And suddenly... another big ass post!
A lot of us have been there. You meet someone seemingly perfect, someone that magically puts a smile on your face as soon as their name pops up under "Online friends" and leaves you a little sad when they have to go. The reason you're booting up the game has become just one thing... To see him/her.
And then suddenly, reality hits you in the face. He/she either disappears, turns out to be someone entirely different or certain other truths come to light... leaving you heartbroken and empty. Welcome to 3DXChat!
"When you decide to go into a jungle containing countless deadly predators... you should make sure you're carrying the right equipment". A lot of people tend to go in blind and leave themselves vulnerable because they haven't put any thought in how to handle certain situations. I was hoping to write this post to help people be more aware of what to expect and how to somewhat prevent or handle them when they occur. This isn't a post that will magically solve your situation, but rather a means to help you prepare in case it happens... not only here, but in any multiplayer game similar to it.
To some people, this post might be one of those "easier said than done" posts, and some of the readers will only fully understand what I mean once they've been hit by these situations a few times. In my case, it was a click... a switch that flipped. Fortunately, this no longer applies to me as much (if at all), but hopefully my past experiences will help anyone struggling now or in the future.
I hate having to start with the most controversial rule of the game. But it is pretty clear that a large group of players isn't aware that it is in fact there: "Enter the world where all your secret desires come true, where you can be anyone and where you can do anything you want." (Literally written on the homepage of http://3dxchat.com/)
In a way, this is a small hint given to you by the developers to make you aware that both you, or anyone else playing, could choose to play someone or something entirely different from who you/they are in reality. It allows people to escape reality in a number of ways... and I know it sucks to hear this; but all of them are equally as valid as yours. Which brings us to the most reoccurring complaint in 3DX... "She's not a she!". I'm well aware that this is the most controversial topic of them all... some think it shouldn't be allowed at all, others don't mind or care. A guy playing a female character is technically allowed within the rules of the game and the developers can't do much about the fact that it sometimes leaves people hurt. However, I think the best approach would be to allow yourself to be openminded. A lot of our stories, our avatars, our information contain fiction. There are those that take this game very seriously... and even though a whole lot of people think it's ill-advised to do so... It's not against the rules to hope that your in-game partner might one day be your real life one. However, these people are usually the ones that get hit the hardest.
If we were to be able to zoom out a little bit and get a nice overview of the different types of people within 3DX, it would be clear that the people who take this game completely seriously and/or even consider it a dating platform of some sorts are a minority. In most cases, they are relatively new here... or they are veterans who believe that they will eventually meet the right person (which is in the realms of possibility). But because they are in such low numbers... chances are they rarely cross paths with eachother... instead, they come in contact with players who chose to be roleplayers in one way or the other... and at some point, the realization of just how deep these roleplaying stories can go... is enough to have someone burst out in anger (we've all seen it happen on world chat, haven't we?).
But how do you handle this? How do you minimize the chances of finding yourself hurt and alone at the end of the day?
The vague answer to this is "be openminded". Even then, chances are you might still experience shitty moments from time to time... but making yourself aware beforehand is usually half the work. I'll warn you right now... The wall of text so far is nothing compared to what this post might end up to be... there's so many common situations to go over... you best grab a cup of tea/coffee and make yourself comfortable.
A good observation can usually give you a lot of information before you engage in conversation or choose to further your existing relationship with someone. A lot of how people dress, have their profile set up or just generally how they behave can give you hints on what type of person you're dealing with. Keep in mind that the list below isn't a foolproof cheatsheet to figure someone out. But they are commonly reoccurring indicators to recognize a certain playergroup.
Recognizing a roleplayer is usually pretty simple, unless the roleplay is much more complicated than the common "vampire", "demon", "succubus", "Catgirl/boy", etc... If one takes the time to go through their profile, usually it will be filled with information that points to their character being a fictional work of art. Their race, background story is usually written down in great detail. This should be a big indicator that this person is most likely not going to be exactly the same in real life. They play this game purely for the fantasy aspect of it and rarely seek something serious (but there are exceptions). But in general, the best approach is to accept their fictional character and interact with them accordingly... these people don't enjoy being called out of character unless they choose to.
- Gender Explorers (Is what I like to call them...)
They are a large portion of the playerbase. And all of them have different reasons to be part of this group. A more common one are people who have or wish to change their gender... they explore their "inner gender" here in a somewhat safe environment. However, not all of these people choose to publicly display that information. Some prefer keeping it to themselves, while others will proudly explain their motives in their profile. Because of that... it's hard to fully know whether or not you're dealing with an actual person of that gender or not. Hell... some might not be comfortable sharing that information because they believe it's still pretty much a taboo. They eventually could find themselves romantically involved and never really mention their situation to their partner... and as long as both people can accept the limits of a virtual relationship, that's not really a problem... but to truly prevent getting hurt or hurting someone... It's definitely a must to either explain certain limits or just share your situation... It won't always end nicely, but at the very least you've been forthcoming and there's nothing to blame you for. As far as being partnered with someone that could be considered a Gender Explorer... it's never a bad idea to consider it pretty much a "Schrödingers Cat" situation... The person you're dating is both a girl and a boy until a conclusive result is displayed and it is up to you whether or not you feel comfortable doing so. Do not put yourself in a situation you know you can't fully accept. Think for yourself how you'd feel if the person turned out to be the opposite gender... would you still be able to happily stick together or would it eat at you and cause you to leave? If even the slightest bit of you thinks the second option... explain that to your partner and make your decision accordingly.
Keep in mind you're not always dealing with a person who wishes to change their real gender... some just made the simple choice of wanting to experience how it would be like, without actual plans in reality. However, let me remind you that, no matter what the reason is, it's not against the rules of the game... but I can understand you wished the information was shared rather than kept secret.
- Real Persona's (What else can I call them?)
They are the people that build their character to look as much as their real life selves, behave exactly the same they would in reality and play the game for more straightforward reasons. Some come online for a quick fix of erotic encounters, some play to meet other likeminded people and socialize, build relationships, etc... The first rarely cause any issues because they are barely online. The second type of player often consider the game as a dating platform of some sorts... often hoping for something to grow out of their relationship... something beyond the realm of the game.
Rarely will an only virtual relationship suffice... their attraction tends to be strong and they long for more than just a virtual hug. They wish to feel their partner for real sooner or later and that could cause a problem if their partner isn't wishing for the same thing. Their expectations suppress the understanding of how others wish to play the game and it often causes escalation because both parties didn't really explain their motives and goals. Communication is key, no matter what group you belong to. If you're open about how you wish to play the game, what your limits are and what you want to avoid... and your partner does the same... you'll often find yourself preventing painful truths along the road.
Just for the sake of completion... This group of players are mostly disconnected from any emotional attachments. They enjoy bringing up controversial topics, shouting certain believes with a focus to lure out frustrated players, trigger or upset others and then disappear into nothing. To me, talking to one of these people is about all I need to do to figure out whether or not I'm dealing with a troll. They'll aim to make you feel uncomfortable pretty much non-stop. If you're not a troll yourself... I advise to avoid much contact with them.
Caution never hurt anyone
There's a lot of people that claim they found the way to expose whether or not a person is who they say they are. I think we all know that chances are pretty slim that they are... but there's always the exception. Below you'll find a list of "indicators" that people have shared and in a lot of situations they do apply... but I believe they are flawed. The reason I find them flawed is because there are always exceptions to the rule and purely judging someone based on these indicators would be a mistake, but it could be a good way to remain cautious if you choose to be.
According to some people, "people who play as the opposite gender will opt to choose an age around the prime time of life. Which is usually between 20 and 29 years of age". This is the period where people often look their best... You can understand that this method of trying to figure out who you're dealing with isn't perfect. Some people are just simply that age and chose to write that in.
- "Interested In"
Although a better indicator than "age"... this one is still pretty flawed. I've heard countless times that "a female character controlled by a male player will check both "Men" and "Women"". They check "Men" because that's what is considered a must for women... they need to be interested in men... (we all know that's a load of crap, but it does happen). And then they check "Women" because they are really interested in women! So, according to some people... if both options are checked, you're dealing with a guy playing a girl... Even though chances are high that the outcome is correct... There are still bisexual people in the world and nowadays, people are coming out of the closet more and more because the world is becoming more tolerant and accepting towards same sex couples.
- Profile layout
Another flawed indicator would be profile layout. We've all seen the players with insanely well-made profiles. They took their time using colors, creating borders, ASCII art and much more. They've typed very detailed stories and what not...
To some... "the more female the profile seems... the more male the player is". Once again... this way of thinking is flawed because some just like to have a neat profile while others don't even know how to do the fancy colors... I've met real women with a simple plain white profile with barely any information and I've met some with walls of text and art. I've also met male controlled female characters with both kinds of profiles...
This is one I've encountered a lot! "Women who are insatiable are probably men...". Although it's pretty much a stereotype that men have higher libido's than women... It's far from true. A lot of women crave affection and sex as much if not more than men. And let's be honest... we're playing an adult game here designed with the main intend of allowing people to have virtual sex... who here doesn't really have a rather high sex drive? Although it could indicate something, I doubt it'll be an accurate clue.
Ah, this is somewhat an indicator I can agree with, although it isn't the perfect indicator. People will consider someone a "fake" when their stories don't match with what they told some other time... Although it's a good indicator that something might be off... You still need to consider that certain peope decide not to share complete truths for a number of reasons... whether it is because they wish to retain some anonymity or they forgot key aspects of their roleplaying background story... doesn't make a difference. Of course, certain stories are more revealing than others... You'll need a good judge of character to figure out why something didn't add up. Inconsistency is usually the first one to pop-up... but you'll need a lot more than that to "figure out" someone accurately.
Hmmm... I'm not convinced. "Overusing emotes means they are trying to show themselves more feminine than they are...". It could be true in some cases... but I wouldn't consider it a giveaway.
People such as myself that grew up in the golden age of MSN Messenger often picked up the habit of using emoticons a lot! Back then it was popular to use them and some still have that somewhat hardwired in their writing. Whether they are male or female doesn't really matter, it's a habit and it helps us put some emotion in what would otherwise be emotionless text.
- Attention to detail
"Women pay more attention to detail... men are sloppy...". That might be true. Some men don't put as much effort in making themselves look good as certain women would do. However, does it really mean that if a detail seems wrong here within 3DX that that person is automatically a dude? I highly doubt it. Maybe in combination with a lot of other indicators it could prove correct. But on its own... this indicator is pretty much expendable.
This one is the worst indicator I've heard. "Women write better than men... so if you're dealing with a girl that writes horribly, it's a dude!". I think whoever said this is missing the big picture here. The game is played by people all over the world... However, English is pretty much considered the main language to use. Some will try and speak English to satisfy that unwritten rule... but that leaves them with poor grammar and spelling. Not everyone is a fluent English writer, so keep that in mind!
- "No RL"
Ugh... just no. People who know me or have read my other big ass essays on the forum, know that I've played as a female avatar. I never mentioned I didn't want to share real life information... in fact... I did and twisted truth to be more conform to my female identity within the game. I've openly talked about real life events but altered reality to suit my fictional gender. A common claim nowadays is that "If someone refuses to discuss real life, interact outside 3DX or show pictures... he/she is a fake!" Alright, it could apply to some of the players who play the opposite gender... but what about people who truly care about personal privacy? What about people who care about security? Hell... if you're a stalker and some girl openly displayed her contact information... it would be a big mess... just saying! Although it could be an indicator... to some people it's not about keeping their fictional character a secret... but rather about keeping themselves safe from certain well-known evils that lurk the internet.
Something to consider
One of the most reoccurring lines within someone's profile other than "I don't bite..." is "I'm here to escape reality". You'll find this line in different player groups and I believe that's actually the truth. However, sometimes people fail to either keep true to that statement OR they end not respecting that the other person wishes to play the game that way. If you're going around in the game pushing everyone to come forth about who they really are while you hold that statement in your profile... you're doing something something wrong or you don't fully understand the meaning of it. Same goes to people who spill information about their real life selves while claiming to want to escape reality... You're defusing the meaning of the sentence with every act you perform against it.
First and foremost, one should respect it when they read it inside someone's profile... (if they actually took the time to read it.) and don't push someone to spill personal information. If that person decides to do so on their own accord, then consider yourself lucky and priviledged.
Have I ever wondered about people's true identity? Yes... Have I ever pushed in some way to figure something out? Yes... was it worth it? No... and rarely will be. Some people are strict and won't share anything, which is completely their choice. But to me, in the end... it usually ended up in losing a friend because I was being pushy about it or figuring out information that ruined my initial idea of how a person was. Which brings me to my next topic...
Do you really want to know?
Not so long ago... a couple I knew in the game broke up. Even though the girl was in fact a girl and the guy was in fact who he said he was. They have played the game with a certain idea of each other. They have played for so long only having eachother's character as the visual representation of their partner until one day they decided to make a skype video call. Without going in too much detail... that one video conversation broke the perfection they had going using their imagination and fantasy... one of the two couldn't cope with it and, in a proper manner, ended the relationship claiming the fantasy aspect of it all was apparently the strongest connection.
It's not uncommon for us to fill certain unknown things about our partner with ideas of our own. We tend to visualize a fantasy filled idea of how the other person would be like in reality and with longer lasting relationships, breaking that fantasy can be fatal. Sometimes it's just better to hold on to what you have... if it works... then why change it?
It's not uncommon that we fantasize our partner to be what we consider "perfection"... if something takes that away... it'll leave you with a hole that is hard to fix (but not impossible... Damn you exceptions!)
Dealing with feelings of infatuation and love
This is a hard one to discuss. People who are infatuated often turn blind.. they're dealing with a serious crush and the overwhelming and intense feelings often leave them vulnerable. They'll accept anything and everything about their partner because at this point... all they want is to be with them. It's a beautiful thing, but it's also a double edged sword. We all heard about how love makes people blind... and in a way, it should... we all need to learn how to accept our partners flaws and mistakes. However, within 3DX you still need to realize that there's so much that could go wrong... and I'm not being a pessimist even. People leave and never return, or they grow bored of the game and either take an extended break or create a new character, etc... a lot can happen and it leaves the other person heartbroken and questioning. However, deep down... we all know there's a high chance of that happening. How many of you have had to say goodbye to great people...? Yep... that's what I mean. In our blindness we forget about these things and we only see the world in beautiful colors and a neverending sunshine.
Another common problem is our feelings growing so big... the virtual presence just doesn't cut it anymore. We want more than just the "idea" of holding eachother. We want to actually feel eachother! Which is ultimately leads to pushing what were considered boundaries. We'll try and push if we can't have that picture, that voice conversation, that skype call or anything... and when dealing with someone who is fine with just the virtual side of things... or maybe someone who's not really a girl/guy... It scares them into breaking up or finally spilling the ugly truth because things are getting to difficult to handle otherwise. However, in a very rare occasion, it works out okay and a real life couple forms... but I wouldn't get your hopes up too much!
I could have sworn there was a lot more I wanted to mention, and when I recall any of it... I'll update this post accordingly. But I think it's time to form a conclusion to this post. A lot of you will recognize things that are written above, some of you will leave this post with a newfound idea on how to possibly handle situations better in the future... and maybe some of you will have learned something you weren't fully aware of. As I mentioned at the beginning... this isn't the ultimate prevention guide. The game is about intimacy, and sometimes it will still leave us angry or frustrated. But hopefully I was able to help some of you form a better understanding on what is to be expected... and help you realize that, even though it doesn't suit your ideas... if it's within the rules of the game... there's not really much you can do about it other than being careful and observant. We all pay to play the game in a way we see fit... if you want to dictate how someone plays the game... start paying for their subscription.
The best advice I can give you is to keep it in the back of your head that this a game all about fantasies, exploring, experimenting and you'll encounter A LOT of that. Expecting everyone to be exactly the way you want them to be is foolish and in fact a bit selfish. But if you're able to accept the nature of this game and its players. Able to appreciate a character regardless of the gender that is controlling it and use it to feed your own fantasies... you'll find yourself enjoying this game so much more! And that is a guarantee!
Thank you so much to all of you who managed to survive this massive wall of text and gave it a read! Feel free to leave any comments down below! Take care and see you next time
*Drops the mic...*