Let's get to it. You are of either one or the other (if you are a combination of both, write your own blog post so I can link it!) Understand that you can also be one or the other at different times, this ain't no concrete rule:
1) A role-player: This does not mean that you go around going "..thus thou and thee!" all the time. This means that you dive right into the game, all of it. This means that you love to explore and discover. You just log in and see what happens, with no particular agenda. Sure, you might log in wanting to do a particular thing, but don't care if that thing gets sidetracked or pushed off for the time being. Leveling isn't that big of a deal, and you like to read quest text, usually. You will talk to strangers and might or might not have a guild. You don't use walk-throughs or mods, and never use a website unless you think a quest or item is broken.
2) A rule-player: This does not mean that you never break rules. This means that you jump right into the game, as far as what the game has laid out for you. You might raid or grind XP. You log in to check on your guilds agenda. Sure, you might log in and goof off for a bit, but can grow bored quickly if there is nothing planned. If there are levels left to achieve, you feel you haven't even begun the game yet, and you will usually skip quest text. You will talk to strangers once they join your guild. You use walk-throughs, mods, and frequent many of the best websites for information.
Of course, I feel as I am a number 1. It might seem like I am making number 2 read like a "bad" thing, but it is not. It is how many, many gamers play nowadays. (And you have to know that I HAVE TO make the number I am out to sound better!)
I am fascinated by bloggers like Syncaine and podcasters like Total Biscuit at WoW Radio. First of all, they both seem like smart guys. Well, I should say, they don't seem like total idiots. In Syn's case, he is always mentioning WoW, even in posts that have nothing to do with WoW. It is obvious to me now that he was somehow hurt by WoW, and finds the need to mention WoW in 99 percent of his blog posts, all the while maintaining that the game is nothing but "neon and care-bears". All this WoW hate comes from a former experienced WoW raider (that means he spent HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS in raids.)
I figured it out, finally. A player like Syn needs to know the rules, so that he can "beat" something, or so that he can rise up to some kind of level. Players like him need "rules" that have been set by other players like him (not the game) that say that the "end-game" is the place to be, or that you should kill ______ other players, or that you control some amount of land (examples, people, examples. They could be specific to his games.) Then, according to him, the game (WoW) became nothing but easy street noobsville..making raiding more "accessible" than ever before (they made raids smaller, shorter and funner but there is still plenty of heavier stuff to do.) In other words, the game changed his rules that told him that attaining a certain level of play was the way you play. He was like a dog in a household with no rules: confused and a little scared. His self-imposed titles lost their worth, which surprised me that anyone would place much value on something that thousands have achieved.
Total Biscuit is nothing but a loudmouth, and for the life of me I can't figure out if he knows that he is acting as some kind of MMO "shock jock" just to get attention. I can't believe that he listens to himself and goes "Yeh, man, I owned Blizzard and their dumb decisions on that one.." He seems to be suffering from the same rule-change trauma, talking (at least on the 3 shows I heard him on) on and on about how the raids are now wrong.
Understand that I am not saying that this type of play is wrong, the type that is a player waiting around for the game to tell them what there is to do and what to "achieve."
Vanguards community, from my experience, has always suffered from this need for rules and restrictions. How else can you say you have achieved something if there are no ceilings to hit? Right now, this need for rules is biting a good number of the community in the butt with the announcement of RMT coming to the game. Players will be able to buy characters, items and gold from a safe outside "market" like on the two EQ2 servers that have been around for a few years.
I have seen players melt down and want to cancel simply because the rules have changed. No longer is hitting level 50 and having a ton of plat a goal or an accomplishment, if a player can just go out and buy them with real money. This is a real feeling for them and I can almost empathize with it, if I gave much of a crap about what other people thought about how I play my video games.
A "rule" player needs those accomplishments to have fun. Of course, there is nothing at all wrong with that. That type of player is the bread and butter of the MMO industry, the type of player that not only pays for their sub every month, but also stays logged in.
But, here's the catch. Those rules have never been anything but what individual the player makes them. I have never played a single MMO that forced any player to do anything save interacting with the world in basic ways, but even then you can make certain choices about how you interact (travel, communication, other examples.) I can play alongside hard-core raiders or pvp'ers and be just as fulfilled and excited by the game as they can. Why is that? If there are rules that say that max-level and the best items are the point to the game, then how can I play with my sub-par gear and dumb habits like spying on strangers (only to go up to them and go "Bleep? Bloop?")
That's because smart developers know that choices are more important than satisfying a select group of players.
I understand that the game MUST have some kind of rule-set or there would be nothing to do except everything, something that Second Life has suffered from since the beginning. In Second Life you can pretty much literally make anything and do anything from making games to sex toys, and yet the "game" is not nearly as popular as many MMO's.
There is information out there (including some from LL themselves) that shows the average player of SL to be logged in for fractions of what the average "normal" MMO user plays for. Why is that?
As I have said before, it is because in a world without boundaries or rules, players tend to get bored. How you can achieve something if everything is achievable ? I actually get that, and think that a smart developer has to be very careful with RMT and other things that might "devalue" things like raid loot, high end gear or max-level characters.
I don't want an eradication of all "rules and boundaries." I just enjoy the choices that are there.
Here's the second deal: The "old rules" are changing, and hopefully forever. I can't wait for the day when players do not simply follow down the path of every other player before them, playing in the same areas, achieving the same things. That type of set-up creates a false set of "rules" that many players confuse for law.
In example: many players love to use the phrase "Play your class correctly."
My issue with that is not that there is no "right way" to play a class. I actually think that there IS a right way in most modern MMO's. The bad part to me is that there are, in most MMO's, only those classes. To me, an MMO is a simulation of a real world. In a real world you would have many variations of the same type of person, from the fighter that heals to the mage that uses a sword.
I guess that while I can log in and have fun with any number of different games, I am a little unsatisfied with a game that tells me that I am a unique individual, but within a class of the same unique individuals. Rule players need those groups of types of players or there would be no "best of the class" or "most kills by a _______." Rule players, like Syn and that Biscuit guy, NEED to have something solid because they have a hard time adapting, or simply do not have fun adapting.
Now, just for the record, I will repeat: You are of either one or the other (if you are a combination of both, write your own blog post so I can link it!) Understand that you can also be one or the other at different times, this ain't no concrete rule.