Here lately, I have been noticing a bit of a disconnect between HGH players and the rest of the sim. I cannot explain it, but I hope to get into the thick of it and find out more. I constantly see people in OOC chat and twitter saying they cannot get medical RP. Let us be honest, this has existed since the beginning of CD along with “I cannot get police RP”. Realistically, no one can be around all the time and staffing waxes and wanes throughout the year as far as activity level.
On the flip side, I have a LOT of staff saying they cannot get medical RP or a storyline. I have even experienced this. Someone will walk into HGH, toss an NPC chart in (with lots of staff standing around) and walk away. Some of the staff has said that they will stand there and wait and either nothing really blossoms, or people just drop NPC charts. On one hand, I get it with the NPC charts. Some players just do not have time to RP out the medical scene so they will drop the chart and log for the evening (after a long, taxing scene, it is very understandable!). But then there are some that will drop the charts and walk back into town…bypassing the doctor. (You receive more cred for RPing inside of HGH, btw! Dropping a notecard gives you cred, but not as much as being inside and playing out the scene if staff is available.) Hopefully, no one takes this a judgment but just trying to process out what we see.
I have also seen timing as an issue. We can stand there and not get a scene but the moment we leave to go to the diner or meet a friend, BAM, the hospital fills up and everyone is wondering where the doctors are. We cannot expect everyone to drop what they are doing and come rushing to HGH. But it is near impossible to predict when medical rp is going to be needed (outside of a big storyline). This is also a big source of our NPC charts.
The purpose of this is not just to point out the disconnect between staff seeking RP and not getting it; but to help make some suggestions for how we as a community can be better with engagement. I ran a poll on twitter and the results seem to be strongly in favor of us having a provider portal listing doctors, nurses, and staff with their availability. It also indicated that players would like a return of the pager system. We used to have one years ago at the hospital, and it worked somewhat well. I have already run this one up the totem pole and am waiting to see what we can do there. The provider portal is something I am still working on. But what can we do to drive engagement?
One big observation I see in role play and even at HGH in general is this: We do not see what is in front of us. One constant in any RP sim is someone saying, “I cannot get a storyline.” But then when they are presented a storyline, they do not see it. ANY time someone walks up to you at your job, on the street corner, at the bar, ETC; is a chance at a storyline. Not many are going to write this for you. You must know a direction to go with the opportunity. I have posted this in other threads on here, but I will say it again. EVERY time someone posts with you, it is an invitation to their storyline or for a storyline. Some of you may say “duh” but I think we do not always think about that. The player walks up to us and just engages in small talk and then wanders off sometimes…mostly because we did not look for the opportunity or plant any seeds for growth.
I will use HGH as an example for this but the same applies for ANY CD business. A patient shows up at HGH and wants treated for her rape. I have seen SO many staff see this as “work”, so they try to get the patient in and out quickly. It is so easy to get into that mindset too. Sometimes when we are slammed with patients, it feels like a lot of work. But really, it is an invitation! This could easily become a storyline and you could become more involved. Investigate the rape some with the patient. Ask her for details and gather evidence. If she names an attacker, feel free to reach out to the rapist to confirm OOC what DNA or evidence could be found (most of them appreciate the effort too because it leads to a police report and follow up story for them). Offer to link her to a psychiatrist and reach out to one for consultation. Call the police and invite them to do a police report or share the evidence. You have now made a connection to a player and her storyline. It could grow even. Maybe the rapist finds out about your involvement? Maybe the police take the opportunity to pin the blame on someone they do not like. Again, this could apply to any business. We just must step in and go beyond the “I’ve got to get this done” mentality to “Okay, what would a real medical provider do?”
I am encouraging my staff to engage more with the patients and use these opportunities to get more involved in sim storylines. But I am also asking the community to allow the same. Let people into your stories. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own plots that we forget to involve others. This is where players get the “People are elitist” and “are in cliques” idea. While there is always a certain amount of this in all RP sims in SL…it is sometimes a mistaken idea. Given off because players get wrapped up in playing with their friends and those involved in the story that they do not think about how someone else may fit into the picture.
What I said above about involving others is big. You will hear some of long-time players here talk about big storylines that happened years ago. These plots are often remembered by many because MANY had been involved in it. Your story will be remembered by more if there are more people playing a role in it. That police officer, doctor, paramedic, bartender, social worker, ETC can all play a larger role if you allow. I encourage all HGH staff, police officers, and workers around sim in general to start being more involved in the stories presented. Ask players about their backstory. Dig a little. Look for things to write about. No one is going to spoon feed this stuff to you! You must be willing to work too!
And yes, sometimes you may try to dig into a story or get more involved and it does not go anywhere. Do not let this make you feel defeated. Sometimes, there just may not be a story there or maybe that story is not for you. We’ve all experienced times when players do not let others in. It sucks but I have always taken that as an opportunity to branch out and find other stuff to be involved in or create on my own.
So, in summary, my challenge to my staff and players alike is as follows:
1.) Slow down when engaging in a plot and plant seeds. RP work is not supposed to be work. It is meant to develop stories.
2.) Use those scenes to see how you can be more involved. Communicate with involved players to find out what else you can do to expand their storyline (if needed. Sometimes, the storyline will just flow if you allow it).
3.) If you are in a medical or police scene, do not think about just yourself. Think about the player. What would make it more fun for them? What could you do to make the scene more fun over all? Is this about you or is it about a larger story? The best stories are for everyone. Communicate with players involved. Ask them what would make the scene more engaging.
4.) If you need medical RP and you see staff inside…instead of dropping that NPC chart, ask them or invite them for a quick scene.
5.) Branch out and get outside of your comfort zones.
Thank you all for being a part of an amazing community!