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TOPIC: Exploring our human nature through Roleplay

Elloa

Administrator
Stormhaven Studios
TOPIC: Exploring our human nature through Roleplay


I stumbled uppon this Tweet and I though it would be an excellent subject of discussion. I'd love to hear your opinion about this. The author of this tweet is questioning the intention of a certain type of roleplayers. If a roleplayer enjoys roleplaying a vilain, does it reveal something questionable of his personality in real life?
Roleplay is an important part of any MMORPG, and it certainly a very important aspect of Embers Adrift.
Everyone, playing a character in a video game, is roleplaying to some extend. You may not be extremly invested in the lore and have build your character for pure gameplay benefits rather than some sort of fantasy, but yet.. you are plunged in an imaginary world, and if nothing else, you are roleplaying an expression of yourself within this world by simply... playing the game.
Then, some players are pushing it a little further. They know about the Lore and enjoy to play arround with it. They create their character with an intend, a meaning. Some people will really embrace roleplaying, while some others will just have some light fun. Yet everyone is expressing an aspect of themselves by doing so.
What does it mean for you to take part in roleplay activities? What part of yourself are you exploring? When you are creating a character, are you expressing values and ideas that are close to you, or are you venturing in other directions? How does roleplay affect you, on a more personal level? Are you emotionally invested in your characters?

MY OPINION
I believe that roleplay can teach a lot about ourselves, a bit in the same way dreams can reveal what happens within us on a subconscious level. Observing what characters you are creating, what roles you are endorsing, and how you react in certain plots, will teach you things that you may be ignoring of yourself.
Roleplay can also be used in a more decided manner to explore different side of our personality that we do not have the chance to explore in real life for various reasons. "How would I behave if I was an arrogant scholar, or a brutal warrior? How would I behave if I was the other gender" This exploration, I believe is more therapeutic than harmful, and can allow someone to see himself with more clarity.
Lastely, I think roleplay is also something that can just be fun and a great occasion to laugh about darker subjects, giving us the distanciation needed and some needed relief. There is a trend nowadays to be extremly politically correct and be sure to not offend anyone. I think an offence is taken not given, and some of those offended people need to relax.CHILL OUT! The capability of taking ourselves not too seriously, and to be capable at laughing at our own weaknesses is a great quality.

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T Elf

Active Member
I come from a theatre background, so each toon I create has certain parameters according to race, class, etc. So in my mind I almost instantly create a personality and try to live within it. However, all my toons tend to be "good" or benevolent. What I like about MMORPGs is that you get to be more than you are and do and experience what you cannot or may not be able to do in real life.
 

Aetrion

Member
I love to roleplay in games, but I usually create a very comfortable to play avatar for myself as my main character. I do get attached to those characters, because they serve as a vessel to explore a fantastical world as myself and tend to be larger than life versions of me, with exaggerated strengths and weaknesses. I do play characters that are very different from myself too, but usually from the perspective of a game master, and this is where I get to play the villain quite a bit. When you GM the villains it's a bit different of course, because you usually want your players to ultimately win and have a good time, so you're not simply trying to crush your enemies in the most ruthless possible way.

Actually playing evil characters requires a very good player to be a benefit to the game game I think. The giant problem with evil player characters in games is that they don't have any boundaries unless someone brings them to justice. Especially in video games you need your character to be alive and free to keep playing the game, so if you're not bound by morality nothing can set limits on your behavior without stopping you from playing the game all together. That's why it takes a good player, because they have to constantly pretend that their character is afraid of being brought to justice, even though effectively that can't really happen in most games. When someone plays a villain specifically counting on the fact that nothing can really stop their character for good it ruins the game for anyone who wants to experience a world where actions have consequences. Those kinds of players also tend to be the ones who will throw a fit if you do impose realistic consequences on their characters, or simply make more characters that act the exact same way.

So, generally I'm not a big fan of evil characters, because it's exceedingly rare that someone plays an evil character in such a way that everyone else is also having fun, and the people who don't care if they aren't fun to play with just aren't people you want in your game. The overwhelming majority of experiences I've had with evil characters in games ended up revealing a bad roleplayer, powergamer or generally unfriendly player behind them. The tiny number of people who can do it well tend to be really cool though.
 

Wynbjorn

New Member
I very much explore myself via roleplaying games, however, MMO's rarely gives you actual choices and as such, it's not very frequent that I do it there. However in games like Baldursgate, Dragon age, KOTR etc, I really enjoying thinking "what would I do in this situation and why?", and then follow it up with "what would my RPC do? and why?".

This way I explore both myself, and the character I'm playing and the more choices, the more "fleshy" the character can become. It's not uncommon for me however to right background stories for my characters, even for MMO's. It just gives me a better feel of my place in the world. Regarding if an RPC can tell something about the real you.. Maybe. I for example just can't play evil characters. Does this mean I'm a bad roleplayer, or that there's simply nothing within me that resonates with that type of character?
The closest I get to "evil" is Neutral evil (in D&D terms), where I am simply driven by money, or fame and whatever get me the most of my specific "lust" I will do. But even then, I find it really really hard to do stuff like pointlessly killing a character or torturing someone.
I've also played a chaotic evil barbarian once.. with an int of 3.. he just liked the sound his 2h hammer made against fleshy things.. It ended up quite parodic, so.. not sure it counts.
 

Elloa

Administrator
Stormhaven Studios
I'm not seriously roplaying my characters anymore in any serious fashion (roleplay take too much time, I want to play the actual games now :p) but I still do express a part of myself with each and everyone of them. At the moment I'm exploring aspect of me I'm not really exploring in real life, such as more tribal, wild personalities (trolls in World of Warcraft for example) or slightly mischivious characters which are following their heart and nature, rather than moral code or following laws (like my thief Khajiit in ESO). I have this within me, but for obvious reasons, I'm not exploring it in the real world.

When I do roleplay seriously, I tend to play melancholic characters who have lost dear ones, they are sweet, compassionate and wise. Yet suffering internaly to accept their pain and move on. Characters who have lost their roots and are wandering in the world trying to make sense of it all, trying to understand others culture and seak Truth behind mysteries. This is very close to my real life aspirations or the expression of what I see as good.

In any case, I think its interesting to stop a moment, and observe all the characters we have created and see what part of self we are expressing, exploring through those characters.


Very much agree with @Aetrion experience with Vilains characters. Its very hard to roleplay them in a fairr/fun way for everyone involved. But that neccesitate the players an aweresness that is not easy to have unless you have be a Game Master/organiser at some points.
I've been trained in improvised theater, and its part of the training to listen to others and mix up your ideas and background together with theirs. That's when improvised theatrer can be really interesting and fun to play, and offers the best surprises.
 

T Elf

Active Member
Addressing the Villians, in D&D when you play an evil character you cannot work against your group. This could farther extend to guild, alliance, etc. I think Ashes of Creation is trying to to push this direction in their PvX game; we'll have to see how well that works. Player murder is no fun (excepting the one doing it) and unhealthy for a game that wants to keep their player population.
 

PrinceSelin

Member
When I play an mmorpg, I want my character be an adventurer who worships nature, masters the bow and strives for virtues & righteousness.
 

AdricLives

Well-Known Member
Stormhaven Studios
I think there is a lot of value in understanding actions through the eyes of another, Roleplay goes hand-in-hand with Empathy and diversifying your perspective. Even playing the villain, as you act as the typical villain you may find yourself in cognitive dissonance as your actions don't seem to match your views. But only in doing so can you see often those that are vilified are very unlikely to be acting purely of evil intent and have reasons even if based on lies, personal desires or misguided attempts to better the world.

I like to challenge myself with roleplay, putting myself in new roles that I don't fully understand and try to understand how and why someone like that would be as they are. Challenging myself to play a character with a strong faith, or a wise shaman, or an anarchist and seeing how I can find reason in their actions and see the world through that lens.
 

Elloa

Administrator
Stormhaven Studios
I really like your answer @AdricLives and I think roleplay can be truely therapetic and help the weel being of a person.

A spiritiual teacher that I like, Teal Swan, explained in her tutorial for life video, a concept that I find very interesting, and that I apply myself in my everyday life.

"If you are affraid of someone leaving you, find the aspect within you that leaves people. If you are affraid of being manipulated by other people, find the part of you that manipulates people. If you are affraid of terrorism, find the terrorist in you. Your compationate attention will allow a transformation to take place. (...) it will be the time you have accepted the part of you you have denied for years.."

To observe the type of characters will reveal informations about ourselves that we may have been unaware off. Old wounds, beliefs systems, patern of behaviour. Its really useful and an amazing source of information for oneself.
But also, exploring other roles, allow us to have a reflection on those roles, change perspective and understand the humanity, the suffering, behind each crime.


I only played a vilain once. It was a Halflin Priestess of Shar in a Forgotten Realms campaign. She had phobia of water and heights (justifying her terrible stats) giving her some good weakness. But she also was smart, cunning, extremly secretive...
So, one day, my tiny priest was on board of a raw boat in the Jungle of Chults, with her party, the shaman of the village she hated (cause he guessed her game) and few soldiers. We were attacked by vile river creatures with tentacles, and while all the party was fighting, she disctretly casted a curse on the shaman to debuff him, while also healing her party. And so he was vanquished! :D :D :D :D
Never finished that campaign. What a shame. She was maybe my most brillant character. Really hard to play though, really really hard.
 
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Kato

New Member
Unless a game had the availability of many different characters with many different avenues of gameplay I usually tend NOT to roleplay much. The reason for this is the number of characters is usually very limited and games usually have a limited number of things to do and my moods/desires change too dramatically to properly roleplay whatever I am currently in the mood to do
 

Ariatras

Member
I doubt that's the case. Most RP'ers (that I know) create their character based on the world. Slavery is rampant in the lore of the Elder Scrolls. Back in Morrowind I remember the Argonians having slaves too. In that world it is a strata of society.

As far as racism goes. In some ways characters are a reflection of ones persona in some cases.

As an example. In modern World of Warcraft, the only thing I do is Roleplay. But my WoW career as it were started of with my picking the Horde, I was very young and didn't Roleplay, at least not in the conventional sense. I hated everything Alliance especially Gnomes. Oh how I hated Gnomes. It helped me get immersed into the world. The factions meant something to me. But as I went through life and met others who also played WoW, some of them were Alliance, did I hate them? Of course not. But my character hated their characters. As such I don't think such a conclusion can be drawn.

Post scriptum:
I did a search for RP and this topic came up. I didn't want to bloat the forums to make my own. So I replied here, albeit late. As the OP said, Roleplay is important for this game. I like to hear that. What sort of features do you plan to bring to the RP?

I'm thinking things like custom emotes /em <emote here>
Trash emotes that are otherwise useless like /lean to lean against a nearby object. Different ways to sit etc.
Houses, non-instanced so physically in the world.
The ability to make a description more so than character creator allows, or a background (think the RP add-ons for WoW)

Many game devs claim RP is important for them. But hardly anyone ever shows it.

PPS:

I come from a theatre background, so each toon I create has certain parameters according to race, class, etc. So in my mind I almost instantly create a personality and try to live within it. However, all my toons tend to be "good" or benevolent. What I like about MMORPGs is that you get to be more than you are and do and experience what you cannot or may not be able to do in real life.

What sort of theatre? I had aspirations to be a prima ballerina for the best part of my life :)
 
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T Elf

Active Member
I doubt that's the case. Most RP'ers (that I know) create their character based on the world. Slavery is rampant in the lore of the Elder Scrolls. Back in Morrowind I remember the Argonians having slaves too. In that world it is a strata of society.

As far as racism goes. In some ways characters are a reflection of ones persona in some cases.

As an example. In modern World of Warcraft, the only thing I do is Roleplay. But my WoW career as it were started of with my picking the Horde, I was very young and didn't Roleplay, at least not in the conventional sense. I hated everything Alliance especially Gnomes. Oh how I hated Gnomes. It helped me get immersed into the world. The factions meant something to me. But as I went through life and met others who also played WoW, some of them were Alliance, did I hate them? Of course not. But my character hated their characters. As such I don't think such a conclusion can be drawn.

Post scriptum:
I did a search for RP and this topic came up. I didn't want to bloat the forums to make my own. So I replied here, albeit late. As the OP said, Roleplay is important for this game. I like to hear that. What sort of features do you plan to bring to the RP?

I'm thinking things like custom emotes /em <emote here>
Trash emotes that are otherwise useless like /lean to lean against a nearby object. Different ways to sit etc.
Houses, non-instanced so physically in the world.
The ability to make a description more so than character creator allows, or a background (think the RP add-ons for WoW)

Many game devs claim RP is important for them. But hardly anyone ever shows it.

PPS:



What sort of theatre? I had aspirations to be a prima ballerina for the best part of my life :)

Mostly community and college theatre, with some peppering of TV and commercial including playwrite.
 
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