Actual RP in MMORPGs and World of Warcraft (split)

Started by AJ_Flowers, April 29, 2009, 10:45:31 PM

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Lance D. Allen

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.
~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls

Frank Tarcikowski

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
BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English


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.