Reply To: High Level PCs and RPing

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Lt. Tyler
  • Markshire PCs:

Sheesh, a guy goes on a vacation for one week and when I return I have all this readin’ to do.

That was a very interesting article you linked Cayle. I always had something that stuck in my craw about the Bartle system, and especially seeing people with the results of their Bartle test in their sigs (on other boards) that somehow just didn’t quite make sense to me. Thus the breaking of the dichotomy between achievement and roleplaying was in retrospect obvious, but nice to see validated by some analysis of real players’ opinions.

One thing I found a little unsatisfactory about the analysis is that while it focuses on what players state as their motivations for playing a game (which is reasonable, since it in some way asks to answer the question, how do we design a gameworld that people actually want to play in?), it doesn’t address what actually happens when people play, and whether these motivations work at cross purposes.

Sure, a person might have achievement and roleplaying as their motivations for playing the game, but perhaps during any single activity (or time frame), these two motivations are mutually exclusive. This leads to times when players might focus just on achievement (e.g., making a Pass or Arik run) wherein RP is minimized, and then times when RP is maximized (e.g., spending time talking at Gargoyle’s, crafting). The players value both, but “compartmentalize” time spent into each, still fulfilling both motivations.

The question then is whether the circumstances of the world (the players, the quests, the activities, the reward system) become such that one aspect becomes predominant over the other. All the players still value both, but maybe it’s easier to do one, and thus neglect the other.

I’ll say that for me, achievement and RP often work against one another. At times I get focused too much on achievement, which detrimentally affects my investment in RP. And I’ll admit that sometimes my focus on achievement comes from a feeling of competition with other players who are higher level. It’s not that I want to beat them PvP, or ensure that my character has more influence than theirs. It’s just a feeling that I want to be relevant.

Still MS (via the superlative DMs) does a good job of ensuring that low level characters are relevant. So I think it is more an issue I have with my own outlook rather than something necessarily inherent with the setup.

As for my long absence, it’s just very hard to get time to log on for any length of time. Having a two year old is work. 🙂 I’ve been getting the itch though, so maybe soon enough I can find that backscratcher.