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Musings and Stuff.

Random thoughts and musings.

Author: singsofdeath

Roleplaying in MMO's. Thoughts...

Posted by singsofdeath Monday January 5 2009 at 12:13PM
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So...again, a blog entry of mine that has been inspired by the crowd of DF fanbois who have recently also begun to claim the domain of RP for themselves. Since DF is no longer just the dream of any MMO gamer, but now also the dream of every RPer, I've decided to put some more thoughts into this and into the argumentation they use to justify that.


Since I also said I would not participate in said thread anymore, I'm taking this to here. Anyway, let's begin by analyzing the pretext under which the DF Fanboi-Club promotes DF as the "TRUE" Roleplaying Game.


1) Danger lurks around every corner. You are never safe. Gankers, Exploiters, Griefers and so on are all part of the RP experience in DF.


This statement boggles my mind. The crowd that has been attacking me in the thread has stated over and over again that DF is closer to real P&P RP than anything out there. I disagreed. I pointed out DF will not be any different, RP -wise, than any other MMO. MMO's are, by their nature, not exactly spawning grounds for "Real" RP.


But to explain further. Let's say you actually play P&P. You get together with a couple of people (at a convention) and you have your characters laid out and you have thought of a nice background for him/her and you start playing your character with the group, in the world the DM creates. You have your character plot against your friends characters, because he/she is an evil bastard. You may even get to fight one of your friends in an ambush to surprise them.


Along comes a guy you do not know. He obviously wants to play along, so you think to yourself, sure. He proceeds to create a character, but not with any sort of "person" in mind, but by maximizing skills, getting every possible advantage he can have from the rules. He begins playing, but he doesn't actually play a role, he just randomly attacks you and your fellow players characters. He knows the rule-book inside to outside and uses every trick possible, exploiting every little loophole, all the while never -ONCE- actually participating in any sort of "character-interaction" besides killing your character and laughing about it happily. After a while of this, the group dissipates. It's simply not fun.


So, dear DF-Fanclub. That is "TRUE" RP for you?


2) Defining Roleplaying:

The funny thing is, the brigade in said thread seems to believe they now not only have the definition of a "TRUE" MMO, they also have the definition of "TRUE" RP. They go on to claim that acting has nothing to do with Roleplaying. They also go on to claim that all that "stupid talking in chat" has nothing to do with RP.


Let's examine for a moment what RP is then, shall we?


RP stands for Role Playing. Inherently, that is a very easy to understand word, right? You play a role. Simple as that. Now, what does that include? To most RPers, playing a role is not just steering a set of numbers through a premade world and using rules to get things done. To most RPers, roleplaying means immersing themselves in the world. One plays a part of the world, a character -IN- said world. That includes speaking, that includes background, that includes behaviour and demeanor. It includes everything.


RPing is more than just letting your character run through the world. RPing is about "being" your character for a while and acting like he would in a world into which you try to project yourself into. So yes, it has a lot to do with acting. To those people who laugh and tell me that RP has nothing to do with acting, please, take a moment to learn what RP is about. It's not about numbers and mechanics and whatnot. It's about story, about -your- characters story.


It's a sad thing to see people no longer caring about the immersion, about the story, about telling a tale with your character and now even touting this as "TRUE" Rping.


3) Go away and learn to RP. Acting is not RP. Saying funny lines is not RP.

Acting has everything to do with RP. And someone who does not understand this has either never played a decent RPG-Session or has never understood the concept behind RPG's.


According to D&D's definition, RPing is about: "When you play the D&D game, you create a unique ficitional character that lives in your imagination and the imagination of your friends. One person in the game, the DM, controls monsters and people that live in the fantasy world...."


It -LIVES- in your imagination. It's not just a piece of numbers and mechanics, it has a life, it should have a story, it should be interesting and if you play said character, you do not just run it around to roll your dice, you run it around to play (or act) its life.


Another popular RPG, Shadowrun, states in the beginning chapter, that an RPG Adventure is much like a good book or a movie. Only you do not just watch it, but you define it. The GM gives you a general guideline, a world, a "STAGE", and you place your character in that world. You -play- it in that world. In other worlds, you act.


I'm honest here. I do not think that a lot of immersive RP -CAN- happen in MMO's. Why? Simply because of the nature of people. RP in small groups is fun and works. RP with thousands is near-impossible. Add to that that rules on RP Servers are seldomly enforced and you end up with a world in which players run around just to disturb and break your immersion, because it is fun for them.


No, for RP, I personally have gone back to P&P and IM RP. It's no surprise that one of the most successful RPG's is actually not called an RPG, but a "Storytelling" Game.


So, DF-Fanbois. You can call your game the saviour of Roleplaying, but you are deluding yourself. Sure, more freedom adds to immersion, but at the same time, it gives other players many more tools to break that immersion. And since DF has not even announced an RP server, and even if they did, they most likely do not have the staff to actually enforce RP Rules, you will not be looking at a whole lot of Roleplaying on DF.


I said it before, sure there will be RP. But there will also be a whole lot of people who want no part in RP. Some of those will just ignore RPers. And others will grief them endlessly. That's the way it has always been in MMO's. That's also the way it will be in DF. And in my opinion, even more so because there are just that many more ways to destroy immersion for other players.


In closing, I'd like to point out to all those ridiculously pompous people in the thread that started this, go out and actually play an RPG. Don't play a dice-game, but play a storytelling game and maybe...just -maybe- you might understand what RP is really about. Leave your dice at home and just tell a story with others. Cooperative storytelling. And then tell me again that someone busting into your room and absuing game-mechanics to gank your party for the sole reason because the "player" is an ass, has anything to do with RP.


P.S.: Anyone who even thinks of accusing me of not liking PvP or not liking the thought of facing danger with my character, please just shut your holes. I've played RP's and I've played my characters against other player characters. I've had characters of mine -die- and I've had it be a real shocking moment, not just some "oh my, well let's roll a new character".


Ganking can be part of RP. It's about the mindset and the obvious "NOT-RPing" in a game that destroys immersion and thus destroys the RP experience for me.

tupodawg999 writes:

Generally I agree. Griefers want to maximize griefing and breaking game lore and immersion increases the grief. So they're more likely to grief players on their own side if they can.

I can see one way in which (semi) FFA PvP could be used to directly improve immersion though and that would be if different races had different rules e.g goodie elves couldn't attack each other, high status dark elves could attack low status dark elves, orcs were FFA.

Something like that.

Mon Jan 05 2009 3:30PM Report
UncertaintyP writes:

Actually games like this are better for RP, the fact that there will be people who have fun by trying to make you mad doesn't change that. Better doesn't mean it's perfect, MMOs suck for RPing anyway, these kinds are just a little bit better most of the time.

Mon Jan 05 2009 5:13PM Report
katriell writes:

Completely and vehemently agreeing with you on the definition of RP.


I find some good roleplaying experiences in MMOs, but only in small groups, just as you say.  These days I endeavour to burrow into the best RP-oriented guild or social circle in the game and nearly ignore the rest of the community.  Although that's not saying much since the only games I play long-term have very small populations.

Mon Jan 05 2009 5:53PM Report
Writh writes:

The funny thing for me is that, in the past I have debated with people that MMORPG's very nature defies the concept of RP. Especially, the "RPG" mechanics of theses games, leveles and things of the like. Honestly, to make an RP oriented MMO, you would pretty much need to shed off most of the mechanics that the industry relies on. Restrictions of species and race. Most mobs in the world would have be creatures of animal intelligence save for a some exceptions. Combat would have to be one of the middle ranked priorities of the game rather then the top.

The undertaking would be huge and exhausting, in the end to most people it would seem pretty much pointless. I hate to say this, because I despise it so, but second life actually kinda moves more in the direction of an RP MMO. You would have to cut back the player implemented content to a considerable degree and build a more coherrent world but that is the gist of the direction, in my opinion at least.

Mon Jan 05 2009 6:41PM Report
zelldevil writes:

okay, now the flipside to what you're saying is a linear mmorpg.  where everyone does the exact same shit, and this goes for every god damn one of em, i mean like Wow for example each class may be different but the story line for eacho f the classes is the exact same.  That doesnt create rp either.  DF gives people a greater chance to RP, but by no means do i agree with the retards that think it will have true RP, lets face it a game with pure RP only exists in our heads.

Mon Jan 05 2009 8:45PM Report
singsofdeath writes:


As I said, RP in MMO's is superficial at best. And one can argue about how much more RP there will be in DF. My opinion of this is that due to the nature of the game and the crowd it caters to -MOST-, there will be very little RP in DF. I never said there was a whole lot of RP in other games to begin with. Quite the contrary.

As I said, if I want good RP, I play P&P or IM RP, not MMO's. And yes, to think DF will be a "true" RPers dream is simply silly. 

Mon Jan 05 2009 10:23PM Report
Ascension08 writes:

You should know by now that DF fanboys, for the most point, are quite...

Nah, I won't finish that thought. Good job singsofdeath.

Mon Jan 05 2009 10:39PM Report
zelldevil writes:


okay then, yea i completely agree with you.

Tue Jan 06 2009 2:52AM Report writes:
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