Dear Kat; Change and Keeping Pace



Relic asks,

Dear Kat,

I started roleplaying back when DAoC and EQ first came out. Needless to say things in the community have changed a lot. I am starting to realize that I am either going to need to accept these changes or walk away from RP altogether. Do you have any advice for old fashioned RPers on how they can get more into speed with the times and still find what they like with in RP?


Dear Relic,

This is such a great question; but also a tough one to answer! I got my start in the old, text-based MUDs back in the 90s – so I know all to well that feeling of “falling behind” – however, whereas some of us have changed to keep up with current trends… my personal approach has been to do as I always do, regardless of how the environment around me changes. And the longer I do this, I notice more and more people finding it strange – because they were never exposed to that style of roleplay.

So, there are really two points to it – on the one hand, we don’t really need to change anything if we can but find people whom share our styles and preferences. On the other, I think adapting in small ways can lead to a whole new experience that might be lots of fun to delve into.

Now, on the foot – it also depends on what kinds of changes are being referred to, exactly. So at the end of the day, my personal catch-all suggestion? Look at the old way; then look at the ‘new’ way – and ask yourself which appeals to you more. If you think you might have fun with both; then perhaps the answer lies in taking those old trends and adapting them to a new medium. For example: when I moved from MUDs to MMOs, I found myself spending a lot more time with a thesaurus and a dictionary so that I could take what I used to describe in long, verbose phrases – and condense them down into a few, emotionally-packed words that would convey that seem level of quality and feeling in the newer, smaller space I had to work with. And when I went back to MUDs, I found myself taking that approach and expanding on it to suit the larger space and newer habits!

I like to think that as roleplayers, we’re never actually finished perfecting our personal approach to our craft. Instead, the never-ending journey to improve and adapt is just another part of the experience – a chance to see things from a fresh angle and move out of our comfort zones for a little while.


~An old fuddy-duddy who likes her old, outdated ways.

What’s your story about change and adaptation in the world of roleplay? Let us know in the comments below!


5 thoughts on “Dear Kat; Change and Keeping Pace

  1. As a RP with over 30 years of table-top and LARP experience, but only 5 years of time in with MMORPG’s, I’m curious. How has the community changed since the early days?

    Since I stated playing CoH in 2007, it seems that forum RP has died down, but I am interested in what other trends people with more experience see.

    • A good question on top of a good question!

      I think it depends largely on the community in question; though in general… Personally, I’ve noticed that as the medium has shifted from text-heavy MUDs to more complex MMOs; and as more and more people have begun leaping into RP, there’s been a gradual shift in how large and intricate the common post is. Pacing as a whole has gotten quicker, and writing comes in more bite-sized pieces of thought.

      The long novelettes that were once the standard are seen more often in forum RP, instead. as text limits and chat buffers encourage RPers to find ways to condense their ideas.

      On another side of the coin, the RP community in general seems to be increasingly open with all sorts of things. Once upon a time, you never heard about homosexual characters of either stripe in public places – but by now, few even bat an eye at the idea. Sometimes, I think reality could take a hint from fantasy on how to be accepting.

  2. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Kat. I would tend to agree. Have you noticed a trend away from more chat based RP in favor of “in person” interaction in game? This seems like more of an issue now than even three years ago.

    • I have to admit that I actually haven’t! Mostly, because I actually got my start with “in person” RP and have always done as such.

      It’s a very interesting transition to think about, though – in some places, I have actually noticed it going in the opposite direction. I think it falls into the change of pacing idea; where some are slowing theirs down to put more into each interaction – whereas others are increasing their pace by focusing on the speech.

  3. I think it has gone through a slew of changes. As MMOs change they affect the RP community.
    First thing is that now players have a personal story built within the game to contend with. This causes instances where you might be taken in a direction that you don’t see your character going through. You have to decide if that is played OOCly or if it affects you in character. Then you have to realize that it is something that every character is going through. Not everyone can be the one person to save the world.
    Along with this, to experience end game you need to fill a role on a team or play a certain spec but it might not be something that you see your character doing. Farming dungeons becomes a problem as well, how can you ICly do a dungeon run more than once. Dungeons and such mechanics didn’t exist in the early days.

    As MMOs start to create more interest you have more of a separation from those that RP and those that don’t. RP servers used to mean something and in essence was the RP community but now it is rare to even find one. This causes people to gravitate to forums to connect with RPers. Now people are almost expected to post a back story and know the RP rules that said community has come up with. RPers find they are outnumbered and trolled more now (either because there are no RP servers or they aren’t moderated like they used to be) so a lot of us avoid RPing in public and gravitate to a private location or channel. You find less in character interaction out in the world and more in cities and taverns which are a relatively new development.

    Game developers have come to realize that people like lore and story and it is implemented into MMOs now. More and more detailed and in depth lore is forming. This provides depth to characters, but also creates lore boundaries which can be broken if you aren’t knowledgeable of them. Gone are the days where you just made a character and rolled with it. Now you are expected to know the ins and outs of your character and where they have come from.

    While most of these changes have been gradual and have good and bad consequences, it can still lead people to question “Is this really the RP that I want?”

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