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The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Do You Still Roleplay?

Posted by MikeB Thursday January 6 2011 at 4:29PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "Do people actually ROLEPLAY anymore?" by Suilebhain. Simple and straightforward, Suilebhain recalls his heyday of roleplaying back in Dark Age of Camelot and wonders if anyone in the MMORPG.com community still roleplays in MMOs:

I recall the good old days of DAOC where, on the roleplay servers, nearly everyone roleplayed to some degree, even if it was just to say "Hail". Almost never did I encounter people who would approach my elf with their lurikeen and say "whatup dude?" Later, SWG provided a similar, even expanded immersive experience, as player cities became hubs of roleplay activity  where you could wander into a cantina and find people ready, willing and able to engage in improvisational roleplay nearly any time of the day or night.

Now, though, finding anything resembling a roleplay community that approaches that of Albion/Percival or the entire Nimue server is like finding hen's teeth. Not even on roleplay servers in alleged MMORPGS do people roleplay. I know this all started with WOW and the absurd and infamous Barrens Chat, but it has speard and now nowhere provides a welcoming place for people who prefer a greater level of immersion.

My most recent escapade came about in Runes of Magic. F2P games attract the most casual of players, but on the unofficial RP server there were only a few guilds and no casual roleplay that I could find. The folks in the guilds seemed like nice enough people, but the majority of their interaction was spent in an OOC channel labeled RP, which really was just a sign to those seeking others who enjoyed RP rather than providing any true outlet. There were little to no in-game opportunities to roleplay, as there was back in DAOC and SWG.

So, is it time to drop the RPG from MMORPG and just call it MMO.Com? Do people even value random roleplay ex periences or is it all about gear/level acquisition (AKA Achievement), raiding, and PvP?

Randomt had some luck with RPing in Age of Conan, but feels that MUDs may be a better outlet:

When AOC came out, I joined the RP server (usually tends to have slightly less douchebags on them, among other things), and ended up joining some heavy duty RP guild.. There were a number of those at the time.. and that wasn't all that long ago.

I guess being on an RP server helped though lol

MUDs were much more conductive to RP I think, but that's easier with a much smaller player base, although at the time there was no such thing as an mmorpg, really.

thamighty213 feels RP is missing not only due a change in the playerbase but the design of the games themselves:

Sadly its becoming less and less of a art form but its not just the people its the games.

So many games have mapped our backstory our lives our destiny that fitting role playing in is difficult in the past we where plonked in a world with no story to our character no clear route to our destiny we simply existed and everything about us was to be imagined.

The old SWG ad always sums it up well for me bah cant remember how it went now something along the lines of "The greatest Star Wars story never told - YOURS!!"

Thats exactly how it worked it was our story which activeley encouraged RP a entire backstory a imagined destiny family and whetever else you can come with.

Its harder to RP in the modern non sandbox gearfests as the tools, community are not there and the game has already provided reasons as to why we are there what we are doing these things for etc etc

Oddly on that same hand I think TOR with its overabundance of storytelling may well be the saviour of RP from what I'm seeing it spins a good yarn but never to the point of you here for this reason and this reason alone your doing this for this reason and this reason alone.

Its character creation allows 1 of 3 generic backstory's that you can do what you will with.

Lidane takes issue with the idea that the potential for RP is really only present in sandbox games:

It's entirely possible to create your own character story within the framework of someone else's world. Using LOTRO as an example again, Frodo's quest to destroy the One Ring was only one story among the entire mythology of Middle Earth that Tolkien created. There's a whole lot of room to move in terms of finding a place within that world. And just because we know how Frodo's story ends, that doesn't mean we know the way that the life of an individual Hobbit, Elf, or Rohirrim might end.

City of Heroes/Villains lends itself to a whole lot of roleplay, since you can write and create entire story arcs for your characters with the Mission Architect system.

Roleplay isn't the exclusive domain of the sandbox game. It CAN be done in "theme park" games too. It just takes actual knowledge of the lore you're dealing with and being able to carve out your own niche within it.

Ah, roleplay, a subject dear to my heart. I have a long history of online RPing dating as far back to the goofy stuff that went on on AOL back in the 90's. This naturally led me to MUDs, which, as another user noted, are quite conducive to good RP. The communities are often fairly small, and if you have a knack for writing it's pretty easy to to put together a good scene.

MMOs on the other hand, a lot of their potential for RP depends on how much the developers value that sort of gameplay. A lot of the RP is dependent on the tools provided to the player as MMOs are entirely visual. Sure you can just stand there lifelessly and emote, but it really takes you out of the experience. With MUDs, you didn't have to worry about that.

To this day, games such as Star Wars Galaxies offer great tools to roleplayers, especially in recent years. SOE has improved upon the kinds of props and costumes players can use to put on their own events, really allowing players to create much more believable scenes. Of course, the emote issue is still there but that isn't something easily overcome.

The Matrix Online was also an RPers paradise, as the emote issue was somewhat addressed through the use of many interactive emotes, and the game's unique setting and use of live-event content made the game's storyline and characters more malleable. Indeed, I once found myself  on the top floor of a high-rise participating in a secret meeting with Morpheus, or in an underground meeting with Niobe and other prominent guild leaders and players. That sort of thing really brought players who appreciated that sort of thing into the experience.

Beyond the games, I do think it is true that roleplayers are definitely in the minority of the MMO playing populace and it is pretty easy to find yourself ridiculed as a freak for partaking in it, but I'd say a lot of that has to do with the goofier roleplayers who do it only to cyber with what is hopefully someone of the opposite sex, or those who do it just to be annoying.

When I first started playing MMOs all I really wanted to do was replicate my MUDding RP experiences in them, but I found it was nigh impossible to do this and I must admit I've pretty much given up on the idea. I'm older now and honestly most of the RP I've found was not really that good anyways (with a few exceptions, shout out to the Mos Eisley community on Europe-Chimaera from way back!) and now I focus more on PvP gameplay.

What's your take on RP in MMOs these days? Are you currently RPing in any MMOs? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below!

Digna writes:

I RP when I interact with RP'ers. I tend to go to RP servers if RP is enforced (rare these days) because it makes the game quiet for the sake of a few 'thous' and 'thees'. I highly recommend it. If you feel awkward about it, roleplay a mute!

Thu Jan 06 2011 4:47PM Report
bonobotheory writes:

I think roleplaying is pretty much dead in today's MMOs. The current crop of ADD-afflicted players don't have the creativity or the patience for it. When it exists, it's usually of the worst kind. Just fire up WoW, go to Silvermoon City, and watch everyone arguing over whose half-demon half-dragon Blood Elf Emperor of the Universe is better.

Thu Jan 06 2011 5:49PM Report
Halibrand writes:

I'm currently playing LotRO, which still was a fair place to find roleplay until the FTP conversion.  Now the channels and area chat are full of anonymous cybertrash.  Here's a quote I read in /advice channel in the Shire the other day when someone mentioned they were looking for roleplay "get lost, game-freak! leave games to the kids."

 

Area and channel chat resembles the Users Comments sections of Youtube and Yahoo articles and whatnot now.  Since MMOs went mainstream, they're now subject to mainstream behaviour.  It's horrendous.  And MMO developers are afraid to step in and publicly moderate channels like they used to, because they're afraid of messing with their income.

 

Nowadays I still get to roleplay a bit, but it's almost always in private channels.  Some people find roleplay guilds (and most roleplay guilds don't actually roleplay despite advertising themselves as such).  Mostly it's gone underground.  It's done in secret.  Acting, immersion, fitting into the setting have joined the ranks of other such greats as 'plotting against the government' and 'cyber-sex'.

 

Even picking a name for your character, an actual name that fits the setting, can get you grief from other players nowadays.  You get marked as an elitist, a snob, someone who shouldn't be in games anymore.  The default now is for people to make joke names, cyber-speak names, use internet handles.  Out are names like Halibrand.  In are names like Saucy, Greatgoblin, and Buttsehks the Dorf.

 

Honestly, I don't think that most people seeking game experiences steeped in roleplay and community are likely to find what they're looking for anymore.  Probably better off looking for that experience back in table-top games and community theatre.

Thu Jan 06 2011 6:32PM Report
StormwindX writes:

I've always been a fan of casual RP and always will be.

 

A funny thing happened on the third RIFT beta. I'm participating in the testing mainly to actually test things out (class mechanics, quests, combat mechanics, rifts, etc), usually not taking the time to read the lore, quest texts, etc. But even then I'm on one of the RP servers.

So one day I was strolling around the Guardian main city and another player just walks up to me and says, in /s, "Hail, stout Dwarf. Would you be interested in a few pieces of armor? I am an apprentice craftsman who is learning his trade for the benefit of the Vigil, so I charge nothing for my wares."

My reaction outside the game was "Oh WTF. This is really unexpected. Ah well, time to have some fun!", and so we started roleplaying out of the blue about how a Dwarf Warrior is nothing without thick armor plates covering his barrel-shaped body, et cetera. It was actually fun and really unexpected, since it was during a beta test. But fun and refreshing nonetheless.

Thu Jan 06 2011 9:11PM Report
Eladi writes:

In every Type of MMO theres still roleplay, Plenty infact, but the thing is most quality roleplay is hidden from plain side.  comunity's form and find thier self a nice secluded spot to play out thier story's while the wana be or new to roleplayers stay in the public hubs acting by the typical m.sue type of roles.

In CO the Deamons and kittens and lesbian robots hang out in the club while the quality rp'ers have thier own spots and use the game world at large to rp in. in swg the npc's towns used to be the home of rpers in the beginning but even before the nge that moved to thier own towns almost exlusive.

Its save to say that Roleplay will never compleetly die out but it has gotten a hard blow over the years as games offer less and less suport for this style of play. 

Roleplay trives of fluffy stuff like emotes, chat bubbels, complicated chat systems, skill systems instead of class system if at all possible. the more freedom the more rp a game will have. as most roleplayers like to play the role they choise, not the role some company choises for them. 

Roleplayers do not need mutch to roleplay in a game but games like DCO make it damn hard whit linair story's unnatual chat systems, ancient emotes done bad and no social tools. 

CO,STO,SWG,WoW,LotRO,AoC,VG,and most other titles even the "asian" ones still have rp comunity's small and large.

It wil stay in mmo's and when the right game hit,The game that does not drop the RP style way low on the list you will see it trive for year. in the end a game lives on roleplayers and ultra fans, those are the folks that build long lasting ingame comunity's

Thu Jan 06 2011 11:00PM Report
Eladi writes:

Oh BTW SWG Emote system might bin the best ever developed for a MMO.  it had layers,

you could change your chat bubble (angry,jabber,think the styles you often see in comic books to show how someone is saying sometign)

For exsample, you could use the Mood Tired and moan someting in a "special" chat bubble. and depending if you had someone,nothing or yourself targeted the system would change the text acordingly.

this chat system was fully intergraded whit he animations emote system . players could for the first time (and probaly only time)  compleetly seperate themself / thier character from others purely by the way they used the emotes.

Swg is the only game I know that had sutch powerfull tools for roleplayers to use. ( I never played the matrix online, dint live long enoug positive  )

Thu Jan 06 2011 11:12PM Report
UnsungToo writes:

I use to, but don't anymore.

Fri Jan 07 2011 1:33AM Report
wardog250 writes:

I haven't seen actual roleplaying in an MMO since Pre-CU SWG.  If you look at my laundry list of MMOs on my profile that is pretty shocking.  Ya, I've seen casual little hints of it here and there over the years; but, nothing all out like you saw on SWG.  I learned how to RP from playing table top D&D when I lived in Germany; so, when I talk about roleplaying in an RPG, I mean it in every aspect of the term.

Having discussions on various forums over the years; what I have found is that most modern gamers don't really know what it means to actively roleplay.  For many, simply logging onto an avatar and grinding senselessly for loot is all that is needed in to make a game officially an RPG.  For me, it requires much much more immersion, as in the entire community is involved.  I would like to see something like that on SW:TOR; but, my skeptical side feels that's not going to happen.  I can already picture the 100,000 DARPHVADOORZ that will fill every open chat channel with utter nonsense 24/7.  See, gaming isn't about filling some role anymore; it's about being the biggest moron you can be, that is why WoW is such a huge hit.

Fri Jan 07 2011 2:02AM Report
Terranah writes:

I used to RP all the time in SWG.  Since then I have tried here and there to RP, but vent and teamspeak increased in popularity and it became really difficult for me to stay in character. 

 

Also, the vast majority of people I play with don't RP, and when I try they are like...what...uhh....

 

Lot of times they just want to know if I'm a girl in real life so we can meet up in some seedy hotel somewhere and have sex.

 

I think games have really changed though, and the modern mmo took out the virtual world aspect.  As a result, people are just playing a game so why bother.  It's really sad because pretending to be someone else and having a little house and living an imaginary life is a great escape and a lot of fun.  I really miss it.

Fri Jan 07 2011 2:56AM Report
space-scum writes:

I have found some on Lotro do role play but when you start seeing characters like "Awesome" or "Legendary" I am rather disappointed. I would even support people like that being banned from RP servers.

I don't mind even light rp'ers on a RP server, but gees if the person is too lazy to even think of a name I instantly move them to an ignore list so they don't exist in my little world ;)

Fri Jan 07 2011 6:43AM Report
Senadina writes:

I  continue to play a table-top RPG for my roleplaying fix. I have never RP'd in MMOs. I don't find the medium conducive to roleplaying, it is much more satisfying in real life than in a video game. I just find it awkward typing everything with no inflection or expression. Tabletop RP is the way to go if you want  a roleplaying fix.

Fri Jan 07 2011 8:27AM Report
MyPreciousss writes:

Yesterday evening in DDO I clicked on the group join channel not reading all requirements and it was a RP group and I was like omg they will do embarrassing things and behave weirdly (I play in LOTRO too and meet RPers in Laurelin who are ok tbh) but I was like alright let's follow them and pretend everything is normal (in the meantime other people would join and would quit as soon as the leader asked them if they ever RPed). We met in an inn in Thelanis where the RP guild has its headquarters and they started talking and it was actually funny and constructive (they are from the same guild and know their characters), so after a while we had a complete group and they were all roleplaying. I must say I'm rusty and they nagged at me a few times with "" ** and (( rules and how you are not supposed to speak in party chat if you are too far from them, etc. The actual mission was interesting too because we tried to do it as adventurers would actually fight, not running and killing everything and smashing stuff but coordinating and communicating like "I think we should rest now" instead of rushing to rest shrine and click it, this kind of stuff. I suggested that we could steal the ship and resell it or use it to terrorize the coast instead of blowing it up (as the quest required) and it was funny to see the moral discussions following that suggestion (even if we can only blow it up of course). So I'm not a RPer myself but I had a lot of fun because imagination and silliness was good refreshment from the usual levelling runs. The guild offered me a place in their ranks but I just joined another guild the same day (and I'm not sure in the long term if RPing isn't actually tiresome because of needed discussions and patience and rules). Two other guys were glad of the experience and joined immediatly their guild (group had 3 guildies, two others and me), so all is not lost for the RP cause in a popular MMO :o)

On a side note the leader was a bit bitter and paranoid as some people wrote here, when joiners immediatly quit when they heard the word RP he said that at least they weren't "douchebags" so I guess non RPers must make offending remarks to their type of gaming, once in a while.

Fri Jan 07 2011 11:26AM Report
gaeanprayer writes:

Roleplay is dead, and for good reason. It's a nice idea, but MMO's these days are much faster-paced. Could you imagine trying to roleplay during a raid when everyone just wants specific directions/orders so they can survive? My guild actually tried it for fun once in DDO, tried to see if we could bring a bit of old-school PnP feel, but it quickly devolved to people tripping over words because their mind was in two places at once; trying to figure out how their character would reply to the situation and simultaneously trying to SURVIVE. I suppose it depends how in-depth the roleplay is...I've known people to go as far as 'period' talk (and that awkward silence as everyone else wonders just how much of a dork walked into their midst). In the end it's just easier say, "Dude, get the fricken aggro off the healer!"

Roleplay is something that demands depth and has to be well thought-out. It's every bit of being inside a book. I remember chat RPGs (Ah Intercity...how you date me) and those were a blast. We ran quests and such with dice bots and everyone was in the chat room fleshing out whole storylines. It was beautiful. But that experience is difficult to bring to an MMO, where the focus is purely on leveling up and getting nicer gear. I admit to missing role-play, but only when I'm not having with the game I'm playing. When I'm having fun, roleplay is the furthest thing from my mind.

Fri Jan 07 2011 12:08PM Report
MacAllen writes:

RP has died down with the dillution of the market.  Back in "the day", when there were far fewer players, it was easier to role play, because only those truly dedicated MMOrs were online.  But as the market expanded (no one's fault, people found MMO's), more and more "straights" came onto the servers, people who don't understand or enjoy RP, and RP always falls victim to the lowest common denominator, the person who RP's the least.

It's like trying to LARP in an area crowded by people who don't LARP.  At the very least you'll be annoying, and more likely douchebags will interfere and/or mock because it's funny.  RP went from the norm to the shadows as the normal players rolled in.

I love RP, been RP'ing for 30+ years, but these days it tends to stay in my tabletop games, in a controlled envrionment.  Nothing more annoying than having an RP interaction with someone and having a person roll in with "wats up dud, want 2 cyb3r?"

Yes, drop the RPG from MMORPG, they no longer qualify, at least in my opinion.

Fri Jan 07 2011 1:47PM Report
drowelf writes:

well even if others dont care or like it i will get into characer and RP even the wht the f*** group dont stop me. i have been Rping from 1976 and AD and D and have not stoped. Tis so gentails, Aye even so till the end, shall I but Rp..

Fri Jan 07 2011 3:14PM Report
Beanpuie writes:

Companies:   no longer view or recognize rp as a profitable income, the negatives of dealing with powergrabbing snobs out weigh the positives of actual legitimate story tellers that doesnt use sex as their main tool of creativity

Communities: Mainstream see's rpers on the same level as furries. competitive pvpers see rpers on the same level as furries and or free kills and meat shields.  Pver's , same result.

Rpers:  personal attachment and alter ego's help usher in the destruction of the craft. when things do not go their way or get out of control, burning bridges, holding year long grudges, plottin conspiracy theories among people who dont give a care places the craft as a whole as a running joke about two kids fighting over who plays god, and when one gets frustrated, they run out the room yelling for mommy.

Fri Jan 07 2011 4:07PM Report
dreamscaper writes:

Unfortunately, MMOs are NOT a good medium for roleplay. As another person said above, a large part of the problem is the pacing. MMO players are increasingly composed of the 'I want it NOW' crowd. Turning down the action so that players can build stories instead of levels is utterly alien to most. Unfortunately, as MMOs strive to draw in more and more of the twitch crowd, this problem is only going to get worse.

 

There are only three mediums where I feel RP can really thrive: table top sessions, online chat systems, and games designed with RP in mind, such as the first Neverwinter Nights game (some of the most fantastic roleplaying I've ever had was found there). In order for RP to really shine, it must be THE focus of a game, not just an aspect. This is what separates NWN from MMORPGS: in NWN1, the game's focus can be moderated and aimed towards the rolerplaying aspect, which is something the gimme-mah-actoin masses in an MMO simply will not tolerate.

Fri Jan 07 2011 5:43PM Report
Eladi writes:

Haha Reading all those Comments I start to feel if the RP comunity is in need of a comming out movement :)

You know, the whole I dont care what you think, Who you are or what you do, Im a Roleplayer! and im proud to be one!. see my pink carebear shirt! I still kick your ass most likely in PvP but I do it whit style!.

Personaly I never had any trouble whit people using Odd names, or the local douchebags  that try to spoil a event. the problem here lies in the roleplayers aditute toward a disturbance of inmersion.

No its not as secure or easy as P&P but everyting can be twisted into rp and public rp generates more. the only way  MMO Rp can die out is by hiding in the basement pondering if you like girls or boys.

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Fri Jan 07 2011 7:03PM Report
Alverant writes:

I don't think you can RP in an MMO or any computer game, not as we mean as RP. Technically taking on the role of a fighter or whatever is RP, but to those of us who remember D&D, it's something more.

When you RP, you interact with the gaming environment and the response is dynamic and unscripted. It should have lasting effects on both the character and the campaign setting. In an RPG you can kill the shopkeep and rob his store. You will be a wanted criminal for that and the store won't be available to the other players, but it is possible. In an MMO, you can't kill an NPC like that and even if you did, the other players won't be affected.

Most RP is done outside of combat. What is done in combat should affect the situation. Say for whatever reason a fighter only uses non-magical weapons. In a real RPG, the GM will reward the player for role playing and adjust the encounters accordingly. In a computer game, passing by the more powerful weapons will only get you killed. In a computer game, only your abilities matter and you have to min/max what you can because it's a heartless world out there which doesn't care if you refuse to visit one zone because that's where your parents died.

Some games are getting better, but no program can accomidate what a human GM can improvise.

Fri Jan 07 2011 11:38PM Report
LadyAlibi writes:

 

I've known some pretty hardcore RP groups in games I have played, and I have seen one group, at least, go 'underground' about it, conducting their RP entirely in private channels to avoid ridicule from people passing by. So there is a chance that there is more RP going on than you see, but they don't want the hassle, so you never see it in public.

 

I treat RP in a massively multiplayer game as improvisational theatre, and it really is a great environment for that kind of roleplay.  I don't see role playing as 'playing the role of a fighter' (for instance), but rather playing a particular character in a particular situation and how they'd feel about it, what they'd say or do about it.

 

 I would argue that MMOs are BETTER for roleplay than the old fashioned D&D thing, if you're more interested in characters interacting with each other than interacting with the stupid, boring world (and seriously, most DMs aren't exactly brilliant when it comes to setting up stories or environments anyway-- another point in favor of MMOs is that they are VISUAL worlds, so you're all seeing the same things, which gives you plenty of material to work with... If you approach 'RP' as 'improv'.

 

Min/maxing is a choice. If you feel compelled to keep up with the Joneses, you can't blame Mr. Jones. Find friends who want to play the same way you do, and quit whining because you're not as crazy effective as the guy who is only playing a numbers game-- if you have some friends, you can still do a lot in most games in moderate gear.

Sat Jan 08 2011 8:54AM Report
Distiler writes:

SWG has (as of today) lots of roleplayers. It's somewhat easy to rp stuff in Star Wars, at least in a light way, even if you have just seen the movies.

EvE Online has also a lot of rp, not because they "act" but because gameplay makes you be in char all the time, you rp without even notice.

Sat Jan 08 2011 9:50AM Report
beregar writes:

What is this rollplaying you are speaking of?

Ahem, now that I got that out of my system. Yes and no. I may throw in a bit roleplaying at times when opportunity raises and I may play the role of my character in a "serious" conversation for giggles to see how long it takes for people to catch up with what I'm doing.

I tend to avoid "thee and thou" folks as that sounds just silly. Similarly I avoid "Dragonball Z" roleplayers because that quickly escalates out of hand. I'm more into light hearted, setting fitting roleplaying. I also love using setting specific words, including swearing - even if I'm not truly roleplaying. Having some sort of character background and a serious name is a must for me. I just couldn't play a character named Drizzt (ripoff), Leggo Lass (even worse), IhealU (ew), Dreamz (....) or AcidCat (seriously?).

 

- B

Sat Jan 08 2011 10:32AM Report
Ramengelion writes:

I think other members have raised some good points on the subject. The current popular business model for most MMOs on the market relies on a sense of instant gratification. They aim to please their players with "Ding! New level!", new abilities, items, quests, and other accomplishments in a way that they can track and observe their progress.

Those who are looking for roleplay experiences were probably not introduced to the idea in an online game client, but rather some form of pen and paper game such as Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, or Rogue Trader. These players are used to a very different game environment. While the setting is familiar to them, instant gratification is not their aim. They play for interactive storytelling. Not to say they do not enjoy gaining that new level or cool item, the reason for play is more based upon escapism.

There was a time where MMOs catered to the latter sort of players. Other members have mentioned games I do not have experience with, such as DAOC and SWG. I am familiar with the RP servers on Everquest, which, over-all, was built similar to a pen and paper game made online. This is no longer the case. Call it business, economics, or what have you, but the fact of the matter is that the audience has shifted. A majority of players are in this instant gratification group, so games will be built to cater to them.

My roleplay experiences in MMOs that use this business model are similar to that which other players have described. Particularly in games such as World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, roleplayers are shunned and outcast for not adhering to the achievement based mentality, and understandably slow. Their mannerisms will surely slow down achievers in their goals of ranked success. The two players are at different priorities. The roleplayer must find a select group to privately play his role, and break charater when interacting out of his group, or slow down the party.

There are a few games where I have had success roleplaying, rarely, if ever, having to drop character. These games were City of Heroes, Face of Mankind, and EVE Online. The former works well for roleplay, Supergroups dedicated it exist and the game works well with roleplayers who want to maintain their immersion. Face of Mankind sets the player up with everything they need for proper roleplay. Who to hate, who to like, who to work with, how to feel about which other faction... and since most things are player run, roleplay simply occurs at most points. The last game on the list gives good backstory, just like FoM, but relies on the player to act on it. Roleplay corporations will focus on warring with only a certain group, or acting a certain way towards a race. One of the oldest corporations in the world, abbreviated as PIE, is just this.

Roleplay can exist in MMOs, but it requires the right model. I doubt roleplay can work in an MMO built around the instant gratification model.

Sat Jan 08 2011 11:39AM Report
DaddyDark writes:
I’ve been playing all kinds of RPGs for over 10 years (since late school). Talking about MMOs - the problem is role playing isn't really supported.
 
I've started from Ultima Online. There were some options to personalize yourself of note:
-Housing
-A lot of different professions (you may have preferred some sort of craft over the combat ability). 
 
Yet this was not enough to really role play a character... poor graphics, lack of expressions/emotions... and even lack of social activities... all you can do - go grinding with someone or just invite your friend to your home and chat...
 
Then I was turned into WoW. This was fun at first. Yet there are even less options to role play than in Ultima. No housing, no peaceful professions... and even no peaceful activities (except for trading
through the auction house). All you have at your disposal there are a couple of animations and sounds.... and chat... damn boring...
 
I've tried a lot of MMOs after that and most are the same as WoW. Until I've tried Second Life...
I would really like to have some elements of the social MMO introduced into the MMORPG games... I don't want to see all this complexity and the "make it yourself" feeling from the Second Life... but it would be great to have  extra social elements added to the MMORPGS (designed in a simple and effective way). Here is my wish list:
1) Housing (or some other form of somewhat customizable property, where you can invite your friends and socialize with them).
2) Non-combat social activities - what lots of people come for into the social MMOs:
a) Social clothing (not your combat gear) - just the separate equipment tab. The character would automatically change to the social clothing when entering "social" environment (homes, taverns, ect.)
b) dancing (not a single animation like in WoW - but some way to personalize yourself, express your feelings)
c) mini-games (essentially dynamic): sports, simple card games like Poker, bowling and pool or some fantasy substitution.
d) romance and erotic activities (yeah there are a lot of adult players online - some age verification is all you need).
e) virtual parties: like having some funny virtual drugs which make your character fall down and bloat :-) ect.
f) brawling among friendly players - would be much fun. Each class might have a couple of special non-lethal abilities, which might be engaged in "social" combat only. Would be tons of fun.
3) Non-combat professions and quests. I mean not like WoW crafting, being used to primarily make combat items, but something more social. Like entertainment (e.g. you take the quest to make a performance in the bar and the success depends on how much people will vote for you, ect.). Or... assassination... yeah - you can place a contract for a player and some other player can fulfill it... like a quest... he gets the coordinates of the target and a chance to kill him/her... assassin actually needs to avoid much attention or there will be a chase... ect... I guess one may use the mechanics similar to the Assassins Creed: Dark Brotherhood...
ect..
This will make the impression there is a life going on behind all this MMO slashing and hacking... :-)
Sat Jan 08 2011 12:35PM Report
DaddyDark writes:

To put my previous comment in a simplified way: RP is possible in MMOs as long as there is part of the game which is designed for... and based upon social system (not achievement based system). So when there are settings, where the raw opinion, desposition, mood and attention of others plays a role - you tend to interact with others, rather than simply grind your way up the abstract leveling stairs... which makes no sense as a main purpose of MMO - making people play with each other.

Sat Jan 08 2011 12:47PM Report
Masoniclight writes:

Honestly, I role play and if people don't like it.. too bad.. old pnp gamers like me love making and "giving life and character" to our.. well.. characters.. so, I do my stuff regardless...

Sat Jan 08 2011 8:57PM Report
Saerain writes:

I've always played on RP servers when they're available, but I'm not sure that it would be fair to roleplayers to call what I do roleplaying.

I immerse myself into my character, and my character into the world, yes, and I ensure that my character behaves in ways consistent with the concept I've laid out for them, in terms of how they carve into the game mechanics. But I haven't typed an in-character message in years. Probably because the likelihood that whoever I'm talking to will be interested in doing the same is infinitesimal.

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Mon Jan 10 2011 12:25AM Report
RaikoLives writes:

CoH had some decent RP going on, at least when I was playing - probably a year or so ago now. With the Poket D nightclub for Heroes and Villains to hang out in (no powers, no PvP, just hang and chat) RP was always an option, and often you'd meet up with a fellow hero or villain and go questing with them. Almost like a Superhero version of a date. I initialy found it hard to believe RP could be done when mission objectives were so specific, but it was quite refeshing, and I still have a place in my heart for my CoH Main, because I was able to build her as a character thanks to the RP experiences I had. She would have been my main otherwise, but I know so much more of her backstory and motivations now because I had to bring them out of her to do the RP.

I hope RP doesn't die out in MMOs, though I haven't been trying to keep it alive much myself and I feel a little bit of shame/guilt about that. Maybe I'll hit an RP server on DCU or SW:TOR and put my roleplay where my mouth is.

Mon Jan 10 2011 1:35AM Report
battleaxe writes:

RP requires a more laid back community.  When the overwhelming majority of players are looking at their xp/hour, grinding rep, or trying to make it through a dungeon as fast as possible, there isn't a lot of room for roleplay.

Mon Jan 10 2011 10:31AM Report
sfly2000 writes:

I'll just say one thing...:

Neverwinter Nights

Wed Jan 12 2011 5:47AM Report
Phlegethon writes:

My friends ad I RP nearly every night in City of Heroes, and we're not even on the 'Unofficial RP Server'.

I thoroughly enjoy RP'ing my characters, I feel that it ads a whole other aspect to the game.

Wed Jan 12 2011 4:22PM Report
Phlegethon writes:

Excuse the double-post.

Reading the other responses about RP being dead and MMO's not having the environment that easily allows for it, I have to disagree. I mean if it were just yourself and a couple fo friends then sure, during some of the events/TF's/raids I'd see it being difficult. If the entire mission/TF/raid is not comprised of your RP group, then do it on your own channel, or even in local. Don't be afraid of scaring the locals.

A friend and I were had out character's sitting outside of a pub in our game of choice, in civillain attire, chatting in local when another player happened by (our location put us near a contact, thought said contact is in an out of the way location and not visited much.) This person turned to leave, and I could just see the double-take going on in their head.

The player had mistaken us for NPC's. <chortle>

Wed Jan 12 2011 4:37PM Report
Audiokinesis writes:

I did do a bit of roleplay on LOTRO & DDO but the community has dimishished since then. Unfrotunaylu i havnt found any traces of an active community on any MMO or site. I myself dont prefer forum roleplay since its rto slow paced for me

Come to think of it I used to solely roleplay on chat sites like habbo hotel. But the community has has lost the meaning of roleplay and are obssesed with just fighting all the time instead of actually having meaningfull scenes to devolop characters. split itself into two. one group calling themselves old gens (people who have been roleplay since they started) and branding others newgens. A few years ago the habbo UK server merged with the US and australian servers and it was a major killing blow for the community (This was because the US and AU servers had different roleplay mehods and non of the servers agreed with each other) so it just died. theres rarely any populated roleplays on habbo anymore.

Fri Feb 17 2012 5:37PM Report

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