((The RP XP with MJ #30 – Q&A #3))
Since this is a Q&A article (if you’re new here, I do this every 10th issue) and I have a personal story of my own, we’re going to leave Tarik, Yulel and the “MJ Fiction Players” alone this week and concentrate on your questions, especially since one of the questions involves the fiction that kicks off the column each week.
My story involves the near destruction of this column and my life in SWTOR. Ok, my wife would roll her eyes and call that the exaggeration that it is, but as a writer/producer/RPer I tend to lean toward the dramatic. The short form is this: This particular article may seem a bit like it was hastily thrown together. That’s because it was. In fact, if this wasn’t a Q&A week, there probably wouldn’t be an RP XP today.
For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, you missed the dramatic story about my dead video card and loss of a couple day’s work on my pending novel and various editing projects – not to mention the loss of valuable MMO time. The short end is… I found a nice card (and highly recommend the GeForce GTX 550 Ti for anyone on a modest budget and, like me, don’t have what I’d call a “gaming rig”). The card is more than a match for Star Wars: The Old Republic as well as graphics grinders like Skyrim. If you’re shopping for a card, check it out. My old one, in case you’re curious, was a GTS 240 and came stock with my Dell Studio XPS, which is a great machine for creative types who aren’t run-gun-slash-kill gamers. There are gaming machines specifically for that.
RolePlayers don’t really need that kind of power though, do we?
Now enough about me. Let’s talk about you. On to your questions.
DO YOU USE YOUR GUILD FOR YOUR RP?
I hope I’m guessing this correctly. If you’re asking how the guild structure can be used (or infused) in your RolePlay, there are a couple of avenues you can take.
My guild uses the guild structure strictly for OOC maintenance and communication. Then, within the guild, we have a series of sub-guilds or groups tied to our classes. There’s a Jedi Enclave, a Sith “Hand of the Emperor,” a company of troopers, etc. But, yes, you can “specialize” your guild and set that parameter for the entire structure. For example, you can have a guild composed of nothing but smugglers. Be careful, however, on how serious you’ll be with that. What if you come across a trooper who is a really good RPer and inquires about joining your guild. Do you allow it? And, if you allow it, do you allow others of different classes? If you’re going to be strict, stick to your guns.
If you opt for using your guild as part of your RolePlay, you can set up officers according to their roles. For example, the guild leader could be the council leader of your Jedi enclave, the officers the council body. If anyone has something to bring before the Jedi council, viola, RP stage is set and it’s all “official” within the build of your guild.
WHY ARE ROLEPLAYERS SO SNOBBY AND SELFISH?
Wow. Who left the burning sack of bantha poodoo outside your Corellian freighter? I could have answered this question personally, but I think every question deserves some kind of open answer, especially if it’s not the first time I’d heard it. So, I’ll answer it if, that is, you’ll allow me to substitute “elitist” for “snobby and selfish.” I think it fits where you’re coming from.
I’ve been on both ends of this and it can be a sticky subject for sensitive RPers. If you’re made to feel like an outsider in the RP guild you just joined, if your FRP (Forum RP) is criticized to the point you don’t want to do it any more, you may feel the same way as the player who asked this question. Yeah, it’s a creativity sucker. It can be tough, disheartening and it can discourage you from playing the game the way you truly want to.
But look at it from their point of view. It can take a long time, a great deal of effort, and a village of virtual friends to create and evolve a RolePlay legacy. Characters form relationships, bonds, get married, build apprenticeships, establish hunt clubs, enclaves or assassination networks. They come together as families, partners and tight-knit organizations. They get to know each other (sometimes as players as well as characters). They don’t necessarily want to exclude anyone, but the more these bonds solidify, the more effort it takes to shoehorn a new person into the mix. If you really don’t mind an uphill battle, and really want to be part of the group, find a sponsor. If you don’t already have a friend who’s established with the group, make one. RP with them and give them a chance to appreciate your character. Over time they’ll indoctrinate you and you’ll go from “rookie” to “veteran” in no time.
Or, move on. Find some independent RolePlayers and form your own guild or network. Start your own families or relationships and go from there. Or, find another guild or established group that’s still growing. They’d probably love to have you. If you honestly feel the guild/group you’re trying to enter is being too harsh or too cold, definitely move on. There are over a million players in SWTOR and just about every one of them on your server (if you’re on an RP server) is a RolePlayer.
I’d like to close this question with a plea to those established guilds and groups: Give others a chance. Be fair and open-minded. And, if you honestly don’t think they’ll fit within your dynamic, please don’t string them along or boot them out coldly. They’re part of the greater tribe of RPers. Show them the way by example, be candid, be honest, be kind.
SHOULD I MAX OUT MY LEVEL FIRST AND THEN DO RP? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO?
This was such a good question I had to go back and see if I already answered it. In short, it’s up to the individual. I’m on an RP-PVE server, but I noticed for the longest time that people were running around, zipping around Carrick Station on their speeders or STAPs, sprinting from place to place with their lightsabers waving behind them. No sign of RP anywhere.
Gradually, however, that’s changed. I’ve noticed that the people who were once running around like grinders are now settled in at Level 45-50 doing their RP thing. Maybe it’s because they wanted to collect all the gear and items they could before getting into their character, or maybe they’re PVE types who “finished” the game and now want to settle into some RP. Or, maybe they’re completists and simply don’t want to leave anything left undone, or want their in-game accomplishments to match their character’s (rank of Darth or Jedi Master, for example). Any of those methods for entering RP is fine.
I personally like to RP far more than anything else. I enjoy breathing life into my characters, so I rarely spend time in “mechanics” unless I have to (like getting all my characters to Level 15-17, for example, so they could have mobility and the ability to go aboard their own starships or the starships of others).
So, to answer the second question, no. That’s not what you’re ‘supposed’ to do… unless, of course, you want to. Like anything in RolePlay, whatever you’re most comfortable with is what you’re ‘supposed’ to do.
HOW DO YOU RP A TANK/HEALER/DPS IF THEIR IN-GAME STYLES DON’T MATCH THE RP?
Ok, I butchered the question trying to simplify it, so allow me to flesh it out more before answering. This player wanted to know how you can play a cruel Sith if your in-game load out was to fill the role of a healer (and presumably compassionate). Likewise, what if you’re a selfish violent Sith — a personality that doesn’t lend itself to helping others — but you play a tank in-game?
The easiest way to handle this situation is to simply separate OOC and IC. When playing the game just leave your character behind and beat the boss or grind the flashpoint as a player having fun in a Star Wars video game. Afterwards, gather with your fellow RPers and slip into character then. You can refer back to the history of the “battle action” if you want to, or simply acknowledge that you play the game to level ant that has nothing to do with who your character actually is.
If you want to keep your RP in the game at all times, establish a protocol out-of-character for your actions. If you’re not really that “tanky” in real life, just inform your fellow RPers that you’re helping them out as part of the game mechanic, but they should know it’s not normally in your character’s nature to do so. Likewise, you can establish that you’ll be healing your partners in-game but “write off” the healing as if you’re not really the one doing it. Most any scenario can be settled with a little OOC set-up to suspend disbelief.
DO YOU HAVE A FULL STORY WRITTEN AND YOU JUST GIVE US PARTS [AT THE TOP OF EACH ARTICLE]?
No. Actually, the fun part of the fiction at the top of every ((RP XP with MJ)) is that I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I have a cast of characters — at least one per class — and I just let them write the story themselves. The only prompting I give them is the subject that I’m covering. For example, when I did the column on Permadeath, it was the character of the Jedi Kendrik that stepped forward and said, “Kill me.”
Actually, I never cared for Kendrik. He was destined to die. The snarly little cliff cat Yulel is probably my favorite character so far, though I like what Lord Tagious has up his sleeve.
I’m tickled by this question for another reason because I am about to launch a new serialized blognovel. A blognovel is a novel written as a blog, serialized because one chapter “publishes” every so often (daily, weekly, monthly) until the book is finished. I’ve written three blognovels so far, but the one I’m preparing now will be of special interest to readers of my column *crosses fingers*. I’ve never written fan fiction (unless RP scripts count) and wanted to try my hand at it. I recently finished reading the last (so far) of the Star Wars novels set in the Old Republic era, so I’m anxious to try my hand at it.
Once I kick it off, I’ll tell you about it. Then you can follow me on Twitter to watch for updates. I’m currently planning to put out two chapters per month. And no, none of “MJ Fiction Players” appear in the book. Well… except for one. You’ll have to guess once the book starts rolling.
RP Q&A Links
((The RP XP with MJ)) publishes every Friday right here on swtor-life.com. If you like what you see, or have questions for MJ, contact him directly at swtorliferp(at)gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter @MJswtor. Keep the questions coming. We’ll do this again at #40! And… as long as his video card holds out, he’ll be back again next week. Thank you all for your support and continued enjoyment of the column))
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