19 August 2007

Role Play Muds

Many years ago Dungeons and Dragons became popular as a Role Playing game that had a set of rules. It was a great idea. It kept players who wished to Roleplay from making statements that made them gods and let people still work creativity within a structure that tried to ensure everyone had fun. Of course this eventually spread to the world of mudding. What better environment for something like this than a MUD?

Now here are the neat outcroppings

1. An environment with which to interact
2. A variety of people and skill levels at RP
3. The ability to play multiple character types with no one knowing who is behind the character

Here are some not so neat outcroppings.  

1. Players tend to rp the same story over and over
2. Admins force the RP
3. New players are excluded from older players RP

Now some of the last three have been addressed elsewhere in this Blog, but the third one really bothers me. I have been wandering through MUDS lately.  I have found one I like that is RP enforced.  At first it was great.  People there are nice and happy to see new players arrive.  There were many people I knew from other sites, I see them less and less now though. There are OLQs, the admins seem like nice people, a lot of the players seem truly happy to have new blood and the MUD engine has been heavily modified to enhance Roleplay.

So I kept my head down and RPed some with people and watched.  The set up of this place is a good idea. It has temples and clans.  Almost everyone joins some temple.  Clans are for those characters that are signed to Player Kill.  So in theory there should be a lot of RP for all.


I got the 3rd degree however from one admin who kept "wondering if it was an old player who
no longer was there" who suggested the site to me. Another time the same admin was certain I had an alt on the site (I do not) and that I had played there a few years ago (I did not). That little piece of paranoia set MY paranoia meter dancing. Then posts went up about so and so has been asked to leave. Two in three weeks, that also set me a bit on edge. But again I do not know the details nor do I care. I went there to roleplay which is how the place was recommended to me. Except it seems to be difficult to set my character's storyline in motion.

It seems that the clans have more RP going on than the temples even though since one is a subset of the other it should be the other way around. After studying this a bit I think I have figured out why. Most of the clanned people have been there a while and while they might stop and RP for a few minutes with a newbie, they are deep in their own story and there is not room for a new player who does not know all of the history. I tried to join one. I was rebuked by the participants.

So another new player and myself started to RP. Again we had a difficult time drawing others into our RP. We changed it, no luck. Finally we went to a stale storyline that has been done 1000 times before. (yeah a sort of Romeo and Juliet type - why does it ALWAYS have to be a romance if a female character is involved?) We got some pulled in. Being a stale storyline it ran it's course and ended. Now the two characters are less likely to interact. So now instead of 2 ostracized new players trying to find something to do together, there are 2 new players isolated. Seems everyone else went back to their RPs.

An old player started a new ALT, came on and announced the RP and suddenly everyone wants to join in. One temple's leader (apparently - this is third hand info)ordered all members of the temple to follow the RP. Interesting. We are back to the usual issue, the same I see over and over on the internet, in tabletop RPGs everywhere, the game gets stale. New ideas and people are introduced, then the old players either fade away or refuse to interact with them. Newness and change make people uncomfortable.

How to fix this? Here are some ideas:

1. Invite the new person to rp with the entire group.
2. Ask them their history.
3. If it is a female character and you play a male do NOT start a romantic storyline.  If you are female, try actually talking to her, not sniping at her.  And vice versa ladies.
4. If you are a clan leader (or a temple leader in this case)  Organize some RP in the group and pair up older players with the new ones.  
5. And last but not least - head out to the newbie areas to RP.  Grab one and show them around - walk slowly so they can memorize routes and use the movement time to RP.  

Or you can keep doing as you are and the new players will go away and leave you alone.

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