Our next guest bloggings comes from David Snow (I don't know his real last name :p), who handles Jason Snow. He writes on a subject that's near and dear to my heart, and I have to say, it's a must-read.
Now and Then
by David "Snow," Special Guest to RRoaEL
Upon returning to e-wrestling after a three year hiatus, I was staggered to see the differences in the game. First of all, it seems that angle feds turned out to be just a fad after all, and the RP fed once again reigns supreme. Second, people are much more mature, but I suppose that comes along with the fact that it’s mostly the same people, only now we’re all way too old for this game. Third, the game itself has lost a lot of steam.
Around the time I left in 2003, eW was electric. Forums were buzzing with activity, and there were chats going around the clock. No matter what time of day you were able to stop in, there was always something going on to get your eW fix.
It’s not like that now.
The forums are, for the most part, looked at, but not used. The chats are reserved for rare occasions.
Originally, I just thought the game had changed; that people just weren’t as into as I remembered. But when I got into the community, I saw that wasn’t the case either. You only need GTT6 for proof of that. Even during the most active time that I was involved in eW, I’ve never seen anything generate buzz like GTT6.
I’ve talked to many people about the state of eW today as compared to the time I left, and nearly all of them said the same thing - eW will rebound when the wrestling industry rebounds. I agreed. It sounds logical, right? More wrestling fans mean more people will trickle in to eW, populating our game with new blood. The over all numbers are down, but I think everyone will agree, the bulk of the difference is in how many “new” guys are around. In 2002/2003, there were a lot of guys who’d been involved in the game for less than four months - less than two months, even. Since my comeback, I don’t think I’ve talked to one.
But that’ll change when wrestling gets popular again, right?
Rating for WWE RAW (September 30, 2002): 3.6
Rating for WWE RAW (October 7, 2002): 3.8
Rating for WWE RAW (October 14, 2002): 3.8
Rating for WWE RAW (September 29, 2003): 3.4
Rating for WWE RAW (October 6, 2003): 3.4
Rating for WWE RAW (October 13, 2003): 3.6
Rating for WWE RAW (September 25, 2006): 3.7
Rating for WWE RAW (October 2, 2006): 3.4
Rating for WWE RAW (October 9, 2006): 3.8
Lets face it. The golden age of wrestling was over a full year, or perhaps two, before the golden age of eW began.
In preparation for this article, I decided to look around at other feds. I found one of those Top-100 sites and starting going through. I was very surprised. When you look through the “geocities” and “angelfire” feds, almost nothing has changed. These feds seem as active as ever, if not, I daresay moreso. I know what you’re thinking: “I saw one of those Top-100 feds sites too, and a lot of the feds had long-since died.” All I can say is you might be looking at 2002/2003 through rose-colored glasses, because that’s what those things always looked like. Small feds rarely made it to their six month anniversary. The point is, people are still creating the feds.
I found out recently that my first ever fed has come back from the grave - not only has it come back, but it’s now bursting with activity. It has a roster of over thirty members, and that’s a conservative estimate. They’re all very active. And yes, the fed still uses real pictures and several of it’s RP’s happen in a ring.
Looking through these feds, I came to two conclusions. You can think they’re wrong if you like, but I believe that these are cold truths that we should accept.
The decline of e-fedding is an illusion.
We have hi-jacked the hobby.
Who are we?
We are the writers.
I am, perhaps, more guilty of this than any of you. I don’t watch wrestling; I haven’t watched wrestling since roughly 2002. I don’t know who the WWE champion is, and in casual conversation, I still refer to it as the “WWF.” I don’t know who the faces and heels are. If I’m flipping through the channels and I happen to see an old face from my childhood, I’ll stop to watch. Other than that, the most it will get is a quick pause, and then I’m onto the next channel.
I’m not alone. In fact, I don’t even think I’m in the minority. That’s not to say I don’t like wrestling. I think that each of us involved in the game has, at some point or another, been captivated with the sport. It is, after all, the closest thing there is to a soap opera made for males. But to say I’m a fan? No... I’m like the guy who’s favorite baseball player has long since retired. He likes the sport - you might even say he has a love for it - but it is very hard to call him a fan.
But eW isn’t about wrestling anymore - lets face it. It’s about intriguing stories that may or may not be loosely based on wrestling. The characters in eW are not really characters at all, save for a few. Ask around.
“What’s your character?”
“Oh, I handle John Smith in GWF (Generic Wrestling Federation).”
“Oh yeah, what’s his gimmick?”
“He’s a guy that was born into a terrible family where his father abused his mother. Now he’s in the middle of a plot to blow up his city because an evil congressman is trying to divert attention away from his unnatural lust for young boys.”
You know who has the best “gimmick” in that? The congressman with the unnatural lust for young boys. What we call gimmicks today aren’t really gimmicks - they’re circumstances that surround the main character. A gimmick is who the character is, not what’s going on in his life.
Again, I’m probably more guilty of this than the rest of you. That’s because I’m in the game for the writing, and often times, the most interesting characters are pretty ordinary ones that get caught up in an unordinary situation. Why? Because we’re writers, and those are the kinds of characters that people can relate to.
And damn it, have we ever gotten good.
There are a handful of people involved in PTC right now that have the talent to write a novel. They might even have the talent to write professionally. And just behind them, there are several more e-fedders who are developing at a pace that will have them in that group shortly. There are guys that I would wager large amounts of money that, given enough free time, could make it as authors. And without e-fedding, they’d probably have remained above average.
But where does this leave the average wrestling fan?
They come to PTC, looking for a good wrestling game to get involved in. They see the posers, read the news columns, check out some rankings... they’re excited. They want to get involved. But then they come to the RP section, and they find that it’s not a wrestling game at all. It’s a writing game that simply uses wrestling as its platform. They’re not interested in a writing game.
And you know what’s funny? I’ll bet many of you would have been in the same boat when you got into the game. 99% of us got into it for wrestling - I know I did. Many of us were decent writers to begin with, so as the game evolved, we didn’t have much trouble adjusting. Many of us weren’t great writers, but through practice, became good writers. Many of us were terrible writers, but because of sheer competitiveness, or perhaps simply to continue having fun in the game, we got better. Maybe it was even an accident.
I’m not being critical - I want that to be known. I’m just pointing out that this really isn’t a wrestling game anymore, and that’s probably the biggest reason for the decline.
And when I say “we’ve hijacked the hobby,” I really only mean we’ve hi-jacked the major leagues of the hobby. Because it seems that in the feds that we used to call “indy” feds, where it’s still all about the wrestling, things about the same as they always were.
It’s not about making changes, it’s about accepting the way things are. We’ll probably never get back to the heights of the “Ron days,” simply because the game has changed now. Being a wrestling fan isn’t enough to thrive in PTC now. You have to have the unique combination of being a wrestling fan/like wrestling, and being a fairly talented writer or better. That combination is a lot harder to find, and thus, new blood continues come in at a trickle.