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Need help from MMO roleplayers

TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
Hi,

I have a blog where, among other things, I muse about video games and especially roleplaying in video games.  I really want to get more information from roleplayers who play MMO's or are looking for their MMO.  Since I work with game developers, I would like to share this information, not only with them but with others who don't always understand why roleplayers need their own place to play.

I am curious about a few things....

What inspires you to roleplay in the game? Is it the lore, the visuals, the goals in the game, sharing the experience with friends or something else?

What mechanics are important to you?  Are there some mechanics that destroy roleplay for you? Are there others that must be in the game?

How many players do you think are required to make a game successful for role players?  Do you prefer something smaller, a few hundred people like Firan, or something massive like WoW?

Do you have any thoughts about how to attract roleplayers to a game?  Developers tell me there are not enough roleplayers to make a game, even a small one successful without appealing to PvPers and others. Do you think this is true?

Do you believe that a game that enforces roleplay would be better than one that simply encourages roleplay? 

In your experience, is it possible for non-roleplayers and roleplayers to coexist on the same server or the same game? Are their needs similar or opposite?


I am sure I will have more questions, if any of you are interested in sharing with me. I will be happy to post a link to the blog post that results from your input.  I really appreciate your help. I find it really hard to find roleplayers out there, and would like to start blogging, and tweeting, and whatever, to get our voice heard.

Thanks!

Teila

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Comments

  • GruugGruug Member RarePosts: 1,710
    You are asking for "structured" role players since EVEYONE that plays an MMO is actually "role playing". They may not think so but they ARE taking on the part of the characters they create and play with even if they do not go through that structured role playing that many players attempt.

    Let's party like it is 1863!

  • GestankfaustGestankfaust Member UncommonPosts: 1,989
    Actual "role playing" needs a deep "role playing" structure in game. Not just...some tavern they meet at and pretend to role play. I've seen it before. Some group is gathered around a place most people travel by. Role playing in their own group and you see the chatter. Seems so out of place.

    I feel for ya. But not sure which game will ever come again to make it more a part of the world.

    "This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to. Relax....."

  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    I figured since this was the Role Play discussion forum, that I didn't need to clarify. :)  I am actually looking for players who see role-playing as their preferred method of gaming. 

    I do agree that anyone who plays a role actually role plays. However, I don't agree that role play has to be structured. In fact, most of the role play in video games is free form, not structured. Structured role play is more often seen in tabletop games.

    Thank you for your input. That might make an interesting blog, structured vs free form role play.
  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    Actual "role playing" needs a deep "role playing" structure in game. Not just...some tavern they meet at and pretend to role play. I've seen it before. Some group is gathered around a place most people travel by. Role playing in their own group and you see the chatter. Seems so out of place.

    I feel for ya. But not sure which game will ever come again to make it more a part of the world.
    Hmm, I think it just needs some people willing to take a chance and some players willing to commit. Right now, I am unsure about whether there are any role players left who play video games. Back in my days, yeah, I sound old, there are thousands of them, all of them following games and shouting out for rp servers, which of course, never came. 

    Now games like WoW have them.  And with the indie revolution, why can't there be a game? But..to have a game, it must have an audience.

    Your kind of structure, I agree is a huge part of role play.

    So another question, what creates that structure? Deep lore? Mechanics that support Player Generated Content? Emotes? Strong crafting system? Player economy?

    Maybe all of those..but what to you is most important. I really want your input. 
  • winghaven1winghaven1 Member RarePosts: 707
    I think the big part of role-play is having roles. Sandbox games that offer player variety of roles is what I like most. Roles that have an impact and meaning. A chef in WoW isn't really a chef you'd say unless he took up on that role in role-play and took charge of an inn and alike otherwise he's just some random adventurer that took up cooking as a secondary profession and inbetween battles he eats up on some bacon to recover health.

    Whereas in games that have a hunger mechanic they put an increased emphasis on cooks and allow them to thrive gamewise as well which allows for more player interactions especially if there is enough variety of roles that Chefs isn't just every other adventurer you meet but just an important cog in the bigger machine. 

    Role-play is just taking on a role and making it fit into the universe with other role-players. So it's important that there is something to choose from and everyone can feel like they belong to allow for communities to foster. However I'm not so sure that role-play should be enforced as with any roleplay it is always voluntary.

    A game mechanic that basically forces you to never break character is probably not a good idea. Roleplay is very niche I'd say. So it'd be a risk for sure. 

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,186

    What inspires you to roleplay in the game? 
    In WOW/EQ style MMOs, an interesting quest line.
    In sandbox style MMOs, the ability to carve my own niche or path.


    What mechanics are important to you?  
    Features that allow players to make their mark somewhere in the game world, even if it's irrelevant to the rest of the game. 
    - Maker's marks and the ability to control of stats, look, quality of crafted items.
    - Paper, books, signage, personal NPCs, and ways to share writing and announce events. 


    How many players do you think are required to make a game successful for role players?  
    It all depends on the game. I've found roleplay to be engaging in Furcadia and Puzzle Pirates. I've found it equally engaging in LOTRO and EVE. 

    Do you prefer something smaller, a few hundred people like Firan, or something massive like WoW?
    I prefer the ability for groups to break off into their own communities. More on that here: 


    Do you have any thoughts about how to attract roleplayers to a game?  
    Start with a core group and build out from there. Examples would be:
     - WoD and the ICC
     - The Pathfinder fans
     - movie/TV IP fans (ex: Firefly, Little House on the Prairie, Farscape, SAO)

    Developers tell me there are not enough roleplayers to make a game, even a small one successful without appealing to PvPers and others. Do you think this is true?
    I think there are too many assumptions in what you present to give you an answer. 

    Do you believe that a game that enforces roleplay would be better than one that simply encourages roleplay? 
    No. Each roleplay group has their own rules of play, rules of engagement, and level of "roleplayness". Enforcing rules (beyond name policies and other basic aspects) would just cater to a niche within a niche, leaving the developer with an unviable, small audience to market to.  

    In your experience, is it possible for non-roleplayers and roleplayers to coexist on the same server or the same game? Are their needs similar or opposite?
    Very possible. It takes both sides to make it work - the community itself and the dev's community team. Skara Brae on UO's Pacific Server was one of many examples of a large, diverse community that lived in relative harmony - chaotic and insane harmony, but harmony. 
  • GestankfaustGestankfaust Member UncommonPosts: 1,989
    If you have to make it all up in game. Like choosing a spot and gather there and then RP while no one else around you is....just stinks. Would be nice if they added elements of leveling and such....and I'm not a role player much. But understand it at least.

    "This may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to. Relax....."

  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    Thank you! Great response.


    I think the big part of role-play is having roles. Sandbox games that offer player variety of roles is what I like most. Roles that have an impact and meaning. A chef in WoW isn't really a chef you'd say unless he took up on that role in role-play and took charge of an inn and alike otherwise he's just some random adventurer that took up cooking as a secondary profession and inbetween battles he eats up on some bacon to recover health.

    Whereas in games that have a hunger mechanic they put an increased emphasis on cooks and allow them to thrive gamewise as well which allows for more player interactions especially if there is enough variety of roles that Chefs isn't just every other adventurer you meet but just an important cog in the bigger machine. 

    So, the character's role should have impact and meaning. You give a very good example. If players could take on roles that actually impact the community in the game, such as a profession that provides something useful, that would give some reason for the character to exist.

    You also suggest that stats, like hunger, give that chef a reason to create the food that he makes. 

    Very nice! I am getting ideas for a blog post already. :)


    Role-play is just taking on a role and making it fit into the universe with other role-players. So it's important that there is something to choose from and everyone can feel like they belong to allow for communities to foster. However I'm not so sure that role-play should be enforced as with any roleplay it is always voluntary.

    A game mechanic that basically forces you to never break character is probably not a good idea. Roleplay is very niche I'd say. So it'd be a risk for sure. 

    If role play is voluntary, would there be a way to encourage players to role play rather than enforce it? Do you think if the roles a player's character has, such as the chef, would be enough to encourage people to "be" in their role? 

    I remember playing a text game years ago that enforced role play. Making a mistake was tantamount to treason and the punishments were public and humiliating. So I get what you mean. Any game that focuses on role play needs to not "force" people to role play.

    On the other hand, I have role played in games where "jerks" do everything they can to ruin the immersion for the role players, even stalking them.

    So how does a game deal with that? Is there an in-game way to create an environment that attracts role players without turning off those who want to coexist without ruining it for others?


  • laxielaxie Member RarePosts: 1,052
    1.
    I think pretend play is something that comes naturally. Every single kid does it - kids pretend to be astronauts, warriors, movie stars. They also know how to stick to the role. So in theory, role-playing is something everyone is capable of. In other words, I don't think we will see a day where roleplayers completely disappear. You will always have an audience.

    2.
    The post by @winghaven1 is spot on. Dedicated roles are at the core of social interaction. Some MMOs let you do everything on your own (clear dungeons, get loot, craft items, repeat). In those games, people are less inclined to have any social interaction. Games like Ultima Online or Star Wars Galaxies were both roleplay heavy. Both games had dedicated roles.

    3.
    The final piece of the puzzle, to me, is forming a link to your character. If you "assign" the dedicated role to yourself as a player, there is no reason to roleplay. I can be a healer in League of Legends, but the character I play changes every game. There is no link between me and the character what so ever.

    Majority of people play games to unwind and escape the real life. As such, there is natural tendency to link yourself to your character. You don't want to be an "accountant-on-break" who is slaying orcs. You want to be a warrior who is slaying orcs.

    You can try to encourage the link by some of the following:
    • Adding character customization. If every character is the same (or very similar), it is less likely to feel they are yours. If your character is one of a kind, it feels more personal.
    • Making memories stick. People often look at the past to define them (for better or worse). Same is said for games. If a player can look back and have a lot of unique memories of their character, the link will be stronger.
    • Have a dynamic world. If the world evolves and you are there to experience it, you feel part of the whole experience. You can say "I was there when this city was actually a desert." Those experiences can be very powerful.
    • Enable open-ended gameplay. Some games allow you to write your biography, decorate your surroundings, make your own quests and lore. This would naturally encourage rolelplay.
    • Enable gathering of players. There is huge variety in MMOs, in how they tackle this. If you create instanced homes with access to all services, majority of the playerbase will be secluded - this will promote solo play, opposite to what you want. What you'd like to accomplish is make players congregate in few select spots. If those spots are actually owned by some players (or groups), that's even better.
  • ozmonoozmono Member UncommonPosts: 1,211
    Teila said:
    Hi,

    I have a blog where, among other things, I muse about video games and especially roleplaying in video games.  I really want to get more information from roleplayers who play MMO's or are looking for their MMO.  Since I work with game developers, I would like to share this information, not only with them but with others who don't always understand why roleplayers need their own place to play.

    I am curious about a few things....

    What inspires you to roleplay in the game? Is it the lore, the visuals, the goals in the game, sharing the experience with friends or something else?

    What mechanics are important to you?  Are there some mechanics that destroy roleplay for you? Are there others that must be in the game?

    How many players do you think are required to make a game successful for role players?  Do you prefer something smaller, a few hundred people like Firan, or something massive like WoW?

    Do you have any thoughts about how to attract roleplayers to a game?  Developers tell me there are not enough roleplayers to make a game, even a small one successful without appealing to PvPers and others. Do you think this is true?

    Do you believe that a game that enforces roleplay would be better than one that simply encourages roleplay? 

    In your experience, is it possible for non-roleplayers and roleplayers to coexist on the same server or the same game? Are their needs similar or opposite?


    I am sure I will have more questions, if any of you are interested in sharing with me. I will be happy to post a link to the blog post that results from your input.  I really appreciate your help. I find it really hard to find roleplayers out there, and would like to start blogging, and tweeting, and whatever, to get our voice heard.

    Thanks!

    Teila

    I am not a veteran roleplayer but what inspires me to roleplay is the possibilities that go well beyond what game mechanics can by themselves. I can pretend to be someone completely different from me, take on a new skin, and do so in a world full of others doing the same. The dynamics between me and others pretending has the potential to propel a simple game into a whole other dimension.

    I've experimented with forum roleplay and in a way it is very pure. In that there are hardly any boundaries to a story other than the imagination. In a forum roleplay anything can happen. In a way it may sound like I am arguing that mechanics only detract from possibilities but I'm not, in a forum roleplay it's as if every word and every idea known to the writer supports the possible story lines and the lore ties it all into a cohesive whole.


    So the ability to do things or mechanics, is important, it's important to give the player actors the ability to do things that match their creativity. It should all revolve around the character and the world they live in, birthing with character customization into a world that is exciting.


    There are different ways to make the world exciting but it all can be defined as lore, if it be taking a player into a world that immerses them via realism or a world full of supernatural wonders. Personally I prefer the added assistance of immersion that a semi-realistic world grants and I will explain why.


    The greater my attachment to my character the more natural roleplaying comes to me and the more I get out of it. I start to feel (with ever increasing ease) what my character would and I find that fun but it's not that easy for me to start that journey. I need to understand my characters part in the world, who they are and so on. It becomes easier for me personally when the world isn't extremely fantasifull, that it has some grounding in reality, it helps me act like my character may because it's easier to relate to them, even if it's a different world.


    So I think the lore is extremely important and I personally prefer something reasonably grounded. As I touched on before so is the tools to allow me to be creative in that world, I need to be able to portray what I want, looking the part. Little things like being able to sit on a chair, laugh, cry etc. But most importantly I want to be part of the world. I want my character to have a livelihood, a backstory that is done through deeds and not just words on a character summery and ambitions that can play out in front of me and others all whilst giving others the opportunity to shape it as part of their story.


    The dynamism of several minds and several avatars interacting can add good complications and potential to the story in more ways than one person can think of alone. It adds more possibilities and it adds an immersive effect. Roleplayers and non-roleplayers have co-existed and can co-exist but personally I'd like something dedicated just for us.


    I don't think there needs to be numbers anything like in WoW but people need to be aware of other players initiatives and other players place in the world for the dynamics to spark. The less you can rely on other players interacting the more you need to rely on crutches and the less the game starts to become a roleplaying game in the traditional sense of acting out your character. That is not to say, I think there is no need for crutches, NPCs (if done right) have the potential to bring the world to life in a way that players may find to mundane for example but it is to say, that although there need not be WoW levels of players, players still need to be able to interact with one another and know of other players initiatives for the whole project to be realised as a roleplaying game.



  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    Great ideas!

    So, creating impact, like books, stories, personal NPCs, ways to share writings, announce, communicate. Also memories in an evolving world, decorating, quests and lore.....

    All of this is what we game designers call "Player Created Content" and it is possible in an MMO, but not used often because many feel it requires the constant creation of content, meaning new quests, new objects, new expansion packs...etc. 

    However, much of what you say above is not about "models" or "new world add-ons" but about writing, stories, lore, etc.  Players, if given the tools, could create scenarios that encourage role play and have impact on the world. 

    I was recently at a gathering of game developers and I was trying to describe to them what a game created to entice role players would need.  At first they looked at me like I was crazy. "Do you realize how expensive that would be, all new content, all the time, etc. PvPers killing role players, chasing them away", etc. etc.

    Then we started talking about our own game experiences, the things we did in games. Of course, I was a role player. I told them stories of my fun experiences, the band in SWG, my Firan character who tried to kill her husband (story related), all sorts of fun experiences.

    And they related their stories. Almost all of their stories had role play elements. As we talked, and more stories came out from Eve and WoW and various other games, I reminded them....That is player created content!!! That war in Eve, it wasn't part of the developer's plan. Those players created that story and they acted it out.

    When I left, they were shaking my hand and telling me that they hoped I made that game. :)  Because, those memories that create the stories we tell, are almost always with a touch of role play, even it is just beating that big boss guy.  That is what we remember.

    As @laxie stated, community of players. Everyone of their stories started with the community. Players working together.

    @LynxJSA   great links. I plan to read those later.  I absolutely agree with you about the various "rules" of role playing. Allowing various groups to create their own "way" of playing the game is important.  A niche within a niche is a good way to put it. 

    @Gestankfaust , game mechanics, whether it contains leveling skills or leveling ranks, gives the player something to do in the game. Like real life, it adds a feeling of achievement.  Otherwise, it isn't a game, but a virtual chatroom, not a bad place, but not what we are discussing here. 

    Thank you so much for your ideas and comments. You have really opened my eyes on a lot of things and I thought I knew it all. :)

  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    @ozmono  Thank you for that passionate post. I feel the same way about role playing, it is a way to be someone else for a while. The below is perfect.


    what inspires me to roleplay is the possibilities that go well beyond what game mechanics can by themselves. I can pretend to be someone completely different from me, take on a new skin, and do so in a world full of others doing the same. The dynamics between me and others pretending has the potential to propel a simple game into a whole other dimension.



  • laxielaxie Member RarePosts: 1,052
    One huge roadblock I faced in the past, is the laziness of players.

    This forum is full of veterans. Many here look eager to participate in a fully open, sandbox game. I genuinely believe that. Many of the posters here are mature, experienced players. They would easily create emergent gameplay. Once your game starts targeting the mainstream, all of this quickly changes.

    Imagine you give players a completely blank slate. You may even hire writers to create high quality lore. In good faith, you expect them to use this. The idea is that the players will create "gameplay" on their own.

    In my experience, mainstream players will not do that. If they ever feel like "nothing will happen, unless I make it happen", they will go elsewhere. There is a psychological concept, called the principle of least effort. Put simply, people choose the most effortless option. Why struggle creating emergent gameplay in a sandbox game, when they can hop into WoW and don't think.

    I believe you need to "trick" mainstream players into creating emergent gameplay. The experience needs to be designed in a linear way, where players create emergent gameplay as they go. Something like a glorified tutorial - one that lasts for weeks. By the end, hopefully the players will see all the content they produced. This may be enough to keep them engaged from there on out.

    I do not know if this concept works. What I know is that empty sandbox works poorly with the mainstream.
  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,186
    laxie said:
    One huge roadblock I faced in the past, is the laziness of players.
    ... 
    Imagine you give players a completely blank slate. You may even hire writers to create high quality lore. In good faith, you expect them to use this. The idea is that the players will create "gameplay" on their own.

    In my experience, mainstream players will not do that. If they ever feel like "nothing will happen, unless I make it happen", they will go elsewhere. There is a psychological concept, called the principle of least effort. Put simply, people choose the most effortless option.

    Is the problem that players are lazy, though? It seems to be something much simpler than that. You have the combination of most MMOs being designed in a rather linear fashion (in both character development and story) and the contention of most that they are paying money to be entertained, not to do the entertaining themselves. 

    Have we had an MMO yet that was billed solely as a roleplaying haven? In mainstream MMOs, I haven't seen a push on that front since the DAoC RP servers. Even UO, with its server story arcs, main story arcs, Seer program, and IGMs (content staff) really didn't advertise roleplaying in the context presented here much. 

    I don't think "lazy players" is really much of a factor. The games aren't billed as roleplay environments, they rarely have features to support roleplay, and few players have any interest in playing the game that way. 

  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    laxie said:
    I believe you need to "trick" mainstream players into creating emergent gameplay. The experience needs to be designed in a linear way, where players create emergent gameplay as they go. Something like a glorified tutorial - one that lasts for weeks. By the end, hopefully the players will see all the content they produced. This may be enough to keep them engaged from there on out.

    I do not know if this concept works. What I know is that empty sandbox works poorly with the mainstream.
    Interesting point. I have never been a fan of empty sandboxes although I know a lot of people like them. I see a good role play game as a stage, where I and others around me can create our own stories through our role play. 

    The stage has a setting, a framework for the stories. I think this is why I have heard that LotR and SWG were good games for role play. They had the setting, the lore, the framework, and the players found it much easier to build upon, than some empty place with nothing but a terrain strewn with toys.

    I have considered a design that starts with a tutorial, and the tutorial builds the character based on what they do in the tutorial. So in the end, the character will be ready to enter the world with some sort of purpose and goal.  For example, based on their interactions with NPCs, they will already have a reputation when they enter the world. They will have some leaning toward a profession, and some understanding of how they can fit into the community.  

    Many mainstream players won't understand and my guess is they will go back to WoW or learn to fit in somehow. Most games now are created for the mainstream players, because they are the easiest group to please. 

    I played SWG on Starsider, when the game first opened. It was the 'unofficial rp server' and months of off-game planning before release gathered hundreds of role players. We lined up to get on that server on the day of release, pretty much dominating the server from day 1.  Role play was heavy, and I would guess that more than half the players I met were role players, maybe more. I did meet many mainstream players and several of them started role playing with us. I still remember one young man, young enough to be my son, who had no idea what it was but we became friends and he became a role player. :) That happened a lot. As someone said..there are many different sorts of role players and casual role players still count.

    In game that builds a base of role players, serious ones, casual ones, learns to use the in-game content creation systems and then "shows" and "teaches" those that come through the door could work. Maybe not...who knows. I think it is worth a chance. The worst that can happen is that my design is wrong...and then we either have a mainstream game or we fail. As a game designer, I learn much from failure.

    Oddly enough, I have met many developers who like to role play and have promised to help us test a game.  I was even told by a marketing agent that role players make the best communities for games.

    I wonder if people in this community have heard of Firan? It was a text based game, very heavy on the role play. It existed for 16 years, many of the people involved having been there for a long time. Hundreds of people played each day, which is a lot for a text game. I played there for a while and at that time 300 people at a time was normal, which probably means 3000 subscribers if you use the 1:10 rule that MMO's use.

    I believe there is a market, whether for 500 players or 1000 or more. If a game is fun, has a good community, and fosters loyalty and involves the players, I think it could last.  16 years is a pretty long run and many MMO's made by AAA companies don't make it that long. I am curious to see if a role play focused video game could survive, even 5 years.



  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,186
    edited August 2016
    Teila said:
    I believe there is a market, whether for 500 players or 1000 or more. If a game is fun, has a good community, and fosters loyalty and involves the players, I think it could last.  16 years is a pretty long run and many MMO's made by AAA companies don't make it that long. I am curious to see if a role play focused video game could survive, even 5 years.

    Reach out to the roleplay communities where they are and find out what they need/want in a roleplay-focused virtual world.

    • It might just be that a well-supported MUD with an intuitive client is what they're pining for. 
    • It may be that they're looking for a 3D take on the Ultima Online style of MMO.
    • Maybe they just want a themed MySpace/Facebook (ex: VampireFreaks.com) but with storytelling support and interactivity.
    • Maybe they want something like the DnD tools (ex: roll20.net, Fantasy Grounds) but with a focus on narrative and acting instead of a reliance on stats and rulesets.
    • Maybe something more flexible (ex: Tabletop Simulator) with a wider array of (or the ability to create your own) backdrops, scenes, and environments.

    That's the first step. Hit up those groups and find out what they want, THEN set to building it once you know your audience size and your audience's needs. 

    (OMG, typing this with this blinking fucking INSTICATOR ad below this text box is infuriating) 


    IMO, you have several crowds that are under-served. You have the LARPers (ex: Allaince LARP, Camarilla) that would probably love a way to use VR or digitization of themselves (some of their costumes are incredible) into a virtual world. You have DnD players that want something in between roll20 and NWN's Foundry, especially if there is a place for character bios/stories, artwork, and other creative works based around their character, tale, or realm. You have MUDders that enjoy the MUD experience but would like a more modern interface and better tools for both playing and world building. 

    But it all has to start with getting the numbers. Until you identify a group's numbers and needs, there's no way to start building a successful virtual world for them. It can be done, but it has to start with fan interests, not dev hubris. 


  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    LynxJSA said:

    Is the problem that players are lazy, though? It seems to be something much simpler than that. You have the combination of most MMOs being designed in a rather linear fashion (in both character development and story) and the contention of most that they are paying money to be entertained, not to do the entertaining themselves. 

    Have we had an MMO yet that was billed solely as a roleplaying haven? In mainstream MMOs, I haven't seen a push on that front since the DAoC RP servers. Even UO, with its server story arcs, main story arcs, Seer program, and IGMs (content staff) really didn't advertise roleplaying in the context presented here much. 

    I don't think "lazy players" is really much of a factor. The games aren't billed as roleplay environments, they rarely have features to support roleplay, and few players have any interest in playing the game that way. 


    AAA MMO's are not created for role players. They are created for the masses. The company needs to get as many players as they can so they are not going to make a game that will appeal to a niche group of people. A game is considered a failure if it doesn't rise 'hundreds of thousands of players'.  If you consider that success is what causes stocks to rise and keeps stockholders happy, it is not surprising that big companies won't touch a niche MMO.

    I am not sure lazy is the proper word either. Players play the game as it was intended to be played, as everyone else in the game plays. As I said in my above the post, a game geared toward role players would have to have a large base of role players to guide other players toward that style of play.

    This sort of game will not be made by a AAA game company. I know that is what people want but it isn't going to happen. When you pay 100's of people to make a game, you want to get as many players as possible.  Servers for rp, maybe. But the game won't be built for you.

    It could happen with an indie game. But...there is a huge bias against indie games. With teams of 5 to 15 developers, indie development is slow, especially on a large game.  Many indies have eyes bigger than their stomachs. They add too many features, huge massive worlds, and try to compete with AAA games. And then they fail, creating the cynicism I see in places like this against AAA.  I followed two indie games that promised role play, both failed. I worked as a writer on one of the and my heart was broken, just like the other 100k followers. It is so easy to get cynical when so many promise so much and fail to deliver.

    Ironically, today, there are so many ways indie developers might be able to create such a game. 15 years ago, one had to make their own engine or they had to use engines that didn't have the performance necessary for a large game....or they had to be very wealthy. Today, some very good engines are free. Support for indies has grown and small companies are popping up all over the place. At a recent gathering, I was offered all sorts of goodies to make a game. All sorts of things are possible now....deep AI, customization of characters, fabulous real-time lighting and shadows...and none of this is expensive or hard to do.

    The trick is....gather the audience, make sure there is a market, stick to the goals of that audience, start small and grow. The hardest part....finding the audience.  


  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    edited August 2016
    LynxJSA said:

    Reach out to the roleplay communities where they are and find out what they need/want in a roleplay-focused virtual world.

    • It might just be that a well-supported MUD with an intuitive client is what they're pining for. 
    • It may be that they're looking for a 3D take on the Ultima Online style of MMO.
    • Maybe they just want a themed MySpace/Facebook (ex: VampireFreaks.com) but with storytelling support and interactivity.
    • Maybe they want something like the DnD tools (ex: roll20.net, Fantasy Grounds) but with a focus on narrative and acting instead of a reliance on stats and rulesets.
    • Maybe something more flexible (ex: Tabletop Simulator) with a wider array of (or the ability to create your own) backdrops, scenes, and environments.

    Some of those groups are hard to find. However, that is why I am here, to find an audience.

    I have reached out to the DnD community. I happen to be a member of a large local guild and I have had many discussions with the members. They will be among our first testers.

    I have spent 20 years talking to role players, finding out what they want. A hiatus due to family issues put a gap in our research and development, and I have lost touch with many of those people. Of course, many are in different stages of their lives now. 

    At the moment, our plan is for a 3d game. The design is uniquely geared toward role players, starts out in a city and environs, moving outward as the base grows.  The game will focus on community (with smaller groups within the city, as you so elegantly discussed in your blogpost, @LynxJSA )  and tools for storytelling, along with a skill system leading to meaningful professions.  

    We have a deep lore already, and lots of fodder for politics (voting), religion, trade, and conflict. Like UO, there will be plenty of chances to be creative and customization. I have a team of developers working on skills, stats, and artwork along with networking. We have a character system with deep customization that I am in the process of testing....making sure the load is fine in a city market environment. I am also consulting with other developers who have been very supportive.

    The game will be introduced in a series of mini-games that we will use for testing the system. If the game does not appeal to role players, we can easily modify without losing too much since the mini-games will be of limited scope.  If role players are not interested, we will go mainstream and use the work we did to create a different game. 

    We will see what happens. At the moment, my interest is in reconnecting with role players like you, not necessarily to get you to play our game, but to make sure we are listening.  As you said, we need to get that "fan hubris".  Although I am a role player, my opinion is only one of many. 
  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    No, we are not making Adellion. I was the lead writer there and after it collapsed, I offered to create a team and explore moving ahead. But we realized that Adellion was just too big for a small team and so we took some of the lore elements and several years later (after dealing with a family illness and death) came together with some old and new team members to build this game. Our mechanics and our goals for the game are different.  

    I wanted to clarify that. I did not come here to get an audience for our game, but to get information from role players so I could share that on my blog and help to promote role playing in general. Building our community will come when the game is in a playable state.


  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,369
    There are several big things I would like to see in a RP-focused MMORPG.
    • Dynamic emotes.  Allow the player to link animations together within the game structure.  If I want my salute to raise the right fist to the chest, say 'my liege', then extend the arm to shoulder height with the palm down, I should be able to create that emote in game and share it with others.  Sort of the guild's secret sign.
    • Advanced systems.  Not necessarily more complex, but different things to do within the game.  I would like to see religious and political systems side by side with the standards of MMORPGs -- combat, magic and crafting.
    • Reasons to RP.  Festivals, parties and the like.  Created both by developers and by players.  Invitation lists, reserved party areas (rent), minimum required dress (break out the cosmetic clothes, not the wade through a pig-sty to find a rare mushroom outfit), party security.
    • Judgment system.  A system to allow players to set up and conduct votes within the game.  Useful for politics, craft competition, judging performance skills, etc.  Such a system could even be used by an in-game jury (list of participants, start and end date) as part of a jurisprudence system.
    • Evaluation system.  (for crafting and performances)  A subsystem to allow an individual to assess an item or performance from the hidden crafting / skill results.  The 'best' urn in a competition might have a hidden score of 980, but the judges assessed it as 890, 902, 897, 924 and 928.  And it could be beaten by an urn with a lower hidden score but more favorable judges assessments.
    • Physical damage revamp.  The tried-and-true HP convention is getting stale.  There needs to be another way to simulate the human body in a game.  A system that incorporates breaks, cuts, punctures as well as burns, asphyxiation, acids, dismemberment and other ways to injure the human body, and ways to fix or repair it.
    The industry has had almost 20 years to move beyond the basic combat, magic and crafting systems.  And if the only RP communication mechanic is a common chat box, we might as well acknowledge Command&Conquer and Total Annihilation as MMORPGs.

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    @Mendel

    Thank you for the contribution. 

    Emotes are absolutely necessary in a role play environment. I also agree that politics and religion are important, but not just as the "word" you put in your bio that describes your favored god or your faction. Both need to be deep within the game and impact your interactions with others and with NPCs. Both are also great sources for conflict, which drives role play and creates real reasons for strife. It is not about some back story that tells you that "these guys are bad" and "these are good" but about where the players take the lore. The conflict could between two competing political ideologies in one city or it could be between two different nations fighting for resources. The players should be driving these stories, as in Eve, not just the lore.  I even feel the justice system should be player driven. Players have a say in who their leaders are and those leaders are beholden to the other players if they want to continue in their positions. This creates evolving dynamics in the game that change and flow, again creating a new "story".

    Definitely festivals, driven by players and developers. I loved those in the old text games I played. Not sure why they rarely moved to the video games. I remember getting special items at a festival that I could not get anywhere else. 

    Evaluation system are usually used to allow the player to determine the value of an item and their accuracy is based on their skill with that sort of item. It would be very easy to use that for contests and things like that. :)  The number usually is hidden and only a player with a very high skill would come close to the actual number. So better judges would be able to better evaluate. :) Why hasn't it been done I wonder?

    Damage systems such as you described are interesting but they do require rebuilding the character to show the damage on their bodies. This isn't impossible, and our character system is created to add overlays after creation. It would need to be tested to make sure that updating a character's avatar after every hit is worth any performance hit but there may be ways to do that. Fixing is healing, and I have always been frustrated with healing system is most games. In our case, we are creating a realistic non-magic healing system, and there will be various remedies for injuries or diseases.

    I think most games don't put these things in because many players think they are boring, take time from xp leveling, harm casual players, etc. They want simple systems, easy to understand, with lots of numbers they can see and manipulate. They rarely look at the lore.  


  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,369
    The problem I've seen is that no company has tried to implement things beyond the basic combat, magic and crafting systems.  Those systems have been around, and have evolved.  Almost 20 years of lost opportunities for improvements of social, political or religious systems.  People will play new systems and give feedback, but these systems must actually be present to get any feedback.  The genre of MMORPGs hasn't taken grown because no company has taken the initiative to innovate.  Boring can be improved.  These systems have been culled before being tried.

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    edited August 2016
    Mendel said:
    The problem I've seen is that no company has tried to implement things beyond the basic combat, magic and crafting systems.  Those systems have been around, and have evolved.  Almost 20 years of lost opportunities for improvements of social, political or religious systems.  People will play new systems and give feedback, but these systems must actually be present to get any feedback.  The genre of MMORPGs hasn't taken grown because no company has taken the initiative to innovate.  Boring can be improved.  These systems have been culled before being tried.
    The chances of a AAA company doing this is almost nil. Not only does it take extra time and skill to create something like this....and a lot of research, but it is only going to target a small audience.  AAA have stockholders and other people who will scream if they don't have the requisite 500k players. They can do much better with the hack and slash, fps, pvp, casual gamer. 

    The genre has grown but only by doing the same old thing or by making the games more violent, more for casual players, or for PvPers. Those audiences are bigger and easier to find. Role players are spread out and are a small group.  They are also diverse, so divided among the features they want.  Until a successful Indie game comes out and they see the potential, they won't touch it.

    My experience has been that role players have a list of wants, but are not willing to push it or take the risk. I have invested my heart in soul into games in the past that failed, so now it is much harder to do so. I have also seen others do this or they stop supporting a game because of one feature they don't like. Or it takes too long to come out....yeah, Indie games take a while. AAA MMO's take at least 5 years, so imagine an indie game?  What matters is that progress is being made, not the time it takes. 

    A game for role players does not have to be 500k players. It does not have to be a huge unlimited world. Everything you guys want is possible, but I really doubt you will see all of it in a AAA game. Maybe they will throw us a bone and put in emotes. ;)
  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,369
    When I tried to start an MMORPG (in 2002-2003 -- failed cause I couldn't get funding).  I was going to give it a go -- natural healing and religion for major healing, a voting / judging system where the players could define / create elections, players-as-GMs to 'reward' others for RPing specific traits with specific benefits to having specific traits (bonuses with Gods, mostly), ability to become leader figures (mayor, guard captain. craft guild master, etc.), non-regenerative systems to gain mana (magic) and piety (religion),  means to contribute to communal projects -- from building a new fence to building a new house to participating in a communal magic ritual.  All on top of a standard combat / magic (very limited) / crafting system.  Without resorting to a mini-game within the game, like Vanguard did with Diplomacy.

    Yes, it is unlikely that a AAA game would tackle non-standard systems, but not even the indie games have bothered to expand beyond the core of combat / magic / crafting.  No company is taking a chance thinking beyond the (almost) 45 year old D&D model that dominates the game industry and restricts the flow of ideas.  That's what disappoints me.

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • TeilaTeila Member UncommonPosts: 22
    Mendel said:

    Yes, it is unlikely that a AAA game would tackle non-standard systems, but not even the indie games have bothered to expand beyond the core of combat / magic / crafting.  No company is taking a chance thinking beyond the (almost) 45 year old D&D model that dominates the game industry and restricts the flow of ideas.  That's what disappoints me.
    Well, that is not true. We are doing just that. 

    I came here to get information. Our game is reaching it's first milestone this fall and we hope to make it. But it is still too soon to build a community. I do not want to get into a situation where we are trying to please everyone and adding everything to the game, failing like many games do. 

    My hope is to use this information to reach out to role players and I did come here only to get info for my blog. Reading over the forum posts, there have been a lot of promises made here and I don't want to be one of those people. 

    If you are interested, send me a message and I will send you a link to my blog now and you can read about our development so far. Otherwise, you can wait until I post the blog post based on this discussion. I will post it here then.  In the meantime, I am building a medieval joust area and a market for some demo videos and am hoping to something new up soon.

    I am surprised how many of the things you want are in our design doc. I am curious about Vanguard and their mini-game. I will look at that. We do not have mini-games in our design but I want to make sure we avoid that if it is something role players don't like. :)
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