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LARPers, PVP beat out PVE? - Virtual Sacrifice Log
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LARPers, PVP beat out PVE?
jedimentat and I just finished watching Darkon, thanks to a recommendation from petemagyar. We had previously seen Role Models, which contained quite a bit of LARP action as well, even if it was Hollywoodized.

Do any of you still LARP? Particularly fantasy LARPs? If so, is it all PVP these days?

Back when I was involved with administrating a LARP, a vast majority of the events were centered around PVE. Sure, players had conflicts with each other that led them to engage in combat. We had our race of shapeshifting demonic vampires that everyone hunted on sight that were populated by players, we had our players playing as the local militia and the mercenaries looking to apply pressure from a nearby government constantly fighting. But that was a small percentage of the action.

Most combats were between players and volunteers or players on "NPC duty". We'd come up with major plot events to happen over the course of the weekend, and the players would typically fight skeletons, orcs, bandits, etc. I'd round up a pack of volunteers and attack stragglers leaving the inn with a full belly on their way back to their tent or cabin, having skeletons march on the weak until they finally gathered a force to invade the graveyard. And while we had the one group of mercenaries representing a government who paid them to do so, most of the foreign military pressure was NPC in nature.

Talking with friends who took part in other LARPs during that time frame (1991-1998), this seemed to be the norm. But watching Darkon and Role Models (Hollywood or not), it seems that player vs player seems to be a more dominant theme. Is that something that changed, is it a regional thing, or what?

Current Location: Pittstown, NJ
Feeling: curious curious

Chorus of 3 demons || Preach it
creepingivy From: creepingivy Date: December 28th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC) (Hard link)
Well just remember that the people who made Darkon had two agendas:

1. Reflect the larper style of gamer as pathetic, slightly elevated from white trash, maturity averse retards. They could have easily found some participants in Darkon that had advanced degrees, were economically stable, upwardly mobile and/or arrived and in stable relationships and friendships. Instead, they found the guy who works at Starbucks and the guy who works at Hot Topic and the other guy who much prefers his life as a ambition-free minimum wage slave because he's not getting his ass kicked every day like he was in high school. Basically, go out and find the poor, pathological souls who use gaming as their sole source of gratification in the world and the still point of their barely turning world.

2. Find a non-disagreement between two of these players and egg it on ala Real World producer reality show "scripting".

I know people who boffo larp on the West Coast. I don't know much about the game itself as that's not my scene but my understanding is that much of how PVE or PVP it is, is largely dependent on the STs of the game and how they run it and the kind of storylines they drop for their players. Darkon's STs seemed pretty hands off all told (or that's at least how they were protrayed), they seemed to want to drive PVP conflict.

Yeah, I'm down on Darkon. It just sort of depressed me because I know there are plenty of very bright, very well-rounded people who game... But, because people seem to want to prefer an image of gamers as emotionally immature dork monsters who wear their mom's towels as capes and eat fried butter as their main food group, Darkon went for the lowest common denominator.
redvector From: redvector Date: December 28th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC) (Hard link)
Full disclosure: LARPed for about 7-8 years, until it became too much of a commitment. I still miss it.

While I agree that there probably are stable people who play Darkon, I'll bet that the lion's share of participants are probably more like the main characters. The average age for a LARPer (at least in NJ) is late high school to early college. There are obviously edge cases with older participants and younger, but the amount of time and dedication to the hobby, as well as having a free weekend every month, is mostly restricted to that age group.

That age group is also mostly populated by people with part time jobs, unstable relationships, and simple living arrangements. While it wouldn't have been difficult for them to find a more stable, "normal" participant in Darkon, that would have made for a less representative story.

Didn't the main character of the larger kingdom have a stable job? He was a sales manager or something? That's not "slightly elevated from white trash." While I don't disagree that the other subjects were in a less stable place in their lives, he seemed to break the gamer-in-mom's-basement mold, if I recall correctly.

I may also be confusing this with Monster Camp, a similar movie about a more PvE-oriented NERO chapter.

AND to the original post: No, I don't think LARPs are more PvP- rather than PvE-oriented. It's a question of administration. LARPs like Darkon don't seem to have much more of an administration than game marshalls and overall rules facilitators-no orcs, trolls, skeletons to be found. This keeps the payroll light. They meet for battles in public spaces, rather than renting out a camp for a weekend, which keeps the price down (if there is one). the PvE-oriented LARP, which is alive and well, has much more overhead, but can therefore charge more money. My LARP had one monthly session that cost $45 and had a cast of NPCs in a weekend at a rented camp. There were other Saturday afternoon sessions that cost $10 at someone's house that had more player-driven conflict.
kujawski From: kujawski Date: December 29th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC) (Hard link)

Egos and LARPing

It IS more American to have a winner and loser system instead of an everybody wins or loses together scenario. LARPers are just "getting American on everyone's asses," to quote Tt's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I think it's likely a side-effect of the "me first" mentality to some degree, as well.
-Andrzej Valentyn Kujawski
Chorus of 3 demons || Preach it