The Puppetmaster-Player Communication Dynamic in Alternate Reality Gaming and Chaotic Fiction

Here, I have described the tiers of both spheres in terms of effectiveness upon the metaconversation. A coincidence of note is that the tiers are also organized, in ascending order, by the energy required to achieve their goals. It is thus easier to understand why the upper tiers, especially on the side of the Players, require extraordinary dedication on the part of their members to maintain occupancy. It is much easier to watch than to discuss, easier to discuss than to organize and create, and easier to organize and create than to act. Because of the free-form nature of the Audience community, however, Players can jump around between thresholds at will, subject only to their individual energy levels. Puppetmasters do not have as much luxury, governed and enabled by their traditional management structure.

In order for the system to function well, both sides must provide a critical amount of energy. For Puppetmasters, this broadly means production value. For the Players, the measurement of energy is in Audience interest. Interest level in the experience is the single connecting tissue for the Audience network, as all other motivations are personal and vary between individuals. Caring is what drives the Players.

As Player interest levels rise, so do their energy levels, and thus, they ascend thresholds within the Audience Sphere. As their interest wanes, they drop back. Part of this is facilitated by the system itself: Being networked into a shared experience can amplify an individual's own interest. The key to facilitating Audience enjoyment is to be compelling, to work on building interest, and to encourage both sharing of the experience and networking with others.

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