Those of you who follow this blog regularly know I am a Roleplayer. Those of you who don't, well, now you know.
I can't say I've been a part of many RP guilds for very long. I believe my longest stint was a year and a half. Pretty long in Internet Time but not so much in the grand scheme of things. I've done a lot of casual RP'ing to say the least, though those terms tend to be incredibly imprecise. I still don't know what constitutes a Heavy RP'er, for example, and I'm sure I could think up some weight related joke to go along with it, but that's not what this post is about.
Let's start with a little story. I just finished Arkham City yesterday, having spent the past few days with family and my brother's Xbox. Ra's Al Ghul is in the game, and inspired by the great depiction of him that the developers had created, I wanted to make a character in City of Heroes based on that design. A Vigilante who dispenses lethal justice. And a stalker, that works great! He could have some great moral stories...
That is where I stopped. I thought about all the roleplayers I had met, not only in City of Heroes but in every other game, and immediately scrapped my project.
You see, setting up a storyline that involves other people is far more trouble than it is worth. I will admit, this becomes easier when you have a group of friends you know, but even then you have to take into account the player far more than the character. Every step must be planned in such a way that it would not offend or intrude on another person's character. From my experience, people roleplay to immerse themselves in a fantasy world, yet at the same time demand a high level of control over their character's story.
And because of this, roleplayers find themselves unable to trust anyone else to respect the supposed sanctity of their character's story. I have run into people who outright /ignore any character who brings unwanted conflict to their character. Though City of Heroes should be a fantastic ground for roleplayers to create comic book worthy tales, they are unable to do so when pitted against one another. An NPC group must be the target of the heroing/villainy in order for it to reliably work. I am extremely dissapointed that epic rivalries such as Superman and Lex Luthor, and Batman and the Joker cannot arise in RP because the players of those characters would never be spending most of their time arguing rather than allowing something bad happen to their character.
To bring this around to a relevant point for all you non-roleplayers, this is also the reason why Skyrim would make a terrible MMORPG. It's a fantastic world that you can immerse yourself into very easily, but put another person in there and you find yourself losing that immersion. Change nothing about the game except adding other players, and by simple act of people talking you will be jaunted out, forced to examine the game mechanics rather than the story and world, because that is what everyone will be talking about.
I think I'll make that Stalker anyway. But I'll be playing in the game, not in the world like I want to.