29 August, 2019
I’ve talked about Leadership before, mostly in the context of how to run a studio or develop a game. But RP can help in MMOs as well, especially when running a community. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that leaders can lead in RP.
Leading in MMOS
Leadership ability has been useful before, usually in the context of raiding. Because raiding requires a lot of organization, usually it takes someone with some leadership skills to step up and herd the cats. Often this person needs a lot of leadership ability in order to get people to do things they may not want to and almost certainly won’t get paid to do. Often this leadership ability becomes a point of pride for people, to the point that they list such leadership on resumes.
In a way, you can see some similarities between group RP and raiding in this context. You have a group of people who want to accomplish some goal (interacting with each other to tell collaborative stories) who need some sort of organization if they want to do something in a group with others. Now, I think you don’t necessarily need a leader for one-on-one RP, but as a group grows you need someone (or some people!) to help organize the group.
Leading a community
I posted about what a leader does in a community last year. I think a lot of these apply directly to leading an groups in an MMO: You need manage, plan, listen, nurture, and lead. Each of these is important, and often ignoring one part might lead to problems in other areas. Fundamentally it’s about developing trust in people and getting them to trust you as well. Once you get that trust going, then you will find it easier to get people to do what they want when not motivated by money.
I think there’s also an element of understanding what others want because you want the same. In a raid group, the leader wants to do the raid like everyone else. Motivating people is easier if you understand what motivates you. In RP, you see something similar: as an RPer you probably want the same thing others in your group want: to tell cool stories collaborating with others.
Leading in RP
I think in leading an RP group, the most important things are to listen and nurture. As I’ve said before, RP is a creative effort, and people make themselves vulnerable. So if there’s problems, you need to be able to talk to people and to help them out if they need it. I think the other things are less necessary, but probably still important. Being able to manage, plan, and lead others is good.
With the issue of emotional security that lets people RP with confidence, a leader needs to be able to protect members of a group as well as nurture them. Protect them from people would cause drama, do harm for selfish reasons, or who would disrespect them. I’ve seen people get frustrated people who are just selfish and mean to others.
It’s also interesting that the person who leads may not be an IC leader. If someone is a good leader who is, say, a 13 year old girl who dreams of getting into trouble more than helping others, you might still have them as a leader of sorts. The person may be a good leader even if the character is not. In this case, IC/OOC separation is especially important so that people don’t blow off a leader’s guidance because they’d blow off the character.
A good leader is useful in an MMO, no matter what the group is doing. Look for good leaders, and if you want to lead then develop those leadership skills!