Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO ColumnRoleCraft: Defining the MMORPGJim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO Column - RSS 2.0
MMORPGs should come with the labeling that says if you buy this game, you are expected to roleplay. There is a reason 'roleplaying' is in the name of the game genre, that being it. Likewise, I don't see how you could fathom creating an MMORPG if you are not a roleplayer yourself. These are two factors that lead current MMORPGs down their paths to today, I believe. Not enough roleplayers voiced their opinions or employed their talents as MMORPGs have evolved, hence their current lack of RP. We roleplayers, no matter how crafty and imaginative we are, may never be able to dictate gameplay in our favorite MMORPGs to what is most proper, at least not until game makers themselves set out to make a proper MMORPG.
Oh, wait, by chance have you heard of Neverwinter Nights? A most brilliant game, to say the least. It adresses just that point, by allowing the addition of a DM into the mix. Players therefore have the benefit of engaging in excellent RP with and through their DM, and the DM can build an interactive game world that can be manipulated on the fly according to the players' actions and reactions. Cooperation between characters and their world, another great item sorely missed in MMORPGs. Synergy of this sorts is something that cannot be programmed, I don't think. Neverwinter Nights (and Neverwinter Nights 2) is making it work, however, and it's a major element all MMORPGs need to take heed of.
The next edition will cover more about cooperation and how a DM can help bring that about. I want to thank fellow WarCry writer Jonathan Steinhauer for his last article, I Gotta be Me: Roleplaying and the MMO, which helped inspire my own thoughts. I started to write a response in the Comments under his article, which I soon realised would be about two pages! Consider this and the next RoleCraft my response, John. Roll on!
Have you read RoleCraft Storyteller - Rose of the Sun? It's the story of Wil'amae Sunrose, a blood elf priest set in the MMORPG World of Warcraft. Not only that, it's a story in which you get to help shape! At the end of the piece is a link leading to a poll where you may cast your vote on where the story of Wil'amae will turn next. The poll is only open until March 8, so hurry and vote now!