Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

18 August, 2019

RP as a Developer
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:49 PM

This week, let’s look at RP from a developer’s point of view. I want to look at things in the perspective of a developer and how we can develop a game to take more RP elements into consideration.

I’ll keep this brief tonight, but this week I’ll pick some of these topics to go deeper on.

This isn’t a new topic for me. I wrote about RP last year around this time, and I think a lot of that still applies. As I’ve gotten deeper into FFXIV RP, I’ve found myself really wishing I had a lot of these features.

On the other hand, RP really is a niche activity in most games. And, frankly, it has a pretty terrible reputation. Too many people use the pseudoanonymity to just be total sexual deviants. And while I think there might be something to be said about a space to explore some of these aspects of oneself in an environment where there’s little chance of physical harm, it’s not exactly something that sells well in U.S. culture. People tend to fixate on game as things for kids.

But, on the other hand, I think there’s something to be said about RPers as dedicated customers. I imagine a good share of people who buy the “optional” items in FFXIV do so for RP purposes. Special outfits and “fantasias” to change your character’s race/apperance are quite popular with RPers. Name changes to make names more appropriate to lore are also purchased pretty often it seems. The free-to-play model seems like it would fit pretty well for an RP-focused game.

Unfortunately, you have to deal with a fair share of drama and elitism in RP. Is it worse than the drama and elitism of other groups, though? I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll talk a bit about ways to contain these pernicious problems from a development point of view this week.

I think I’d like to also touch a bit more about lore and RP. I think often lore gets a bit of a short shrift in MMOs, as it’s seen as something secondary to the game. FFXIV is pretty hefty when it comes to lore, but there’s still a lot of problems with it. RPers tend to be the ones who dig into the details of the lore, so any holes get discovered quickly. There are whole groups dedicated to figuring out how groups like the Garleans, the Isghardians, tribal Seekers of the Sun, or just about any other group lives in the world. I think I could offer some insight into what it takes to create RP-appropriate lore.

One thing I know I’ll get to this week is the idea of building culture. It’s a topic for the streaming podcast I do that we wanted to cover last week, but my sore throat was mostly coughing last week and delayed it. Let’s hope my voice sounds better this week, because I really want to cover how people can make better cultures for their groups in games.

Should be a fun week, though. Please look forward to it!

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