| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (38)

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 8:27AM xBludx said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
In today's MMORPG environment, it just does not seem realistic. There doesn't seem to be a critical mass of intelligent RP players to make the effort interesting or worthwhile. Who has time to RP well in this day and age?

Even on the few remaining dedicated "RP" servers, there are just too many people and not enough close-knit groups. There seems to be a lack of community that could support intelligent RP.

For RP to really work, I think it would take a smaller community of people in a game with a learning curve that would keep away people who are not interested in RP. If the game is about loot, RP will get stampeded out of existence.

If a game is about PvP, the min/maxers will drive out the RP people. It just works that way.

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 8:44AM Irem said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I love RPing and it's my focus in almost every MMO I play. Even if I'm not around other roleplayers, I'm usually still roleplaying. RP, though, is kind of like fanfiction in that it's a great tool for creating stories and exploring characterization, but it also attracts a lot of people who are just looking for attention and/or wish fulfillment. RPers can also be just as "elitist" as players in other parts of the game, and almost every RP forum I've been on has a thread for "what is your RP pet peeve?" where players air long--and often contradictory--lists of things that annoy them in other people's RP. If you're a new roleplayer looking to one of these threads for what not to do, you might easily get the impression that it's impossible to do it right.

Also, like any pastime primarily focused on social interaction, it's one of those activities in which you need to keep watch for the warning signs that the other person involved might be a bad match for you. In RP, "a bad match" could mean anything from "This person roleplays a druid logger" to "This person wants me to treat their character as though they rule San d'Oria" to "This person wanted to RP a romantic relationship between our characters and now they're freaking out at me every time I RP with someone else, or don't talk to them for more than a day."

Finally, it's a good example of Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap).

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 8:48AM dpking2222 said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
I don't actively RP because I lack the imagination required to do so.

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 9:05AM Bearcon53pointsix said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
99% of the time I am roleplaying or at least some cross breed of it.

The problem with going all out though, is that gamers just don't seem to want to indulge, don't want to bother with something that doesn't earn them their next gear piece, or they think some rather "interesting" things about what roleplaying means.

MMO's are social games at their heart, and when the majority can't let themselves indulge or think that rpers are just sick fanatics....It makes it difficult.


Posted: Jan 9th 2011 9:08AM PaterFrog said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I generally might do well in RP and have done so. I don't like it however, because it always turns out to be more of a chore instead of fun. You can't just quit when you want to without upsetting someone and since I easily get bored with one thing, I'd be quitting within the first five minutes. I'm just not made for it, no matter my imagination.

The clostest I regularily get to RPing is when I create and then play a new character. I build her in a way and with detail that I kind of fall in love with her and that allows me to really immerse myself into a game. That's the only way I have a hope of staying with one character for a full week, rather than one or two days... :D

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 9:10AM chuckasucka said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
In my experience, roleplaying always dissolves once it becomes more meaningful to get to know the players behind the characters. It is much more fulfilling to make new friends and interact with people on a very real and honest level, get to know them, share your interests and lives, than to keep a role going in order to make the game world seem more immersive. Although I completely understand the how RP is fun, challenging, and meaningful in its own way.

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 10:02AM Irem said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
@chuckasucka
Most of the people I've RPed with long-term and in-depth with are people I know personally, and I've stayed in touch with a few of them even after leaving the game we played in. The person I RP with most frequently is the person I live with.

At a deeper level, RP is about telling stories in order to make the world come alive, not about simply pretending to be John the Barbarian. A good RP group is creating their own lore. When I look back on the time I spent in WoW, I'm always surprised by how many of the most memorable things about the story to me were actually fan-created and specific to our server. There is no gang of horrible-but-ultimately-sympathetic thugs running the Stormwind underground in the official lore, but on my server there was. The most popular death knight characters in the Ebon Blade were, on my server, player characters. And we all met on a common forum and talked together and plenty of people knew each other and shared their lives. It's just a matter of how the player views RP; if they're approaching it as purely an aid to immersion and an escapist thing, then yeah, it's way more fun to make actual friends.
Reply

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 9:58AM notuba said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
The problem with role-playing in modern day MMOs is Ventrilo and/or Teamspeak. Voice chat is reality. Role-playing a character is fantasy. It is very hard for a gruff 40 year old metalhead dude to voice chat while RPing a fertile elven female cleric that speaks in-chracter (IC) about the grace of her god, such as Elune in WoW. There is no believability in the voice. It ruins the whole RPed storytelling. Reality must be separated from fantasy in hardcore role-playing scenarios to keep it believable. If you want reality, don't play games.

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 10:13AM Irem said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@notuba
I know very few people who RP over Ventrilo, for that exact reason. Although I really can't see it impacting immersion much, if the group is comfortable with each other and people can actually get into character, since sitting around a table RPing has been going on for decades, and in that situation you can even -see- that Bob the Accountant isn't Whimsy the Halfling Thief. It's just a matter of people being comfortable enough to do it. My friends and I regularly fall into character when we're discussing them IRL and act out scenes and things (not in public--usually *cough*), and I'm definitely not a huge, battle-scarred, chain smoking blood elf paladin, and could never even be mistaken for one from a trotting horse.
Reply

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 6:29PM xBludx said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@notuba

Funny and true.
Reply

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 10:10AM dudemanjac said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I remember roleplaying in Champions and CoX. Some of the best fun I had trying to stay in character. This one guy was really getting into it and I wanted to join in the fun I don't understand the not having time to roleplay. You just do it. When you have something to say, you say it as your character. What's hard about that?

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 10:23AM Tizmah said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Because you can rarely do something custom. The only MMO somewhat online game I had the best time RPing in was Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 because things were so customizable.

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 10:26AM LordBeefy said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I have no problem at all with people acting "in character".

However, when they start making story arcs for their characters it invariably becomes apparent they're not gifted storytellers.

If I want to sit through other people's badly written stories I'll watch/read Harry Potter/Star Wars prequels/Twilight saga

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 10:28AM LordBeefy said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@LordBeefy

*delete options in accordance with personal taste
Reply

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 10:53AM kjhasdfjkhk said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Roleplaying in MMOs is a strange beast, especially for the hardcore.

It usually isn't around much the first few days of the game as everyone is trying to learn the mechanics, and it's hard to talk about game mechanics in-character. Then, when it comes, it usually disappears a few months later once the central focus of the game for most players becomes loot. At that point, people just seem to stop caring. Sure, there will always be casual players who take a year to reach level cap and have no interest in end-game, but rather value the character interactions in an MMO more, but there never seems to be a lot of people roleplaying at end-game, even on designated roleplaying servers (should the game have any).

As a fantasy author, I tend to try out characters I am working on for a novel, which helps me to generate ideas for interactions in the book. I am also smart enough to know that the average person does not want to sit there and have you talk AT them about your personal backstory. Story in any medium should come to the viewer/reader/listener organically. It should not be dumped on the user all at once, but rather should be alluded to through subtle comments and character interactions (ex. making a comment about how something similar happened to you in the past, or reacting a certain way to something that another person says or does based on what happened in your backstory). This is much more interesting of a way to portray your backstory to people you are roleplaying with, allowing them to piece together bits of information you have given them, combined with a little of their own imagination, in order for them to figure out your backstory on your own. Of course, getting someone to actually care about things like that in the first place is a challenge in and of itself. Fictional characters that are created out of nowhere for a book or movie are often easier to care for than a human being literally acting out a character they created on the fly, particularly over the internet where everyone already seems to hate everyone else. It may seem a little counter-intuitive but chances are, a lot more people would be interested in Joe Shiningknight if he were in a book written by a prestigious author, or in a movie starring a famous actor than they would be if it were being written by some fat dude talking to you in World of Warcraft or something, even if the quality of writing is on the same level.

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 11:16AM rfrancis said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I don't roleplay on MMOs... with others. (I tend to solo all the time, for that matter.) But inside my head... hmm. I've always got a mindset of how my character reacts to situations and so forth; if I don't, I get bored of that game. (Funny the article should reference LOTRO and STO, two games I've found excellent for having a feel for my character, along with City of Heroes.)

So maybe I RP, just inside my own head. :)

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 11:24AM Pingles said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
It has been difficult for me to find any regular RP friends without peculiar, over-the-top requirements from them.

One group required a multiple-page backstory to join them.

Sorry, I just want to chat in-character, not write a Novella.

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 11:47AM Dumac said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I lack the imagination and im also too self-conscious...

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 12:04PM Platypus Man said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I don't create a character in an MMO unless I have an RP concept or basic backstory in my head. So in that way, I am always roleplaying.

In-game, though, I find that a lot of the folks I play with are more content to stand around talking than going out there in the game world and experiencing it in-character. I like a good gab session, don't get me wrong, but I'd rather be in the thick of the action.

Posted: Jan 9th 2011 12:17PM Jeromai said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I lack the mental coordination to manage roleplaying in MMOs.

On MUDs, it's all text anyway, you're not expected to move into another room when RPing, and that gave me a little breathing room to think about what my character might say and feel and still type 'say' and 'emote' commands within an expected response time. MUSHes also made it more like collaborative writing, in which one's RP responses could extend into chunky paragraphs, even if one did spend a lot of time waiting on each other to say something.

In MMOs, I have to navigate WASD movement, camera rotation with the mouse, combat is often fast and furious and requires proper skill selections or rotation, situational awareness is important to see what's aggro'ing what, what needs healing, debuffing, tanking, damaging, and getting out of the fire... and some folks still want to converse amiably in character while my player brain is busy metagaming tactics? Can't do it, my brain just sizzles and I find it infinitely easier to keep my mouth shut and nod.

And alas, if I stand around and kill time roleplaying in static MMO spaces without combat, the achiever-optimizer in me gets antsy and starts asking why I'm not out earning xp. An MMO just seems too -graphical- to roleplay in a chatroom style setting.

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW