Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO ColumnRolecraft: Beyond the BarriersJim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO Column - RSS 2.0
Roleplayers are great at squeezing an MMORPG for all its worth, constantly striving to seek out new ways to enhance their game time. As a whole, they create means and methods of bringing a fresh look and feel into their games, and all us fellow roleplayers can often share in that, thereby allowing us to experience a different and inventive style of play in our own times. Besides a lack of imagination, there is little that can halt roleplayers in this endeavor.
Since we are dealing with computer-generated cyber worlds that are more than likely not our own creations, there are certainly roadblocks and speed bumps in these games that challenge roleplayers to improvise and adapt. These game mechanics come with the nature of the beast, and many are very necessary to the operation of the games, and are often so obvious as to threaten to pull a roleplayer out of character. While they may not be pleasant to experience during roleplay, their effect in-game can be at least lessened through the lens of imaginative roleplaying.
Life and Death
In a previous RoleCraft article (Who Wants To Live Forever?), I gave some tips and ideas on one of the most discussed game mechanic stumbling blocks, the lack of permanent death. There, I give mention to using some object or creature as an explanation for why characters never really die. I also point to the game mechanic currently employed in LotRO, where your character is merely defeated, not killed, having been overcome by so much dread that they lose the will to fight, if only for a short time.
Anarchy Online has another great way to deal with this game mechanic, and that is by having machines set up for use that download an almost complete duplicate of your character that you may return to and retrieve upon death. Transplanted into the fantasy realm of WoW, a crafty engineer could RP the creation of a like machine, or something that would fit into your personal inventory. This brings us back around to the use of another object to help insure you keep returning to you body once slain. A skilled magician could enchant a piece of jewelry for your character to wear, or a warlock could link your soul to a pet, combat or non-combat. Outside of using objects, you could undergo a crucial trial for Elune or a Naaru where they would grant you semi-permanent life. Really, it isn't difficult to look and roleplay past the death game mechanic, if you just think about it.
Pets and Mounts
In the Forgotten Realms epoch of the great Dungeons & Dragons, there is a line of magical items called Figurines of Wondrous Power. These are usually small replicas of animals, carved from precious ivory or gems, or smithed from valuable metals, and imbued with powerful magic. With the proper spoken command or touch, these items transform into live creatures of natural size and ability according to the creature they are a replica of, and are under control of the figurine's owner. Once summoned, the creatures are only able to stay in live form for a short time before having to return to replica form.