LARP War Journal: Communication is Key
There’s one thing that can make or break someone’s experience LARPing, and that for one most will be communication. More times than not a player might lose out on what makes this worthy of investment. This could be because they aren’t engaged enough, or they can’t find anyone to converse with, or they can’t find people to connect with outside of the game. Sometimes it will be a problem with the game, but today I will talk about the problem when it is up to the player to communicate.
I remember when I was just getting into LARPing, I met so many people who I wanted to get to know whether IC or OOC. When I first began I also was with a close friend who wanted to give it a shot as well. For a good time things were cool, though at a point there was resistance from him to continue going out. He would say “I don’t think anyone likes me”, and for the life of me I couldn’t make sense of what he was going on about. He’ll be excited when it comes to the fighting, but dodge everyone and try to be one of the first to leave once the fighting ended. I remember telling him that’s not how this works. You can’t say people don’t like you, yet not actually talk to anyone. They’re not all going to come to you. You have to put yourself out there and know that communication goes both ways. Especially when to like someone is to also know them. He even might say that people liked me more than him, and I would be blunt and say that it is because I talk to them when he expects everything to come to him.
For me, communication was always key. The only time I could ever find myself slipping up is when it came to communicating with my own country in the game. That was always the biggest challenge I had with my country. Of course it shouldn’t be that difficult because I know where they live, I have ways to contact some of them, and we all are connected through a FB group outside of the game. However, that didn’t change the fact that they all for the most hard had history that you couldn’t exactly wiggle into. It also didn’t change the fact that around the time I joined they were losing steam in terms of attendance and motivation. There wasn’t anyone to really say “Who all is showing up this Sunday?”, some will say they are showing up and then something come up almost always last-minute, then you have meetings where not even everyone is present to actually feel included. Many factors stacking up on top of each other and being one of the newest players in general there wasn’t much room to be the guy to take charge. That’s just not me. This would be an example of where things can go wrong in a group.
The right thing to do when your game involves group-play, is to always make sure that everyone is on the same page. Nothing gets done if no one steps up to keep everyone in the loop, to make everyone feel relevant, to assure everyone that they aren’t just winging it. It’s important to always be grouped with people you know, but if that is not the case, make sure that these are people who will make you feel like you are just existing. The key to communication in a group is compatibility at the end of the day. I have seen cases where this is not the case and the trouble that stems from it isn’t worth it in the longrun. Sometimes even if you can find one person to make you feel like you aren’t on your own, find that person.
On my own, I always felt that this was when I could do best engaging people. One thing I usually admit about my game is how the campouts are my favorite events. It was unfortunate that most of the time my own country was ever-present to these, but it gave me the opportunity to always branch out and align myself with others who I wouldn’t get the opportunity to venture with. Luckily at this stage in my time LARPing, enough people got to know me that they would ask me to team-up with them. If that wasn’t the case, it was as easy as approaching a group and with the exception of a few. It also helps to be someone who quite enjoys the RP aspect of LARPing a bit more than the fighting. People love being entertained IC and that makes you someone they appreciate for making their experience memorable.
Overall, this is a topic where no matter how you approach it, you get what you put into anything. If you want to talk to people, you talk to people. If you want people to get to know you, then make your presence known. Nothing is gained through silence. You would be pretty lucky if you are an exception to this.