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Old 11-24-2007, 07:27 AM   #1
Sergeytov
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System Rebels

This article was initially posted on the Jointhesaga.com forums at System Rebels - Jointhesaga Discussion Forums - The original post has only been altered so much as to clarify OtherSpace specific material for those who are not familiar with the game.

This 'article' or thread is about those characters who deviate severely from conventional theme. An alternative view is explained under Where are my Crayons by Brody. It is a couple years old, so thematic references could be out of date.

For those who played WoW, many of you know at higher levels you did not want your party's priest to be specced Shadow. (For the non-WoWers out there, Shadow specced priests are about doing damage, rather than healing, which is what most parties want a priest to do.) These 'unique and beautiful snowflakes' however, insisted what they were doing was right. To say they were wrong to spec Shadow was cruel and unfair. In some ways, those Shadow priests were right. It does suck quite a bit to hear about how you're 'playing your character wrong.' On the other hand, it should be noted that when playing in a group, especially one that requires tight teamwork and someone who can heal, that Shadow priest often doesn't fit in. What it comes down to is: If a priest were willing to play on their own, speccing Shadow worked just fine. In a group, however, Holy was the way to go.

It should be noted, most players specced Holy if they were playing a high level priest (I won't go into low level priests since most of the game is meant to be played at or near the level cap). The reason was twofold: One, other players used peer pressure to encourage priests to spec Holy, by accepting or withholding party invites. Two, the game's system itself encouraged Holy speccing, since the endgame of WoW was about grouping and raiding.

What does WoW have to do with a heavy roleplaying game like those we play? On this topic, plenty.

WoW, through a game system encouraged a certain kind of character, while allowing for other possibilities. In this case, Holy specced priests. Priests could heal very well, efficiently, and were unable to wear heavy armor, thus were put in the healing/spellcasting chair most of the time, if not always. In a heavy roleplaying game, this can mean the mechanics one interacts with in a game, or even just the staff approving or denying character applications. System applications are a good first step towards enforcement of what kind of characters are desired.

Secondly, are the players who play. In WoW this is a question of how one is specced and skilled. A roleplaying game has this too (screw projectile weapons, go energy pistol!) in certain quantities. More importantly, however, is the power of players to say certain character archetypes are not desired. If players are open about saying 'we don't want alien hugging Terrans', and believe that, then players are less likely to break the mold. This makes players a second line of defense.

Now, it should be noted, even for Holy specced priests, there were /plenty/ of options for how to spec, exactly. In other words, 'being holy specced' were the lines. How one specced Holy, exactly, was the coloring of a player. Were there cookie cutters? Yeah, but a given player could spec how they wanted to play, even if it were within these lines.

On a roleplaying game, this is like saying a race has four 'master attributes' to them. Let us take an example from the La Terrans (or Laters) of OtherSpace: Millennium as I have them in mind currently.
- Laters heavily discourage the use of psionics, and are not friendly towards the use thereof.
- Laters generally believe in Mikagis and the figures related to the institution
- Laters tend to have one or two saint figures that they worship, while being respectful towards other members of the pantheon.
- The concept of 'Separation of Church and State' is quite foreign to Laters. While the church does not rule over all aspects of life, it is quite prominent.

So there we have a list of four things. One could reasonably not abide by one of these master attributes and still be well within the lines, just like how even Holy Specced priests can have a few points in Shadow (and almost all Holy Specced priests invest in the third tree). This means we have a lot of variety between our priests. Laters, similarly, have a lot of variety. Lose any one of those premises and you have someone who stands out, but is still a member of the race.

The third point, about preferred saints, is like choosing what kind of Holy spec one has, or where the exact points are invested. Investing points in different things makes a very different character, choosing different saints means two Laters could follow all four master attributes and still be quite different.

The system also enforces what a La Terran is by their racial scaling, their receiving Psi Resistant as a gift, and the ability to buy the Psi Negator gift (which is the ability of a Later to actually turn psionics in an area 'off'), this is further noted by the inability of a La Terran to be born with psionic potential, or at least to develop it. This means, in theory, the system enforces certain beliefs, while others are left to players.

Lines can shift sometimes (for WoW analogy: Talent review, which changes skill trees and results of investment), on a roleplaying game this is done by IC changes over time. Lines can be colored outside, with consequences.

The lines are quite wide, however, and staying inside of them is quite a reasonable request. There may be changes over time that are slight that move the line a bit, but ultimately, those lines are what give theme meaning, and give us freedom to discover how we can creative color within those lines, rather than seeing how far outside of the lines we can go before we have to return to going inside the lines just to be different.
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