A friend and member of our team sent me a link to a very interesting article about roleplaying on the Massively Overpowered website. The article is by Bree Royce and is entitled The Trouble with Roleplaying in MMORPGs.
The article was very well done and I agree with just about everything said. However, I was most fascinated by the comments. 130 comments from gamers, most of whom were still looking for a game where they could actually roleplay, and where the tools they needed were available.
Here are some of the things that I noted:
Designated Roleplay server
Emotes based on chat keywords
Rich profiles and bios
Housing where you can socialize and a reason to be at your house
Ability to sit in chairs (interact with objects)
Languages that must be learned
Non-combat roles that are not there just to support combat
No instant travel
No instant mail
In game methods of enforcing roleplay (No RP Police)
Moods in bios
Chat system with custom channels
These are the ones I found but I am sure I missed some. I found this very interesting. Most of these are pretty simple. One I did not include was voice changing ability over a headset, only because that would be a 3rd party system.
The only ones that I don’t have currently in our roadmap are tying emotes into the chat system, which is a great idea and the moods in the bios. These are relatively easy to add and would make great additions.
By the way, RP Police refers to players who constantly correct other players when they make mistakes. We want to encourage a place where players support others and while we expect everyone to stay IC, mistakes do happen. Trolls and griefers are a different story.
I did not see some things I thought would be important to roleplayers, maybe because they are already common in games, or because what roleplayers really care about is the interaction with other players. I knew this, of course, but a lightbulb sort of flashed in my head. Wow! Pretty pictures aside, interaction is the true reason for roleplaying and the reason we are making this game.
Some of things you will see in our game that were not included:
Dynamic world where player actions matter
Consequences for actions, so if you do something good or bad, the “rewards” are different
Dynamic NPCs and Animals that react to interactions players and environmental needs
Player economy complete with a trade system
And much more….
So, now I know what they want and I know what we can give them. But….where are these roleplayers looking for a place to call home? If we build, will the come?
Creating for a niche group is risky and a bit scary. Since they do not seem to congregate in one place, it is hard to get information from them and to them. Advertising in the future will more likely go into and out of the ears of players who have no interest in a roleplaying game. So will our attempt go unnoticed even by the very people who are seeking?
Of course, at this point in development, we are still doing all that back end stuff that simply isn’t all that sexy, such as servers and skills and attributes. We have pretty scenery, some houses, and a very cool inventory system. Our character system is almost finalized and we have the beginnings of a nice wardrobe for our player characters and NPCs. Animals can chase prey and run from predators or be hunted by players.
But…we still have a ways to go. However, I have absolutely no doubt we will finish. 🙂 Too much time, money and talent has been invested into this project. So…if you see a few roleplayers wandering around, send them my way.
P.S. Feel free to add to that list. 🙂