Out of Character

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OOC stands for "Out Of Character." Out-of-character behavior is anything that breaks the role-playing environment and mood that is a hallmark of DragonRealms. The opposite of OOC is IC or in-character.

What constitutes unacceptable OOC varies among players, but there are some actions that are universally considered to be disruptively OOC.

OOC can be acceptable in certain limited, private contexts, such as when helping a new player understand an unfamiliar game system. (See below for details.)

Official Policy

Policy 4

Abusive Or Disruptive Behavior


DragonRealms is designed for the enjoyment of everyone, and as a general rule, any behavior which is specifically targeted to lessen that enjoyment for another player, may be in violation of DragonRealms policy.

DragonRealms is known as a "Roleplaying Game" which means that it is assumed that the player will present their character in a manner that is consistent with the medieval fantasy environment. This type of play is termed "in character" (IC) and means that the player is acting out the part in a believable manner. The term "out of character" means that the player is behaving in a manner which would be inconsistent with his or her character's situation in the game.

Generally, it is up to the player to decide how much he or she wants to remain in character while playing DragonRealms. However, there can exist situations where being blatantly out of character can be considered abusive behavior: for example, an individual who insists on remaining out-of-character, even when associating with a group of other players which is trying to remain in-character. When one individual is reducing the enjoyment of other players by out-of-character behavior (be it by speech, actions, ESP messages, or any other method of communication within DragonRealms), this may be considered as disruptive behavior. Judgment of what is and is not disruptive is entirely at the discretion of Simutronics.

News 5 16

Dateline 2/5/2001: GIBBERISH, OOC BEHAVIOR, AND ROLEPLAYING BONUSES


DragonRealms prides itself on being a high quality multiplayer roleplaying game. As such, it is sometimes necessary to define what "roleplaying" means, and to take certain steps to guard the environment. In general, if a player is having a private conversation with another player, they can discuss anything they want, regardless of whether it's "in character" or not. If there's a very "out of character" (OOC) discussion going on in a public or high traffic area though, it may be necessary to ask the participants to move their conversation to whispers. Some more information on this can be found by reading POLICY 3.

When it becomes necessary to discuss OOC things, such as to teach someone how to engage in combat, the "etiquette" of DragonRealms normally asks that the out-of-character discussion of stats, numbers, and verbs take place in whispers. To speak such things "out loud" is referred to in an in-character way as "speaking gibberish." There are some generally accepted "roleplaying" ways of discussing certain concepts though. To see some recommended terms, type EXP RP HELP.

Here are some examples of OOC language, and how you might say it better in an "in-character" way: "I'm logging off" -- "I'm retiring for the day." "My ISP is slow today so I'm having trouble typing commands" -- "Sorry, my mind is wandering, pardon me if I seem a bit slow today." "I need to gain 2 more points in intelligence," -- "I need to study two more multiplication tables," "I need to go 'cause my sister called me on the phone" -- "I am receiving a call from another world, please excuse me," "This backpack has a really cool look verb," -- "Look at the elaborate embroidery on my backpack," and so forth. With a little thought and creativity, it's possible to come up with IC ways of discussing pretty much any subject.

Another type of behavior to avoid if you're trying to stay in-character, is using excessive ASCII characters in your speech or actions. Though it's common practice in internet chat rooms to use "smileys" or "enhancers" such as "*** HEY LOOK AT ME ***" or "This is cool

Staying in-character can be to your advantage! GameMasters are continually scanning the game to look for places where they can bestow roleplaying bonuses on good roleplayers. If you receive a bonus, it will mean an immediate boost in experience, plus a multiplier which will enhance all of your experience gain for the next few hours. The higher the bonus, the higher the multiplier, and the longer it will last. Because there are so many thousands of players in DragonRealms though, and not very many GameMasters, the chances of your own roleplay being observed on any particular day are small. And if during the minute or two that a GM does observe you, you exhibit some blatantly OOC behavior (such as saying, "Hey, what'd you think of the football game last night?"), then the GM will probably just quickly move on to the next random player. So it's to your advantage to stay In-Character (IC) as much as possible, in order to improve your chances of receiving a bonus!

Examples of OOC Behavior

The most common complaints about OOC behavior can be divided into four broad categories: references that are inappropriate for the genre or setting, inappropriate knowledge (or metagaming), inappropriate syntax, and inconsistent behavior.

Inappropriate for the Genre/Setting

DragonRealms is set in the high fantasy world of Elanthia. Things that are not appropriate for this genre are called "out of genre" (OOG). For example, firearms and denim jeans do not belong in this genre. Conversely, some things that are appropriate for the high fantasy genre do not exist in Elanthia. There are no Half-Elves, for example.

Similarly, discussions of things that only exist in the real world (regardless of how creatively they are described) belong in this category.

Examples:

  • Web sites ("scrolls"), chats, instant messaging systems ("pigeons"), and e-mail
  • Pop culture, current events, and history
  • Fictional works not contained within DragonRealms
  • Real-world individuals
  • Real-world holidays, dates, and time
  • Real-world languages (English is called "Common")
  • Real-world religion and mythology

Inappropriate Knowledge (Metagaming)

Metagaming is allowing one's character to discuss or act upon knowledge that he should not have.

Game Mechanics and Policy

Discussion of the game's mechanics, system, or rules that characters are not capable of knowing. For example, the consent rules do not exist as far as characters are concerned. (Those are just rules that players have to follow.)

The primary objection to discussing mathematical information (such as numerical values of statistics and skills) is that the numbers are merely an imperfect model of a character. The model exists for the benefit of the system, which is basically a glorified system of dice. The character does not think of himself as a collection of numbers, just as it would not occur to his player to say that he has 100 ranks in driving.

Examples:

  • front-ends, lag (fog), and other technical issues
  • upcoming changes to mechanics (your character has no way of knowing about these)
  • formulas (for example, encumbrance and TDPs)
  • numerical values of statistics and skills
  • GMs ("gods"), profiles, PvP stances, consent
  • players/accounts ("souls") and alternate characters ("bodies")
  • account levels*
  • item "tiers"
  • commands
  • discussions about what is or is not OOC

*Although the terms "Premium" and "free to play" are OOC, most people consider "Estate Holder" and "explorer" to be acceptable alternatives.

Use of Outside Information

A character does not know everything that the player knows. If the information is not common knowledge, gleaned from the character's firsthand experience, or derived from secondhand sources in the character's life, it is arguably inappropriate for a character to know it.

Examples:

  • knowledge gained from outside sources, such as Web sites and chats
  • knowledge gained through alternate characters. (Just because one character knows something does not mean that the player's other characters know it.)
  • explicitly referring to someone's title or profession flag (see below)
  • knowledge of a character that is solely derived from his in-game profile. (The profile and its contents are OOC information.)
Titles and Profession Flags

Some players regard knowledge of a character's name, guild, or title that is solely derived from his description as OOC information. However, GMs have stated that this is IC knowledge:

  1. Adventurers are not ordinary people, so their exploits tend to be the stuff of rumor and legend.
  2. Wearing a title or turning on a profession FLAG is a way of telling other players that your character regularly does things that publicize his abilities or status as a member of a particular guild. In other words, your character is commonly known for doing or being X.


This reputation -- and people's reactions to it -- are IC. However, explicitly referring to a person's "profession flag" or "title" (for example, "Bob is wearing the Warrior Mage title") would be OOC, because words are not "floating around your head for anyone to see."

It is also considered OOC for someone to prove that he is a member of a particular guild through the use of his profession flag or profile. (As a player, you may know that the profession flag cannot be faked, but your character is not aware of these mechanics.)

Inappropriate Syntax/Vocabulary

Even if a piece of information is not otherwise inappropriate, some players object when it is stated inappropriately (especially on public gweth channels). A purist would say that if a real person wouldn't speak that way, then a character shouldn't do so.

Examples:

  • leetspeak: replacing ordinary letters with numbers symbols (for example, "mi1grym's w34p0ns")
  • Internet slang/chatspeak and emoticons
  • using symbols for emphasis (for example, "!!!***** SELLING *****!!!")
  • using symbols as abbreviations (for example, "That sword costs way too much $$!")
  • emotes/actions* (for example, "*smooches*")
  • saying things like, "It won't let me do X" (a reference to commands or the game itself)
  • stating directions as commands (for example, "From the Town Hall lobby: climb stairs, go short hall, west, west, go oak door.")
  • shorthand appraisals (for example, "l/bc/f p/r")
  • referring to outdoor locations as "rooms"

*There is some debate about what can actually be conveyed via gwethdesuan. Purists will often limit this to words, since the actual gweth messaging is, "Your mind hears so-and-so thinking." Other players, including some GMs, expand that to include other human sounds, such as laughter. However, most role-players regard attempts to convey facial expressions (such as smirking) or actions (such as hugging) as inappropriate for gwethdesuans, since you cannot hear such things.

The safest approach is to include only text that a person would normally speak out loud. (Emoticons/emoji and netspeak are arguably OOC, not only because they are too modern, but because they are not normally included in natural speech.)

Inconsistent Behavior

It is considered OOC when (for no good reason) a character behaves in a way that is abnormal in light of his previously established personality, beliefs, or background.

Often, unexplained changes in behavior are caused by relationships among players. For example, if two players like each other, their characters might act like close friends, even though they are seemingly incompatible.

Acceptable Uses of OOC

OOC Command: Use OOC to whisper a private out-of-character message to another player. If your game client supports it, messages sent via the OOC command will appear in the OOC window.

Whether a specific comment is considered acceptable or unacceptable OOC can change according to context and how public or private the activity is. However, while there may not be a bright-line rule governing acceptable OOC, certain actions such as gwething or disrupting events with out-of-genre comments are universally condemned. When in doubt, keep it IC, or take it to whispers.

Here is a brief list of a few contexts where OOC can be acceptable:

  • Whispers: Whispers, whether via the OOC or WHISPER command, are the preferred method to communicate OOC information with another character, and the best way to initiate an OOC conversation. When helping newbies, it's best to keep discussion about game mechanics in whispers.
  • Homes: Generally speaking, activity inside player homes is considered private, and OOC speech is acceptable provided none of the other players present object.
  • Assists: When speaking with a Game Host or GM regarding an assist, it is sometimes necessary to refer very specifically to certain OOC game data, and this is generally considered OK. Most times the GM or host will move the player to a more private location so this discussion can take place without disrupting other players' role-play.
  • Meetings: When in-game meetings involve Q&A sessions with GM's, some OOC discussion of game systems is often necessary. However, these meetings are also often considered events so the context can change very quickly to one of strict IC-only behavior.

See Also

OOC Euphemisms

Play.net Posts

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External Links

Metagaming (Wikipedia)