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Old 03-15-2008, 10:18 AM   #1
RP Kris
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Lightbulb RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

I've played MUDs for years for one reason - role playing. To me if there isn't enforced roleplaying on a MUD I would better serve my time playing a graphical console, computer, or online RPG game. My grave frustration over the years has been the sheer number of MUDs that claim they are "RP Enforced" or "RP Mandatory" that do not have enforced environments. For example, here on TMS 346 games are listed as RP Mandatory and I can guarantee that the vast majority of those games are misclassified from personal experience. Actually, I think I need to clarify.

A game administrator can create rules that state all characters must RP. They can in their heart of hearts want a game that people stay in character, but if that rule is not ENFORCED by the game administration and the player base itself then "RP Mandatory" means nothing. It tells me nothing. I don't care about the rules or what a creator wants a game to be, as much as I care about what a game actually is.

In all my years of MUDing I have never found an accurate list of MUDs that have an RP enforced environment. Maybe I am asking for something that the vast majority of Mudders don't care about, but I know there are more people out there like me. There are certain features that I prefer on games, but even if a game was created with all the other features I desire if it doesn't have a rich RP environment I wouldn't play it.

There have been many times over the years that I have almost given up on MUDs completely because it has been too time intensive to try to muck through all the "RP Enforced" and "RP Mandatory" claims to find games that the vast majority of the player base are devoted to staying in character.

So I guess my question is this... Does anyone else see the need I do in the MUD community to identify games that have RP rich environments?

Last edited by RP Kris : 03-15-2008 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

I don't know if you've been reading the RPI threads right next to this one...maybe try the RPI network?

Also, I'm curious what you're looking for. Are you looking for a mud with coded systems and RP? That would suggest a RPI. Few coded systems and RP? That would suggest a RP mush instead. Just straight RP? For that I would start looking at IRC and play-by-chat games. In-depth, detailed RP not necessarily synchronous? Then a LJ or play-by-post game would be in order. The field of text games is very broad, and something other than a 'mud' might suit you better.
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:59 PM   #3
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

I had the same problem looking for a new MUD about four years ago. Nearly every one I tried that said they required roleplaying did not actually require it in practice. I found one that did finally. RPI would probably be a good bet but I was looking for a setting that none of the listed RPIs were supporting, so that didn't work in my case. Besides, I couldn't care a whole lot less about details like global channels, listing levels, etc. as long as the actual interaction is through a character's perspective.

But yes. I wish there was a way to require people to describe their games with some accuracy.
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:20 PM   #4
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

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Originally Posted by Ide View Post
I don't know if you've been reading the RPI threads right next to this one...maybe try the RPI network?

Also, I'm curious what you're looking for. Are you looking for a mud with coded systems and RP? That would suggest a RPI. Few coded systems and RP? That would suggest a RP mush instead. Just straight RP? For that I would start looking at IRC and play-by-chat games. In-depth, detailed RP not necessarily synchronous? Then a LJ or play-by-post game would be in order. The field of text games is very broad, and something other than a 'mud' might suit you better.
This thread isn't about me finding a MUD at this point, it is to open up discussion about how difficult it is to weed through claims to find RP enforced environments. I don't feel the RPI network meets this requirement because by their own admission these games aren't classified solely by RP enforcement but also by game features they are seemingly still trying to identify (based on recent threads). A game doesn't have to be an RPI to be RP enforced and have a rich RP environment. I'm also not talking about play-by-chat or play-by-post games as they are vastly different from MUDs and have their own seperate communities.

I'm also recognizing that there could possibly be other networks or web communities out there that accurately identify these RP enforced games. If there is I have never run across them. This is also not a bash of TMS. They have been a great resource for the web community. I've just not found "RP Mandatory" searches of MUDs to be very accurate. I worry that the community as a whole is going to lose present roleplayers and not gain new roleplayers because from experience, finding a new RP enforced MUD often feels like finding a needle in a haystack.
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:28 PM   #5
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

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Originally Posted by RP Kris View Post
This thread isn't about me finding a MUD at this point, it is to open up discussion about how difficult it is to weed through claims to find RP enforced environments.
Yes, but that was my point, apologies for not coming out straight and stating it. How do you identify a RP-enforced game when that clearly means different things to different people? My evidence is the incredibly diverse range of text games, not just muds, that are all 'RP games'. It seems mis-guided to me to think there is some uniform standard.


edit:

Quote:
There have been many times over the years that I have almost given up on MUDs completely because it has been too time intensive to try to muck through all the "RP Enforced" and "RP Mandatory" claims to find games that the vast majority of the player base are devoted to staying in character.
Here is an example of what I mean by 'different things for different people'. Staying in character is not the only means of RPing.

Last edited by Ide : 03-15-2008 at 01:34 PM. Reason: explain moar
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Old 03-15-2008, 02:17 PM   #6
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

"RP Enforced" has been misused for years in my opinion. Many of the games that claim themselves to be RP enforced in reality are RP encouraged. These are the things a game would need to have for me to personally consider them "RP Enforced" and certainly can be debated:

1) Robust Game Design - The game is designed to create another world. Even if aspects of the game are simililar or based on fictional or real world aspects, the game attempts to create its own seperate reality with it own cultures, governments, organizations, important/famous people, races, and so on.

2) Clearly defined Areas - Channels and areas are clearly defined as IC (In Character) or OOC (Out of Character). The IC channels and areas are the main focus of the game.

3) RP Characters - Players adopt roles with their characters. These characters have their own histories and experiences that motivate their actions. Players create characters that are consistent with the "reality" of the game world and strive to act, speak, and react in ways that are consistent with their own character concept.

4) Themed Character Names - Character names are required that compliment the RP environment. This includes restricting names to those that characters in the game world possess. Names are restricted to being real names of the game world vs. nicknames common to the internet world.

5) Staying in Character - Players stay "in character" throughout the game with their speach and actions unless they are communicating in a manner clearly identified as being OOC and is acceptable by game rules as being OOC.

6) Enforcement - Game administration and staff take corrective and/or disciplinary actions with individuals that do not stay in character or do not create characters that fit in the context of the game world.

Effectively the game has to first be made to create an RP environment or game world, it has to clearly define the line between the real world (OOC) and the game world, and it has to protect the integrity of that game environment. A game can't honestly call themselves RP Enforced if they haven't created a seperate RP environment in the first place and/or they don't take daily action to protect the RP environment they have created.

Last edited by RP Kris : 03-15-2008 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 03-15-2008, 02:19 PM   #7
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

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Originally Posted by Ide View Post
Yes, but that was my point, apologies for not coming out straight and stating it. How do you identify a RP-enforced game when that clearly means different things to different people? My evidence is the incredibly diverse range of text games, not just muds, that are all 'RP games'. It seems mis-guided to me to think there is some uniform standard.
RP Enforced for me means the following:

1) In character at all times. That means no exceptions for communication between players that occur within game such as tells or private channels. It also means that there are no OOC designation tags for players to use while interacting within the game. For example, none of this:

You tell Bubba: OOC Hold on a second, I gotta go pee.

2) Administrators have created rules to govern the roleplay of the world. The guidelines are set, and they are heavily enforced. For example, the game lore states that church of light and church of dark (generalizing) are deadly enemies. Two players decide to ignore this because their characters are "in love". Other characters involved vehemently oppose this union and roleplaying ensues. The two players ignore these other characters and blissfully keep mudboinking. It becomes obvious that this isn't an RP plot and that the characters are together for OOC reasons. Admin steps in and resolve this issue either IC or OOC. In other words, your environment is enforced in addition to having the rules.

RP mandatory to me means that the admins want you to roleplay, but they make exceptions and allow things like OOC tags and such. The game is meant to foster RP, but it's not enforced by the playerbase or the administrators.

No clue if I have the right interpretations or not.
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Old 03-15-2008, 02:44 PM   #8
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

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Originally Posted by Mina View Post
RP Enforced for me means the following:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mina View Post
RP mandatory to me means that the admins want you to roleplay, but they make exceptions and allow things like OOC tags and such. The game is meant to foster RP, but it's not enforced by the playerbase or the administrators.
That sounds like "Encouraged" to me.

TMS lists the RP options as "None", "Accepted", "Encouraged" and "Mandatory", while TMC lists them as "Non-Roleplaying", "Accepted", "Encouraged" and "Enforced". As a result, I've always assumed that "RP Enforced" and "RP Mandatory" were intended to be equivalent to each other.
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:46 PM   #9
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

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Originally Posted by Mina View Post
RP Enforced for me means the following:

1) In character at all times. That means no exceptions for communication between players that occur within game such as tells or private channels. It also means that there are no OOC designation tags for players to use while interacting within the game. For example, none of this:

You tell Bubba: OOC Hold on a second, I gotta go pee.

I think at the bare guts of this point you and I agree. The only thing that I will say is that sometimes the acceptable way for someone to send an OOC message on an RP enforced game is an OOC tell. One of the MUDs that I played didn't have any OOC channels and telepathy or tells was restricted, but if you had to send an OOC message to someone you could use an OOC whisper by game rules. You had to identify that it was OOC in the message and you weren't allowed to use them to hold long conversations. I do think that such things can sometimes be a slippery slope since it could be used as IC the majority of the time and OOC on rare occasions. It might be better for the game designers to code the some type of OOC tells or whispers that are to be used only in such cases that OOC communication is necessary. Such a thing would likely cut down on confusion and abuse.

The most important clarification to me is that any OOC communication is clearly delineated as such, only done in a way deemed acceptable by the game administration, and doesn't have a grave impact on the RP environment.

Last edited by RP Kris : 03-15-2008 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:47 PM   #10
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

I agree with Kavir. "Enforced" and "mandatory" are pretty much the same thing (albeit spelled differently *grin*). But I do agree with the original poster as well when he points out the sheer amount of misinformation that is employed by so many MUDs. As the recent discussions regarding RPI have pointed out, terms originally intended to mean one thing are quickly adopted, sometimes without even a shred of similarity, and used by games for reasons that could be described as widely ranging from ignorance as to the meaning of the term to downright attempts at deceit.

I've said it countless times that the community needs to be more dedicated to holding MUDs accountable for being honest about their features. The result of the dishonest ways in which MUDs describe themselves is the very problem that seems to be faced by the original poster: frustration.

Instead of worrying about coddling MUDs and MUD owners by not challenging their use of misleading descriptions and assessments of their games, the community's efforts should be on providing a clear and helpful means by which players can find the game that suits their needs. I'm a hardass on the topic no doubt, but I think games that attempt to deceive potential players should be booted from the community or even placed on a "Liar's List" so to speak, a list of MUDs identified as using dishonest attempts to misclassify their features. Granted, given the degree to which many MUDs exagerrate their qualities, the list might very well grow rather large. Terms like "roleplay enforced", "original world", and "RPI" are so abused by the community that sometimes I think there might be more MUDs not resembling their own descriptions than MUDs that do.

And that's just a disgraceful mark on the community as a whole for not trying to put a stop to it. After all, every MUD which turns off a player by attempting to deceive them means the possibility that the said player will abandon text-gaming altogether or, worse yet, have nothing but unflattering words for the medium as a whole.

Take care,

Jason

Last edited by prof1515 : 03-15-2008 at 04:00 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:58 PM   #11
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

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Originally Posted by RP Kris View Post
I think at the bare guts of this point you and I agree. The only thing that I will say is that sometimes the acceptable way for someone to send an OOC message on an RP enforced game is an OOC tell. One of the MUDs that I played didn't have any OOC channels and telepathy or tells was restricted, but if you had to send an OOC message to someone you could use an OOC whisper by game rules. You had to identify that it was OOC in the message and you weren't allowed to use them to hold long conversations. I do think that such things can sometimes be a slippery slope since it could be used as IC the majority of the time and OOC on rare occassions. It might be better for the game designers to code the some type of OOC tells or whispers that are to be used only in such cases that OOC communication is necessary. Such a thing would likely cut down on confusion and abuse.
Role-Play Intensive MUDs employ the features and policies you're describing as do many, if not most, Role-Play Enforced MUDs. But you're right when you say that the selection of themes/settings in RPIs is rather limited. It's a small niche community and variation on a theme (fantasy, usually medieval fantasy) tends to dominate settings. There are several in-development games which attempt semi-historical settings but none are ready for play at this time, including my own.

The best advice I can give you is to resign yourself to trying as many games as you can and to take most descriptions with a grain of salt. I know it's frustrating and tedious but it's still the best means available.

Good luck in your search and take care,

Jason
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:23 PM   #12
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

I'm pretty much in agreement with Kris on what I expect from "RP Mandatory/Enforced". I expect that it means that you are not allowed to speak or act OOC unless it's through a separate and clearly defined process that does not mix or interfere with the character portrayal and scenes in progress (in other words, there can be an on-stage and off-stage as long as when someone's on stage, they never drop character.) I expect the staff and players to enforce this.

"RP Encouraged" to me means you can drop character anytime you want since there's no rule to the contrary, but the game is designed to allow RP and there's an unspoken (and often unrealized) preference to portraying a character instead of talking about the last Mets game. I usually find that players will walk all over this kind of game and turn it totally OOC but that's just my opinion.

I think people often get way too wrapped up in system specifics rather than ultimate goals when discussing this distinction. I don't care how the separation of IC and OOC is maintained, as long as it is indeed maintained, and people can roleplay their scenes without confusion and interruption.
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:21 PM   #13
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Re: RP Enforced or RP Mandatory MUDS

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I think people often get way too wrapped up in system specifics rather than ultimate goals when discussing this distinction. I don't care how the separation of IC and OOC is maintained, as long as it is indeed maintained, and people can roleplay their scenes without confusion and interruption.

Amen! There is more than one way to create an RP enforced environment.
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