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Know-How: Role-Playing in MMO Worlds – What Is It, Why It May Be Interesting for You and How To Start Role-play

Know-How: Role-Playing in MMO Worlds – What Is It, Why It May Be Interesting for You and How To Start Role-playRole-playing – it’s what makes difference between MMO and MMORPG genres, but what is it? You’ve probably been playing in MMORPGs in your life, but how did that made any difference to your game-play? Grinding for levels and money is all the same among all the MMOs out there, so what’s about the “role-playing” part? Why some games even have RP servers, and what are people doing out there, have you ever been wondering? What is role-playing and why people are interested in such activity? By playing in an MMO you’re already doing a role-play – by taking the role of a warrior, or a mage, or someone else – but you’re not fully aware of that. Would it be interesting and fun for you if you tried that particular style of gameplay consciously and on purpose?

Role-playing – as suggested by the name of it – is when someone plays a role. In real-life we play a lot of psychological roles, like a good child, a parent, a worker, a friend – but that are the roles we’re forced to play, more or less. Not everyone are happy with the roles they have to play, so humans have invented some tools that let them to play roles they want, even for a short period. First, they were pen and pencil paper games, then tabletop games like AD&D and, finally, computer games, especially the online ones. Online games are the most rich and powerful tool for our imagination, because it gives us a rich fantasy world easy to believe in and opportunity to interact with other human beings while staying in that world.

Know-How: Role-Playing in MMO Worlds – What Is It, Why It May Be Interesting for You and How To Start Role-playAs i have said in the lead of this post, playing in an MMO already makes you to play some kind of a role, but you may not be fully aware of that. You’re doing quests, grinding, crafting and stuff like that, where’s that kind of role-playing they’re making servers for? The real role-play starts when your character is more than just a bunch of pixels on your screen, when he or she is really becoming a “character” in a sense like in a movie – with a back-story, a temper, a goal in life. When you’re not just grinding to hit a level – but when you’re exploring the world and building you place in it. When you immerse yourself in that world. Sounds strange to you? Well, why do people even find that fun? Let me name you a few reasons:

1. Role-play can renew your interest to an old, “beaten” MMO. You’re leveling, grinding, raiding, gathering stuff – i.e., you’re beating the game. MMOs are long and usually thought to be impossible to beat like we do with offline games, but there comes a moment – sooner or later – when you hit the ceiling and there’s no more raiding gear to gather and no levels to master. You’re bored and ready to move to some newer game. Well, role-playing is what can help you to find something new in your old game! It can give you new interests, new scope, new goals. Without starting a new character in hopes of resurrecting extinct interest you can simply try a new style of gameplay and new perspective on things.

2. Role-play is killing grind and thus boredom that’s being caused by grind. Because inventing a role to play is a creative process, and creativity has no boundaries. By playing a character like role-players do you may find out that it could be interesting just to walk around, and that there are many activities to be found besides just killing those endless hordes of monsters – and while grinding you won’t be bored anymore, even doing the most routine stuff.

Role-play can open new goals and new achievements for you 3. Role-play can open new goals and new achievements for you. For example, you had a house – you stored your belongings in its chests and stashed your hard-earned trophies around, but have you tried to really decorate that house? I mean, like it’s really a living place of your character, a home he or she comes to after having an adventure? Or have you tried gathering armor and stuff not because it has a cool stat, but because it’s a nice outfit and you like the way your elven mage’s ass looks in it?

4. Role-playing can be a very rewarding group activity. For example, in Lord of the Rings Online – which supplies players with a music system – role-players had concerts and party with live music. Hunting together is fun. Inventing new things is fun – calling your guild mates over to your virtual house, or travelling to a far idle place of the world to take photos of each other, or playing tags (in LotRO there’s even a built-in mechanics for that, but not many players know about it these days). Heck, people are even making a Final Fantasy XIV a bearable game by role-playing! That means something.

So, how to start role-playing? There are many web pages where people tell you have to write a “quenta” (a written story of your character’s previous life), get rid of abbreviations (like LFG or PVP) and stop mentioning real-life stuff, because there’s no way your warlock could have known about a soccer game or PlayStation3. Well, pardon my French, but that’s a bullshit! You don’t have to follow these rules to have fun.

Yes, you may want to make up a story for your character – but writing it? Not necessarily. Forgetting about real-life stuff? Well, that would work in a Matrix, but you’re sitting looking at a big liquid-crystal screen with moving pictures on it, and immersing yourself in a game *that* much so you’d forget about the real-life stuff would indicate some kind of a serious trouble in your life, in my (not so) humble opinion.

So, if no fanaticism required, what do you have to do?

Remember how you was a small kid and played with plastic cars, soldiers or – oh, hell! – even with dolls? You was a NASA astronaut, or a fireman, or a doctor, or even a super-model (generation born in 1990’s had such a game, and even boys played it – don’t know about other countries, but in Russia I’ve seen kids doing it) and you was doing it just fine without any quentas or anything.

You had your toys and your imagination.

Your imagination is still with you, just the toys have changed.

Another interesting post i had about role-playing:
Why Some Games Have More Opportunities For A Role-Player Than Others?

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