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News & Features Discussion  » General: Cult of (Multiple) Personality

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Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

OP  5/07/10 10:20:05 AM#1's Jaime Skelton uses her Player Perspectives column this week to talk about the darker side of the role-playing sub-culture in MMOs.

Jaime Skelton

You've just started your adventures into the newest game to hit the market. Without thinking, you select the server with the coolest name, the best balance of population, or some other criteria in your head. As soon as you step into this new world, you're greeted by a friendly sort who helps you along your way. They make you feel warm and fuzzy, secure and comfortable all at once. In fact, you'd be more than happy to hang out with them, but something doesn't seem right. Little things pop up here and there, and suddenly, the dreaded question arises.

"So, how are you role-playing your character?"

At first glance, a niche group such as role-players seem relaxed and welcoming. In many cases, they are. They create helpful little topics like "How to role-play" and "Role-play 101" on the forums. Sometimes they even hold in-game tutorial sessions to get people comfortable with the idea of role-playing. They publicly role-play in the hopes that others will join in, even if new to the idea of acting a part in-character. It all sounds kind, fluffy, friendly. Like cotton candy dipped in honey and covered in sprinkles.

Read Cult of (Multiple) Personality.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/05
Posts: 1287

5/07/10 10:30:58 AM#2

Yeah, role players can be some real prima donnas. It's important to find a role-playing group that you fit in with which can be hard if you don't already know somebody in a group. Just walking up and inserting yourself into a group's roleplay can be seen as rude, and more likely than not they are just going to ignore you. Most large roleplay guilds will have a webpage with rules and lore and some sort of application process. It's almost always easier to start roleplaying on the forums before moving on to the in-game RP.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/26/08
Posts: 1685

5/07/10 10:31:10 AM#3

I rarely met any of the extreme RP variety. I seem to have been received well even when I got PUGed into raids etc. with RP guilds by simply using 'ooc' or () to denote out of character. Maybe it is easier for me as a general non-RPer because thw two things I DO like to do are to come up with a story for my characters and read missions texts (depends on game tho i admit).

"Never met a pack of humans that were any different. Look at the idiots that get elected every couple of years. You really consider those guys more mature than us? The only difference between us and them is, when they gank some noobs and take their stuff, the noobs actually die." - Madimorga



Joined: 3/05/10
Posts: 7792

The middle road is the place to be!

5/07/10 10:43:35 AM#4

There's several levels of awesome in this article.


'Many times, guilds only role-play with themselves in haughty disdain for the rest of the people on the server, all in the ideal they are trying to, "rescue role-playing" on the server. In reality, they're doing quite the opposite, turning away others to feel better about themselves.'


Great stuff, and oh so true

The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."


Advanced Member

Joined: 10/25/06
Posts: 1204

5/07/10 10:46:17 AM#5

I've been in some "Light RP" guilds and the experience was usually fun. I've seldom seen annoying nitpicking, the warnings were usually about stuff that's outright designed to be immersion breaking - like giving your character a celebrity name (or a famous vampire character's name in a medieval fantasy setting). And whenever I had a hard time keeping up with the RP, the other players usually helped me out with it while sternly managing to stay in character - the saves they came up with were oftentimes absolutely hilarious!

So I would recommend people who are hesitant about the whole experience to find a "light" or "casual" RP guild. You do have some bad stuff out in the world", but it's nowhere as bad as I've experienced on, say, PVP servers. And the good stuff  can be priceless. :)


Novice Member

Joined: 10/25/08
Posts: 245

5/07/10 11:36:16 AM#6

Wow, that's a bit paranoid. Maybe I just haven't run across any of these people yet. I work in theatre so role-playing in an MMO is pretty second nature to me-doing adventures ' in character' is simply the way I do them.  Although the whole 'third person' thing (Liltawen is morose and sits on a log) freaks me out a bit. I realize it is from the old desk-top RP days but still. One of the reasons why I like MMOs in fact.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/22/04
Posts: 264

5/07/10 11:50:04 AM#7

Too much paranoia and generalization to take this opinion piece very seriously.  Sure, we've all seen some degree of this stuff but this level of analysis borders dangerously on the negligent and prejudicial side of things.    

Noone isn't a word; It's "no one". On a side note, you can guess where the word "none" came from.
Their, There, and They're are not interchangeable.


Advanced Member

Joined: 3/19/08
Posts: 455

5/07/10 11:51:55 AM#8

An interesting article.

But has already been stated, or will be repeatedly in the future, I believe that you either have terrible luck, or you are hanging out with with a really bad group of them.

I have seem some very, very dedicated RP'ers who, even if they don't approve of your approach or the rules you break, are exceptionally mature. I've found some very hardcore RP'ers who share all of the traits you describe, except the poor attitude and pettiness.

I assume you have mostly been RP'ing in WoW or LotRo?

Immature, simplified games filled with immature, simplistic people are bound to produce immature roleplayers.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/19/09
Posts: 1143

5/07/10 12:02:20 PM#9

lol its article make me remember my days when I played RFonline, no Role Players there, but all the hate griefing and drama you describe as there XD, so its still make wonder? what is the diference of the RP over the non-RP?


none all are people who have nothing else to do.... just exist to annoy you, I guess it was a reason for me to love pvp games, I kil the moron and move on, if he come back kill him again XD, nothing like make a kid thrown a tantrum for you killing him, and don't forget the block XD

FOR HONOR, FOR FREEDOM.... and for some money.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/07/05
Posts: 1287

5/07/10 12:09:53 PM#10
Originally posted by Coldren

An interesting article.

But has already been stated, or will be repeatedly in the future, I believe that you either have terrible luck, or you are hanging out with with a really bad group of them.

I have seem some very, very dedicated RP'ers who, even if they don't approve of your approach or the rules you break, are exceptionally mature. I've found some very hardcore RP'ers who share all of the traits you describe, except the poor attitude and pettiness.

I assume you have mostly been RP'ing in WoW or LotRo?

Immature, simplified games filled with immature, simplistic people are bound to produce immature roleplayers.

 Maybe you've just been lucky, because I find everything that the OP said to be a pretty accurate presentation of the Role Playing cliques I've encountered through the years. It's not always that way, but as far as generalizations go, it's a fair representation.


Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7205

5/07/10 12:19:57 PM#11

I really would not include your so called rule breakers in the role play community.  I don't see any form of role play in your description of said group.

I have worked with some very dedicated role play groups in SWG and Wow in the past and found that vast majority fall in the casual group.   The hardcore are usually so few that they usually end up with the casual group just to have someone to roleplay with.

I'd pop into a roleplay group any day in the week rather than groups over those that haggle over who has more dps.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/30/08
Posts: 4889

5/07/10 12:32:45 PM#12

With 12ish years of MMO's and many different MMO's under my belt I'd have to say that this article is pretty dead on lol.

While there are some casual groups that have been alright they are out weighed by the bad by to much lol.

2 groups you didn't list though and those are the ones that irritate me the most.

ERP'rs (Erotic Role Players) and Furries (Erotic Role Players that like to pretend they are animals)

both should have gotten some attention in the article because those 2 groups have brought the most bad publicity on to RP'ing in MMO's.



Joined: 3/05/10
Posts: 7792

The middle road is the place to be!

5/07/10 12:43:48 PM#13
Originally posted by GrayGhost79

2 groups you didn't list though and those are the ones that irritate me the most.

ERP'rs (Erotic Role Players) and Furries (Erotic Role Players that like to pretend they are animals)

both should have gotten some attention in the article because those 2 groups have brought the most bad publicity on to RP'ing in MMO's.

I agree.

They ought to be mentioned too especially bc of the OOC (Out of Character)  drama and added emotional involvement (which often leads to more drama) that often accompanies those crowds. A lot of those people often pose as 'true roleplayers' while they're in reality only busy with the ERP.


And yes, it's not only doom & misery in the RP communities - there are many creative RP guilds and great roleplayers to encounter - but what the article describes is regularly occurring too.

The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."



Joined: 8/12/09
Posts: 972

Urgle blurgle geflurgle.
Need more coffee.

5/07/10 1:19:17 PM#14

Agree with Grey and Cyphers, ERPers cause ructions wherever they pop up.


I played on a RP server in WoW the whole time I played the game and was always in RP guilds.


One I left because of a combination of an ERP-ing dolt (who was also an utter drama queen) and the hardcore RP strutting on the forums done by a few of the members (threatening to report players, going on and on and oooonnnnn about RP "rules" etc.). I learned from that guild that I'm neither a hardcore nor a rule-breaker. Also, I was in the guild for a year, and found it really really hard to break into the main clique. The main clique ran dungeons together and raided together so not being in with them meant pugging. Always felt "on the outside" as it were. Eventually I realised I just didn't care about fitting in or being in with the in-crowd and /gquit.


The guild I stuck with the longest (and the one which made me stick playing WoW for longer than I should have) was a raid-progressing RP guild. There were RP events, and whenever you ran into guildies there'd be a bit of RP going on, but no-one screamed rules at you and no-one god-moded anything. It was relaxed and laid back. They were one of the top raiding guilds on the server too, so there was always people to run a dungeon with, or raid with, and everyone got to play how they wanted. Very very good people.


It really seems to come down to luck, you can be put off RP for life by hardcores or god-moders, but if you fall in with a laid back bunch then you can have a really great game experience.


I had forgotten about all the RP rules nonsense from WoW until this morning, when I was playing FE and someone was using brackets in Region chat. A couple of players asked what was up with that, and I realised what it was. I mean, seriously? Brackets in region chat? That's like using brackets in trade on WoW, just OTT and superfluous. But then that's my opinion, and I'm sure there's many a hardcore would disagree with me. One of my RL friends prefixes every /w in WoW with "ooc:" which got on my nerves a bit too. I tend to confine my RP to /say /em and the guild RP channel. Whispers, team/group chat and global channels are all fair game for non-RP stuff as far as I'm concerned.


So yeah, I'm softcore....but I can really see where you were coming from with that article Jaime, people who think RP-ers are all unicorns and rainbows should spend some time around certain types of them.




Joined: 6/02/04
Posts: 3154

Google is your friend.

5/07/10 1:29:39 PM#15

Here hoping this RP piece doesn't grab the hostility the last one did a while back that portrayed all RPers in a negative light. This one is somewhat more...diplomatic(?) but still...

I used to be all for RP in MMOs. Seeing that it is hardly supported by game mechanics these days I've just went back to keeping it in my table-top D&D and Shadowrun gaming.

"Many nights, my friend... Many nights I've put a blade to your throat while you were sleeping. Glad I never killed you, Steve. You're alright..."

Kickstarter 2 / Naysayers 0


Novice Member

Joined: 1/10/08
Posts: 675

5/07/10 2:09:46 PM#16

Damn now I have that Living Colour song stuck in my head...

What are your other Hobbies?

Gaming is Dirt Cheap compared to this...


Novice Member

Joined: 11/07/08
Posts: 327

You can get more with a kind word & a 2x4 than you can with just a kind word

5/07/10 2:16:14 PM#17

A good article, Jamie, but like others who have already posted, I wonder if maybe you have just had some rotten luck.

I've been in a number of RP guilds, most of which would be considered "hard core" but none of which have ever been critical or "nazi-like" about it.  They've welcomed both non-RPers and folks new to RP happily and been mature and friendly about handling sticky situations - and as another poster stated, some of the "saves" have been positively hilarious.

Depending on the game, I can be 'hard core' or 'casual' about my RP - it also depends on my mood that day, but I am also careful not to ruin others' immersion as a matter of courtesy - but I don't demand that others do the same for me. *shrug*  I enjoy RP, as do my guildmates, but I and others understand it's not everyone's cup of tea.

As with any subset of players, though, you're bound to run into jerks...just please don't lump us all into the "elitist jerk" category, if you don't mind. ;)

Firebrand Art

"You are obviously confusing a mature rating with actual maturity." -Asherman

Maybe MMO is not your genre, go play Modern Warfare...or something you can be all twitchy...and rank up all night. This is seriously getting tired. -Ranyr


Novice Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 54

5/07/10 4:19:11 PM#18

I await your identical articlse about the other radicals of player population: The achievers, min-maxers, financial maniacs, gltchers/exploiters, and the people who bring their RL hate into the game.

Oh, and the people who only post in forums when they disagree with something. (snrk)


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/15/08
Posts: 152

5/07/10 4:37:15 PM#19

I'm a roleplayer. I've been roleplaying long before my first MMO...  Met many wonderfull people this way.  A few of those RP jerks you talk about.

I do agree its as full of action as any social group...Even moreso because roleplaying is a deeply social and sometimes too personal of a game. Roleplaying is indeed as you said something of a "cult" or... a closed circle. Sometimes its really hard to get in (even when they "invite" people in by gatherings or social events) those circles as most of the time those circles have one or two elitists in them.


Still most longterm roleplayers are a bit elitist (gods know i'm sometimes like that... ) but there are things that are hard to tolarate... Especialy people that intentionaly break the lore to mock roleplayers... For all you non roleplayers imagine some noob team-kiling you all the time just out of pure malice... Or because he is SO NOOBISH that he doesn't know who to shoot. It can get on ones nervers.


The whole problem with this "cult-like" behavior is the lack of tolerance for roleplayers. People not only mock us because of it but sometimes (more often then you think) they just break our fun out of pure malice, like goig to our gathering just to spam some idiocy... Or jump around our "camp" breaking the immersion... Thats why rolplayers cut themselves from most of the MMO society when they roleplay. 


Still we stay open to people... The overwhelming mejority of us are open to new roleplayers and the mostly enjoyed type of roleplay is the random encounter with someone that roleplays while grinding... or just standing next to a quest giver. Nothing more fun then meeting a new roleplayer. :) Surprise RP FTW! 

I've been uplinked and downloaded, I've been inputted and outsourced. I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading.

I'm a high-tech low-life. A cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, bi-coastal multi-tasker, and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond.

I'm new-wave, but I'm old-school; and my inner child is outward-bound.

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Joined: 12/11/07
Posts: 65

"You don't give to get. You give to give. Anything else isn't giving. It is barter." - D.

5/07/10 4:40:25 PM#20

Another thing I've found in-game roleplaying to mimic the real life roleplaying. Remember the little group of play-friends you had as a child? Remember how there were usually one or two of the group that were the "deciders"? They alway seemed to be the one to appoint the roles. They were always the mom/dad/hero/boss and you were always the child/minion/villain/victim? Th best solution? Don't play with them. I have seen some of the rabid types mentioned in the article. I laugh at them and move on. Because they *need* control and there is no way to change that behaviour. Just like the bossy, bullying children, they *need* to have their way to feed their own egos.

Playing (of any kind, not just role) with others involves thinking about how you impact them, and how they impact you. To be successful, there has to be give and take. And just like real life, you must remember that the relationship may not take the exact direction you wish it to. If the people you are playing with are reasonable and mature (keywords, here) then RP can be fun and a good break from the mundane reality. If you end up with the kind of RP'ers described in this story, it can be more stress/drama/grief than it is worth.

As for ERP? Meh. Lots do it. It doesn't bother me. I can play along, or no, whatever trips their trigger (but sometimes they can be incredibly surprised at how bizarre that trip can be... hahaha... especially fun when RPing two characters at once).

My main hobby is writing. I love plot twists. RP is a lot like writing in a present, ongoing tense, but doing it collaboratively. Not always easy. But it can be fun, and a great creative outlet.  :)

Very good story, Jamie. You bring up a lot of interest points. If you ever get to Liberty server in CoH, you can 'meet' my little 'family' (but only over the summer, *sigh* - the rest of the year I am chained in a cave surrounded by books). I promise I am not cliquish at all and I won't show up with ears and tail looking for love.   :P

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