[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: Role playing

Michael Hartman mlist at thresholdrpg.com
Thu Oct 13 11:01:00 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

Mark Whittington wrote:

> Why do so many people equate roleplaying with having strange
> accents?

Why do so many people equate the problems of inappropriate voices
means the lack of "strange" accents? It can be as simple as the
weirdness of a female character on screen speaking to you with a
male voice over the voice chat. Or a tiny little fairy speaking to
you with an incredibly deep, bass voice. Or hearing someone in the
background of the voice chat yell "Time for dinner, Billy" or their
cell phone go off, or all sorts of millions of different things that
happen via audio that would never happen via text communication.

And again, there are all the other shortcomings off voice
communication that are conveniently ignored whenever the issue comes
up. See Dr. Bartle's article and my previous post for those

> 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.

PnP RP is good in spite of this, not becuase of it.

>> 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.

We're talking about RP oriented games here, since that is the
topic. We aren't talking about some poor slob trying to RP on a
totally anti-RP game like all the big commercial graphical games out

In an actual RP game, the players go there because they want to
RP. Therefore, they are indeed going to spend the extra time to
craft interesting bits of speech via text.

> 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.

Voice chat adds absolutely nothing over text in an online role play
session. It can only detract.

Michael Hartman, J.D. (http://www.thresholdrpg.com)
President & CEO, Threshold Virtual Environments, Inc.
University of Georgia School of Law, 1995-1998
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, 1990-1994
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