[ Unlike the last bout, this one doesn’t really have a firm timeline – it happened so long ago that only bits and pieces are still fresh in my mind, so I’ve put it back together as best I can. People that remember the whole thing better than I do are more than welcome to comment without naming names! ]
Once upon a time, there was a young Troll rogue who fell in love with a young Troll shaman. It was a whirlwind romance full of danger that lead to a really quick marriage and immediately resulted in a child. Between the marriage and the birth of the child, there was all sorts of stuff happening – even a case or two of amnesia! – and the rogue had to walk the path of a mage when one of the bouts of danger left him physically unfit for hand-to-hand combat.
One day, the rogue-turned-mage and his mate drifted apart, and he took his father and together they had many happy adventures.
The story is not quite so simple as that, of course, as none of my stories ever are. I knew a player, back in my early days on Thorium Brotherhood (before I understood the patterns of behaviour that I understand today) who was highly respected in the community on Alliance side. She lead a guild (several over the course of years), had lots of roleplay going on, all of that, but seemed to have a hard time getting started on Horde-side.
I supported her as best as I could. She would complain to me on a regular basis that nobody read her stories, or seemed to like her roleplay, and I would tell her that wasn’t true and I would try to pick her up after these bouts of self-pity. I greatly respected her and thought she was a really good writer and roleplayer! I felt extremely lucky to be considered somebody she wanted to roleplay with!
She liked my rogue, a young Troll who had borrowed the name Torrington after an accident left him without the memory of his real name. As time went on he would gradually recall bits and pieces of his background. He was a nervous fellow who was terrible with women and not very good at sneaking.
The other player had a shaman who was young, inexperienced, “pretty”, and terrible with men. It was love between these characters fairly early on and I enjoyed playing their awkward meetings and misunderstandings, and I even had fun with some of the plots that this player came up with. Some were a tad odd, that was for sure! I was too inexperienced to really care at the time, so I just went along with it.
In the back of my mind I kept noting that every plot was about her characters, that was where the spotlight had to go, and this didn’t strike me as obvious until a plot where her Night Elf rogue’s Troll form (used for safely visiting her Troll lover) was taken over by Hakkar, or something, and targeted the rogue’s girlfriend. I do not recall the details, but I did have Torrington suffer some consequences for what was going on, too.
I think it was around this time, or not long after it, that the Night Elf went back to Alliance-side, for the most part. Her Moonglade home – where she and the Troll were staying – was attacked (blown up for reasons I forget) and the Troll was terribly injured as a result. Now, great roleplay could have stemmed from this as the Troll’s crew (he was a pirate), along with his daughter (one of my characters), went in for the kill for revenge against whoever planted the bomb; instead, the Night Elf’s sister (played by the problem player) whisked the now-amnesiac Night Elf away and shoo’d the Horde folk who had an injured friend and father – a man who might not have awakened from unconsciousness – away saying that the whole thing was going to be dealt with by her.
Hey, little Kezeyah risked her life to get to Moonglade to see her dad, she should’ve had some opportunity to do something! Alas.
By then, Torrington had married his sweetheart and she became pregnant on their first night together. I had agreed to them having kids, but thought it odd that it was so quick – oh well! It’s roleplay! What does it matter?
The player had a child of her own, and because of this and knowing that she had a busy real-life schedule, I would frequently tell her that I was open to roleplay, she just had to let me know when she was free. I wasn’t going to bother her too much because her real life is far more important. Naturally, the roleplay started dwindling, and when it did occur it was a lot of cuddling between Torrington and his pregnant wife, with occasional bouts of him assuring her that she was a good (person/healer/mother/insert other role here) or trying to convince her to stay with the Harbingers of War (she left and re-joined the guild at least three times in the time I knew her).
During one of this player’s bouts of dissatisfaction with World of Warcraft – during which they left for a short time – I asked if, since she was leaving as far as I knew, my character and hers could go their separate ways. This was agreed to. When she came back, the character felt bad enough about leaving that he begged to have her back and the character agreed! This, however, put me back into the rut I was in with the character to begin with, due to the really stagnant relationship.
I was still very open to roleplay with this person, but again, she had real life responsibilities and since I did not know her schedule, it was up to her to let me know. I did not want to be one of those players that was a huge pain in the arse over getting roleplay.
I would find out that this wasn’t good enough in a very unusual way.
Someone prodded me one day and linked me to her OOC livejournal. They said, “You might want to see this,” and I looked. What did I see? Public, unlocked complaining about how I never played my character, how he was an alt, and how her roleplay was stagnating.
I posted, letting her know that I had no idea she felt this way, why didn’t she tell me? We could work something out! I had PM’d her over the community forum, even, and…
In the end, I decided to walk away.
I came to a realization in my communication with this player: She was bad news.
The blame and responsibility for the OOC issues were placed upon me, in her mind, from what her PM told me. Her roleplay attempted to put her character(s) in the spotlight at all times and that didn’t sit well with me. Amnesia was used as a plot device more often than I can count. On top of that, the relationship between my character and hers felt very much like wish fulfillment fantasy from her end.
She deleted her character’s livejournal account not long after I opted to walk away, and then set her sights on a friend of mine since I did not give much fodder for drama. I do not remember the entire story from his side, so if he’d like to do a guest post sometime, I’d welcome that!
I learned a set of valuable lessons from this player:
1. Communicate. Even if something seems like a small issue (my dissatisfaction with the relationship, her dissatisfaction with the amount of roleplay she was getting), if it bothers you, bring it up. It saves a lot of trouble.
2. Plots that make the action all about one person tend to be kind of boring unless the plot is well-orchestrated.
3. Amnesia does not work the way most roleplayers think it does, and if one must use it, use it sparingly.
4. Only get two characters involved in a relationship if you trust the other player.
To my knowledge, she still plays on Thorium Brotherhood as a hyperactive-and-overly-”adorable”-when-convenient-and-mature-when-that’s-convenient Tauren hunter that’s loved and adored by her guild (and doesn’t tend to interact outside it).
The Troll pirate and I still roleplay together on occasion, and we’re also very, very close.
The pirate crew is scattered about but still partially in contact, as far as I know, and the other friends I have that were involved with this Troll roleplayer have also – for the most part – run far, far away from her. Wherever she went, she left a lot of irritated roleplayers in her wake.