Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Secrets and Lies

Dreya Dalt - no longer at Realms of Ice and Fire
My hiatus from roleplay lasted approximately six months.  That was more than decent, to focus on myself and try to get my head into a better space after the last fiasco.  And then a friend of mine lured me to Realms of Ice and Fire, one of the oldest Game of Thrones sims in Second Life.

I had been mulling over a project with some other friends but real life bit us in the behind and it never came to fruition.  I also started mulling over another side project with another friend, but again, my own rl went a little nuts.  I've just lacked the motivation to build.  I'm not sure what the mental block is.  Probably Blender...

So then my friend came calling and told me about Realms of Ice and Fire.  I'd been there before before the recent reboot of the sim build and story.  I wasn't impressed back then - I didn't like the lore, and the welcome center was just creepy - always full of people who were not friendly and said nothing to you.  Not much has changed, in that regard.  The welcome center is always full of people who really have little business being there, and it still looks like a bot farm, except for those people grabassing and horsing around with each other.  I just wish they would stand more than 2m off the landing spot.  That is such a pain in the ass.  Get out of the way!

Against my usual judgment, this time I went in.  I had the itch to rp again and if I could go with my friend, it would be worth it, because she's a great writer and we had some good times while playing together in Era of Conquest.  I made Dreya Dalt, a bannerwoman to House Martell of Dorne.  I've taken a real shine to Dorne, enjoying the delicate balance of trying not to scare off Northron houses with the passionate zeal for life that the Dornish embody.  She was not the Lady of Lemonwood; her older brother Azeris had the honor of being the Lord of Lemonwood.  There was also another sister, younger - Elaine.  This was a role I had intended for my friend, Elaine.  Dreya was related to House Dayne of Starfall through her mother's side, of House Toland.

While the main area of the sim was being built, they made a tournament area in a skybox, so that people could get their rp fix.  Sadly, there wasn't much actual building going on, at least as the eye could see.  Their builder had been sick and if she was doing much building in the threeish weeks I was playing there, it was all in the Beta Grid and Blender.  Anyhow, there was a tournament there as a basic premise for everyone being in the same space, until they open the ground level for rp.

Dreya went off to the tournament and had a fabulous start, meeting all kinds of people and making some important connections.  Some of them might be unexpected to the point of being controversial - a budding respect and friendship with Arianne Hightower was intriguing.   But her best friends were Penelope Karstark and Ensly Arryn.  The Arryns in particular were a fruitful connection, with the prospect of increased trade with the Vale.  And then there was Willem Tully, affectionately called "Wanderlust," for his worldly ways.  He'd taken a liking to Dreya, and there was some potential there.

Lord Willem Tully, aka "Wanderlust"

But ... there always is a but, isn't there?  But rp was stalling.  The lead for House Martell was having a busy life and wasn't very present.  I had a good rp session with him but I had to schedule it and even then it ended up getting cut a little short.  He's nice, but probably should not be a house lead if he can't be present and active.  A lot of the story in Dorne revolves around the Hand, the Dornish prince's brother.  And yet, there was sensitive info there that Dreya should not have been privy to hearing, and so that cut off a channel of rp for me.  I was getting bored.

I started getting antsy.  One can only go ride horses or chit chat with friends for so long.  I wanted in on the bigger story, and picked a character that was a featured role, one that was sorely needed for the story to move forward.  I took a male alt (since the character is male) and spent days wrapping my head around him because his story really didn't make much sense.  I also spent time coordinating backstories and doing some shopping, to modernize his clothing and his look to the son who had joined the game.

So after all of this preparation and writing I submitted my application, only for it to be summarily denied without any remediation.  What?  I thought they were looking for someone to play this character?  I expected some kind of discussion because I knowingly made one small addition to the lore for a backstory, to fill in a hole.  I also disclosed that the character was Dreya's alt.

Apparently, they had some requirements for this character that they kept secret, and I didn't meet them and they wanted someone who would be an "organic fit."  Now, what kind of  horse shit is that?  I got this bullshit answer over email that basically said, no, but keep playing your original character or try something else.  I was not a born telepath, why the hell would I try that again?

Now, I and my friends have worked up a few theories as to why my app was denied without discussion.

  1. They have someone else in mind.  This is always a strong possibility when faced with this kind of opaque, crap answer.
  2. They don't like my writing style.  I tend to think that this is the reason.  I am an efficient writer, and while I can do long posts that take 15-20 minutes to type, full of details, I prefer not to do so because I hate spending an hour roleplaying and only getting in one post.  More interactive, please.
  3. They know I'm female and they don't like me gender-bending.  This is not something that occurred to me at first but it is always possible. 
  4. Maybe it's some combination of the above.  

So in any case, I accepted their crap answer because it was telling in and of itself about the people who run that show, and I decided that they were beneath me, and it was not worth working with them.  I would make one exception, though - Baal, who was kind enough to try to suss out the real reasons why my app was denied.  I didn't want to bother, but he saw that I was upset and at least tried to make me feel better by getting some truth.  You succeeded in small measure, Baal.  But I wasn't going to argue with him over the reasons that he returned with, explaining the denial.  I just wanted to be finished.

The reasons it was denied allegedly were:

  • They didn't think I 'got' the character.  
    • Actually, what I did was reconcile the ridiculous proposition that this character was even alive when he shouldn't have been.  I took an event that happened in the sim days before my application and wrote in a precedent for it in the character's backstory.  
    • A treasonous lord that challenged the king and lived?  How could that happen?  I wrote in something that made sense for that to happen, and it set a precedent for events that had just unfolded in the sim.  But in the few minutes that they took to glaze over my app, they didn't realize that, I suppose.  Even then, it was not something that should have been a reason for an outright rejection, but a point of discussion.  
    • The character was supposed to be humiliated; he was.  He was allowed to live, as well as his son, but banished from King's Landing and a crippling fine imposed. Considering that he should have been attainted and killed, and his family's lands stripped and given to someone else, this particular absurdity is not my fault.  Still, he suffered a huge loss with that crippling fine and wheedled his way back into power.
  • They wanted a "sim-changing character" who might kick Lord Lannister in the teeth, and someone who would create conflict.  Nothing in the app suggested that I wouldn't, and given the information I would have soon learned IC I would have, but if they wanted me to develop that aspect of the character more, I would have.  But you see, at this point, I know that the problem is that they really don't know me, and didn't care to know me, because all of the characters that that alt has been have been centered around creating conflict.  I didn't really expect them to know that, but the picks from the two previous characters were there to see  and they were both controversial, social-climbing assholes.
  • I deviated from the canonized lore.  This is the most minor point and would have been easily remedied by deleting two fucking houses from one sentence or so in the backstory. 
  • They wanted a more detailed personality.  If they had asked, they would have received, but the truth is that they really were not interested.

So yeah, I was pissed.  These are not people that you want to work with.  I went in specifically asking about this role and who to talk to, and they pointed me to the OOC lead, who pointed me to the IC lead and the family members, none of whom seem to know what these so-called unlisted requirements are.   Instead they expect people to read their minds and let a key role go unfilled for months.  WTF??

I would have been less angry if they said something like, "we don't really know you and would like to watch how you work a little more before awarding this role."  That would have been less infuriating than NO with no discussion.

The final straw was going after me due to my pick about the family, in that I wanted Elaine to be my sister.  No reserving roles, they said.  They want people to have equal opportunity to get into the House.

You know, that is some seriously laughable horse shit after how they have secret requirements for the featured roles.  The specific char, Elaine, is for Elaine, why would I let anyone else play Elaine?  She just hadn't applied for the role yet.  If they said, hey you can't lock up your family, leave room for others to join, I would have been fine.  The char Elaine was an NPC, and would have remained an NPC until Elaine actually applied, and other people apping for House Dalt would have been written into the story the same way House Dayne exploded with siblings.  Hell, I could put in a secret requirement:  be Elaine!  Nimrods.  That was the last straw and Dreya was voided, as if she didn't exist.  Le sigh.

Anyhow, that's the end of that sad tale.  And now I'm back on hiatus.  The other sims out there, candidly, suck.  Leadership cannot be trusted.  Oh well.

Dreya with the horses.  Too bad it's all gone.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Fashion Plate (Or, What Has Cristalle Been Up To These Last Months)

Roleplaying in SL is fraught with obstacles.  Primarily, the problem is human beings and our failure to communicate.  I don't claim to be perfect in this regard, but I try - and malice is something that I don't really get into.

I like to look at people's hearts and their intent, rather than focusing on their actions and how their actions hurt me.  People who do things thoughtlessly or with innocent intent can be forgiven fairly easily, especially if it's the latter.  But unfortunately, not everyone can do that and some people have to be right and remain a victim rather than choosing to be happy.

So, another rp sim that I was in but didn't blog about closed.  Too bad, because it had a lot of potential, but a lot of human drama closed it.  I am not going to get into any details here, it's not worth writing about - but it's a shame because I had some really meaty stories going on.  As an aside, maybe one day I'll transcribe the logs and bring them here.  The bigger shame, though, was in losing someone I thought was a friend, but I guess we were not truly so in the end.  There was a miscommunication on my part, that I will own up to upon rereading logs - but a strange unwillingness to forgive was the death of the relationship.  That's all I will say about that, publicly.

Myriah Nymeros Martell, one of my favorite characters to play, wearing LOGO Alex.
In the meanwhile, I've taken a break from rp and got back to my roots - building and sailing.  But I have also been on a mad quest to modernize my avatar, getting rid of a lot of old clothing.  Now that there are more clothing choices for the Maitreya body, I've blown a lot of Linden dollars getting mesh clothing (and some appliers, but mostly mesh) that fits my curves.  It's still a challenge sometimes as some designers still design for skinnier bodies and it shows, but some people are bang-on with the design and it just fits, even with my avatar's generous bosom.  I get a serious thrill to find those pieces, because that means that I don't have to compromise my shape in any way to please anyone else's aesthetic of what they think a body ought to look like.  

The New Me: Lelutka Karin with DeetaleZ Ana Lucia head applier.
Granted, my look is still (at least in my opinion) well within the bounds of normal.  There are some people who prefer to make some very extreme shapes and it's still shocking to see it.  Ugly is the new pretty, so they say, but ugly is very subjective.  But it's still their second life, they ought to do whatever pleases them.  Live and let live.  We cannot please all the people all the time, and all that really matters in this medium is ourselves and those closest to us. 

A fun shot with the Eve'Olution head from Eve (Absolut Creations) and Pink Fuel Morgana head applier

I've had some fun, as I have gotten on board with mesh heads.  The technology is still young, and there are changes coming in the near future that will make heads more customizable, hopefully.  It would be lovely to be able to change more than just the general roundness or ovalness of the head and adjust bone structure a bit.  We'll see if that happens.  

My daily driver for "me" is from Lelutka, the Karin head.  But I have Stella as well for rp and several appliers that really make it beautiful.  I just got the new one from Pink Fuel, Vera, that was designed for the Lelutka Simone head but looks fabulous on all of them. I also have LOGO Alex and the Eve'Olution head from Eve (Absolut Creations).  I am not yet ready to expend more cash to get the Catwa head.  It looks good but that magic combination of head and skin hasn't come up yet that makes me say I have to have it.  Still, Catwa is the gold standard when it comes to features.  Maybe someday soon I'll add that to my collection.  It's gotten a lot of traction  among the popular skinmakers, very quickly, and it's a game changer that has made other makers scurry to keep up or open up their systems to third party support. 

Lelutka Stella with Pink Fuel Vera applier, for my next character :)

This pic above is probably going to be the face of my next rp character.  I can't wait for that one.  I am not telling anything about her here, nyah nyah.  :)

I've enjoyed this time off, upgrading my look without any human drama hanging over head.  But I'm itching to get back, a bit.  We'll see what happens.