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Character mood and RP encouragements

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Good forum readers, With two posts in one day under my belt, it seems I just can''t keep my ideas to myself. If you don''t feel like hearing it, ignore me and I will go away. The thing that bugs me about CRPGs and MMORPGs is that they fail in many cases to live up to their title of "role-playing games." The core concept in the original pencil-and-paper RPGs was that one took on the persona of a person _who isn''t you_ and attempted to live their life. This meant in many cases declaring that one''s character was doing something one would never do oneself. However, in CRPGs and MMORPGs people rarely bother to pretend that they are playing a role. Rather, they are playing a game, and they are playing to win. In CRPGs this means completing the game with the most optimized character and best equipment, and in MMORPGs it means optimizing one''s character, obtaining perfect equipment, and then puttering around being bored. I can understand the fun factor, being a fan of FFVII and Diablo II, but it''s somewhat unfulfilling in a philosophical sense. So what causes people to Role-Play? In pencil-and-paper games it was usually the spirit of the game, reinforced by a game master who rewarded good roleplaying. CRPGs don''t have a GM, but they do have something else: a perfect calculating system which can track a player''s every action. My idea is to use this power to cause a player to _want_ to RP, because it is the way to advance. Here''s the core of the idea. When a character is happy, he learns faster, works harder, and advances at a much better rate than when he is unhappy. What makes him happy? Well, what makes you happy? When a character is created, the player decides what the character likes and dislikes. When the character is doing something involving one of his likes, he''s happy. When he''s doing something involving one of his dislikes, he''s unhappy. Eventually any activity, no matter how fun, will become boring and the character will become unhappy, and want to do something else. Now this is the tricky and difficult to implement part. A character can _justify_ doing something he doesn''t like by linking it in his mind to something he likes or wants. This linking can be accomplished by the player, Pavlov style or through some other method. An extremely simple example: Joe doesn''t like hard physical labor, but he does like being paid. He''ll work harder and longer if he knows he''s being paid more... This also makes stats like Charisma useful and popular, especially in a multiplayer game. Being around friendly and attractive people makes you happy. Bards who can keep workers entertained with music or the like could be well-paid depending on the increase in productivity they produce. Even hardened warriors may bring a musician along to cheer them to battle. Mental endurance also becomes more of a factor, if a character with a good will can stay happy even under stressful and difficult circumstances. People expecting to work or fight long and hard will probably attempt to improve such a statistic if it exists. Hopefully the final result is that people do what their characters want, because it is more useful to them than trying to go against the wishes of their characters. Note that things such as "killing" or "increasing my level" should NOT be on the list of acceptable likes. I''d appreciate any comment you have, but I''d particularly like feedback on these lines: 1. Has this been done before, and where, and how well does it work? 2. What are the expected/known problems? 3. What changes could be made to make it more rigorous? 4. How could it mesh with other ideas/existing concepts? Thanks in advance for your time and thought! You can''t have "civilization" without "civil".

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Adellion - www.adellion.com - will be like this in that it will be an MMORPG but with real role playing. In this game you cannot macro skills or reach "levels". Also there is perma-death so you have to be careful.

In this type of game you don''t need a Charisma skill. The enjoyment is in playing your character and interacting online with others. A Charisma stat - which you would never see in this game anyway - doesn''t help. It''s up to you to roleplay effectively.

Quote "Hopefully the final result is that people do what their characters want, because it is more useful to them than trying to go against the wishes of their characters".

I think your suggestion is artificial in the sense that you are loading a character''s stats to make him/her perform in a certain way. In a real RPG you take on the attributes of your character and simply don''t need these sort of mental stats at all. In a game like Adellion you will be your character.

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It is always my hope that people will roleplay without incentive. But we will have to wait and see if games such as Adellion succeed in getting people to RP without any incentive to do so other than the rightness of doing so. I''ll look into this game with all due haste. And yes, my system is artificial and forced. But if it works, that makes it all worthwhile. Besides, I like character progression as a mechanism; just not as the only goal.

Thanks for your comments!

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Actually, there is a good reason why you might want to include a charisma stat, even though it may appear not to do anything.

In a P&P RPG game, you describe a character using a set of numbers. Take D&D for a well known example. There are three stats which are most relevent for the character's personality: Int, Wis, and Cha.

If you rolled a character with Int 16, Wis 6 and Cha 8, the DM would expect you to roleplay those stats - an academic character who has lived a sheltered life and doesn't relate terribly well to other people springs to mind. If you played this guy as an academic, sheltered but charming character, the DM should penalize you.

Those stats alone do not make Roleplay. But they do give the player something to Roleplay to, a guide to how his character should act. Without the Cha stat as a guide (or something to encourage them to roleplay the character's charisma) the majority of people would do exactly the same thing they do on Everquest - wander around and chat to everyone they meet. (unless they are a PKer)


Edited by - Sandman on November 20, 2001 12:49:48 PM

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Youre going to have to be very careful when designing a fun MMORPG. You cannot force people to play if the incentive they usually have in CRPGs nowadays isnt present in your game. For many "killing" and "leveling up" are valid incentives. Others they have are getting all the rarest equipment, or becoming the best in PvP, all these things are usually related by the way. An example of this in myself is, I like starting a fresh, brandnew char because I''m so weak and its a real struggle to get anywhere. In that case leveling up is my incentive, those first few levels feel like real acomplishments. I''m agreeing that there should be other incentives but you have to take into account what people are going to want to play. Otherwise theyll be happy to leave your game for one of the myriad of games ouit there that satisfy there desires.

I''m a little confused about: "Hopefully the final result is that people do what their characters want, because it is more useful to them than trying to go against the wishes of their characters." Dont you want the people to be the template for the chars actions? Otherwise it could get a little restrictive and you might end up with a lot of quests one after another and THAT can get old real fast.

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By itself, it doesn''t sound like a bad idea. However this isn''t the sort of idea that should just be integrated into a game. Having to tend to the needs of the character is a very time consuming activity, and drastically changes the focus of the game. So, if you want your game to be something more than killing and story, it might be an idea to ponder.

Now, Why do I role play? I role play because I enjoy it. I find placing my mind in the place of a character a fun expierence.

However, I don''t like being forced into something. And your system could be sort of like a min maxing way to do it. "Damn my mood isn''t maxed out, time to go eat some cake."

Now, I do like the idea of people working better around chrasmatic people, or to the music of a bard. However, this seems a little more suited to a game specifically designed around the management of people who aren''t supposed to be the player''s representation.

But somehow I find things more likely that I''d merely search for characters who had statisics that got in my way the least. Rather than playing the manipulate the person game.


Just some thoughts

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Sorry, but i dont think you have the correct view of what "role playing" is. First of all, if a game is open-ended, such as in mmrpgs like everquest, then how do you expect players to define how roleplaying should occur. Some want to be the best, and that means best armor, best weapons, and most money. Others want to be strong, go out and adventure or see all the different places that is available in the game. So far, neither of these require you to roleplay because THE GAME DIDNT DEFINE IT EITHER. The game says here is your character, go do what you want within the rules.

You cant define role playing by what makes you happy or sad for your character. It makes absolutely no sense to me. You just alienated half of your player pool by eliminating things that make them happy: getting the best weapons, best armor, and killing the best monsters.....hmm, kind of sounds like they are role playing a HERO Warrior by some definitions out there. I just cant come up with the best way to describe how your idea doesnt exactly work because i dont see the relationship between making me happy and role playing.

If you really want roleplayers, then why dont you just design a game WITH A GOAL and then forces the player to pick a specific character that needs to perform certain tasks towards that goal(s). This way, people who like the type of situation and type of character will play the game and role play the character correctly towards the GOAL.

This happy-unhappy stuff sounds like all that liberal crap spit out by the media to make all the immoral people feel good or something.

Edited by - GalaxyQuest on November 20, 2001 4:28:49 PM

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Oi!

I seem to be caught in a catch-22 here. My first post was too long and encompassed too much, so people suggested I put out one idea per post. My subsequent posts have been single ideas, and people ask how the concept is intended to be integrated into a game!

I guess I''ll just have to make a game or something to show you what I mean...

For now, please consider these ideas as raw concepts to be polished, then integrated into a coherent whole. Feedback along the lines of "what else needs to be there to make this work" would be especially appreciated. And GalaxyQuest, there''s no need to be confrontational! I''m not shoving anything down your craw. If you don''t like it, then don''t read it, don''t buy it, and don''t play it.

Hauling out the trash once again,
SpittingTrashcan

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Guest Anonymous Poster
<>

No offense, but getting the best armor, weapons, and killing the best monsters isn''t role-playing, it''s Diablo, which is roleplaying in the very loosest sense of the word. I would question your idea of what roleplaying is.

You can call them HERO Warriors if you want, but when people go out with large high powered rifles and shoot tigers, I fail to be impressed with big game hunters. Slaughtering things is not particularly heroic unless you have a good (heroic) reason, even if the players are well armed.

<>

This effectively kills the openness of any game. The idea is to have an open world and to have the player do things that would make sense for his character. Sort of like real life...

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Sorry if the tone was "confrontational." Ok.

As for mr. anonymous, you didnt understand my point. I wasnt DEFENDING these Hero Warriors, i was merely stating the fact that they are out there and you need to deal with them. So i could care less about your arguement that they suck...i dont disagree with you.

Anyways, Spitting trash can, aside from my tone I still dont see the point of happy/sad as it pertains to forcing roleplaying.

So there you have it, no harsh tone, and at least im not anonymous.

Edited by - GalaxyQuest on November 20, 2001 8:04:44 PM

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I think I understand what GQ is saying. He wasnt saying that you were trying to shove the idea down anyones craw. What he means is that, players wont care how happy there chars are if they themselves are bored to death. The game must be geared around the players. So that the players personality comes out in the way they play the game. The character should be the reflection of person sitting at the keyboard.

I must also agree that the Diablo RPGers are out there. Not only out there but I dare say that at present they are the majority. For them Diabloesque games are 100% pure, and unadulterated Role-Playing. Thats why many game designers cater to their whims. Until they get bored of hack-n-slash it will still be a very viable design. (I have to admit once in a while when I''m really bummed out, its nice to go into a thick dungeon crawl and whoop some monster tail.)

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With respect to those who question the validity of encouraging roleplay etc:

Yes you will alienate the power gamers who want to be the best at everything. I think that is the whole idea. This sort of game isn't for them, they'd be better off playing diablo.

This sort of game would be more aimed at the hardcore roleplayers. I think you still have to be careful - it might be an interesting idea to have some sort of server-end control that determines the ratio of kill-reward to roleplay reward. That way, people can pick a server that suits their style of game. That way you can appeal to a much broader demographic (I think marketing issues are important, much as I would like them not to be)

Edited by - Sandman on November 21, 2001 6:01:58 AM

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Hmmmm... all of these are interesting ideas, but they seem to all point to the same thing -> actually being in the character as much as possible. Now thats a great idea, once you get past the innumerable amount of variables you will need for each thing that could affect the player, and if your game has a plot, you''d have to come up with infinite endings just to cmpensate for the fact that everything the player could do during the game the could affect the outcome.

just a little something to chew on

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I think were all on the same side of the fence here and dont realize it. We all agree that the role playing is vital, were just disagreeing as to what kind of RP the general public wants. Or perhaps not. Im not downplaying RP in the slightest. FF series and esspecialy Chrono Trigger had more RP in it then some MMORPGs today and I loved being immersed like that. RP is extremely important but all Im saying is that for the general public pure RP wont be all that enticing. Now if youre making a RPG for true hardcore RPGers and not worried about having the hottest thing on the market then pure RP is the way to go. If you want a marketable game you need to consider the wants of the majority.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Can anyone think of a way to have a chat system in a MMORPG that doesn''t interfere with the roleplaying?
What I mean is, when you play one of those games there are always people chatting about school or some chick they know, which is all fine I suppose; but what about when they say to someone else, "I''m over at [whatever place in the world]. Come over and we can kill this guy."? Obviously, these two could not communicate like this (at least, not without telepathic powers), and I feel it takes something out of the game if you can jump "out of character" to tell someone else (or everyone) something that your character should not be able to communicate.
Does this make sense? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Techno understands me!!

As for communication (ala chat windows in MMRPGs) I think this is *ONE* part of why roleplaying cant take more of a role in rpg style games. My idea was to have an outside global chat system for global chatting. Then during actual game play use some kind of PIGEONS with messages attached would be needed for long distance chatting. Of course a 3d model wouldnt need to be implemented, just the abstract idea of the bird having to fly somewhere to talk to a person. Of course, you can also chat normally if the players are within the area to hear you.

My idea, helps to reduce all that pointless chatter thereby improving the roleplaying atmosphere. And yet, players can still talk to people they know by sending quite "pigeons" around. Anyways, this is just *1* idea to direct players towards roleplaying. See, this doesnt force the power plays not to play the style they want, yet still improves the game atmosphere or trys to(in theory). Like I said, power players can be looked at as Hero Warriors, you just got to find ways to let them role play that type of character!!

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Traditionaly "role playing" is about "putting yourself in anothers shoes"..."viewing situations and the world in general, from anothers point of view, with the full wieght of thier limitations, pressures, and advantages"...In real life "role playing" there are no heros or villians...it''s all about understanding each other through interpreting why we think/act like we do.

Not even the pen-&-paper RPGs do this very well...RPG video games are even worse...

I think that in order to "push" RPG gamers to "role play" more (in the tradition of P&P RPGs)...a RPG video game is going to have to place a WHOLE lot less wieght on combat, magic, and other RPG cliches...Those things are so widely used that players expect to play the game a certain way because they have done so in all the other RPGs they have played.

If so many players in a MMORPG are spending most of thier time disscussing what happened at school that day...then that should at least tell you that a RPG that takes place in a college/high school may be of intrest to them...sure a collage RPG may have limited appeal (but face it, so do midevil fantasy RPGs) even among all those "out-of-character" players...but it may be just the game they are looking for (yet, nobody is makeing it...why?)

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quote:
Original post by MSW
...then that should at least tell you that a RPG that takes place in a college/high school may be of intrest to them...sure a collage RPG may have limited appeal (but face it, so do midevil fantasy RPGs) even among all those "out-of-character" players...but it may be just the game they are looking for (yet, nobody is makeing it...why?)

because getting drunk and having sex is only fun in real life; role playing it is just silly!

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

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Although the idea of Pigeons are cool, I''d be worried that the sky would actually be black with the things considering the number of messages flying around -- or that people would be upset by not getting their messages in a timely-enough manner. Though it could be more immersive, make sure that it doesn''t cause people to be irritated by the concept. (it sounds kind of like the Guardian spells in FF8 -- they were cool at first, but after the first few times, I was longing for the old days of text messages saying I hit the enemy)

I personally have always hated the concept of a "character charisma stat"... I do, however, like the "reputation" concept, and appearance is a must. The reaction to people should be based on a few things (in my opinion):

- Initial appearance. This will generally be used to determine if someone will talk to a character to begin with. Obviously, this will be based on the character race (an insect-looking creature may be ugly to humans but gorgeous to characters of the same race), and on certain advantages/disadvantages (appearance means nothing to blind people), and on culture (some cultures may LOVE a five-hundred pound woman with a moustache an a peg leg)
- Reputation. I like local and global reputations. How people react to you is ultimately based on your actions.
- Advantages/Disadvantages. A character who has a bad habit of picking his nose or scratching his butt in public will definitely hurt his reputation. These can also include certain stigmas (such as you were raised rich, so you''re spoiled, but the rest of the game, you spend your time trying to overcome it). In this case, these things act as a pseudo-charisma, but you aren''t being controlled by a player-set number.

Anyway, long story short the charisma stat should exist, then you apply modifiers based on who you''re communicating with, but it should be a sliding number, based on player behavior. If you want to play an evil person for role-playing purposes, start kicking puppies. "Bad" people will talk to you more (you''ll be a hit on the black market), but most people will steer clear.

As for the concept of levelling -- I don''t know how I feel about it. For completing a quest, I think you should receive a reward, maybe character points that can immediately be spent. Or maybe you should get your training as in "real life" -- your skills improve as you use them, and you can go get training... quests would be a great way to improve your reputation (charisma) and obviously your wealth.


---<<>>---
Chris Rouillard
Software Engineer
crouilla@hotmail.com

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quote:
Original post by krez
because getting drunk and having sex is only fun in real life; role playing it is just silly!

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)


I think you are missing my point...do some "role playing"...put yourself in the shoes of those players who do little more then socialize in a MMORPG...they don''t seem all that interested in these wonderfully complex RPG battle systems we keep comeing up with...or how powerfull they can develop thier charactors...or even the magic systems "hardcore" RPG players can''t live without...yet these same players buy the game...connect online...and basicly run around chatting out-of-character...why?

Imagine for a second if some company were to develop a game directly for these "social players"...Something they can enjoy...wouldn''t this draw such players away from the MMORPGs they currently play...and obviously, wouldn''t this help solve your "people arn''t role playing" problem?...without even haveing to develop more complex ways to deal with these "out-of-character" players?

I guess not...something so *wierd* and *unusual* as a non-midevil fantasy RPG could never, ever be any fun...it''s just to silly to even consider, and must always be discouraged

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quote:
Original post by MSW
I think you are missing my point...

nah, i''m just flippant by nature...
quote:
Imagine for a second if some company were to develop a game directly for these "social players"...Something they can enjoy...wouldn''t this draw such players away from the MMORPGs they currently play...and obviously, wouldn''t this help solve your "people arn''t role playing" problem?...without even haveing to develop more complex ways to deal with these "out-of-character" players?

i think i should put a magic spell in my game that causes someone to lose their connection, and be transported directly to an AOL chatroom
quote:
I guess not...something so *wierd* and *unusual* as a non-midevil fantasy RPG could never, ever be any fun...it''s just to silly to even consider, and must always be discouraged

damn straight!

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

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"I guess not...something so *wierd* and *unusual* as a non-midevil fantasy RPG could never, ever be any fun...it''s just to silly to even consider, and must always be discouraged"

MSW I hope that was just sarcasm or a joke...

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quote:
Original post by TechnoHydra
"I guess not...something so *wierd* and *unusual* as a non-midevil fantasy RPG could never, ever be any fun...it''s just to silly to even consider, and must always be discouraged"

MSW I hope that was just sarcasm or a joke...


yep!...it was sarcasm...I was trying to point out the one dimentional view so many RPG game developers SEEM to have...I''ve sat in one to many meetings where people end up discussing the *fun* possabilities of haveing a knap sack simulator, four elements basied magic system, forceing characters to eat three square meals a day, highly detailed combat systems, and what not...but then try to change the subject to "what is the gameplay like?"...and all they can come up with is "players just roam around killing monsters, collecting treasures, and saveing the princess...you know, just like Diablo, etc...".

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