Equipoise: The Journey in the Destination.
Continued from my last post, yet this is more so about Second Life and relationships in the metaverse, more so than about Gor itself.
In the virtual metaverse of SL, as well other places on the Internet, people have created Gorean-themed areas, forums, groups, etc. to entertain fans of the stories.
I enjoy the absurdity of SL and find most well-designed sim regions to be pleasing to the senses, much as any Real Life (RL) travel destination could be– Gorean themed or otherwise.
On many such sims, people roleplay (RP, act out, pretend) their avatar’s character to be a Gorean, for example, though one could also pretend to be a furry animal, elf, beast, insect, or potted plant. There are many virtual “islands” and microcosms created within the SL and indeed other virtual world grids, some exclusively themed (like RolePlayWorlds for example) to particular mythos, cultural societies, historical representations, etc., others simply random assemblages of multiple pantheons which somehow interact and coexist with each other.
That said, I enjoy RP of different types. Generally, one can find open-ended roleplay, rather, the “stories” are short-lived and follow whatever random thoughts people come up with, though others are more elaborately engineered, and follow stricter storylines or rules known as a “by the book” (BTB) roleplay.
Regarding BTB sims, on the plus side, having limits and rules is commendable, inasmuch to stick with time periods or known races/attributes may be virtuous or honorable, for example in the game World of Warcraft you pick a specific race, sex, and starting abilities to represent yourself in-game. What you do via movement and text will cause said character to evolve or devolve, though you are obviosly limited to what that chosen race and gender’s strengths and weaknesses are known by all to be. Since people in Gor don’t generally have super-powers or the ability of self-propelled flight, most sims don’t permit human flying without a suitable piloted bird or accepted vehicle, and the effects of gravity, falling damage, or weapons may be calculated through the use of “meter” devices, which are programs attached to your avatar which calculate and display such physics or statistical things as one’s health and stamina.
On the other hand, we know a lot of non-BTB things may occur in SL (it is SL after all), and some argue that overly defining your RP, not only within a certain time period or set of races, but also styled of an author’s story pages, that it stifles one’s creativity, thus forcing daily RP’s into stringent roles, rules, or patterns. Perhaps some people require a formal “box to build in” as basis to build upon, though, I suspect the RP of BTB game regions may become a “beaten dead horse” of repetition or lost novelty, its residents growing bored or complacent within the same confines that serve to define the sims themselves.
For many, in fact, the very idea of logging into a virtual world for cosplay or RP is an appaling cop-out. How many Shakespeare play groups are performing in SL for example? I don’t know of a single one, in fact, don’t recall seeing any sort of theatre performance in SL, short of a few machima with little to no dialogue.
Twice now, I had joined Gorean sims which seemed interesting at the time, yet soon left after giving the matter some thought.
To put these concepts into words is difficult; A few contradictions arose; I realized these groups didn’t ultimately fit my persona or modus operanda; Even the idea of engaging in virtual gameplay is a conflict of interest with my real life — Yes it’s a fantasy world and what goes on isn’t real — How it compares (to me and my ideas) with other casual gaming I will do my best to detail over the next pages in this article.
(Continued in Part 2)