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Iron Chef Carnage

Role-Playing Secret: Screw Immersion!

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Okay, the other MMORPG thing is getting a tad awkward, so I'm starting a new thread, with a new stimulus. Here's my crazy idea: We seem to be trying to find a way to make players act like their characters. We take for granted that they will be thinking of the character as an avatar of themselves, and we try to address the issue by convincing players that they really are Bloodbane the axe-wielding monk so that they'll command their Bloodbane-shaped puppet to behave properly. Why not attack the problem from the other end, and just try to get the characters themselves to stay in character? In PnP games, in my experience, players drift in and out of character all the time. Only in the most ridiculously hardcore circles will players stay in character for longer than a minute or two. The bulk of table talk is things like, "Oh, you think your little goblins can hold that doorway? You obviously haven't seen Dragar's butt-whipping new axe! Taste this, bitches!!! (rolls dice)" or "Hey, nice work. I like that wizard you're using." Characters are referred to as though they were pieces on a board, instead of personalities. Even in Diablo II, people meet on Battle.net and say "Hey, you wanna check out my new tesladin? He's up to like level 67 now, and I just got him some new armor." Again, the characters are possessions, not alter-egos. Why not express this in an MMO setting? Automate certain elements of behavior, like posture and gait. You could have a rogue that's so mean he spits at other characters that walk too close. You don't control that, but you trained him up to be a total bastard. Your paladin tosses a coin to a beggar in the street. You might miss the gold, but it's the price you pay for having a spectacularly magnanimous character. You and your buddy go into a bar and hit the "buy drink" button. Your priest seats himself at the bar and orders a glass of milk, your friend's pirate flops down at a table and hollers for rum. It's what they like. Such little nuances of character-level behavior could facilitate player-level gaming. If you're looking for a skilled horseman, you can watch how different characters ride, and gauge their ability by their demeanor in the saddle. Disreputable types can be identified by their slouching posture and their furtive glances toward the door. The payoff here is twofold: First, players will stay in character, at least superficially, whether they want to or not. Second, I think players will be more inclined to stay in character if their character has more life to him. I stay in character in Fable way better than I do in Morrowind, because the character seems like he would have a preference.

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If I play only one character it becomes my ego. If I play many characters I see them as individuals other than me.

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Fun idea, I remember a while ago there was a thread on this forum about character skills as it relates to the Role. My solution was to have skills that were specifically about the role, and not some battle purpose. The example I gave was looking at objects in a room, such as a mounted gun on a wall, and getting either a plain description, or a detailed description if the character had a skill in Antiquities or something.

Having the characters themselves bahave according to role would be fairly interesting. About the only fault I see from an MMORPG perspective is that everything becomes recognizably templated. You lose things like Solid Sharkey dancing on the table nude and getting banned from the server. The trick would be to make sure that enough content was created that a level 10 Barbarian and a level 12 Barbarian would have different behaviors, seeming similiar, but enough to distinguish them, which means having to design a LOT of templates, and swamping the player so that he can't recognize it and become bored of it.

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If I want my character to behave in some role, give me the commands to do those actions. I prefer not to have my avatar behave in ways that will very possibly annoy me. If I want him/her to spit, for example, then I'll tell it to. Because if the toon does even one thing that even mildly annoys me, then I as a player have had my playing experience compromised.

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I agree, Also it would be realsitic for a fighter to bar the doorway with his bluk, taunting anyone to come close, as they will be in for a butt-whippin'

I don't know anymore, I think I will retire from MMO/Roleplay topics.

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Hmmm... There are good sides and bad sides on this one.

The one that strikes me the most would be, if I understand correctly, that I wouldn't have total control over my character's actions. What if I play the "I-want-to-look-nice-but-then-I'll-backstab-you" kinda rogue? In some cases, I wouldn't want him to spit on othersm I would just want him to pat someone on he back while he's stealing some gold.

My point is that we would be limiting the player's creativity by imposing a developper-defined persona on characters. Normally, a warrior can be either a strong but naive farmboy turned soldier, a cash-loving mercenary or a brutal and superstitious barbarian. Making them all polite with old ladies, scream their fee on the road or shun magicians wouldn't make sense, since the developper would have to pick one possibility and convert everyone to it.

On the other hand, if you can achieve an insane level of design where you have Farmboy, Mercenary and Barbarian classes, then every player could find his groove, and it would be a nice addition indeed to RP'ing. Keep in mind that people might feel serialized, though. (Think rogue town and umbrellas ;) )

Perhaps a default behaviour, but user can opt out?

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Quote:
Original post by Ned_K
If I want my character to behave in some role, give me the commands to do those actions.
Okay, okay, that's good. How about this:

A ton of little actions and preferences are introduced into the game system. THere are defaults, and some are bound to class, so players don't have to get into the nuts and bolts in the beginning of the game, but there are a bunch of tweaks. For instance, you can choose your character's

walking gait
seated posture
default facial expression
preferred drink
musical instrument
accent
manners

Each of these has an in-game value to the player. For instance, if you walk with a slinking, stalking step, then you get +1 to stealth and lockpicking, but -1 to personality and speed. If you are constantly scowling, then you get a +1 to strength and alertness, but a -1 to accuracy and charm. A character who drinks beer is stonger and dumber, whereas a character who drinks latte is smarter and weaker.

This way, players will choose a set of tendencies based on what they want their character to be, and their character will conduct himself in-game in accordance with this preference set. If you want your thief to look harmless, you can do that, but you will have to work harder to keep up with the thieves that don't mind looking like thieves.

I know this would require a huge creative investment, but lets disregard that for now and treat it as an academic discussion.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Ned_K
If I want my character to behave in some role, give me the commands to do those actions. I prefer not to have my avatar behave in ways that will very possibly annoy me. If I want him/her to spit, for example, then I'll tell it to. Because if the toon does even one thing that even mildly annoys me, then I as a player have had my playing experience compromised.


I don't think this would be a problem because the characters would become even more like possesions and less like a role I play. You would show your friends that your priest finally put alcohol behind him, evidenced by him ordering milk when you press the "buy drink" button.

I also think it'd be less of an issue if you keep the commands generic like "buy drink" rather than "spit". Perhaps you have a "rude gesture" button. The rogue spits, the fighter flips the bird, and the priest shakes his head.

The way I'm imagining this is a game that focuses more on the cultivation aspect than the taking on a role aspect of RPG's. This seems to be the more popular side (seeing the lack of role playing and the abundance of min-max discussions when it comes to RPG's).

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how about some basic scripting?

For generic characters they just stand there until you do something. For advanced players they could do some simple programming (or even "connect-this input-to-that-output-wth-a-line"): a set of environment/stimulus inputs, tying them to a set of specific behaviors.

The inputs could be class based, and you could gain new ones as you level up. Ditto for actions (rogue gets "pickpocketing" at level 5, with associated skill levels. Then at level 10 s/he gets "am-I-gonna-get-caught" sense, etc.)

if the player personally wouldn't have their character pick-pocket while in the castle, they could program their avatar not to, etc.

you could also program your avatar to auto-cast Health when life is depleted, etc.

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Ever played Fable (sarcastic). The emote system being proposed here is very similar. It is very symbolic. If you laugh, people around you laugh. This is fun, but it loses its charm after a few days of playing.

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