A team member sent me a link to an interesting article release this week by Larry Everett on Massively Overpowered which I thought was interesting. I posted a response on the forums but thought I would re-post here. I am still gathering my thoughts on how to find a solution that would work in a game like ours, which is designed to attract role players of all kinds, but that will require some team brainstorming so will have to get back to that.
Here is my comment:
I too have had a similar experience with role play drama and it caused me to leave the game.
I have role played in games for many years, both online and pen and paper. My experience has been overwhelmingly positive and the vast majority of role players are there to have fun, are not mentally deranged, and do not take it all too seriously, just like the vast majority of PvPers are not violent psychopaths.
Anytime you get a group of people together you are going to eventually have drama. I know a guild of PvP gamers who are constantly infighting, so much so that their guild is failing badly. I have friends who complain about the drama in their church, or their academic institution. It is a huge part of human nature and our need to socialize, belong to a group, etc. Drama simply is a part of life everywhere.
Back to role players..one of the biggest problem is that there are so many different types of role players.
There are Casual role players, who stay in character but otherwise just play the game. There are what I call more Hardcore role players who not only stay in character, but separate player knowledge from character knowledge, and the Intense role players who write pages of bio and expect everyone to read them as soon as they meet your character so you can become part of their story. They are more apt to blur player and character knowledge by sending “tells” to defend their character and let you know how wrong you are.
I once played a SWG Emu game and when looking for a group of role players, I found a what appeared to be a nice group. Eventually, it became evident to me that this was unlike other games I had played. Not only did I get the “read my bio, you are totally not getting my character” tells, but had a very nice guy who was studying to be a minister try to save my “real life” soul. I stuck around too long, left angry and disgusted.
Unfortunately, there was no where else to go, which is true of many games out there, especially one like this without a role play server. So I left the game. Now, I played on an unofficial rp server for SWG (the actual real game) for many years and never had any issues. The majority of folks were casual or hardcore, we all got along, and if there was drama, we could easily go find other individuals or groups who shared a similar play style. I also found that the vast majority of non-roleplayers would join in with us sometimes and really enjoyed our role play. This to me is the perfect setting for a role play scenario. It is FUN, not stressful or at least not any more stressful than another other social game.
Sadly, many run into those Intense groups which do not suit their style and suddenly all role players are dramatic, mentally ill, or perverts. This is no better than labeling every PvP player as violent, anti-social, and cruel. There will always be the fringes and the goal here would be to find a place to play where others share your style and/or are mature enough to respect your style may be different from yours before you get to the point where you are so traumatized that you leave the game.
Respect and maturity are certain part of the answer. But even among adults, there are always those who are less mature for a variety of reasons. I think part of the solution must be that the role play guilds/groups need to be open about their style of play. They must make that clear to new members when they join in the role play, and they need to use “tells” to remind each other that this is supposed to be fun.
Visit the link above and let me know what you think.