Image by: Chrstopher
I’ve been giving some thought to the idea of preference. Specifically, the preferences of people when it comes to the games they play. I saw a post by Greywulf that got me thinking about it. Very often, we as gamers, get into discussions about our favorite game versus another popular game and the discussions can become more than heated. What I am starting to ask myself is this: why? Why do we get so hot and bothered if someone prefers something that we don’t like?
I’ll give you an example. (And I’m writing this knowing that I could be sparking a flame war with these words). For a long time, I was an Apple user. I was a die-hard devotee of the Mac platform, from the days of the bondi-blue iMac all the way up until right before the release of the G5 processor. I even did a few retail stints at the Apple Store near where I lived. I drank the Kool-Aid. Whenever I found myself in discussions about computers, I always hotly defended my precious Mac. I glossed over shortcomings and I emphasized the stuff that made my decisions look good. I eventually had to switch to a PC for a job I had. I have to admit, when I did, it was a relief. I won’t go in to all of the details (that’s not the point of this post) but it felt good to not have to work to be compatible; I was part of the majority.
The same kinds of discussions go on in our hobby. We roleplayers love what we love and we tend to hate on those who are on “the other side.” And, in this regard, I have made moves similar to those I did when I was a Mac fan. When 4th Edition D&D came out, I started running a game for a group of friends. it was my first experience DMing and we loaded praise onto 4e and its system, giving it nothing but favorable comparisons to the 3.5 rules we knew so well.
When I ended up leaving that group and, eventually, starting running a game for some other friends, I went back to 3.5. At the time, I figured that I just knew the rules better (really I think I didn’t want to have anything to do with the system that I associated with the group I left) and that’s the justification I went with. We eventually transitioned to Pathfinder and that’s where we’ve stayed. I’m over my issues with the 4e group I left, but for some reason I held on to the “dislike” of the system that I had fostered.
I very recently had a friend ask me if I wanted to play in a 4e one-shot that they are going to be running soon. Without even considering the system, I said yes. I respect this guy as a GM and I really like the premise of the adventure. When I got out my 4e books to work on my character, I found the record sheet for the Wizard I had been playing with my first and only 4e group. I took a look over it, and I realized that, issues with the group aside, I had a good time playing that character. The mechanics of the game that built the character were sound and, in fact, I could just level up my old character and use him for the one-shot.
The point I’m rambling my way towards is this: we don’t need to draw battle lines. Companies might like us to do that, at some level, because there are only so many gaming dollars to go around. However, if you like the system you’re playing and there’s another system that someone else likes more, it doesn’t make you right and them wrong, or vice-versa. Ben plays Palladium, Nick loves himself some Savage Worlds, Buddy plays 4e and Pathfinder both and I respect all of their opinions.
So the next time that you end up in a discussion with a fellow gamer about the merits of one system versus another, do me a favor: don’t try and show them why their system sucks. Instead, try to show them why you love your system so much. They may not agree with you but at least you’ll be taking things in a positive direction.
[tags]rpg, rpgs, role playing games, D&D, 4e, Pathfinder, 3.5, Palladium, Savage Worlds[/tags]