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Roleplaying, Immersion, and UO's Future

Discussion in 'UHall' started by GalenKnighthawke, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
    Stratics Veteran

    May 12, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Roleplaying, I have become convinced, is the key to UO's survival

    Walking around Malas this afternoon, looking at players' houses, I was reminded of something I have long thought.

    More UO players engage in roleplaying than they often like to admit. The issue to me isn't why don't more players roleplay. To me it's why don't more players who do roleplay admit that that's what they're doing.

    Roleplaying can be many things, but the first thing it is, is simply recognizing that you and your character are not the same thing. I guarantee you that no one reading this has ever fought an orc, or a dragon.

    When I walk around Malas, I see all kinds of buildings, set up in very fantasy RP ways. I see mini-player towns, I see shrines to various gods or to various creatures. The owners of these houses are characters I haven't heard of, so they likely aren't in any RP community on my shard, and they don't appear to think of themselves as engaging in roleplaying.

    Yet, I submit, it's roleplaying, or at least is the start of roleplaying, to build a shrine to some creature that fascinates your character, or to build an inn, or to think of your characters as being brothers, or having a religion (many non-roleplayers I've met over the years have done just that).

    We are not our characters. Admitting that is how roleplaying begins.

    Immersion in the game is how it continues.

    Clearly players who think of their characters as being brothers and sisters, who build Inns in Malas out in the middle of nowhere, and who build shrines to their characters' gods, are seeking immersion in the game.

    So, to me, the issue isn't why don't more people roleplay, but why don't more roleplayers admit what they are doing.

    One possibility is that people think roleplayers have to talk in thees and thous. But I think most players have interacted with roleplayers and know that we don't talk that way for the most part.

    So it's not that.

    Another possibility is that people think that roleplayers are snide and rude and cliquey and prone to pettiness. But I think most non-RPers have friends in RP and know that at the very least, we aren't any more prone to that than other players are. Haven't you ever met cliquey, snide, petty PvPers, or rares collectors? You sure have.

    Is it that roleplayers tend to be weaker at other aspects of the game? I think most people also know that this isn't true; some roleplayers are weak, some aren't. Just like everyone else.

    So it's not that.

    So what is it?

    Personally I think people are for whatever reason fearful of some of the implications of being roleplayers. Sooner or later it means a certain amount of surrender to in-game things having meaning beyond what they literally appear to be. The Ornament of the Magician is more than just a 2/3 ring with LMC and LRC and Energy Resist. It's a duplicate of the bracelet of some great wizard, whose glory you can now share in because you have one of your own. Grimswind Ruins is more than just a weird area in the game, it has a past and perhaps a future.

    For some reason many people seem scared to surrender to the game that way, to find non-literal meanings in what they do. But why? I mean come on now, you already spend hours making virtual shoes and killing virtual orcs. Why's it so bad for those activities to have some meaning beyond what they literally are?

    Also, some people might fear having to join an RP community, for various reasons.

    I submit you can RP without having to join an RP community. It's possible to interact with EMs or other representatives of EA in an in-character manner, and with RP communities, without actually joining an RP community.

    But honestly, if you did join a community, would it really be so bad? Sometimes joining an RP community can be a pain in the ass, trust me on that one, but at the end of the day these stories are a lot more meaningful, I submit, when someone else shares them.

    Maybe joining a community might cause you to get to know someone out-of-character, and to see them not just as an annoyance, but as a participant in your own character's story. There are worse things. Many worse things.

    Much is made of UO's "sandbox" approach to being an MMO. What gives meaning to your in-game experiences in a sandbox game is roleplaying, whether it's roleplaying as part of a community, or just playing the game in such a way as to buy into the fantasy. Or whether it's actually called roleplaying or not.

    Roleplaying is the key to UO's future. Without it, let's face it, in many ways UO kind of sucks. It's the potential for immersion to participate in and tell a story, that makes UO good.

    And, as I started this post by saying, way more people roleplay than like to admit it. So why not admit it? If you don't want to join an RP community, just interact with it when you run into it. Almost every shard has one, so far as I'm aware. Instead of saying "let me get my other toon" say "let me get my brother the alchemist."

    *shrugs* Many of you roleplay without admitting it. Try admitting it, and see how it adds to our in-game experience. And, after a few months of walking around admitting that you are, and have always been, a roleplayer, maybe write down a background for your character. Just what you've always thought; only thing different is now you're writing it down, making it more permanent.

    Then, maybe find other people like you. You can usually find them in taverns, or at the in-character EM events.


    -Galen's player
  2. Stupid Miner

    Stupid Miner Guest

    Except Thanatos Angelos, he's a complete PvM newb :p

    Correct spelling and punctuation isn't necessary (tho it is preferred). Not like they're reading text that's floating over your head, no other people are "hearing" your character speak.

    It's pretty simple, mostly just try to have your character act like an actual human would. Most simply it means you ask people their names, rather than automatically knowing it because it displayed on the screen.
    Or if you're in a house with no windows, pretend you didn't see that guy outside the house run past because the character would be ignorant of his presence. (unless you can work out a clever loophole reason)

    Can be fun :thumbup1:
  3. Percivalgoh

    Stratics Veteran

    May 7, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Hi! I'm Percival and I am a roleplayer.
  4. watchertoo

    watchertoo Sage
    Stratics Veteran Alumni

    Aug 5, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Very well said Galen!

    There was a time a few years ago when I had to make a choice to stay a solo stealther through the UO world or take a chance to become more in Sosaria. I took a chance and have since met some of the best friends I could ever hope for, one being a certain antiques dealer. *smiles*

    Our characters close or open doors for us depending on what we need at the moment. We can either hide away from the world or we can let ourselves be known with anonymity. From letting ourselves be known in a protected way can grow the best of real life friendships and, occasionally, a rivalry or even an enemy. Whichever happens, it all starts from playing a part ... a warrior, a mage, a thief. The minute you create a character in UO you have become a role player and I have found that there is a lot of good that can come from this RP.
  5. All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
    And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
    Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
    In fair round belly with good capon lined,
    With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws and modern instances;
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


  6. I personally see the problem as where to start?? Links to a guilds websites so people can get information as to what is involved. I have been slightly interested in checking things out but not sure what kind of roleplay guilds are out there and what kind would suit my play style.

    Also RP guilds are often looked at as pure trammy guilds, this may be turning some people off as well. A new section of the forums where a person can get information about current rp guilds, rp guilds forming would be a good start. And if there already is one then feel free to slap me upside the head and point it out
  7. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
    Governor Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend Campaign Supporter Royal Knight

    Aug 21, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Very well said Galen.

    Some of us don't perceive the world of UO through human eyes though. We use the eyes of the Ilythiiri.

    Rivven are weak. And their life is short.

    But I do understand. I see it all the time. Everyday and in many ways. When I am out walking in the lands and encounter others often I remain in character... and I am often times surprised at how many respond in kind. Though they claim they are not RPers... they often RP without knowing.

    How many times I have found others longing for something more in the game. And so many times have I offered them a glimpse into my world... a glimpse at seeing UO though my eyes. Many have enjoyed it. Several become hooked on it. I know it's not for everyone. But I also know there are so many out there who long for it, but know not where to find it.

    It is all around. One need only seek it out.

    Its rather like the field of dreams... often if you build your own RP and continue to RP others will find you.

    I'm not sure RP is the salvation of UO. But I am certain that RP and the RP communities play a large role in the game and it's direction and content.
  8. CatLord

    CatLord Guest


    This is what we have been doing....






    Everyone is WELCOMED!


    (icq 169-320-850)
  9. popps

    popps Always Present
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Feb 27, 2004
    Likes Received:

    Well, that could be a possibility though, I do not think it as possible with the way Ultima Online is (or has become, I should say....).

    Personally, I do not think it as possible to have roleplaying that makes sense within a sandbox game where characters are allowed to use skill "salads".....

    I think that, in order to have roleplaying that makes sense, characters should fit specific "roles" where a melee fighter is such and not also a mage or a tamer or whatever and the same with an archer and so on.

    I mean, Ultima Online has reached absurds, IMHO, that we can have on the same one character both a paladin and a necromancer !!!!

    Roleplaying ? Impossible as UO is now, IMHO.........

    What I am trying to say, is that roleplaying as I see it, has nothing to do with "winning" the game. It has way more to do with "living" the virtual environment and enjoying it for the sake of it.

    What UO is now, instead, with all possible mix of skills allowed, is a game where players feel they have to build up the most effective template and gear and if it gets expensive they therefore try to build up wealth so that they can have the most effective builds, the best gear and so forth.

    This does not help roleplaying at all, at least as I see it.
  10. Jhym

    Jhym Guest

    It's always been part of UO, whether acknowledged or not. Even hard core pvpers have been known to sit in a player tavern now and then, though usually not for long.

    The question is really... what do we all do WITH it?

    Roleplaying shouldn't be just "telling a story". I think many folks are turned off by that, as their characters are then not really used for any discrete purpose.

    An example would be several role players talking about how they did this and that in the past, then emoting a scene ( *stares intently at her eyes*, *a single tear falls*) and then doing some small environment thing, like gathering some dragon blood or some nonsense for a ritual.

    Those that are not "IN" with the group doing such things become observers, or worse, an audience. (You can be a voyeur and still be involved, but an audience is not normally involved in the drama.)

    People are playing this game in order to become something, to do something, or to join something. They want to end an evening with a list of exciting anecdotes and perhaps a teaser for something going on next time. If they don't get that list or that reason to "check in", they gradually move on.

    PvPer types have the same issues, they don't bother with battles that are boring, over matched or otherwise don't give them something to talk about or do.

    I see true role playing as joining in with a quest, potentially with dozens or even hundreds of others, and working towards a goal. Even if the goal is to assist only ONE person, the journey and result gives you something to be interested in, to examine and collect, to talk about and write about.

    Pvper types can have the same situations, just more intensity on the battle side. I think the biggest reason factions failed is that there IS no real story or purpose to it. You don't REALLY gain any control and you don't REALLY get any accolades from your bravery (or cowardice.) There isn't the possibility of someone breaking a lock during a battle and stealing the crown jewels of Britannia from the TBs, whereupon they have to find, recapture and punish those who did the deed (otherwise bad things start happening.)

    Instead they fight and gather materials and money and really don't get anywhere interesting.

    Roleplayers do this too. They get too enmeshed in "writing" a story over their characters' heads and forget that they can ACTUALLY DO THINGS TO MAKE THE STORY. I think this is why some folks get turned off by what they "think" is RP. They watch people doing some sort of setup for the "drama" they are staging and then wonder when something will actually happen they can do something about.

    There are also the RPers that want to be something or do something that the game mechanics can't do. Or they want their character to be known as "something" in order to set up some story... not caring that many folks may not have any idea what they are talking about.

    I guess I find that a lot of the things we can do and say in the game can lead to GREAT stories without having to have ultimate control. You can set up quests for a guild with one or two carefully chosen "helpers", giving them clues and helping them figure things out on their own, ending with a result that satisfies them for the evening and gives them something to talk about for weeks. An EM can help with those things too, if it's a large enough group and you're only asking for setup (ie asking him to drop a player provided chest onto a dragon the group is battling so it will be found as loot -- though you may be able to simulate this by sending a naked char with the chest to fight the creature first and hope it steals the chest.)

    I was part of several major storylines with multiple guilds that were a lot of fun, interesting to watch and be part of, and that involved more than just standing around emoting. They also involved serious fights that decided some of the results. I know that many folks depend on EA to do those sort of events, but very honestly you can do it with just a little thought and time spent setting up and have a great fun evening with friends (and new friends.)

    Anyway, I'm always amused when people talk about RP as boring --- I suspect they are talking about "Dramatics".

  11. Smoot

    Smoot Stratics Legend
    Stratics Veteran

    Nov 17, 2009
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  12. That's the beauty of a sandbox, you can have whatever skill you wish, it's up to you to decide how your Character will behave (i.e. Roleplay) I know I'm missing out on a lot of content because I've decided that my main character will be a traditional "paladin" 7xgm. (Swords, Tactics, Chiv, Anat, Healing, Parry, Focus), yeah it's not the best template out there, but that is the role i've chosen for him to play.

    Yeah Sampires are a little crazy but hey, mmo's have always been about min/maxing, but like I said, in UO we have the choice to make our characters how we want not how a dev thinks they should be.

    Personally my favorite character to role play with has what would probably be considered a useless template. I mean he's a GM beggar and has no real combat skills. I think I'm going to dust him off when I get back home, I miss begging at the brit bank.
  13. Babble

    Babble Guest

    Roleplayers are too small a niche that EA would keep UO open for them alone.

    But roleplaying is a part that keeps UO alive, though I bet there are more people who play for the possibility to customize and own houses than roleplay.
  14. Percivalgoh

    Stratics Veteran

    May 7, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I enjoy playing with a guild but it's like an addictive drug for me. It is bad for my real life. I don't take care of things in real life because of involvement in a guild and my lack of willpower to leave guildies in mid play to take care of real life issues. I have a demanding real life and often need to drop whatever I am doing and go back to work as I am on call. So anyway I found that as a solo player I have no problem stopping anything to take care of real life issues or to not even log on if I am needed elsewhere. As far as I am concerned it is my ability to play solo that keeps me here and although I am still technically in a guild I am the only one left as the others have all dropped UO for various reasons. Maybe UO's survival will depend on a variety of players who enjoy it.
  15. Phaen Grey

    Phaen Grey Lore Master
    Stratics Veteran

    May 12, 2008
    Likes Received:
    In my opinion, the very fact you'd want to build yourself a custom house means in your mind you want a place to escape and be someone else, to slice out your own part of a world you can't have for real. In effect its the start of and a form of roleplay.

    Not every roleplayer is a Shakespearean actor, not all roleplay is long and drawn out. No one needs a script, simple conversations at West Brit bank with a stranger can be considered roleplay; to me they are part of my characters story.
  16. Lore Denin (GL)

    Stratics Veteran

    Jul 11, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Role-Play is the only thing that keeps me going in UO. It’s why I started and what drives me to continue to play.

    I can not speak as to why some people might not be active parts of the rp community but I can speak to the barriers that effect me.

    1) The role my character plays is heavily felucca and pvp based (factions) which tends to keep me from interacting on a daily basis with the greater rp community which in general seems to shy away from these types of roles.

    2) The common use of Ventrillo blending OOC and IC. I am very much against being in an OOC ventrillo with those whom I am rping. I believe it diminishes the In game interaction among players. Even through ICQ I am almost always IC, sending letters tied to my carrier eagle Soaring Virtue. There are people whom I speak with OOC but they tend are usually non rpers and never while interacting with them in game.

    3) Add in moving to a PST timezone, playing on a EST zone shard and my late night schedule makes it very difficult to attend rp events and interact with other role-players.

    For me the only way to address the issues I was facing was to make a change and so I am moving to Origin shard this month to start a new type of rp community to address the issues I have been facing, and perhaps create something a little different that will inspire others who have had similar issues to consider rp again.

    -The first obstacle was the time zone, moving to Origin would fix that and allow me to play closer to primetime hours and more likely to attend in game events.

    -Second, creating an rp faction environment as the basis for the community rather then an option for rpers who want to pvp. A player's participation in rp war/factions would be based on their character's role/profession, etc.

    -Third, creating an rp ventrillo where players must be IC when playing their characters was the third step. I come from a pen and paper rp background and speaking OOC while rping was always frowned upon (or when your character was not present or *gasp* dead). There will also be an OOC channel but it will be reserved for people when they are not rping.

    If this style of rp is of interest of you, here is more information on the Kingdom we are starting on Origin: HERE
  17. Prime.

    Prime. Lore Keeper
    Stratics Veteran

    Feb 23, 2010
    Likes Received:
    To lazy to read all these comments.... I just wanna say I miss killing RPing Orcs at there little yew fort! =(
  18. Smoot

    Smoot Stratics Legend
    Stratics Veteran

    Nov 17, 2009
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    The endless combinations of skills is why ive played UO longer than any other mmorpg. The fact that yes you can make a tamer / archer / ninja / pally / necro if you want to something that other games just dont have.

    That being said, in regards to roleplaying, any template can be woven into a roleplaying scenario. The "evil" rp guild im in does have traditional paladins, but even this class that is associated with good karma can have a backstory explaining how they have become "fallen" or a "dark knight" of some sort.
  19. Rakoth

    Rakoth Guest

    I might be biased, but I think the instant that RPing Orcs at the Yew Fort - and subsequently, being able to enforce their "humies gu hom" policy - was rendered invalid and non-viable, was the instant that RP became one-dimensional.

    It would be hard to RP any sort of villain that cannot spontaneously do villainous things. I don't think Maleficent ever had to say, 'Oh, gosh, we're in Trammel, hey, guys, we need to go to Fel so I can curse the lot of you, lol.'

    Not to say that villain-types can't be done - It can be done with guild wars and what-not, I suppose, but then it's not really community RP any more. And that's sadface-making.
  20. Fink

    Fink Guest

    Unless you're overtly doing something "roleplayery", people often don't realise you're roleplaying. Likewise, they don't acknowledge when they're doing it themselves because they have this elevated, false idea of what roleplay is.
  21. Aran

    Aran Always Present
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend -A-

    Apr 1, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Roleplaying is for nerds.
  22. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
    Governor Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend Campaign Supporter Royal Knight

    Aug 21, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I think many times folk think that everyone in the RP community speaks using words like: Thee, Thy, Thou.... and Thou art.. Wouldst thou..... and the like... but they do not.

    Often they don't speak to differently what they don't do is use things like LOL, ROFLMAO, and Hehe..... or ;}.... and such.....

    They just talk like normal people... (Unless of course you pretend your character has a lisp or an accent.)

    Some speak in other languages using translators.

    But that shouldn't stop folk from RPing. It's not hard once you know where to start.
  23. WarderDragon

    WarderDragon Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend BRPA

    Oct 9, 2008
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    Karma is a matter of perception. Are most necromancers evil? No. But does (Britannian) society perceive them as evil? Yes.

    So could one be roleplaying a Paladin who dabbles in the 'Dark Art' in an effort to master death and bring back his murdered wife? Absolutely. Some of the best literature is written about tragic and sometimes misguided heroes with good intentions.

    Ultima Online is all about customization. Roleplaying isn't pigeonholing yourself into a set of prepared D&D Classes. D&D sucks. If I wanted that I would be playing Warcraft.
  24. RaDian FlGith

    RaDian FlGith Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Jun 19, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I dinnae what th' bloody 'ell yer on about wi' all this "correct spellin' an' punctuation" garbage... it would bloody well get in th' way o' m' accent if I 'ad t' follow that kind o' rule. *wink*
  25. Omnius

    Omnius Crazed Zealot
    Stratics Veteran

    May 27, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I'm a roleplayer and a pvper. The last time I met any real roleplayers in sizable groups was on siege shortly before AoS.

    Now people roleplay silly thing that are totally imagination based. completely forgetting that roleplaying in UO usually involves more UO that imagination.
  26. Fat Midnight

    Fat Midnight Visitor

    Nov 25, 2009
    Likes Received:
    If you consider having virtual sex in a virtual shower Rping... then I have Rped in the past 5 years.
  27. Fink

    Fink Guest

    Roleplay shouldn't mean reciting someone else's words verbatim. I would be bored to death. If I felt imagination should give way to strict and unyielding canon, I'd read a book instead. There are plenty of worlds and stories crafted with greater imagination and truer fidelity unto themselves than UO's current mess. SA got it back on track to an extent, but where they thought they were going with ML is a mystery.

    That isn't to say UO's not a great framework. Some of my most cherished characters come from sources other than the Ultima lore, and making them work within Sosaria is an appealing challenge. Some have belief structures outside of the Virtue system (wherever that went), some are pulled from different time periods, and others still are from different worlds entirely. None of these concepts are entirely alien to UO, but none of the ways I've applied them are strictly canon either.
  28. Babble

    Babble Guest

    From the setting UO is the one of the best roleplaying games.
    Maybe NWN is better as they support tools for their community.

    Hmm anyone agree that UO's future would have been its past?
    As I bet we will see more virtual worlds where animals evolve (probably get stronger or smarter the longer they are ingame), People will have more control over their surroundings/land and such things.

    Partly UO had those and well 15 years later the gaming industry might try such things again.
  29. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Yeah, the future of all MMOs have to go this way. That's the "next gen". Everything else is just variations of what's been done in single player games. MMOs are a massive social environment, and it's the "social" that's missing, not much more than chat rooms and pen pals at the present.

    I don't think that the industry has figured out how to do it though. Some few individuals might have some ideas, but as a whole they don't seem to "get it".

    Those people at the beginning of UO had great ideas, but time didn't allow them to get it all in the game. And since then they've been sort of absorbed into the industry and those ideas have been put in the deep freeze.

    The masses came along. I mean the huge masses of players who don't know anything else but single player games. But they're getting bored with it too, they know deep down that there's "something more", but they don't know how that can be done either. But the industry is slipping. New games made the same way are failing. Because the gamers are starting to not buy into the hype anymore. They keep calling for "something different", fall into the same pit that Devs do by thinking that a few changes, a few new ways of doing the same ol', same ol', is what they want. Then they find out it isn't. They go back to WoW, where they are developed and don't have to do all the same repeating wash and rinse cycles again, and wait for "new content". And are still looking for that "something different".

    There needs to be a new way to play these games. The single player build is old, and lacking for a massive social environment. Players sense this. Devs sense this. Many have the overall ideal of where it needs to go. Very few understand how to make it work.

    To make it work, the power structures of the hardcore player has to be removed. They don't want this, of course, they like it the way it is. But message boards are dominated by them just as the games are. Until that happens, though, nothing more can be done. Once it does happen, that's when the social environments can evolve. That's when all the other things that go along with it can move forwards. And it will happen some day, it's just the question of how long it's going to take for someone with the money and expertise to make it happen.