I have loved fantasy and role-playing for as long as I can remember. The first games of make-believe that I remember playing were me running around my yard pretending I was a magical fairy princess from another world where there were dragons and unicorns, and I was trapped here on earth. I would daydream for hours that a unicorn, or a dragon, would suddenly appear outside my window and tell me that I needed to come home.
As I got older that love of make-believe naturally led me to the world of Role-Playing. I didn’t have any friends that enjoyed such things as I did, and so I wasn’t introduced to things like Dungeons & Dragons until later in life. But not long after we got America Online (AOL) I discovered the text-based RPG chat rooms, and it is within those hallowed tavern halls that I grew up. Both alone, and surrounded by dozens of others.
From the outside, people might view my childhood as lonely. I was to be found most days after school sitting at the computer alone, I didn’t get out much and I’ve always had very few real life friends, most of which I only saw at school. But in reality I was never alone. I was always online, in chat rooms, interacting with other people. I was social, in a virtual world.
With a creative mind that loves to come up with ideas for worlds, histories and societies, even different species, I became drawn to starting my own guilds and groups. The largest of which was a kingdom I named Darcain, run by an evil queen that was a composite creation inspired by quintessential fantasy villains, the most prominent of which was Takhisis, the evil dragon goddess of the Dragonlance universe (akin to Tiamat of Forgotten Realms), a hodgepodge of clichéd female god-villains.
But with the power of running a group/guild also comes the responsibility. It requires work. I couldn’t just get on when I felt like it. People needed me to be on to RP with, because my character was such a pivotal role in the story that other players couldn’t really progress without me. It became stressful. When I was on, many people always wanted to RP. If I didn’t feel like RPing, I’d either have to hide in offline mode, or just not get on. It was hard to balance, I always had to RP my main character, I could very rarely RP as anyone else. And yet my love, my passion, is for creating characters, and so being pressured and restricted to just one (even if it was a restriction I mostly placed on my self) was maddening.
When AOL RP inevitably died, and games like World of Warcraft came along, my RP moved there. And there it was the same. I’d have an idea for a guild I wanted to create and run, story-wise, and I would do so. Others would find my idea to their liking and join, and soon I was in the same spot—requiring that I play a pivotal role that restricted me to RPing that one character, and held me back in my desire to create more, new and interesting characters and ideas.
This inability to sit still—mentally—has been a hindrance to me for a long time. It mostly exists in the places I RP, and has resulted in me creating and abandoning several guilds, projects, groups and RPG ideas after the fun of creating them has passed and the work of maintaining them begins. But it also exists in my desire to write my own fantasy series. Several times I have begun creating a fantasy world, and several times I’ve abandoned it when the fun part of creating is done. I can never seem to stick to one thing and follow it through, because I crave the process of creation, but once the fun of that is done I tend to move on…leaving my creation to collect dust.
Now I find myself in a similar position with Elder Scrolls Online.
I started a guild, The Stormwolves, a rather niche guild of pirate werewolves. I relished in the fun of creating the website, writing the history of the guild, coming up with ranks, creating the artwork for the enjin guild site, writing up the info thread to post on ESO-related forums, and the work in game of setting up the guild, recruiting members, and introducing them to my character, naturally the Captain of said group.
The guild lasted a few strong months, but the boredom set in after a while and I abandoned it. I returned a little over a month ago to a few members eager to have me back and the excitement rekindled so I reformed the guild. But now, a little over a month later, my interest again has waned.
My interest in Elder Scrolls Online itself isn’t gone, nor is my desire to RP in game. But my desire to run a guild has fled from me, in exchange for a desire to just be able to log on and do what I want. If I want to make a new character, or if I want to get on my crafter and make some armor, or if I want to try healing through some dungeons, I’d like to do so without feeling the crush of responsibility of running a guild.
But the idea of stepping down and disbanding the Stormwolves a second time makes me feel simply awful. I’ve done this before so many times in the past, and I know from speaking to people that it always upsets them, because unlike me they don’t get bored of the idea but want to keep going with it.
I am tempted to take the cowards way out. To leave the guild, unfriend everyone, and request an account name change in order to hide. To rename my characters, and to start over, so I needn’t deal with the disappointment of whatever members are still around…
But it is the cowards way out.