The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMO to roleplay in as of 2018?

Half an eternity ago, my merry band of MMO PvPers and raiders ran headlong into a gang of roleplayers, and it changed my guild forever. I’ve reminisced before about some of my favorite roleplaying moments in MMOs, many of them in City of Heroes and Star Wars Galaxies, games where the play-your-way pace of the game led to amazing storytelling and impromptu encounters, the kind that make you research obscure planet names, spend hours on the perfect costume, and accidentally stay up until 4 in the morning… typing.

But in the post-SWG, post-City of Heroes era, I dropped out of roleplaying as a core activity. I’m not going to be that jerk on the RP server talking about sportsball, mind you, and I’ll still make sure my toons have appropriate names and sufficient backstory, but I don’t hang out in taverns waiting for something interesting to happen nowadays. And honestly, I’m not entirely sure which MMO would be the ideal home for a roleplayer anyway.

You tell me – what’s the best MMO to roleplay in as of 2018?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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39 Comments on "The Daily Grind: What’s the best MMO to roleplay in as of 2018?"

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Zen Dadaist

I found it’s not really the tools that define whether it’s a good game to RP in – it’s the community and the coherence of the lore and setting. Sure tools like personal housing, RP tags, in-game weddings and whatever help with immersion and ideas. However if you’re getting trolled and harassed 24/7 by a community who thinks its bad (even though their usual “my side/leet skillz is superior to yours” rhetoric is basically the same thing, only without the IC/OOC distinction) then it’s no fun at all.

I don’t RP in MMOs any more, due to community. The irony is I started to RP in MMOs because I found RP communities!

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Alex Willis

LOTRO, obviously. But I’m curious about the BDO RP scene, because it can be such an immersive “life” game. (Next to EVE, it still has the coolest and deepest PVE economy.) And by “curious” I also mean “holy shit, this makes me nervous because overexcited boob physics = ERP = nopenope”.

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Sorenthaz

Personally think finding actual good quality RP in MMOs is like trying to find a competent PUG for a high-end raid. But then again I prefer RPing on MUDs and other text-heavy venues. I guess FFXIV seems like it’s decent on the Mateus server if you look past all the shenanigans and trolling. WoW probably still has its moments on Wyrmrest Accord or probably even Moon Guard. LotRO’s always solid, RIFT has the tools for it, and beyond that dunno.

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Suikoden

I’d say Lotro and Champions Online. CO is so much more fun if you’re with an RP group.

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Toy Clown

I loved UO (shout out to Pacific!) and SWG (Bria, then Starsider when the griefers took over) the best for RP features. SWG had the best chat system for RPing and you could tell the devs had their roots in MuDs. Include housing, deep character customization, entertainer system, storyteller system, crafting, flight, vehicles… we had all the tools we could ever need to create our own scenes. From creating stages for shows, to creating Raxus Prime and Nar Shaddaa as backdrops, combined with the ability to use each item you looted or created as house deco and could trade it to other players, also created many RP scenarios for smuggling goods across Empire borders.

Current: I really enjoy BDO for RP. While it doesn’t have all the features I miss from SWG, it has quite a few. From housing, different types of mounts, wagons and ships, a large world to explore and use for backdrops to scenarios, insane character creation, and the introduction of musical instruments last year and expanded costumes made by players all lend heavily to immersion. The realism of the graphics helps a lot, too.

For the type of RPer I am, while I know lots of people enjoy ESO, I don’t like the way it “shards” people into different instances as it makes it hard to get into RP organically. Yes, you can friend everyone, or guild people and get higher chances of being somewhere together, but it’s not perfect. Housing also has a low cap on how many players can be inside. The world is large and immersive, the lore deep, and customization as far as what a character wears is vast.

FFXIV has lots of RP and it’s easy to find organically on the Mateus server. The drawback is so much of the content and features for RP are gated behind doing the game’s main story line and levels, so it makes it a little daunting to start up RP as a new player, but once you have a base level of glamours and an apartment (plenty open on this server), it doesn’t feel too bad.

GW2 has the same problem ESO has and also lacks personal housing that you can decorate yourself and make your own. It’s a great venue if you like to do adventure RP and don’t mind using NPC houses, but again I’m not a fan of the whole sharding players off into multiple instances thing.

BDO has my vote for best MMO for RP currently. I realize not everyone has the same tastes I do, and that’s cool. :)

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Sorenthaz

Mateus is definitely “interesting”. Friday night I started hearing commotions in my FC about some weird stuff going on in the Quicksand (Ul’dah adventurer guild) and it was the first time I heard about the FC that apparently has a bunch of people who mimic characters like Yshtola, Aymeric, Haurchefant, etc…

So one of the first things was seeing Lolorito repeatedly yelling for help because an angry mob kept chasing him around Ul’dah wanting him to pay for what he did in the MSQ that people obviously dislike the character for (Aymeric and Papalymo were a part of the mob chasing him). Later on I saw Aymeric sitting completely nude on top of Haurchefant. Papalymo was running around with a Slime King hat, and then the best part was there were folks such as Honkred Waters and Cid Honkrond who impersonated various characters (in those cases it’s obviously Thancred and Cid) and did nothing other than run around making honking noises.

So what I learned is that Mateus on a Friday night is freaking hilarious just to watch from a spectator point even though it makes the RPer in me woefully irritated to see lore characters being messed with in such a way. But it also makes me glad I don’t bother with MMO RP because the Quicksand in FFXIV is pretty much the equivalent of Goldshire in WoW.

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Toy Clown

I heard my FC discussing that the other night! Some expressed that same feeling about seeing players portraying lore characters. I think that’s pretty neat that a bunch of players have gone to that length to create something like this and wish I could have seen that! OOC I would have loved to see that, but if I saw it IC I’d probably handwave it as it happened around my character.

There’s always that “one” place in any MMO that unfortunately attracts certain types of RPers. I don’t like to call them RPers, because all they’re doing is looking to hook up under the guise of being a RPer. To me, that’s more about soliciting cyber sex. Hardcore ERPers used to use forums such as Darknest to hook up in games while staying under the radar. ERP was a taboo topic in RP communities 6-7 years ago.

Now people are blatant and flood into a community’s RP hotspot to look for others. The problem I have with that is those places are usually the first place new players (RPers and non alike) and new RPers to a game head to start connecting with others. It’s daunting when you walk into a place, hopeful for RP connections, only to be bombarded with OOC tells asking for ERP.

Sadly, because those spots are most visible to outsiders, it gives them the impression all RPers do is ERP, when in fact what most RPers do is cringe away from that behavior and RP elsewhere.

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greyformat

It’s been some time, but I’d have to say Wildstar had a healthy roleplaying environment.

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Castagere Shaikura

Games like Lotro top this kind of list because of its well known lore. When i played it years ago role players were everywhere.

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TotalCowage .

Best to roleplay in? It’s probably still venerable old Ultima Online, as they employ Event Managers who can directly bring player roles into the core game fiction. I should know, I was one of ’em once. It’s not quite D&D tabletop GMing, as there’s all kinds of weird rules from central about what you can and can’t do, so sometimes player suggestions for what they’d like to see happen would get disqualified without being able to explain why… but the basic desire to make the players, and how they see themselves the driving force behind events, and even the map (old established player towns can request official recognition, with sign posts in game etc) is absolutely there.

The problem is… the players themselves no longer roleplay as much as they did. From my perspective, events with a chance of exciting combat, but more realistically, rare drops were massively more attended than the World Councils which were pure roleplaying.

The why of that can be debated. It’s probably a mixture of all the possible reasons; that the market is mature now so if you want to be a Cat Girl say, there are games focused specifically on that, you don’t need to pretend to be one in UO.

That basic human nature has taken over, and people play primarily for personal progression and roleplaying is hard to justify when you’re not earning gold doing it… and games companies have specifically shifted to encourage this and a myriad other addiction-retention mechanisms.

Maybe there’s even a generational element involved, and that just as the way to meet people changes in real life, so it does the MMO sphere… Taverns may make sense to middle aged people who used to go specifically to Pubs and clubs for that, and who were children before the internet… these days, you LFG and then wait to be matched to someone looking for the same thing you’re Down To do… Maybe there’s tonnes of roleplayers out there, but Bree is just to old to know where they are now. (Same goes for me too)

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Alex Js.

“Best”? VRChat. It can be classified as “game” because, well, there are several mini-games within, and it’s basically an “MMO” because according to this blog any online game with more than 1 person = “MMO” ;-) And, of course, since it allows you to create and import ANY model from any cartoon/anime/game in existence it gives an RP variety like no other game in existence ;-) Want to RP as Piglet from Vinnie the Pooh? You can do that. Want to RP as Kanna Kamui from certain anime? You can do that too! Be an elf, or a dwarf, or a faceless cube with legs – any pre-built character model you can find online or anything YOU can create and import. Same goes for creating your “worlds” within VRChat – I’ve already seen people re-creating places like Leblanc cafe from Persona 5 game and other things like this.
And what’s even more great – it can already track your leg/arm movement (with right VR accessory) for more immersive experience. No other game can even approach that ;-P

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Arsin Halfmoon

Personally, GW2 and WoW have some really fun RP. Lots of variety and it just seems the community bolsters some very experienced RPers so there’s something for everyone when it comes down to it.

ON THE OTHER HAND…

I’m going to have to say FFXIV’s RP scene is pretty dang lame. While SE has made it a very RP friendly game, it’s a victim of its own success. There’s not much variety in it. If you’re not a lewd catboy, catgirl or au ra, you’re a voidsent for some reason or another. I chalk it up to a lot of people getting just getting into it, and it just so happens to attract the anime-fantasy-otherworld RPers.

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NeoWolf

LOTRO there are lots of very active RP communities

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letholdrus

World of Warcraft EU Argent Dawn Server

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jay

LotRO or SW hands down.

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starbuck1771

World of Warcraft

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Daniel Miller

May sound off, But bless has 1200 pets, mounts and 200 costumes, and am insane open size world. It is just waiting for the masses to play.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

I drive my trade wagon around in BDO and there is a “healthy” amount of ERP going on in houses scattered around the land. Does that count?

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nobleeinherjar

Sometimes I wonder if people haven’t figured out yet that going inside their home doesn’t hide their text from people outside their home. Because .. yeah ..

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Denice J. Cook

….Paragon Chat. In fact, it’s all you can do there.

:(

Better than nothing though!

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Yzumi Wang

new : “BDO” Black Desert Online – for privat RP clanchat + crafting/housing + outdoor camping things + sea ships. Open PvP only at L50. (atm no Player Musicans here like in Lotro)

older : “TSW” London and Seoul(for RP in a Dragon Clan).

outdatet : “SWG Classic” Mos Eisley (as Entertainer all Cantina’s – greetings to Gorath and the first Band The Misfits ^^) all SWG Campfire and later the great SWG Storytelling funktion. Or see today “SWGEmu”

* … Storytelling is a game system that allows players to place decorations, effects and even combat NPCs in ways that have previously only been available to the Events Team. The goal is to give players a powerful set of tools to help enhance their in-game roleplaying stories and community events. …*

“SL” a good thing in Secound Life”, is like this SWG “Storytelling game system”, that allows players to place decorations from shops or you can make your own 3D objects in Blender3d – atm SL don’t have a good MMO Combat System, the most SL skript gamesystems are Story “FAQ” quest/puzzels but thats good enough for RPG’s. see here : https://secondlife.com/destinations/roleplay

Atm i play BDO (without RP) somtimes i take a look in SL to see new “Player made” RP Worlds

Something like SWG + TSW + SL is a good place for RP :) But “at fist” you need to find Player to RP with ;)

Wish yall a good new RP Year !

Farewell

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jay

How dare you leave LotRO off this wonderful list :P

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David McD

Oddly enough there is very good RP going on in Grand Theft Auto 5. That’s most of what is in their Twitch channel.

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Knox Harrington

Seeing as how MMO developers have been hampering and decreasing support for RP exponentially over the years, I can’t say there’s really any MMO that’s good for it anymore.

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Modrain

Outside of RP servers, as a non-RPer, I can’t even tell what studios even do/did to specifically support the RP community. Do you have examples in mind of what used to be done and isn’t anymore?

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Knox Harrington

The loss of the RP server designation is pretty significant. Now RP’ers are forced in with the rest of the population, which is usually less than receptive towards them. Take for example SWTOR. One of the game’s larger more populated and more active servers was an RP server. Bioware just merged all the servers together and now RP’ers are being openly harassed and trolled by non-RP’ers. Bioware has yet to address this issue. They should’ve added a separate instance shard for RP on the new server like they did for PvP. RP’ers don’t need much. The main thing they need is the space to do their thing. Developers are no longer giving them that.

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Modrain

I see, basically no more safe space. Thanks for the answer!

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connor_jones

The loss of the RP server designation is pretty significant.

Absolutely. If anyone doubts it, they need look no further than the GW2 megaservers.

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Nate Woodard

The stupidity of it, Bree, is that the only game I could begin to find any meaningful RP currently is WoW and I’m so bored and it’s hardly meaningful these days. EA/Bioware killed the small RP community for SWTOR with the server merges.

I talked to one guy post server merge and he said [quite optimistically and not fully centered in reality I might add] that you have to search out the RP guilds that are left, essentially broadcasting in General Chat and leaving your RP open to trolling. To be honest, I was practically dumbstruck at the fact that he was even promoting his RP guild in the first place.

After reading Oleg’s comment I am certainly more curious about MUD RP though.

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Tia Nadiezja

LotRO is the only one I see RPish stuff happening in regularly.

CapnLan
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CapnLan

I don’t RP but I’ve been seeing a lot of it in FFXIV. I’m not even on one of the community designated RP servers either. I’ve had a few come up to me and try but I politely declined and went on with my business. Haven’t had that happen in years so I wasn’t expecting it. Seems like a good place to be if you like RP.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Since SWG is dead and LoTRO isnt what it used to be, the best roleplay you can find is in MUDs like Achaea and Dragonrealms

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Zora

I had a rather pleasant experience with SWTOR until a while ago, despite the game failing to provide even the most basic QoL features to facilitate roleplay (I am looking at you, chat bubbles) but… that was largely about the community -before- the servers merge, which kind of destroyed that one upside.

Perhaps SWL for sheer atmosphere, between being niche and very story-driven one would imagine for it to draw and foster a solid RP-friendly environment?

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Hirku

The original TSW was fantastic for RP, especially the London hub. Plus there were always gatherings all over the world. SWL could be great, too, but the small population limit in zones really hampers it and the bland RP areas added to the Agartha hub are no substitute.

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connor_jones

Maybe I missed it in an earlier thread, but I was wondering why Funcom put the severe population limit on the regular questing zones in SWL? To keep players from interfering with each others’ quests? That was the biggest issue I saw in the original game.

Agree with you though on Agartha not being terribly interesting as an RP hub.

Nathaniel Downes
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Nathaniel Downes

It’s not an MMO, but a shared world design similar to Conan Exiles under the hood. (I’d not be surprised if it’s limit is the same as CE)

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Hirku

That was one reason they gave along with increasing immersion by creating a sense of isolation, etc. Probably also to improve performance. The problem is that limit seems to apply to the home cities, and whether it’s intentional or just a bug it’s effectively shut down the best RP locations.

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Tia Nadiezja

I don’t get the RP zones in Agartha. It feels like trying to tell a story set on a busy highway.

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Hirku

I totally disagree with that…the highway isn’t all that busy. ; )

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