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Starla Huntress

What do Role Players Want?

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Me and my husband run a 1920's Role Play sim.  My question is to role players actually.  We did alot of scheduled role play, we bascially came up with the plot and set everything up, put key people in place and then put out notices and such to let everyone know what was happening.  We allowed the bystanders to participate however they wanted.  Everyone had a great time and we did this for several months, we lost some people that helped us with all this, then we were told there wasnt enough freeform role play.  Right now we have people sayting they want to role play but then say there is no role play....is it scheduled role play they want or do they just want someone to start it so they can join in?  We have a great build and we allow anyone to use it (provided they dress right of course).

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What WE want is the same thing everybody else in SL wants and deserves -- LL sells us a product, and leaves us the h*** alone to enjoy our product.  Just deliver what was sold to us; if you didn't want us to own said virtual land, you shouldn't have advertised that we would own the virtual land.  That LL keeps wanting to change the rules about what we can and can't do on our land and breaks numerous US laws while keeping prices so high that nobody will buy land anymore, makes me loathe to pay them anything anymore. 

What we want is what LL sold to us.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  If they can't do that, then its nobody's fault but their own that no new user in their right mind will pay the bucks they want for what little they offer.

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Okay, I'll narrow that down some then.

 

An RP sim needs a) an entry way that's NOT RP so that people who aren't RPing can still arrive safely and learn what the rules are and what that RP is all about.  You need your place to be friendly to both non-players and future players if you expect to grow. 

You then need at least 1/2 of the sim to be RP only areas, and built with the proper setting and appearance.  It's a lot of work to build a nice set, but that's required for an RP area. 

The remainder can be stores selling the stuff you need for the RP and in a non-RP area, so newbs can buy what they need to join in the fun.  Having a "tavern" area where RPing is offlimits for relaxing and chitchatting with folks is a good idea also.  However, if this is team play, you need seperate areas for each team to relax in without worry about exposing data to the other teams. 

It is also best to create these on islands instead of Mainland.  It is difficult to block off a mainland sim so that only RPing people are inside. 

Now, that's the easy part.  PAYING for a private island when only sales of the RPing gear is a challenge...  If you are a builder, then requiring all the RP take place with your creations may make the sim self sustaining.  But that takes considerable talent and scripting skill.  Charging for access to the sim is another possibility, though I don't know any group that gets by with such an approach.

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I thought what Alazarin meant with the picture is that RPers want their cake and to eat it too :D

But seriously Starla, wow, my wife and I read your question and had deja vu. We ask the same question of our sim. We schedule events, but all we seem to have done is trained people to come and watch us try to entertain them; not build the sense of community that's so crucial to ongoing RP. It's a challenge. We too allow people to join in if they dress right and act the era.

What RPers want IMHO is a place to act out their imagination with a lot of people around, and to 'belong;' but we also want our surrogate avatars to 'win' in our pretend; so the larger the typist population gets, the more people who want to win, and the more tension that's created among the players. Then people leave. Our sim has been through a gabillion such cycles and your sim is amazing, so I bet you're just in a lull right now, if that, in a predictable cycle. With perhaps some breathtaking exceptions, the sims that have large continuous populations either have them precariously, or they aren't really roleplay per se: they mix roleplay and OOC (nothing wrong with that if it's part of someone's code and it meets the 'belong' need of the typist in spades)

Shockwave makes good points. When we move our sim to a new location, we'll have many more OOC gathering events and areas. The previous management was focused on RP to the point of not paying enough attention to OOC gatherings and community, and that may have been a mistake. Good luck with yours as well!

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Thanks for the input...at least we are doing everything all we can do. I hate to see our sim just turn into a theme sim but if no one does role play that is exactly what it is.  We are happy with the way it is, it's just frustrating when we have so many people come and say they want to role play then they do nothing.  So we will just be here and do our thing and allow anyone to come and play on our sim when they want to :)

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Speaking of theme sims ... One thing I did to pass the time was flesh out a library so someone who wanted to know about the 1870s in America could stop by. We joined the Alexandrian library system based in Caledon and sponsored some exhibits and talks about the history we love, and will be resuming that once we move to a new sim. 

My goal with the library was to give people ideas for roleplay, and while I'm not sure that ever happened, we do get interested visitors who learn something about our passion for the era's history. You might drop by some of the Caledon libraries and see if you'd like to build something like this for the 1920s. I think that's on the outer edge of the history they cover, but it should be within the history they cover. You might check with JJ Drinkwater if you're interested in pursuing this; it's just an idea for some of that '1920s history love.'

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We have a library too, just a nice old building with lots of books (notecards) where people can read up on 1920s Berlin.

Very popular.

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I stopped by your sim after seeing all the posts in the forums about it. It was well done, though not a lot of people around. I'll give you my perspective as a new person visiting and considering roleplay...

1. My historical facts about 1920's Berlin are not strong. The American education system focused on only major events in Germany around that time... in a depression, angry citizens, the rise of Hitler. Beyond that I could not tell you how the people lived on a daily basis.

2. While the historical period is interesting and relatively close to our own time, I do not have the time or energy to read books, dozens of notecards or endless speak to other "residents" to figure out how to RP my character in that setting.  Their should be a way for the new person to be able to read a simple notecard that will go over the basics of roleplay and the period in question. (Maybe there is, I just didn't see it.)

3. The dominant feature during the later 1920s Germany that we were taught was rise of oppression of the jews. Do you have that component in your sim? Could I be a jew or a non-jew? (I don't recall off hand) How about joining the Nazi party? Where does RP cross the line with this topic?

I guess it boils down to the biggest question regarding the sim as a new person. Where do I start?  I checked out the 1899 Tombstone sim and they have a greeter that sends people off with the basics so they are not lost when they arrive.

I hope my comments are helpful to you.

 

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Most sims have quiet and busy times, especially themed roleplay sims can be quiet one moment, busy the next.

We have lots of events and even a daily event where we gather at the local bar.

Right now it is a weekday afternoon in Europe, so most Europeans are busy.

 

In answer to your points;

2.There is no need to read anything at all except the basic rules before visiting our sim.

Many of our residents (some have lived here for over 2 years) had little or no knowledge on the subject.

All we ask our visitors is to dress and look like someone from 1920s Berlin, the knowledge will follow.

Eventhough you don't need much of that to take part in the community.

Just be yourself, be someone who has just arrived in Berlin 1929 from another country and who has no idea what has been happening here.
Come on in, get on the train and start walking.

3.nazism is a difficult subject, they weren't as big as many seem to think and Nazi symbols are not allowed by LL.
In short, it is too complicated to discuss here so if you're interested you can read our blog post about the subject; http://1920sberlinproject.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/no-nazis/
We do have traces of nazism in the sim and the subject is often discussed and part of roleplay.
You can be a jew if you want, there is a jewish corner in the city where we try and give people an idea of how much this was part of Berlin before the Nazis took over and the world they destroyed.

Of course the more authentic you want the sim to be the more rules you need and the steeper the learning curve will be for new visitors.

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This is the conundrum facing anyone who wants to appeal to roleplayers as a group, since they are not a group. They differ widely. What I love about Berlin is that it opened my eyes to what the Weimar Republic was really like, to the point where I've since read two books on the topic. I would read more if I wasn't so busy roleplaying in the Wild West :) (and by the way, a lot of what we learned in school and from Hollywood about the Wild West was pretty incomplete too)  It was wonderful to learn that area and era were so much more interesting than I'd learned in the US schools at the level I studied German history.

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In all honesty it is probably the theme that does not attract people. The popular role play sims follow along the lines of popculture. Hence why vampire/werewolfe, Capua, and mystical sims do well. For the most part people do not want every day life unless there is a twist to it.

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Starla,

I haven't had the chance to visit your sim before so my comments are just generalizations.  First off, to understand what 'roleplayers' want, you first need to recognize that there are a variety of 'roleplayers' out there and their wants are going to differ.  You have, for example, the occasional roleplayer who pops into roleplay sims from time to time.  These players want a sim that probably hosts free form and that is easy to just 'jump right in' for some momentary fun.  Then you got the newbie roleplayer, who needs basic information to get started, guidance from some sort of mentoring group, and overarching roleplay going on that they can insert themselves into because of their lack of experience.  But in my opinion, the majority of one's concern should be towards the devoted roleplayer.  The devoted roleplayer is a roleplayer that normally looks for a particular roleplay environment and then makes a sim their roleplay home if you will.  This player is the sort that you tap into for their talent in creating roleplay scenerios, leadership, and mentoring.  If you have enough devoted roleplayers, then you normally won't need to worry about having to come up with the overarching roleplay plots yourself because these players will be doing it naturally.  Once you have enough devoted roleplayers, then you have a core group that stimulates the roleplay in the sim and keeps it thriving, even in the lull times.

With all of that said, what do roleplayers want, or rather, how can you foster a healthy roleplay environment.

1.  The sim needs to be inviting for newbie players.  Having a core group is necessary but in order to keep the sim growing, you need to encourage and develop the newbie players.  This means that when you see someone new in the sim, you might offer a private im welcoming them and giving them someone to go to if they have questions.  I normally make a point to do this in the sims I roleplay in because you never know whether your welcome might be the tipping point for them deciding to stay or not. 

2.  Overarching storylines.  To a certain extent, you should provide some overarching storylines so that players who can't come up with ideas/scenerios for themselves have something to insert themselves into. 

3.  Leadership Opportunities for Devoted Players.  You need to tap into the talent of your devoted players.  Give them groups to command, responsible for coming up with roleplay ideas of their own.  This takes the pressure off of you to have to come up with all the scenerios and allows for more imagination because more minds are in the process.

4.  Environment.  Again, I haven't been to your sim (sadly) so I don't know what your set-up is like.  Some roleplay communities include residential areas to encourage players to make the sims their homes.  There needs to be areas that foster easy entrance roleplay (i.e., taverns).  There also needs to be areas just for the separate groups to have some privacy and scheming sessions.  Additionally, there should be hidden areas and places that foster one-to-one roleplay encounters (i.e., benches under lovely trees or by a fountain).

5.  Free-form.  This might just be my personal preference but let players play.  I know there are boundaries in themed sims for dress style and language used, but to me, roleplay is about having fun and when sims crack down on people for insignificant things, it really discourages the players or runs them off. 

6.  OOC events.  It is good at times to host OOC events to just let everyone hang out and have some fun.  This develops a sense of community.  Normally this is done by holding dances, concerts (inviting performers to perform in your sim), etc. 

7.  IC events.  Similar to OOC events but such events are done IC.  So you hold a tournament or a dance, and everyone comes in character to enjoy the event.  It is a more relaxed situation but gets people to interact with one another and maybe meet other new players they normally wouldn't encounter.

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Kyru Solo wrote:

In all honesty it is probably the theme that does not attract people. The popular role play sims follow along the lines of popculture. Hence why vampire/werewolfe, Capua, and mystical sims do well. For the most part people do not want every day life unless there is a twist to it.

But our sim has 1920s daily life in a German city, not much shootouts, no bootlegging, etc.

Most of what our people do is centered around shopping, romance, political discussions, going to church and so on.

Very mondane, very daily life.

Yet our sim is doing very well.

So popculture doesn't have to be part of a sim to make it work, but even if it did, the big tv show "Boardwalk Empire" is on tv at the moment, so I guess that side of the 1920s should work fine.

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A greater varity of topics would be nice....I can see sim number X which also deals with dark urban stuff or gor :matte-motes-dont-cry:

And everywhere the big sign: NO FURRYS

Aren't there any furrys who like to roleplay?

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Starla Huntress wrote:

Me and my husband run a 1920's Role Play sim.  My question is to role players actually.  We did alot of scheduled role play, we bascially came up with the plot and set everything up, put key people in place and then put out notices and such to let everyone know what was happening.  We allowed the bystanders to participate however they wanted.  Everyone had a great time and we did this for several months, we lost some people that helped us with all this, then we were told there wasnt enough freeform role play.  Right now we have people sayting they want to role play but then say there is no role play....is it scheduled role play they want or do they just want someone to start it so they can join in?  We have a great build and we allow anyone to use it (provided they dress right of course).

I used to belong to a RPG called Neoraptorics. The characters were Utahraptors and there were three main packs and various loners. The packs hunted together and fought other packs. Other characters could be introduced but they had to from the Laurasian Barremian (more or less, some leeway was allowed) and they couldn't be large carnosaurs (we teased Acrocanthosaurs and got them to chase us but they were bots). When the packs fought, a character couldn't be be killed or seriously wounded without its player's permission. Since the prey species weren't actual characters, they could be killed & eaten. The graphics were crude in those days. If a RP like this could be reconstructed in SL today, with realistic Utahraptor avatars, I believe it would become very popular. Animations would have to include running, leaping, biting and slashing with pedal killer claws. There would have to be huge sauropod bots, along with duckbills, ceratopsians & others, that could be killed, all within a lush tropical environment. If characters wanted to form pair bonds, & go off together into the bushes to wrap tails, there would need to be dino SLex & egg laying annies. Maybe a RP such as this already exists in SL. I dunno but if it does, I haven't hearduv it.

Jeanne

P.S. Wouldn't late 1930s Berlin, under the Nazis, be more interesting than 1920s? There could be intrigue & espionage that way, that might be more appealing to people.

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Syo Emerald wrote:

A greater varity of topics would be nice....I can see sim number X which also deals with dark urban stuff or gor :matte-motes-dont-cry:

And everywhere the big sign: NO FURRYS

Aren't there any furrys who like to roleplay?

Yeah, this... There's no variety anymore. And even for dark urban there aren't any actually good sims. What I wouldn't do for another Shadowrun RP sim... And generic medieval fantasy has been overdone so much just thinking about it kills my inspiration. So yeah, some totally new ideas would be fun. Something that gives players freedom while encouraging conflict. More places allowing furries would be nice for a change too.

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I have 9873289316 ideas for RP sims.... just need the cash.

Mind you they all have Europe 20th century themes so maybe not your cup of tea.

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Speaking only for myself, I am a "go there and walk, talk and act like you character type of role player". I think it is great for people to elaborate whole stories or to work out their character in detail with backstory and complex motives, but it is not my cup of tea. I just as soon go to my favorite RP sim and be who I am supposed to be there (a medieaval knight in a fantasy setting), move around in the appropriate setting and interact with other players according to what my character would do in that situation.

I will participate in other people's role play, quests, stories whatever if the time and duration are appropriate. Living in Europe my evenings are SL's afternoons.For me to get a minimum of sleep in RL, the stories have to be brief and go straight to theart of the matter.

A good book on paper or on my kindle is so much more fun to read then a stack of notecards burried in my inventory or group notices sprinkled out over time. For roleplay I would much more prefer a few simple notecards, one with the basic rules and one with the story so far. Any episode of a soap opera starts with a litle reminder of the previous episode, every once in a while they show a longer reminder for the audience to know all the different threads coming together. Something similar should exist for roleplay: something that let's you step into the story when something is happening but short and to the point.

To summarize:

  • a setting that fits the era, including clothes and accesories of the players,
  • a set of rules that assures people stay with the main theme
  • a easy way to step into a story, be part of it for a while, leave it and pick it up again at a later time.

 

 

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Hi Thank you all for your info. But it is clear to me by reading these that for the most part RP people don't know what they want . LOL it seems to me that is probably why they jump from concept to concept never staying long enough to achieve much. It looks like to me they want a place to go RP being someone not charter related and wait for someone to do it for them. Well if your a RP person who likes events and being able to RP in a place where your RP is up to your work and imagination come see us. Chuckles but what would one expect for fantasy.

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Shepham Moorlord wrote:

Hi Thank you all for your info. But it is clear to me by reading these that for the most part RP people don't know what they want . LOL it seems to me that is probably why they jump from concept to concept never staying long enough to achieve much.

I guess that depends on the sim and the people.

We have people that have been part of our community for 2 years.

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