Part of me thinks I'm sharing my concerns with others too much. I don't really visit the forums often (At all), but I'm really looking for an answer I apparantly can't find myself.
I don't know, I've been RPing for about seven years now. And I've reached a certain point where it feels as if my experience is going backwards, like I'm totally new at it again. It bothers me.
In RP events and such I just can't think straight anymore like I used to. I get distracted easily so I miss out on important details. Worse, I make decisions that I know are bad decisions, but I somehow subconsciously do them anyway, maybe as an attempt to get my passion for RP back again. Either way I make those terrible decisions that I regret, things that should be absolutely obvious that it's a bad idea.
For example, I was asked by a friend if I want to join an event with daedra hunters on my vampire character. First thought was a big ''No'' because I felt like my Vampire wouldn't stick her neck out like that. At the same time my vampire was also tasked by her master so to speak to learn about rumours about vampires attacking in the open so that our guild could properly assess the situation. A case of ''Stop the feral vampire before he attracts hunters that make the situation worse for all of us'' so to speak.
So when I talked with the guy about my reasoning and all, he told me the risks are there but that there was another vampire in disguise aswell, and that this event had some links regarding the feral vampire's attack. So I somewhat went against my nature and joined up, have my vampire disguise her face with a mask and have her join in pretending to be a mercenary so she could potentially analyze the threat, aswell as deal with the problem so that the heat would fade and the hunters would continue with their business and move on.
Needless to say, somebody casted a detect life spell and I was pretty screwed. I wasn't willing to get her killed off but other than that I was more than open to deal with the consequences. That said, the GM gave me the advantage and allowed me to escape which irritated some of the RPers involved. At the end of it all, another storyline came from this so majority of people are actually pleased and accepted how I escaped, in a realistic and lore friendly way without forcing anybody into anything. Even willingly got injured and took a silver arrow in my leg to show my vulnerability.
So all went well, people were pleased except for a few. ...And yet I'm not satisfied, I deeply regret it. To me my involvement still made no sense and I shouldn't have joined up. That's just lingering in the back of my mind, and I noticed that this is a common issue for me.
That was a rather controversial example because Vampire RP is involved, but I worry about the same thing with my more ''normal'' characters.
Everything I do in RP, no matter if it's approved or not, I end up regretting. I just can't make decisions anymore that feel comfortable to me, and I'm slowly but surely ''unlearning'' my RP skills and abilities. Even when I take a break and return, it only takes a short moment for me start worrying about my decisions again. I can't leave things behind me, and that sucks the fun out of it for me. It turns into a job more than anything.
Don't get me wrong, I like RP, it just doesn't feel as natural as it used to. Maybe that's a sign that I should move on to something else. I don't want to, I want to hope that this isn't a permanent problem and I'm just missing something that I need to find. But I can't fully enjoy it as much as I used if it just doesn't feel right anymore. It feels like I'm only RPing now to please others, because I clearly can't please myself with my decisions. I'm very much trying to keep up my reputation as a ''good'' rper, and it's become very mentally draining.
So I'm wondering, as the title suggests:
Could it be that I've grown out of RP? Is it perhaps just time to move on and do something else? I still absolutely adore solo RP, like Skyrim or anything like that. But when it comes to RP in MMO's, it's very taxing for me now. I want to enjoy it, and I do enjoy it but I feel absolutely shattered afterwards due to the worries I get afterwards. The idea that I'm getting worse at something I was once passionate about is very discouraging. To still engage in something that is so taxing on me now is perhaps just not good for me.
I think that you should have stuck to your guns about the feeling that attending the event probably would have led to negative feelings. It's an unfortunate reality where someone said you could attend something and that it wouldn't be a problem. In theory, no it wasn't a problem that you were there because it still made for good roleplay but you put yourself in a situation you wanted to avoid from the get-go.
Take a deep breath, first.
Remember roleplay is just playing pretend and it is to have fun. If you aren't having fun? It might be time for a longer break or hanging up your hat. Or, if you feel like you could work out your problems find yourself some good people to interact with beyond guilds. Just work on your own personal stories by putting out classifieds and working with said friends.
I do not think that having a negative taste in your mouth, in this case, makes you a bad roleplayer. You were wary of the event for the very situation that went down and while you cannot go back - you can just really look forward. As far as people getting upset that you were given a chance to escape as your character, the rule of consent is standard in any good roleplay.
You must consent with all parties to kill, maim, dismember or even detain characters. These things should be discussed OOC. It sounds like you tried to do this but some things were not conveyed properly. Perhaps this is because you did not speak to the GM/DM and only did a member. If their reactions bother you? Let that go, it's not your fault. You are not the DM/GM and you did not declare any consent for harm or hindrance.
We all go through these phases.
I took a year off of RP from SWTOR before coming to ESO. I was so burned out by the toxic people, internet politics and the ability to understand some people make decisions we do not agree with and that is okay. Just think about what is best for you, truly.
I hope this doesn't come across as too bold, but I think I can somewhat relate. Your sentiment toward RP and how you feel like you're getting worse is very familiar, and I'm sort of in the same boat, I feel.
I can only give you so much advice here. I'm still struggling with it myself, but I think the very bottom line is this: if you do not enjoy it, do not do it anymore. And it might sound like a big deal, but I don't think it has to be. Right now, I'm hardly RPing. I haven't consistently RPed anything particularly interesting or complex since... end of 2015. But that's not something many people think, since even after that I was so involved in community stuff. And after some personal issues and drama stemming from quite a bit of the same stuff as you mentioned up there, plus lots of OOC drama, I've come back and am still not really RPing. Not past poking my head lazily into an event here and there.
But the basic thingy I'm trying to get at is that it's okay. At the end of the day, if you'd rather stalk a forum or chat people up in a guild than RP with them, you can do that. I'm just floating around, making conversation in the NA AD hub guild, and I find that it's helped. I think that if you lump in actual RP with the friendships you have, it can be stressful. Because you might not want to roleplay, but you feel that not doing so will lose you your friends and connections. Well. If they dump your ass for not RPing, they weren't really good friends anyway, is how I look at it. Those people who are worth staying for will have your back whether you're serving their RP agenda or not.
But I digress. Over time, I've come to realize that the community in general doesn't share my sentiments toward roleplay, or my tastes for it. Which is a big reason as to why I'm not roleplaying much in eso anymore. I think a big part of figuring out the problem is looking hard at the core, the root of it. It can be tough, and painful, but I think it's worth it.
We may or may not have the same issue here, but if you feel like we might, or just want to talk, you can always hit me up via messaging on enjin, or discord, or in-game. My contact info's in my About Me on my enjin profile.
Oh I did speak to the GM about it, originally, my vampire being exposed wasn't planned to begin with. But the risk was there and it happened. Asked the DM to allow me to escape and he agreed without any issue. So the decisions made afterwards was improvisation that resulted in a new storyline. Improvisation tends to be my strong suit if I feel comfortable enough.
Anyhow, I think Karivishal got a nugget of truth in what he said. I'm too worried about pleasing others, so when people have an issue with me I try my hardest to fix it. Might be time to accept that I can't please everyone and not blame myself over what's not my fault, like you said.
You get caught up in the moment, and in the heat of it all you sometimes forget important details. Happens to alot of people I suppose. I might be overanalyzing things.
I did get burnt out for similar reasons, actually. In SWTOR, I was getting frustrated over other RPers constantly having conflicted views on what is lore friendly and what isn't, and on how aggressive people could get about it. Like nobody wanted to give eachother a chance unless they were on ''their side'' so to speak. So I needed a big break from that.
That sounds very relatable, C-Lliph.
But yeah, I don't know. If it's time it's time. But I'll keep at it for now, see if I can still get that drive back. Just gotta accept that mistakes are human and that it ain't always on me. If things really don't work anymore, in the end. Then time will tell. And if I just don't feel like RPing at the moment, then I just won't. Could be that I get my drive if I only RP when I actually want to.
Me as the GM in said event just says:
Stop excusing yourself for things that went good in the end. People respected it, people acknowledged it, and so you can be happy and stride forward with more self-confidence.
If you want to continue telling yourself you did not good enough and whatnot, you should better step down for the time being. You already got a myriad of answers about the same topic in other chats and communities about it, yet took almost no consequences from it. Maybe it is time to decide something, instead of seeking for another time of attention.
I've been in situations in which I have altered my character's personality and behaviour tendencies to do what I thought would please others, and I deeply regret doing so. That said, do remember that just as people in real life don't adhere to being eternally predictable, neither do their creations. Sometimes characters do dumb shit they wouldn't usually do; this does not make them poor characters, but rather subject to unpredictability and whims just like anyone real. If you felt that something you did resulted in bad roleplay because it wasn't true to character, the best thing is to actually try to explore the consequences in character - which you seem like you are doing.
In short, too much second-guessing. Kari's right. If you aren't having fun, THEN it is time to move on; otherwise, use your mistakes (in and out of character) to lead to further development.
That said the event was a mere example and not ''the reason'' why I worry about this. It was just an example that I felt might've explained my concerns the best. Since I feel like I worry about the same thing in pretty much any decision I make.
Anyhow, I must've been a little desperate and over analyzing things. So yeah, moment of weakness huh?
I think I know what to do right now, and that's to just chill.
Did you used to have a lot of free time to RP? Have your life habits changed since your best RP days? I find that I have a way harder time RPing now than I used to, but I realize in hindsight that RPing was a main pass-time for me many years ago, and I think the main reason I don't put nearly as much time into it as I used to is because I simply have way less time to put into it. At its height, I was probably engaging in RP for several hours almost every day. It was routine to log in and RP with all my many friends, and was a main social interaction. Now, with so much else going on in my life, it's so much harder to be proactive and dedicate my time to writing, character building, and even just hanging out in game so RP opportunities can arise, all of which because I have less time to spend, and there are so many other hobbies and activities competing for my free time now.
I feel that my RPing has suffered tremendously for it, to the point that I frequently consider not bothering anymore, which is obviously its own feedback loop that isn't going to improve anything.
Actually I have more time than I did before due to IRL reasons that don't really need much of an explanation.
But in the past, I did spend more time in RP because I also felt more comfortable doing so. Over the years that more or less faded because I got more in touch with the more ''official'' RP community which hasn't always been the welcoming sort. Alot of ''facts over feelings'' personalities which somewhat clashes with mine because I'm very much a ''gut feeling'' guy. So I got in touch with alot of ''this versus that'' mentalities which I just can't really work with.
I'm a very inclusive RPer, I'm open for any idea aslong as it's lore friendly and aslong as they're respectful and friendly OOC. RP is like teamwork to me, so I don't really ''align'' with people who give the impression that they always need to be right. Because being right isn't my concern, I'd rather just lead by example or just have a good time. Anything that involves excessive debating distracts me too much from my own values and kind of keeps me from having fun.
It's why I don't consider myself a ''heavy RPer'' but instead a moderate RPer. I am very focused on storyline and immersion, especially from a cinematic point of view. (I RP moreso as if its book or a film/series) So I like things to go smoothly and for it to transition from one thing to the other naturally.
But that said, I have a hard time considering myself a heavy RPer over a moderate RPer because I simply don't want to put too much weight on my shoulders by doing things exactly ''by the book'', as a natural improviser that just doesn't really work well for me.
I'm at my best when I RP solo or in small groups, because I feel like I have less to prove and I can just focus more on doing what I like rather than pleasing others. In the past I was more flexible and I could join in with just about anything, it seems to have narrowed down alot to RPing between friends and friends of friends. Then again, I was a good few years younger back then, so I was also not as cynical and cautious.
The ''idealistic'' heroic stuff like a small group of adventurers exploring tombs or fighting hordes of undead, whatever stuff like that. Where everyone has their archetype they can relate to. Be it the noble knight or the vain sorceress (I do vanity very well, lol). You name it. I can do that very well. A little cliché maybe, but if it works it works IMO. I think majority of RPers I meet prefer faction RP like being part of a noble house or something like that. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not my own style. So it's easy for me to feel out of touch.
It sounds to me like you've kind of had a bad run of things lately. Which can throw off your groove, even if it really comes down to things that aren't really your fault, or anyone elses' fault. Having roleplay that just isn't going right can really mess with your ability to really get into it at all.
Honestly the only thing I have found that works for that is a break, or trying to completely separate yourself from the circle/roleplay group you're currently in and try something utterly different somewhere else to shake the funk.
Which can be hard when you're not feeling it, but honestly roleplay is like any other creative medium. When your muse is struggling, you're not going to do your best and when the circumstances around you aren't conducive to your muse thriving..well, you're really just not going to do well. Change of pace, guild, character or a simple break tends to work well for me.
Alternatively, doing some deep dive writing on a character to shake them back into place can work too. I recently had to basically throw a character out and revamp her entirely because I looked at her history and realized it looked like this:
Character created, put into an ill fitting guild. Sudden life change, that had to be then retconned days later because a player left and it threw off my RP. Character still staying in ill fitting guild for OOC reasons. Finally some RP that makes sense but still iffy based on a lot of her past RP being 'off', then that plot kinda went nowhere for OOC reasons. basically it translated to... all her RPed history was a mess of OOC retcons and other nonsense.
So I basically restarted the concept with some alterations to try to prevent some of that stuff from happening again but it made her fun again and I didn't have any of the awkward past RP to contend with. It sucked a bit, but it revived my interest.