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We are writing the year 2014 - and the only place for roleplay seem to be MUDs

SchroesCatSchroesCat OffenbachPosts: 44Member

What a misery. For years I have been hunting the MMO - "so-called" - RP - Games for something with decent roleplay and a focus on old-schoolish concepts like immersion, roleplay, shared story telling and creativity.

The last game I found with communities where there was a chance to find something resembling that was Neverwinter Nights (NWN) and its hundreds of privately run worlds and servers. It was also my first online RPG and I was instantly hooked. Personally I like harsh death-settings, mature play, playing to create and weave great teales cooperatively. If I want to do number-crunching I can get an excel sheet or immerse myself in some book about physics or math. I am not seeking L337, grind, or great stats in games, but great tales, something to dream in and about. Just as in the occasional prose book I read from time to time. I don't want to open the discussion as to what play-style, what death-penalty and what amount of RP is globally the most honorous, mature and preferable. It is just that me, personally, get satisfaction from the aspect of improvisation, creativity and cooperative story-telling in online-RPGs.

What got me in online RPGs like Neverwinter Night was the cooperative weaving of dreams and tales. The spontaneous creativity of players that met, behaved in-character and stitched great encounters and stories together. Also the creative outlet it offered to builders, coders and Dungeon Masters who weaved their own tales, and also served to offer a platform for players to get immersed in. I know that there are many players and coders with this taste, for I have met many. I wonder where they all are.

What happened to this style of play? All I see in contemporary MMORPGs is mainstream and boring grinds. Players are reduced to mindless grinders, denied of even the least opportunity to get creative. They click their avatar together from a shallow set of pre-set components. Most of the current games don't even bother to offer a little editor to write up a biography or description of your avatar. You are what you see: A generic, life- and storyless virtual avatar - looking, behaving and skilled just like all the others in your chosen profession and race, devoid of any individuality and of any means to get creative. Your job as a player is simple: Grind, bore yourself to death, and pay - or don't pay in the sea of F2Ps - to kill your time with no reward at all, but meaningless stats and titles that are handed to you by algorithms.

Roleplay? Who gives a heck! It might be an mmo"RP"g, but please don't expect to find roleplay in one of the current titles. One of the big companies that would go  through the pain of offering a true RP server? Why bother? RPers are nerds. Only a few of them exist. They don' merit to go through the pain of listening to them. They will make do with whatever we throw at them, for there is nothing better out there. They will jump at a new game, hoping to get their fix there. Then they will find out it is just another mindless and mediocre mainstream cash-cow. They will hold on for a bit, flock together in isolated guilds and clans, try to make do with the flat and life-less code and engine they get handed, and eventually move on to the next disappointment.

We are writing 2014, graphics and stuff have come to a level that is breathtaking. But the only place I currently found that offers story, roleplay, immersion and thrill is a MUD. It is a bitch to get into the client. I wish it was more sophisticated in terms of user-friendliness, but it is a heck of an experience. I am immersed like I haven't been in about 8 years. I am in-character- and out-of-character wise trembling with anticipation and fear because I know if my character bites it, it is the end for my hero ( one - life policy, no ressurection, much less respawn).

And I am also amazed about the level of immersion, the quality of the roleplay, the vivid and colorful characters that unfold on my MUSHclient.

If anyone wants to give an old-school experience a shot, and is willing to revert to having the graphics only inside the head, I warmly recommend to you: www.armageddon.org.

The setting is harsh and merciless. The quality of RP and immersion you will find IG is superb. People play that game for a shared dream. To impress and to be impressed - by the quality of the interaction.

2014 and text-based MUDs? If it is the best place to go, why not?

Comments

  • GorweGorwe Ald'RuhnPosts: 2,476Member Uncommon
    Well, not really.

    There are such MMOs as TOR, LoTRO and TSW that can be RPd quite nicely.

    Overall though, I have to agree completely. It's just sad that MMOs have been degraded to the endgame loot runs as of late. Hell even those three I mentioned have got that Disease(and why? No reason at all. All 3 have quite strong assets that don't involve grinding).

    Such a shame ;(
  • JacxolopeJacxolope Jackson, MIPosts: 924Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Gorwe
    Well, not really.

    There are such MMOs as TOR, LoTRO and TSW that can be RPd quite nicely.

    Overall though, I have to agree completely. It's just sad that MMOs have been degraded to the endgame loot runs as of late. Hell even those three I mentioned have got that Disease(and why? No reason at all. All 3 have quite strong assets that don't involve grinding).

    Such a shame ;(

    -I totally agree.

    Instead of the worlds we once had, or trying to make a '3D MUD' we have an entire different genre which is very light on the RP part of RPG (and I do not merely mean the larping type of RP)

    Fast paced, pretty colors and non stop actio (with awesome 'graphics') and everyone wins and feels like a badass doing it. Oddly enough Sports games like MLB the show are more RPG than most RPGs (which are now button masher action games)

     

  • MightyUncleanMightyUnclean st. pete, FLPosts: 706Member Uncommon
    I play LOTRO on Landroval and there are constantly parties, concerts and events put on that encourage RP.  It's there if you look for it.
  • NildenNilden null, NBPosts: 1,284Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Jacxolope
    Originally posted by Gorwe
    Well, not really.

    There are such MMOs as TOR, LoTRO and TSW that can be RPd quite nicely.

    Overall though, I have to agree completely. It's just sad that MMOs have been degraded to the endgame loot runs as of late. Hell even those three I mentioned have got that Disease(and why? No reason at all. All 3 have quite strong assets that don't involve grinding).

    Such a shame ;(

    -I totally agree.

    Instead of the worlds we once had, or trying to make a '3D MUD' we have an entire different genre which is very light on the RP part of RPG (and I do not merely mean the larping type of RP)

    Fast paced, pretty colors and non stop actio (with awesome 'graphics') and everyone wins and feels like a badass doing it. Oddly enough Sports games like MLB the show are more RPG than most RPGs (which are now button masher action games)

     

    I'll mention what three things I feel contribute the most and why. World, character customization and non-combat activities.

     World: Well it's pretty easy to see the result of instances and cross server dungeons on WoW and the complete lack of RP and total silence that results from turning the game into a lobby based dungeon runner. I think the more you make the game a virutal world the better for RP. Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies and City of Heroes are the games I would say most supported role playing. The world was persistent and cohesive.

    Character Customization: This should pretty much be a given for a role playing game. I mean come on City of Heroes had 5 different costumes and tailor missions and entire sets like the Vanguard alien set or Roman set with weapon skin unlocks as well. How hard is it to make multiple vanity tabs? How hard is it to have a small place to write your characters bio?

     Non-combat Activities: In SWG and UO you have entire professions where you could be a chef or miner or farmer and never have to do combat. Today every MMORPG is a combat simulator. There is no time to stop and type something you just have to use teamspeak or vent while mashing buttons.

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  • dontadowdontadow Detroit, MIPosts: 1,044Member Uncommon

    I get the OP. 

     

    I don't do "role playing" in most mmos because the game mechanics don't support it.   Every skill of an mmo is combat related. Or crafting. 

     

    For me, I stick to haing a good table top game going on.  Maybe one day they will make a real never winter mmo. 

  • ErgloadErgload GV, OHPosts: 374Member

    I definitely agree with OP, I've played a handful of MMOs but I've played Achaea, a MUD, since like 2001. 13 years later and I'm still hooked because of the RP community.

    image

    image

    Currently playing: Achaea
  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,727Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Jacxolope
    Originally posted by Gorwe
    Well, not really.

    There are such MMOs as TOR, LoTRO and TSW that can be RPd quite nicely.

    Overall though, I have to agree completely. It's just sad that MMOs have been degraded to the endgame loot runs as of late. Hell even those three I mentioned have got that Disease(and why? No reason at all. All 3 have quite strong assets that don't involve grinding).

    Such a shame ;(

    -I totally agree.

    Instead of the worlds we once had, or trying to make a '3D MUD' we have an entire different genre which is very light on the RP part of RPG (and I do not merely mean the larping type of RP)

    Fast paced, pretty colors and non stop actio (with awesome 'graphics') and everyone wins and feels like a badass doing it. Oddly enough Sports games like MLB the show are more RPG than most RPGs (which are now button masher action games)

    Also agree on both part, mmo's were systematically killing off the rpg part of the genre during the last few years, turning them into a frikkin diablo-esque treadmill of loot and gear and xp. Heck, you know something is totally went awry when seeing more and more statements like "combat is the most important part of the game" or "mmo is about killing stuff"...

     

    Agree on Gorwe's part as well, (+ with MightyUnclean) LotRO is still pretty good on rp, and TSW has some nice player-made events too. I can't vouch for TOR since I'm not an active player, but back in the sub days I bumped once into an rp group in the Cantina :)

     

    MUDs and MUSHes are still great fun, but OP, if you need some rp-fix with some graphics, I strongly suggest to check one of LotRO's rp-servers, they're stuffed with rp events, and in-character roleplay all over the world as well. A few days ago I bumped into this one http://www.linawillow.org/home/2014/02/southfarthing-gate-concert-march-9th/  on Laurelin by simply talking to a hobbit walking towards MD, asked him where is he walking this late our :)

    Laurelin is the overall / english Eu Rp server, but there's a german one as well, Belegaer. It also has many events as I heard, for example there will be one tomorrow https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?543731-Die-Bewahrer-des-Lichts-treten-beim-6-Hobbitst%C3%B6ckchen-auf-%2815-3-2014%29&s=46efb757e81dff8461d0b9bed6d730bc

     

    (and there was a thread under the Housing column, this even could be a nice example in that thread about the usage of neighborhoods in LotRO)

  • AkulasAkulas GoldcoastPosts: 1,619Member Uncommon
    Something as simple as not knowing a persons name until they introduce themself aren't implemented in any modern games. A good start would be a detailed aspects of your character not being known until a formal introduciton is made as well as any racial and cultural gestures which can kind of be performed through emotes but still. It's up to players how well it can be done and unless you have an RP required environment it can only be done in small groups or guilds. You'll still have for example a dark elf walk up to a gnome talking about last nights sporting even which if you think about why would a dark lef care for anything other than itself or cutting someones feet off.

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  • GorweGorwe Ald'RuhnPosts: 2,476Member Uncommon
    Sporting? Druchii sporting?

    Mangling, butchering, desecrating, ...

    You asked for it ;) !
  • ColdlanderColdlander Dannacona, QCPosts: 1Member

    I once wondered why there is so little RP and so much killing. It's pretty simple. Finding a reason to kill something is easy. In Tera, you kill fearies because they got dominated by evil cultists... Fearies... In my mind, it's just like killing unicorn.. that you do next in Tera. My objection is not about good or evil but about the meaning of having to kill everything you meet. 

    What would be fun in a RPG online? First, the world has to change somewhat. In most RPGs, the same guy that sent you kill something is there forever. Split the world into branches. I'm in megacity, every players are there together. I'm in the poluted/demonized/cursed/infested valley for the first time at level 1 - 10, the place is desolated and I can see players of my level or so all around. I get back there later, I see a better place whether I did something or not. If I didn't, give the credit to someone else. Textures are so easy to modify, I can't see a good reason not to do it. Have more than two textures so the place changes gradually. Move the NPCs around too, not just the few central to the main plot. 

    Have more than one main plot and get players to choose one or two. Make them branching so they can move from one to the other. 

    Have choices. I see the princess and she tells me she wants to hypnotise her sister with a potion. I'm the good guy but it's a mainstream plot. I have to do it?!? The game just flushed any roleplaying out the window. There are ways to offer choices without losing control of the game. They did it in many PC games before. 

    Add alignments. Just from good to evil would be interresting. The square system from D&D is better. It can be made as complex as wanted with just a few specific variables. You chose evil actions, you become a little more evil. Even in PVE games, it's possible.

    Have more personnal player interractions for those who want it. Have a place where people can get 4 to 8 talking about something. Better yet, have two places. One for RP only talk and one for everything else. No game mechanics in RPG place please. Give the possibility to listen in. Have a moderator in to keep peace. That's costly? You don't need a top notch analyst to do it. This is not much more complex than being a doorman. 

    To have players feel a different story than one another, have NPCs die but not the same for different players. On my PC, if Sam dies, my system gives him a new skin and makes me unable to interract with him. Other players can do so but not me. 

    Have one NPC companion that follow the player around and help him. Don't make him a member of the good guy club that don't eat / loot / drink / etc. 

    Give the player a chance to write a bio and if other players want to read it, give them the possibility.

    There are many ways to take the game a little nearer to the player and make it a more RP experience and less of a third person shooter. 

  • ErgloadErgload GV, OHPosts: 374Member

    It's easier to roleplay in MUDs because of the support for custom-emotes, in-room character poses, uhh..basically bunches of mechanics for roleplay that you don't find in MMORPGs. But thats because MUDs are text-based so they're a bit more immersive to people who have an active imagination, and enjoy reading.

    I've tried to RP on WoW, DDO, LotRO but was disappointed because its just people using Ye Olde Speaketh while standing around with 3d avatars.

    image

    Currently playing: Achaea
  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,238Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ergload

    It's easier to roleplay in MUDs because of the support for custom-emotes, in-room character poses, uhh..basically bunches of mechanics for roleplay that you don't find in MMORPGs. But thats because MUDs are text-based so they're a bit more immersive to people who have an active imagination, and enjoy reading.

    I've tried to RP on WoW, DDO, LotRO but was disappointed because its just people using Ye Olde Speaketh while standing around with 3d avatars.

    Indeed.

    What I find rather disturbing is how, in this day and age, we actually have LESS FEATURES in MMOs to support roleplay than we had in previous years.  I'm talking about basic things, like chat bubbles, whispers, shouts, animated emotes, walking, clothing options, props, social spaces/sets, sitting, lying down, facial/body customization and so on.

    Somewhere along the line, characters went from subjects invested with meaning to vehicles for consuming content.  Because we don't need much, but we need ways to make the characters meaningful for ourselves and others, if we are ever going to find roleplay again in MMORPGs.

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  • water_goblinwater_goblin Seattle, WAPosts: 1Member
    Originally posted by Coldlander

    I once wondered why there is so little RP and so much killing. It's pretty simple. Finding a reason to kill something is easy. In Tera, you kill fearies because they got dominated by evil cultists... Fearies... In my mind, it's just like killing unicorn.. that you do next in Tera. My objection is not about good or evil but about the meaning of having to kill everything you meet.


    This also holds true in RP games that have no XP rewards. I played a unicorn on Secondlife for a couple of years, and every other person wanted to kill me. Secondlife is a roleplayer's paradise, and there are a lot of pretty decent fantasy sims there with lots of experienced roleplayers, so it was the last place I'd have expected to see that behavior.

    I've started wondering if this is a generational thing, or maybe just related to the fact that people don't read books as much anymore. Or perhaps RPG environments may not be compared to the Fantasy genre, but instead, just thought of in reference to other video games.

    The part of this I find curious is, how the majority of people can possibly maintain interest in killing things and taking their stuff, and absolutely NOTHING else. That is the sum total of their hundreds or thousands of hours of gaming time.

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