Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO Column
RoleCraft: A Roleplayer's Thanksgiving List

John Funk | 16 Nov 2009 20:20
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I do a fair share of griping and complaining about what's missing from MMORPGs in this column. I am not shy about voicing my opinions on how they, or at least the ones I play, could be better. Now with the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner here in the States, it's time for me to keep to the Tao and balance those grievances with accolades on what I am very thankful for having in my MMORPGs. So here are my choices for the Top Five RP Features in MMORPGs.

#5: Mods

The roleplaying community is a unique bunch of players, and in my view very often overlooked by the game makers who create MMORPGs. However, those games that allow their players to develop mods go a long way in making up for this oversight. The best example I know of is World of Warcraft (WoW). The base game can be played without a single mod added, of course, but from a roleplayer's standpoint, the many excellent RP mods that are available save a lot of time and effort that is best spent in actually roleplaying the game. Thank you, RP modding community, for all your work in helping make some good (and not-so-good) games all that much better.

#4: Housing

Another essential element for roleplayers is housing, or at least having the option to own a house or not. Much of the enticement of fantasy-based MMORPGs may come from creating and playing a free spirited adventurer, with no home or other ties to speak of. Yet I also believe there are just as many roleplayers who want the opposite. They want a stable base from which to operate, in which they may house and display their accumulated profits, or simply to have a place of solitude from the perils of adventuring. Ultima Online started the trend, made better in Anarchy Online, and now perhaps perfected in Lord of the Rings Online. Thank you for that, and know that mi casa es su casa.

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#3: Names & Appearance

Identifying your avatar and giving them the 'right look' is one of the very first steps in the MMORPG character creation process. For many of us roleplayers, it is often the most important step. Games that provide a wide variety of physical choices right from the start, and continuing on throughout gameplay, are the only ones worthy of playing on a repeat basis. I still think more could be done in this area, specifically with names and enforcement of the naming policies many MMORPGs have. Nonetheless, I am thankful for the wide array they do afford, as I have not yet been kept from creating the character I want to roleplay.

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#2: 1st Person View

You may have read me state it before here in this column, but one of the best ways to be in character is to be 'in character', and that's best done via 1st person view. I simply have no need or desire to see the back of my avatar's head, especially when it's blocking my view of incoming enemies. FP view just makes total common sense to me, and I'm thankful that MMORPG makes agree, at least to the point of making it an option alongside other character viewpoints.

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#1: Emotes

Contrary to what's most often seen in WoW, there are many many more emotes aside from the despicable /dance on the nearest mailbox. Just ask a roleplayer. Without emotes, roleplaying would be severely restricted, and a time-consuming affair, not to mention very drab and dull. Emotes allow us to express all the emotions, perform a wide variety of physical actions, and communicate with fellow players faster and more intimately than typed words allow. I have been thankful for emotes since the early days in Ultima Online, and continue to be appreciative for them being in my MMORPGs. /bow

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I went through a list of almost 20 features to narrow down my list to these top five, and it was no easy task. What are your top five features to be thankful for? List yours below in the Comments section, or send them directly to my email at RoleCraft at gmail dot com, and via Twitter. After that, feel free to click over to The RP Archives, a blog where I gather all the roleplaying knowledge from across the interwebs into one handy reference place. Until next time, role on!

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