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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » What Can We Do to Foster Roleplay?

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  Beatnik59

Elite Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2263

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

 
OP  5/21/14 1:29:31 PM#1

The lack of character play in MMOs is not a new trend, but are there some things good design can do to foster roleplay?  What can the games do, from a design standpoint, to get players to play into the lore and think of themselves less as "toons" and more as distinct, "in character" personalities?

Here are some ideas we can discuss...or if you have your own, share those!

1)  Animated emotes (sitting, walking, laying down, dancing, laughing, etc.)

2)  Deep visual character customization (sliders instead of presets, clothes, etc.)

3)  Social spaces (houses, pubs, secret lairs, fight clubs, etc.)

4)  Props (musical instruments, TVs, radios, gift boxes, signs, etc.)

5)  Text chats (chat bubbles, shouts, whispers, colored text, etc.)

6)  Factional conflicts (rebels versus order, forces of darkness versus forces of light, national loyalties within the game fiction, etc.)

__________________________
"Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
--Arcken

"...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
--Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

"It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
--Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  Bladestrom

Elite Member

Joined: 4/04/11
Posts: 3872

5/21/14 1:44:08 PM#2
+

- slow levelling down to a crawl and make it more attractive than end game so people can feel like they can immerse in their char rather than feel pressured to rush.

Have npc's do little things like nod at you as you walk past.

Make alts a less attractive - if you are swapping a lot between chars your less likely to role play - if becomes a race to build an alt based production machine.

- don't have phasing such that.you see empty zones.

- don have flying such that you never engage with the world.

- don't have lobbies and installer to any instance without people being there to summon.

- don't make instances so easy that you just aoe everything and become yet more disengaged.

- ban names that are out of context.

Perms block swearing

rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW (10000 hrs on main mage)> oblivion > LOTR (600 runemaster/Hunter) > Rift (230 hours mage) > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR

  trancefate

Novice Member

Joined: 5/01/13
Posts: 139

5/21/14 1:54:03 PM#3
Originally posted by Bladestrom
+

- slow levelling down to a crawl and make it more attractive than end game so people can feel like they can immerse in their char rather than feel pressured to rush.
Make grouping the most attractive option. Make level a thing that determines which content you get to play, not how fun the content is (so tired of games withholding any challenge until the very very very top 1% of content)
Have npc's do little things like nod at you as you walk past.
Most games do this
Make alts a less attractive - if you are swapping a lot between chars your less likely to role play - if becomes a race to build an alt based production machine
Disagree, maybe one day I'm an ornery dwarven brigand and on sundays I like to play the benevolent human priest?
- don't have phasing such that.you see empty zones.
Yes, this.
- don have flying such that you never engage with the world.
To a lesser extent this, to a greater extent -- get rid of teleporting past content. Developers bone themselves spending millions of dollars to have hundreds of artsists spend thousands of hours painting beautiful scenery, then 1 prick puts in a teleporter and all of that money and effort is down the drain.
- don't have lobbies and installer to any instance without people being there to summon.
Yeah, that.
- don't make instances so easy that you just aoe everything and become yet more disengaged.
Refer to previous comment about developers refusing to introduce challenge before endgame.
- ban names that are out of context.
Do-able to an extent.
Perms block swearing
Fuckoff with that noise!

 

  Utinni

Novice Member

Joined: 7/13/13
Posts: 358

5/21/14 1:57:00 PM#4
You'll have to organize the older crowd that actually wants to RP. No gameplay mechanics or server ruleset will cause the extreme majority of the current playerbase to RP. Perhaps start a guild/community that focuses on it and only play with eachother.
  Apraxis

Novice Member

Joined: 9/28/05
Posts: 1509

5/21/14 2:59:59 PM#5
Originally posted by Beatnik59

The lack of character play in MMOs is not a new trend, but are there some things good design can do to foster roleplay?  What can the games do, from a design standpoint, to get players to play into the lore and think of themselves less as "toons" and more as distinct, "in character" personalities?

Here are some ideas we can discuss...or if you have your own, share those!

1)  Animated emotes (sitting, walking, laying down, dancing, laughing, etc.)

2)  Deep visual character customization (sliders instead of presets, clothes, etc.)

3)  Social spaces (houses, pubs, secret lairs, fight clubs, etc.)

4)  Props (musical instruments, TVs, radios, gift boxes, signs, etc.)

5)  Text chats (chat bubbles, shouts, whispers, colored text, etc.)

6)  Factional conflicts (rebels versus order, forces of darkness versus forces of light, national loyalties within the game fiction, etc.)

All those ideas will just help those willingly to Roleplay to easier roleplay. But we all know.. that those few players will do it anyway.. and they are more or less the smallest niche of all MMO players nowadays.

Now.. we can divide any further questions into two categories.

1. What can we do to make a place for those roleplayers, that they can actually roleplay with likeminded?

or

2. What can we do that all other players not interested in actual roleplay to at least behave like a role in the setting of the MMO they play.

For the first one.. the best solution is to play on a rather small private server(there were a few very good ones for UO.. maybe they still exist), with very restrictive adminstration and forced roleplay rules all players consent before the game. And then even more with a few game masters actually master the roleplay session or plots like in p&p or larp.

With that you actually do have a good roleplay experience, unlike in any public MMO since existence (UO included.. though there was at least partially a good roleplay community and sometimes a rather good roleplay experience on a few servers.. nevertheless the private roleplaying servers were great in comparsion)

 

For number 2... actually make a MMO, where every role(class, whatever) actually is very different, in gameplay, in progression, for what the target is.. and make that gameplay specific representing that role. With that you don't get any more roleplayer, but most players at least behave to some degree like that role.

Partially we see this in games like EvE.. where a Miner is a Miner.. a Hauler is a Hauler, a production tycoon is a production tycoon, and a pirate is a pirate... though in EvE it is not far enough, not specific enough, and there are too much in between.

  IfrianMMO

Advanced Member

Joined: 8/21/12
Posts: 215

5/21/14 3:18:51 PM#6

As a non-roleplayer these are the few features that would help me get into it:

-In depth character creation system that allows me to modify both my body and my costumes so that within reason, my character is truly unique and i can establish a "connection" with it.

-in depth housing/gardening system that allowed me to customize my own "base" to my style, and of course invite my friends over for a chat and perhaps some in-lore activities or minigames.

-Very difficult challenges from the get-go,  that force me to group and make social interaction meaningful and necessary.

-Level-less gameplay that does not bring my adventures or travels "on rails" nor forces me to follow X route all the time.

-Realistic armor and weaponry that, while fantastic, follows some sort of logic.

And ABOVE ALL, these features should be readily available for all players within a reasonably short amount of time and not require the player to play for 5 months and farm a gazillion gold coins to own and participate in.

Games are supposed to be fun from the start and to RP, the connection to my char should be almost inmediate, not require me to "level/content cap" in order to even begin to enjoy it.

  nomotag

Novice Member

Joined: 5/13/14
Posts: 102

5/21/14 3:31:57 PM#7
Originally posted by Utinni
You'll have to organize the older crowd that actually wants to RP. No gameplay mechanics or server ruleset will cause the extreme majority of the current playerbase to RP. Perhaps start a guild/community that focuses on it and only play with eachother.

 

Basically this. If you, you want to foster RP, the first second and third thing you will need is Roleplayers.
  sunandshadow

Elite Member

Joined: 12/05/13
Posts: 726

5/21/14 5:58:40 PM#8
Interactive story, peaceful NPC-faction related content (both quests and crafting, with rewards such as faction tabards), courtable NPCs.  Rolepaying doesn't have to be between players; the roleplaying that happens between a player and the game, aka immersion, is just as important.
  jesad

Novice Member

Joined: 9/30/06
Posts: 733

Think of something witty and pretend that I typed it in this spot :)

5/22/14 2:55:43 AM#9

I think that in order to get actual, good, roleplay in these games it requires an effort both on the part of the game and on the part of the community.

The game needs to.....

1. Provide a monumental enough task to force the players to band together in order to overcome it.

This will provide the instant glue needed to cause people to stick together, to follow those who are willing to lead, and possibly to take up the role of leadership.  These things, in turn, will provide a healthy landscape for roleplay as things such as rank, royalty, and service actually begin to make sense.

Currently, because most things can be done by most people, there is little need to cling together or follow or be of any kind of service to anyone other than ones self.

The detriment of making a game this way however is that it opens up the game to those unscrupulous players and exploiters who will do anything to earn whatever they can sell to whoever will buy it in order to circumvent the natural order of things which, in short, would be that the weak would follow the strong.

And this is why it is unlikely that this will happen.

The community needs to....

1. Accept the challenge presented by producing leaders, and followers who are willing to devote their time, in coordination with the time of others, towards a common goal.

Again, just this simple act could open up a whole world of roles for people to play that would not require them to learn old English or formulating some huge, crazy backstory, or being anything other than theirselves, but would still lend importance to who they were because THAT would be the character that the rest of us would have to deal with in order to accomplish our mutual goals.

This can not happen however without the task, and the task can not happen without the dangers that such a task might present, and so, the only way to foster what we have left is to individually elect to stay in some kind of character as much as possible.

No amount of emotes, houses, or any other game mechanic is going to make a difference if you don't care or can't get out of your own head enough to try to pretend to be someone or something else.

Just my opinion.

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5725

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

5/22/14 11:05:54 AM#10
You have to have an agreement among players to roleplay. I don't see any mechanics that could encourage or foster it. If you want to roleplay, play pen & paper RPGs with your friends.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  mmoguy43

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2354

5/22/14 12:43:12 PM#11

Start with a good setting and story that is easy to pick up and follow. It should have depth if you want to delve deeper into it but not be too confusing and complex.

Make the game world immersive and believable so you can easily be connected with your character and the world around you.

The game should have its own on going story that changes the landscape by live events or dynamic events that have permanence.

Player Animations, Placeables, and Interacables. I personally like animations linked to key works so that when in chat I say, "Look at that poor oaf! HAha" my character does a [laugh] animation. Objects that you can deploy and interact with are also handy for creating your mini setting and do more than chat.

 

Let's build the ultimate MMO 1 feature at a time
http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/398555/page/1

"blocked nariusseldon since forever"

  Cephus404

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 3697

5/22/14 5:33:11 PM#12

It all depends on what you mean by roleplay.  I think MMOs are a piss poor place to roleplay, they are not set up for it and it cannot be adequately done.  At best, you get a bunch of people sitting around typing strangely, that's not roleplaying, that's being an idiot.  Roleplaying requires freedom, something that no computer game can ever offer.  It requires the ability to break the rules.  It requires the ability to do things that cannot be foreseen or planned for.  It requires a human moderator.  Without it, you're just playing a computer game talking in silly voices.

So if that's what's meant by roleplaying, I don't think we ought to foster it.  We ought to discourage it.  Just play the  game.  Roleplay when you can sit around a table with friends.

Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
Now Playing: None
Hope: None

  Beatnik59

Elite Member

Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 2263

"Playing things I shouldn''t be playing since 1977."

 
OP  5/22/14 11:23:10 PM#13
Originally posted by Cephus404

So if that's what's meant by roleplaying, I don't think we ought to foster it.  We ought to discourage it.  Just play the  game.  Roleplay when you can sit around a table with friends.

I'm not sure I agree.  If roleplay was a kind of malicious thing, perhaps we ought to discourage it.  But it seems so benign, that discouraging it really doesn't add value to the genre in any way.

It seems in some games I was a part of, like City of Heroes and SWG, the people tended to act like their heroes or aliens would act.  And in other games, they wouldn't act like their characters so much (WoW).  And it seemed that this sort of identification in no way hurt the enjoyment that people had in the games.  Surely something might account for the difference, no?

__________________________
"Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
--Arcken

"...when it comes to pimping EVE I have little restraints."
--Hellmar, CEO of CCP.

"It's like they took a gun, put it to their nugget sack and pulled the trigger over and over again, each time telling us how great it was that they were shooting themselves in the balls."
--Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  Cephus404

Novice Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 3697

5/23/14 1:39:10 AM#14
Originally posted by Beatnik59
Originally posted by Cephus404

So if that's what's meant by roleplaying, I don't think we ought to foster it.  We ought to discourage it.  Just play the  game.  Roleplay when you can sit around a table with friends.

I'm not sure I agree.  If roleplay was a kind of malicious thing, perhaps we ought to discourage it.  But it seems so benign, that discouraging it really doesn't add value to the genre in any way.

It seems in some games I was a part of, like City of Heroes and SWG, the people tended to act like their heroes or aliens would act.  And in other games, they wouldn't act like their characters so much (WoW).  And it seemed that this sort of identification in no way hurt the enjoyment that people had in the games.  Surely something might account for the difference, no?

That's not really roleplaying though, any more than pretending to be Master Chief while playing Halo is roleplaying.  It's playing a game while talking with a silly voice.  I think that a lot of people who have primarily been playing video games all their lives just don't know what actual roleplaying is, they've been fooled into thinking that identifying with a character on screen is what roleplaying actually is.  It's not.

If people want to roleplay, and I am by no means discouraging it, you don't do it in front of your monitor, you do it around a table with real people.  Video games are not now, nor have they ever been set up for roleplaying,.

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  Ehliya

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/13/06
Posts: 191

5/23/14 1:51:55 AM#15

Correct me if I am wrong.  But isn't EQN supposed to invite the player base to vote on creating special ruleset servers?  

Not sure if this has already been started by someone, but if enough people get together to support a RP ruleset, SOE can make it happen.

I agree with much of the above.  Downtime, e.g. how SWG dancers worked, also would help wonders.

Most of today's MMORPGS are basically single-player games.  You can RP in them, but you are swimming against the tide.

  Maquiame

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/21/07
Posts: 670

Power without perception is spiritually useless and of no true value

5/23/14 1:53:24 AM#16
Originally posted by Utinni
You'll have to organize the older crowd that actually wants to RP. No gameplay mechanics or server ruleset will cause the extreme majority of the current playerbase to RP. Perhaps start a guild/community that focuses on it and only play with eachother.

There are rp sites all across Enjin for almost every mmo out there.

Any mmo worth its salt should be like a good prostitute when it comes to its game world- One hell of a faker, and a damn good shaker!

  syriinx

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/24/13
Posts: 996

5/23/14 2:03:55 AM#17

some ones that modern MMOs don't do at all anymore:

 

Rich game world with lore and history

Races with actual personality

No more mix and match talent trees with multispecs.  Choice needs to matter in character development

less spammy combat or gimmicky twitch stuff.  Something is just off about a big heavy armored guy attacking every second without fatigue and dodging and rolling around like a madman.  Or spell casters flinging off instant spells non stop with no regards to mana pool.  

 

Its the first two that are most important.  For example, a game like ArcheAge...It seems like it would be great for roleplay with the housing and farming and such...but the world and races kind of suck.  Tougher to roleplay if you dont have the lore hooks.

 

  Phry

Elite Member

Joined: 7/01/04
Posts: 5548

5/23/14 2:32:25 AM#18
RP, like PvP is something players are either into, or not, honestly i have no idea which group has the higher proportion of game players, but, if there are tools there to be used to encourage RP, and most games i've played do have them, then those interested will generally make use of them, the only thing you can really do, to foster roleplay, is to be more open about it in game, and encourage others to join in. The trouble, or too often the trouble, is that in game the RP groups can seem to be a bit.. standoffish, i wouldn't go so far as to say elitist, because i don't think they are, but they can be a bit, 'if your not with us, your against us' kind of mentality. So all i can really suggest, is be a bit more open, inclusive, and have patience.
  syriinx

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/24/13
Posts: 996

5/23/14 2:39:10 AM#19
Originally posted by syriinx

 

less spammy combat or gimmicky twitch stuff.  Something is just off about a big heavy armored guy attacking every second without fatigue and dodging and rolling around like a madman.  Or spell casters flinging off instant spells non stop with no regards to mana pool.  

Also another reason for this besides being out of place is it removes the immersion.  If you are relying too much on your personal 'twitch' skill (and I lump excessive gcd spam in there as well) it just feels like its you fighting, not your character fighting.

 

There is a way to do slower, strategic combat with a focus on resource management instead of global cooldowns and still have the combat be interesting.  

  Bladestrom

Elite Member

Joined: 4/04/11
Posts: 3872

5/23/14 3:40:09 AM#20
I would actually say there are 2 levels to role play here, the first is the all important immersion factor ( agree re twitch ^^) which provides an environment where you can role play.

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Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR

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