While I may prefer casual play in an MMO, I am also a person that enjoys my role-play as often as I can get it, this however comes as a costly price. In many games role-players suffer the time penalty, while they play around and talk, socialize, and construct stories other players work tirelessly to level up, gain currency and gather items. However, as any role-player can attest to, role-play is a lot of work, sometimes more than that a grinder does. Where is the reward for all that work?
Firstly I would like to define the work that goes into a role-play, I am doing so because many people simply do not see this so-called "work" that is done, and seriously I can understand this perfectly, you see all that work is often done outside the game. The work that goes into role-play is a twofold process that is completed by only the best role-players. i will summerise.
1. The role. Most role-players put a lot of effort into constructing their story. This may include a background, biography, an upkeep of events that change the life of the character, as well as some things just for fun. Seriously, in some situations this is almost as much work as a professional author (at least I hope they put half the effort in at least).
2. The play. This is often the part that sets the serious from the amateur. Sure, you may be able to make an interesting story, but can you enact your character in a way that seems believable and enjoyable. This is a balanace of defining your character and also hiding some parts to encourage curiosity. This is oftent eh hardest part as you are literally writing a story that you have no control over, in real time too!!! Ask a professional author to write a story and not edit his/her story as they go and they will scream blue murder, but a role-player has to do this by the seat of their pants.
So, a lot of work is done by the role-player? So what? Well, that is exactly right there is no great thing about being a role-player [waits for flaming mass to land on him]. Seriously though the rewards for role-playing is close to nil, and that is merely being generous. Sure i get some good friends, some good social time, a feeling of doing something creative and unique... but, can't I do that outside the game? Why should I do it in the game? Why should I waste my precious time constructing an elaborate story using someone else's lore for rewards I could get by going to the local pub (they can get very creative at pubs, many old songs have been created in a pub). So I do all this work, no reward, and developers and gamers seem to think lore is important? HANG ON!!! This makes no sense.
Okay, so role-players work, so they produce something great, seriously where is the reward? So i get a post on the forums, some person says it was a good story, and you get a nice reputation. Fantastic... I might as well be some dweeb who never saw the outside of my bedroom. Where is the glory that I deserve? the feeling of seriously completing something that people can recognise, something that will help me in the game, something that I can't just get by actually going out and getting some friends?
Well, the solution is obvious, reward role-players!
Well, this is the hard question isn't it. How can you reward a person for makign the game more interesting and be fair at the same time? Do you hire a bunch of people to constantly patrol the system and give out rewards for specific people? Do you get GMs to hide amongst the population watching out for good role-players? What is a good role-player?
The true answer?
Is there a way to help this problem with role-playing? Seriously, do you have a good idea. I would love to hear it.