Storyboard: What makes an MMORPG a good home for roleplaying?
Storyboard: What makes an MMORPG a great dwelling for roleplaying?
Guess who’s again.
I gave Star Wars: The Outdated Republic a number of grief over the course of 2018 for the truth that its server merges outright demolished the sport’s RP servers. This can be comprehensible, all issues thought of, but it surely nonetheless had a reasonably enormous impact upon the sport’s RP group, and when you may argue it was extra a mirrored image of the state of the sport than it was an energetic snub, it nonetheless wound up being one.
However individuals who have paid consideration to my writings through the years know that I’ve lengthy advocated Remaining Fantasy XIV as an awesome place to roleplay, even if the sport has by no means had official roleplaying servers. (It does have two unofficial servers that everybody is nicely conscious of, although.) And so now that I’m bringing this again, it looks like this can be a nice time to start out by establishing a basis. What makes a sport good for roleplaying within the first place?
A strong setup for character expression
It’s actually upsetting how few choices there are for appears in World of Warcraft. The character creator doesn’t even help you mess around together with your character top, however past that it’s solely with the latest enlargement that the sport has really included items of armor that didn’t belong to a few of the similar fashions. There have been 4 totally different fashions for gloves because the sport’s launch (which I’ve affectionately known as Flat, Folded, Triangle, and Tube), and even now the vast majority of gloves are a kind of 4.
This isn’t good for participant expression.
Against this, Guild Wars 2 lets you’ve dozens of various armor units, play with the physique kind of your character, and you’ll even dye your armor in order that the identical set can look completely totally different on two totally different folks. That area for character expression makes a giant distinction.
The constraints of any engine will imply that there are at all times belongings you want you can do in your MMO of selection that simply aren’t accessible. I want that SWTOR provided greater than 4 physique varieties, for instance. I don’t like how FFXIV has limitations on muscle customization and solely makes it accessible for some races. I want Metropolis of Heroes hadn’t given everybody mitten fingers. However providing you with plenty of totally different outfits, totally different appears, and the change to make a broad spectrum of various characters as a substitute of some unified appears makes a giant distinction.
Participant housing and different areas
You possibly can level out plenty of points with FFXIV housing availability, however you understand what? The housing exists. It’s current. That alone makes a giant distinction in a sport. Heck, I’d enterprise as far as to say that what stored lots of people enjoying WildStar was the easy actuality that regardless of its points, the housing was current and glorious. That covereth a mess of sins.
That isn’t to say that housing is obligatory for roleplaying (it is obligatory as a result of participant housing ought to simply be a factor, however there are some video games that don’t have it). In truth, there must be roleplaying areas in a sport that aren’t housing. There must be areas with no function past giving gamers a enjoyable spot to work together and chat, locations that seem like believable libraries or bars or medical services or no matter in order that gamers can work together there as wanted.
I believe that there’s a sure design philosophy whereby that is anathema to the sport. In any case, stuff that you just put into the sport simply to look fairly is stuff that isn’t being made for something; in the event you’ve received the time to make 4 areas, for instance, it’s laborious to justify having a kind of areas be only for wanting good. However placing within the effort to make for a enjoyable world with loads of interplay actually does assist make the world come alive.
And the rationale I stress housing right here is as a result of it’s an indication of creativity, but it surely’s additionally an area for folks to congregate. It’s without delay a hangout and a strategy to present what you are able to do.
Animations and interactive instruments
what’s a great factor? Head monitoring. It’s such a little bit trick, but it surely’s one of many issues that makes FFXIV enjoyable to roleplay in as a result of it means which you can give somebody a sidelong look or look down on the ground in the event you’re being a bit tough. Great things!
However there’s extra to this class than simply taking a look at what you goal. It’s emotes and context-sensitivity, sure, but it surely’s additionally about letting you work together with the world round you. It’s letting you sit down on chairs out on the planet. It’s the choice to visibly throw again a drink with your folks. Heck, it nonetheless tickles me that you can have a cigarette out in The Secret World if it suited your character. It made the world really feel extra wealthy and lived-in.
The factor is that for roleplayers, this stuff aren’t simply toys, they’re instruments. With the ability to work together with the world in tangible methods helps relating to feeling just like the world is fleshed out. If you happen to can’t correctly sit in chairs, you are feeling such as you’re simply standing in a field; it bothers me to this present day how tough it’s in Star Trek On-line to settle right into a chair correctly, particularly with all of the “Commander Riker can’t chair” memes.
You might discover a theme right here. Expression is about who, areas are about the place, and this class is all about how. So what’s left?
Realized and defined world components
Yeah, you bought it. The why.
Lore in MMOs isn’t nearly explaining what you’re combating. That half is normally fairly simple to know. “I’m combating this big cat with hearth magic as a result of I don’t need my face indifferent.” No, lore is about understanding what introduced you to a degree that made “combating big cats” an inexpensive state of affairs. It’s about figuring out the place your characters got here from and why they care concerning the world round them.
Some video games have it simpler than others. In STO I’ve received years of Star Trek fiction to attract upon, making it nearly trivially simple to present a personality motivation and causes for being on this area. GW2 needed to create a number of lore recent to get folks into the world, however the designers have nonetheless carried out the work to make the world really feel like an actual place with individuals who even have an funding and curiosity within the state of the world round them.
It’s one of many issues that at all times disappoints me when a sport skimps on it. Sure, the lore is at all times there, however there are video games the place it looks like filling in a set of Mad Libs with some imprecise setting-appropriate nouns. One among my regular exams is to ask what the folks of a given world do for enjoyable after they’re not doing different issues; if I can’t reply that query, one thing has gone mistaken with the lore growth stage.
If you happen to’ve received all of this stuff present in the identical area, you’ve received the muse for a great sport to roleplay in. That doesn’t imply that the group is essentially there to assist it or that each one is nicely, but it surely does imply that you just’re beginning in an surroundings conducive to what you wish to do as a substitute of actively inimical.