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Author Topic: The state of "RPI" as a concept  (Read 6339 times)

azuriolinist

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2018, 5:44 AM »
The common traits of an RPI, both active and not, appear to have always included permanent death and the discouraged use and general lack of OOC channels. Beyond that, the waters were always muddled.

With these two traits, RPIs are pretty distinguishable and set off from other roleplay (encouraged, enforced, and whatnot) MUDs. So, yes, I believe roleplay-intensive exists as a concept.


Moving on, I think Jeshin makes a lot of good points. But what makes an RPI unique (and yes—super niche) is the amount of focus it places on what is IC. It's an experience so unlike the roleplay you'll find in forums and MUSHes. But Jeshin's post does make me wonder whether this might be one of the causes of the dwindling number of RPIs. I've been of the belief that, mainly, it's caused by the general dwindling interest in MUDs (both the playing and creating of them).

 
Bronn: I'll start off by saying that what was done to you was and is horrible. I'm glad you got out of that.

I agree with what you've said. Casual play should be made more accessible. Most MUD players are adults with responsibilities, after all. Off the top of my head, this might be done with:

 - the ability to check IC messages through the main website,
 - recent public events displayed on the front page (to ease a player's entry into plots and the game).

I don't believe discarding 'total immersion', however, will help with addiction. I've seen the same level of addiction in games that include no RP whatsoever, and even MU*s with OOC channels in place (Arx, for one).

azuriolinist

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2018, 5:47 AM »
Besides the above, I wanted to discuss some points made about Armageddon. If this is straying off-topic, I apologize. Feel free to move this post to another thread.

ArrestedGoat: There's a lot of subjective, if not outright presumptuous, opinions here. Judging by your wording, I'm not ever going to sway you from your stance. I'm just going to point out this statement...

And yet text-speak is running rampant.

...and speak from my own perspective. I have never seen a single instance of text-speak in IC dialogue. If this does happen, it is certainly not the norm. Yes, there are players who put the bare minimum in roleplay. There are also those who fill out an entire wiki for their character's personality, history, etc. From what I've seen, this kind of thing is true of most other roleplaying mediums: MU*, forum, and otherwise.

Hades_Kane

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2018, 11:44 AM »
Moving on, I think Jeshin makes a lot of good points. But what makes an RPI unique (and yes—super niche) is the amount of focus it places on what is IC. It's an experience so unlike the roleplay you'll find in forums and MUSHes. But Jeshin's post does make me wonder whether this might be one of the causes of the dwindling number of RPIs. I've been of the belief that, mainly, it's caused by the general dwindling interest in MUDs (both the playing and creating of them).

The general trend in MUDing is a downward slope, but if RPIs are seeing a significant down turn after having been extremely popular for a short run, its likely not as much about the general downward MUD trend as it is the total, complete immersion being a difficult to sustain model of game.

MUDing is a niche hobby, and I think anytime you throw an even tighter niche ontop of that, there might be a spike in interest, but likely short lived.  I think that has a lot to do with why my JRPG MUD isn't bustling :p
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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2018, 11:50 AM »
Bronn: I'll start off by saying that what was done to you was and is horrible. I'm glad you got out of that.

I agree with what you've said. Casual play should be made more accessible. Most MUD players are adults with responsibilities, after all. Off the top of my head, this might be done with:

 - the ability to check IC messages through the main website,
 - recent public events displayed on the front page (to ease a player's entry into plots and the game).

I don't believe discarding 'total immersion', however, will help with addiction. I've seen the same level of addiction in games that include no RP whatsoever, and even MU*s with OOC channels in place (Arx, for one).

Thanks. I agree with you that catering to casual players is generally a good idea.

I don't think that immersion is the primary factor that causes addiction. I think the real cause for addiction to games is the sense of achievement and the way games provide an alternative form of social interaction to those who don't get enough of it through other avenues. What total immersion does is provide a containment area of sorts, where a player can get those feelings of achievement and social happiness through a character. While any game can be addictive, there are more cues that it is in fact a game, compared to a totally immersive experience that discards those cues. The end result is subtle but present.

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2018, 12:26 PM »
Moving on, I think Jeshin makes a lot of good points. But what makes an RPI unique (and yes—super niche) is the amount of focus it places on what is IC. It's an experience so unlike the roleplay you'll find in forums and MUSHes. But Jeshin's post does make me wonder whether this might be one of the causes of the dwindling number of RPIs. I've been of the belief that, mainly, it's caused by the general dwindling interest in MUDs (both the playing and creating of them).

The general trend in MUDing is a downward slope, but if RPIs are seeing a significant down turn after having been extremely popular for a short run, its likely not as much about the general downward MUD trend as it is the total, complete immersion being a difficult to sustain model of game.

MUDing is a niche hobby, and I think anytime you throw an even tighter niche ontop of that, there might be a spike in interest, but likely short lived.  I think that has a lot to do with why my JRPG MUD isn't bustling :p

I hate to double-post but since I am talking about something besides game addiction, I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway!

I think RPIs are suffering comparatively more than most other active MUDs because of the massive time commitment required to play to the fullest potential of the game. To be "socially viable", you have to play a very long time in practically any roleplaying MUD. To be "viable" in combat or crafting in an RPI, you have to jump through a number of different hoops that are generally unrelated to roleplay. RPIs basically combine the worst parts of hack and slash MUDs with some of the worst and best parts of roleplay MU*s, and the end result does not have broad appeal to start off.

And inevitably, since there are only 24 hours in a day and most people can't spare more than a few of those per week to a game, people have to pick and choose what they want to do with their time. Since they can't do everything they really want to do, there's a loss of interest, and ultimately, the loss of a player.

For casual players who do stick around, RPIs introduce a lot of barriers that casual players cannot easily overcome, but they are generally more content with waiting a longer time for plots to resolve as long as they eventually reach a resolution. In my experience, the players that played Armageddon the most were also generally the most impatient with the slow speed at which the game generally operated as a means of giving casual players a chance to react to things and report them. Though there were a few notable exceptions.

I feel like there is a better way to design a roleplaying, text-based game that has broad, casual appeal, but beyond a few disjointed ideas, I don't know what it is yet.

Epilogy

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2018, 1:18 PM »
While any game can be addictive, there are more cues that it is in fact a game, compared to a totally immersive experience that discards those cues. The end result is subtle but present.

I think anyone who wants to talk about "complete immersion" like it's the holy grail needs a trip to the shrink, and maybe the welfare office.

You cannot smell, hear, see, only read. By the way, I have a very wild imagination coupled with being a voracious reader, so I can understand how text can be immersive. I cannot, however, understand how it could possibly be immersive when it ceases to be real-time. Do you go back over the logs the next day, and read them to find your immersion?  Are you sitting there, eyes closed, imagining whatever tavern you inevitably chose for 4 hours a day, with 10 minutes of actual typing, and interaction?

And the addictive trait of escapism is that it is an escape from reality, however it is you happen to find it. When people become invested in a world that doesn't exist, at the expense of investing that time, and effort into actual reality... the game ceases to become a game, a hobby, a means of entertainment. It becomes a lifestyle built around obsession with being anywhere other than where you actually are physically. I've known people to get sucked into MMO lifestyles, and the only thing separating a hardcore RPer from a hardcore WoW nerd is... the medium. Really, that's it. So if you dislike the idea of spending 16 hours a day at your keyboard, sucking down calories you'll never think to burn, letting the burdens and rewards of life slip by.... maybe decide to take control of your own life, instead of a string of bytes sitting on a server that will inevitably shut down with complete, and total loss.

(Complete aside: Putting it really into perspective, you're a human on a fairly small planet hurtling through an abyss of unknown size, and scale, and you're worried about the definition of what kind of niche you've tried to carve ever deeper in an already niche field. I'd be worried about bigger things, but that's just me.)

We had a staff member whom I became friends with, and eventually learned of his situation. I offered him a room and meals for a month, access to wifi, help him find and get to a job, and he can stay after that if he manages to pull his own weight. I don't want to talk about his situation directly, but it's the kind that have hooks in you when you try to get out, so you're pretty tore if you have the fortitude to see such a divorce of self, and situation through. If you fail in that action, then everything is just worse, and it's just more of the same. He just... I don't know. The offer's stood for a year, and a half, but still he's blissful in his nonexistence, and just as unable to cope with the reality that drives him out.

Sad... but you can't make anyone do anything. That's the worst part about those around with any kind of unhealthy addiction.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 1:34 PM by Epilogy »

Apos

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2018, 1:56 PM »
I think most game designers should just shoot for a healthy level of investment. Not so little that someone just doesn't care about the game at all and forgets to log in, and not so much that someone turns into a shut in that has the power bill turned off. The former just means someone really has no idea how to make a game fun for their audience, and the latter means someone is a little irresponsible in how they are rewarding addictive personalities.

Jeshin OR

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #37 on: June 15, 2018, 3:36 PM »
To address addiction and whether RPIs are inherently addictive. Yes.

Why? Minimal OOC allows for less intrusion of the player behind the character and a deeper form of escapism.

Upside? MUDs like other niche genres have a very strong ability to create emotional attatchment through shared experience that can lead to friendship or relationships that last a lifetime. It can also create a false sense of closeness that leads to heartbreak. Luckily I have several friends who I have been close with for 10+ years from MUDs and we play things and have shared life moments so on so forth. My current girlfriend of 5 years I met on Armageddon. I joke it's the one thing I can thank Nyr (a notoriously abrasive staffer) for doing to me. The world and life is about making connections and MUDs as a medium happen to be about telling stories together which is a good connection in of itself. It's why I believe the medium has the ability to grow despite sinking numbers.

Apos

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #38 on: June 15, 2018, 4:11 PM »
To address addiction and whether RPIs are inherently addictive. Yes.

Why? Minimal OOC allows for less intrusion of the player behind the character and a deeper form of escapism.

That's part of it, but just part. Compare how a lot of MMOs are designed with catch up mechanics, or things with sharply diminishing returns on anything repeatable, and these are all done to help casual players feel not as left behind. Compare those to something like rent in some MUDs, which punishes people for being offline, and you have games stacking the deck towards the people that play the most and actively rewarding addictive personalities. Things like grinding that have significant setup times rewards people with longer periods with way higher efficiency, and anything people can infinitely invest time is just going to create environments unfriendly to casual players. By gating things that force the most addictive personalities to slow down, you tend to have the games broaden.

Hades_Kane

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #39 on: June 15, 2018, 5:26 PM »
And inevitably, since there are only 24 hours in a day and most people can't spare more than a few of those per week to a game, people have to pick and choose what they want to do with their time. Since they can't do everything they really want to do, there's a loss of interest, and ultimately, the loss of a player.

That's one of the main things that has kept me from ever getting involved in an MMO.

I have plenty of friends who play them, and they enjoy grouping up and going on raids together and all of that, but I always had this sense that unless I basically gave up my social life and any other hobbies, there's no way I'd be able to log on casually, meet up with my friends, and play these games because they would be spending so much time on them, there's no way I'd be able to keep up because I was unwilling to commit to the game and commit to neglecting substantial amounts of my life in order to play a game.

The social aspect of MMOs were always the main thing that had interested me, but realizing I wouldn't be able to keep up level wise to socialize with my friends because of wanting to maintain a life outside of a video game made it to where I had resigned myself to only ever get into one if the game or setting itself appealed to me enough to where I was willing to basically go it alone (and then they announced Fallout 76... which I have the Power Armor edition on preorder).
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azuriolinist

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2018, 11:39 AM »
And the addictive trait of escapism is that it is an escape from reality, however it is you happen to find it. When people become invested in a world that doesn't exist, at the expense of investing that time, and effort into actual reality... the game ceases to become a game, a hobby, a means of entertainment. It becomes a lifestyle built around obsession with being anywhere other than where you actually are physically. I've known people to get sucked into MMO lifestyles, and the only thing separating a hardcore RPer from a hardcore WoW nerd is... the medium.

This is it, exactly. I agree. The trend I've seen is that the type of game doesn't matter. If a game in any way offers the ability to step out of real life (whether that's by slipping into a character, or focusing on gaining virtual rewards and achievements rather than real-life responsibilities), this can be one of the factors that leads towards the development of addiction.

Some people may favor roleplay over other types of gaming, which might then make them more susceptible to an addiction to RPIs. This doesn't mean that RPIs inherently offer a deeper (and more addictive) escape from reality than other games. That's subjective and based on one's preferences. When a game requires a player's complete (or even near complete) attention during gameplay, and thus away from reality, and when it offers something enjoyable to the player, that's all the escape from reality necessary to potentially develop addiction.

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #41 on: June 18, 2018, 3:01 AM »
The general trend in MUDing is a downward slope, but if RPIs are seeing a significant down turn after having been extremely popular for a short run, its likely not as much about the general downward MUD trend as it is the total, complete immersion being a difficult to sustain model of game.
I would tend to disagree with this slightly. I do not believe it is the fact that RPI games claimed some nitch. It was more the fact that many didn't follow their own rules or were hypocritical about them. For example. The claim is for no OOC channels yet 90% of the players were on skype or forums while playing talking back and forth and making combat plans. This is exactly the same as ooc channels. The claim is that there are no levels or guild, yet most if not all RPI's have some form of skills or rankings that amount to the same thing as levels and guilds just call it different names.

In the end an RPI was not much more than a different name for enforced roleplay that was more difficult and the long time players ran the game and because of permadeath a new player never really had a chance to succeed without ooc help from long time players (and this happened a lot too, by the way).

It was these things and most RPI admins couldn't agree that was the main difficulty in keeping the term and the games organized and successful.

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Epilogy

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #42 on: June 18, 2018, 10:44 AM »
admins couldn't agree that was the main difficulty in keeping the term and the games organized and successful.

I'm curious how one could argue over "the" definitive answer of an acronym if there never was a consensus as to what it might mean to start with? This really just comes down to an opinion over what amounts to a buzzword, once again, so.....

At least we have a good confirmation of the answer:
It doesn't mean much of anything beyond the fact that you can assume that A) The game is RP enforced and B) We're gonna see another thread about RPE MU* staff (again) in the near future.

Hades_Kane

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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #43 on: June 18, 2018, 11:41 AM »
The general trend in MUDing is a downward slope, but if RPIs are seeing a significant down turn after having been extremely popular for a short run, its likely not as much about the general downward MUD trend as it is the total, complete immersion being a difficult to sustain model of game.
I would tend to disagree with this slightly. I do not believe it is the fact that RPI games claimed some nitch. It was more the fact that many didn't follow their own rules or were hypocritical about them. For example. The claim is for no OOC channels yet 90% of the players were on skype or forums while playing talking back and forth and making combat plans. This is exactly the same as ooc channels. The claim is that there are no levels or guild, yet most if not all RPI's have some form of skills or rankings that amount to the same thing as levels and guilds just call it different names.

In the end an RPI was not much more than a different name for enforced roleplay that was more difficult and the long time players ran the game and because of permadeath a new player never really had a chance to succeed without ooc help from long time players (and this happened a lot too, by the way).

It was these things and most RPI admins couldn't agree that was the main difficulty in keeping the term and the games organized and successful.

And see, I have a difficult time believing that the downward turn in RPI games were because players were scratching their neckbeards over the game they were playing not following some set of rules/guidelines on what an RPI is supposed to be.  If the individual games were good, served their players well, and had a sustainable game model, I can't imagine players leaving in droves because "they didn't follow this definition".  Whether you call it a MUD or a "TORG", or an RPE or RPI, a player is going to stick around based on the merits of the game, not some silliness over the accuracy of an acronym.
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Re: The state of "RPI" as a concept
« Reply #44 on: June 18, 2018, 2:44 PM »
Quote
For example. The claim is for no OOC channels yet 90% of the players were on skype or forums while playing talking back and forth and making combat plans.

There is nothing you can do to stop that in any game on the internet. No matter how many rules or how invasive the admins are, players will use outside forms of communication as they wish. OOC is life pretty much and what about friends who live together who play together on the same RPI MUD?
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