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What Can We Do to Foster Roleplay?

Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,225Member Uncommon

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."
--Arcken

"...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

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Comments

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,942Member Uncommon
    +

    - slow levelling down to a crawl and make it more attractive than end game so people can feel like they can immerse in their char rather than feel pressured to rush.

    Have npc's do little things like nod at you as you walk past.

    Make alts a less attractive - if you are swapping a lot between chars your less likely to role play - if becomes a race to build an alt based production machine.

    - don't have phasing such that.you see empty zones.

    - don have flying such that you never engage with the world.

    - don't have lobbies and installer to any instance without people being there to summon.

    - don't make instances so easy that you just aoe everything and become yet more disengaged.

    - ban names that are out of context.

    Perms block swearing

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • trancefatetrancefate zionsville, INPosts: 134Member
    Originally posted by Bladestrom
    +

    - slow levelling down to a crawl and make it more attractive than end game so people can feel like they can immerse in their char rather than feel pressured to rush.
    Make grouping the most attractive option. Make level a thing that determines which content you get to play, not how fun the content is (so tired of games withholding any challenge until the very very very top 1% of content)
    Have npc's do little things like nod at you as you walk past.
    Most games do this
    Make alts a less attractive - if you are swapping a lot between chars your less likely to role play - if becomes a race to build an alt based production machine
    Disagree, maybe one day I'm an ornery dwarven brigand and on sundays I like to play the benevolent human priest?
    - don't have phasing such that.you see empty zones.
    Yes, this.
    - don have flying such that you never engage with the world.
    To a lesser extent this, to a greater extent -- get rid of teleporting past content. Developers bone themselves spending millions of dollars to have hundreds of artsists spend thousands of hours painting beautiful scenery, then 1 prick puts in a teleporter and all of that money and effort is down the drain.
    - don't have lobbies and installer to any instance without people being there to summon.
    Yeah, that.
    - don't make instances so easy that you just aoe everything and become yet more disengaged.
    Refer to previous comment about developers refusing to introduce challenge before endgame.
    - ban names that are out of context.
    Do-able to an extent.
    Perms block swearing
    Fuckoff with that noise!

     

  • UtinniUtinni Richmond, VAPosts: 380Member Uncommon
    You'll have to organize the older crowd that actually wants to RP. No gameplay mechanics or server ruleset will cause the extreme majority of the current playerbase to RP. Perhaps start a guild/community that focuses on it and only play with eachother.
  • ApraxisApraxis RegensburgPosts: 1,515Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Beatnik59

    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.)

    All those ideas will just help those willingly to Roleplay to easier roleplay. But we all know.. that those few players will do it anyway.. and they are more or less the smallest niche of all MMO players nowadays.

    Now.. we can divide any further questions into two categories.

    1. What can we do to make a place for those roleplayers, that they can actually roleplay with likeminded?

    or

    2. What can we do that all other players not interested in actual roleplay to at least behave like a role in the setting of the MMO they play.

    For the first one.. the best solution is to play on a rather small private server(there were a few very good ones for UO.. maybe they still exist), with very restrictive adminstration and forced roleplay rules all players consent before the game. And then even more with a few game masters actually master the roleplay session or plots like in p&p or larp.

    With that you actually do have a good roleplay experience, unlike in any public MMO since existence (UO included.. though there was at least partially a good roleplay community and sometimes a rather good roleplay experience on a few servers.. nevertheless the private roleplaying servers were great in comparsion)

     

    For number 2... actually make a MMO, where every role(class, whatever) actually is very different, in gameplay, in progression, for what the target is.. and make that gameplay specific representing that role. With that you don't get any more roleplayer, but most players at least behave to some degree like that role.

    Partially we see this in games like EvE.. where a Miner is a Miner.. a Hauler is a Hauler, a production tycoon is a production tycoon, and a pirate is a pirate... though in EvE it is not far enough, not specific enough, and there are too much in between.

  • IfrianMMOIfrianMMO BarcelonaPosts: 212Member

    As a non-roleplayer these are the few features that would help me get into it:

    -In depth character creation system that allows me to modify both my body and my costumes so that within reason, my character is truly unique and i can establish a "connection" with it.

    -in depth housing/gardening system that allowed me to customize my own "base" to my style, and of course invite my friends over for a chat and perhaps some in-lore activities or minigames.

    -Very difficult challenges from the get-go,  that force me to group and make social interaction meaningful and necessary.

    -Level-less gameplay that does not bring my adventures or travels "on rails" nor forces me to follow X route all the time.

    -Realistic armor and weaponry that, while fantastic, follows some sort of logic.

    And ABOVE ALL, these features should be readily available for all players within a reasonably short amount of time and not require the player to play for 5 months and farm a gazillion gold coins to own and participate in.

    Games are supposed to be fun from the start and to RP, the connection to my char should be almost inmediate, not require me to "level/content cap" in order to even begin to enjoy it.

    image
  • nomotagnomotag Posts: 131Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Utinni
    You'll have to organize the older crowd that actually wants to RP. No gameplay mechanics or server ruleset will cause the extreme majority of the current playerbase to RP. Perhaps start a guild/community that focuses on it and only play with eachother.

     

    Basically this. If you, you want to foster RP, the first second and third thing you will need is Roleplayers.
  • sunandshadowsunandshadow Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 1,042Member Uncommon
    Interactive story, peaceful NPC-faction related content (both quests and crafting, with rewards such as faction tabards), courtable NPCs.  Rolepaying doesn't have to be between players; the roleplaying that happens between a player and the game, aka immersion, is just as important.
    I want to help design and develop a PvE-focused, solo-friendly, sandpark MMO which combines crafting, monster hunting, and story.  So PM me if you are starting one.
  • jesadjesad Posts: 753Member Uncommon

    I think that in order to get actual, good, roleplay in these games it requires an effort both on the part of the game and on the part of the community.

    The game needs to.....

    1. Provide a monumental enough task to force the players to band together in order to overcome it.

    This will provide the instant glue needed to cause people to stick together, to follow those who are willing to lead, and possibly to take up the role of leadership.  These things, in turn, will provide a healthy landscape for roleplay as things such as rank, royalty, and service actually begin to make sense.

    Currently, because most things can be done by most people, there is little need to cling together or follow or be of any kind of service to anyone other than ones self.

    The detriment of making a game this way however is that it opens up the game to those unscrupulous players and exploiters who will do anything to earn whatever they can sell to whoever will buy it in order to circumvent the natural order of things which, in short, would be that the weak would follow the strong.

    And this is why it is unlikely that this will happen.

    The community needs to....

    1. Accept the challenge presented by producing leaders, and followers who are willing to devote their time, in coordination with the time of others, towards a common goal.

    Again, just this simple act could open up a whole world of roles for people to play that would not require them to learn old English or formulating some huge, crazy backstory, or being anything other than theirselves, but would still lend importance to who they were because THAT would be the character that the rest of us would have to deal with in order to accomplish our mutual goals.

    This can not happen however without the task, and the task can not happen without the dangers that such a task might present, and so, the only way to foster what we have left is to individually elect to stay in some kind of character as much as possible.

    No amount of emotes, houses, or any other game mechanic is going to make a difference if you don't care or can't get out of your own head enough to try to pretend to be someone or something else.

    Just my opinion.

    image
  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    You have to have an agreement among players to roleplay. I don't see any mechanics that could encourage or foster it. If you want to roleplay, play pen & paper RPGs with your friends.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • mmoguy43mmoguy43 , CAPosts: 2,439Member Uncommon

    Start with a good setting and story that is easy to pick up and follow. It should have depth if you want to delve deeper into it but not be too confusing and complex.

    Make the game world immersive and believable so you can easily be connected with your character and the world around you.

    The game should have its own on going story that changes the landscape by live events or dynamic events that have permanence.

    Player Animations, Placeables, and Interacables. I personally like animations linked to key works so that when in chat I say, "Look at that poor oaf! HAha" my character does a [laugh] animation. Objects that you can deploy and interact with are also handy for creating your mini setting and do more than chat.

     

  • Cephus404Cephus404 Redlands, CAPosts: 3,675Member

    It all depends on what you mean by roleplay.  I think MMOs are a piss poor place to roleplay, they are not set up for it and it cannot be adequately done.  At best, you get a bunch of people sitting around typing strangely, that's not roleplaying, that's being an idiot.  Roleplaying requires freedom, something that no computer game can ever offer.  It requires the ability to break the rules.  It requires the ability to do things that cannot be foreseen or planned for.  It requires a human moderator.  Without it, you're just playing a computer game talking in silly voices.

    So if that's what's meant by roleplaying, I don't think we ought to foster it.  We ought to discourage it.  Just play the  game.  Roleplay when you can sit around a table with friends.

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,225Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Cephus404

    So if that's what's meant by roleplaying, I don't think we ought to foster it.  We ought to discourage it.  Just play the  game.  Roleplay when you can sit around a table with friends.

    I'm not sure I agree.  If roleplay was a kind of malicious thing, perhaps we ought to discourage it.  But it seems so benign, that discouraging it really doesn't add value to the genre in any way.

    It seems in some games I was a part of, like City of Heroes and SWG, the people tended to act like their heroes or aliens would act.  And in other games, they wouldn't act like their characters so much (WoW).  And it seemed that this sort of identification in no way hurt the enjoyment that people had in the games.  Surely something might account for the difference, no?

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
    --Arcken

    "...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

  • Cephus404Cephus404 Redlands, CAPosts: 3,675Member
    Originally posted by Beatnik59
    Originally posted by Cephus404

    So if that's what's meant by roleplaying, I don't think we ought to foster it.  We ought to discourage it.  Just play the  game.  Roleplay when you can sit around a table with friends.

    I'm not sure I agree.  If roleplay was a kind of malicious thing, perhaps we ought to discourage it.  But it seems so benign, that discouraging it really doesn't add value to the genre in any way.

    It seems in some games I was a part of, like City of Heroes and SWG, the people tended to act like their heroes or aliens would act.  And in other games, they wouldn't act like their characters so much (WoW).  And it seemed that this sort of identification in no way hurt the enjoyment that people had in the games.  Surely something might account for the difference, no?

    That's not really roleplaying though, any more than pretending to be Master Chief while playing Halo is roleplaying.  It's playing a game while talking with a silly voice.  I think that a lot of people who have primarily been playing video games all their lives just don't know what actual roleplaying is, they've been fooled into thinking that identifying with a character on screen is what roleplaying actually is.  It's not.

    If people want to roleplay, and I am by no means discouraging it, you don't do it in front of your monitor, you do it around a table with real people.  Video games are not now, nor have they ever been set up for roleplaying,.

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

  • EhliyaEhliya Washington, DCPosts: 199Member

    Correct me if I am wrong.  But isn't EQN supposed to invite the player base to vote on creating special ruleset servers?  

    Not sure if this has already been started by someone, but if enough people get together to support a RP ruleset, SOE can make it happen.

    I agree with much of the above.  Downtime, e.g. how SWG dancers worked, also would help wonders.

    Most of today's MMORPGS are basically single-player games.  You can RP in them, but you are swimming against the tide.

  • MaquiameMaquiame Posts: 794Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Utinni
    You'll have to organize the older crowd that actually wants to RP. No gameplay mechanics or server ruleset will cause the extreme majority of the current playerbase to RP. Perhaps start a guild/community that focuses on it and only play with eachother.

    There are rp sites all across Enjin for almost every mmo out there.

    image

    Any mmo worth its salt should be like a good prostitute when it comes to its game world- One hell of a faker, and a damn good shaker!

  • syriinxsyriinx New York, NYPosts: 1,059Member Uncommon

    some ones that modern MMOs don't do at all anymore:

     

    Rich game world with lore and history

    Races with actual personality

    No more mix and match talent trees with multispecs.  Choice needs to matter in character development

    less spammy combat or gimmicky twitch stuff.  Something is just off about a big heavy armored guy attacking every second without fatigue and dodging and rolling around like a madman.  Or spell casters flinging off instant spells non stop with no regards to mana pool.  

     

    Its the first two that are most important.  For example, a game like ArcheAge...It seems like it would be great for roleplay with the housing and farming and such...but the world and races kind of suck.  Tougher to roleplay if you dont have the lore hooks.

     

  • PhryPhry HampshirePosts: 6,289Member Uncommon
    RP, like PvP is something players are either into, or not, honestly i have no idea which group has the higher proportion of game players, but, if there are tools there to be used to encourage RP, and most games i've played do have them, then those interested will generally make use of them, the only thing you can really do, to foster roleplay, is to be more open about it in game, and encourage others to join in. The trouble, or too often the trouble, is that in game the RP groups can seem to be a bit.. standoffish, i wouldn't go so far as to say elitist, because i don't think they are, but they can be a bit, 'if your not with us, your against us' kind of mentality. So all i can really suggest, is be a bit more open, inclusive, and have patience. image
  • syriinxsyriinx New York, NYPosts: 1,059Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by syriinx

     

    less spammy combat or gimmicky twitch stuff.  Something is just off about a big heavy armored guy attacking every second without fatigue and dodging and rolling around like a madman.  Or spell casters flinging off instant spells non stop with no regards to mana pool.  

    Also another reason for this besides being out of place is it removes the immersion.  If you are relying too much on your personal 'twitch' skill (and I lump excessive gcd spam in there as well) it just feels like its you fighting, not your character fighting.

     

    There is a way to do slower, strategic combat with a focus on resource management instead of global cooldowns and still have the combat be interesting.  

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,942Member Uncommon
    I would actually say there are 2 levels to role play here, the first is the all important immersion factor ( agree re twitch ^^) which provides an environment where you can role play.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • syriinxsyriinx New York, NYPosts: 1,059Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Bladestrom
    I would actually say there are 2 levels to role play here, the first is the all important immersion factor ( agree re twitch ^^) which provides an environment where you can role play.

    yes..there is the environment (lore, world feel, etc) and the tools (emotes, open world places, etc)

     

    I feel environment is the bigger factor of the two.   And thats what modern MMOs are missing.

  • jesadjesad Posts: 753Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Cephus404
    Originally posted by Beatnik59
    Originally posted by Cephus404

    So if that's what's meant by roleplaying, I don't think we ought to foster it.  We ought to discourage it.  Just play the  game.  Roleplay when you can sit around a table with friends.

    I'm not sure I agree.  If roleplay was a kind of malicious thing, perhaps we ought to discourage it.  But it seems so benign, that discouraging it really doesn't add value to the genre in any way.

    It seems in some games I was a part of, like City of Heroes and SWG, the people tended to act like their heroes or aliens would act.  And in other games, they wouldn't act like their characters so much (WoW).  And it seemed that this sort of identification in no way hurt the enjoyment that people had in the games.  Surely something might account for the difference, no?

    That's not really roleplaying though, any more than pretending to be Master Chief while playing Halo is roleplaying.  It's playing a game while talking with a silly voice.  I think that a lot of people who have primarily been playing video games all their lives just don't know what actual roleplaying is, they've been fooled into thinking that identifying with a character on screen is what roleplaying actually is.  It's not.

    If people want to roleplay, and I am by no means discouraging it, you don't do it in front of your monitor, you do it around a table with real people.  Video games are not now, nor have they ever been set up for roleplaying,.

    I disagree with this.  I think that video games are an ideal place for roleplaying.  I would even go as far to say that online MMORPG's are far superior to sitting around a table with friends when it comes to roleplaying in fact. 

    I, like a lot of other people, have done both and what I've seen is that the lack of anonymity that comes with sitting around the table together is far more subject to peer pressure, hurt feelings, and general asshatery than the simple ability provided by a video game to either deal with any particular personality or not.

    I think where a lot of us get our wires crossed though is based on exactly the way you (Cephus) began your argument, meaning that we don't understand the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle differences between roleplaying among friends in a supportive, table-top environment and roleplaying among complete strangers in an aggressive, competitive, MMORPG environment.

    I believe that the one thing that all people who are attempting to "truly" roleplay a character within the boundaries of a video game need to understand is this....we are not in Kansas anymore.

    No matter what your class, no matter what your race, no matter what your backstory, no matter what the game tells you, every single persons story within any of these games begins like this....

    "You are thrust into a totally utilitarian world with only your belief system and the items on your back......what do you do next?"

    From there you must begin to build your character into what you want it to be suspending all disbelief that every single person that you run into is not doing the exact same thing.  And from there you will become whatever role it is you choose to become, only if you, yourself, are willing to stay within the set parameters of the role that you have etched out for yourself and accept that the place where this character falls in the food chain is the place where it is supposed to be in this world.

    A big problem that a lot of roleplayers that I have run into seem to have is an overblown sense of importance that can not be supported by such an "every man for himself" kind of society that is the society of the average MMORPG.  So make peace with the fact that, if you are like this, that is a problem within YOU and you need to fix it asap if you want to really have the chance to have some tasty good RP fun inside one of these games.

    A quick and dirty way of making this peace should begin like this...All of that backstory nonsense..... means nothing to anyone other than you.  If you don't make it a part of who you are to deal with it isn't going to mean anything at all.  If you are lucky to get someone to listen to it then you should be extra careful not to wear them out with it because they will put you on ignore bigger than shit and you will never speak to that person again.

    All of that real life nonsense?  Sure, it will provide certain amounts of entertainment but the moment it becomes tiresome, you'd better believe, /ignore, never talk to that person again.

    Most of the people that you meet are going to be one dimensional at best.  They are going to be that guy who wants to know what the best this or that is, the guy that just wants to level, the girl (or guy in girls clothing) that wants to flirt with everyone, the guy who wants to cyber or get you to send him pics.  These and more are all personalities within the universe that you live in and it doesn't matter whether that universe exists in a sci-fi environment, a fantasy environment, or a superhero environment.  The only thing that matters is if YOU can keep a straight face while pretending to be whoever it is that you are pretending to be and if you can do that long enough to meet a couple of people who may be doing the same, you might be able to actually enjoy a story or two before you get bored of playing the game and quit.

    The stories that occur within a video game are simply not going to be that deep right away.  But if you stick to your guns, if you socialize, if you pursue goals that make you important to the people that you come into contact with, eventually, you will begin to experience stories worth remembering and repeating.  Stories that go waaay beyond anything you could have ever accomplished sitting around a table with people placating you, and stories of the real character that is you, whoever you choose to be, in the most realistic fantasy setting available which is that of a massive, multiplayer, online role playing game.

    The tools are there for you to use them.  My advice then is to stop trying to force it and just get in there hand and feet and BE somebody.  If you end up being nothing but a bystander, well... welcome to the majority.  Just remember this, Vampires can not exist in a vacuum.  They must always have something to feed on or they, themselves, will ultimately go extinct.  Game of Thrones would not be what it is without all of the little people that come in and out of all of the main characters stories, and that is how these games are set up to be as well.  Learn to work WITHIN those boundaries instead of outside of them and I guarantee you will have a lot more fun overall.

    Oh, and don't let anyone playing these games ever fool you, every single one of us identifies with his character in one way or another and it is my belief that the ones that find it hardest to roleplay in the traditional, table-top, sense are the ones that identify with their the most, not the other way around.

    Again, just opinion.

    image
  • jesadjesad Posts: 753Member Uncommon

    To sum of the wall of text that I just posted above, all I am saying is that the number of people playing these games all at once make the game itself, MORE REAL, and not less.

    It's just the game storyline that is throwing you off 9 times out of 10 by making you believe that all of these other things and kinds of people don't exist.

    Now read and understand that and go back to what I said the first time and you will see where I am coming from.

    image
  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,225Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jesad
    Originally posted by Cephus404
    Originally posted by Beatnik59
    Originally posted by Cephus404

    So if that's what's meant by roleplaying, I don't think we ought to foster it.  We ought to discourage it.  Just play the  game.  Roleplay when you can sit around a table with friends.

    I'm not sure I agree.  If roleplay was a kind of malicious thing, perhaps we ought to discourage it.  But it seems so benign, that discouraging it really doesn't add value to the genre in any way.

    It seems in some games I was a part of, like City of Heroes and SWG, the people tended to act like their heroes or aliens would act.  And in other games, they wouldn't act like their characters so much (WoW).  And it seemed that this sort of identification in no way hurt the enjoyment that people had in the games.  Surely something might account for the difference, no?

    That's not really roleplaying though, any more than pretending to be Master Chief while playing Halo is roleplaying.  It's playing a game while talking with a silly voice.  I think that a lot of people who have primarily been playing video games all their lives just don't know what actual roleplaying is, they've been fooled into thinking that identifying with a character on screen is what roleplaying actually is.  It's not.

    If people want to roleplay, and I am by no means discouraging it, you don't do it in front of your monitor, you do it around a table with real people.  Video games are not now, nor have they ever been set up for roleplaying,.

    I disagree with this.  I think that video games are an ideal place for roleplaying.  I would even go as far to say that online MMORPG's are far superior to sitting around a table with friends when it comes to roleplaying in fact. 

    I, like a lot of other people, have done both and what I've seen is that the lack of anonymity that comes with sitting around the table together is far more subject to peer pressure, hurt feelings, and general asshatery than the simple ability provided by a video game to either deal with any particular personality or not.

    I think where a lot of us get our wires crossed though is based on exactly the way you (Cephus) began your argument, meaning that we don't understand the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle differences between roleplaying among friends in a supportive, table-top environment and roleplaying among complete strangers in an aggressive, competitive, MMORPG environment.

    I believe that the one thing that all people who are attempting to "truly" roleplay a character within the boundaries of a video game need to understand is this....we are not in Kansas anymore.

    No matter what your class, no matter what your race, no matter what your backstory, no matter what the game tells you, every single persons story within any of these games begins like this....

    "You are thrust into a totally utilitarian world with only your belief system and the items on your back......what do you do next?"

    From there you must begin to build your character into what you want it to be suspending all disbelief that every single person that you run into is not doing the exact same thing.  And from there you will become whatever role it is you choose to become, only if you, yourself, are willing to stay within the set parameters of the role that you have etched out for yourself and accept that the place where this character falls in the food chain is the place where it is supposed to be in this world.

    A big problem that a lot of roleplayers that I have run into seem to have is an overblown sense of importance that can not be supported by such an "every man for himself" kind of society that is the society of the average MMORPG.  So make peace with the fact that, if you are like this, that is a problem within YOU and you need to fix it asap if you want to really have the chance to have some tasty good RP fun inside one of these games.

    A quick and dirty way of making this peace should begin like this...All of that backstory nonsense..... means nothing to anyone other than you.  If you don't make it a part of who you are to deal with it isn't going to mean anything at all.  If you are lucky to get someone to listen to it then you should be extra careful not to wear them out with it because they will put you on ignore bigger than shit and you will never speak to that person again.

    All of that real life nonsense?  Sure, it will provide certain amounts of entertainment but the moment it becomes tiresome, you'd better believe, /ignore, never talk to that person again.

    Most of the people that you meet are going to be one dimensional at best.  They are going to be that guy who wants to know what the best this or that is, the guy that just wants to level, the girl (or guy in girls clothing) that wants to flirt with everyone, the guy who wants to cyber or get you to send him pics.  These and more are all personalities within the universe that you live in and it doesn't matter whether that universe exists in a sci-fi environment, a fantasy environment, or a superhero environment.  The only thing that matters is if YOU can keep a straight face while pretending to be whoever it is that you are pretending to be and if you can do that long enough to meet a couple of people who may be doing the same, you might be able to actually enjoy a story or two before you get bored of playing the game and quit.

    The stories that occur within a video game are simply not going to be that deep right away.  But if you stick to your guns, if you socialize, if you pursue goals that make you important to the people that you come into contact with, eventually, you will begin to experience stories worth remembering and repeating.  Stories that go waaay beyond anything you could have ever accomplished sitting around a table with people placating you, and stories of the real character that is you, whoever you choose to be, in the most realistic fantasy setting available which is that of a massive, multiplayer, online role playing game.

    The tools are there for you to use them.  My advice then is to stop trying to force it and just get in there hand and feet and BE somebody.  If you end up being nothing but a bystander, well... welcome to the majority.  Just remember this, Vampires can not exist in a vacuum.  They must always have something to feed on or they, themselves, will ultimately go extinct.  Game of Thrones would not be what it is without all of the little people that come in and out of all of the main characters stories, and that is how these games are set up to be as well.  Learn to work WITHIN those boundaries instead of outside of them and I guarantee you will have a lot more fun overall.

    Oh, and don't let anyone playing these games ever fool you, every single one of us identifies with his character in one way or another and it is my belief that the ones that find it hardest to roleplay in the traditional, table-top, sense are the ones that identify with their the most, not the other way around.

    Again, just opinion.

    /respect.

    The way that I see it, I've got so many better options to play a story or participate in an adventure.  The action/adventure titles on console are far more cinematic than the MMOs ever can be or will be.  Then again, I'm not creating anything in those stories; I'm just letting some writer's story unfold.

    ...But only MMOs allow me to create a story that wasn't there before, and to be integral in the creating of others' stories.  One might say that this MMO technology allows us to create our own stories, shared collectively.  Where else in computer entertainment allows us to do that?

    It takes skill to do right, but the basics are--as you've outlined--very simple.  It involves two questions: "how do I believe this character should act?" and "how can I make these actions believable?"  Done well, I've found that roleplaying is infectious...everybody starts thinking in terms of the thing they've created.

    But it can be easier or harder, depending on the tools people have available to create and play out their own stories.  That's why I started this thread, to share ideas on what the games can do.

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
    --Arcken

    "...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

  • Flyte27Flyte27 Greenwich, CTPosts: 2,837Member Uncommon
    I'm not sure you can foster roleplaying either.  I was never a huge roleplayer, but I usually was pretty tied to my character because I read a lot of dragonlance and forgotten realms books when I was young.  When playing the game picking something like a half elf Ranger was an emotional investment for me because I thought of Tanis Half Elven.  The same with Wizards (Raistlin/Elminster) and Dark Elves (Drizzt).  It was always interesting to see a Dark Elf NPC hanging out near a good aligned KOS town or an Ogre NPC sitting down in Kelethin.  It stirred the imagination by pondering the question what were they doing there and why were they accepted.  Wandering around the open plains as a Ranger and helping others was an easy roleplay for me.  I didn't need to even try.
  • Cephus404Cephus404 Redlands, CAPosts: 3,675Member
    Originally posted by jesad

    I believe that the one thing that all people who are attempting to "truly" roleplay a character within the boundaries of a video game need to understand is this....we are not in Kansas anymore.

    And that right there is why you can't really roleplay, because you are within the bounds of a video game.  Video games have rules, just like tabletop RPGs, but players can opt to go off the rails and do things that are unexpected in a tabletop game.  You can't do that in an MMO.  You can't decide that you want to play a non-combat based character, but you still want to progress as fast as your combat-based companions.  That's not really an option.  The need to play the game, entirely beyond the roleplaying aspect, really does make the roleplaying secondary, if it's even possible at all.  Roleplaying really does require the human element, a GM who can change the rules at a moment's notice if it's called for by the gameplay.

    Computer AI doesn't do that.  Game programming can't do that.  If you can't take a left turn at Albuquerque when the game wants you to go right, then it's not roleplaying, it's just playing a game with silly voices.  You'd do better RPing over Twitter or Skype.  Roleplaying in an MMO will always be a pale shadow of what you get playing with friends in a system that allows full and total freedom.

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

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