Ten Habits of Good Online Players

We have been in lockdown for almost 8 months now. Our lodge has been running games online since then, and I thought to share the good etiquette I've come to appreciate.

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  1. Community is the Foundation of Good Gaming
  2. Talk Less; Say More
  3. Silence is Golden
  4. Be Present in the Moment
  5. Respect the Dice
  6. Respect your Home
  7. Make Good on Commitments
  8. Be Prepared
  9. Communicate
  10. Society is for everyone

Community Is The Foundation Of Good Gaming

Tabletop games are social events. If you are visiting another lodge you are a guest in someone’s house. Act accordingly. Read the Warhorn page to understand their community values and rules, and respect player needs even if they are different than your own.

Talk Less; Say more

There are few things more annoying than someone who's constantly talking over others.

Give everyone a chance to speak. If you’re usually the first player to jump in on a conversation, try to pause for a second longer so that everyone gets a chance to contribute. NEVER talk over the GM.

Silence is Golden

No one wants to listen to you eating or drinking, your barking dog, children crying, or dishwasher running. Make liberal use of the mute button.

It’s also polite to tell a player when you can hear any of these noises from their mic. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you hear something; odds are it’s bothering everyone.

Be Present in the Moment

Browser access and wireless headphones make an ever-present temptation for distraction. Keep multitasking to a minimum — try to think about your next turn if the combat is going long, or take in-game notes. People can tell when you’re not paying attention. It’s not a good look.

Respect the Dice

Some use the honor system; others ask you to roll inside the virtual tabletop. If you’re using the honor system, don’t cheat. If you’re asked to use a VTT, at least learn the basics rolling a raw d20 and your damage dice without modifiers.

Respect your Home

Gaming is an hours-long activity that can become quite disruptive in a household — especially if others are working remotely or attending an online class. Use a headset or earbuds with a mic, and try not to talk too loudly.

Make Good on Commitments

It’s easy to bail on digital signups, but the impact can be devastating. Dropping at the last minute devalues the GM’s hard prep work and shows you don’t care about the community.

Don’t ever sign up for games unless you’re sure you can make them. If you must drop within 24 hours of a game, email the organizer. Show them you care and you'll be welcome next time.

Be Prepared

Efficiency is one of the most valuable assets in the VTT environment because games take much longer when players aren’t prepared.

Sign in advance so the GM can prep the correct tier. Log on 15 minutes ahead to test your mic and make adjustments before the game starts. Get your token to the GM ahead of time. If your GM or lodge often uses a certain brand of VTT, consider making a character sheet in that software.

Communicate Clearly

Speak clearly into your mic, and know your character basics such as DCs and spell effects. When you cast a spell or perform a maneuver like Trip, include those DCs. For example, “I cast Sound Burst on creatures A, B, and C. They should all make a DC 19 Basic Fortitude save.”

Society is for Everyone

Players come from a vast array of technology access, financial means, life experiences, and backgrounds. Without social cues like body language and facial expression, many things can get “lost in translation.” Practice the Principle of Charity when others give you feedback, and vice versa.

Other Voice/Chat Tips

• Use mentions mindfully in places like Discord and Slack. Never mention or tag @everyone; it’s really annoying. Mention the channel instead (i.e. @here) • Don’t be spammy. • You can set a nickname in Discord to designate your character, and change your display name in Roll20. • Acknowledge private messages even if you plan on responding later • Be aware of who's listening — better yet, always assume there is a child who can hear you somewhere and keep it PG. • Don’t dominate the conversation; less is more. • Politely Speak up if you’re having a hard time getting a word in. • Don’t argue or criticize in public — if you must, talk to the GM after the game or on break. • Character tokens should generally be round. GMs often use square tokens for enemies. A standard size is a 400x400 px png.

See the original post and discussion over on the Paizo Forums.


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