RPing In A Static World

In alot of mmorpgs, virtual worlds are “static” – the world never really changes aside from expansion packs or content patches/updates. Granted, we can do some temporary things, but for the most part it all reverts back by respawns and resets unless said patch, expansion or feature is added to the game “world”.

While persistent, the “physical” world is unwavering to time and player efforts. Role-players starting out sometimes have a similar question…

How do I role-play in a static world?

Static worlds are great to look at and you can immerse yourself in them. It’s just the canvas and frame to a bigger “picture” for folks that RP. It can also be a hurdle for folks that want to role-play in a more dynamic environment, but cannot due to game mechanics.

Some games feature scripted events, either for quest or flavor-driven reasons. Many of them are very cool to watch, learn about the area/situation and enjoy. Sadly they tend to become like a broken record, but it’s better to have them than not at all.

Most zones in mmorpgs are designed in a linear fashion, so the “Big Bad” you defeated when you just started playing is still alive, well… and kicking for instance.

It’s the canvas and frame role-players have to use in mmorpgs. Just sometimes we are given very little paint. *grin* It does not mean however you can let it dampen your RP.

Why does it matter?
Immersion is a big deal for those that role-play. It’s like escaping as a character into a great story or movie. For alot of role-players, it would be great to be able to set up a camp – tent, campfire and a hammock, for example. Have or rent a flat in a city or even have our own cool shop or tavern. Walk the streets and interact with shopkeepers and passersby.

Some games allow for some of that – others are not as into in the “cool” extras that could liven up a static area. Some games overlook it as “fluff”, but it can really make a difference to folks that role-play and an added novelty to those that don’t. Alot of it is up to us as role-players to add life to the game.

The main thing to remember that imagination is your best tool and a static world is only as static as you make it.

  • Shrug off the “Been There, Done That” pitfall
    Role-play around the static parts that pose an issue if you encounter them. Ignore the fact you’ve killed “Boss Dude #45? at least a 100 times – just move on, nothing to see here. *grin* Your adventures haven’t suffered that much and you still have much more to accomplish through questing and role-playing.
  • You’ve had your virtual 15mins, it’s time for theirs
    You may find yourself helping someone RP an quest. If you’ve already done the quest or encountered the NPC that someone hasn’t, don’t spoil it for the folks that haven’t gone through it. If taking part in an event, see it through new eyes and take a “supporting” role to someone else’s “lead”. This holds true in instanced dungeons as well if you RP through them. Remember you were there too once.
  • Gracefully rationalize encounters
    Perhaps your adversary was brought back to life? Most games treat death as a defeat, not as a -final- death. You can treat in-game death as that also. In City of Heroes, heroes do not kill – they defeat their foes. Perhaps another took his place to carry on the work? That can be a logical way of dealing with “Boss Dude #45?.
  • Fuzzy Logic can work too
    Perhaps an instance is cursed and the villains are somehow like flies in amber – but still posing some threat to the countryside, unable to interact from their “prison”. If time travel or time shifts/magics are in lore for the game – that may be why things are as is. And an adventure hook as well to look into.
  • Remember that a static world does not mean you have to be “static”
    Grow as a character, create memorable moments role-playing with friends, new folks and passersby. Don’t worry about the things you cannot alter due to a silly game mechanic. You’ve got better things to do with your time. The world may stay the same as far as pixels go – but interact with others makes role-playing fun and enjoyable.
  • Create your own quests ans storylines with friends
    Don’t forget you and your fellow RPers can use your imagination and create very cool things to do ICly. Use the statics to an advantage, it could work. Items in-game can serve as props. Even trash items can be a story element and a RP tool. World of Warcraft, for example, has empty areas and buildings – with a little imagination – you have a shop or a meeting place. Walk the streets, talk to folks and breathe life into the game world.
  • Don’t have a prop to use?
    Use emotes to “flavor” the role-playing. For example, reading a book from a shelf, picking up goods in a shop or tossing a couple coins unto a table. Using objects and actions with them can be expressed simply by constructive uses of emoting. Just remember to respect others and do not “God-mode” or go too far with your emotes.
  • RP away from scripted events
    Sometimes doing that alone can help. It’s great that they do exist, it does provide some “life” to the game – but it’s no substitute for cool interactions with friends and fellow role-players. Some are not as bothersome, just shrug ones off that are trivial and enjoy the moment with folks.
  • Don’t let fear keep you in a box
    Don’t be afraid to try something off the beaten path from the mainstream. Think through your ideas and refine. Bounce stuff OOCly with friends and get feedback. You just may have a diamond idea in the rough!

These are just a few ideas to work around the “statics” in a mmorpg world. It all depends on the game mechanics on what may work best for your situation and how you see past the game mechanics.