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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at, write for, run and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Are you a role-player or a RULE-player?

Posted by beauturkey Friday March 27 2009 at 9:40PM
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Let's get to it.  You are of either one or the other (if you are a combination of both, write your own blog post so I can link it!) Understand that you can also be one or the other at different times, this ain't no concrete rule:

1) A role-player: This does not mean that you go around going "..thus thou and thee!" all the time. This means that you dive right into the game, all of it. This means that you love to explore and discover. You just log in and see what happens, with no particular agenda. Sure, you might log in wanting to do a particular thing, but don't care if that thing gets sidetracked or pushed off for the time being. Leveling isn't that big of a deal, and you like to read quest text, usually. You will talk to strangers and might or might not have a guild. You don't use walk-throughs or mods, and never use a website unless you think a quest or item is broken.

2) A rule-player: This does not mean that you never break rules. This means that you jump right into the game, as far as what the game has laid out for you. You might raid or grind XP. You log in to check on your guilds agenda. Sure, you might log in and goof off for a bit, but can grow bored quickly if there is nothing planned. If there are levels left to achieve, you feel you haven't even begun the game yet, and you will usually skip quest text. You will talk to strangers once they join your guild. You use walk-throughs, mods, and frequent many of the best websites for information.

Of course, I feel as I am a number 1. It might seem like I am making number 2 read like a "bad" thing, but it is not. It is how many, many gamers play nowadays. (And you have to know that I HAVE TO make the number I am out to sound better!)

I am fascinated by bloggers like Syncaine and podcasters like Total Biscuit at WoW Radio. First of all, they both seem like smart guys. Well, I should say, they don't seem like total idiots. In Syn's case, he is always mentioning WoW, even in posts that have nothing to do with WoW.  It is obvious to me now that he was somehow hurt by WoW, and finds the need to mention WoW in 99 percent of his blog posts, all the while maintaining that the game is nothing but "neon and care-bears". All this WoW hate comes from a former experienced WoW raider (that means he spent HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS in raids.)

I figured it out, finally. A player like Syn needs to know the rules, so that he can "beat" something, or so that he can rise up to some kind of level. Players like him need "rules" that have been set by other players like him (not the game) that say that the "end-game" is the place to be, or that you should kill ______ other players, or that you control some amount of land (examples, people, examples. They could be specific to his games.)  Then, according to him, the game (WoW) became nothing but easy street noobsville..making raiding more "accessible" than ever before (they made raids smaller, shorter and funner but there is still plenty of heavier stuff to do.) In other words, the game changed his rules that told him that attaining a certain level of play was the way you play. He was like a dog in a household with no rules: confused and a little scared. His self-imposed titles lost their worth, which surprised me that anyone would place much value on something that thousands have achieved.

Total Biscuit is nothing but a loudmouth, and for the life of me I can't figure out if he knows that he is acting as some kind of MMO "shock jock" just to get attention. I can't believe that he listens to himself and goes "Yeh, man, I owned Blizzard and their dumb decisions on that one.." He seems to be suffering from the same rule-change trauma, talking (at least on the 3 shows I heard him on) on and on about how the raids are now wrong.

Understand that I am not saying that this type of play is wrong, the type that is a player waiting around for the game to tell them what there is to do and what to "achieve."

Vanguards community, from my experience, has always suffered from this need for rules and restrictions. How else can you say you have achieved something if there are no ceilings to hit? Right now, this need for rules is biting a good number of the community in the butt with the announcement of RMT coming to the game. Players will be able to buy characters, items and gold from a safe outside "market" like on the two EQ2 servers that have been around for a few years.

I have seen players melt down and want to cancel simply because the rules have changed. No longer is hitting level 50 and having a ton of plat a goal or an accomplishment, if a player can just go out and buy them with real money. This is a real feeling for them and I can almost empathize with it, if I gave much of a crap about what other people thought about how I play my video games.

A "rule" player needs those accomplishments to have fun. Of course, there is nothing at all wrong with that. That type of player is the bread and butter of the MMO industry, the type of player that not only pays for their sub every month, but also stays logged in.

But, here's the catch. Those rules have never been anything but what individual the player makes them. I have never played a single MMO that forced any player to do anything save interacting with the world in basic ways, but even then you can make certain choices about how you interact (travel, communication, other examples.) I can play alongside hard-core raiders or pvp'ers and be just as fulfilled and excited by the game as they can. Why is that? If there are rules that say that max-level and the best items are the point to the game, then how can I play with my sub-par gear and dumb habits like spying on strangers (only to go up to them and go "Bleep? Bloop?")

That's because smart developers know that choices are more important than satisfying a select group of players.

I understand that the game MUST have some kind of rule-set or there would be nothing to do except everything, something that Second Life has suffered from since the beginning. In Second Life you can pretty much literally make anything and do anything from making games to sex toys, and yet the "game" is not nearly as popular as many MMO's.

There is information out there (including some from LL themselves) that shows the average player of SL to be logged in for fractions of what the average "normal" MMO user plays for. Why is that?

As I have said before, it is because in a world without boundaries or rules, players tend to get bored. How you can achieve something if everything is achievable ?  I actually get that, and think that a smart developer has to be very careful with RMT and other things that might "devalue" things like raid loot, high end gear or max-level characters.

I don't want an eradication of all "rules and boundaries." I just enjoy the choices that are there.

Here's the second deal: The "old rules" are changing, and hopefully forever. I can't wait for the day when players do not simply follow down the path of every other player before them, playing in the same areas, achieving the same things. That type of set-up creates a false set of "rules" that many players confuse for law.

In example: many players love to use the phrase "Play your class correctly."

My issue with that is not that there is no "right way" to play a class. I actually think that there IS a right way in most modern MMO's. The bad part to me is that there are, in most MMO's, only those classes. To me, an MMO is a simulation of a real world. In a real world you would have many variations of the same type of person, from the fighter that heals to the mage that uses a sword.

I guess that while I can log in and have fun with any number of different games, I am a little unsatisfied with a game that tells me that I am a unique individual, but within a class of the same unique individuals. Rule players need those groups of types of players or there would be no "best of the class" or "most kills by a _______." Rule players, like Syn and that Biscuit guy, NEED to have something solid because they have a hard time adapting, or simply do not have fun adapting.

Now, just for the record, I will repeat: You are of either one or the other (if you are a combination of both, write your own blog post so I can link it!) Understand that you can also be one or the other at different times, this ain't no concrete rule.


dknight784 writes:

Whew lotta reading..ima Rule-Player :D FTW

Sat Mar 28 2009 10:38AM Report
beauturkey writes:

 I have had some people seem to think that I am saying that a "rule" player is somehow bad in my isn't, just for the record. It is just different.

 And thanks for the comment!  :)





Sat Mar 28 2009 10:49AM Report
UsedManatee writes:

 I did my share of WoW raiding, and just re-subbed to EQ2 where I ran into another dude who just likes to login and run around and do stuff.  I'm also a member of the biggest guild on the server, possibly in the game (or possible #2) so my resources to do RULE-play are also highly available should I choose to invoke them.  


Now, here's what I find interesting and I think we're in total agreement.  There has been all this horse caca lately about the station cash being added to EQ2.  Sure, yes, this guy Smedley promised it would never happen.  Who ever believes a business guy?  He obviously doesn't play any of the games he manages, and anybody who has ever worked in business (especially software) knows there are many different types of people with many levels of knowledge and input on things.  That being said, I wondered to myself "wow I wonder if this Station Cash store will really change the game and make it a crappy F2P that I'm paying for?!"  I said this with a bit of tongue-in-cheek sarcasm.


After playing for a week, doing a ton of quests, working on harvesting skills and tradeskilling, hanging out with my guild in our immense castle of a guildhall, chilling and figuring out voicechat issues with in-game friends, I finally remembered that THERE EVEN WAS a station cash store.  I had to go out of my way to find out how to access it, which is ironic because it's on the main menu.  I took a look through it, thought "wow this is some trash", and never looked back.


RULESplayers that have left EQ2, etc, because of the addition of station cash are really ridiculous.




I think I am actually BOTH #1 and #2.  I jump and roleplay, always have anon/rp flag set - meanwhile I'm ready to ruleplay when needed to complete a heritage/signature/heroic quest or dungeon, and I'll eventually raid with them for kicks.  Doubt I'll ever buy anything in the store, but if it makes enough people made I'll buy some useless clothes.

Sat Mar 28 2009 7:43PM Report
Skree333 writes:

I would probably be more of the #1 but really some of both just because in WoW I use some addons and tend to skip reading the quests since they are so boring to me.

Would be role-player part because i tend to do whatever i feel like doing at the time without any real goals most of the time and talk to whoever i can get to talk back

Sun Mar 29 2009 12:49AM Report
UncertaintyP writes:

False dichotomy

Sun Mar 29 2009 1:15PM Report
sappfe writes:

Im a rule-player. Still haven't found that one game that will make me a role-player xD

Sun Mar 29 2009 5:03PM Report
Interesting writes:

Really good conceptual ideas those "role player and rule player".


I would like to discuss with you about it and share some of my views.

First, have you heard of Bartle Test?

It divides players into 4 groups: explorers, socializers, killers and achievers.


Also, have you heard of the different "schools" of MMORPGs?

UO school and Everquest school? And whatever new sinthesis schools...


Also, rule players is also a sarcastic term for role players who like to argue different interpretations on how to roleplay...


Ok, now to the main topic.

"free" mmorpgs, with "optional" payment (cash shops, item malls, premium, vips, etc) and their effects on target consumers.


Explorer and Socializers would be what you call "role players", its not the same thing, but for the purpose of communication I will say that.

Killers and Achievers, are what you call "rule players". even though its not the same thing as well.

According your concept of rule players, explorers and socializers also could fit into.

The same way that the global concept  (not yours now) could find killers and achievers as well.

Neither rule or role players exclude any one of the 4 types of gamers from the bartle definition.

Thats why some guy above repplied with "false dichotomy".


The problem is that there is also another classification of players, that not many people are aware of. Its found only in the deep seas of design decision discussions on mmorpg forums.

Its not about players, but about people now.

Two types. A and B. Its not only about how they play games, but about everything in life.

At first, a simple distinction between 2 types for such a big thing like life seems impossible...

But the basic distinction is based on one simple idea.



Type A has a view towards competition and Type B has another.

Normally, its said that type A doesnt compete, or doesnt like to compete, or doesnt care, or is inapt at it. He is "negative" towards competition.

Player B is the opposite, he is positive to competition.

And that, is the most accurate classification for target consumers.


Anything that affects competition has an effect on player B, while it doesnt react with player A. Player A just doesnt see the point. Player B say that player A is clueless. To player B, competition is the reason why he play, is the first thing that is considered when taking any decisions, every action, whatever he is going to do next, how he is going to do that, why he is going to do that is VIEWED by that Competitive Prism.


I dont know why its like that. Its psychology/sociology/cultural. Who knows. It doesnt matter much. Its something you can notice clearly in all MMORPGs.

When defining a target consumer, thats what weights more.

When administrating a game, making changes, deciding the economic model, how much freedom will have, what kind of power they will have over other players, etc...


every time a dev makes a decision he has to think about the effect it will cause for the Player B point of view... if the devs fail to please player B, then player B will leave.


And this, is the reason why most games fail sooner or later, because of players of B type. With the competitive mind set.


MMORPGs are nothing more than threadmills. The First M of the acronymn MMORPG, stands for massive, wich related to the scale of subjects (how many people), space (how big and seamless is the territory), persistance (static) and time and effort spent by the players. TIME AND EFFORT, this is what ressonates with player B.



Thats it, the truth. Thats what makes the first M of MMORPGs.


Whenever the values of the equation "x time+ y effort = z power over others objectivelly" is changed after the release Players B get pissed off. It doesnt matter if you make their time and effort worth more or less. It doesnt matter if all classes got changed. You change it, people get pissed.

If a game is released without a reset after a beta, the B players quit and new B players wont start.

If a game has exploits/bugs that indirectly change the equation, B players will whine, quit, unless there is a wipe/rollback.

If the game has no security and there is hackers, botters, mods, cheaters, etc, players of the B type will whine, quit, etc... unless its fixed for the future and a big bunch of people is banned and god have mercy on devs souls if there is a rumour of someone escaping the ban hammer. The B type is mercyless.

If the game opens cash shop/item mall and if there is anything sold there that affects the equation mentioned earlier, again, players B will whine, quit, etc...

You cant sell any "time savers". There is no excusable "for people who dont have time" for the player Type B.

They cant sell items that are needed. They cant sell items that cant be find/acquired. They cant sell items that are better/superior than stuff people can find easilly. They cant sell stuff that gives any superior advantage.

If I stop writting and go to 50 f2p games and start analysing each cash shop I would be able to come with a big theory of what cant be sold without pissing off the player of Type B.


This type of player, is very hard to please. He will get pissed of with minor mistakes that devs might think its no big deal. But it grows over time. Every time, some people leave and others piss-off meter increases, next time, more people leave and others piss-off meter increases...

Player B have different grades of tolerance, but they all have the same intolerance: whatever changes the equation of competition.


This is so obvious for me nowadays. I wonder if other devs have it as clear as I do. I mean, when will they realize that they have to addapt and evolve to satisfy player B and avoid anything that might piss him off.


Wipe before release. Watch out what you sell on cash shop. Release when ready. Clean the game of exploits. Prevent cheats/bots. Dont be afraid to rollback over and over again after its fixed. Dont put the server online unless things are solved.


Player B doesnt care if there is a rollback, since its affects everyone.

Player B pays the price of the server staying offline, because he knows the problem is being fixed.

Balance stuff prior to release, players B dont forgive the "balance on the run" tactic. Sorry, no other way. Or they do it, or fail and suffer the consequences. If they dont know it, its their incompetence, if they know and fail, its their incompetence as well.

Dont ever nerf anything, dont fix whats broken. Player B is unforgiven. Dont ever punish, hurt or change the power equation, unless you reset the server or create a new server with that change. THIS SHOULD BE STANDARD NOW.

Take the long route and rebalance everything else instead, if ever.


They think they can decide the rules. The rules are decided by the players B. Its very simple, when it says "the company can change things whenever they want" it should say "the company wont change anything unless its decided by the majority of the player population". Or something.


Things like "you have no right over your characters/equipment, etc" should say "the player has all the rights over whatever he achieved with his time and effort spent and no changes to the game can be made that affect the comparative value of that, unless the majority of the player population decides".


Things like that. The players mindset has one intrinsic sense of justice, what is the players right. It doesnt matter what is written in the disclaimer since players will leave and the game will fail because the disclaimer has stupid rules noone really agreed.


Think of the social contract. Limitative State Rights. Negative/Positive Rights.


There are rules to prevent the Estate from doing whatever he wants. That prevents the Estate from changing the rules. Like the Constitutions. Thats how the society works.


What makes games companies think that virtual societies are different? What makes them think they can change the rules of the game? They say its a service and that it can be terminated/change whenever they want. THATS WHAT MAKES PEOPLE PISSED OFF.

If they administered it as a right and respected it, then they would succeed, because that the players B mentality. They entered in a game to compete according to the initial rules.

Because the B type of players are legion and without them companies dry and die.

Lots of games were only good at the beggining, before the devs changed the equation. In an attempt to make something better, they step in peoples subjective rights without their consent, because they think they can and... whoops... the relation goes both ways.

"Oh, you change the rules huh? Now I dont play anymore."


Mon Mar 30 2009 12:32AM Report
Raithe-Nor writes:

There are actually 5 different camps, in my estimation,  who are squatting in the MMO genre zone:

1) Roleplayers (Player A)

2) Strategists (Player A)

3) Explorers (Player A)

4) Roleperformers (Player A)

5) Metagamers (Player B)

The first 4 camps coexist fairly easily.  The fifth camp makes things hard on everyone, including the fifth camp.  While they are definitely legion, I am relatively sure they are a minority - not a majority.

The rule-players need to find their own genre.  I suggest a fantasy baseball-like gladiator game.

Mon Mar 30 2009 3:12AM Report
Carmaine writes:

i'd say i'm both at diffrent times. I am normaly 1since i enjoy the stoey the creater has teken the time to lay out before me and all the detail in the enviorment lvling is not an issue with me unless i wanna hang with my high lvl friends. all in all it really just depends on the game i'm playing and with who. meany times have i played guild wars with my ex girl friend just to look at the enviorment and enjoy a vitrul walk with her. lol

Tue Mar 31 2009 10:50AM Report writes:
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