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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: AJ_Flowers on April 29, 2009, 06:45:31 PM



Title: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: AJ_Flowers on April 29, 2009, 06:45:31 PM
I'm kind of necroing this thread because it looks interesting to me and because as far as I know it's OK in the rules to do that. :)

Let me start by making a distinction that I feel is important to the topic: that is, there's a difference between asking, "Is roleplay possible in MMOs?" and "is roleplay possible in World of Warcraft?" I don't think every single person here is generalizing all MMOs as WoW, but as it's the most common MMO it also seems to be the point of common experience and the point in every example. You're going to find a very different kind of play on, say, EVE Online, a game I don't think was mentioned in the thread, than in a fantasy game.

What's needed is major design shift that places the creative engine in the players' collective hands. More on that later.

Okay.  Here you go. (http://www.cityofheroes.com/missionarchitect/) It's new; we got it just a few weeks ago. 

I'm really familiar with this game, so let me tell you as a long-time player, what happened next.

Some people are using a content creation engine to create Achiever-oriented maps and modules that exploit the game's systems for the highest possible rewards for their characters. (Those people may also have interest in roleplay, but, they want to roleplay being really high level.)  Enough said about that for right now.

Some people want to use the system to make their character's story.  So, say, they tell a story about their character, but you are the one that actually experiences it. A lot of people don't like to play a story in which they aren't really the star.  Some people complain about Mary Sues, but other people think this is OK.

Some people want to use the system to make stories for their own characters to experience.  So they design a mission for their character, and then... they do it.  It's sort of roleplay, but just one-person roleplay.

Many people are using the system to create stories for others and I think this is mostly the intent of the thing.  Some people make stories for just their friends, while others hope to get interest from the general public. Some people are using elements of the setting that are "canon" and using them in interesting ways, while others are saying, Hell with the setting, my story happens in an alternate universe where... or, my bad guy I invented is more fun because... or, you should really care about my personal hero's origin because...

The system is really imperfect, because you can only tell stories about certain kinds of things. You can try to bend it to tell different kinds of stories, but it's pretty hard. Your story will always include some kind of element of entering a place (office, cave, city park, whatever map you happen to be using) and beating up people who are in that place. Potentially you will get some kind of McGuffin-like item, but the item has no game effect other than you having the item.  (CoH doesn't have "loot" in the standard sense, so it isn't as if you can put real treasures in your mission.)  Sometimes the guy you have to beat up is a mook, and sometimes he's a challenging battle with a name and a face, and a little bit of dialog, but ultimately it's a story about beating these guys up, or avoiding guys, to get a thing, and/or possibly rescue some captured people.  If you want to tell an interesting bit outside of that environment, you have to do it in the in-game text pop-ups that happen between travel from Place 1 to Place 2.

People have complained about railroading. See, the mission arcs don't leave you any real choice as to what you do in the story, unless the author is very clever, and many aren't. So a lot of what happens is... a mysterious tipster sends you to Place A, where you beat some people up and steal their thing. But... surprise, you were actually beating up good people, and the tipster tricked you, and now he has the thing! Chase him and get back the thing you foolishly gave him!  Or perhaps your mysterious tipster told you to rescue a person, but the person... was actually the bad guy! Now go beat up the person you just rescued! People love to tell that kind of story.  Also, you might railroad a character in to taking some kind of action in the between-place text pop-up, that that character wouldn't have wanted to take.

So it's a system that's still in-process, but it is now out there. Is this roleplaying yet?  I dunno?

I guess I'll also point out that Tabula Rasa (now dead) and Matrix Online (pretty shoddy), and probably other games too, have experimented with having live "Gamemasters" running public events. Lord British showed up in person a few times in the old days too, as I recall... so some human element is out there among all the automation, but it's so rare, and the failure rate on this is really fairly high.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 30, 2009, 06:05:11 AM
Hello,

Considering the length and relative compactness of that thread, I'll keep it as a single thing: Is actual RP in MMORPGs another next impossible thing?  (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=27404.0)

However, the discussion may continue right here!

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: LandonSuffered on April 30, 2009, 07:41:02 AM

Hmm…reminds me of the old days when I used to try to create computer adventures using the Adventure Construction Set or even the Bard’s Tale Construction Set.  The results were always much more disappointing than originally envisioned.

I know that many people who play on-line games would like to bring more of the table-top RPG experience to the console, and I know that these RPG computer games grew out of table-top RPGs originally, but I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re really two different animals (the same way, say, role-playing is different from live theater).  They are two different art forms.  The computer game just can’t help being a static construct, whereas an RPG (in the pen & paper sense) lives and evolves based on the input and imagination of the participants. 

This isn’t to say you can’t have dramatic characterizations by players on a RP server in WoW, or that the designers can’t create engrossing story lines.  But as far as player choice having an influence on the game world (or future game world events), there’s very minimal impact…if any at all.

My brother (an avid WoW player) and I have debated the differences and positive aspects of computer gaming versus RPGs, and tried to brainstorm ways we could design a computer game that would incorporate more creativity than “good graphics allowing a virtual experience of killing monsters and gaining loot while customizing your character.”  We could never come up with a viable idea.  RPGs, because they operated in that SIS created through Social Contract are malleable only by the people playing them.  MMO games are designed like a neutral third party anyone can explore…very true to their original D&D (tournament style) roots, but failing to take advantage of the more recent evolutions in RPGs.

MMOs are fun and can serve as recreational entertainment, and unlike console RPGs (say Fable or Mass Effect) they allow cooperative interaction with other on-line players (and I include even PvP arenas as “cooperative;” everyone is cooperating to increase game play enjoyment even through direct competition).  This is the same as playing Halo or Rock Band or racing on-line…it’s a way to share an experience in video game play for the enjoyment of all parties.

But although MMOs are “role” playing games (you take on the role of your avatar character), there are many aspects of table-top RPGs that cannot be emulated in the MMO environment. Face-to-face discussion and human (eye) contact is not duplicated in a networked gaming experience, and that’s a very nice side-benefit in a society that is increasingly alienated from its members through technology. Kabitzing around a table that can ACTUALLY IMPACT “what happens” in the SIS, in addition to increasing the overall enjoyment. Improvisation by GMs to better meet the entertainment needs of players (not being forced to conform to linear plots), and improvisation by players outside the “standard” rules of the game (again, breaking away from linear plot requirements).

It’s an unfortunate development (in my mind) that some folks believe traditional RPGs are being replaced (or have been already) with computer “RPGs,” and some game designers seem to be buying this as well as they try to design their RPGs to mimic on-line game conventions.  I specifically point to the 4th Edition of D&D as a prime example; it seems squarely targeted at folks that are used to playing games like WoW; which is frankly crazy as you can’t out-do a computer game at what it does (i.e. “computing”).  If people wanted that kind of game, well…they’d play on-line.  And they do.  My brother refuses to pick up a dice or flip through a game book anymore (and he used to), yet he’ll play WoW for several hours at a time.  It meets his expectations for entertainment.

For me, MMOs can be entertaining (I’ve tried both CoH and WoW in the past), but as I don’t use them for social interaction, and don’t enjoy the direct competition of PvP, I find that I get bored with the linear and repetitive story lines despite the cool graphics and imaginative antagonists. 

MMOs and true RPGs may share some similarities, but they are two very different forms of entertainment.  Enjoy each for what they are but personally I wouldn't attempt to transfer game-specific expectations from one to the other.



Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: AJ_Flowers on April 30, 2009, 09:26:14 AM
Ah, thanks for the re-focus. I don't know if the new title was precisely what I was getting at with the first post: my primary example in the post refers to the game City of Heroes, which is dabbling in user-created content, though I see now I never wrote out the full name of the game, just linked to the site. But in this reply I'll continue to talk about WoW, so it'll all make sense.

In general, I want to avoid people making the mistake that WoW is exactly equviliant to every MMORPG ever made... even though it's the most successful one, the largest one, and is seen as the general case by which all the others are based. Designers out there are trying different things to support different kinds of play styles. I think it's worth noting though, that a lot of the different and radical experiments just haven't been successful, or have only been successful in a niche, rather than the broad success WoW has seen.

Going back to reply, I think it's a good point, and definitely one I've noticed, that DnD4th ed seems to be mimicking the gameplay of WoW, which seems in some ways like a backwards evolution.

So let's take for granted that World of Warcraft, the biggest MMO, is a baby of Everquest, which is a baby of Diku (http://www.raphkoster.com/2009/01/09/what-is-a-diku/), which is an illigitimate child of Dungeons and Dragons itself. It seems like now everything has come full-circle, and DnD is stealing from its children.  What gets lost in the translation here?  And, more interestingly, if another RPG, such as one with a different CA than DnD, became the child by which all future games were copied, what would be our World of Warcraft today?  Can we envision some kind of alternate history or is that not even remotely logical?

(Aside, if any reader has any interest in the history of MMORPGs, check out that link on DikuMUD, as it's really interesting and informative.)


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: LandonSuffered on April 30, 2009, 12:04:38 PM

Quote
So let's take for granted that World of Warcraft, the biggest MMO, is a baby of Everquest, which is a baby of Diku, which is an illigitimate child of Dungeons and Dragons itself. It seems like now everything has come full-circle, and DnD is stealing from its children.  What gets lost in the translation here? 



It’s kind of hard to address that question without seeming to devolve into Hasbro/WotC bashing, mainly because it boils down to a) D&D being a particular brand/license that’s being sold as a product (like say “the Serenity RPG,” or the “Star War RPG”), and b) the game company being “out of touch” with both new innovations, and the potential inherent in traditional RPGs.

Of course, some might say that they are much MORE “in touch” with market considerations than traditional RPG designers (because they recognize the large demographic of WoW players that is their target audience and thus stand to make more money), but that a subjective observation one way or the other.

Quote
And, more interestingly, if another RPG, such as one with a different CA than DnD, became the child by which all future games were copied, what would be our World of Warcraft today?  Can we envision some kind of alternate history or is that not even remotely logical?


That’s pretty hypothetical, and it would take some fairly radical technology (like an AI capable of taking player input and improvisational “self-coding” on-the-fly or something). Though it can be said that WoW (and other MMOs) appeal to a simulationist CA as well as a gamist one for folks who just like to explore the pretty landscape and skin raptors or whatever. Hell, there’s no gamist CA to 2nd Life, is there?




Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: E on April 30, 2009, 01:32:11 PM
(Hello, sorry for my english)

Roleplaying in MMORPG seem closer to LARP then to table top roleplaying.

In MMORPG as in LARP you are limited by your "avatar" and your playfield environment.

GM even intervene in a similar way, they need to be present on the playfield and act as a referee and as administrator of events.
In both case player characters have to play with what is physically available for them, props, costumes, locations, etc...
In both case, game events are often planed around social events or gatherings.

In MMORPG, you are limited by your gameworld rules and physics, who are often similar to limits imposed in LARP.
In MMORPG, yes you can fight monsters, but they are not played by your game master, they don't care about your story or you roleplaying. Fighting and killing a other character is also very limited (as in LARP). Your avatar dead is not permanent or don't equal to your character dead. Avatars just respawn and can be meet a few seconds or minutes later by anyone. Note how in MMORPG as in LARP you can meet each other avatars in out of character situations.

I think that far more insight in MMORPG roleplaying can be gained by comparing it with LARP instead of table top RPG. 


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Callan S. on April 30, 2009, 06:48:59 PM
For myself, I don't think in terms of "What isn't roleplay" and more "What bits did they do, which are in roleplay?". If they've done any, that's a good start. Mind you, I get told I look at the atomic level and that's no good.

I think "Why does it matter whether it's roleplay or not, if you've gotten over all the bits from table top sessions you basically want to get over?"


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: John Adams on May 04, 2009, 06:26:53 AM
RE: City of Heroes. When I heard they were releasing a mission editor I rejoiced ... for about 5 seconds. Then I realized what that feature set would and would not add to the game and I shrugged. I cancelled my account a while back for lack of playing time, but AJ confirms it's pretty much exactly what I expected.

So here's the thing: I don't get myself worked up into a lather over what is or is not role-playing; the term is too vague. I also submit that no one who plays an MMO wants a true table-top experience. I don't want to create a SIS when I log in. I expect to trade the SIS for a *virtual space*, that's the whole point, right? I want to see my fireball rather than describe it, and I want everyone else to see exactly the same thing.

I also assert that even though we traded in the SIS at the door, there is a close parallel to the Big Model and the Creative Agendas online. So far MMOs have imitated a hard line Story Before model, with more an emphasis on either the Right to Dream or Step on Up. Like early RPGs, Story Now folks have had to wing it as best they can within a system that obstructs or at least does nothing to support their agenda.

What is a major pitfall of Story Before gaming? Railroading. I'm not at all surprised poeple complain about it in City of Heroes, it's been the core game design since Day One. All of these games are different flavors of "kill a goblin, get a reward" and that's all they are designed to be. A mission editor won't change it into something else. (I'm still really glad they released it and I have an itch to create a mission or two to see how far I can take it, but I have no illusions.)

The sameness of MMOs is mainly due to market forces. It will take an amazing act of will and imagination to break the mold but once broken, many new designs will appear.


... if another RPG, such as one with a different CA than DnD, became the child by which all future games were copied, what would be our World of Warcraft today? 


So what if Capes was the inspiration for City of Heroes instead of Champions? Turns out I've put a lot of thought into that.

* Players would play heroes AND villains AND civilians. Each character type would provide unique rewards and interact with the other types in unique, story-reinforcing ways.

* Players would spend resources to create conflicts and earn resources when other players engaged those conflicts.


My villain burns a few points so he can dangle Mary Jane over the edge of 20 story drop. If I drop her and she goes splat! I get nothing in return, so I'll do it when your hero is rushing up to save her. If I drop her and you heroically save her, I get points. You would spend points to catch her, but maybe you earn a different kind of reward at the same time.

By the way, Mary Jane is played by Bob. Bob spends points in this situation for a "terrified scream" which inspires (buffs) your hero so he can punch my villain's head in.

All of this currency/economy is built around creating an exciting, genre-appropriate story with theme.

* Players would cooperatively assemble a scene from a large collection of parts, rather than travelling to a certain place in a huge, pre-defined game world.

"That was a great scene. Can we do one where Captain Awesome finds out who took the Gauntlet of Power?"

Set Piece: wrecked science lab
Characters: Captain Awesome, Firebrand, Penny McCord
Type / Subtype: Dialog / Revalation

etc.

The hard-coded bits would define not just the the set pieces but also which game sub-systems or mini-games would be in play and how the players would resolve the scene.


I also have ideas for a completely different style of game which would fit with the Right to Dream and allow players to directly and profoundly affect a huge, shared world. Maybe later. Point is it can be done, it just needs an indie-style publishing force to get past the massive inertia of WoW.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Frank Tarcikowski on May 07, 2009, 01:37:12 AM
Roleplaying in MMORPG seem closer to LARP then to table top roleplaying.

*blink* I never looked at it that way, but now that you say it, yes, of course!

I've heard people say that there used to be some Neverwinter Nights free shards with a rather small community and very dedicated, active game masters which were rather strong on the "role playing" side and "plots". I still don't have a firm idea of what that would look like. Just like I don't have a firm idea of how "plots" in LARP work. I used to think it boils down to following the clues someone lays out for you, as outlined in the OP. But I'm probably missing something. I'd love to read a detailed actual play report of such play.

- Frank


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Daniel B on May 07, 2009, 10:19:32 AM
Roleplaying in MMORPG seem closer to LARP then to table top roleplaying.

*blink* I never looked at it that way, but now that you say it, yes, of course!

I've heard people say that there used to be some Neverwinter Nights free shards with a rather small community and very dedicated, active game masters which were rather strong on the "role playing" side and "plots". I still don't have a firm idea of what that would look like. Just like I don't have a firm idea of how "plots" in LARP work. I used to think it boils down to following the clues someone lays out for you, as outlined in the OP. But I'm probably missing something. I'd love to read a detailed actual play report of such play.

Isn't this how the better kind of "illusionist GMing" works? The GM maps out a few potential paths that the players could take, and if one of them is chosen, the GM leaves down clues that they may or may not follow. (If the players choose a path not designed, the GM has to start building one up on the fly from the scraps) In that respect, for that type of game, MMORPGs, LARPGs, and tabletop games would be equivalent (except that they'd require different amounts of effort to generate the SIS, and the players have different amounts of control over the medium).

Ditto on your last comment, Frank. Anyone have any LARP experiences they could post in "Actual Play"??   ;-)
Daniel

Daniel


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: FredGarber on May 07, 2009, 01:07:38 PM
Don't have a lot of MMORPG experience, but I have a LOT of LARP Plot crafting experience.  (I was involved in a 20-40 person Larp for 4-5 years, helping run it for 2-3).  We ran a Vampire WOD larp, and we had a pretty average mix of Creative Agendas:
  • We had a handful of players who were very Story Now in their goals: they didn't care exactly what was going on, except as creating a reaction to it, and speechify somewhere in the play site.  I would say they were about 10% of the group, but they were loud, and popular (ie, almost everybody want to be in a scene with them).  We had a couple of themes develop around these characters (which gained or lost momentum when certain characters died/or entered play): "What will you pay for power?"  and "How far will you go to protect your clique?" 
  • We had about a third of our players as more Step On Up in their goals: Show them a werewolf, and they'd look for their silver weapons.  Show them a ghost, and they'd get a wizard to exorcise it, etc.  They tended to have the most and strongest powers, and even though they didn't always wade in swinging, each plot element the StoryTellers introduced was another plot element to put down. They loved to hear that a storyline was finished.
  • The majority of the players, however, came every night to watch the Combats (and maybe participate in a round or two of a combat, if the risk.reward was high enough), or play as the audience to the speechifying (and maybe choose a side or not.)  I don't want to indicate that they sat on the couches and watched (although we had some of those), but their primary interest was staying in character, and experiencing how things developed.

When designing a plot, usually we set out a Bang, something for the characters to see that their stasis had changed.  Some would then go to try and kill it, some would figure out what it meant to them personally, etc.  As a Storyteller, you had to plan for a wide range of potential outcomes to the plot. 
  • Successful plots couldn't depend upon a certain character being in a certain group, because that player might not show that week, and the whole plotline would fall apart. 
  • Plotlines couldn't depend upon key items being found and/or used, because you couldn't MAKE the guy with the magic heart shaped gem put it in the magic heart-shaped opening in the rock to open the magic, heart shaped door.  He might decide to cut the gemstone up for money, and what would THAT do to your plot?
  • Plotlines ended when either all of the NPCs you introduced had been placated or killed.  Unfortunately.  Sometimes, you could build a big set piece and throw a lot of cinematics in there at the end to make it look like a story climax.
  • "Player Driven Plot" was code for PvP conflict.  Many weeks there was so much PvP going on that we didn't need to add PvE to keep the players entertained.

I was writing a book about it, until I realized that the vast majority of my advice actually boiled down to "know your players."  If you throw a bunch of Challenges at characters who are more Story Now oriented, they will spend all night talking about what to do, and never Stepping Up.  If you throw Premise at Step Up characters, they will deal with the irritating event, usually lethally, and then sit back down and wait for the next thing.  They won't wonder if they did the right thing, only that they used the right tactics.  If you start sending Ancient Elder Vampires after the powerful Challenge Characters, the Shared Dream characters will be upset because those things are supposed to be rare, and they'll see them every week.

MMOs tend to be, well, Massive.  I don't know if they can be as aware of the mood and attitudes of their playerbase.  Maybe they can.  But IMHO, they tend to throw out new content to keep Stepping On Up, and occasionally they sell a new supplement to Change the Dream, and they put all the Story Now as Story Before in the fluff text or scripted NPC speeches.

Also, the fact that your character can't be permanantly killed (except by the developers) means that there's a much greater allowance for risk. 

Without any easy access to resurrection, it made for a constant conflict between the players who treated their characters as a collection of skills of varying Effectiveness to interact with the SiS, and the ones who really went for the Deep Immersion.  There were Speech Codes as elaborate as "activist judge" being American Political Speech Code for "Pro-Abortion and Gay Rights judge"
"It's only a game" was code for "who cares if your character dies, just make another one, you drama queen." 
"I just show up for the people" was code for "If you try and MAKE me react to plot, I will sit here and turtle,"
"I don't like to worry about Game Mechanics" was code for "Listen, GunBunny, I'm trying to ACT over here."

One of the things that was constantly in flux in the LARP was the lethality level and the spillover from the challenges.  For example, the powerful characters wanted challenges, and they didn't want the game to become The League of SuperFriends (Vampires version), where the players swooped in like Superman and saved the world from the Deep Black Evil, without challenge.  On the other hand, many of the other players were not happy when they were finally making that deal to learn the forbidden lore, and their teacher was killed by the Deep Black Evil which they had neither sought out nor planned to defend against.

-Fred


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Callan S. on May 07, 2009, 03:15:06 PM
Quote
Also, the fact that your character can't be permanantly killed (except by the developers) means that there's a much greater allowance for risk.
I'd be thinking more an allowance for the illusion or impression of risk? Or am I being pedantic? Sometimes the distinction gets lost though...


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: FredGarber on May 08, 2009, 03:49:11 PM
I'm parsing my sentence, and getting lost in my own grammar....

I mean to say that in our LARP, once you died, that was it.  Generate New Character, leave your loot on the corpse.  It made most people avoid combat or situations where their avatar might die  (they were Avoiding Risk) , because they spent a lot of time on the persona and upon building up their persona's place in the SIS.  We had a rule called the Inigo Montoya Rule: your next persona had to be sufficiently different from your last character to avoid taking over where the dead persona left off.

I watched the movie Darkon, about the foam sword LARPers, and they had a less permanent sort of death.  In that LARP, it was somewhat like the MMORPG model - if you were Killed in LARP battle, you had to take a time out from fighting to "travel to the underworld and back," but then you came back as the same persona. 

I can not imagine WOW's business model surviving if they implemented my LARP's death of the avatar.  Are there any MMORPGs that do?  Are there any WoW quests that are try once, and fail?  Or all they all try and fail until you succeed?

-Fred


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Lance D. Allen on May 09, 2009, 12:02:50 AM
Fred,

As far as I know, permadeath hasn't seen any sort of implementation in any MMO. The trend has actually been toward making death less harsh, rather than more. Ultima Online's original death penalty was probably the harshest ever implemented (in an MMO; I know nahthing about MUDs/MUSHes), and it's gone more 'care bear' since then.

That doesn't mean it hasn't been talked about. I used to follow discussions on MMORPG.com for a while, and there was more than a little bit of advocacy for permadeath in MMOs. Now, I honestly believe that many of the strongest advocates for it would find that they actually hate it in practice.

The effect it would have on step-on-up gaming would be phenomenal. The effect on deep immersion roleplayers would also be sizable, as suddenly there would be real reason to react to defeat in battle, and the roleplayed respect for valorous action would likely be supplemented by real respect, because the risk is real.

Likewise, the "single use" quests would have a fairly profound effect. Roleplayers wouldn't have to tapdance around talking about an "epic" quest that they'd both accomplished. "Oh, I just assisted in taking down the liche who ruled over the Vale of Shadows." "Oh, yeah.. I, uh, also took down a liche recently. Probably a totally different one, of course." Step-on-up gamers wouldn't be able to master a quest by doing it over and over. There wouldn't be websites devoted to lessons learned on a quest as group after group goes through it and tries new tactics. Your bragging rights would be "I accomplished this one quest, it was badass." "Oh yeah? I failed that one. It was really hard." And so on.

But those sorts of things would discourage the casual gamer, which is where WoW largely makes its money, so you'll never see them in a mainstream MMO. It'll pretty much require some little indie upstart to do the scary failure-ridden things, because we're not ruled by that bottom line.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Callan S. on May 09, 2009, 01:47:34 AM
That kind of raises the question of 'Why a mmorpg at all?'. For instance, nethack has quite a following, dedicated players, a real passion and has certainly got perma death. If you were to make nethack a mmorpg, would it really add anything?

Thing thing with a mmorpg is that you could use it to foster a certain community with certain values, atleast in terms of the activity (perhaps a bit like the forge that way?). But that goal certainly isn't compatable with "Get as many punters in as we can" which I think WOW does, with only a slight concession toward any non fiscal goal they might have. If you want to foster a certain mindset, you have to put up with a certain amount of unpopularity. The more focused the mindset, the higher the unpopularity, I'd postulate.

I suppose, and perhaps table top is like this too, they lend themselves to appear to be a bunch of enthused people available to engage some new idea. There seems to be that potential.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: contracycle on May 10, 2009, 12:18:04 PM
Oh I think it could be done, but it would be a very different beast.  What they need to do is take advantage of the large population and let the players make some decisions - to have a kind of politics a bit like Fred's LARP situation.

Imagine this sort of situation.  Instead of writing quests for each group to take, write a quest for one group, but which impinges on everyone else.  Then, "every else" must decide who to send to deal with the problem - the problem being something like a universal XP penalty for everyone until the issue is addressed.  Now add perma-death on these community quests, and the temperature gets a little warmer.

Then you could really have people say, hey remember that time the Green Knight thing happened, and three parties were killed trying to solve it until Brave Bob finally smote the evil?  Iterating such things could indeed produce a kind of history, the sort of thing the events introduction stuff in the modern crop already tries to do.  The kudos to be gained from completing, or even trying and failing, will be real.  The concern over who to send, and whether they will go, will be real.  Make a FRAPS or similar recording of the quest for others to review, and even the dead will live on in glorious memory.  Levelling just to be in the candidate pool will add an element to that activity - if you have levelling at all, which you might not.

So ok, this is all step on up and live the dream, but the points above about the lack of eye contact upthread are valid and the problems insurmountable in my opinion.  But certainly MMO's could be much less flakey than they are at present, and make use of more orthodox story structures and take advantage of their mass populations, which they presently ignore.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Callan S. on May 10, 2009, 03:37:39 PM
My question wasn't so much as to whether it could be done, but why? And to be specific, that doesn't have to be a 'why' that satisfies/makes sense in terms of my needs. As long as it satisfies the speakers needs, that's cool.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Lance D. Allen on May 10, 2009, 10:59:45 PM
I really need to get my "manifesto" back online.

A lot of the ideas and concerns here are ones I've thought about for if I ever managed to get creative control of a MMORPG project.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Frank Tarcikowski on May 11, 2009, 01:10:21 AM
I remember this guy who once told me about going to a LARP. He borrowed a foam sword and some funny ears and played a Drow. Proudly, he explained how he had waited in an ambush, motionless, for a very long time just to “kill” some other player. He did not have an in-game reason to kill that player’s persona, other than “I’m Drow, I’m evil”. So there was this troupe of teenagers running around this rather small LARP, killing off other players’ personas for no good reason at all. That was when I decided I probably did not need to try LARP.

This kind of crap, also well known from any MMO PvP server, seriously messes up the benefits of a “death system” like the one Fred describes. In a small LARP with dedicated GMs you can probably work against it. On a small NWN free shard with dedicated GMs, too. But with a mass phenomenon like WoW? Impossible.

On the PvE servers of WoW you can’t just kill random player characters but the idiots are still around. You don’t get to choose whom you play with. Or rather, you don’t get to be alone with the people you have chosen. Plus, the official content makes so little sense in terms of Shared Imagined Space that most of it only gets in the way of actual role-playing, whatever that means.

I imagine that the dedicated “role-players” in WoW play outside the content provided by the quests and instanced dungeons, basically a fully independent chat or TS RPG that happens to take place on a WoW server and happens to use WoW avatars and environments as visualization. Only WoW avatars and environments are very limited visualizations.

Yeah, I guess I still don’t get it. I used to think that “RP” in MMO just means you talk pseudo-medieval and say “Lok’Thar” and “For the Horde!” Not that people would do that a lot on WoW RP servers.

- Frank


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: contracycle on May 11, 2009, 01:33:10 AM
My question wasn't so much as to whether it could be done, but why? And to be specific, that doesn't have to be a 'why' that satisfies/makes sense in terms of my needs. As long as it satisfies the speakers needs, that's cool.

Because it would be more interesting than simply going through the levelling grind for no good purpose.  The whole thing seems pretty dull to me, all the worst bits of dungeon crawling and none of the good bits.  Having some kind of continuity and progression (of the setting) in real terms would add a lot to the value of the exercise for many people, I think.   Some of them may have decent mechanics that are sufficiently interesting to be engaging, but the reapeat-till-complete quest mode undermines real stakes.

Frankly I'm still surprised they are as popular as they are; you can't really RP and if you want to PvP why not just play one of the many team games out there?  I can only think its just dedication to colour, to the extravagent costumes and semi-naked elves and whatnot.  The only other thing they have going for them is the quest structure itself, the sense of pseudo-progress articulated through mission briefings and the variety of challenges to encounter.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Callan S. on May 11, 2009, 02:15:50 AM
Hi Frank,

The perma death question arrose from my question as to whether it's just the illusion of risk in mmorpgs? I'm worried there's an idea that it's not that it's an illusion of risk, it's just that perma death can't be implemented for reasons X, Y and Z. And thus, the idea goes, if you take away perma death, that doesn't affect the risk/it's presence, since the perma death had to be taken away? I'm way off in worrying about that?


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Frank Tarcikowski on May 11, 2009, 05:45:50 AM
Hi Callan, I think the question is what risk. Currently, dying in an MMO is an inconvenience, especially with regard to progress on in-game goals (next level, better piece of equipment, gold, etc.) Sometimes I get pretty upset when I keep dying in some stupid place because mobs are respawning all over the place and I can't kill them off as quickly as necessary and I'm going, "Stupid game, why the fuck is this quest marked yellow?!" (= adequate for my level)

But when talking about RP in terms of, I don't know, "story"? Exploration of Character and Situation? Then character death would indeed probably be best viewed as no risk at all. I guess? (Did I mention I don't really get it?) ;-)

- Frank


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: AJ_Flowers on May 11, 2009, 08:36:56 AM
...  but AJ confirms it's pretty much exactly what I expected.

It's pretty hard to find the good missions in all the kruft, but that is normal for the internet and was what I expected too.  I still enjoy playing my friends' stuff or stuff that is advertised elsewhere as being a fun story game sort of experience.


What is a major pitfall of Story Before gaming? Railroading. I'm not at all surprised poeple complain about it in City of Heroes, it's been the core game design since Day One. All of these games are different flavors of "kill a goblin, get a reward" and that's all they are designed to be. A mission editor won't change it into something else. (I'm still really glad they released it and I have an itch to create a mission or two to see how far I can take it, but I have no illusions.)

In the home-made missions, a lot of people take it a step further and literally railroad your character in to falling for a trap or doing something stupid between missions.  Or they tell you what you're thinking.  Some people feel really violated by this.

So what if Capes was the inspiration for City of Heroes instead of Champions? Turns out I've put a lot of thought into that.

* Players would play heroes AND villains AND civilians. Each character type would provide unique rewards and interact with the other types in unique, story-reinforcing ways.

* Players would spend resources to create conflicts and earn resources when other players engaged those conflicts.


My villain burns a few points so he can dangle Mary Jane over the edge of 20 story drop. If I drop her and she goes splat! I get nothing in return, so I'll do it when your hero is rushing up to save her. If I drop her and you heroically save her, I get points. You would spend points to catch her, but maybe you earn a different kind of reward at the same time.

By the way, Mary Jane is played by Bob. Bob spends points in this situation for a "terrified scream" which inspires (buffs) your hero so he can punch my villain's head in.

All of this currency/economy is built around creating an exciting, genre-appropriate story with theme.

* Players would cooperatively assemble a scene from a large collection of parts, rather than travelling to a certain place in a huge, pre-defined game world.

"That was a great scene. Can we do one where Captain Awesome finds out who took the Gauntlet of Power?"

Set Piece: wrecked science lab
Characters: Captain Awesome, Firebrand, Penny McCord
Type / Subtype: Dialog / Revalation

etc.

The hard-coded bits would define not just the the set pieces but also which game sub-systems or mini-games would be in play and how the players would resolve the scene.

That sounds like it would be amazing! But, also, a ton of work, so not suitable for everyone. Some people have pointed out on MMO blogs that they actually like the "theme park" setup of an MMO because it doesn't make them have to think.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: evilphd7 on May 20, 2009, 01:55:43 PM
For the past few years I have been in Second Life and trying to find role-play there. Second Life(SL) is unique among online games in that it is an online world (rather than a game) which allows land owners (who are willing to pay considerable $) to create their own worlds.  While there are several role-play SIMS (a SIM is just a term for a specific piece of virtual realestate) in SL, there is very little actual role-play and I have spent years trying to figure-out why.  SL has taught me that there are several elements role-play games need in order to be fun:

Cooperation: Players have to be willing to cooperate with one another.  By "cooperate" I mean react to one another in a realistic manner (in-character only) and accept the consequences of defeat.  For example, in a "real" world, one can't get away with throwing Mud at the King becuase, there would be others around to enforce rules.  So everyone has to agree that "Jimmy" is the king and that there are certain ways one must behave toward the king.  This is surprisingly difficult in an online environment because more often than not, there is no way to realistically resolve combat and zero enforcement of rules.  This causes most RP to devolve into "every man for himself RP" where players only cooperate until the goals of their characters come into conflict.

Supervision:  Someone needs to be in control of the RP and by "in control" I don't mean railroading (which is actually worse, in my opinion, than having no rule enforcement).  I'm talking about some devine, all-powerful force to enforce the rules and consequences.  In an ideal world filled with reasonable, honest people who aren't only motivated by winning at any cost, supervision would be unnecessary; unfortunately there is this extreme need to "win" and I find that a majority of players you encounter have no compunction about cheating or bending rules to achieve that.

The GM must not also have a character: In SL Sim owners universally create their own characters who have "God-like" powers (basically, script-immunity).  They figure they've paid the money to create and maintain the sim and they have done most of the work... why shouldn't they control everything?  What they don't seem to understand is that gaming is only fun for your players when the world is about them.  The end result is that players eventually realize that the GM character cannot be damaged, toppled or removed so ... why bother playing a game you can't "win"?

Motivation: In order for a game to be fun, players need to feel that they have an impact on the world around them.  This is one of my chief beefs with MMORPGs.  I've killed Grendel, you've killed Grendel and yet he keeps popping up to be killed time and time again.  Killing Grendel is meaningless. In fact, most accomplishments only have meaning in terms of accumulating items and experience from your defeated foes.  In SL, unilke most MMORPG's, this basic motivation is gone.  Players can have anything their Avatars can find (Unlike a game like NeverWinter Nights where a GM can control what players have and police their inventory).  This sort of goes back to everyone playing by the rules.

So ...that was sort of long and rambling, but any thoughts on this others wish to contribute would be helpful.  Ultimately, I'm trying to decide if finding RP online is even worth the bother.  I'm not sure if the problem is that online environments simply can't have the basic elements required for RP, if my standards for RP are too high or if the average gamer is a personality so unpleasant that I'd rather not bother interacting with them.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Callan S. on May 20, 2009, 04:49:58 PM
Supervision:  Someone needs to be in control of the RP and by "in control" I don't mean railroading (which is actually worse, in my opinion, than having no rule enforcement).  I'm talking about some devine, all-powerful force to enforce the rules and consequences.  In an ideal world filled with reasonable, honest people who aren't only motivated by winning at any cost, supervision would be unnecessary; unfortunately there is this extreme need to "win" and I find that a majority of players you encounter have no compunction about cheating or bending rules to achieve that.
What I often see is that these 'rules' are usually a string of ambiguous words and non explicit context that requires sympathy toward them, for some sort of sembalence of following their intent to occur. But the people who write these rules typically don't see any ambiguity in their rules, so they see no need for other peoples sympathy, so they demand aherance to the 'clear cut' rules. Which in practical terms is demanding sympathy. People who were sympathetic but get no recognition of that, are incensed. Some people just leave, others remain but just don't give a shit about these 'rules' anymore because its impossible to do so, unless you want to sympathise with someones ideas who doesn't recognise you as being sympathetic (not the best of relationships). These people play to win at any cost, typically because they know from experience any sympathy towards the ambiguous rules isn't recognised and certainly not met with any sympathy back.

Probably one of the best objective tests for whether rules are ambiguous is if you programmed them into a computer program - if the program can follow them as you intended, they aren't ambiguous. Otherwise your writing rules that demand sympathy towards their intent, but without any recognition that the other person cared. That's just not functional.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 21, 2009, 03:46:28 AM
Hello,

"evilphd7," welcome to the Forge!

I am probably going to split your post and replies to it into a thread of its own, so be prepared for that when and if it happens.

We've discussed the issues underlying your conclusions for many years here at the Forge. A lot of the hassles you've encountered concerns what I call Creative Agenda, which is somewhat simply, "why we play," and one controversial point made long ago is that there are several, and they are not compatible (not even a little). The common on-line circumstance (and tabletop ideal) of "anyone and everyone come and play, for whatever reason you want," is as I see it, plain madness and stupidity. It's not even remotely possible if one's goal is anything but Brownian motion. A lot of the issues you've described are resolved by playing with people who, all together including you, share such an agenda, which is another way of saying, agree for this game and at this time that they want to have fun in a particular way.

Or on a related note, that all social-leisure activities, role-playing included, occur successfully only in the presence of a working social contract. By that term, I mean all the unspoken as well as spoken human interactions.

This is where Callan and I disagree profoundly. I think humans can communicate and play together without a manual for every imaginable exchange. However, to do so, the social situation cannot be come-one, come-all, do-as-you-please.

Your point about supervision, which is a good name for it, arose in a discussion about authority and leadership some time ago. I classified it as a distinct kind of leadership, distinct from other kinds of leadership. I think you'd be interested in that and in the overall framework I constructed to talk about it: You've Landed on Gaming Group "Park Place", Pay $15 Rent (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=22268.0).

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: AJ_Flowers on May 21, 2009, 09:00:49 AM
Ultimately, I'm trying to decide if finding RP online is even worth the bother.  I'm not sure if the problem is that online environments simply can't have the basic elements required for RP, if my standards for RP are too high or if the average gamer is a personality so unpleasant that I'd rather not bother interacting with them.

My guess is you're looking for love in all the wrong places.  What counts as "RP" is such a broad category that I don't think I've managed to nail it totally down myself but it seems like you're looking for a particular sort of RP that mimics the kind of experience you have at a traditional gaming table... and you're looking for it in Second Life. However, SL does not have a strong division between the player's avatar, and the player, which lends it toward a style of RP that is a little more like a Live Action RP or a LARP than a tabletop RP where there is a somewhat stronger division between character and player (at least in my experience). SL is commonly referred to as a social environment first, so a lot of people are "roleplaying" on Second Life, but not in the way you're imagining it where there is a DM, a social contract, and some kind of overall governing force. Rather, SL is more designed for people who want to be "in character," all day, all the time.

I find that I enjoy roleplay better when there's a stronger division between player and character, which is why I never got in to LARPing (or, at least the roleplaying side of LARPing; I'm all for hitting people with foam-covered sticks if the time arises, but to me the RP aspect always felt like I was in some kind of play but nobody bothered telling me my lines).  You seem like you're looking for the same sort of thing, on-line.

I do the majority of my on-line roleplaying in MUSHes and MUCKs, and while I have some problems with the format at times it does tend to have more of the stronger rules set and directoral hand that you're looking for.  There are also a lot of RPs going on in forums, on journalling/blogging software such as LiveJournal, and games played by e-mail.  I have both played, and run games through e-mail with moderate success, and these tend to run a lot like traditional tabletops, only at a very slow pace.  Sometimes a little too slow, but other than that they can be pretty good, with the occasional player collaborating on instant messenger or another type of software to make a larger plot post.  Also, I'm in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that's being run using an on-line utility, and that works fairly well, if a little bit slower than tabletop D&D.  I've also heard of players running successful traditional campaigns over utilities like Skype.

So to say "I think it's not possible to find good RP on-line" you probably need to specify your definition of "roleplay" and broaden your defintion of "on-line." Because it's definitely out there, and quite good when you can find it. A livesaver for people who can't always find a local gaming group easily or who move frequently but still want to play with their same group of friends.

The end result is that players eventually realize that the GM character cannot be damaged, toppled or removed so ... why bother playing a game you can't "win"?

Now this is probably really diverting from my original thread, but I find this assessment interesting because it's something I see in other on-line RP as well. Do you have to defeat the GM's main character to "win" the game?  Many people see RP games as something that cannot be won per se, while others take a more gamist stance, something covered in more depth elsewhere on the Forge in many places.  Here's my counter: so, the GM has a powerful character or two? So what?  Unless the GM has set the game up with the express purpose of it being about "beat my guy" what does it specifically matter?

Now I've dealt with horrible on-line twinks, where it seems like you don't even want to play with them, because it's all about setting up some situation for their character to look awesome while you play an audience role and sit back and gawk, over and over again.  Since there's nothing for you to do in this "game" but look at the GM's awesome guy beating scenarios the GM set up for his own guy to beat, that's no fun at all. And I think that's what you're getting at: but phrasing it as "I have to beat the GM's best character to win at the RPG" seems off to me.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Callan S. on May 21, 2009, 03:02:50 PM
Hello Ron,

This is where Callan and I disagree profoundly. I think humans can communicate and play together without a manual for every imaginable exchange. However, to do so, the social situation cannot be come-one, come-all, do-as-you-please.
I'm not sure you do disagree with me? I meant it when I wrote
Quote
What I often see is that these 'rules' are usually a string of ambiguous words and non explicit context that requires sympathy toward them, for some sort of semblance of following their intent to occur.
I meant it when I said a semblance of their intent can occur. This works out when the sympathy goes both ways. It might end up having a high time spent on sympathy relative to time spent on play, but it works out. Though it is a sembalance of the intent, not an exact rendition of it like you'd get following a maths equation.

What I'm refering to is when something like "If you've been in the presence of the wolf king in the last 24 hours, you get X" is treated the same as "base attack bonus (3) + d20 (rolled a 12) = attack roll (result: 15)". One of them requires sympathy from all parties involved as to what the hell that text 'means'. But if it's treated as being as clear cut as 3+12=15, and yet the other guy is stating that he gets X when hell no, it's 'clear cut' that he doesn't! Or he says he doesn't get X when it's 'clear cut' that he does (whichever way around)! That's like saying he got an 18 total! He must be being a cheat, or deliberately being a jerk, or a number of other social derogatives that come all too easily to posters on various forums, it seems, when describing their fellow men. When the wolf king rule gets treated as being as clear cut as the attack roll, then the idea of working it out together, with all parties having some sympathy toward each others position, gets chucked out the window. Then the social sanctions that you'd find for saying you got an 18 (when it was 15 total) or stealing from the bank in monopoly, get pulled out and applied. As I said before, a game can work by calling for sympathy to whatever extent it does - and for a game that does require some sympathy to work, the social sanctions destroy sympathy real fast.

I'm probably being pedantic with the second paragraph when the first probably clears things up. But I dunno, where are we on that?


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Frank Tarcikowski on May 22, 2009, 02:00:45 AM
Hi “evilphd7”,

I can relate to your frustration, which I have experienced myself in some “random” games in various media. What you are perceiving, I think correctly, is a lack of common ground and a lack of interest in the other players. In order for RP to work out in the online environment, first a shared understanding must be established of how the participants should contribute to the game, and also, the participants need to actually be interested in what others have to contribute.

However, in my personal experience, the idea that such shared understanding and interest is best established through rigid enforcement by someone who is “in charge” does not work out. You can’t force people to “play right” if they don’t want to. Or even if you can force them: You don’t want to play with them if they have to be forced.

As Ron said, “anyone and everyone come and play, for whatever reason you want” is madness. The people I know who actually role-play in an MMO environment do so with a small, distinct group of people, and withdraw from the other participants or ignore them. Which consequentially means that it’s not actually MMO-RP, it’s just RP that incidentally happens around MMO.

- Frank


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: E on May 22, 2009, 03:24:37 AM
Quote
What you are perceiving, I think correctly, is a lack of common ground and a lack of interest in the other players.

I agree, I was also turn off by the "lack of interest in the other players", from my mmo few roleplaying experiences, it felt like each player was playing alone in the same scenario (I often feel the same thing in some LARP). As a player, it is frustrating to have nearly no tool to make and share your contributions and to make them meaningful or interesting to other players. Often in those kind of game, in the name of "immersion", a player point of view is ideally limited to his or her character point of view.

This kind of fragment the game play in small temporary player cells who don't often communicate with each other. What I try to say by this last sentence is that if you roleplay with a other player, what you roleplayed become a contribution to the game only if the other player share it with other players, and if those other players share it with others. Often, what is not directly linked to "winning" the scenario is not shared from players to players. 


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Lance D. Allen on May 22, 2009, 05:20:54 AM
I think evilphd isn't wrong, though.

A strong central authority can be a boon. I think his ideas on how it should work are only half-formed, though. For one, all the participants must be willing to support the authority.. They can't actually be 'all-powerful', because there is no all-powerful in a social venue. The authority doesn't even have to be wholly residing in a person, though it may originate from a person. Authority is shared between a person (or persons) and a set of guidelines that even the authority persons must abide by. If they don't, it breaks down. I believe the same is true of actual LARP, RP in an MMO, or even text-based FFRP.

So my spin on his 4 things:

Cooperation: This is what I meant by supporting the authority. All participants must acknowledge the authority of the persons in charge, and the authority of the guidelines. They have to agree to the rules. If the rules say you can't get away with throwing mud at the king, you have to express your character in another fashion. If it comes to combat, the rules need to have some method of determining winners and losers equitably.

Supervision: This is the primary role of the authority persons. If someone comes into your sandbox who refuses to play by the rules, the authority persons must have a way of dealing with that person. It can be anything from booting that person from the sandbox (assuming the venue has that option) to directing the other participants to ignore that person's contributions. As he said, this doesn't extend toward story control. This is essentially refereeing.

GM Character: I mostly disagree. Your authority persons can have their own characters, especially if authority is shared between more than one person. These characters may be important, even powerful characters, with a certain amount of plot immunity. But they are still bound by the same rules that everyone else is. If they are NOT bound by the rules, that's when it breaks down.

Motivation: This is variable. Changing the world is a good one. Being the heroes who do heroic things is always fun. But if the community is large enough, not everyone can do that, and not everyone is interested in doing that. Sometimes, people just want to tell their own stories, or interact in an entertaining, in-character fashion with other players.

I've never played in a LARP. I'm basing my thoughts off of years in a FFRP community, and roleplaying in UO, SWG and CoH (plus a tiny bit in WoW) and some of what I've seen in SL, as well.


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: Frank Tarcikowski on May 22, 2009, 05:25:29 AM
Evlyn, that's excellent! I've witnessed the same thing in some larger forum RPGs where people were not reading everything, or maybe they read it and forgot about it later. Contradictions aplenty and no real shared imagined space across all the participants. Is that maybe the most important function of a GM in such games, to make sure everybody stays on the same page with regard to what happens in the shared imagination?

- Frank


Title: Re: Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)
Post by: evilphd7 on June 03, 2009, 04:27:33 PM
Thank you all for the warm welcome.   I won't even try to reply to everyone, but I agree with pretty much everything that was said.  As I thought back about it, I realized that the best online Role-play experiences I've had were with friends (either people I actually knew or online friends) who all agree to the same social contract, as a few of you suggested.  It's not necessarily that I want to mimic my table-top experience because LARP opened up a whole new dimension in RP for me.  That probably only happened because the very first LARP I was involved in had great players (most of my closest friends came from that game) who could create flawed, interesting characters and who could stay in character all night long and who were "giving" rpers in that they would work with you and were willing to react to actions you took so long as you returned the sentiment.  The half a dozen or so LARPS I've tried since then were dismal failures in my opinion, so I think it may have just been a fluke.

I think my main problem has just been finding RPers I like in Online environments.  It happens occasionally but is exceedingly rare.