On Roleplay and its Incorporation

Last night I was in a raid, and over in one of the RP channels I frequent, they were having a discussion on RP and it's current state in WoW.

Let me clarify my position on RP. I like to RP, however I don't really like to RP because of the game mechanics. It seems people are always trying to type out walls of text and it seems like instead of trying to play a role, they seem to be writing a damned novel. I can't count the number of times someone has said a two or three word sentence, which was a part of a paragraph long emote describing how they said it, what they were doing while they said it, and how fast they were batting their eyelashes or whatever. It's a massive pain in the ass to read, and it shouldn't be necessary for me to have to imagine all of this stuff going on when we're playing a game with graphical representations of everything. It should all be right there on the screen where I can see it.

This also leads to the other mechanical problem I have in that the game itself is structured that you can't really roleplay reliably while fighting a giant monster. The characters just swing their weapons at the enemies over and over again, and if you want the combat to be interesting you have to describe the action yourself. That means having to take your attention away from pressing the right buttons so you can type. Which means you will probably get roflstomped.

A few weeks (or maybe two months or so) ago, I went with one of the RP groups I'm in to an RP run of Naxx. We started out with the RP. Everyone gathering in the spot, introductions for those who were unknown to the group (I could only take my rogue, who was unknown to the group), and then once were made the first pull, it was just a standard raid. RP was incredibly rare.

I think that there should be tools which are suited to roleplay. When I was playing MxO, you had the ability to set your character's mood. This would flavor your character's stance, as well as their emotes and combat stance to look different. Of course, there would need to be a large number of emotes which characters could perform. They would also need to be assignable to hot keys just like abilities.

More importantly though is that there needs to be ways to keep non-roleplay completely separate from roleplay. Of course, this would only apply on servers designated specifically for it, but any General chat channels, tells or whispers and such would be in a separate window, with a screen name, and completely ignorable.

Roleplaying has to be the central concept to a game which features it. Otherwise, the people who do not want to take part in it will (either unintentionally or 100% on purpose) destroy the immersive environment. They will run around spamming spells in the middle of town, yell obscenities and ANAL [Hemorrhage], or break the fourth wall talking about aggro management or the episode of Pimp My Ride they saw on TV last night. Of course, some of that can be dealt with through in game methods, such as having city guards who enforce Noise ordinances or simply ask someone to move along when certain behaviors trigger it (Yelling Obscenities would trigger a nearby guard to come over and begin conversation about how there are children in the area or something of the sort).

I would really like to see a multiplayer game that has the same Roleplaying potential that D&D does. Regardless of my many ideas on how to go about the subject, I often wonder if the only way to do this is by having RP servers be strictly invite only though. And I would surely rather not have to deal with something like that. The angry outpouring from players about a server where "regular" people can't go just makes me want to hide in a deep and dark cave.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 11/12/2009 04:05:00 PM


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