Let's rant. Or rather, I'm going to rant, and those of you who have clicked this title are going to listen. Let's not all rant, actually, because there is already one person ranting here, and it is me. You can all discuss, or not, I don't really care. Throw in a rebuttal, even, but don't rant. Why have I elected myself to be the sole ranter in this thread? I am articulate, thoughtful, clever, and not entirely without tact. I have thought long and hard about the subject, considered several viewpoints, and all the same have come to present the following statement as earnestly as possible, as a thesis to the rant that will follow it, without labeling any one group of people unfairly. Are you ready? Good.If you use the label "High Casual", you are a true coward, and I will fully explain to you why in this rant.
That's right. Right out of the gates, insulted most of the website's playerbase. I don't give a fuck. I speak the truth, and like many preachers of truth, I expect to be drawn and quartered for the truth. I will die a martyr, while those who bear the title "High Casual" will continue to slog through their lies and cowardice for an entire lifetime. I would rather my one death than your ten thousand. I'm sure you're asking by now, "Why, Deadbeat? What's so wrong with High Casual Roleplays? It's just words on a title!
" Which is exactly the point. It is more than just words on a title. It is a sign of something greater; A plague of hacky writing that creeps across Roleplayerguild.com
like a shadow, choking the very life out of it. Where hacky writing is the cancer brewing deep within the bowels of our site, High Casual tags are the surface-level symptoms we have ignored until it is too late.
Let me begin this rant with a quick recap of our site's roleplaying boards -- Free, Casual, and Advanced. "What about Tabletop and Nation?" You might be saying. Well, fuck 'em. I have confidence that I can beat any of the nerds in those sections into submission, so I'm just going to ignore the existence of those boards for the entirety of this rant. If one of you wishes to champion your respective nerd board, please arrange a physical fight with me in PMs to not clog this thread. Anyway, back to the site recap. Roleplayerguild has three sections for writing, the core function of the site, differentiated by the skill level/effort level of the posts, moderated only by what the players deem fitting for the section. If someone posts a roleplay in the Advanced section that seems more fitting of the Free section, they're free to do so. If someone posts a roleplay in the Free section that seems more befitting of the Advanced section, they're free to do so as well. One of Mahz's earliest ideas for the site is that it shouldn't be overmoderated like other sites, so placing threads in appropriate sections has always been up to player discretion.
It is my belief that this was, as Hiyao Miyazaki famously said, a mistake. Over time, Roleplays have amassed in the Casual section, like lab rats packed into the middle of a cage that has been made too hot on one side and too cold on the other. All through one insidious tagline; High Casual. I hear those words and I cringe. A part of me dies a little inside, and it is the part that enjoys writing collaborative stories on the internet. To me, the very phrase "High Casual" tells me you are either incapable or do not want to put in effort that would make others consider your writing "Advanced", but think your writing should be at least a little bit separate than the "Casual" work everyone else is producing. Neither devoted enough to write in Advanced or humbled enough to live up to the casual criteria of the section you are in. What a cruel farce this must be. What are you afraid of, High Casuals? Are you afraid of living up to the standards of others, or of looking in the mirror and acknowledging your own? Tell me now, or live with your shame in private, neutered silence forever.
But what does any of this have to do with hacky writing? I will tell you. Casual RPs, full stop, are not supposed to be as well-written as Advanced RPs. I'm not gonna say they're objectively worse, not as fun, or any other description, because that would be my opinion, and I have not come here to tell you my opinion. As I said earlier, I have come here to tell you the truth. By the very definitions of the boards, Casual RPs are not held to the standards of grammar and length that Advanced RPs are. The realistic characterization of player-controlled characters is rarely called into question, themes/allegories/foreshadowing are all used less frequently, and the less exciting differences between literary worlds and ours are less explored in Casual RPs. How does this mountain village get food year-round? What are the legal repercussions for Pokemon being killed in duels? How do these viking people live solely off of villages? How does a man study until he can build a death laser without at some point learning the emotional intelligence to not desire world domination? In Advanced roleplays, these types of things are discussed -- frequently, at far too great a length -- whereas in Casual RPs, they are shrugged off for the sake of fun and continuing the plot unabated. I'm not saying either is better or worse, as I think they both have their place, but this place
is erased with the use of the High Casual tag.
Gone are the days of Advanced meaning many paragraphs, and gone are the days of the Casual section housing a plethora of fun, low-effort stories. Now, instead of three sections for three levels of effort, we now have micro-section for niche groups. Free is now where AIM roleplayers have migrated to post hedgehog-based romances and battles, Advanced is where scifi ideas come to die, and Casual is split between different levels of effort, from hedgehog-based romance to lofty sci-fi. Why does there have to be a High Casual tag? This is getting into philosophy rather than the original rant itself, but doesn't one section having a subcategory just seem dumb? Are there other categories? Are we just posting postmodern mixtures of letters and spaces in "Low Free"? Is "Low Casual" what Free writers tag to get the same "High Casual" feeling? Is "Low Advanced" supposed to go in Casual or Advanced? Where are all the "High Advanced" roleplays, while I'm at it? This question doesn't need answering, because everybody knows the answer. High Casual is just a tag meant to rope in the most people on the board with the most traffic, because everyone has migrated there because sections don't matter anymore
I promised you the truth and I have delivered it, whether you choose to despise me for bringing truth to you is your choice. But my sermon does not end with pessimism, because the truth is not something that can be a solely negative rant. We should all strive to tell the truth, starting with ourselves. Preferably when we are choosing which board to put our RP in.