The horizontal aspects of RoM have a lot to do with why I love the game so much. Of course, they are ripe for the roleplaying crowd, but roleplayers aren't limited to only those areas. I think there are both areas good for roleplaying and areas that aren't so clear but lend themselves well to roleplaying. It's about how you roleplay with RoM's features, not which features are best for roleplaying. This week, I want to take a look at a few ways you can seek out roleplaying, with an emphasis on the uninitiated. I finish with a sappy message about roleplaying and instant gratification. Pros can very well find some ideas past the break as well.
The guild castles in RoM are really, truly amazing to me. First of all, they are huge. You have the building itself with many rooms and multiple floors, a courtyard in which smaller resource buildings can be erected, a fortified wall surrounding the building, and plenty of grass surrounding all of that. What other MMOs really offer such robust guild housing?
How many of you non-roleplayers or even roleplayers have thought about setting up your own round table in the castle? A meeting place for you to actually congregate to facilitate roleplaying, hold live guild forums or hang out during down-time? Whether you set it up like a classroom with multiple small tables and chairs all facing the guild leader or more of a knights-of-the-round-table arrangement, castles are a great focal point for roleplaying.
Guild castles allow visitors just like housing does. (Remember when I talked about alternative uses for housing?) Spread the roleplay out past your guild and get people involved. The more the merrier.
Once you have guild quests going in the castle, they are a great way to create roleplay for your guild. There are plenty of quests that can become available without priority on stats or gear. The guild rewards take the pressure off typical reasons to quest or run dungeons, so players can enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. The point is to forget about something you so desperately need in order to progress and enjoy some storytelling and company. Besides, you're still getting guild rewards.
These may have become the bane of some RoM players' existence, but they are great for small roleplay sessions. They are pre-written scenarios that are literally everywhere in the game. Help Tarkun in Silverfall by deftly sneaking into the goblin camp and pilfering some of goblins' sifted ore. Gather Cactus Flowers in Dust Devil Canyon. Use dailies as the seeds that can grow into any number of roleplay sessions. These little player-made events can often snowball into something bigger by attracting players around you.
Let's face it: Not many players utilize the information box. Most of the time it's a quick blurb to display maximum physical -- or magical -- damage. Sometimes I write short bios as if I'm describing a character in a book. What are my strengths and weaknesses? Am I good or evil? Am I a neutral evil wizard who failed as an initiate in the Order of the Zurhidon because of chronic hiccups? The player information box is a great conversation starter. The info box's being at the bottom of the character information window makes it hard to overlook, which has gotten me many comments on my sometimes bizarrely funny descriptions.
Remember: Roleplaying is about creating. You can use what the game provides, but you aren't limited by the features either. These MMOs used to be commonly known as MMORPGs for a reason. They were -- and still can be -- roleplaying games, games in which you, well, play a role. It can be very easy to believe that the purpose of RoM is to level and run dungeons because that's in the game, but don't let that too strictly dictate how you approach this MMO.
These ideas are fairly basic, and most roleplayers may laugh at the simplicity of the article, but I'm writing this based on my experiences since the first day of Open Beta. RoM has as vibrant an in-game community as many other large western MMOs, but it also has a sense of infancy. I've played Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft. It doesn't take long to feel the palpable presence of gamers who write their own stories. There have been players who've purposefully run dungeons at the lowest level possible, explored the entire world at level 1, and sought out other ways to play. RoM has a fairly significant population that continues to grow, yet this is one area I've always felt was weak. Who has ever tried to reach level cap without doing any quests? Maxing a crafting skill while staying at character level 1? Or explore the entire world without leveling? I'd love to hear your stories of how you play RoM.
I can't help but to recall a recent comment from one of Massively's regular readers about the newest generation of MMO players and games. More than ever, we are bred as consumers to want instant gratification in all areas of life. It doesn't automatically make any of us bad, and it's not a bad thing in a game we play for entertainment. The difference I see, though, is that fun cannot only come from instant gratification. Whether many could describe it or not, some roleplayers understand this and embrace it. I think this is at the heart of many roleplaying posts, and indeed, the sappy moral I want to get across here.
Each Monday, Jeremy Stratton delivers Lost Pages of Taborea, a column filled with guides, news, and opinions for Runes of Magic. Whether it's a community roundup for new players or an in-depth look at the Rogue/Priest combo, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.