We will be discussing IC versus OOC. This means “In Character” role-playing versus “Out Of Character” commentary/reactions.
To begin simply, players are OOC and characters are IC. Although this distinction may appear obvious, it often finds itself the center of conflict and confusion. For example, a character stating, “Hello, my name is Fred.” is an InCharacter action and should be handled as role-playing. Whereas, a character mentioning, “My agility is 6 and gain 3 learning points a day.” is an OutOfCharacter action and should be handled as a player speaking not the character. Any OOC commentary should be restricted to using the @OOC command and will appear as — OOC — You say, “I am a God of the Pickpocket Skill!”. This will allow other players to clearly make a distinction between what a character says and what a player says. OOC comments should remain rare or be handled in private with other players who wish to delve into these aspects. The gaming environment should remain as InCharacter as possible to add to the role-playing aspect of the game world.
The most conflicting aspect of IC vs. OOC is KNOWLEDGE. Players often find themselves in possession of knowledge that was not directly given to their character. This knowledge is something their character does not know and the player should be adverse to using it while playing that character. These situations can be made rarer by sharing less OOC information between players and maintaining a highly role-played environment. Examples of OOC information include but are not limited to: Knowing the alts (other characters) of a player, character stats, discussing events that your character did not directly hear of nor were involved in. IC information might include but not be limited to: events that character was directly involved in, general historical knowledge of the world as given in the player’s guide or informational sites, actions that are publicly announced within the game in an IC manner or are/were posted in an IC forum thread. If you find a player who is not acting according to the IC/OOC guidelines, speak with them in an OOC manner with respect and kindness. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they do not know better or have never experienced a role-played environment before. This assistance may prove invaluable as they grow and adapt to the gameworld. You can be personally responsible for helping a new player become a pivotal role-player. If after several attempts the player still appears to not understand and/or refuses to cooperate in a productive manner, contact the staff. Do not take it to a negative level. Do not insult or provoke them. Allow the staff to step in and take the necessary action.
Quite often, confusion can arise from good actors in a role-playing environment or even from players who grow attached to their characters actions and begin to reflect their emotions in real life. A common example involves a romantic plot between two characters in an IC setting wherein one or both of the players start to grow a “crush” on the other player. Remind yourself, “this is a game, this is only a game”. Love is not the only emotion that can cause confusion. Anger or abrasive character personalities can also spark OOC conflicts. This can be handled in several ways. Remember that although a character may be mean to one of your characters, they are acting out a part and it is in no way a reflection of their feelings toward you as a player or their actual personality. If a situation begins to get out of hand and teeter on the edge of OOC abrasiveness, step back and mention openly in an OOC manner (@ooc command) that this situation is not enjoyable or requires some clarification in order to continue. The final situation I will mention is intimacy. As with both of the other examples, a certain balance of comfort must be found between all the players involved in order for the characters to be played well and to keep all actions InCharacter. It is important to discover the extent to which any player you are interacting with is willing to take the role-playing. Some may be more comfortable with verbal indications of love or romance where another may wish to seek more physical expressions of the same emotions. This is a consent based game, not only system-wise but player-wise. Seek consent to any actions or situations that may cause undue confusion or conflict which will progress from IC to OOC.
In the worse case scenerios, contact a StoryGuide or any available staff. This can be done via many routes including e-mail, @assist and @page NameOfStaffMember. The staff is available to assist the players but would rather see players find an equilibrium on their own. We are here to help, use us if you feel the need. Any case brought before a staff member shall be considered private and confidential. All players involved will be brought in to explain, respond to inquiries and/or defend themselves against accusations. Any action taken in regard to conflict shall also be held as confidential as possible.