Roleplaying

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gorboth
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Re: Roleplaying

Post by gorboth » 05 Dec 2013 20:40

Celephias wrote:Let me preface by saying I don't have a solution, but the rewarding RP thing is super hard. Game mechanics are under the purview of the technology and as such can be implemented in code. But roleplay? Very, very subjective. Subjective is hard for code.

I think the world of Amorana's perspective and posts on the boards here, but the "compose a play for votes" thing seems like it misses the mark as a reward for RP. We do not all (any?) RP bards or playwrights. We do however, assume roles in the donut. I think its super hard to know how to reward that in the scope of game mechanics. For example, anyone who has been inducted into MM by Etanukar gets a full on RP experience that is among the best of anything I've ever experienced in game. There is no question the mood set by the Tower plays a role, but he brings it all alive. Truly exceptional stuff. I don't know how that could (would) ever be rewarded in the realm of game mechanics. Exp for every induction done well? Seems like a reach (to me anyway).

In some ways, for me, RP is its own reward. When I have a good RP session its really motivating and fulfilling. That being said, I have always understood the importance of the mechanics side of the game and as such invested to make sure my char could cash the checks my RP'ing self was writing. But if I was a pesky kender, I could probably RP the hell out of that without being huge (nudge Kiara).

I guess I am getting back to the position that RP and game mechanics matter for different reasons. Both are viable, but differently. If you want to be a full-on, in people's face badass, I guess you have to eat your Wheaties.
This subject is one where we end up choosing the type of game we want to have exist by the direction we take. During Genesis' "cambrian explosion" from 1991-1994 in which the earliest guild-building experiments were carried out, the concept of a full-blown RP guild (and game) was put to the test by the wizard Mecien and his efforts with the Mystic guild. In those days, many wizards laid very firm groundwork for what was expected of players in the guilds they had created, and often used very direct means to help (force) the players follow the path laid out by their vision. So while it was not only with the Mystics that wizard-interaction/intervention was experienced by players, it was in the Mystic guild that this was actually essential to the experience, and pushed to its farthest boundaries.

With the Mystics, Mecien was not simply the creator of the guild who gave the mortals a class to play, and hoped they would enjoy it. Instead, Mecien acted much more as a direct Dungeon Master, appearing to his guild as The Mystic Prophet, giving them sermons on their purpose, performing elaborate rituals in latin, roleplaying the example of what a Mystic should (and must) act like. He would regularly send messages to the members of the guild for their sole benefit, giving them a tailored and unique experience in the game. If a Mystic were not following the path of the Ancients, he would intervene either directly or by influencing the mortals in charge of the guild to do what must be done to please the Ancients (i.e. discipline the wayward soul.)

The result of this was arguably the most polarizing guild in the history of the game. For those who were members, it was an unparalleled experience, made magical by the continuous unpredictable hand of the guiding master of roleplay who was their wizard, their prophet, their benefactor, and their destroyer if they should fail to follow the Ancients. For those who were not members, the reactions were wildly varied. The Mystics had more power, completely unchecked by any type of global balance metric, than any guild has ever had in the game. The number of spells they had was simply incredible. The secrecy of their abilities was so carefully guarded that if you did find something out, you revealed it to the rest of the game at the risk of being deleted by the Admin. Their allies cherished their presence, and their enemies hated them for their precious gifts. The roleplay surrounding the guild was formidable and intimidating, and even to this day is hard to measure up to.

But, in the end, an anti-mystic guild surfaced. Mylos created the Vampyr Family of Emerald. Its powers, too, were vast and unchecked (at first.) He, too, did much direct intervention and took on the role of "benefactor and guide" to his guild. But this situation was one of evil, and attracted players who enjoyed all that that entails, which had a much different effect on the game than the Mystics had. The Vampyr-Wars that resulted were truly remarkable, and probably some of the most fun ever seen in the game. But the wars were happening both with the mortals and the wizards. If Mylos were not supposed to be able to do these things, why should Mecien? It was eventually decided that wizards were not allowed to have a hands-on role with their guilds, and strict guidelines were created to codify everything and create strong senses of balance and control. Mecien, disheartened, eulogized the Mystic guild, telling them that the Ancients had abandoned them, and closed its doors.

So through this crucible in the early years of the game, we began our walk down the path where roleplay cannot be directly encouraged, monitored, or rewarded by the wizards. The best hope we have is through powers doled out by hard-working mortals who have high standards of roleplay, and whose guilds somehow hold enough promise to make them attractive. For years, this was upheld by the unwritten idea that these guilds where things were less controlled by code, and more controlled (carefully) by players would be allowed to have higher levels of power. But as players dwindled, guild councils that were active and could uphold high standards became less and less viable. Only in a few guilds do the old standards remain in place, and even there, things have been forced to change by sheer loss of manpower.

Finally, I came on the scene. Judging from the trends we were seeing, and the lack of realistic wizard or guild-council oversight, I decided that we really needed to move as far as possible from guild-structures that relied on council and roleplay enforcement. I created the Ogres and the new Mercenaries, both of which are completely unregulated by anything other than code and the efforts of the individual members. The global balance efforts focused on further refinement balance, shaving off the advantages that "roleplay" guilds had enjoyed so that all guilds could stand in the light of scrutiny, untarnished by rumours of favoritism or special exception.

We continue to walk this path. Is it the right path? My own choices have been those of necessity rather than preference. I still hear the final words spoken to me by Mecien on the topic, echoing rather profoundly:

> Mecien intones: Automation is not the key.

G.
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Re: Roleplaying

Post by Celephias » 05 Dec 2013 20:43

Kiara wrote:
Celephias wrote: But if I was a pesky kender, I could probably RP the hell out of that without being huge (nudge Kiara).
I dont think I said anything about that? There's really no problem in RPing a kender without being huge. Its one of the things you can RP will without needing stats to back it up.

Or maybe that nudge meant something else?? I am not sure I understood.
The nudge was all in fun, Kiara. I think you're doing great job of being a pesky kender without being huge - I was referring to you as an instance of.

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Re: Roleplaying

Post by Kiara » 05 Dec 2013 20:46

Celephias wrote:
Kiara wrote:
Celephias wrote: But if I was a pesky kender, I could probably RP the hell out of that without being huge (nudge Kiara).
I dont think I said anything about that? There's really no problem in RPing a kender without being huge. Its one of the things you can RP will without needing stats to back it up.

Or maybe that nudge meant something else?? I am not sure I understood.
The nudge was all in fun, Kiara. I think you're doing great job of being a pesky kender without being huge - I was referring to you as an instance of.
Okay! Thanks!

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Re: Roleplaying

Post by Celephias » 05 Dec 2013 21:01

Wow, Gorboth. You history lesson is spot on and really brought me down memory lane. I recall it very vividly and the experience was unmatched. Mecien was a true deity to the mystics - he saw all, guided and intervened both for good or bad. He would inhabit various NPCs at will and engage with players. Some of the best RP anywhere. You characterization of him as a DM was spot on.

I started the game on a lark and originally had the name Farton. Yep, you read that right. I didn't know what to do or expect, but started liking the game, interacted with a few mystics and loved it and I think they appreciated my RP in return. I would be able to join the guild but not with that name. It was changed, I believe by Mecien himself. That kind of very hands-on wizard engagement fell out of favor as Gorboth mentions. Times changed. It was unfortunate, maybe it was necessary, but the RP bar was exceedingly high and we all loved it. And, it just kind of happened automatically. Not forced or contrived, just happened. Quite special.

I would love for wizards to come in, animate NPCs, engage and challenge us. With those days gone, we must challenge ourselves and each other I guess. I can say, with almost certainty, that any player who walks the donut can rise to that level. Even the most dedicated grinders have that spark, they really do. We just need to apply a little tinder sometimes.

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Amorana
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Re: Roleplaying

Post by Amorana » 05 Dec 2013 21:20

Celephias wrote:I think the world of Amorana's perspective and posts on the boards here, but the "compose a play for votes" thing seems like it misses the mark as a reward for RP. We do not all (any?) RP bards or playwrights. We do however, assume roles in the donut. I think its super hard to know how to reward that in the scope of game mechanics. For example, anyone who has been inducted into MM by Etanukar gets a full on RP experience that is among the best of anything I've ever experienced in game. There is no question the mood set by the Tower plays a role, but he brings it all alive. Truly exceptional stuff. I don't know how that could (would) ever be rewarded in the realm of game mechanics. Exp for every induction done well? Seems like a reach (to me anyway).
Careful, Kiara is going to think we're courting soon.

I agree that perhaps my example wasn't the best. I just wish there were more RP related events. And perhaps you are correct that those should be reward in and of themselves without the tie in of game mechanics. But having extra excuses to be in character are always going to help increase (or give reason) to RP across the realms. I see the point you make - the game requires both, and I'm not sure I disagree or would ever that you sort of need to put in your time to be able to back up your RP. I'm just trying to think outside of the box on ways to fix the issues of "gap" between large and small players, especially since some (self included) seem to spend more time RPing than XPing (which, to be fair, is also a function of which I can do more of at work. I can xp at home, I cannot at work. Though even at home, I frequently will chose RP over XP.)

Edited to add:

This is not to say I think the current events are all bad. As Laurel termed it "collecting monkey anuses" is sometimes a lot of fun. But there's not a ton of RP thought behind all these events that say "oh hey, go collect all these items for this random pumpkin or this random guy who is a necromancer". It's all well and good to have these distractions sometimes, it build cooperation and is sort of a mini-game. I'm just saying, let's have something similar to encourage some RP!
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Re: Roleplaying

Post by Laurel » 05 Dec 2013 22:39

Ugel the wanderer wraith was feared by champions afaik ...

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Re: Roleplaying

Post by Zar » 05 Dec 2013 22:53

Thanks, Gorboth, for great history lesson.

But I still have a stupid question:
"Why Mystics/Vampires/(Other heavy RP) guild has more powers than simple guild?"
It seems like it was in the beginning, it stays now. Why?

Is it coincidence?
Or it is a message: "You don't want to RP heavily - be weaker"

Why Mystics or Vamps couldn't be mediocre guilds on power scale?
Last edited by Zar on 05 Dec 2013 22:54, edited 1 time in total.

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gorboth
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Re: Roleplaying

Post by gorboth » 05 Dec 2013 22:53

Amorana wrote:But there's not a ton of RP thought behind all these events that say "oh hey, go collect all these items for this random pumpkin or this random guy who is a necromancer". It's all well and good to have these distractions sometimes, it build cooperation and is sort of a mini-game. I'm just saying, let's have something similar to encourage some RP!
Any and all content that I put into the game is fully roleplayed, and often extends over many months or even years. When the new Mercs opened, the process was iterative. Firstly, the old guild leader Maligant left, and all the other old-merc npcs were altered so that you could have conversations with them about where he went. Slowly, the old-merc npcs got disheartened, and began leaving. One die-hard, Morgan, left to form her own new branch of the guild in an abandoned logging camp that is where the Mercs are located now. Gnimpsch, the gnome who had dedicated his life's quest to Maligant as the record keeper for the old mercs was left in place, with a new quest attached, to spy on Morgan and the new Merc guild.

But, before all of this finally transitioned, a mysterious orc raid happened on Sparkle. Morgan sent dogs to all on-line old-Mercs, and they were called to defend Sparkle from the orc raid. Lots of players came and participated. A week later, the new Merc guild opened, with the roleplay being that Eldon, the Magistrate of Sparkle, had gifted the old abandoned logging enterprise to the Merc Guild as reward for their help in defending the town. Many months later, this orc raid was repeated, this time with Karkadelt wandering into Sparkle to establish himself as the village Enchanter. Now the orc raids, too, had an explanation with the storyline he represents. But this was all in anticipation of imbuements, which have their own (more than a year in the making) roleplay storyline given all of the above.

Even something as transparent as us doing an experiment with the death penalty needs to be roleplayed. Anyone who was online actually heard Death lose the bet, and his thunderous voice whining loudly to Lars. Then, the note on the Common Board gave a fairly detailed story to explain why it happened, and the attic of the Adventurer's Guild in Sparkle refers to that roleplay if you are one of the people who has tried giving death his due there.

I firmly believe in roleplay, and nothing that I put into the game will ever be just plopped unceremoniously down if I can help it. (I'm sure I've slipped a few times into sloppy rush mode.)

All this being said. There is absolutely nothing random or haphazard about the current Necrabellum event. Time will tell who Ebenestus is and what it all will come to mean.

G.
Mmmmmm ... pie ...

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gorboth
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Re: Roleplaying

Post by gorboth » 05 Dec 2013 22:59

zar wrote:Thanks, Gorboth, for great history lesson.

But I still have a stupid question:
"Why Mystics/Vampires/(Other heavy RP) guild has more powers than simple guild?"
It seems like it was in the beginning, it stays now. Why?

Is it coincidence?
Or it is a message: "You don't want to RP heavily - be weaker"

Why Mystics or Vamps couldn't be mediocre guilds on power scale?
I think my earlier note explains why it existed originally. It continues to exist now as some guilds have not yet been recoded. In terms of magic guilds, we have determined that short-term power can be very high if it cannot be sustained. This is being given the full in-game test now and we will see if it works out. Zar, your displeasure over your own interactions with the Morgul Mages has been heard and noted. We will continue to review the situation and see if our build works, but it will take time and require more than a few angry reactions to initial encounters to make that determination.

This, however, is a roleplay thread. If you want to start a new thread or continue this balance discussion in another thread, that would be the appropriate course of action.

G.
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Re: Roleplaying

Post by Amorana » 05 Dec 2013 23:06

gorboth wrote:
Amorana wrote:But there's not a ton of RP thought behind all these events that say "oh hey, go collect all these items for this random pumpkin or this random guy who is a necromancer". It's all well and good to have these distractions sometimes, it build cooperation and is sort of a mini-game. I'm just saying, let's have something similar to encourage some RP!
Any and all content that I put into the game is fully roleplayed, and often extends over many months or even years. When the new Mercs opened, the process was iterative. Firstly, the old guild leader Maligant left, and all the other old-merc npcs were altered so that you could have conversations with them about where he went. Slowly, the old-merc npcs got disheartened, and began leaving. One die-hard, Morgan, left to form her own new branch of the guild in an abandoned logging camp that is where the Mercs are located now. Gnimpsch, the gnome who had dedicated his life's quest to Maligant as the record keeper for the old mercs was left in place, with a new quest attached, to spy on Morgan and the new Merc guild.

But, before all of this finally transitioned, a mysterious orc raid happened on Sparkle. Morgan sent dogs to all on-line old-Mercs, and they were called to defend Sparkle from the orc raid. Lots of players came and participated. A week later, the new Merc guild opened, with the roleplay being that Eldon, the Magistrate of Sparkle, had gifted the old abandoned logging enterprise to the Merc Guild as reward for their help in defending the town. Many months later, this orc raid was repeated, this time with Karkadelt wandering into Sparkle to establish himself as the village Enchanter. Now the orc raids, too, had an explanation with the storyline he represents. But this was all in anticipation of imbuements, which have their own (more than a year in the making) roleplay storyline given all of the above.

Even something as transparent as us doing an experiment with the death penalty needs to be roleplayed. Anyone who was online actually heard Death lose the bet, and his thunderous voice whining loudly to Lars. Then, the note on the Common Board gave a fairly detailed story to explain why it happened, and the attic of the Adventurer's Guild in Sparkle refers to that roleplay if you are one of the people who has tried giving death his due there.

I firmly believe in roleplay, and nothing that I put into the game will ever be just plopped unceremoniously down if I can help it. (I'm sure I've slipped a few times into sloppy rush mode.)

All this being said. There is absolutely nothing random or haphazard about the current Necrabellum event. Time will tell who Ebenestus is and what it all will come to mean.

G.
Fair enough. I will await the outcome of the Necrabellum event.

However, that being said, the typical events of the realms - hunting giant Easter rabbits? Collecting turkeys (and arch-wizard turkeys, at that)? A Halloween scavenger event where you've no idea why you're putting random items into pumpkins? Again, I am not saying they are bad. There just isn't a ton of RP thought thrown into those. There has definitely been improvement in the realm of new RP opportunities (such as the orc business with the mercs) but how long ago did the new mercs open? These types of events are just far less common than the type we see regularly. All I am saying is it would be nice to see them more often. I'm not saying replace the events we have, or that they are bad - I'd just like to see a tad more of the type that you mention.
Zhar wrote: "Man, this guild I'm in is so god damn powerful! Please nerf or I'll have to leave it because it's no fun any more..."

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