 50 players of varying levels of activity
    ME: The hobby is VERY time intensive. An average session can be 2-8 hours, with 2-3 probably average
    ME: I do NOT have that kind of time except maybe once or twice a month, I may play twice a month
    ME: But I am responsible for the fun of dozens of peoiple and that can be exhausting

    THEM: I mean I don't fully understand that in that context but i understand the being responsible for people's fun aspect

    ME: Right. Also many of the people in this hobby - which is a niche of a niche - have issues
    ME: Drama and interpersonal conflicts are not uncommon, and I am the resolution system

    THEM: Issues that don't allow them to realize this is just a hobby and not your life (or theirs)?

    ME: Depends on the person lol
    ME: Also, as all things in life, it gets even better when sex is involved

    THEM: I'm a little perplexed with how sex is involved lol

    ME: Well, it is a social activity and any social activity can involve flirtation, first of all
    ME: Second, ugh, I am going to feel so nerdy.
    ME: The entire way the game is played is basically colaborative fiction
    ME: And that OFTEN leads to people collaboratively describing their charactersf ucking

    THEM: I see lol

    ME: And some people have a hard time detaching reality and fiction
    ME: RIGHT NOW we are at a very low drama cycle, but I still feel responsible for making all the things happen
    ME: Also with your permission can I share this conversation, identifiers removed, with my friends who will be amused at how I am trying to make this make sense to a complete outsider?

    THEM: That sounds like a pain in the ass. This is part of the reason I think I have no passion for anything lol

    THEM:Of course lol

    THEM: And you don't even need to remove identifiers, I don't care lol

    And yet you chose to call her a 'them'. TSK.

    Also, lolz, yeah, this is basically how it goes when I talk about MUing with my therapist, except she and I go way deeper into how it affect me, you guys, and world peace than this.

    Also, I pay her, and we don't get to do sex stuff before or after.


  • Banned

    Understand this: I would never attempt to explain MU*ing.

    It's like trying to explain the fucking Burning Man festival.


  • Pitcrew

    I occasionally talk about mu*ing with my co-workers, and with my writing group, none of whom are in this hobby.

    Most of them, who understand that this is something that I have volunteered my time for with the interest of entertaining and making fun for other people lump this in with the amount of time that I spend doing volunteer work for our local school. (Weirdly there are parallels to be found there from volunteering as a fundraiser for the school and organizing/managing/planning for a game.) Frequently there are suggestions that I must be a masochist. More often than not there are questions about why I would put so much effort into doing something that won't have a return in appreciation for the effort put in. It tends to take a lengthy explanation about the rewards from Cooperative Storytelling to get anyone to really understand it.


  • Banned

    @2mspris said:

    It tends to take a lengthy explanation about the rewards from Cooperative Storytelling to get anyone to really understand...

    There are rewards? News to me; from the way WORA bangs on, one would think Cooperative Storytelling is nothing but one hours-long shit-show, propagated by gibbering loonies.

    I jest, of course, but you must admit that the hobby is displayed as being Less Than Ideal, here. I credit this place with dampening my enthusiasm about MU*ing, personally.


  • Pitcrew

    @Cirno said:

    I jest, of course, but you must admit that the hobby is displayed as being Less Than Ideal, here. I credit this place with dampening my enthusiasm about MU*ing, personally.

    I think that if you were to look hard enough (especially online - since the internet is full of trolls), every possible hobby or interest is a terrible/horrible thing depending upon who you ask. And I've been on the various incarnations of WORA long enough to be able to weed through most of the vitriol and spewing to recognize what is genuinely enthusiasm dampening and a problem and what is just people blowing off steam/spouting off.

    Granted, this recognition doesn't prevent me from stressing about things outside of my control or being upset by certain situations or individuals. Someone not part of this hobby but who is a writer told me that emotional investment is indicative of the value that I put on the hobby/the people interacted with and something that I'm passionate about. (Your mileage on that sage advice may vary, she's a bit of an old hippy who is a great spoken storyteller but is learning to tell stories through writing and she struggles with it.)


  • Coder

    On the plus side, as a hobby with no appreciable return for time invested, at least it is not also a monetary sink. I mean, we could all be model train builders, as @HelloRaptor so often likes to reference for their own brand of invested crazy.


  • Pitcrew

    True, I spend less overall time but much much more money on Heroclix.


  • Pitcrew

    This is my primary hobby, so at least my monetary sink is very low, yes. Good thing, too, I'm not exactly rollin' in it.


  • Pitcrew

    You would think this is my primary hobby, but honestly it has slipped to secondary or perhaps tertiary...


  • Admin

    Lots of people have weird hobbies. It's easy to isolate just what we do as being particularly crazy or hard to relate but I know people who collect trading cards (holy shit is that ever an expensive past-time), who follow soccer obsessively (and bet on games, with mixed results regarding the ROI), follow causes of the week from their couch ("fuck big business, man!") or what have you. They all sink a ton of time into those things, just like we do, and I'm not even talking about other kinds of gaming (MU* has nothing on WoW).

    If there's something that sets us slightly apart from most is that MUSHing is a fringe interest at best - there just aren't as many people playing any more at least compared to other stuff. Since obviously our past time's waning popularity doesn't inflict on how we can get as easily caught up in our hobbies' trappings as anyone else can in theirs, but the damage is a hell of a lot more limited compared to financial ruin from buying too many Black Lotus cards or to getting to the hospital because the wrong team's fans saw you wearing the wrong colors, I'd still say we're better off than many.


  • Pitcrew

    Get'cho priorities straaaaaight.

    @Arkandel, at the same time, we're isolated by design: we spend a lot of time in front of a computer, and while a lot of us are shut-ins, probably, many also like to have social lives.

    I am, as far as I know, the only MUer in my country. Not my city, my country. So while I cherish the friendships and connections I make with people who RP online with me, I'll never really get to experience connecting with the people who share my hobby in a face-to-face way that's anything more than temporary and transitory.

    Worse, we're so small that there's no real assurance that, if I did find someone who MUs in my (relative) area, I'd get along with them at all. Larger hobbies have that going for them: there's always enough people that eventually you'll make a friend through shared interest.

    I'm not knocking it, I'm just saying: for every pro there's a con.



  • @Glitch said:

    On the plus side, as a hobby with no appreciable return for time invested, at least it is not also a monetary sink. I mean, we could all be model train builders, as @HelloRaptor so often likes to reference for their own brand of invested crazy.

    I'm 90% sure that continuing to MUSH actively is the reason I never got into subscription-based multi-player games like WoW. I know lots of people do both, but it always fell by the 'not enough hours in the day' wayside before anything else. So, while this is unquestionably a time-waster for hermits, I suspect it's just taken the place of other, more expensive time-wasters for hermits.


  • Pitcrew

    If City of Heroes was returned to the world I would never talk to you ducks again.


  • Admin

    You're right @Coin. As a hobby we are disconnected from each other in many ways but that same distance gives us some advantages; for instance the barrier to entry for MUSHing is very low. You can play the game on truly ancient hardware just as well as anyone else. You can play even if you're suffering from health issues or are disabled, as long as you can still type. And with some effort you can create entire worlds, taking anything from the pages of a book, the small/big screen or just your imagination and giving it a chance to become an immersive interactive environment shared with other people. That's pretty special.

    We might be a tiny dying niche but where else could we get to do what we do?


  • Pitcrew

    Gotta disagree @arkandel, I think the barrier to entry is very high. Sure the tech requirements are super low, but the skills to use the tech are at this point practically archaic.


  • Pitcrew

    When SWTOR came out, my friends and I actually had a guild and also a MU* for RPing it. (Because let's face it, MMO RP is kind of -- well, not nearly as great or easy or convenient.) We eventually dropped off, but it was definitely fun while it lasted.

    I've explained my MU* hobby to a very small number of friends, mostly because it IS kind of difficult to get/explain. It helps when they already have experience with tabletop or something like that.

    My therapist knows a whole lot about it now. It's alternately hilarious and frustrating the amount of background setup I have to give him just so I can talk about the actual emotional parts that's relevant to the therapy session.


  • Pitcrew

    @Roz said:

    My therapist knows a whole lot about it now. It's alternately hilarious and frustrating the amount of background setup I have to give him just so I can talk about the actual emotional parts that's relevant to the therapy session.

    Oh, man, I feel you on this so much.


  • Pitcrew

    @Coin said:

    @Roz said:

    My therapist knows a whole lot about it now. It's alternately hilarious and frustrating the amount of background setup I have to give him just so I can talk about the actual emotional parts that's relevant to the therapy session.

    Oh, man, I feel you on this so much.

    "OKAY SO THERE ARE THESE THINGS CALLED PLOTS, WHICH ARE LIKE -- SPECIFIC STORY ARCS? AND THERE ARE GMS THAT RUN THEM AND IT'S REALLY HARD BUT THEN THERE'S ALSO THIS THING CALLED--" forever and ever


  • Pitcrew

    @Roz said:

    @Coin said:

    @Roz said:

    My therapist knows a whole lot about it now. It's alternately hilarious and frustrating the amount of background setup I have to give him just so I can talk about the actual emotional parts that's relevant to the therapy session.

    Oh, man, I feel you on this so much.

    "OKAY SO THERE ARE THESE THINGS CALLED PLOTS, WHICH ARE LIKE -- SPECIFIC STORY ARCS? AND THERE ARE GMS THAT RUN THEM AND IT'S REALLY HARD BUT THEN THERE'S ALSO THIS THING CALLED--" forever and ever

    Me: "[...] and some people have a lot of characters. I have a bunch of them. Sometimes I play one character more than others for a time and then I switch."
    Therapist: "Are all your characters the same?"
    Me: "No, not at all."
    Therapist: "But do they all follow the same archetype?"
    Me: "Noooo, not even close."
    Therapist: "This hobby of yours is highly dissociative. Not necessarily in a bad way, of course,. It's rather impressive, actually."
    Me: "... you have no fucking idea."
    Therapist: "Tell me."
    Me: "Oh, boy..."