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Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby jimhabegger » Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:07 pm

Meneldor, thank you! That response, in itself, reassures me about the possibility of finding what I was looking for here.

I should mention that in ten days I'll be leaving for a visit to the US, where I'll be for six weeks. I just this moment realized that in any case I won't be able to start playing until late August, or maybe even September!
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby Meneldor » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:10 pm

Believe it or not, us 'mericans' have computers in our country too. :)

If you can try, otherwise we will see you when you can. Have a good trip.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby jimhabegger » Sat Jun 21, 2014 7:16 pm

I've found ways to resolve some of the doubts I was having. Reading Roles for Alpha again, I see that it doesn't necessarily exclude the aims and purposes that I want my character to have, after all.

What I was hoping to find here has never been clear to me, and still isn't, but after pondering it some more, I'm seeing more signs that I might find some of it here, after all.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby Nyz » Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:46 pm

So, having not yet written up a character, I can only speak from other roleplay experience, and other MUDs I've been part of.

When I started roleplaying, I was terrifed to ruin a scene. No one wants to be a wet blanket. The only really solid advice I acn offer is to try not to say 'no', with no other courses of action.

'Yes' is good, but 'No, but..' or 'Yes, and..' are better. Saying no flat out closes possible ways for the story to go. Always trying to move things forward, through words or emotes, is what makes someone an engaging character from my experience. Not how many words you can put out in 45 seconds. There are some decent articles on this kind of roleplay, google around. They can be quite inspiring!
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby jimhabegger » Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:18 pm

Thank you, Nyz.

Now the discussions about the economy are scaring me. If I go into the game without first learning more about the economy, will I starve to death? Even if I do learn about it, will I be willing to do whatever I need to do, not to starve to death?

The character I was about to submit is exactly the character I want to play. If he starves to death, do I have to create a new one, entirely different, or can I just submit the same character description and background with a different name? If he has to be completely different, then maybe I'll start over and create a disposable character to start with.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby Kitzilla » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:09 pm

Don't worry, Jim! It's nearly impossible to starve to death. Depending on which sphere you choose (I can only speak for the human side) everyone has a vested interest in seeing you stay alive, and there's usually a surplus of food so I doubt you even could go hungry if you tried. There are opportunities to sell things in game if you're a crafter, it just takes being willing to open up and hawk your wares. If you're a hunter-type or a fisherperson, then there are NPCs who will buy from you and keep you out of the poorhouse.

TL;DR: Don't worry about the economy. It's still being worked out anyway, and we won't let you kick the bucket. :D
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby Hazgarn » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:23 pm

If you're super nervous, it's not a bad idea to go in with a "throwaway". In fact, often a character you go in not expecting much from can be the best kind, because they don't have any of those expectations weighing them down. My favorite character on old SOI was meant to be a temporary first try at a combat character, and I wound up playing him for months until the sphere he was in was destroyed. And my longest lived character on another MUD was similar... I played him for at least a year, probably much longer. :)
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby jimhabegger » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:43 pm

Kitzilla and Hazgarn, thank you. That helps!

I'm thinking now of going in with a throwaway, but how different does he have to be from the character I'll want to play later? Can he have the same description and background, just with a different name? If not, can I just make some minor changes in his physical features, and some inconsequential changes in his background?
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby Kitzilla » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:49 pm

It's probably a little too jarring to the IG community have your first and future PCs be identical in appearance and background, but they can certainly be similar! In fact, it might be an RP starter, e.g. "You really remind me of someone...Do you have a brother?" Or, you may find that you want to try something different! You have options, my friend. :D
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby EltanimRas » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:51 pm

A string (or even a couple) of identical people showing up and dying, one by one, sounds more Twilight Zone than Tolkien to me.

By and large, though, so long as you avoid that level of distracting implausibility, things should be okay. Nobody will mind if you make two characters with the same profession, for example. Nobody will mind if you make two characters with similar ideas about, say, loyalty and kindness, given that it's not unreasonable to think that multiple such people should exist in the gameworld anyway.

Also, while your successive characters could look like brothers, it may be worth noting that they can't be brothers, or even acquaintances.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby jimhabegger » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:29 pm

I know the only way for me to see if I'll enjoy playing or not, is to play, and I intend to. I'm planning to submit my character in the next day or two.

At the same time, I still want to bring up issues here that concern me. One of those is that I'm beginning to suspect that I will be facing the same challenges here that I faced in the other RPI game I tried: PvP and other interests take precedence over rich, authentic RP, simply because there aren't enough people whose priority is RP, to sustain any MMO game, without favoring PvP and other interests over RP.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby WorkerDrone » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:36 pm

I'm infinitely less interested in PVP than I am in PVE and adventures. That's not to say I shun PVP, I just think people get hung up over it more than dying to say, a common wolf, which is kind of silly, getting eaten by a wolf is a pretty inglorious way to die. Dying in a Red Dead Redemption manner, outmanned and outgunned is usually marginally more exciting. And it only tends to happen in rough and tumble circumstances/spheres.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby jimhabegger » Mon Jun 23, 2014 8:36 pm

I'm feeling a little embarrassed now. I seem to have a habit of misunderstanding what each forum or game I go into is all about, complicated by my confusion about what I'm actually looking for.

Now I'm considering whether what I'm looking for might be easier to find in a MUSH, or at a collaborative storytelling site, or maybe even playing make-believe games with some children in the neighborhood.

ETA:
I thought my problems with the other RPI game I tried were because it was graphical. Now I think that I might face the same challenges in any game that's coded for combat and leveling, or maybe any game that's coded for anything at all, other than role-playing. It seems inevitable to me that the RP will always be subordinated to whatever the game is coded for, and continually and grievously broken by it.

ETA 2:
I haven't changed my mind about giving this game a good try. More about that in a later post.
Last edited by jimhabegger on Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby EltanimRas » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:07 am

jimhabegger wrote:I'm feeling a little embarrassed now. I seem to have a habit of misunderstanding what each forum or game I go into is all about, complicated by my confusion about what I'm actually looking for.

SoI isn't about any one thing? There are people here because they want the experience of being immersed in Tolkien's world.

There are people who enjoy building long-lived, highly-skilled characters -- where 'highly-skilled' might refer to combat, crafting, or languages (although languages were more of an old SoI thing, not so much a part of the current Alpha). Some people spend hours researching medieval mining, smelting, and blacksmithing techniques, then play them out with elaborate, detailed realism.

Some like RP'd out combat, fencing drills, or what-have-you; some like the fast-paced danger of coded combat. Others aren't in military roles for the combat per se, but primarily to RP out the experience of, say, an ordinary person struggling to rise above his natural fears and become a hero, or a gentle farmboy's loss of innocence as he sees his best friends fall beside him.

Some people don't care much at all about coded skills, but nonetheless do enjoy advancing in the social world of the game, owning their own shops, being promoted in the military, or just having lots of friends and influence. Some people like romance, with or without emoted-out mudsex.

Some people like tavern banter, others prefer philosophical discussions. Some like slowly exploring the layers of their and other PCs' inner selves. Others like to play bards, sages (old SoI), and minstrels, writing and sharing the songs and stories of the gameworld.

jimhabegger wrote:I thought my problems with the other RPI game I tried were because it was graphical. Now I think that I might face the same challenges in any game that's coded for combat and leveling, or maybe any game that's coded for anything at all, other than role-playing. It seems inevitable to me that the RP will always be subordinated to whatever the game is coded for, and continually and grievously broken by it.

A graphical RPI? What, where?

Otherwise, I like the code, most of the time. I feel like it grounds everybody's RP in a shared reality, without the need for constant gm oversight. It makes my PC's accomplishments feel more meaningful to me. Your mileage may vary; experiment, shop around, and see.

One more thing I will say, though, is that it usually takes a while for my new characters to find a niche and make those all-important connections with other characters whose players' RP styles and interests mesh well with mine. If you have limited time to play, this can be even trickier.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby Rivean » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:28 am

Some people play because they like to write. (Also the fan club is nice.)

Otherwise, I think it's really a bit premature of you to be making decisions on whether or not the game is right for you... without ever actually having played it.

But also, as EltanimRas says, it's about finding your place, and that may take some time/effort and is not something that usually happens from the first day of commencement so I'd give it an honest go for a bit before calling in quits.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby WorkerDrone » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:21 am

Most of all, it's a game at the end of the day. We all go to great pains to remain IC, and even if there's a variety of people gathered here playing for a variety of reasons, there's ample opportunities to weave a story with others. Pretty much the only way to be surrounded by nothing but magnificent writers and cut down on the "game" elements completely is to pick and choose, something MUSHes tend to do.

Some people (even me) might call this a form of elitism, but that aside, yeah, sure, a number of us are here because it's a roleplaying game grounded by game elements, not inspite of it. If terms like "PVP" or "crafting/shops", "going to code" and such make you a bit leery, there's a way to avoid some of that, but not all of it.

I'm taking a good look around the forums (I read literally every post in every board and sub-board), even the people I'm not familiar with. I'm observing a fair distribution of interests, enough to say I don't think any one group of people, gamers, roleplayers, purists or Tolkien enthusiasts are being marginalized, I just notice a number aren't being catered to specifically and emphatically.

Because the game, the way I see it, has been set up to appeal to a large number of people. I don't think that's a bad thing, though the way we all gather and communicate remains important. I've said this before on numerous occasions, but I've often quit posting on forums in this community before (the RPI community is only like what, 300-500 people large at any one time, tops?) because I know everyone, or just about, and everyone else knows everyone, or just about, and it gets to the point where people run out of nice things to say, but things have been going explicitly better here at SoI than they have in the past.

If there is any RPI to come and play and enjoy, this is the one. This is absolutely the finest option I've seen in years.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby EltanimRas » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:08 am

WorkerDrone wrote:We all go to great pains to remain IC, and even if there's a variety of people gathered here playing for a variety of reasons, there's ample opportunities to weave a story with others.

If there's one common denominator shared by all the players who actually stick around on SoI, an interest in weaving a story [of some kind] is probably it.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby jimhabegger » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:31 am

Eltanim, Rivean, WorkerDrone, thank you! I like those posts very much! Especially Eltanim's, wonderful, wonderful response to what I said.

Sorry, I see that I seemed in that post to have changed my mind about giving the game a good try. That isn't what I was thinking, though.

ETA:
I know now what to do, to have the best chance of finding what I was hoping to find in the game.

Eltanim, the graphical RPI game was Underlight: Shades of Truth. I thought it was promoted as an RPI game, but just now, searching, I didn't find any reference to that game explicitly as RPI. I did find some that could possibly be read that way:

"Underlight is one of the most intense and in-depth roleplaying games that has ever existed on the internet."
- Download.com

"Underlight: Shades of Truth is an intense and in-depth roleplaying free MMORPG based on the world of it’s predecessor, Underlight."
- Game Front
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby EltanimRas » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:24 am

jimhabegger wrote:there aren't enough people whose priority is RP, to sustain any MMO game, without favoring PvP and other interests over RP.

This is probably true, by the way.

It's probably why RPIs (basically SoI and Arm nowadays, so far as I'm aware) aren't 'massively multiplayer', but instead tend to max out somewhere around 50-60 simultaneously online players.

ETA, on Underlight: That's interesting; thanks for the links.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby Hazgarn » Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:47 am

EltanimRas wrote:One more thing I will say, though, is that it usually takes a while for my new characters to find a niche and make those all-important connections with other characters whose players' RP styles and interests mesh well with mine. If you have limited time to play, this can be even trickier.


This. A bunch. It can take a while for a character to truly hit their stride. When I play, I'm usually play for hours at a time, and even then it often takes more than a week for me to really feel comfortable in my character's skin and start to see what I can do with him. It can take a while before the game really opens up and shows you what a character is good for, so patience with the character (and a bit of courage to let yourself jump into things) can be really important.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby jimhabegger » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:24 am

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that RP-impoverishment issues can not be resolved by modifying the code, and that the coding headaches, and the harm done to the other dimensions of the game, from trying to use the code to improve the RP, would far outweigh any possible benefits.

The best long term solutions I see, to improve the quality of the RP, for everyone's benefit, rather than for some at the expense of others, involve negotiation and training.

The best approach I see for me for now, for my purposes, is community service and learning to be a better friend.

ETA:
Just now I submitted my throwaway character.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby EltanimRas » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:23 am

jimhabegger wrote:ETA:
Just now I submitted my throwaway character.

Congrats!
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby Hazgarn » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:42 am

jimhabegger wrote:ETA:
Just now I submitted my throwaway character.

Just in time for the MUD to crash. :cry:
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby teepu » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:47 am

So we did crash. I should stop hitting my reconnect button.
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Re: Anyone else here with zero RP experience?

Postby jimhabegger » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:14 pm

I want to try to clarify what I've been saying about mutually exclusive interests, with examples from my own experience elsewhere, and this seemed like the best place to do it.

In the other RPI game I tried, it seemed to me that most of the players, most of the time, were much more preoccupied with combat, leveling, and gathering in chat rooms (thinly wrapped in token emotes), than with playing a role; and that for many of them, their only interest in RP, if any, was to see it happening around them, not to invest in it themselves. That created an environment that was perpetually hostile to rich storytelling RP, everywhere in the game world.

Here's an example of how I saw my RP being broken, repeatedly, every time I played:

I'm in the middle of an intense storytelling RP with one, two or three other characters. Suddenly everyone breaks away and runs off without a word of explanation, IC or OOC. Afterwards I find out that they went to attend one of the following kinds of chat rooms and leveling events:
- lining up for quests
- watching duels
- battles where everyone who attended received experience points afterwards
- chatting around a kind of fountain for items used in combat and leveling
- just chatting, period, in a room devoted to that purpose

An example of what I saw happening to other players, not to me, is one player stalking another, and continually disabling her, every time they were in the game together, making up ad hoc IC excuses for it. I saw one player who was blatantly playing the game for the PvP, without investing at all in any RP, and in fact disrupting everyone else's, but nothing was ever done to restrain her, because she was always able to plausibly argue that all that was IC for her character.

At the same time, there were players calling for there to be *no* sanctuaries, *no* safe places ever, for any character in the game, because the existence of sanctuaries spoiled the game for them.

Those are some examples of what I mean by mutually exclusive interests.

I'm not imagining that all that is happening, to those extremes, in this game, but in the discussions I see clear signs of various kinds of mutually exclusive interests, which could easily lead to some people not being able at all to play the kind of game they thought they were welcome to play here.

ETA: I also see the same kinds of preoccupation with other interests besides playing a storytelling role, which code of any kind can only reinforce, and which as I see it will inevitably lead to broken RP.

As far as code is concerned, the only way I see that code could support rich storytelling RP is if it were written solely for that purpose. As far as I can see, the code here is written mostly to support other interests besides rich storytelling; combat and crafting for example. It might not even be possible for the code to be more supportive of rich storytelling, without breaking everything else that it's supporting, and in any case it might be far too demanding on the people doing the coding. I'm not sure about all that, but in any case I don't favor any changes in the code, as a way of enforcing or encouraging better RP.
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