Secrets and spoilers
What am I babbling about ? Oh.. right. Clan PM managed to get to the fabled Foothills, and I interviewed a friend shortly about this historical event. I went trough the text some times, took away some - and then wrote it up in my diary. After talking to others in the same clan about it. 8 hours later this friend of mine is then chastised by 2 of his clanmates for telling secrets, and I´m asked to remove it. And I do. While kicking and screaming of course, but it´s their thing - their history, I have to respect that even if I disagree.
I read the thing 3 times, and as far as I could see - it didn´t contain any information that not the NG, Qual and the Marsh Hermit already had provided. And if you hadn´t gotten any of this previous information, you are one of those that clans with their heads under their arm.( Norwegian expression) Also, if they don´t plan on sharing this part of a WWE (world-wide-event) , that is just simply bad form. The rest was just a travelers description of what he saw. I wanted to have something that would trigger the imagination of those that read it. Telling that the abyss has lava pits and fire-walkers for example, do not tell anyone that hasn´t been there anything specific about the place. What it does, is it triggers your imagination, making the tale more alive. All this of course made me terribly confused. What was the secret? I have no idea. But it made me think about secrets, how we share them, how we choose to not share them etc..
In my book, there are 3 reasons for keeping something a secret.
1. To gain an advantage, for yourself , for your friends and/or clan
2. To not spoil it for anybody else
3. Because the secret is not yours.
Most of my own secrets are of the third form. I am actually rather good in keeping secrets for others. I don´t even tell James, and I bet he has loads of the same things he is not telling me. Might even be we have the same secrets, but we are not telling without permission. Most of my secrets under nr 1 is item-related. I don´t write pages about how to find that Uli-flower, or bloodblade, or anything like that. When I write the diary though, I have to pay attention to nr 2. That is the most difficult of them all. I don´t generally view tales as spoilers, nor pics. Both are just food for the imagination rather than be spoilers. In pics you only see parts of things, not the whole. Would you feel spoiled if you saw the Abyssal Hunter in the beastiary? I wouldn´t. It´s not like being there, and meeting it for the first time. But I guess I am generally more willing to tell anything, if I feel it "opens up the landscape". If it makes the game bigger, and deeper. If it adds to the player experience, not only for me - but for others as well. If you don´t like being spoiled at all, you shouldn´t be reading Baba´s diary. I am however very careful about movies. Very often, this is a judgment call. And sometimes it makes my hair grow grey.
I had a discussion with Aki on the release of the Outback map and all the findings from PMC and Yor´s group. We had discussions in the mailing list about it, and the consensus was that anything we found should become public. We knew PM was not going to do it, and it was a question of how many should be forced to invent the wheel again and again. Of course, by making it public - we now own the right to "explore" it for the second time. And to map it to the public for the first time. No one else is going to map it again. We have taken that away from them. Is that a bad thing? I dunno. Look at it this way, those who are mapping it now, are the only ones able to do it. Another group might be able to in a year from now. Should the Outback-map be secret all that time? Makes no sense. Also because they would know someone had been there before, and knew all the secrets and didn´t tell. Like we are. We know PM has been there, we know they have found the trail to Foothills, for us it´s merely to find again what they have found. This is of course not as fun as being someplace for the very first time. To redo what others have done. Should PM have told us? I dunno about that either. I guess their reason for keeping it a secret is mainly nr. 1 and some of nr.2. PM not giving us the map, gave us the opportunity to map it for the rest of the community though, which was a good thing. I guess my take is that it was ok for PM to not publicize the map over outback, but not so ok to not share the entrance to foothills when the outback was fully mapped. And I´m not even certain about that last part either. You might disagree. Others finding new areas have done otherwise. I think the reason for doing that is simply that when an area is found, it´s not so much fun in trying to find it again, as to be able to explore the new area. And new areas are far in between, it´s great news whenever someone stumbles over something. It makes the world bigger, it makes us all feel good.
But it is not always easy to know what might be a spoiler and what is not. Baba has been beyond Alchemist Folly, and I have written about it in the diary, with pics etc. The way to AF is public, the tactic to get trough that hellish tunnel also, on Yor´s site. But, maps has not been published. Still, you can download a movie from parts of the way on RQ´s site. As far as I know, you don´t get to see it all though. Would it be a spoiler to put up a movie of all the snells inside? It´s not like AF is a common hunting ground, and it´s not very easy to get to either. Isn´t it more valuable to make it public so other players can see it, even if they never will be able to go there? I ask this question to myself many times when I write the diary. Most of the time, I end up with answering yes. And then there is a question of time. I held back movies from Tenebrion´s keep a long time, before I uploaded it to the RQ vault, or to Baba´s site. I discussed it with someone from RQ on the HL server, and we found out it might have been a spoiler at the time. It was newly discovered, the entrance was still in fairgrounds, it was easy to get to so many would have the chance to see it etc. I uploaded the movies more than a month after they were initially taken. I might reconsider uploading some movies from AF. Thing is, movies, pics and tales also gather interests, make players get new ideas, opens up the landscape. It might even be so, that when I upload movies from AF, a smart player will look at it and find out something we missed.
I don´t consider maps to be spoilers so much. But that may be just me, as I get lost so easy. When I first started playing, I was clinging to Ton To´s maps, and to me they added to my gaming experience. I didn´t spend so much time wondering where I was and how to get back to Puddleby. Others like being lost, I don´t. I don´t like spending time on being lost. I download maps as soon as they are available, and use them quite frequently. Maps only tell me directions, in no way do they detract from the experience of being there. Others consider maps to be great spoilers, but have no doubts about making movies available. I think movies are the worst sinner in this department. You haven´t seen any movies from Hatred´s Hollow, Orga Village and Outback yet on Baba´s site have you. But you will, "soon".
In the meantime, my grey hairs are still growing...