Sunday, November 16, 2008

Who took the RPG out of MMO's?

To any newcomer, the term MMORPG is very misleading. Take any successful RPG out there, and the key elements are almost always the same. An engaging story, not just in the world, but between the characters themselves. Exploration. Adventure. Challenging combat. All these factor in to why Final Fantasy VII has such a huge following, why people are jumping for joy over the re release of Chrono Trigger for the DS, and why Fallout 3 is such a blast to play. The recent blockbuster Mass Effect, which brought controversial topics such as racism, religion, etc and MADE the player roleplay Shepard was a work of art.

So where in the WORLD are these in any of the MMORPG's? Half of the bloody genre's name is taken from a story driven gamebase. While I am guilty of it as well, I would say 80% of the population doesn't roleplay in any given sense of the word. I can't blame them either. It would take some serious interaction from the game companies to get that glint in my eye that wants me to roleplay a character. If there is no story in the game itself, why should the players bother?

Now, there ARE roleplayer servers on many of these games, but they are at best a joke. My experiences in all of them are the same. A huge " cyber " fest. That's it, people cybering in the tram between Ironforge and Stormwind, or making lewd comments over shouts. It's more of a strange flirting, creepy, and just plain childish way to act.

Come on game developers, shell out a few bucks and make your GM's get creative. Let them run quests to get players to interact, and encourage them to roleplay like it's Saturday night and its time to D&D. Of course it shouldn't be forced down player's necks. There are times we one doesn't wanna roleplay, or doesn't ever. However, until something like this comes around, RP servers should be avoided like some plague from the abyss.

Until then, when I load up my pirate ship on Eve, the roleplaying only goes on in my mind. However I think if such a mindset existed on a larger playerbase, where even admins participated, then game companies will see the crowd that despises MMORPG's for the lack of the RPG will start to flock in.

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