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4-28-2008 @ 3:56AM
Nice article...The biggest problem with RP in modern MMOs is the fact that the interface discourages it. Mainly, I mean the chat system. Group, team, guild, etc... all the private chat channels that exist create small islands of people in a huge world. It is nuts that the most "chat" you might find is in the global channel in the barrens and sometimes a runaway trade channel.A trip in the time machine to Ultima Online shows the power of a simple chat system. In UO, you spoke and everyone heard you... period. You could whisper, but then only the people right next to you could hear you, but also so could everyone next to you, so if you truly wanted to talk private, you went someplace private. Of course, a stealthy player might sneak up and eavesdrop on your conversation. In UO, if you wanted to talk to someone across the world, you had to use these crazy speaking stone things that worked like crap, but it was an interesting direction.I truly believe that RP servers should actually have something to encourage RP. Just adding in the ability to report an offending name? Come on!The first thing RP servers should do is make all chat appear as speech bubbles above a person's head - period. So if you are talking on guild channel, everyone around you can hear. Trust me when I say this alone will encourage LOTS more player interaction with strangers. RPers tend to like to randomly interaction with people too, spreading the idea of RPing around and making it more fun in many regards. Which then encourages the people not exposed to much RP to do it more. Again, back in the UO days we had entire player towns (a large collection of player buildings and the "town" blessed by the GMs as a community) that would RP. At least 120+ unique visitors and residents that would seriously RP. The kicker is, UO never even had a RP server... all servers had lots of RP happening all around them.RP in MMOs started to die in EQ when the chat interface made it hard for random player interaction to happen.
4-28-2008 @ 4:07AM
I love the idea of whispers actually being heard by really close by people.But. Personally I can't imagine anything more immersion breaking than speechbubbles, and I find the ability to chat outside of RP (as in guild or party chat) extremely important to foster friendship and camaraderie, but wouldn't want it to interrupt someone else's RP either.
4-28-2008 @ 10:27AM
Chat bubbles would drive me nuts. Not from a "privacy" point of view, but from a utility point of view. They clog the screen, in my opinion. I turn them off for a reason. They're distractive and visually annoying. And frankly, I don't want to know what the guy next to me is saying. If i was interested in talking to him I would talk to him. Sorry, but you have to balance out the practicality with the desire for greater realism. There are reasons that you can, for instance, walk though other players but not walk through walls. Giving everyone and every in game object a rigid form might make for greater realism, but walking around or jumping over every shrub, tripping on critters that don't get out of your way, and running into another player who is a little lagged so their form in game is in a different spot than where you see it, all might be more realistic but would be totaly impracticle for game play. Same goes for in game chat. Too much clutter is not a desireable addition to the game. People have to have the option of not listening to you, and not having you be able to listen to them.
4-28-2008 @ 3:39PM
I have to agree that speech bubbles everywhere would result in serious danger of information overload, but I do appreciate the original intent and functionality behind the mechanisms you described in Ultima Online. Blizzard has noted that there will be some sort of attention given to RPers in an upcoming Blizzcast. My hunch is that they'll just say something to the effect of "We support RP" without actually changing anything or giving us more RP tools in the interface, but there is room to hope that they actually have something new in store for us, whatever that might be.
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