Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

9 August, 2019

More Types of RP
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:49 PM

As you get into MMO RP you start to see more types of RP. Just as old-school Vampire LARPers may not quite see eye-to-eye with D&D grognards, you’ll find that different groups have different philosophies in an MMO. Let’s take a look at a few more contrasts between RP that you might find in a game.

Most of these categories are something more about the feel of the RP rather than anything concrete or measurable. These also aren’t quite as agreed upon types unlike the types of RP I mentioned earlier this week.

Light vs. Heavy

This is a question of intensity. Some people like to have a little play pretend to go along with their gameplay. On the far end of the spectrum, you have the person who researches a character in depth and either knows or works out many nuances about the character as they can. A light RPer is probably going to frustrate a heavy RPer, and the heavy RPer will likely confuse the light RPer at best. In general, you probably want to find someone who is closer on the spectrum to you than the other. It’s easy to assign value and say heavy RP is more meaningful, but I think people should find what they like.

I tend to be much more of the Heavy type of RPer. I like to work out a character and do pretty serious scenes and scenarios with them. I did some light and fluffy type of RP on my content character in FFXIV before I moved him to the RP server, though.

Cinematic vs Realistic

Some people want to RP a guy in a world. For example, SWG was called the “Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru simulator”, which suited some people just fine! They didn’t need to be battling Luke Skywalker as the most powerful Jedi alive to have fun. Playing an average person, soldier, bounty hunter, whatever in the game was exciting enough for them because they wanted to live the experience.

On the other end of this spectrum you have the people who want to be larger than life. The action hero who doesn’t look at explosions, or even really get affected by them unless it’s important for plot. They want to get into brawls that smash through walls, or do things that save the known universe. (Again!) These people want to be the hero, to live the heroic things they’ve seen in movies or anime. And while these two extremes may seem far apart, you can often find people working together and compromising on how a scene goes.

Personally, I like the more realistic end of things. Playing a guy and figuring out how to survive in a fantasy world is kind of neat. It’s enough for me to play a friendly giant who swings an axe, casts healing spells, and is a master crafter, I don’t need a lot more than that. But it’s interesting to note in FFXIV that the main storyline and the setting does tend to fall on the more “cinematic” side of things.

Lore strict vs. Lore flexible

This is pretty self-explanatory. Do you like to stick to the lore as much as possible, or do you like to introduce other elements for your stories? Often people will bring in elements from other stories they like. Maybe they’re a plane-traveling RPer who brought their character in from another world. Or maybe they like the idea of Egyptian mythos so they’re a follower of Anubis rather than of The Twelve in FFXIV. Or maybe someone really, really likes elves and wants to RP one in a setting without one. Generally these two groups don’t get along too well, although some creativity can get you around that; the follower of Anubis is just a peculiar worshipper of Nald’Thal, right?

I tend to be middle of the road here. I general, I like to follow the lore because it’s like playing tennis with a net… constraints sometimes let creativity thrive. Of course, sometimes worlds aren’t always internally consistent. A world might have a lot of things that aren’t well explained and need to be filled in with “fanon” to work out. Or sometimes the lore is just kind of silly so you substitute in something that fits what you want better.

One-shot vs. Established

Is the RP intended to just be for that one scene and you go your separate ways? Or is there a recurring aspect to it? A lot of times RP starts off as a one-shot and people who are particularly well-matched might do more RP with each other. But some people prefer just going along and having small scenes with people over one scene and then finding others.

For me, I’m not strongly on one side or the other. One-shots are fine to find new people. But often I prefer to have more established groups so that I don’t have to go through the suffering of finding a new person each time.

Flexible vs. Inflexible

Basically… are you willing to compromise a bit on your preferred RP style to get along with someone with another RP style? If you’re lore strict, are you willing to bend some lore? If you’re realistic will you put up with a bit of power escalation? Are you willing to let things go because the story will end up better, or are do you insist on your personal constraints for your own character consistency? This is one area where maybe I would make a value judgment; I think flexibility is superior because it allows people to RP together rather than excluding potentially cool people who just aren’t adhering to your idioms.

Yeah, I’m a pretty flexible RPer, I think. I want to find cool people and RP with them. I like some structure, but if something is going to tell a better story, let’s have it! A good story will be remembered more fondly than, “And then everyone stayed within our lines.”

What about you? Where do you fall on these measurements?

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