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It has come to my attention of late that I am getting old. Amazing, isn't it? Of course, I know I am, and getting older on a daily basis, even. Like many, I see signs of this very often, be it through music, television, or technology. What's relative here is how my most recent epiphany came about, via roleplaying.
I wasn't actually roleplaying, but contemplating the action while reading through the Dungeons and Dragons 4E Player's Handbook. It was again reiterated later during a conversation with David Bowers, author of All the World's a Stage roleplaying column over at WoW Insider. At the core of roleplaying is imagination. What people can imagine and how they direct their imagination, specifically in regards to MMORPG roleplaying, is exclusive and unique to each person. The greatest amount is formed during our youth, and for a large percentage of the population, may be the time when it is used the most. Unless you're a roleplayer.
What I've come to realize is that there seems to be a rather sizeable span between what my generation and those much younger than us consider to be roleplaying in MMORPGs. Count me and others slightly younger and older among the 'D&D Generation', if you will. We grew up when roleplaying games were just being developed and new to the gaming scene. Computer gaming itself was also a new medium for entertainment, and leading the initial charge were text games, like Zork and Adventure, and MUDs (Multi-User Dungeon, Domain or Dimension), games that had no graphics.
This is in great contrast to much of the roleplaying youth of today, who grew up with computer games with flashy and increasingly advancing graphics. I used to think that imagination was imagination, that we all shared a common link in that respect to our individual psyche. However, after delving into the new D&D rule set as I have over the last couple of weeks, I see I just might be a bit out of touch, hence, the 'man, I must be getting old' thoughts. I've really paid attention to the reasoning behind many of the changes in the 4th Edition D&D rules, and most especially to the fact that it was written with today's MMORPG player in mind.
I could berate and argue that statement with what I and others deem to be noticable steps in the new D&D rules that take away from the heart of D&D, the roleplaying. I could also bemoan the lack of imagination in much of the younger gaming generation. Instead, what I need to do is obtain a much better grasp on the MMORPG roleplayers' mindset. Learning about a much wider demographic of roleplayers will not only be beneficial for my edification, but will also allow me to write a much better RoleCraft column.
So, if you wouldn't mind indulging me by answering a short survey about roleplayers and their roleplaying, I would be most grateful! This is nothing on the order of being professionally developed or scientifically accurate, just a few questions I would like to know about you and your roleplaying. To quote a line from Jerry Maguire, "Help me help you!"
This poll is hosted at the Mister Poll website. Any and all information provided is for the purpose of this article and its author, and will not be used in any subversive manner. Thank you for your assistance, and role on!)