Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Love and Hate: Roleplaying in MMOs

A long time ago, back in Brazil, back when I was in the first years of college, I started playing Ragnarok Online. It was the first MMO I played for a long while, years to come and on a guild I loved. Great people and atmosphere, but they had this "thing": they were an RP guild, and I was not a roleplayer. Or at least not the regular kind.

I am a "silly" roleplayer. I enjoy roleplaying about a quest, to greet someone casually, to create small situations. I am not fit for big scale events and complex stories, but I still roleplay on my own way, and most of the time it is on my own head, just thinking of my character's stories. So here goes my love and hate list on some RP aspects, and the hope one day I'll find more players like me.

Different moods with different people

One of my RP projects while on Ragnarok Online was to create fanfics with a friend. We'd write some parts separately and then come together. For some reason, I can actually write humor on RP, which is so not like me to be a "humor person". Odd enough, my stories are generally light hearted, cute and to make you at least smile. Not my friend's though, who had a story full of violence. Yeah, the two stories did not match together very well. I tried to adapt and write on a more "dark side" as he did, but then it wasn't as fun anymore, but made me learn to write in a different setting that ended up being interesting and a learning experience.

It is not easy to find a group of people that will play "the same game" as me. Deep drama and violent stories are not my fun point when making up character stories. I want to be silly, to make meta-game comments and joke about the game itself at some points. Needless to say that I can't play along with people who are too serious about RP and won't allow small "slips" here and there.

At the same time, I simply love to read other people's complex stories, because they have such different views of the same "game world". Something that I don't even count on much as a game element ends up being central to someone else, and little pieces of their personalities appear in a story, where while chatting casually, it won't. I end up learning about the player while reading about the character.

"I am the princess!"

Back when I was a kid, playing "imagination games" around the house and backyard, there was the crucial moment all girls would raise their hands and demand to be the princess. I am mocked by my father to this day about his, when he yells "I AM THE PRINCESSSS!" and makes a very silly face whenever I fight over something with my mother and sister. The point here is, it can be difficult to pick heroes when most people actually want to be the hero, or to find a group where nobody wants to be the hero, when at least one leader oriented character is needed. And most impotently, it can be annoying when somebody tries to keep the spotlight focused on them for too long.

The worst thing to me is when somebody's story tries to take too long. I prefer if someone schedules a play session already mentioning that they need to develop a big chunk of story, so I know ahead of time. It is also frustrating when I find out someone has a character in the "same role" as mine, and it gets awkward to develop the character any further.

People who can actually craft their character and make you WANT them to be the spotlight can be priceless. It happened rarely on my short RP life in MMOs, but it was worth participating and would made me wish people would just sit and write it in novel form so I could read later without the game being in the way.

Busy Bees

Another point that takes me a away from both RP (and raids) are the schedules. Since I started working again, I go to bed early and don't play much in the evenings. This makes for a difficult schedule to meet with other players to RP (or raid). My personal solution was to work on fan fics for my characters, but then I lose all the interaction with other people.

Meanwhile, people who are big fans of RP make the time for it, creating complex stories and evolving the characters in ways much more elaborated then what I do. While I appreciate those who do this, not everyone does it in a quality that I appreciate.

Too many events, too little time. Stories that are as long and complex as novels, but lacking the quality. I like to be simple. I like people to know that my character has certain personality traits, a couple of oddities and a vague objective in life, and then I go out into the world questing and roleplaying about what is going on about me. I don't like to sit at an inn and talk about myself, I need to roleplay while I play the rest of the game. It is about lack of time and about wanting to put some story into killing hundreds of orcs daily.

Nobody will notice this purple
and gold hunter in the woods! (yeah that's my hunter)
Some people actually come up with stories worth following, as I mentioned before. Or they are able to organize events where you actually fight a monster and the story goes around that encounter, like in a raid. Those will drag my attention and bring me in.

I am no typical role player. I am not a fan and I just want to have fun. I am there to play around with my character's concept, I won't create a deep story, but I might enjoy someone else's. I enjoy humor more than drama, and most of my friends in the RP world were the opposite, and I still hope to find a group that will appreciate my silliness in RP.

Most of the time nowadays, I am just a "silent roleplayer". I don't share my stories and concepts to anyone, just making them on my head and trying to make choices in the game that go along with such concepts. Same with outfits when a game has them.

So what about you guys? Anyone that is very casual about RP as I am? Or the opposite, who dedicates more time and art to this hobby?


  1. Hm. My natural tendency is to go for more dark stories, with some angst on it. Though I guess compared to other people I am quite tame even on that. @_@

    Anyway, I also enjoy some pretty silly RP. One of my favorite character concepts (since I never went too far with it) in EQ2 was a troll who believed his father was an elf. That wasn't completely untrue since his mother did capture an elf bard one day to eat. The elf bard in desperation end up....uh... seducing her to escape, leaving all his stuff behind. Some months later my character was born.

    Not only he believed on that but he also thought his father was some kind of super-spy/hero since he took the elf's diary for a drunk gnome to translate. The gnome "embellished" the translation a little. The result was a troll bard who wandered around the world in search of his elven father and tried to live up to his "legacy" of heroism.

    Nowadays I don't feel much like roleplaying anymore. Though I might still get myself creating character concepts and stories in my head, be their silly or serious.

    1. That's a funny one!! I love stories like that, they make me giggle. I created something kinda like that... I'll organize it and post it soon.

      Guess we should all write down our silly character concepts more often.

  2. I'm pretty casual, but it depends on the game how casual I am. Right now I'm playing a NWN2 module which uses the Storm of Zehir party system so you can create your whole party. As I was telling the author, I have a collection of stock characters of different classes and races that I play across different games, and I put a lot of them together for that module. I have basic ideas of their personalities shaped by the voice sets and portraits or character designs I give them, and the choices I make with them in dialogue. The SoZ system is nice, since you can choose any character in your party to respond to dialogue, and you can say different things depending on your class, race, skills, etc. That help shape their personalities more.

    Regarding "different views of the game world", I'll give an example from WoW. I tried out a few RP servers, but the roleplayers I encountered there weren't playing the same game I was playing. The game world is full of jokes and pop culture references, and the NPCs speak modern English for the most part, but a lot of the roleplayers I encountered spoke like they were at a Renaissance Faire and frowned on pop culture references and jokes. It was more fun just to play the game and chat with my guild, where I'd comment on the quest I was doing, and sometimes make jokes about it. It was fun, because they knew what I was talking about and could enjoy the banter, which is how I imagine a real adventuring party would speak to each other.

    1. You really has a point there where real adventurers would have a sense of humor and make the same jokes we do. That is how I like to RP,just what I'd say in the situation and while playing the game itself around the world.

      I'm thinking of trying another campaign in NW2 to reroll my character. The druid didn't fit me too well, and I don't like when my main character is not my favorite.

  3. I never got involved with real roleplaying as you describe it above, so I'm pretty much a noob on this topic. I do like to make up background stories and personalities for the characters I play. I want to be able to be myself too when I play, though, so I've never rolled on a RP sever.

    The small things I've heard from role-playing gave me much the same impression as Tchos. The RP'ers I met were are very serious, as if nobody would laugh and make jokes in their life. There were also all sorts of restrictions and rules to go by, which just totally don't fit me. I did have some very fun moments role-playing on a non-RP-server, though, and I even met my current boyfriend through it!

    1. I am one who will keep trying to RP on that casual way. It is fun to me. I understand that some people prefer something more complex which requires some rules, but my silliness seems more fitted to joke about how I can't find wolves with enough fangs to complete a quest (darn pack of toothless wolves!)


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