The first article is quite nice. But I can't say i really understand the second article.
I'm going to guess unfamiliarity with the scene, yeah? The two articles, I think, are interconnected.
I'll let Alg speak for himself, but the way I understand it, the second article is his report of observing RS users roleplaying, presumably on world 42 and at a specific location: The Blue Moon Inn at Varrock.I said the articles were "interconnected"
; maybe the reports would have made better sense if they were fully written in that roleplaying style. But still, it's hard to understand what prose-based/freeform online play is about if you don't have an idea of the setup.
This sort of gaming, I'm told, comes from writer's circles and contexts. It's considered "soft"
roleplay-- as emphasis is put on telling a story (challenging a player-character concept
)-- rather than playing the mechanics (challenge the player
, or "hard"
roleplay). This playing style comes from very different origins than the wargaming tradition. Wargaming? Yeah, wargaming. The tradition grew out of expansions on board games. Think Risk, battlefield diorama setups (Warhammer, with the figurines, is a modern example), and D&D with pen, paper, and funny-looking dice.
I said writer's circles
: so prose-based/freeform online includes fan fiction, slash, yaoi, and the like. The subset communities include anime/manga and furries, and roleplay is more often done over forums, blogs (LiveJournal especially), and such. To quote Alg, it's a "a metagame built around storytelling rather than experience". The players make up their stories to influence the game more than they rely on mechanics to determine the outcome. The give/take of interactions is much more free.
I'm making a "quick and dirty" comparison, really: prose-based/freeform online tends to skew more female
), and wargaming tends to skew more male
). This is not cut and dried by any means as much of my IRL family does both.
The comparisons are a little easier when they're presented in their older contexts, I mean tables, pieces, paper, etc. Gets more confusing in video games-- where the default is much more wargaming tradition, typically. And I say "graphical" video games
: if you look at the forerunner of MMOs-- text-based MUD type games, you do sometimes see more writer's inputs (storytelling)
with character backgrounds and the like. It also seemed to me that players tended to put in more storytelling when the game was more text than graphics. They hard to work harder to provide some fantasy flavor, I guess.Bored yet?
Stay with me. See, The Floating Pen's article has another layer of depth if you ask, "How much do players create their fantasy, and how much do they stick to reality?" It's one thing if you just assume the game developers present all the fantasy. Such is relatively easy in single-player type games as more of the structure is fixed.
Not so easy in MMORPGs, which are meant to be played over and over again.
I'll cut it short here lest I go on and on. I'm actually surprised there's prose-based roleplay in Runescape, but I've said numerous times that Jagex is accomodating a lot of playing styles. I'd also say with the EoC that Jagex is trying harder to court the more traditional crowd that feeds from the wargaming tradition. I'd also say (AGAIN) that the persistence of these roleplayers shows some health for the RS community as a whole. Oh, and I still miss the Order of Cabbage. I consider the OoC to be a part of the "roleplayer" tradition
: for players to take things, even if it's not for what would be considered a "story", and create their own experience that has fairly little to do with XP, quests, minigames, etc. I appreciate Alg for giving us a glimpse of how RS roleplayers do things, but I hope there will be more informative articles on that subject.