[generic] RPG a day lockdown #89 - opinion of online gaming

#4
I've played a huge number of on-line games over the years. It's a way to deal with a lack of local players or those local players who have little interest in something you want to run. You'll generally find at east a few people who will play almost any game you offer to run.
 

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
#5
I want to say "a bit". I've long known the potential for online games as I've been at it with mates on here for a looong time. Hangouts, them war days. Online gaming is now almost all that I do (currently 79.5% of games for the year), and the many advantages hugely outweigh the disadvantages. Lets-role.com and Discord are a great combo, providing a much richer environment than I have been used to.

When we improve our safe mobility and contact I hope that online gaming will be the principal medium for my gaming supplemented by cons and occasional home weekend games.

By "a bit", I mean that the balance has shifted, and online is where I will mostly game.
 
#6
I started off thinking of it as a slightly inferior substitute to the real thing. Now I've been forced to embrace it, I'm finding it's not inferior, just different.
  • A video chat room at a virtual convention doesn't suffer from noise from neighbouring tables.
  • No need to print out handouts when I can just drop them into the chat or the VTT.
  • Can create handouts on the fly if I have to.
  • So many amazing people I'd never have got to play with in person because they're too far away.
  • Easy to send private messages to players without having to write on index cards.
  • I'm getting to play far more games, and far more variety of games than when I only had the offline groups.
Of course it's not all good.
  • I miss rolling real dice. Online dice rollers just aren't the same.
  • Virtual handouts don't always have the same impact as something you can hold.
  • Constantly switching between the video chat and the VTT can get pretty annoying.
  • Accursed connection issues.
  • I love making cakes for my gaming groups and nobody has yet implemented a feature that will allow me to send cake over IP.
But whatever happens over the next few months, I really hope I can keep up some of the online gaming.
 

Nathan

Rune Priest
#7
I must admit that before the Pandemic it was a long time since I last gamed online. I think the last regular online game I participated in was in 2014. The pandemic means I've return to online gaming. Yes it does have its pros and cons, and I do prefer playing in person, but it does mean I can continue enjoying my hobby.
 

ltd

Rune Priest
#8
It never appealed to me, possibly because I'm knocking on a bit and am scared of new ICT things, but have given it a go since lockdown started. Results have been mixed. Had a good time running Hostile, played a fun Savage Worlds adventure, and been in a dull-as-ditchwater session of Alien: Chariot of the Gods. I don't think the downsides have necessarily been due to anything inherent in the online environment, you get plenty of dull tabletop games after all. I've mostly been playing with people from a gaming group based in one of the county towns near where I live, some of whom I don't know, and I am puzzled as to why none of them to want to turn their cameras on. It's a bit disorientating listening to disembodied voices coming out of the ether, especially when there's more than 3 players.

Met with a mate down the pub last night (first time I've been out for drink since lockdown) and we decided to email members of our old group that fell apart due to real life commitments and see if they want to give online at try. We're getting the band back together. Yay!

I guess you could say I've gone from sceptic to a believer, but as with real life I think having a good game depends on who you're playing with.

I'm baffled by the likes of Roll d20 though. I can just about manage as a player, but it's going to be a long while before I get the hang of it as GM, if ever. I've always tended to wing it with maps and combat so my semi-Luddism is perhaps not that much of a handicap.
 
#9
My online RPG activity has blossomed over the last couple of years: I've formed close bonds with an international group of friends and expanded my repertoire of GMing tricks to boot (no-one will ever forget the ice-cream van arriving in a session of Apocalypse World...)

I've also got to grips with spreadsheets as a way of replacing character sheets and mine are starting to look a lot less ugly after months of refinement.

Online roleplaying also grants access to people who might otherwise not have it: I know a couple of players with dysphoric issues who are really uncomfortable appearing in public as themselves, so being able to use voice-only is incredibly liberating.

Also, if someone bails on a game, it's not a waste for everyone else: they haven't traveled to join the game, and we can easily switch over to playing Jackbox or a social game on Board Game Arena so that our gaming time isn't lost.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#10
I'm baffled by the likes of Roll d20 though. I can just about manage as a player, but it's going to be a long while before I get the hang of it as GM, if ever. I've always tended to wing it with maps and combat so my semi-Luddism is perhaps not that much of a handicap.
Just use Discord, Hangouts or Skype then as the screen share should be enough. Roll20 etc come into their own when you want to have the rules and other effects built in (for example click on a skill and it rolls it automatically)
 

ltd

Rune Priest
#11
Just use Discord, Hangouts or Skype then as the screen share should be enough. Roll20 etc come into their own when you want to have the rules and other effects built in (for example click on a skill and it rolls it automatically)

Yes, used Hangouts for the game I ran - found the sound quality better than Discord.
 
#12
I’d never gamed online before so the things I’ve noticed are that we get a lot more gaming done without getting distracted by other conversations.

I play one game by Skype so I get to drop my dice on the floor and still use real character sheets for the other game I play too so I can spill drink on them but on the other hand we do seem to miss out a bit on the social side of things.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#14
Yes, used Hangouts for the game I ran - found the sound quality better than Discord.
Hangouts can be variable; sometimes it depends on the browser or even the order that people connect, but generally my experience has been good.

Mainly using Discord for audio/voice for @Jagusti WHFRP4 game and @First Age's Coriolis game. We'd been using WebEx for the latter but it's no longer free for more than 40 mins (wish). Did try reverting to Roll20's built in AV but it flaked out on us.
 
#15
I've been taking a break from roleplaying over lockdown. I have played online before, so I am not against it in principle, but just wasn't feeling it. I'd like to think that will leave me refreshed and energised when finally we can finally meet up again.
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#16
I have done quite a lot of online gaming before the pandemic. However I really embraced it and learnt a lot during the pandemic.
Lessons learnt
Keep the games shorter people find it difficult to focus for much more than about 150 minutes.
Try and have mandatory breaks every 50 minutes for 10 minutes.
Play with smaller groups of people about 3 players seems optimum. It's related to the difficulty in focusing when you're online.
No single audio video solution is in fact any better than any other. I've used hangouts Google meet discord roll20 zoom and webex and all of them have good days and bad days. The only one that's ever rock solid is the one I pay for and that's gotomeeting.
if someone is quiet and not engaged it's not the end of the world it's no different to when you're at the gaming table and people just need to have a bit of a relax.
121 gaming it's really intense but also really enjoyable online. Don't be scared to have 90-minute adventures 1 to 1.
Time zones schmime zones, be aware of them but all of a sudden your gaming became international.
 

ltd

Rune Priest
#17
Play with smaller groups of people about 3 players seems optimum. It's related to the difficulty in focusing when you're online.
I'd agree with that, based on my experience of the Alien game which had five players. The Savage Worlds game had four, and I thought that went ok - didn't grind to a halt the way the Alien game kept doing.
 
#18
My opinion of online gaming has gone full circle during lockdown.
  1. It started as Meh, but better than no gaming.
  2. It developed into Hey this isn't too bad.
  3. It peaked at Wow this is awesome (during NorthStar)
  4. It gradually dropped back to Meh, but better than no gaming
  5. And last week it was at I hate this! Please fer grud's sake can we play in person?
I note that the over the same period I have gone from playing a lot and GMing once a month, to doing nothing but GMing. So it may be that I just hate it as a GM experience. Especially when there are constant tech issues.

Constant tech issues are also a feature of online work meetings, which may be colouring my opinion.
 
#19
After a short hiatus, my group moved to playing in hangouts and this has worked very well for us. Without the need to drive, our frequency of play has increased and we can fold more people in. So my opinion has changed from ‘I don’t really need to game online so why try’ to ‘hey, this is easy and useful’. We play by hangouts, and I use both my laptop (aimed at my face) and my phone (aimed at my scratch pad) so I can make sketch maps to share with the players in realtime. I can also roll my dice there.
 
#20
I wish I could be magnanimous and say that I've been totally unchanged by online gaming, but that would be a total lie. It's something I have actively avoided like the plague for ages, believing it to be some form of inferior substitute.

I was totally wrong. It has been a proper lifeline to me over lockdown and one that I have had to just slide back from slightly as I was in like, six games a week? It has meant that I can game on my terms and in my time and I'm taking part in multiple WEEKLY games for the first time in 25 years. The real revelatory moment was when I started a Saturday morning game and it has been great. A smashing way to kick off the weekend.

Like Tom said, there is no One True Solution when it comes to video and voice comms. I've sort of settled with Google Meet now and it is doing the job. Roll20 is something I'm learning 'my style' in, and that's settled now to allow me a way to pre-load a game with enough material to be able to do my improv-style and still not be flustered.

For me, this is the solution to a long standing problem and I'm really quite vexxed I didn't engage with it more, earlier.
 
Top