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6-02-2008 @ 5:43PM
As long as WoW (and all other MMORPGs like it) have static story lines, their use as a vehicle for roleplaying will be limited. Without some form of persistence, at least from your character's point of view, it's hard to become immersed in the game from a roleplaying perspective. The main thrill I always had in playing pen and paper games was that what my character did have an impact on the game world. In WoW, no matter how many times you kill Illidan, he's always right back up there the next time you run the instance (kind of like an inflatable punching clown . . . with horns). It kind of lets the air out of the tires as far as my roleplaying experience goes.At least for now, I'm sticking to pen and paper games to get my RPing fix.
6-02-2008 @ 10:05PM
There are three ways of looking at this problem. First, the other people you roleplay with are consistent -- they change over time and grow and adapt just as you do. If you keep your story lines relevant to them and the things you all as a group are going through, then you don't run into the same continuity errors like you described. This means, yes, no saving the world, and instances tend to be mostly out of character, but there's lots of other relationship-based storytelling and roleplaying to be done that you haven't accounted for.Second, you can think of the game world as having a subjective continuity based on the level of your progression through it. If you're over level 25 or so, then you don't really have a need to go to the Deadmines anymore, for instance. Therefore, you and your friends at the same level can say that Van Cleef is dead. Of course you know that if you go back into the instance you can still find him there, but you don't need to go back into the instance do you? Therefore, relative to you in a story sense, he poses no threat and no longer exists. If a friend wants you to run his alt through the Deadmines, however, you could either do this out of character, or....You could just temporarily act as if your character has never been there before. The game world isn't objectively consistent, so why should you be? There can be lots of fun to be had in roleplaying through an instance you've already seen as if it's the first time. Especially if you are there with someone new, you may have a totally different experience there. You can even kind of pull this off in a different way with raiding instances too. In my guild, we go to Karazhan every week, but we keep it all in character. We say that, just as we can be raised from the dead, so can Attumen and Moroes and so on. They need to have a weekly put-down if we want to be free of their evil influence on the world. Presumably, later on, as we get more powerful, our need to go there will be less because they too will be weaker, with less evil influence on things.So there you go. The problem is not so much in the game itself, but in the way you look at it. A change of perspective can change the game too. Check out this article on the same topic: http://www.wowinsider.com/2007/11/18/all-the-worlds-a-stage-raiding-and-rp-dont-mix-or-do-they/
6-03-2008 @ 10:58AM
And don't forget the greatest storyline cop-out and Soap Opera tool ever used. "The Dream Sequence." Gotta run the dead mines again? Do it in a dream sequence. "Gee, I don't remember being this friggin powerful last time I was here. I can just blast these guys with barely a thought. This must be a dream."
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