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Would like everyone's input on what has happened to Roleplaying in this genre - specifically I want input from former UO players.
In UO roleplaying was everywhere ( and when I'm talking about role-playing I'm referring to character speaking to character rather than player speaking to player..... stories, and conflict which were character driven.) A lot of the action in UO was really like an improv theater. It really made the world come to life, and added great fun in addition to the typical activities of skilling up and killing monsters.
When I see the issue of roleplaying brought up on modern MMORPG boards, a typical response is "people aren't interested in roleplay anymore... the younger generation... blah blah."
It seems to me though, that newer games are not designed for roleplaying.
There were two crucial design aspects that UO had that few if any MMORPG's have had since.
1) Floating text.
2) Fixed Point-of-View
And in order to have floating text you must have a fixed point-of view, otherwise it doesn't work.
The floating text allows characters to speak with characters. Chat boxes are for players to speak with players. UO had a chat box, it was called ICQ. In ICQ, players socialized with players. In the game, characters talked with characters using the floating text. It was natural and it worked.
I believe the main reason that floating text has not been used widely in modern games is because of the dynamic Points of View.
In UO, when you saw someone on your screen, they saw you. If they were looking at their computer screen, by god they knew where you were, what you were doing, and what you were saying - and they could "act" accordingly.
In modern games, if you see someone on your screen, they may be looking in a completely different direction. Why type something into a chat bubble if they may not even see it? Why perform and emote of any kind if the other player is looking from a completely different Point of View and will only see you by chance? There is no improv theater, and roleplaying dies.
Does anyone else think that these basic changes in game design from the grandfather of the genre (UO) are the real reason why roleplaying only exists sporadically in modern MMORPG's?