Thursday, February 14, 2013

Online Gaming

If I'm going to keep to my resolution I'm going to have to get writing again!

In the past few months I've had my first few experiences with gaming online. Both using Google+ Hangouts and the app Roll20 (which integrates with Google+ Hangouts). Despite a few small technical issues (really, fewer than I would have expected for something like this) it's gone very well and I hope to continue to do it periodically in the future!

I really wasn't quite sure what to expect the first time. I had heard from many others that playing RPG's via video-chat (and specifically Google+ Hangouts) worked well, especially with the addition of apps like +Roll20 (and +Tabletop Forge, which will soon be merged into Roll20), but I still didn't quite know how well I'd actually like it, or how well it would work.

But a couple of friends of mine (used to be in my old role playing group, before they moved) wanted to give it a try and I thought it sounded like a fun thing to do. If nothing else I figured I'd get to spend some time talking to my buddies. Anyway, we decided to play in a campaign world that my friends had been playing in for a while since they'd moved (using a variety of systems from what I understand, including Pathfinder), but use Savage Worlds. (Savage Worlds continues to impress me with what it can do and how much it matches my interests) We quickly ran through character creation and a few technical details as we figured out exactly how all of this worked and then we were off!

And I have to say it was amazing how quickly we fell right back into our old rhythm as a group. I won't say the interface ever quite "melted away" or anything like that, but after just a short time it didn't feel all that strange to be sitting in front of a computer instead of around a table.

We just used the dice rolling features for most of the session but occasionally, like when we got into combat, the GM would draw a quick map and put some tokens out there for us to move around. It was a lot of fun and worked very well.

In fact, in some ways it feels like it might work better than sitting around a table. Perhaps it was just the novelty of the situation, or the particular mix of players, but I feel like in the two sessions that we've run once the game got going everyone paid more attention to the game and was more focused on the session. There was of course some table talk and jokes and the like (and I wouldn't have it any other way!) but it felt like there was less than there usually is at the tables I tend to play at, and it tended to derail things less often.

We had another session a little while later with a couple more players and that went equally as well (maybe even a bit better as for the most part we were slightly more familiar with the interface). It's hard to schedule a good time for such things between a bunch of people in different parts of the world, but I hope to do a lot more of this in the future. I look forward to seeing what adventures the crew of the Lucky Cormorant get into, and maybe to even start GMing some sessions this way myself. (Possibly to finish up the adventure that I ran for my old group the last time we were all in town at the same time this past December. I'll write a bit about that soon).

Have you tried online gaming? Have you liked it? Had any problems? Anything you'd like to know about it or about my experience with it? Let me know!

Good gaming!

-The Duke of Brandonshire