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TTRPG Online gaming

In the last year and half, I’ve gamed online, as a GM and a player. I’ve even tried participating in Cons that moved online. In all that time, I don’t get the same sense of camaraderie, not even close. Everything continues to feel disconnected and lacking. All the “conveniences” online grants - ambient music, fog of war, tokens, maps, disembodied voices (people w/o cameras or refuse to utilize camera), Zoom/Video, and all the rest has turned the hobby I’ve enjoyed since I was 8 (turn 48 next month) into a wholly, unenjoyable, onerous activity, almost enough to have me discard every piece of gaming material I’ve acquired over the years and just walk away from the hobby all together. Almost. Some longtime friends started playing face to face offline and got me involved with playing offline. And it has been FANTASTIC. If it wasn’t for them, I honestly believed I would’ve tossed everything I’ve accumulated over the years. I’ve realized TTRPG gaming online is not for me. I’m sure my age has had an impact on my perspective, which I find contradictory, since I’m very much a proponent of Theater of the Mind, something that should be well suited to online play.

Has online gaming had this kind of impact on anyone else? How have you coped if it has? What has other’s experience been with the online format?

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I completely understand where you are coming from. I have also played and GM’d online for the past year. Some games have been OK, others have just not worked.

The STA game I ran was fun and my players seemed to enjoy it. But I found it utterly exhausting as a GM. I had to take occasional weeks off to get myself back in a mental state to continue and it definitely ended up being shorter than if I had run it offline.

The more casual, ‘funny’ games seemed to work best. Playing a group of Kobold ‘minions’ has gone OK, though our players have dwindled from 6 to 3 as we went along.
The L5R game has continued mostly due it being the main point of socialisation for 3 of the members who just wouldn’t see anyone otherwise. And at least that game brought us back in touch with a friend who had moved away.

One of our group has run online before and her games, with all the roll20 setup, have worked OK. It helped that she was running pre-made, closed environment scenarios that meant we couldn’t veer too far off track. (we still skipped an entire act of Chariots of the Gods though)

I ran online back in the late 90’s in play by post format, though that was a very different world. Still friends with a lot of the people from then even though are scattered across the world.
That was a choice though, to expand my gaming (And as it was BC I could stay up late for US timezones). This time it has been forced upon us and I can’t wait to get back around the kitchen table.

Going forwards… We will return to offline gaming, I am just more comfortable with it. But we are now thinking about how to include the member who moved away. We don’t want to exclude her now, but nor do we want to game purely online.

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Due to necessity the games I run/play in have moved online and results are mixed. Small-ish TT games work well enough using Discord/Roll20 and now Foundry. It’s not the same as in person by a ton but it’s enough to keep everyone safe. I also take part in a large scale interconnected LARP and for me I just can’t do that via Discord. Even if the LARP in question is not boffer and is focused on RP over mechanics it’s just lacking something. Others are enjoying it well enough though so more power to them.

I did find that I needed to adjust my expectations as a player and GM when moving to online play. The pace is slower - combats take longer (even with automation) and you need to practice not talking over each other etc. to a much greater extent. I miss the cross-talk and little aside more than anything really.

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Although I hate playing online, I don’t have to cope for it, since gaming (online) is what helps me cope COVID. I live 6 hours away from my gaming group (we’ve played for almost half my life, now) and we used to try to play D&D about five or six times. A year. I always resisted playing online while my players had other groups that occasionally did so, because I knew that, just like @Dytrrnikl, I would thoroughly miss sitting around the same table.

With COVID, everything changed. At work, I’ve seen only two colleagues for the last months. Most of the time only once a week for a few minutes. I work from home most of the time, I live alone. Those two are my only social contacts right now, apart from my significant other that I see once a month for a weekend or so. Thus, the occasional gaming group once every four to six weeks (we managed to increase the intervals as we don’t have to travel) is such a great deal for me that I graceously accept all the detrimental effects. Well, that, and fog of war. That is something I love and it is not improbable that we will exchange our flip-chart for a widescreen monitor when we will gather around the table again when this is all over. And we will.

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I have played a LOT more under lockdown than before, and all online.
The games I GM are quite map and resources rich because I enjoy it, even tho it takes a lot of time, it’s a hobby in itself.
Other games I have played may have a map or nothing at all, not even a dice roller, and they can be great too.
The one thing I find more tricky online is a: microphone discipline - there is a mute button folks and b: people either not seeing or looking for the physical cues to talk… be more considerate folks!
But I love it, and in many ways it’s better than offline for keeping up with long distant friends, and new long distant friends made online.
I shall go back to offline face face post COVID19… but not wholly, I see it as a 50/50 hobby for me now…

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