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Reader Comments (3)

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 7:25PM Space Cobra said

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Ah, Mister Lefebrve,

You understand and yet you miss some details. Unfortunately, you are not alone and your view is correct...for the masses, but it is missing a very important element about the true nature of humor very few people realize.

Still, your advice is generally spot on: You can overdo jokes. You can be inappropriate....and "Joke" characters can be incongruous to almost anything....but it depends how you do it.

I guess I could write my own article on humor; I've studied it, just like Steve Allen and others. There is a certain way one wields it and, really, just like how some people don't mind Pandas and others do, humor is not the same for everyone; I've seen people who do not like the silliness of a Monty Python. Heck, I don't really like the dead-pan 15 minute uncomfortable pauses of Family Guy. At least I am curious what makes some of these things "tick" for others, even if they do nothing for me.

I am commenting here because, Ilke many a young lad, I had a few stable of characters and they were all very "cool" and "serious" and "bad-assed" and sometimes based on something from TV or a (comic) book. I still use these characters, but, when I started CoH when it launched, I felt the need to change my main persona/mask, so I created a "light" character....or a "jokester". As you've stated before, it can be hard to ingratiate or even get people to acknowledge you if you are the "silent, brooding loner" type. With my new character, this wasn't the case. In fact, it was pretty fun. And hell, got to use my razor-sharp wit lots of times!

It was a breath of fresh air to me and a nice, positive thing to bring to folks. But, even "joke" characters aren't all great. Again, the subject of "humor" is strange: Everyone likes to laugh but jokes get old. Even comedy series dry up faster than dramatic series.

I guess I feel the need to respond that "Joke" characters don't have to be so bad. I've got a few allegory characters, that hopefully are walking billboards with lessons to be learned and Joke characters can be that....they can even be more than that.

But I agree on your friend, "Mark", he probably wasn't too serious about his gaming and probably didn't care; I've met a few folks like that. That's not really the fault of the character, persay, but the creator and his intent, which is not much of an intent or "reason of being", frankly.

Posted: Jan 13th 2012 7:42PM Eliot Lefebvre said

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@Space Cobra

Of course I missed some details. I'm not done yet.

Really, no article I write could cover every possible situation, every possible permutation, every potential wrinkle of what works. There are silly characters that work, and some that work very well. But as with all things, it's easier to start with the rules that prevent more issues. Not making joke characters is an easier rule to break occasionally than the converse.

There's also the simple fact that humor is one of those elements of the human condition that's easy to understand on a base level but really difficult to explain. Which is why I've avoided it for so long, and why I'm trying to push the boundaries a bit by covering it now. I'm going to get some things wrong, and I appreciate the feedback.

Posted: Jan 14th 2012 1:07PM Ecto said

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Nice article. I've also found that incorporating humor tends to make for more interesting roleplay. Without it, like you said, things get stale. Space Cobra brings up a good point in that humor is subjective. I look forward to you touching on this in a future article.

Some MMOs also make it easier to incorporate humor in to your roleplay with races that have built-in quirks. WoW's Goblins with their constant need to blow things up, for example. Having a structural base like this to work off of can often make it easier for people to get started.

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