Global Chat: Why roleplaying in MMOs matters


If you haven’t visited Psychochild’s Blog — the brainchild of former Meridian 59 and Storybricks dev Brian Green — lately, you are missing out on some tremendous essays about MMO design. One series in particular that stuck out discussed why roleplaying should be celebrated and encouraged rather than dismissed.

“I think the most interesting thing about [roleplayers] is that they create content. By acting out stories in your game, they can make the world seem more alive. The crowd of people in the bar, the group of people in the city plaza, or just the quiet neighbors next door all add to the world and make it feel more alive. If a player is an RPer, they this content can be another thing they participate in,” Green wrote.

Read on for a slew of excellent essays that cover MMO topics such as guild drama, mental health, collections, character boosts, and more!

pants plz

Diary of a Guild Leader: Warning signs of guild drama

“As humans, we love to gossip, spread rumors and tell secrets. It creates a social bond that we enjoy belonging to a group and the endorphin rush from being included. Of course there is a negative side to gossiping, especially when you are a group that spends a lot of time together. A guild is just like any other social group where drama can be a real rock in the shoe. Sometimes you gotta take off your shoe and get rid of that pesky rock.”

Leeterati: How Blizzard missed a big opportunity to address mental health

“I want to make clear that I’m not saying that mental illness makes people angry and dangerous. But as someone who struggles with my own mental health and who has volunteered with veterans suffering from PTSD, I know that mental illness can cloud judgement and make high stress situations even worse.”

GamingSF: Collect all the things

“The Orsinium DLC has some ‘extras’ alongside the zone story and boss fights. One particular activity I really appreciate is the collection of museum artifacts. These Orsimer (AKA orc) treasures are scattered through the zone, so if you’re attentive as you quest around, you’re likely to stumble across them.”

Endgame Viable: Diablo III for the first time

“I was late to the Diablo party. Most of my Quake friends loved it, but I stubbornly rejected it until later in the game’s life cycle. I think I played Diablo II at launch, but I don’t remember much about that game except being disappointed in the obvious lack of 3-D rendering. Both of those games stunted most of my enthusiasm for isometric games going forward, and I tend to avoid them now.”

Ald Shot First: It’s the end of the world and I feel fine

“I had heard rumblings from gaming buddies and friends about a new MMO about to release based on an RTS. I had zero knowledge of this game and cared even less about it releasing. I was blind enough to assume no one else i played with would care either. Boy was I wrong on a monumental scale. Slowly but very obviously, we started losing players left and right from my guild at the time.”

Armagon Live: On character boosts

“The thing is… I usually don’t do it. In any game where I get a free max-level (or old-expansion-max-level) boost. I just keep on stalling and not using it. I am actively playing SWTOR right now (I also wrote a lot about it) and I have one Level 65 boost sitting there, unused. I’m still not even sure for which character I want to use it.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.

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For me Roleplay has always been about WHY I play games and it is the same reason I played Pen and Paper rpg’s for over three decades and that is Escapism.

I play games to get away from real life and its stresses and hassles and obligations. As well as being able to step out of myself and into some idealised creation in the form of my avatar and into a world where I can be and do things that in real life I cannot.

It is a little like method acting I guess, allowing yourself to literally become someone else for a time and to try looking at the world as they do, and a whole new world at that.

An imagination is a wonderful thing when utilised to its fullest potential. And roleplaying is simply the method by which your imagination walks these made up universes.

Without that games would be a dead and meaningless experience for me.

It is the difference between imagining myself as my character facing down some horrendous beast and fighting for my life in order to save a town, adrenaline pumping,heart racing, hands sweaty around the hilt of my sword as I face it down, the wind cold and biting at my damp clothing as it stalks around me ready to pounce, my breath short and ragged, misting before my face…. and press 1, 1, 1, 2, 1,1,1,2 use potion, apply buff, 1,2,1,1… I know which I prefer :)

Robert Mann

It has strong potential therefor, at least. Sadly, there tends to be a lack of support, and the people running ‘stories’ in them do things that are on the worse end of fanfic at least as often as something cool, even without counting some of the other unmentionable stuff (Goldshire, anyone?!?)

I think it is important to offer tools to support good RP, as well as just tools to support RP in general. Not to shame anyone, but when the RP lines as you are questing by a couple people have a mix of God Complex vs. God Complex and equally but different tragic backstories that must be expressed with the worst aspects of emo, along with a side of not bothering to write anything out ahead of time and in turn end up with a hot mess… well, that is not something that is a positive to most people.

Good RP is a priceless addition to a world. Bad RP is a small annoyance to be left behind. Supporting RP is not only worthwhile just based off that factor, but it also allows for you to look at growing RP and making better things happen. Which should make any studio which looks at the content locusting very interested!


At its most basic level it’s another downtime activity that takes your mind away from the repetitive cycle inherent to MMORPGs. Being a creative outlet also helps.

Adam Russell

It always boggled me how players would roll a character on the wow roleplayer server and then complain about roleplayers. Dumbdumbdumbdumbdumb


Maybe they are role playing the Village Idiot.

Toy Clown

Thank you for the article and the head’s up on a new blog to read! I think this is why so many roleplayers lament the loss of SWG, because it had the most advanced systems in place for roleplayers to create their own content. I keep scratching my head as to why modern MMOs don’t include some of the functionality of that.

That’s the charm of RPing in MMOs, is that we can utilize an MMO’s visuals in lieu of descriptive writing. For myself, that means I can put more energy into how relationships develop between characters in a setting. Makes it much easier if we don’t have to describe a bunch of detail that’s already there.

On a side note, I honestly never understood the hate for RPers. It was the same way in school, more than 30 years ago, when the nerdier kids sat around a table playing Dungeons & Dragons all night, keeping it on the down low so the jocks wouldn’t hear about it and give ’em hell at school. Kind of reminds me of the type of fighting that goes on between PvPers and RPers. haha


Roleplayers will love your game and its world for a long time. Long after others have left.

Log in to Paragon Chat today and see.


Roleplaying and systems that support it are definitely one of the (many) things I look at when considering a game. Far to many modern titles lack proper chat functionality. Much less systems that help support and foster roleplay. Even WOW suffers from this, though it at least has a robust addon system to correct that flaw.


Nice read and 10+ rep to you Justin for choosing a screenshot from Landmark :)