Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Thoughts on Role-Playing, Hyperion Alliance and Kingdoms [ramble alert!!!!]

The announcement of the return of Hyperion and various other posts/hapenings have made me think more of the state Darkfall is in and the urge to ramble a bit on what Role-Playing is to me and its' application in Darkfall. As an introduction, I'm a very light Role-Player in the sense that I have never gotten "into character" mode and talked in a way that is completly foreign to me. I can tone down or cut the use of acronyms and text simplifcations like "wtf", "u", "pwn", etc., in order to give it a more realistic aspect, but I've never RPed in a hardcore fashion where I pretend to be someone else entirely. For me, RPing happens when a clan creates a cool ranking structure, where each rank is logical and brings a reason of existence to the other ranks (they are interconnected in a meaningful way). Another example is when someone creates fan art or makes a cool RPish video that stands out from the normal ones that exist in such ambundance, when someone creates a nice story based on the Lore, etc. In Eve-Online, one didn't need to RP because, symply playing the game itself, created its' own RPing stories. Backstabbing, robbery, scams, territorial fights, investments, etc., all this belonged to the normal life of the Eve universe with players creating their own never-ending and unfolding stories by simply playing the game. This situation, in my opinion, is RPing in its' purest form: without any effort whatsoever. In Darkfall, things are not the same. Maybe it's from the lack of players (compared with launch) that doesn't allow for the same type of drama to take place, maybe it's because of the lack of official lore, maybe it's because of the level of independence players enjoy from each other, maybe it's because of the lack of sand in the box. Giving a practical example, when there is a bank scam, it's because someone used an identical name to an officer and tricked another one to promote him. I consider this to be a very artificial and game-breaking way of stealing a bank. The problem is not so much the fact that a clan bank is stolen, but rather the way the theft is committed. In Eve, the background of hard-driven and ruthless capitalist corporations makes this a familiar scenario. In a fantasy setting... not so much. Of course the way players act is uncontrollable and the reason why we all love MMORPGs so much. I don't want RP enforcement ever to be needed, as players' liberty of action should be preserved, in a general sense. Noone can be forced to play or act in a way they don't want/like/feel like. I understand those who just want to loggin with some friends and go kill other players, grief them if necessary and just have fun,not caring for organization. However, the game and the devs can budge and nudge parts of the game to provide a better and more meaningful experience. And these nudges don't even need to be in-game. For example, if you go to DF clan discussion, you will see all sorts of insults thrown around with some hardcore language. If this type of posting was better controlled and kept in check, I think it would reflect positively in-game. Of course, I am assuming that the game developers want this. Other things devs could do have already been talked about in the forums, ranging from apparently simple stuff like clan rank customization to more complex like player cities' designs chosen by the builders (no pre-placed buildings). In short, give more liberty to the players to decide/edit things to shape their own lore and support and acknowledge the diversity of clan/player types, in the game.

Returning more to the Hyperion Alliance and to the Rex Quonderam thead (where I've posted some friendly jabs) [ramble break] I went to check what the thread name meant and it refers to: "King Once" (as in, who was "once king"). It most probably came from: "Hic jacet Arthurus, Rex quondam, Rexque futurus", Here lies Arthur, King Once, and King in the Future (there are other suggestions/interpretations for the latin phrase and for the translation but they do not deviate much) [/ramble break] one must acknowledge that Darkfall has lived far too long without any sort of RP. So, when you encounter such a blown-out RPing thread, it almost looks misplaced or out of context. What also worries me in these types of organizations, is that RPing a Kingdom always seem provide all the fun to the King and none to the "serf". Let's all RP this stuff but the ones stuck with the lowlife roles are the ones getting the raw end of the deal. One could also argue that in a normal clan, the leader also has more fun since he is also behind the curtain, pulling the strings, so this thought might not have much merit. I'm not saying that Hyperion is like this, but I bet it is the general perception many might have. Remembering Darkfall beta and launch days, the idea I got is that Hyperion existed as a civilized and organized mega power and then, the others were divided into neutral and the mindless hateful barbarians, who had no regard whatsoever for the names they chose, the way they talked, etc etc. So one seems to have had on one end, civilization and on the other, l33t chaos. (I'm sure non-Hyperion might have felt that Hyperion was a huge menacing zerg who just kept gobbling up holdings and land) This seems to be a very simplistic and narrow-minded way for a server to exist as we can't have only 2 extremes co-existing because, eventually, one of them will succumb.

This ramble has been going on for a few days now, in the blog edit mode, and I'm getting a bit tired of it... so I'll just end saying that Kingdom-style organization is something that sounds attracting and regarding lore, a plea:

Aventurine hasn't promoted/developed lore much, for reasons beyond my imagination. I would presume it wouldn't cost much to have one employee writing lore for the game or as theluntary moderators for the forums, maybe you could also find voluntary lore writers. AV could just feed them tids and bits of what they have planned for Agon's background and have them fashion legends and myths around it. This would greatly help find other meaning for in-game actions, besides hate or getting off on killing someone else. Please AV, give us more lore (and some quests to go along with it btw!).

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