Role-playing refers to the changing of one’s behaviour to assume a role, either unconsciously to fill a social role, or consciously to act out an adopted role. While the Oxford English Dictionary defines role-playing as “the changing of one’s behaviour to fulfill a social role”, the term is used more loosely in four senses:
- To refer to the playing of roles generally such as in a theatre, or educational setting;
- To refer to taking a role of an existing character or person and acting it out with a partner taking someone else’s role, often involving different genres of practice;
- To refer to a wide range of games including role-playing video game, play-by-mail games and more;
- To refer specifically to role-playing games.
When I think of role playing I think of Lord of the Rings. For some reason this game allows me to invest all of my heart into my character, maybe because it’s based on books and movies that we’ve already invested in but I think it’s more than that. I wake up and run around Ered Luin, fighting, helping, cursing some but overall having a grand time. I know much is needed in this world and I want to help, more than that I know I’m going to help each and every elf, man or dwarf I see. Although helping dwarves still gives me chills but that’s ok.
So! Why doesn’t that happen in every game? Wolfsheadonline says it brilliantly. Some of us are immersed but we look more at the dps charts and specs of our characters rather than the character itself. He goes on to say that as children we role played immediately, knowing that sure real life is uhh great but role playing is so much more fun! And isn’t that why we play games now, to get out of our mundane lives even just for a moment? But then we trivialize everything down to number crunching and telling someone else that their spec isn’t right for what they’re trying to do. It really does take the fun out of the game. (At least for me)
We no longer represent elves, dwarves and humans; instead we have become DPS, armor class and chance to crit.
And comments like the one that The Ancient Gaming Noob ran into are another reason that role playing is dying. Even if you’re totally immersed in your game, questing, having fun and enjoying your virutual life, a comment like that can derail everything. And of course that’s not to say that there are not jerks like that inside our role playing world, there has to be otherwise why are we all here, but wow.. it just makes me take a step back and wonder what people really are thinking and it does kill my gaming experience.
WarCry Network has another opinion altogether, saying that Mmo’s aren’t really the place for RP at all but goes on to say he enjoys the experience in LoTRo, saying
The addition that I thought was the coolest is the “bio” page on the character sheet. This allows creative players to write their background history for others to read.
My favorite is at the end where WarCry Network goes on to say:
True and fulfilling roleplaying (at least for me), is roleplaying in action. It is how your character behaves to the hardships and challenges of the road. Not just fighting monsters, but encountering the pitfalls of politics and ambition in the world that is represented by actions of other NPCs and players. It is events from the character’s past rising up to challenge the present. Just as true difficulties bring out the mettle of a person in real life, so in gaming they offer opportunities to delve into the personality you are playing.
Even if you don’t enjoy roleplay there is something to be said about your character’s ability to get through a crisis, to maneuver different politics, to come out better in the end than when he/she began. And although I do think Mmo’s can give us that experience, we as gamers have to grab it and decide that we want to take it to the next level. Challenge yourself to do that with just one character and see where your imagination takes you!
- Let the Games Begin (newauthors.wordpress.com)
- Dungeons, Dragons, and Aspects from Points of Light (daegames.blogspot.com)
- Why I don’t like RP in MMO’s (highlatencylife.com)