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Bladewir's Bellowing Blog

I'm back! I usually blog about MMORPGs and my experiences with them here, as well as other topics at my other blog located at http://knvpradio.blogspot.com

Author: MMOPlaya

Let's Put the "RP" Back Into "MMORPG"

Posted by MMOPlaya Thursday November 15 2007 at 8:01PM
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NOTE: I have to admit that this particular blog entry is for those readers who enjoy roleplay or are interested in roleplay, and is not aimed at the purist game player.

We all know that MMORPG stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game...so why do most modern MMORPG's not offer strong roleplay elements?  It's almost like the whole roleplay idea has been eviscerated from the genre.  But first, how do we define roleplay?  I like to consider immersion to be the key to roleplay. 

What particular MMORPG do you consider to be most immersive?  By immersive I mean which MMORPG do you presently play that completely engulfs you into it's world and surroundings and you forget that you are sitting in front of a computer and moving your avatar?  Which game is so detailed and interactive that it allows you to feel as if you are your character?

Which game has the necessary elements in character creation, character development, and activities that allow your avatar to take on what YOU would do if you were your character? 

Is the in-game ability to actually grow and harvest your crops or chop down trees help you with immersion?  How about being able to build your own house or even a city?  Is a detailed crafting system that requires the gathering/hunting of materials, the making of solvants or sewing of cloth even before you started immersive to you?  Is the ability to raise a young hatchling from egg to maturity into a trusted pet immersive?  I think you see where I'm going with this.

Most importantly, does this game actually exist?  If it doesn't, which MMORPG would you consider to come closest?  Also, what do we as roleplayers need to tell the developers of upcoming MMORPG titles in order to secure a nice immersive gameplay style?

I personally think that there are several games out right now, that have elements of good immersion, but not all in one package.  There are bits from Vanguard: Saga of Heroes (housing / crafting), Star Wars Galaxies (housing / player cities / mounts) and Face of Mankind (metropolitan setting / jobs) that if thrown together would make an excellent, immersive roleplay experience.  But this is just my opinion.

Let's start a list of which existing games or even suggest ideas for new games that might include something for the roleplayers and let's put the RP back into MMORPG.

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If you enjoy my ramblings, please visit my new MMORPG forum located here.  Thanks for reading!

korvass writes:

Personally, at this moment, I would have to say LOTRO does a decent job with immersion and RP elements. It now has housing, the crafting is useful but not overly complicated. And for the roleplayers, the music system is fantastic, you can write character bios until your fingers bleed, and there's even a system to make other characters your relatives, to create your own family tree within the LOTR epic.

Fri Nov 16 2007 3:08AM Report
Hrothmund writes:

Immersion and a good back-drop for a great roleplaying experience is very hard to accomplish. Much more so than a good combat or PvP system. Let's face it, games like WoW, and Tabula Rasa don't exactly offer the best means for having fun with roleplaying. These hit titles are much more gameplay orientated.

 

For me to actively engage in the RP element, I would need a great sandbox title, unfortunately there is no game out there right now that really wants me to get involved in the game world as my character, and not as Mr. Hrothmund playing his level 23 warrior.

Fri Nov 16 2007 6:23AM Report
Kenny3000 writes:

for me it was Beyond Earth, Most of you were to young to remember it, it was a mmorpg 3d sci-fi space themed masterpiece of epic proportions, it made EVE look like a Tonka Toy. Sadly It was Far Ahead of its time and its immersive complicated gameplay left current gamers looking like they just had a stroke (Drool and all) at that time there were very few games who wanted this, Every One Wanted nothing short of "SHoot this! or Destroy that" and the big one. To Be able to compleete the game in a few days or a week. but every knows now that you cant compleete an mmo. even after years of playing, youve done everything seen everyone done every damn quest that the admind would'nt dare find! and then... you switch classes. youve compleetely compleeted one and then here come 8 more. this is why Earth And Beyond failed. i am currenly trying to buy the rights to this game but every time i find a lead they say well sorry but we dont acctualy own it you have to talk to >>>> it ends up being a pointless circle. but to date Earth and Beyone was the most ammazing mmo i had ever seen it was also the first real space sci-fi if you look at the dates.

Fri Nov 16 2007 8:01AM Report
rev_lazaro writes:

I know by design it's the furthest from immersive, but my Guild Wars guild has developed awesome back stories and has had some great in-character RP. I think ultimately, finding room to immerse yourself in isn't going to be found in a game design.  The best they can provide is cool looking settings, places to run around and /emotes in abundance. The players imagination, in the end, is the required element.

 

Fri Nov 16 2007 8:28AM Report
DarkerFate writes:

I do believe you mean Earth and Beyond.  I remember the game although I never played it.  And I also know that there is a project in the works to bring it back.

Fri Nov 16 2007 8:31AM Report
Majorjuju writes:

Face of mankind was the game i found had the most Immersion, a game i played for 2 years till its fall, and eventually rebirth. Sadly with this game being out of action for a while, im stuck for a decent MMO with enough RP to keep me hooked.

Fri Nov 16 2007 9:23AM Report
Taibron writes:

I would add Sage of Ryzom, which is / was the game that took me deepest in. Great Harvesting and Crafting, no Item drop and the best thing no classes.  No Level-Restriction, if you want to team with a "lower" player you only change your "weapons-skills".

I played since release but no have to take a break on low RL-creds and from now I hope it will find new investors with the "right" idea for it.

 

Fri Nov 16 2007 9:39AM Report
Eisdrache writes:

The only game (except Chat-RPG) I know that was able to get me deep into my character was Horizons.  It had the greatest variety of char creation possibilities I ever saw, which did not stop with the char creation itself but sustain by development of the char hunting and crafting abilities during gameplay. I awfully missing something like that, while I cant stand such hack&slay MMOs with merely no RP like (free) Rappelz or GuildWars were 99.9% of the conversation consist of "DPLF30+ Cleric or Strider" or "Offer Rush for x Gold".

In my opinion nowadays games ar FAR to easy.  Theres no need to have really strong friends, partys or guilds. Even worse, instancing cuts the ability to call for help or even find someone struggling or hurt to help him slay his or her foes. You have almost no way to separate the good players from the bad. That does not mean I would not play with weakers chars or even players, i am only midrange myself. But I became a kind of leader in several games, because I knew the surrounding, the quest, the monsters and... the right people to do a specific job! "Call Eisdrache! He'll gat you in! Or out!" THAT was cool, because my so called "Hunters" got know to almost everyone, and the PPL calling for help did not only get a rush but even the informations and help they needed to improve. That was a great deal for everyone, because those PPL helped the younger ones aswell, so we did not had to spoil there fun by helping a noob with a level 100 char. But you could go for a rescue to any point on the map and get your friends or other guys out... if you managed to reach the destination of course. Or manage to land, if you were a free flying dragon like me.

Fri Nov 16 2007 12:51PM Report
todeswulf writes:

I agree that LOTRO fosters RP more than most MMO's out there, but sadly this is a dual edged sword as you tend to get Thespian gamers  having hissy fits becuase you spelled some elvish name wrong. 

Many drama queens flocked to LOTRO from SWG, bringing thier  special brand of  how to kill a guild with them.  My kinship is moderate RP, but it is a struggle to keep the nut jobs from trying work their way in. I tell new members that if you can identify with these guys:  http://youtube.com/watch?v=HmgLOKRl5J0   or  this guy http://youtube.com/watch?v=YWI0wFITP6M you might want to find another kinship.

Fri Nov 16 2007 1:05PM Report
KlausW writes:

Horizons is still the only game that has really  provided an environment I wanted to RP in.  The fact that it is a niche game which doesn't appeal to the PvP and hardcore raiding crowd help a great deal; the player base is older (34 on the average, according to the last survey done) than you'll find in many larger games, and generally fairly familiar with how to RP, even on the standard-rules server.  In fact, RP is fairly frequent in the Chaos dragon chat channel.

I also think the quest system in Horizons is more immersive than the systems used in other games.  Rather than getting a single FedEx or Kill X of Y task, quests in Horizons can be long, complex storylines that can involve travelling, speaking with different NPCs, crafting, fighting, collecting rare drops, even making decisions to determine how a quest comes out. 

Lastly, for my money, nothing beats being a dragon.  :-)

Fri Nov 16 2007 1:46PM Report
eric_w66 writes:

I cannot bring myself to 'RP' in an online MMO RPG because the internet and the game itself limit you in so many ways that I find it constricting and RPing in these games is usually self-defeating (You RP adding even more restrictions than even the game imposes on you to differentiate yourself from others). That, to me, is not what Role-Playing is all about.

I suppose I've been spoiled by 25 years of face to face RPing with friends in games such as AD&D, Champions, Star Wars, Danger International, Rifts, Earthdawn, Shadowrun (personal favorite), and many others. The enjoyment I get from doing those sessions vs these online parodies of it is just such a huge gulf that I can't be bothered to try. Its just so far removed from 'real' roleplaying that it isn't even in the same galaxy, let alone solar system, let alone ball park.

I used to play some MUD's/MUSES/MOO's/MUSHes where you roleplayed online, and had 'impartial' gms determine the outcomes of such things as RP'd combat, etc. That was... ok.... still nowhere close to real RPing (and I don't mean LARPing), but definitely a cut above these MMORPG's.

Fri Nov 16 2007 3:39PM Report
shirlnt writes:

I'm not a hardcore roleplayer but I do enjoy dabbling in it.  The only MMO that I've played that lent itself to this was SWG in its pre-cu form.  Because of the way the game was designed, people could not just grindfest themselves through the game.  Even those who were only interested in combat had to stop for a while to heal.  This meant people who wanted to rp had a "captive audience."   Playing the role of a stormtrooper checking out the patrons of the local cantina?  Other players were in the cantina rather than playing the role to a bunch of npcs or an empty cantina.  Some people might fuss about the roleplaying but some might also play along.  Also, since people weren't slapped with a level and herded from area to area in order to get xp based on current level and people could choose non-combat professions that had meaning without having a combat profession plus people had a limited ability to mix and match skills, there were more choices to role play.  Want to play someone who never wandered far from home?  You could.  Want to play an adventurer who explored every planet? You could do that to.  A loner? A shrewd business man? The entertainment for the local cantina? A spy or traitor?  You could.  You could go to weddings, parties, army trainings....  Write a story in your bio and those who were interested could read it and react to your story.  It was a lot of fun carving out your place, your "story," in the galaxy and I still miss it.

Fri Nov 16 2007 9:52PM Report
Thorbrand writes:

I don't think this was actually dealing with RPing in MMO's. I agree that the current MMO scene has lost the whole RPG aspect that used to be in the first games that came out. Games that took over a year to get to max level but you didn't really care about how long it took. I would say that one of the best would be EQ.

I don't believe housing increases the game play any and mounts are not really a major part of the RPG scene. Where are the games that didn't require you to grind all day and you just had fun playing them just for the content?

Fri Nov 16 2007 10:10PM Report
Dajag writes:

Lets face it most devs just dont care about RP..

I feel for a game to have RP value it must have..

1. very good Character Customization- skill over class development system.. many character looks, as in hair styles, faces clothes ect.. hard to RP when ur toon looks like everyone elses.

2. A strong mob UI - where players have to slow down and think before attacking an area - as in communicate to others in ur group instead of button mashing and chain killing without break.

3. An interactive world - by this I mean chairs u can sit in, campfires mini-games like cards or horseshoes, jousting ect..

4. A strong commitment to supporting the community - message boards in game, player housing and towns, player run stores, Inns,carfting shops ect..

Things i feel that need to be taken out of an RP based MMO is..

1. Global Chat.. force player to talk to others and get ridd of all the NOOB and buy gold spam and all the WOW is better then EQ crud that floods these chat channels. Force players to have to join speical chat channels run by other players and guilds.

2. leveling .. enough said

3. Hovering - this is when u hover you curser over another player and u can see all his stats, gear and name.. players should have to work for this info in RP.. If u wanna PVP someone go for it!  dont just wait till u can Hover and find an easy kill.

 

Mon Dec 10 2007 6:04AM Report
michaelbolla writes:

 We're doing just this with Solinia Online there's no roleplaying only mmorpg out there at the moment (3D anyway) and we decided that it would be a good opportunity to fill the gap!

Tue Feb 09 2010 11:42AM Report
Valentine6 writes:

The Best hands down that I have Come across Is SAMP Its a modded Verson of gta sa Servers Like SARP and LSRP Are The Most Rp you can get Try it You Will Be Amazed

Thu Apr 22 2010 4:12PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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