[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Role playing

Mark Whittington markc at liquidev.com
Fri Oct 7 06:16:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

On Thu, 6 Oct 2005, Michael Hartman wrote:

> Personally, I believe voice chat is an anti-RP piece of
> technology. The overwhelming majority of players are not going to
> be able to alter their voice to sound anything like their
> character should. Even with a few voice altering filters, it still
> will not even get close to the variety in character types a
> typical RP game would have.

Why do so many people equate roleplaying with having strange
accents?  I play a traditional RPG weekly, with some sessions
consisting of 100% story roleplay and no combat.  Only one person in
our group (the DM) ever alters his voice.  Changing your voice might
add to your roleplaying experience, but I certainly don't see it as
being a pivotal element of good RP.

On the other hand, text lends itself very nicely to abbreviations
and shortcuts which people will use out of habit or necessity.  If
you're in the middle of combat and your health is getting low, you
aren't going to type out, "Baz, I'm hurt badly!  Please heal me!".
You're going to type 'heal plz' or even just 'heal', and if you
don't then chances are your enemy will be standing over your corpse
while you finish typing your in-character plea for help.

> Those extra few seconds (or even minutes, depending on the nature
> of your RP community) result in dramatically superior RP. In
> voice, people have to keep yammering along to maintain the flow of
> the conversation. This increases the likelihood of modern slang,
> babbling, filled pauses (uh... and... like... ya know... etc.).

This is only true if the people that you're playing with choose to
use the extra time in that manner.  My experience has been that many
don't, even on RP-centric servers.  Also, what's wrong with filled
pauses?  They are a very natural part of real-time conversation.

It all comes down to the people.  Voice chat can add a lot to the
game with a group of people that genuinely enjoy RP, and text-only
chat won't make a bad RP'er better.

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