3 August, 2019
Today, I’m going to talk a bit bout roleplaying (RP) in MMOs. A bit of a primer about what I want to talk about this month.
So, let’s get some basics out of the way.
My friend Maulgrim and I talked a bit about this on our streaming podcast. Here’s a playlist of video from a podcast we did on roleplaying, broken up in to smaller chunks for your viewing pleasure:
That’s a lot to watch, but it’s kind of fun to watch us play a game and chat about things. A great way to hear us share our experiences.
One of the biggest things you run into is that not everyone agrees about what RP even is. One group might just want to pretend to be fancy elves even if there’s no actual elves in the world. Another group might be deep into the lore and follow it precisely as they can. Yet another group might just want to be a big orgy. And those three groups, while arguably roleplaying, aren’t really going to have much in common with each other.
As a player, part of the difficulty is finding a group of people you really want to play with. Do you just want to play fancy elves? Do you want to learn a bunch of lore? Do you just want to fantasize that other guys are hot catgirls? Or do you have something else you’re interested in?
Coming from a tabletop background, I like digging into the lore myself. I try to create scenes that resonate in the world at large. But sometimes it’s fun to bend the lore a bit to tell an even better story. And, of course, there’s the issue that the main story in FFXIV conflicts with the lore. For example, most people can’t be a Black Mage or a White Mage because of their dangerous history. But in the main story quests of the game, your character is the Warrior of Light(tm) who can break all the rules! So while you can be a White Mage in the game, if you’re playing a normal person you’re not able to role-play being a White Mage for the most part.
The other thing I notice is that the act of RPing in an MMO is very much like collaborative storytelling. Without a GM to guide things, you often go from convention or what people will agree to. So things like combat might be decided by /random rolls, or by agreement, or just by role-playing it out! And sometimes the other person throw you for a loop, making you scramble to find a creative solution to some issue they posed. I find this very exciting, myself.
So for each week this month I want to focus on a particular aspect of RP. And sometime this month I’ll be talking with Maulgrim about how to build a community culture, but that depends on our planning.
So, feel free to share your thoughts about RP in the comments below. Ask questions, and I’ll try to address questions in future posts!
But mostly, let me know someone’s reading this, right? XD