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Role-Players, Levels, and a little something called GRIT
Dedicated to my Mumble BF
Who inspires me to rant about RP
Dedicated to my Mumble BF
Who inspires me to rant about RP
A common thread running through various discussions on TESO-RP.com, and generally all RP communities, is skill level. Whether the conversation is about various areas on the map, bosses, or even RP tournament planning; levels come up. Since role-players have a multitude of opinions on the effect of game mechanics, in this case skill levels, on RP; the topic is ripe for discussion. I will outline two general camps of thought. Imagine that both camps actually have a huge overlap, and every role-player fits somewhere; either firmly in one of the camps (extreme views) or in between.
One camp consists of people who ignore levels and other game mechanics that depend on one’s level. It’s common for role-players to make bio’s for their character, and many do as a way to create; after all role-play is about creating the feeling of “life” in the game universe. That spirit carries into the character development, where the possibilities for a character background are limitless. Naturally not all types of backgrounds would be “kosher” with the lore-abiding role-players. The idea however is that one can make a character with a long past, full of adventure and complex interactions with the society around them. That background then is taken into role-play in-game, regardless of the game mechanics. They are often viewed as Out of Character, not applicable to role-play itself.
Then the other camp of role-players include the game-mechanics of leveling up into their role-play. They limit their creativity in writing the background, after all no one would believe a seasoned warrior who used to be a General just four years ago to be very valid at all if they’re level 15! On another hand they gain a concrete backbone for gauging character skill relative to others around them. They see game progression as an RP dynamic, since their character is literally training to become better at a skill. By doing this they extend their RP beyond the personal writing in character bios and spill it over into game mechanics as well.
A clash occurs when people from the further “extreme” sides of the two camps interact, both on the forums and in-game. The question of fairness comes up over and over again. Arguments from both sides have fair points.
*What if a person works 60 hours a week and doesn’t get to play as much as another?
*If we go just by character bios, then what stops me from writing in that my character is a descendant of a line of super-warriors which immortality in their blood?
*The character is IC’ly training the player is away and that cannot be measured by levels, unless they are in a stasis until the player logs on?
*Levels are a means to track progress and keep everyone on an even playing field, what other concrete system is available for this?
*What if the player doesn’t want to grind to max level and get the “elite” gear... does that make them inferior, even in a role-play setting?
*Personal ego and the desire to NOT see one’s character lose can drive a lot of RP combat to ridiculous measures whereas PvP based on skill, level, and gear is much better at deciding the winner of a brawl.
Personally, I prefer to stick to in-game levels as a means to measure character strength. For me, game mechanics must be closely (although not absolutely) tied to role-play. Otherwise I feel as though I am playing two games, one of OOC and one of RP. That divide marks a lack of immersion, which is one of the most important things for me to feel while playing any MMO, but especially one with rich lore such as Elder Scrolls, as a role-player.
Plus, a level 15 warrior claiming to have been a general four years ago just looks silly. But how can my character tell their level? Well, we can go outside the city walls and see how easily one can take down an enemy mob of say... level 30? If the character cannot defeat that enemy and mine can; should that be dismissed? How far does the dissociation between RP and game world go? At what point does it get ridiculous?
I too understand the desire to “do what I want” in a game, and make a character that has far less problems to deal with than I might in real life. I could make them appear wealthy and write that wealth into the background, or have talents and skills that would take time to develop right from the start. After all, it’s all about being creative right?
But I don’t see things that way, because that’s not how I deal with reality and RP. Conflict is inherently interesting, personal achievement (in-game, not written into a bio) is impressive. I cannot see myself playing with people who use RP as “wish fulfillment” because I have a little something called GRIT. Grit to get what I seek on common terms, aka game-terms. If I want to have a wealthy character, I would play the markets, raid and/or craft until I give people lavish gifts to show off my character’s wealth. (The gifts wouldn’t be emoted either.) The same goes for being a ferocious warrior, a great leader, and so on and so on.
I don’t believe anyone has the right to claim immense wealth, privilege, skill, etc. and while I know it’s perfectly realistic to expect some per cent of a population within a society to have those advantages, it bothers me that certain people think they are the ones who are entitled to these advantages just because they themselves wrote it in their character’s background. It reeks of having a huge ego.
Bottom line, while not completely fair to every role-player, levels and game mechanics based on them is the best feature we have to eliminate bias and provide a universal measure skill.
Where do you draw the line between role-play and game mechanics such as levels? Do you see yourself firmly in one camp or the other, or do you have mixed views? Thanks for reading and contributing to the discussion!