Then I saw a Beast coming out of the sea.
It had ten horns and seven heads.
On each of the horns, there was a crown.
On on each of the heads, names of blasphemy.
...and the entire world was shocked in the wake of the Beast
...fell helpless to their knees and said, "Who is like the Beast?
And who could possibly stand up against it?"
—John of Patmos, c.100 C.E.
I can't take it anymore. There was a time when I played this game because I needed an escape or distraction. Sometimes I used it to learn how to do the things of leadership and cooperation and responsibility. Sometimes I used it to learn how to be more creative. Restrictions on notes was a major impetus for me learning CSS, and now I'm to the point that I can do so much more with the web pages I create. For those things, I am grateful.
But so many creative and fun people have left. There are plenty who are still great. They make and play great characters. But with the world falling in to deeper and deeper violence and tribalism, and finding myself between a resurgence of real life fascist right-wingers and Leftist nut jobs, and then to see all of that here like a Black Mirror...it's no fun anymore. In years past, I've been able to endure because somewhere in this fictional world there were still good people and good distractions to keep things fun, interesting and challenging, creative, and enjoyable. But now every single one of my characters feels like a mirror image of the real world with all of its rhetoric and violence and suspicion and division and apathy.
Some of you players are sick. You may say you are just playing a character and that this is just a game, but anyone who knows even a bit of psychology knows that the things of the subconscious are not unconnected. One problem with Cantr is that there has never been any real effort to moderate the extremely violent behaviors. Even when that "poll" came out, what was ever done? It used to be a rule that broadcasting sexually explicit stuff over the radio was against policy. I guess that becomes moot when the subject matter is extremely disturbing violent imagery and the moderators can point to the nerfed radio range and say "at least it's not widespread" and ignore the real issues.
There has been a thread that doesn't die—and maybe for a reason—called "Why Cantr Failed." It isn't failing. It isn't declining. It isn't about to fail. The game "is failed" because from its inception, it was flawed. Flawed and never fixed. So many good and creative people have left the game, and there has grown a sizable percent that role plays the sick and twisted stuff of their fantasies. There are many good players left—a majority, still. I do enjoy them, and those whose styles I recognize (though I don't bother speculating much on who plays whom) I smile at as if I'd found an oasis in a desert (you know who you are).
The game "is failed" because the only other thing it can do now is harbor those with violent fantasies to be played out. This has been a problem in the past. It remains a problem now, still unsolved because no real consorted effort has been made. And if it has, it has been against petty violations or against some forms of sexuality, particularly of the 'Fifty Shades' variety. There is a helpless shrug by the staff: "as long as there's consent". "And the entire world fell helpless to their knees and said, 'Nuthin' I kin do 'bout it. It's a beast of a thing to tame.' " The only enforcement I've ever seen has been against those who happen to have their characters, even involuntarily so, questioned by PD to wonder why they are in a particular location that may or may not violate their arbitrary enforcement of the Capital Rule. Or whether that thing you said was really "in game". Or you were judged too have made assumptions much in common with the real Earth but never, ever, ever without any real elaboration just as to what constitutes playing IC or OOC...just arbitrary vagaries. I've tried. I've tested—nay, provoked that Capital Rule at times (thanks Biin). Sometimes, I admit I should have been more careful... having one character pretend to know a little Polish when, in reality, I, the writer, don't know it and I'm probably slaughtering the language—my apologies to the Polish community for my butchering of your words and vocabulary. ...or being too emotional and letting that emotion trickle into the other characters. I can't compartmentalize like some of you can.
The game "is failed" even though it technically is still hosted and runs. Like the proverbial chicken, it continues to flail about despite a cut off head. How apt that metaphore. It "is failed" because it is stagnant. There is so much capability and potential that other sites have made, but this one creeps along because its creator has lost either interest or ability to add capability without compromising his world, and won't even consider that the worldbuilding and rules from the beginning were stupid. I feel like he's given up, and it's only to people like Greek and others who have the talent to do these things...I am immensely grateful for those, by the way. Their implementation, like animal domestication, probably kept me around longer because of it.
And the game "is failed" because it fails its own vision and definitions. It is not a social simulator when the world remains incomplete and arbitrarily enforced. If there is any society to be studied, it isn't the world inside the game, it is the people from the real world who have played the game. If you look at the society of players and not the fictional world of characters, the player society is the one that needs analysis. Its the power structure that has chosen to favor their idea of how the game should be played and not the fictional characters in fictional towns that need questioning. My heart is too broken now because good players have left or been driven off who had great ideas and were fun. They played it as a game in which some would win and some would lose and some played antagonists and some played villains and some played heroes. It was fun back then either way, and if it ever got overwhelming on one, you could find a little relief somewhere.
Not anymore. Now it feels more like a game where the players (not the characters) aim to not just win, but dominate, obliterate, and obfuscate. To those good people who play good characters and have good hearts who still play, I will miss you. I got to know some pretty great people. Some of them, just by their play, helped me in real life even though they didn't know it. There's maybe a couple of you left that I know and perhaps a dozen whom I do not but still enjoy. I'm sorry you are still playing in a world that only gives real psychos license to act out their violent fantasies on you. But back here in the real world, real people are having real problems and I have to go be there. Not here. Not anymore. The game can no longer be my escape, refuge, or inspiration. I've found better communities where people build whole amazing worlds together, not destroy everything the reach of a dead and dying one that remains a static monolith.
I guess it's the writer in me that feels like I need to bring the stories to a close. So this isn't a rage-quit as it is a denouement (though there is rage). I knew it was time when I came to realize that my brightest, most death-resistant character had to die. His existence, even fictionally, was another reason I've stayed around so long. This anchor is severed. Consider denouement as a mourning process.
Maybe it's another odd thing within me that wants to leave something behind...how does the saying go? "Live brilliantly and leave a beautiful corpse!"? Something like that. As either Goyaalé or Tȟašúŋke Witkó or Šúŋka Khúčiyel is sometimes credited as saying: "today is a good day to die." Maybe there were be some beautiful corpses, but they will be left, not taken. I could never play a bad guy. I tried a few times and I just couldn't do it. Even my roughest ones were eventually called "nice" and "helpful" and "giving". I could never play a pirate, murderer, psychopath—crazy (again, thanks Biin!), but not psychopathic. But I feel too much. I hate horror movies. I've worked with people on the margins—street ministry, hospitality—seen some very gritty things and been with people who had real problems with mental health, drugs, prostitution, violence. It horrifies me to feel more threatened in this game than I ever did in the dark of night on the city streets with a schizophrenic freaking out. Some of you players are really sick f*ks, you know that? Not characters. Players. Cantr staff, don't deny you've had to literally "clean up" some pretty ugly notes, probably due to legality if real authorities ever found out about them and really shut your servers down.
For those who do have good hearts, I wish you luck. Get out and find good avenues of expression before these sickos take over the majority of characters left. For those who get off on the sick stuff you play, get help. Don't tell yourself you are only playing a role and that it's harmless. That's the biggest lie. Don't tell yourself or others that it's just a game. Same lie.
"It is a good day to die. Follow me" out. [Low-Dog, c. 19th Cent. C.E.]