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The lack of character play in MMOs is not a new trend, but are there some things good design can do to foster roleplay? What can the games do, from a design standpoint, to get players to play into the lore and think of themselves less as "toons" and more as distinct, "in character" personalities?
Here are some ideas we can discuss...or if you have your own, share those!
1) Animated emotes (sitting, walking, laying down, dancing, laughing, etc.)
2) Deep visual character customization (sliders instead of presets, clothes, etc.)
3) Social spaces (houses, pubs, secret lairs, fight clubs, etc.)
4) Props (musical instruments, TVs, radios, gift boxes, signs, etc.)
5) Text chats (chat bubbles, shouts, whispers, colored text, etc.)
6) Factional conflicts (rebels versus order, forces of darkness versus forces of light, national loyalties within the game fiction, etc.)
"Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
"...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
--Hellmar, CEO of CCP.
"It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
--Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE