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Reader Comments (30)

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 8:04PM Valentina said

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MMORPG's have not had real depth or role-play/individual story progression, like ever. It makes me wonder why they are "MMORPG's" They are really "MMOG's".

SW: ToR definitely does seem to be looking at bringing that RPG element into the genre, which is partially why I think it'll be so innovative and revolutionary for the genre, even if it doesn't "succeed" in subscriptions. It opens up the possibility & next generation way to develope an MMO into something epic, instead of the somewhat shallow things we have right now.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 8:15PM (Unverified) said

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The only thing I can think of is Armageddon, a MUD
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 8:17PM karnisov said

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to be fair, MUDs were never really about story or roleplay either. you had a few MUSHes where LARPers hung out, but those were the exception and not the rule.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 8:59PM Joystiq Login Bugs SUCK said

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I hate to disagree but Second Life is very much a game and very much RP. It is the virtual equivalent of little girls playing with their Barbies and little boys playing with their GI Joes and trucks except the doll you dress and the tea you drink or the dirt you tractor while making broom broom noises are virtual.

With the term itself, funny thing is that time and time again you see, in response to any statement about hating to LFG, that "this is a MMO and that means massively MULTIPLAYER" ... they forget the RPG part and that means "/e"

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 9:05PM Cinnamoon said

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Story is NOT roleplaying. The presence of story progression doesn't create roleplaying, and the lack of it doesn't prevent roleplaying. Roleplaying is reacting to whatever it going on around you, within the bounds you set for yourself.

The best roleplaying I've ever seen was in a game that had absolutely zero over-arching story, just a setting and some rules, because it's roleplayers who bring roleplaying to games -- be they solo games or MMOs.

And just because modern MMOs don't fit your particular view of what roleplaying is, doesn't mean they aren't roleplaying games all the same.

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 1:55PM (Unverified) said

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Right. You can RP for hours with 3 or 4 other good role players standing in an empty room.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 9:18PM Paul Schuster said

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I'm always amazed when people mention there is no rpg in any computer game, mmorpg or crpg. Of course there is not, a game made for thousands of players will never have the same feel of a game custom tailored to you and four or five friends, or even 30 like a larp.

There is no way for the game to shift gears because you want to do something crazy. There is no way that a gm can whip up a combat because you are giving him blank stares. And there is little if any possibility for a gm to remove a homecity just because you want to try out your shinny new Staff of the Magi.

But also don't be fooled wow, eq2, and even war have stories just as good as a Final Fantasy. Its just that because of the mmo part people forget that they are not, and can not be a table-top game. Even if they have the group part down, and your guild is as tight as a sunday chips and beer group, you still have no gm that is working twice as hard as you guys for your personal fun.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 9:32PM Anticrawl said

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You want roleplaying then play a MUSH. MU's are where it's at for quality roleplay and generally more intelligent players.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 10:10PM wjowski said

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The problem with roleplaying with MMOs is the roleplayers. As in the lot of them are passive-agressive piss-bags.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 10:30PM Orvidos said

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I've been saying this for years, when I get into my more philosophical states.

I generally get one of three answers:
- They are, because they have things like random number generators to determine events. ('Dice rolls')
- They are because there is a story, and you are playing a character.
Or finally, my least favorite
- Of course it is, they have roleplay servers!

No, no and a resounding, facebeating nooooooo.

I could rant, but this is a comment, not a thesis paper.

Suffice to say, most roleplayers in MMOs are fairly bad at it; 'dice' does not make your game a 'roleplaying game'; and if you say your WoW character is what you're roleplaying, I pity you. Your roleplaying must be very stagnant, to come up with the exact same story some 20 million people have also roleplayed.

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 3:33PM Meagen said

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"Your roleplaying must be very stagnant, to come up with the exact same story some 20 million people have also roleplayed."

I hope that when you RP you never use published adventures, because millions of people have played Keep on the Shadowfell so it can't possibly have any good RP left.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 10:30PM Lateris said

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SWG has some of the best features for role playing.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 10:42PM Anatidae said

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Old MMOs like Ultima Online offered "tools" or game mechanics that lent themselves to role-play. These days, all MMOs really offer is something to do modify another avatar's health. Damage, healing, buffs, defense, etc... all just a number game to adjust a health bar somewhere.

In contract, Ultima Online is riddled with spells and objects that have nothing to do with combat. Yet people have fun with it - and typically in a more role-play way.

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 8:06AM Matix said

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RP (sadly) is ultimately up to the players. And even when someone is good at roleplaying, with the internet and all it takes way more commitment in terms of time to do so than IRL.

So what can game companies do with a social aspect of the game 100% decided by the players?

It's been said, but ultimately the best a game can do is give roleplayers tools (SWG did that... after they ruined the game component of MMORPG... more like MMO RP when they were done with it). And not just tools, but incentives to make stories and participate. We all may have ideas on that but ultimately it's gonna take a plucky company to get it right.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 11:15PM (Unverified) said

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If you've got a problem with the lack of roleplaying in MMORPGs, I think you need to look to the dawn of CRPGs for the origin of it. I think that MMORPGs have the same potential and actual roleplaying as CRPGs have done for, oh, 25 years?

Yes you can pick out some individual (recent) CRPGs that do a better job than your Bard's Tales etc., but some MMORPGs do a better job than others, too.

Ultimately, both single-player and MMO CRPGs took the mechanics from pen & paper RPGs, and dealt with the lack of a human gamemaster by.. pretty much leaving out the roleplaying.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 11:28PM Valdur said

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The best RP experience I had was in NWN 1 & 2 persistent Worlds made by fans.MMO(rpg) has lost their persistence and epicness which made a character feel like a citizen/denizen of their fictional world.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 11:46PM SgtBaker said

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Open world/sandbox type MMO's have a lot more RP than the "themepark" styled, in my opinion - having to grind the same instance over and over makes very poor RP (didn't we kill this badguy already?). It's much easier to build RP on player actions (like PvP).

EVE, for example, has plenty of RP - the two oldest alliances in game Ushra'Khan and CVA are all about RP.

http://wiki.eveonline.com/wiki/Ushra'Khan_(Player_alliance)
http://wiki.eveonline.com/wiki/CVA

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 7:16AM GenericPerson said

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I'm going to agree with you here SgtBaker. I also believe that the sandbox style MMO's cater to a better role playing community. Whenever a player is able to change something in the universe or immediately effect a group of people you get that sense of accomplishing something.
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Posted: Jan 4th 2010 2:53AM (Unverified) said

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I agree with some previous comments that story and roleplaying are not one and the same. Even tough the more immersive a story is, the greater chance that the player becomes the character, which is imho the basis or roleplaying.
Another thing that worries me is the trend to change what RPG stands for from roleplaying (=acting in character) to a description of game mechanics (leveling, gearing up).
At some occasions I pointed out that funcom falsly advertises its revamped gear system as the new "RPG system" when there is nothing in there to encourage people to roleplay their character but only adapting some kind of new gearing mechanics.

As for the discussion of themepark (or storytelling to lable it more positive) versus sandbox in terms of rpg, I think both can lead to what I understand as roleplaying. A story-driven game like knights of the old republic gives you choices and consequences that form your role in the games society wich may be easier for some players but it predefines and limits the roles you play. Fallen Earth on the other hand leaves the role the player wants to take up to the player.
In both games I think the key to encouraging RP is two fold:
1. build an environment that is believable to the player and allow him characters he can identify with
2. make actions of the player more important the game mechanics like leveling and gear

I think we are on good road with point 1 but as for point 2 it not only needs some courage on the part of the devs to elimiante leveling, fixed classes and so on but it also needs players with a different mindset that dont see the game as some kind of sport where the character is just a tool and the means of the game is to level and gear the fastes.

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 3:55AM Bezza said

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MMORPG Games take the Gamemaster out of the RPG game for you. But you still have to be willing to suspend a little disbelief and roleplay. A conscious effort must be made on the part of the player to “play their part”. A good compelling back-story helps with this process but isn’t the whole of the process.

Any GM who runs traditional pen & paper RPG will tell you the roleplaying is only as good as the characters choose to make it, as a GM you can only supply the ingredients and set the stage, in the end it is always up to the players to decide if they will roleplay.

SWTOR will focus more on story which has been a missing ingredient in a great many MMO’s, it will still however be up to the players to take it on board and get into the spirit of the game. I feel Bioware have however made the right decision in emphasising story driven content. Hopefully it will attract a larger number of lore oriented, roleplaying mmo players as a result.


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