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Old 09-02-2010, 12:54 PM   #21
DonathinFrye
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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Originally Posted by scandum View Post
I'd have to agree, though the RPI genre remains somewhat elusive to me. I think hard fiction is better suited for a MUD where being in character is mandatory as to not break the immersion for others, but roleplay itself, most notably the pressure for one to be sociable at all times, is not the main focus of the game.

Atonement has an interesting setting, is it inspired by Heinlein's Orphans of the Sky?
Atonement's definitely inspired by good science-fiction, in general, though not really Orphans of the Sky. It's ALPHA setting was an original concept; though the storyline is entirely original, it has been most notably influenced by novels like The Stand, All that Rises Must Converge, Total Recall, The Stars My Destination, and a lot of Post Apocalyptic short fiction - and movies like Mad Max/Beyond Thunderdome.
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:26 PM   #22
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

I don't know. I've played Armageddon off and on for years. When I leave it has more to do with not having time to mud than any decline in quality. Like everything there are some peaks and valleys. Overall Armageddon has improved in more ways than it has declined.

I'll probably continue to try new RPI's as they come out. I like to support that sort of endeavor. I think that Don has done a really excellent job with Atonement.

I'll be interested to see the next generation of RPIs. I'll probably even try some of them.
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:09 PM   #23
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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I don't know. I've played Armageddon off and on for years. When I leave it has more to do with not having time to mud than any decline in quality. Like everything there are some peaks and valleys. Overall Armageddon has improved in more ways than it has declined.

I'll probably continue to try new RPI's as they come out. I like to support that sort of endeavor. I think that Don has done a really excellent job with Atonement.

I'll be interested to see the next generation of RPIs. I'll probably even try some of them.
Do you only play that genre when you have time or do you dabble into other MUDs as well? And thanks for the insight on your choices.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:40 PM   #24
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

Yes, I only play RPI's. I've never been a very good gamer, unless you count bridge. For me, mudding is collaborative storytelling without the hard work of editing.
I don't like mushes for a few reasons a) I think mud code provides a more seamless and solid structure to work in
B) My writing style tends to be more terse than that I've seen on mushes
C) I think muds are scarier. The danger when it comes comes quickly.
D) I don't like ooc. I want my ooc communication completely partitioned from my immersive experience.

Of course I've only played one mush.

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Old 09-04-2010, 02:58 PM   #25
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

I started out on RPIs (SoI, Armageddon, Harshlands), but after a few years I found that I don't like them. In fact, I think they have limitations that make them less enjoyable for some people than other kinds of games.

The limitations of the code (especially the clumsy and limited speech/emote code) on the RPIs I played made "immersion" impossible for me. Having to justify eating for the third time in the middle of a scene, having to type in exact commands in order to see someone's misspelled text approximation of what "crafting" an object should look like, and not being able to slow actions down enough to emote something interesting and personal in the midst of the game's stock emits gets old very fast. I think that code is vital for conflict resolution, but for me attempts to code a simulation of reality on RPIs always come off as the worst of both worlds: not real enough to be believable, and not game-like and silly enough to be enjoyed just for themselves.

Also, in time I found the "no OOC" rules on most RPIs to be major irritants. They do not help people stay "immersed" in the game. Instead, those who want to cheat do it outside the game where they're less likely to be caught, while those who have trouble distinguishing play time from real life and their characters from themselves find institutional support for indulging in all sorts of whacked out self-insertion and OOC dramatics in response to IC events. Moreover, not being able to simultaneously interact with the player as well as the character takes out a lot of the fun for me. I still don't like a lot of OOC chatter, but a little bit of OOC communication at the time can make scenes more challenging and more enjoyable. At its best, there is more of a sense of playing for each other when you can have that sort of communication. RPIs--especially ones where the culture encourages "solo RP" for crafting/practicing in order to advance skills and levels--feel a lot more like playing by myself, but with additional "RP" restrictions that prevent me from just playing with the environment for the fun of it.

One final thing about supposedly keeping OOC completely out of the game: If I find out on a MUSH or MUX that almost every one of the powerful and influential characters in the game is the alt of a staff member and that each member of staff has three, four, or more alts, experience tells me that I want to run for the door as fast as I can. Because there's not that sort "OOC secrecy" on those games, I can usually find out pretty quickly if that's the case; frequently, I can find out without even logging in. However, it was only when I became staff on an RPI after nine months of playing that I discovered that was the case and that one of the main staff duties was to hang around invisible in public areas waiting for swat people for whispering OOC stuff like "I'm going to go out and fight the X later, want to come?" to each other. That's not the atmosphere in which I want to play, and it's the one that IC/OOC separation can foster. At least on more open games, problems are much less easily hidden and not justified under some rubric of "immersion" or "role playing."

I know play on much more lightly coded MUSHes/MUXes (with some brief forays into heavily coded MOOs like Hell just for the fun of it), and I have a hard time imagining going back to the restrictions of an RPI MUD.
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:55 PM   #26
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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Originally Posted by jackal59mo2 View Post
I started out on RPIs (SoI, Armageddon, Harshlands), but after a few years I found that I don't like them. In fact, I think they have limitations that make them less enjoyable for some people than other kinds of games.

The limitations of the code (especially the clumsy and limited speech/emote code) on the RPIs I played made "immersion" impossible for me. Having to justify eating for the third time in the middle of a scene...
That's interesting. I didn't think any of those games had that lame eat you are hungry code.

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Also, in time I found the "no OOC" rules on most RPIs to be major irritants. They do not help people stay "immersed" in the game. Instead, those who want to cheat do it outside the game where they're less likely to be caught, while those who have trouble distinguishing play time from real life and their characters from themselves find institutional support for indulging in all sorts of whacked out self-insertion and OOC dramatics in response to IC events. Moreover, not being able to simultaneously interact with the player as well as the character takes out a lot of the fun for me. I still don't like a lot of OOC chatter, but a little bit of OOC communication at the time can make scenes more challenging and more enjoyable.
This is why some limited OOC channels are available on NWA which are completely tunable so if you want you don't have to hear any OOC chatter at all. I have found that no OOC channels or communication at all leads directly to IRC clients and all those players use that instead which is basically the same thing. This is an ongoing argument about such limitations, but if you think about it, in a game, you have to have some methods or areas of breaking character to fix problems or deal with issues. Even in theater there is a backstage.

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One final thing about supposedly keeping OOC completely out of the game: If I find out on a MUSH or MUX that almost every one of the powerful and influential characters in the game is the alt of a staff member and that each member of staff has three, four, or more alts, experience tells me that I want to run for the door as fast as I can. Because there's not that sort "OOC secrecy" on those games, I can usually find out pretty quickly if that's the case; frequently, I can find out without even logging in. However, it was only when I became staff on an RPI after nine months of playing that I discovered that was the case and that one of the main staff duties was to hang around invisible in public areas waiting for swat people for whispering OOC stuff like "I'm going to go out and fight the X later, want to come?" to each other. That's not the atmosphere in which I want to play, and it's the one that IC/OOC separation can foster. At least on more open games, problems are much less easily hidden and not justified under some rubric of "immersion" or "role playing."
This happens alot. The fast way to find the truth in a permadeath game is look at who has never died and bingo you've got your answer.
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Old 09-05-2010, 02:30 PM   #27
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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I have found that no OOC channels or communication at all leads directly to IRC clients and all those players use that instead which is basically the same thing. This is an ongoing argument about such limitations, but if you think about it, in a game, you have to have some methods or areas of breaking character to fix problems or deal with issues. Even in theater there is a backstage.
This is the unfortunate reality. I remember about 13 years ago when ICQ first became popular I said this would be a huge negative for roleplaying in MUDs. A few players argued vehemently against me, saying it was no different than people being able to pick up the telephone and call each other. Wow, how wrong they were.

Once you acknowledge and accept the fact that real time OOC communication is inevitable and unavoidable, it is better to support it INSIDE the game rather than force them to go outside. At least if they use it inside the game they might feel at least SOME motivation to keep it reasonable. Once you've sent them off to fend for themselves via IRC or IM, there is nothing to motivate them to keep it to a minimum or only to important OOC stuff. Then they start using it to outright determine the course of IC events.

Furthermore, having OOC chat channels really helps build community in the long run. It gives people a way to make friends with their fellow gamers even if their characters are enemies in game.
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:51 PM   #28
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

It seems quite a few posts in this thread aren't really relating to the original topic so I'm just going to skip through them to try and find relevant ones.

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I disagree with some of what Prof has said above. While real life and general disatisfaction with some RPIs have certainly driven off many great roleplayers/players over the years (the same could be said for any genre of MUD, by-the-by), there are always just-as-great players finding the genre and stepping up to become the RPI veterans of today and tomorrow.
One of the great disadvantages of the RPIs was the steep learning curve. However, one of the great advantages was the pool of veteran players and staff who knew a lot about the games and were able to assist new players through the learning period and transition them into the game. Inevitably good staff drift off for a variety of reasons as do good players but when the rate of departure far exceeds the influx of suitable replacements, you start to see a decline in the quality of instruction. Some players inevitably try to learn for themselves and while a few are successful, others are not. However, without anyone to

A few months back a friend sent me a link to the forums of one of the RPIs and asked if the information provided in a discussion was correct. I had to tell them that it was not. Worse, the incorrect information supplied to a new player was given by a staff member and a "leading" player. Just to be sure that things hadn't changed in-game since I'd played years ago, I dug around a bit on their site and found that the critical information pertaining to the question was still the same as it had been. In other words, the information provided to the new player by both a staff member and their clan leader was incorrect.

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Additionally, I'd challenge the concept that the best RPIs of today cannot hold a candle to the worst (or any) RPIs of the past. Shadows of Isildur had a hay-day in the old days of Osgiliath and Minas Morgul...
And being on staff during that time I can tell you it wasn't all it appeared to be. In fact, one of the reasons I resigned from staff was due to the increasingly immature playerbase. Sure there were players who were a joy to work with but there were also a torrent of twinks. But new players weren't the only problem. While the vast majority of my fellow staff members ranged from above average to excellent, there were also a few who were at best incompetant. Through a few old timers I've kept up on SoI over the years and some have even on occassion mentioned the identities of new staff though I'll be vague so as not to embarass them. While most have been unknown to me I've heard grumbling about a couple and at least one that shocked the hell out of me because while I was on staff this person was known as pretty much an incompetant twink. When I inquired if they'd matured I was told, "Not really." How, I asked, could they have made it on staff then? "The others were even worse," was the reply.

This is pretty much the exact same thing seen in the example I gave above. Good staff and players leave and if they do so in great enough numbers you end up with replacements who are not up to snuff but are the best that can be found. Compound this over years and you begin to see a marked decline.

Quote:
...and then another hay-day during the year of 2009 in which the Mines of Moria and Northlands existed
I don't know much about the Northlands but I find the claim about Moria to be suspect. The majority of former players and staff that I've talked to have cited the opening of Moria as low point of SoI. Mines of H&Sia, Mines of More H&S, Mines of Meh, Mines of Horrible are just a few of the nicknames I've heard for that area. Reasons for why this area was so bad have varied. Some have said that the staff running it weren't up to the challenge. Others have said that concept itself was the opposite of RPI, focusing on combat far too much which only further catered to H&Sers.

However, some have defended the design and staffing and cited the immaturity of the playerbase as the reason while others have said pretty much the same but charged that had the staffing been better they might have been able to deal with the unfortunate results. In any case, the verdict I've encountered in regard to Moria has been overwhelmingly negative and thus I find your citation of it as a heyday would only apply in regard to popularity or playerbase figures but those are not good indicators of quality RP.

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...unfortunately, those areas are now closed. I cannot speak to the olden days of ARM, but it still remains a quality game.
Arm has always been a mixed bag. Some of the best RP in some areas and little better than H&S in others. I've heard good things about the proposed Arm II or reboot or whatever it'll end up being so maybe that will turn out better.

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The ability for players to have complete control over the destiny of the entire gameworld...
Not yet having tried your game (I've learned from experience that beta, to say nothing of alpha, doesn't always present a fair representation of what a game will be like, especially after such a short development time, so I'd rather see it with the kinks worked out) but I can say I've never heard "complete control over the destiny of the entire gameworld" uttered by RPIs as a goal. Quite the contrary, while many PCs are often classified as the "special exceptions" characters on RPIs have always been part of a larger, well-developed world and thus complete control was not a reasonable or desireable expectation much less a goal.

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...create society themselves from the ground-up (literally - they all played amnesiacs) through organic roleplay...
What exactly is that supposed to mean? "Organic role-play"? I think I see what you're trying to say but that's not really anything difficult to achieve.

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...a society built upon mutual respect between players and staff, without the corruption and selfish administration that has chased off many great players from other RPIs.
I commend you if you can maintain this because that's been one of the great factors in driving off veteran RPI players, myself included.

Quote:
Infact, a lot of the old veterans who quit playing other RPIs were some of the most active and supportive members of our community during our ALPHA campaign.
I've had similar responses with regard to TSOY. A couple veteran players who have left RPIs for a few years now routinely message me asking about our progress while a few others that I hadn't even heard from in half a decade came out of the woodwork to inquire about TSOY. But that's just it. "Old veterans who quit playing other RPIs" is the very problem

Quote:
The challenge for the RPI community is not to allow apathy to cause us to stop taking chances, stop creating new games - and to re-integrate itself with the rest of the MUDing community. There's really no experience in any game, text-based or not, which is similar to an RPI. As long as there continues to be energetic new creators to re-imagine what RPIs are capable of, I really do not fear for the genre and its niche.
I'd take a completely different view of the situation. The problem is not RPIs failing to take chances, it's RPIs taking chances with the elements which made them appealing to their niche in order to attract a wider playerbase. The same philosophies that I criticized about SoI when I was on staff there continue to be prevalent today, namely the belief that more players means a better game or a more lax enforcement of the gameworld. More good players means a better game. A character application and a pulse isn't enough. Likewise, bending the game to accomodate a player or character, whether as a result of staff showing favoritism or simply not employing quality control, turns off those who play their characters within the game setting and with respect for it.
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:58 PM   #29
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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I think the steady decline of the size of the mud community has led to a scramble for players across all server types, and out of fear of losing precious newbies games are dumbed down, which in turn makes the veterans lose interest as it's all about them newbies, instead of what the actual players want.
The RPIs were never that large to begin with but the increase in their popularity in the last decade really is on account of exactly what you said, the dumbing down and lowering of standards.

"Playability" used to be a catch-phrase I despised (and still do) because it was used to justify all sorts of things in the name of broadening appeal. My position has always been that it's better to retain one good player than to gain ten poor ones at their expense. Sadly that position seems to have been increasingly the minority viewpoint.
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Old 09-05-2010, 10:26 PM   #30
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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My position has always been that it's better to retain one good player than to gain ten poor ones at their expense.
I think the above statement is pretty valid, but the questions I have are how do you define a good player, and where does this leave new players who start out as poor players but might one day become good players if provided with some guidance early on? Older, more experienced players will constantly drift away over time. Where do their replacements come from?
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:37 AM   #31
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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Furthermore, having OOC chat channels really helps build community in the long run. It gives people a way to make friends with their fellow gamers even if their characters are enemies in game.
This is very true. Community is important on an ooc level in a game. When you invite people over to play table top D&D you don't ask them to remain in character the entire night from the time they walk into the house (or do you?).
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:40 AM   #32
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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...how do you define a good player?
This is a huge argued point as well and very difficult to determine. For an RPI I supposed it is defined by who can follow the exact rules the game dictates. I define a good player by how much their roleplay contributes to the community vs. how much their roleplay contributes to themselves.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:50 PM   #33
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

"The sort of setting where you can throw a fireball, or summon food. But most people would find it more convenient to fire a crossbow, or bake a loaf of bread.

Is that the sort of thing that you're after? Or would the ability to throw the fireball at all, even if it comes up rarely, already be the deal-breaker?"

How about throwing a fireball to bake a loaf of bread?! J/k

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Old 09-06-2010, 06:10 PM   #34
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

In brief response to Prof's points:

1) When I speak to the hay-day of the Mines of Moria, I mean further along in its life, after the Northlands staff took it over. That is when it acquired greater regulation and began to attract better roleplayers. I will not disagree with being disappointed in its opening; I was chief amongst the staff with this train of thought at the time, which is why I took it over and changed it from the ground up. As with Angost, or with Atonement ALPHA, I suppose you would've had to played there to see for yourself.

2) It's a shame you didn't give Atonement's ALPHA-phase a shot. ALPHA didn't mean that it had a ton of kinks in it; rather, it meant that it was just the first step in our implementation of a vastly superior RPI Engine. Even as it was that early on in development, it was still far more advanced than other current RPIs in the way of code. I will not judge its roleplay and story here, because I experience obvious bias in my own work. I think that you should give BETA a go, once we open this Fall.

3) I don't think that you have to dumb down a game to attract players, and I don't think that you want to alienate newbies. As you suggested, the greatest help that you can give is to teach newbies and guide them along a path that will improve their roleplaying ability and general enjoyment of the game. That's what our staff does; we take an interest in our new players and their growth. We managed this even with our respectably-sized playerbase during ALPHA, and some of our newbies (who had never played an RPI before) were able to really immerse and enjoy themselves. My goal is to not "dumb down" Atonement and to avoid being elitist towards newcomers. So far, so good.

4) I do suppose we have two different views of what direction the genre should move in. My problem with the "old way of thinking" is that it favors an attitude where "veteran" players are more valuable than up-and-coming players. My experience tells me that this attitude leads to apathy, which causes projects, storylines and roleplay to eventually stagnate and not get accomplished. It's the attitude that I see in some burnt-out ex-admins/admins from other games, and it worries me. I can understand the point-of-view, but I just don't see how the problem can be solved from that point-of-view. That is why, if nothing else, I bring a fresh perspective to the cabal of veteran admins in the genre.
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:25 PM   #35
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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4) I do suppose we have two different views of what direction the genre should move in. My problem with the "old way of thinking" is that it favors an attitude where "veteran" players are more valuable than up-and-coming players. My experience tells me that this attitude leads to apathy, which causes projects, storylines and roleplay to eventually stagnate and not get accomplished. It's the attitude that I see in some burnt-out ex-admins/admins from other games, and it worries me. I can understand the point-of-view, but I just don't see how the problem can be solved from that point-of-view. That is why, if nothing else, I bring a fresh perspective to the cabal of veteran admins in the genre.
^ Just convinced me to try out your game once it opens (even though I was already thinking about it).

A+.
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Old 09-07-2010, 02:37 PM   #36
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

RPI's aren't what they used to be. None of them have the old feel of storytelling to them in my opinion. I remember when Armageddon used to enforce roleplaying but nowadays it just seems like it's not mandatory but encouraged.

You don't really find any the RPI's enforcing roleplaying because nobody wants to step on the player's toes and offend them. I think this is because they don't want to lose players. For example Arm's pbase is way bigger than it used to be but anybody who has played since the mid 90's can tell you that even though you run into players more often you don't run into as much storytelling.

I don't know maybe it's just my pessimistic viewpoint but nobody wants to "define" what good roleplaying is. And if you login to an RPI and never emote and just go around killing NPCs because you're a "hunter" then you won't get in trouble. I think that's wrong.
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Old 09-07-2010, 03:52 PM   #37
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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I don't know maybe it's just my pessimistic viewpoint but nobody wants to "define" what good roleplaying is. And if you login to an RPI and never emote and just go around killing NPCs because you're a "hunter" then you won't get in trouble. I think that's wrong.
I think what you are asking for is more of a MUSH than a MUD. I mean, the most fun I see happening is groups of 5 or 10 players of all types and guilds going out on large adventures and roleplaying through the whole thing. Camping, protecting, healing, strategizing, and telling stories. All in character. All based on racial (elf/gnome, etc) histories. All religious, political, and social. This is roleplay at it's finest and what I expect on NWA or any RP enforced game.

If you are simply asking for emotes and stories, then MUSH is what comes to mind to me.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:46 PM   #38
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

To approach the question on OOC chat channels and their affect on roleplay:

I agree that it is naive to believe that just because there are no OOC chat channels on a MUD means that nobody is sharing in-game information out-of-character. For me, I prefer an RPI to minimize OOC communication in the game to improve immersion for the players who are interested in staying entirely in-character. And just because OOC communication happens outside of a game client does not mean that it is impossible to investigate when problems arise. We make our position on what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior OOCly clear on Atonement, and a lot of it is common sense. The sort of gossip mongering and meta-gaming that can hurt roleplay is impossibly obvious to experienced staff members. We even offer an Atonement chat client on the website (which is, of course, logged). However, for top-notch immersion, I really do think that keeping OOC off of the game client makes a big difference in creating the sort of atmosphere that RPIs attempt.

As to any burnt-out ex-veteran RPI players who disagree with the way other games have gone over time, I challenge you to give Atonement a real shot. It is an entirely different experience than the other mainstream RPIs.
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:52 AM   #39
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

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Originally Posted by DonathinFrye View Post
To approach the question on OOC chat channels and their affect on roleplay:

...We even offer an Atonement chat client on the website (which is, of course, logged). However, for top-notch immersion, I really do think that keeping OOC off of the game client makes a big difference in creating the sort of atmosphere that RPIs attempt.
I see zero difference in an Atonement chat client and an chat channel on the game that may or may not be used as the player decides. In fact, I find a chat client even more disruptive as you are fully invested in an alternative window for jumping back and forth.

Would it not qualify as fully immersive if a player could tune every channel out in the game whether it be OOC or IC channels as a player sees fit? To me this is letting the player decide what they can or cannot handle.

Certainly you wouldn't ask a player to disconnect their phone, turn off the tv, don't answer their front door, ignore everyone around them, and put cotton in their ears prior to logging on to your game, lest something distract their immersion, right?
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Old 09-08-2010, 06:29 PM   #40
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Re: Veterans of Roleplay Intensive MUDs

We have players that do not browser hop, talk on chat-clients or watch television while they roleplay. For the sake of their immersion, I find it better to use an Atonement chat client. Every player can choose their own level of distractions no matter the design, but a personal preference for myself (and most RPI players) is to keep what happens in the MUD Client screen as immersive as possible.
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