brother_dour (brother_dour) wrote in roleplayers,

Role-Playing and Format

So, I was talking to a friend who I used to MUCK with (laugh if you want, but for a long while it was fun. Just ask tashiro and shiftercat- they were there too).  Anyway, he and his boyfriend just started playing SWtOR on my server, and we got on the subject of role-playing games, their structure, and the differences between old-fashioned tabletop RPGs and the so-called 'MMORPGs' while I was crafting and they were leveling. And I thought it might make a good discussion here, since the community has been a bit quiet lately.

So, let's talk about classes first.  Classes make sense when you have potentially millions of players, all who have different desires and preferences, playing classes that most likely have different specializations they can go into. It is probably the easiest way to balance things- not only between players and mobs, but between classes and possibly even factions for some MMOs. That's pretty much the norm for MMOs these days. But- why do so many old-fashioned tabletop RPGs still being produced today still have classes? Aren't classes an archaic construct?  What are the advantages of classes when you don't have to wrangle millions of players (or even dozens) and the mathematics and game mechanics are extremely simple compared to what goes on under the hood of a computerized MMO?

Now, on to the second issue. Generally, I don't think there is really any such thing as an "MMORPG". There are MMOs, but they ain't RPGs. Role-playing means doing what is expected of your class, filling your class's role, and nothing more to the typical MMO player.  One possible exception: LotRO. Most people are such huge fans of the lore and of Tolkien that a lot of people role-play, or at least stay in character.  That MMO actually has 'lore Nazis' who will gripe at people who misuse public channels and report characters with questionable names.

You know, for that matter, I would not call console games like Fallout or GTA or Elder Scrolls true me, if you aren't playing with other human beings and you aren't staying at least somewhat in character, it's not true role-playing.

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