There is, as I type this, a week long festival going on in Rebma. It was announced on bboards, there's a schedule of events, all were invited. Yet, there's a very low turn out. (I should add here, I'm a daytime and early evening EST player. It might get all CRAAZY in later PST sort of hours, but my experience is with EST). There's another day to go (and the masquerade ball), and I paused this morning to consider. My recent long term political oriented MU experience was with another game (5+ yrs, one very political character, original themed medieval fantasy), and we held festivals and balls and salons and debates fairly often. To mixed success, but fairly often. And we arrive to Friday of a week long festival and I paused and thought 'this.. has just been a festival. No one's been assassinated, no one's been poisoned. There's been no drama, high gossip or coups. How.. unexpected.' Now, to be fair, the masquerade ball hasn't happened yet, but it's been very calm, very social and very.. sparsely attended. The same 6 people or so, who are already invested in Rebma, or who are new enough to turn up anywhere that has RP in the hope of settling in.
There are features there (and I likely use the term feature all wrong for the game, but for my purposes, it's basically any of the book named characters), but really only Martin (Regent of Rebma). Flora made an appearance as a guest judge to a sculpture contest (a one off appearance for but a single event on the schedule). Now, my purpose in this isn't to 'call out' other features for not turning up. They're their own people, they can turn up or not to RP as they choose, and for some it would have been wildly out of character to go to an event in Rebma, and for others, they just don't care. Which is fair.
I've been a fachead/propco etc etc for entirely too long to just settle back and be a 'normal' player, even as a noob. I've also spent WAY too much time settling back and considering events and games and characters objectively, in a very meta sort of way. How and why did this work? Are we giving players something to tie their story into, how can it be better for the play styles we want to encourage in this scenario, etc etc. Which sounds very clinical, and perhaps it is, but that's what 20 yrs of STing does to a person, or perhaps more accurately, that's what 20 yrs of being the one that players are going to come whine to when they have an issue does to a person.
So why is it, that the festival was (largely) poorly attended? Was there another TP running concurrently? Game culture? Cliques? I suspect, like with anything, it's a complicated mix of all of these things. Yes, it's competing with another TP going on concurrently, which has a fair chunk of people who were fully invested in that who don't feel it appropriate to jump ship, so to speak, and leave something dire to go frolic. Very fair decision IC.
I have a sense that a larger issue is that for at least some of the more politically oriented characters, they have nothing to do at such an event except smile and do the royalty wave (regardless of if they are, indeed, royalty or not). There is no incentive beyond tea-sipping RP (a catch all term of small talk and casual chatter), which most well invested characters avoid like the plague. (I've some tolerance for it, not a whole lot, I'm also new enough that its still relevant for me to meet and greet, no matter that it's a bit teeth gritty to spend a whole lot of time playing 'hello my name is') There's quite simply, no conceivable reason why the King of Amber should leave his comfortable palace to hang out with pleebs in Rebma. The Mandrakes were there for their single event, and even once under the waves, fled again once that bit of political suck up was over. Which is, I fear, a culture thing, at the end of the day. Understandable, perhaps a touch disappointing, and challenging for newer players to try and meet some of the 'names' of the game. Social RP and festivals are where different classes and different power groups have the best opportunity for natural mingling, but they need to have more 'meat' on them to attract more than the tea sipping crowd.
Commentary welcome, I'd welcome a discussion, save that I'm pretty sure I'm just talking to myself. :)