Pushing The Limits: Extending Lifespans
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
There comes a time in every MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) player’s life when the idea of grinding and PVP becomes momentarily unbearable. Daily quests, interacting with guild mates, continuous raiding annoy the hell out of you due to their repetitive nature. When a player explores a game thoroughly, to a point where there’s nothing left to do, you can’t help but want to extend the game’s lifespan by providing a series of gimmicks that will help it seem brand new— or in a way, just different. This is where idea of roleplay, and other player-based features kick in. By that I mean a roleplaying server does not really differ from the rest. The only difference between the RP ones and the regular servers is its player base.
Roleplay: The base
When extending the limits, this is perhaps the farthest you will get. Roleplaying encourages people to completely personify their characters in the game; filling in information regarding their toon’s likes, dislikes, as well as their own personality. When you think about it, were these games actually designed to promote this form of usage? And if it does, does it actually help prolong the game’s replayability? For the roleplayers’ that would be a big yes. Unlike the average login-and-level playstyle, roleplaying takes players through a whole new form of immersion, giving them responsibilities and duties that literally turn the game into another dimension where players live their pseudo-second life.
Does it help?
Yes it does! Not only does it help people make use of the lore and the rich history of the game,it also helps lure in the hardcore players who have been there before the digital auto calculating stat points. In order to prove this theory, we’ve created a character in one of the roleplaying servers provided by World of Warcraft. Surprisingly, most of these people have become too immersed, with an orc talking like your average school bully.
“Crush you now!!!! Gark crush all!!!!”
Unlike your regular PVE or PVP server, people in this realm level slow. Being the regular player that I am, I asked around to find out why these people seem to enjoy moving around at a lower level. According to them (during our off-game interview), the essence of the game is the experience (not the one that levels you up) attained through your adventures. It will take you a long time to get to level 80 with all the drama in store for you, so it’s best that you enjoy the storyline and enrich your character’s timeline.
Game machinima: Illegal Danish
Effects on the game
To be honest, the game felt a lot different after I struggled through the lands of Azeroth with this playstyle. It literally felt like I was surrounded by living, breathing creatures from the game, like the whole game became NPCs that interacted in the most advanced manner. Certain “Classes” are also born through this mode, like: beggars, apprentices (the RP form of Noob), wanderers, etc. It really gives players a form of individuality, allowing them to act their part as characters of the game. The scenario literally felt like an adventure with you as the main character (in your own perspective). Taking enemy bases felt much more rewarding than it used to be, with confetti, and of course… the JUSTICE of planting our banner to state that the territory was now ours.
Wait! That’s not right!
Roleplaying does not only break the game’s linearity but most of its rules as well. As you may know, WoW is a story about 2 factions in the depths of war. Technically, this means that these two factions are not capable of working together, the same way they cannot understand each other. While working on a quest with an RP (roleplay) buddy, we were ambushed by a group of raiders from the enemy faction. Usually, we would be dead one second after being spotted; instead, these players took their time and performed actions like “looks at you” and “laughs at you”. Aware of how far we would have to walk to get back to our soon to be corpses, we tried our luck by communicating with the group. After a series of begging and kneeling, the raiders declared a truce and left us in peace. WHAT THE HELL? Soon after that, the group would just wave every time we passrd each other, telling some of their allies to leave us alone. Cross-faction allies? Weird.
Even though it’s an RP server, one of the biggest problems on this side of the game is the players who don’t seem to know where they are. Some players on the server were not roleplaying, which made some of the players a bit conscious (I mean it’s really geeky to RP to begin with). Some talked the same way they would in real life, greeting us with “Yo!” and “sup?”. We try our best to stay in character, but it just felt silly to interact with someone who’s not playing the same way we were.
Love blooms: Wow… that’s extreme
Believe it or not, players actually RP love in the game. While moving through the ruins of the Eastern Plaguelands, I stumbled across a part of the area where two of my faction members were roleplaying a love-scene as I watched from afar. The two were slowly undressing their characters as I watched. Meanwhile in real life, I couldn’t help but laugh at what I saw… but if the show must go on, I just executed a line (“my apologies… have you seen a human around here?”) and went on my merry way. LOL! I’ve also heard about a server that has their very own bordello in the game. This by far is a feature that’s out of the game’s capabilities, but if you know your medieval history, you’ll see that your Tailoring and Blacksmithing aren’t the only things that can earn you gold LOLOL!
It was fun, really. I actually found myself logging in more often than before, as I was given duties and responsibilities to uphold in my new RP guild. It really is a bit more extreme than usual, but with that given taste, it’s definitely something that will get you hooked further. Love, war, interaction, everything seems different when you look at it through a roleplayer’s eyes. The lore is richer, and the objectives aren’t that linear. When things are getting dull… all it needs is your personal touch, I suppose. 😉