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Reader Comments (18)

Posted: Nov 25th 2011 5:39PM (Unverified) said

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I wrote a thread on this the second day the forums were opened in 2008. It was a called a A Case for the Bathroom ... or Refresher at is actually called in Star Wars. A mod eventually closed the thread and deleted it, it did get a ton of responses though. The generally theory was at this point in Star Wars they use Chamber Pot Droids... yummy.

Posted: Nov 25th 2011 6:26PM (Unverified) said

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I'm noticing more and more of these ad posts lately.

Anyway, about the post, I never really take the time to notice these things in games. But now that I think about it, I haven't seen a bathroom in Skyrim or any other Elder Scrolls game for that matter. Hmph.

Posted: Nov 26th 2011 3:57AM Valkenr said

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@(Unverified)

There are tons of them, its called:

Bucket

and:

The Back Window
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Posted: Nov 25th 2011 6:29PM Irem said

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I prefer to handwave it, too. My characters usually treat things like that exactly as they're dealt with in-universe, because hey, most of the time they've lived in that universe all their lives and I imagine it must sound as normal to them as it does to the questgiver who just said something that made me, as a player, go "bzuh?" Sometimes my roommate and I lampshade that stuff in character just for a laugh if the incongruity is too big or too absurd to ignore, but overall if I'm going to explore an unexplained thing or try to flesh out the world, I stick to stuff that actively interests me (culture, lore, ect.), and not things that are obvious world/mechanics collisions. That, in my opinion, is just asking for a headache.

Passage of time in FFXI/XIV is one example. A day in Vana'diel or Eorzean time is a fraction of what it is real life (an hour, as I recall), which can potentially make it difficult to explain why you're running a long scene and night and day pass several times. Do you just assume that a two-hour conversation actually took place over two real life days? Do you figure that there must have been more that went on and we just got the gist of it? Do you ignore it? Or do you just shrug and accept that there's no way to reconcile the way those worlds work with the way ours work and not let it bother you too much? I know some people are incredibly put off by that kind of thing, to the point where they dismiss MMOs as an RP platform because they just can't get past how "unrealistic" they are. At the end of the day, though, we're dealing with worlds that aren't ours, and I feel okay taking it for granted that my character has an invisible, off-set bathroom in his house in the same way I'll take an NPC's word for it that a town that will take me fifteen minutes to run to on foot requires a long and immensely dangerous journey. Our RPG characters are little, and their lives occur in miniature, even if their deeds are great.

Posted: Nov 25th 2011 6:33PM JoeH42 said

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I think there's a certain point where I don't need my games to be too realistic i.e. with the bodily functions. I'm here to have fun, not do mundane things. So it's nice to occasionally have a side bathroom in a cantina but not have your character go over and take a seat.

Posted: Nov 25th 2011 7:21PM Lycaniz said

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if you read the EVE online book (cant recall name)
two capsuleers are actuarly dating in it.

so yea, you can date in eve :)

Posted: Nov 25th 2011 8:05PM HokieKC said

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Bathrooms/rest rooms in Star Wars are called refreshers. They can be seen in games like KOTOR 2, Dark Forces and Bounty Hunter.

Posted: Nov 25th 2011 8:08PM Liameyna said

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I view it mostly like Irem wrote.
From a roleplaying perspective there are numerous things in every MMORPG world that won't quite fit it. Buildings are way to small (in size and number) for all the people suposedly living or just being there, the same events happening over and over and over again, little inconsistencies here and there. In RIFT I've ignored rifts repeatedly opening nearby (not like 30 meters but still in viewing distance) while roleplaying. Ignored way to fast day/night cycles since DAoC (AION also has this).
On the other hand there are things that obviously have to exist but are not present in the game world and I see no harm in just emoting them into being. An empty office desk? Obviously there are papers (or PDAs or whatever) and stuff when someone is working there. You just have to take care to let others know and not to overdo it. Things tend to get strange when a new character enters the scene and walks through that door which you just locked.

But regarding EVE... I'm not sure the one raising that question even roleplays in EVE (or has even read some of the numerous short stories at the official site)? It might be true you can't meet other players characters face to face in the game environment (not yet, CCP is still working on walking in stations), but the picture of capsuleers sitting in their pods all the time and never seeing an other human being... isn't quite right. Pilots can leave that thing at any station at any time. While there may be some characters who shun personal contact with other people, getting out of your pod and meeting people shouldn't be very unusual at all. Why else do I have to move to an agents station to accept his mission. I'm sure some business is still done face to face.
There is quite some obviously just chat channel based roleplay (of bars, business and what not), in-character blogs and so on. There is a life beside being mind-wired to a spaceship while your body is immersed in gel.

Posted: Nov 25th 2011 8:58PM Irem said

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@Liameyna
I'm not sure what it is about dating/sex/romance but it's a sticking point for many people in certain settings whereas other stuff gets glossed over. There's a lot more to those things than just reproduction, but without the reproductive angle I've seen it assumed time and time again that the default should be asexuality. When Guild Wars 2's sylvari were confirmed to be capable of and interested in romance and sex despite not reproducing sexually, a good portion of the fandom hit a mental snag, as though that kind of thing should be politely ignored if there's no biological excuse to make it necessary (and therefore okay).

It honestly never occurred to me that capsuleers wouldn't date or form romantic attachments, since they certainly still appear to experience any number of other human emotions and urges, so the idea that it's mindboggling for them to do it kind of boggled -my- mind.
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Posted: Jan 6th 2012 11:10PM docma said

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@Liameyna has it mostly right, although some of the subtler RP aspects of being a capsuleer in EVE and interacting with the non-capsuleer society is missed. Capsuleers are born just like everyone else - there's nothing in the lore that suggests otherwise. The difference in them is that they have a Jovian DNA strand and training that allows them to interact with the Jovian-supplied pod and cloning technology (on a repeated basis). They're 'technological' immortals, able to die and be reborn multiple times, in that sense - and that's the thing that changes them, psychologically speaking.

That's the RP question - how does it change them? Do they embrace immortality in a nihilistic sense? Or do they regard themselves as beyond the laws of gods and men, able to participate in any action no matter the ethical implications? Do they go looking for spiritual purpose? Do they reject the notion of God or other spirituality? How do they deal with a non-capsuleer public, many of whom regard them according to a 'mass murderer' stereotype - there's a Chronicle where one capsuleer notes that security in many stations tends to execute capsuleers on site, owing to the 'suicide' terrorist risk some have presented. Do they cut themselves off from 'mere' mortals out of arrogance, concern for personal safety, bitterness or concern for the non-capsuleers themselves? Do they spurn relationships knowing that interactions with non-capsuleers will always end before the capsuleer expires and that relations with capsuleers are likely to be just as transient/dysfunctional? What about pregnancy - that doesn't transfer to the next clone if the current one is destroyed, after all.

Those are just a sample of the questions a roleplayer in EVE can explore and extend well beyond a simple 'do we date or use the toilet' inquiry.
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Posted: Nov 25th 2011 9:27PM Space Cobra said

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Irem speaks for me!

In any event, I finally am getting back to Mass Effect 2 (a Bioware game, natch!). And in the new Normandy, we finally get to actually see Bathrooms; both male and female versions! (Although, forget about it on the Citadel! You still have to "hold it"!)

Actually, it's nice to see these touches, IMO. We don't see them in all TV shows or even other entertainment media. For storytelling, it is best to "handwave it". Sometimes it can be nice/fun to bring it up and other times not. As with any RPG-table-top game, time moves differently. Irem brought up the fact a conversation lasting so long could last 2 in-game day/night cycles. Same thing with table-top gaming; a particular convo with NPCs to achieve something could last the whole game session (or a big chunk of it) but in the mind of most participants, it is assumed to last only so long, whereas a fight could last longer or shorter than that particular conversation.

I think most readers/players tend to "handwave" such things, but I would say writers do, too, either intentionally or unintentionally. Like, your EVE example of clones, you are right that players who roleplay would bump into that problem of clones doing certain things but, IMHO, I don't think the folks at EVE really considered that mechanic in their universe at all; they just wanted a "fighting/trading" game. Now with the addition of their new system that helps RP, this is probably more of a problem.

There are lots of shows/novels I've seen that present a good story but leave certain aspects out, either because they want to focus on other things (adventure) or they haven't bothered to put in details yet. I am pretty positive even George Lucas never gave a thought to "bathrooms" in his movies and it was someone else (sounds like in the EU) who did. Even in early Star Trek and even in fandom, no one thought of "bathrooms" (the first released Engineering blueprints of the Enterprise famously lacked any bathrooms in the whole of the ship; of course, in my experience, Engineers are always forgetting such common-sense items on Real-World blueprints!).

So, some folks ignore it and others pick up on that and either laugh or explore it. Heck, there is only 1 NPC child in all of CoH. No animals beyond certain NPC pets usable by players (no domestic dogs/cats). Other games suffer that, too. (You pointed out the lack of children in some games.)

Posted: Nov 26th 2011 4:44AM hereafter said

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@Space Cobra

You reminded me of the bathrooms in Deus Ex: HR, where a character will actually chide you for going into the women's restroom. I think the Normandy's AI does that once too, right?

I guess it just works better in some contexts. Some settings don't really need them while other would probably benefit. I think a game like The Secret World would make good use of those kinds of real world details because of how it would contrast with the supernatural stuff. Heck, after that one trailer, I'd be disappointed if I couldn't fight a demon in front of a urinal.
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Posted: Nov 26th 2011 7:48AM Space Cobra said

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@hereafter

Right, the Normandy AI does chastise you.

IMO, it's a balancing act at times. If you are in a "living, breathing world" and you get wrapped up in it, you may or may not notice it, but when someone mentions it or you have that thought, it sticks and you DO notice it. You may even search until you find one in-game.

Yeah, it would be good to have such in the Secret World. Such restrooms can benefit with the right horror context, but we'll see if they add them. Even in each faction's HQ, it would be good to see at least a door or signs leading to them.
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Posted: Nov 25th 2011 11:21PM (Unverified) said

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Think about it, it's gotten to the point in reality where we can almost count on someone having a computer in their home. In our lifetimes, we will be able to count on someone having a smartphone.

It's safe to assume (and in fact addressed in the Star Wars books) that all characters in a far future sci-fi setting have some sort of data device. (Star wars calls them data pads.)

At the point where you can assume that safely, signs become nearly obsolete. Why have signs to follow when you can get directions from the local public network?

Thus, you can assume there were bathrooms in Star Wars, and you never saw signs for them because there was no need for them. (As mentioned above, the Star Wars books do reference bathrooms. Usually called refreshers, and usually referred to in the context of a shower, not biological functions.)

It becomes more problematic in open world games, but can be easily solved by having doors that don't open. You can just assume the mundane things you don't need to see exist behind those unopenable doors.

At least in something like TOR you are wandering through a city and you know there is much more than what you can explore. In WoW, you have to remind yourself that as big, beautiful, and nicely architechted as Stormwind is, it cannot possibly be a lore accurate, scale model of the human capitol.

Until the day where MMOs nail un-instanced housing in a way that allows for good city planning (as opposed to people building houses wherever and the results looking like it rained structures randomly from the sky) you have to remember that what you see on screen is merely a prop to help you imagine the world as it is in the lore.

Posted: Nov 26th 2011 1:14AM GW2waiting said

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@(Unverified)

Nice comments ........ +5 Vorpal !
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Posted: Nov 26th 2011 10:03AM PacketBurner said

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Just as a small point MXO had them (lol RIP MXO)

RP always suffer from the glass veneer in RPG's, i struggle in many RPGS to do what i "want" but thats the way the story works. I will be interested to see how people handle RP in SwTor, as (including the bathrooms) there is a very linear story arc which i assume everyone will just ignore in their RP efforts.

Without the sandboxy elements and everyone running around with the same companions its hard to know if the game will will feel very RP friendly.

Back to the question and i imagine everyone will be too busy going to weddings *SNORE* to bother with toilet breaks.

Posted: Nov 28th 2011 11:28AM nimzy said

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SWTOR fails the toilet test... oh no!

Posted: Dec 12th 2011 9:02PM (Unverified) said

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I'm pretty sure back in the early-ish SWG days (ie around Jump to Lightspeed's launch) this question was posed. "Why cant we have bathrooms & toilets in our player housing / space ships?" I believe one of the SWG devs said it was because Lucas / LucasArts wouldn't allow bathrooms to be shown at all in Star Wars movies or games or whatever. It's all "off-camera" but since in SWG you could create your own houses, there wasn't really a way to put toilets "off-camera" so they simply weren't allowed to be in the game at all.

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