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Old 04-29-2008, 01:17 PM   #1
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Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

I'm separating this so as not to derail a thread but the inaccuracies below bear pointing out.

First, we'll address a recent inaccurate "alternative" to the term RPI.

Quote:
AFS is no more of a flame than RPI, when in actuality RPI causes way more of a flame through its inherent misleading nature than AFS.
RPI isn't a flame. It's a historically used term. Creating another term that is inaccurate is not useful since it only serves to present false information which will further confuse. If you say SoI has Armageddon's feature set, then you'd be incorrect; likewise if you said the same about Harshlands.

Armageddon has its own feature set. Harshlands has its own feature set. Shadows of Isildur has its own feature set. For example...

One of the characteristics of RPIs is that they do not present players with precise information regarding skill aptitude. They all do not present this information the same way however.

Armageddon simply presents a skill without any indication of a character's aptitude at that skill. Everything is hidden.

Harshlands and its descendants utilize a very basic system featuring four (formerly three) terms to denote a general idea of skill aptitude without affording the player any precision whatsoever. The numbers are all hidden including skill caps.

Each finds a different method to present this information in vague terms, Armageddon's method being the most ambiguous. Regardless, they achieve the same effect by preventing players from ascertaining their precise ability. So, while employing different feature styles to achieve it, their goal and effect is the same: the prevention of players from ascertaining precise skill aptitude.

This is but one example of the differences in how they achieve a desired effect. The philosophy is the same, but the method differ. There are also other significant differences between the features of each, even more so at the time the term RPI was coined.

For example, Armageddon features ranged weapons. Until recently, Harshlands had no ranged weapon code. Even still, while they now have the code capability courtesy of Shadows of Isildur, it is restricted in its application in the game world. Shadows of Isildur dispenses with the typical inventory command by employing right and left hand slots for manipulation and storage of objects. Harshlands and Armageddon (at least at last check) both still employed a standard inventory. So, while each has some similarities, they also feature differences in their code which would make any attempt to denote their shared similarities confusing if a name were attached to it.

But they all share a set of some features even while differing in others. Games with these similarities were all called RPI. Obviously if the term was used to describe a small number of games with some similar features but not used to describe other games with different features, the term was being used in reference to an identification of these similarities. What were these similarities? They were the shared characteristics I listed in another thread, one of which was permanent death. That was what made them RPI.

Quote:
Let's not forget that these discussions all started because some player dared used this rather ambiguous term in the wrong way and got flamed for it.
They didn't get flamed. They were corrected in the hopes that more accuracy in their terminology might help them find what they were looking for. Asking for something when you mean something else is a good way to not get what you want. The flames started when people began to argue their opinion that anything could be RPI, an opinion that others, not to mention the historical record, dispute.

Quote:
Calling something an AFS is hardly declaring that they all have the exact same characteristics as Armageddon.
It's confusing because you're identifying a single game as the source of similarities when at least two games would be required to form a comparison. Other RPIs share at least 19 characteristics with Armageddon but even there differ in the means by which several are applied. Armageddon does things its own way. Harshlands did things its own way. Shadows of Isildur does things its own way. They share 19 characteristics but are each their own. That set of 19 characteristics leads each of them to possess similarities that make them distinct from most other MUDs. That difference from other MUDs led to the use of a term to describe them: Role-Playing Intensive or RPI.

Quote:
Rather, it means that they share feature choices that are similar to Armageddon. Otherwise, it wouldn't be Armageddon Feature Set, it'd just be Armageddon.
They also share distinct differences. Armageddon differs in numerous ways from the others. Saying that something is a Godwars style mud is neither a slam on Godwars nor a declaration that the game is just a rip off KaVir's original work. It's naming a very well known style of mud and paying KaVir a bit of tribtue on the side.[/quote]

In which case coming up with a new term after an established term already existed would be redundant. Additionally, if games which did not resemble Godwars started calling themselves "Godwars style", it would prove just as confusing and inaccurate as the present misuse of RPI by MUDs which do not possess the features that the term applies.

Quote:
You said it yourself that two of the original three AFSes were either Armageddon or a spin off.
No, I did not. I said that in addition to Armageddon and Harshlands, the third was derived from Harshlands. From one of Harshlands' other descendents, Shadows of Isildur, the code of the vast majority of RPIs is now descended. Additionally, a third (and a fourth and possibly fifth in development) RPI codebase came into existance years later separately derived from a H&S codebase.

As far as I know, Armageddon is the sole representative of its particular take on RPIs.

Quote:
I think the problem you're having here is that you somehow think that it's an insult to link hack n' slash muds or even the big MMOs to your preferred mud choice in some way.
I used to play H&S. There's a distinct difference between the two and a H&S calling themselves RPI would be a grossly inaccurate statement. Likewise, a RPI calling themselves H&S would be inaccurate too. So would be calling any H&S a RP-enforced. Or calling any particular type of game by a term used to describe a different type of game with features and characteristics that don't apply. It's just plain inaccurate if it's unintentional and downright dishonest if done deliberately.

Role-Playing Intensive, or RPI, is a term that was applied to a small number of MUDs. They were role-playing enforced MUDs. But they weren't the only role-playing enforced MUDs. There were others. A small group of them was singled out by the use of a specific term to refer to them: Role-Playing Intensive, RPI for short. What separated these games from other games that had required role-play?

Each RPI had numerous code changes from the base codes from which they were derived, so many changes that they barely resembled the codebases from which they started. They were gutted and existing systems were added to or replaced with completely new ones. Basic MUD concepts like experience points and levels were taken out altogether. But there was more than just code changes.

Different policy philosophies were employed. Some of these were practiced on other games, others were not. In most cases, code changes were made to support these policies whether it meant disabling global OOC channels for player use or eliminating the ability to simply enter a game without staff approval.

An examination of the first games to which the term applied reveals at least 19 characteristics shared by each of them. That's not to say they don't share other similiarities, but these are the code features and policies which are not dependent upon specific conditions which might be unique to that game's setting or theme beyond enforced role-play hence the term Role-Play Intensive.

(To avoid character limits, I'm continuing in the next post)
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:17 PM   #2
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

In examining the first games which were called RPI, the following similarities were found. This list is based in part off of my own study of the term which began in 2002 as well as discussions on various forums dating back at least as early as 2004.

Quote:
1. Strictly enforced in-character behavior (though this is not limited to RPIs alone as RPEs also by definition possess this).

2. No player-accessible global OOC channels.

3. Descriptive, generalized skill aptitude and attributes which prevent any precision in determinating.

4. Mechanics-based world for things like combat, manufacturing items, or understanding (or not) different languages.

5. Enhanced emote system that extends beyond the basic emote command found even in some stock codes.

6. Use-based advancement instead of "experience" or other point-based systems.

7. No experience points system.

8. No levels.

9. No classes as traditionally employed in MUDs which confine what a character can and can not do and which are used to categorize that character.

10. Permanent death. Not "soft" permadeath or other such concepts.

11. Detailed character creation and staff approval before entering game.

12. World design driven code. Each of the RPIs had code which was redesigned to meet their world design, not a world designed to meet the arcade-oriented code.

13. Description-based character identities. No names visible.

14. IC conditional PKing only. Killing for OOC reasons or just for fun limited and has consequences.

15. One character per player at a time: this is one of the things that needed refining since use of accounts has since become fairly standard on nearly all RPIs as a means of enforcing this but account systems were not common to all the founding RPIs when the term came into use (though accounts are now used by both the remaining original RPIs).

16. Objects use descriptions to determine quality or identity (no "Sword of Prof1515").

17. Detailed world design including historical, religious, political etc systems.

18. All rooms have descriptions.

19. No detailed who list. Info from a who command was limited to total online or removed entirely.
Now, can anyone add any other distinctive features common to the original RPIs, be it code or policy? What other distinct philosophies or code features were found on Armageddon, Harshlands, and its direct descendants? Were these features base features found in the original unmodified codebase? If so, how were they modified to make them distinct from other games using that codebase?

Please omit opinion from the discussion. This isn’t about what you, I, or anyone thinks is “best” or “superior” (or “worst” or “inferior” for that matter). This isn’t a discussion to throw in what you think or want the term RPI to mean. This isn’t a discussion on the quality of role-play found on a RPI or any other type of MUD. This is an examination of the original RPIs to try and discern as comprehensive as possible a list of features that would have been common to those games at the time in which the term RPI was coined to describe them.

Also, please refrain from personal attacks, character assassination, straw man arguments, videos, threats, or anything else which is not of analytical nature pertaining to the determination of the questions above. I might also go so far as to say that if you don’t have first-hand experience with RPIs you should avoid this discussion but there are numerous members of the community who possess knowledge on the topic and it would be both unfair and unwise to exclude their input and analysis.

Thank you.
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:47 PM   #3
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

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Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
Please omit opinion from the discussion.
Is this qualification only for posters that may disagree, as the posts in this thread already contain opinions? Just asking.
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:49 PM   #4
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

Note: This post is intended to clarify the source of the AFS term and why I created it. It is not to be taken as a chance to derail this thread. The purpose was to help alleviate the chance that people would argue the appropriateness of AFS.. or lack thereof.. since the original post did have a lot of things saying why it was not applicable.

Okay, since I kinda started the whole AFS thing, I think I should speak up. That term was coined merely as an example. I have little experience with the type of MUD in question, so I took the one that I have heard about the most.

Here is an excerpt from a post at another site that talks about what I was intending, and my thoughts on the term RPI.


(Excerpt begin)
I also want to state that I have nothing against the RPI muds. The only real problem is that the moniker is misleading for those that aren't accustomed to them. I honestly think that the best solution for the whole RPI mud debacle is to accept that the MUD community has evolved to where there are more games out there that do require RP, and are pretty intense about it. Thus the RPI moniker will continue to be used by them. Instead of fighting over who can use it, and it's actual meaning (you guys have to admit that it is a bit confusing for those not in the know so to speak), I would suggest actually taking those central core features that are seen in most (if not all) of the games you consider to be 'true' RPIs, and simply codify that into Such&Such Feature Set.

Allow RPI to stand for the quality & level of RP for the game. Keep the RPI tag to denote your RP playstyle, but also have a tag of Armageddon Feature Set (yes I know you don't all want to reference Aramageddon) or something. I only used AFS in my post to Jaz on TMS as an example.. didn't intend for it to continue really, lol. Simply find a generic one.. maybe RFS for Realism Feature Set or something.
(Excerpt end)

As has been said by everyone on both sides, the term RPI has been confusing and misleading as the MUD culture has changed. New comers to the scene have taken the term at face value. The AFS (note only using this to denote exactly the type of game.. not the Armageddon game soley) style play is designed to create an intensive roleplaying environment, which we can all agree is wonderful. However, there are other games which can generate an intensive roleplaying environment, but yet have a different take on the presentation.

That is why I feel the term RPI has become such a confusing term for people, and a major sore spot it seems. This is why, in my excerpt, I suggested letting RPI stand for the level and quality of roleplay, but that the AFS (again used solely just to differentiate) style people get together and design a new moniker that is labeled upfront with it's shorthand initials as a Feature Set. This, in the end, will help eliminate the trouble we are having today and stands a better chance at not being misconstrued in the future since it will not be vague or at the very least less open to debate as to its' meaning.

Last edited by ShadowsDawn : 04-29-2008 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 04-29-2008, 03:33 PM   #5
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

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Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
IPlease omit opinion from the discussion.
This is actually impossible, as the very term RPI is opinion. Trying to measure the "intensity" of RP, which is by definition wide open to vast individual emotion and creativity, is impossible. There's no factual way to do it, it can only be done by opinion. At best you could say "95% of role players agree that feature xxx makes their roleplay more intensive". It would still be a value judgement, but at least it would be one backed up by the majority of roleplayers.

However, by your description of how the term came about, it is clear that did not happen. There was no massive, representative poll of RPers. Instead a group of RPers on a small selection of muds that shared similar characteristics decided for everybody what defines intense RP. The sample size was small, and inherently biased. The methods used to decide what makes intense RP were not sufficient to make RPI a factual label, and I'd go so far as to say that there is -no- method that could possibly make such a label factual, because it by nature is open to individual opinion.

If you want to stop having arguements about it, stop using a label that by it's very nature is a value judgement. If you don't like AFS, find another label that isn't a value judgement instead.
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Old 04-29-2008, 06:06 PM   #6
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

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Originally Posted by Mabus View Post
Is this qualification only for posters that may disagree, as the posts in this thread already contain opinions? Just asking.
Mabus, you are a wealth of comedic introspection.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:32 PM   #7
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

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Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
First, we'll address a recent inaccurate "alternative" to the term RPI.
This is where the whole argument fails, as the basis of your logic is at fault in the argument.

You state that:
1) Part of my definition, before my recent modifications, is what has been accepted by a small group in the past.
2) A new definition has developed independent of this small group, and been accepted by a larger group recently.
3) Therefore others are wrong and my older, but now modified, definition is correct.

It is (partially) the logical fallacy of "Appeal to Antiquity".

I normally would not point out logical fallacies in an open public forum debate, as I believe that opinions matter and can be taken as a valid means of communicating. But since you asked that no opinions be used you have asked for a higher standard of debate.
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Old 04-29-2008, 11:39 PM   #8
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

Quote:
This is where the whole argument fails, as the basis of your logic is at fault in the argument.

You state that:
1) Part of my definition, before my recent modifications, is what has been accepted by a small group in the past.
2) A new definition has developed independent of this small group, and been accepted by a larger group recently.
3) Therefore others are wrong and my older, but now modified, definition is correct.

It is (partially) the logical fallacy of "Appeal to Antiquity".

I normally would not point out logical fallacies in an open public forum debate, as I believe that opinions matter and can be taken as a valid means of communicating. But since you asked that no opinions be used you have asked for a higher standard of debate.
I was not using the first part to validate the second part. I was attempting to address some misconceptions in earlier posts from another thread without derailing that thread.

The old version is not modified. It is not my definition. I am attempting to ascertain the original definition as it was at the time of its inception. The first part of my post was not being used to support the second. This was explained to you in the personal message. Please do not attempt to derail the discussion by veering from the questions posed. As I told you in the message, I'm not looking for a wish list definition, I'm not looking for people's personal preferences. I'm only looking for their thoughts on similarities between the first RPIs when the term was first applied to them, similarities which would have contributed to the identification of two different games being identified as the same and distinct from others.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:45 AM   #9
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

It's pretty simple. The oldschool ones, Armageddon, Harshlands, Forever's End started using it between them. Who started it? Who knows. The point is they chose RPI because it was true about the features they used as well as the roleplaying going on at the mud. I don't think anyone disputes the roleplay that takes place at RPI's, if you do well you're simply uneducated and inexperienced with the mud probably. Either way, SOI started using it and gradually it gained more and more exposure and fame, and a lot of roleplay muds I guess are starting to use it. Which obviously ****es us RPI players off to a certain extent, because we don't want the word that was originated from our muds to start being applied to every other "roleplay intensive" mud out there. Why? Because most RPI players like to see what else is out there, we want to experience the best roleplay and find MUDs that have the concept, meaning, and spirit of the original RPI's had and still have to this day.

The point is, we didn't want it to become what it has, it just eventually did I suppose. We want to be able to differentiate a true RPI from a fake one. Heh.
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Old 05-01-2008, 08:01 AM   #10
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

Quote:
we want to experience the best roleplay and find MUDs that have the concept, meaning, and spirit of the original RPI's had and still have to this day.
So the "best" roleplay is found at RPI muds? I dare ask the question with the risk of appearing 'uneducated'.
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Old 05-01-2008, 08:19 AM   #11
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

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Originally Posted by newbie View Post
So the "best" roleplay is found at RPI muds? I dare ask the question with the risk of appearing 'uneducated'.
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:29 AM   #12
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delerak View Post
The point is, we didn't want it to become what it has, it just eventually did I suppose. We want to be able to differentiate a true RPI from a fake one. Heh.
So come up with a less ambiguous acronym and use that instead. I don't know how many times this has to be said before it sinks in. Stop whinging that the original, ambiguous term got hijacked and deal with the future instead of complaining about how much better things were in the past.

Honestly, I don't even know how this discussion has lasted so long. The history of this should really have gone something like:

1 - RolePlaying Intensive term coined by players of original three "RPI" games.
2 - Term gets hijacked due to it being ambiguous in its meaning, despite intentions of original coiners, because no matter how much they say "it defines a set of features as well" there's no mention of that in the acronym.
3 - Original coiners go "Oops, I guess what the acroynm stands for could be used by other MUDs. Better come up with something that's not so easily used by any MUD that considers itself to have intensive roleplay."
4 - New term adopted.
5 - End of argument.

Instead we get thread after thread on here about this whole silly mess, with the same people on both sides arguing and flaming each other. I, and I think a few people on here will share this sentiment, am getting sick of the whole thing. As we all know hindsight is a wonderful thing, but so is the ability to know when obit's funny and oh-so-accurate dead horse photo is the reality and move on.
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:38 AM   #13
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
So come up with a less ambiguous acronym and use that instead. I don't know how many times this has to be said before it sinks in. Stop whinging that the original, ambiguous term got hijacked and deal with the future instead of complaining about how much better things were in the past.

Honestly, I don't even know how this discussion has lasted so long. The history of this should really have gone something like:

1 - RolePlaying Intensive term coined by players of original three "RPI" games.
2 - Term gets hijacked due to it being ambiguous in its meaning, despite intentions of original coiners, because no matter how much they say "it defines a set of features as well" there's no mention of that in the acronym.
3 - Original coiners go "Oops, I guess what the acroynm stands for could be used by other MUDs. Better come up with something that's not so easily used by any MUD that considers itself to have intensive roleplay."
4 - New term adopted.
5 - End of argument.

Instead we get thread after thread on here about this whole silly mess, with the same people on both sides arguing and flaming each other. I, and I think a few people on here will share this sentiment, am getting sick of the whole thing. As we all know hindsight is a wonderful thing, but so is the ability to know when obit's funny and oh-so-accurate dead horse photo is the reality and move on.
How about RRPI for Really Role Play intensive?

RPINRWMI Role play intensive-- no we really mean it!

You can label the mud anyway you want. You can give it any number of features, but in the end, it's really the players who determine the intensity of the roleplay that goes on, isn't it?
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:02 AM   #14
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

Oh here's one: RPITDASOFAW.

Stands for: RPI that defines a set of features as well.

You can shorten it to simply RPI.

Sounds familiar somehow, but it's got a nice ring to it.
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:50 AM   #15
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

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Originally Posted by Delerak View Post
It's pretty simple. The oldschool ones, Armageddon, Harshlands, Forever's End started using it between them. Who started it? Who knows. The point is they chose RPI because it was true about the features they used as well as the roleplaying going on at the mud. I don't think anyone disputes the roleplay that takes place at RPI's, if you do well you're simply uneducated and inexperienced with the mud probably. Either way, SOI started using it and gradually it gained more and more exposure and fame, and a lot of roleplay muds I guess are starting to use it. Which obviously ****es us RPI players off to a certain extent, because we don't want the word that was originated from our muds to start being applied to every other "roleplay intensive" mud out there.
Huh. Just like the term MUD. The MUDs you're talking about have gameplay that bears almost no resemblance to what the original MUDs had.

The term MUD evolved and you seem to be happy to use that to refer to games that aren't really anything like the original MUDs, but god forbid anyone did that with the term RPI. Does that about sum it up?

--matt
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:43 PM   #16
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
Honestly, I don't even know how this discussion has lasted so long. The history of this should really have gone something like:

1 - RolePlaying Intensive term coined by players of original three "RPI" games.
2 - Term gets hijacked due to it being ambiguous in its meaning, despite intentions of original coiners, because no matter how much they say "it defines a set of features as well" there's no mention of that in the acronym.
3 - Original coiners go "Oops, I guess what the acroynm stands for could be used by other MUDs. Better come up with something that's not so easily used by any MUD that considers itself to have intensive roleplay."
4 - New term adopted.
5 - End of argument.
QFT.

How about ALRP as a new term? (Armageddon-Like Role Play).
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Old 05-01-2008, 12:44 PM   #17
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

I've said it once, I'll say it again. This thread holds no weight until one of the three ORIGINAL MUD owners decides to drop by and weigh in on this concept. It is silly that other people are trying to describe the origin and meaning of RPI when they have nothing to do with the three original games.

BTW - Another good post Xerihae.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:42 PM   #18
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
Huh. Just like the term MUD. The MUDs you're talking about have gameplay that bears almost no resemblance to what the original MUDs had.

The term MUD evolved and you seem to be happy to use that to refer to games that aren't really anything like the original MUDs, but god forbid anyone did that with the term RPI. Does that about sum it up?

--matt
It doesn't matter. MUDs are a broad term that have been generally, widely, publicly used for two decades or more. RPI however was specifically being used by only a small group of muds, to say that it's the same is a poor analogy of sorts. Even though you make a good point, my point is that since it's the internet there's not much we can do about it first. Secondly it's just a word so I honestly don't care as much about it as others do, I just don't want to search RPI and find Achaea is all.
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Old 05-01-2008, 01:51 PM   #19
ShadowsDawn
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

Noooo!!! It's jsut a mispelling of LARP!! They can't have that, because I accidentally type that all the time when refering to LARPs (no joke either, just I usually catch it and correct it)

Sorry I couldn't resist!
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:03 PM   #20
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Re: Determining the Origin and Meaning of RPI

More or less retired mudder and former staff member of Armageddon weighing in here:

I think what tends to rankle the RPI crowd is that for a long time the RPI world was this little unpopular niche of the mudding community. For years, it was a self-referential term really only used among the players of certain games. Then, as the MMORPGs came along, more and more muds started trying to specialize in roleplaying, as it was something that text muds actually could do better than MMORPGs. First you saw the rise of roleplay enforced. Then you saw the rise of roleplay required. In the constant battle to gain players and one-up each other, other games started saying, "We're RPI" because that was seen as one step further than RPE. The RPI crowd (or at least those that care enough to actually engage in such debates) felt these interlopers were trying to steal their thunder (albeit, it's some pretty quiet thunder).

Anyway, that whole thing has been debated ad nauseum. It doesn't really matter to me, but I do think that some of the muds who are now claiming RPI are some of the same muds who check every feature box on their ads, because they're taking the "throw enough poo on the wall and see what sticks" approach to gaining players. And those same muds are the ones who make it almost impossible to have any sort of objective standards for categorizing muds.

Last edited by Bakha : 05-01-2008 at 02:22 PM.
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