Arvon, Clarion West, and the Great DAoC Aftermath
Lawks, I'd forgotten how pink this place is. And that it doesn't let me title my posts properly, which is strange because other people's Blogspot blogs do seem to have titles on the posts...
I've spent a couple of hours this evening talking to my friend Sharkith about MMO's, and the breakdown of 'community' in virtual social groups. It's a subject that's dear to our hearts at the moment, because we have both recently left Dark Age of Camelot (I haven't offically left but I am not playing). It feels as though there has been a catastrophic breakdown on the Dyvet cluster (Excalibur & Prydwen), but who knows as to whether what we experienced actually had any effect on the population.
I've decided to take a look, as objectively as possible, at what causes so-called game communities to go bad, and what breaks the trust between the playerbase and the company running the game. Does it really make people leave? What can be done to prevent it? I'm partly doing it as catharsis - I am grieving over what I've lost, strange as it may seem - but I have always been fascinated by the psychology & sociology of MMO's.
I shouldn't be doing this as this point, because I am still flailing around trying to complete my novel, a task which has become far more urgent due to my acceptance onto Clarion West. Six weeks in Seattle during which I will not have time to work on it, followed by an imminent Pipeline issue, means I have to have it ready for a final proof-read and edit by 15th June if I'm going to hand it in on time in September. I'm very excited about CW, excited enough to risk the novel for.
I've come to accept that I may not finish on time thanks to a lovely bunch of people that I met last week at a writing retreat at Lumb Bank, a mill owner's house outside Heptonstall that used to belong to Ted Hughes. The place is owned by the Arvon Foundation and MMU takes students there at this time every year. It was a last-minute decision for me, but I'm very glad I went. The tuition (from Nicholas Royle and Conrad Williams) was excellent, the food was good, and the company was superb. Lumb Bank is a wonderful place. It's not the open fire, the comfy sofas, or the incredible view across the valley that make it - it's all those things, experienced through the imaginations of talented and fascinating people. The company of writers brings you to life and makes you appreciate everything around you so much more intently. Thanks guys.