In the real world, when you do something, there are going to be consequences for your actions. As a little child, I didn’t realize this, and, one day, desperate for sugar I felt my parents were depriving me of, I lifted a package of candy from the local supermarket when I had been dragged along to “help” with shopping for food. However, I didn’t make it out of the store with it. When my mother found out, she was angry with me and made me go to the customer service counter to pay for it. I was, of course, very upset (mostly because I had angered my parents and didn’t quite understand why). However, I also learned a very important lesson that day: you break the rules and there would be some sort of punishment.
“But, Thyanel!” I can hear you all cry. “What does your childhood larceny have to do with a blog about roleplaying?”
Well, you see, folks, I learned something very important from the above incident, something that has actually stuck with me through all my interactions with people both in the real world and over the internet (both real and imaginary). Your actions have consequences, regardless of whether or not you like them. Thus, ladies and gentlemen, today I’d like to introduce you to a very important concept: In Character Actions have In Character Consequences (henceforth abbreviated as “ICA = ICC”).
Unlike what some people might think, the virtual world you play in is similar to the real one. Just as in the real world, everything revolves around the simple concept of cause and effect: you say/do something (the cause) and someone else reacts to it (the effect). This isn’t something that can be waved aside just because you don’t like how it works or don’t like the way the other player is doing something. The fallout might not be to your liking, but you still have to deal with it. I cannot stress this enough: it isn’t going to go away just because you don’t like it.
However, say you do get into a situation where you realize you don’t like where things are going. What do you do then?
Say things are going badly for you and you don’t like it. Take a look at the entirety of the situation. Take a moment to figure out how and/or why your character got into this in the first place. Do you just have a grudge against the other player? If so, you probably should step back and take a minute to realize that IC does not equal OOC. There are other ways to handle your OOC grievances with the other player; getting into IC fights with the other player’s character is not the answer. But the main question to ask yourself is this: is there development to be had?
Should your character get into a fight with another character, perhaps your character will realize they aren’t nearly as badass as they thought they were. What happens then? Does your character brood over it or do they hunt down someone else for training so they can become as badass as they want to be? Say you leave your guild because things have happened and the entire guild now thinks of you as a traitor. Do you still keep tabs on your old friends and help them out in spite of it? Will your old guild try to hunt your character down and kill them?
In a more personal example, Adaret killed a man some time ago, someone who had been her friend since her living days in Lordaeron. Her guild has yet to learn of this. Should they find out, she’s going to be on an even shorter leash with them than she already was due to being undead. I have two options: either she ragequits (which is hardly IC for her) or she sticks it out in an attempt to assure them that she has no intention of killing her guildmates. Option two is more IC for her, since she only joined up to show the Horde they still need her people. But now, if they do find out, there’s development to be had, development I’d most certainly look forward to should fallout happen regardless of whether or not I’d like how all of this goes down.
The thing to remember, ladies and gentlemen, is that while things might not be going to your liking, there’s always a way to change that so you can have fun playing your character. Complaining about what happened isn’t the answer; pretending it never happened is also not the way to go. Finding the development that will come from what you’ve done is. Remember, every interaction is a way to further character development in a game like this. Embrace it and accept the things to come.