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Roleplay Styles


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Hey all,


A conversation amongst linkshell mates came up recently,regarding how we define “heavy RP,” which when one thinks about it, is a very broad term, and because of that, can mean very different things for different people, which creates some confusion regarding what a shell is really saying about itself when it tags itself as being ‘heavy RP.’  Consider the following fictional roleplayers,modeled after people I know personally:


Roleplayer A:  A is amember of an RPLS, which strives for 100% immersion.  In this shell, A is always in-character asper the shell requirements.  They log inon a daily basis, don’t carry a particular interest in end-game and aren’t too concerned with in-game advancement at all. 

They do a lot of writings, mostly in journals, etc.  They pretty much main their roleplay linkshelland attend every event that comes up. 

Their punctuation may not be perfect all the time, but its readable andthey are still able to convey emotion fairly.


Roleplayer B:  B isvery interested in roleplay, and has a lot of time constraints, due to their work/school/other factors.  Logging ontothe game once a day to RP really isn’t an option at all for them.  They are often tired due to their real life restrictions,so they may get on for a few hours a couple days a week.  They are in a shell that caters to this,which sets up RP events that most of the members can attend at a given time.  B puts a lot of effort into the RP when theycan go, has years worth of plots planned and frequently does some forum RP whenever they have a chance.  They getreally involved in their story and would love to RP more; unfortunately, real life makes that tough.


Roleplayer C:  C hasmoderate attendance in their roleplay linkshell.  C butts heads with other roleplayers outsideof their linkshell somewhat frequently because they take some liberties in interpreting the lore.  Thankfully, theyhave a linkshell that caters to that.  Inthis linkshell, the restrictions on lore are relatively lax, but good storytelling is required.  When C takesliberties with the lore, they do so with the hope of creating a compelling plotline that will bring enjoyment to their shellmates… even if it includes vampiric wyrm/demon triple breeds.


In all of the cases above, I see different examples of whatI would consider a “Heavy RPer.”  A showsit through their attendance and regular participation in their shell’s events.  B shows it with the dedicationto making RP a priority even in their busy life, and putting a lot of deep thought into their plots and making the most out of the time that they do get for RP.  C shows it through their truedrive to tell compelling stories without focusing too much on the lore boundaries.


There are several aspects that I think come to mind when Ithink of heavy RP, which includes:


  1. The levelof time commitment that is expected of an RPer
  2. 100% In-Character at all times
  3. Strict rules and guidelines that are followed todefine the linkshell’s form 

  4. Significant plot depth and detail (and how lore is treated)

Taking these into account, I think it may be worth lookinginto some different ways of classifying RP linkshells to pain a better picture of what the group is really about, since I think that while I’d consider a Heavy RP linkshell to have some of the above traits, I don’t think that it requires all of the above traits, and that a Heavy RP linkshell would take very different forms.  So maybe it would bebetter if we broke things up into categories and defined it that way.  For example, on the linkshell listing, agiven shell could have in their description:


Time Commitment: Flexible

Degree of Immersion: 


Linkshell is 100% in-character only

Form and Rules:  Seesite rules for RP notation; high level of punctuation preferred.

Recruitment: Open


Focus on Lore: Very high


I think that the example above conveys a better picture ofthe shell and what it is seeking, and gives the linkshell seeker a better idea on what would be expected from them at a quick glance than ‘heavy RP’ would.  Biggest thing someone might takefrom this specific example is the ‘Flexible’ part.  A lot of people associate roleplay linkshellsas being a significant time sink that they may not have time for.  Hence it can be somewhat intimidating, orthey don’t want to commit to something so quick.  But despite the strictness in other areas ofthis particular shell example, the open recruitment and flexible time commitment might make them feel more comfortable easing in.


I also think we may want to try and not use ‘casual’ as thekey word for less strict RP.  Reasonbeing is that casual carries with it a connotation of ‘not serious,’ and I’m pretty sure anyone who would visit this site is serious about RP to some degree.  Something more along the linesof ‘flexible’ phrases it better.


What do you all think? 

Guess I’ll stop here to collect some thoughts.

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You might be over-thinking a little too much. Personally, I am a heavy role-player, meaning I will consistently be role-playing and I am often available, and take pride on my punctuation (when it's not 3 AM -_-). This does not mean I do not do endgame, I do, and I also have OOC encounters. Regardless of that it does not mean I RP on a less 'heavy' basis.

I think the words heavy and casual are all just broad strokes. When looking for a LS you shouldn't generalize on whether they do heavy or casual or light RP, you should do your research on the members, on the plot-lines and their involvement in the community. It is only from that point you can really determine if a LS is right for you.

No matter how much research you do though, sometimes a LS just isn't for you. Most people bounce between a few until they find the right one.


On the note of playtime, it should not matter what kind of shell you join as to how much time commitment you have. Yes of course someone with more time to RP is going to be more involved in the comings and goings, the game and RP pause for no one, but how much time you invest is up to you.


Punctuation itself is a requirement in all RP, I would say, regardless of how heavy you are in to it. It is important to be able to get your expressions and phrasings across, this is of course subject to the character, who may have an accent or poor grammar.


Personally, again, freelance is what does it for me, but everyone is different.

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I've felt, for years, that the light/medium/heavy gradient for RP is worse than useless. It's actually obstructive, as they're totally subjective standards that everyone interprets according to their own feelings about what makes roleplay. I've frequently seen guilds in other games with absolutely nothing in common about their approach to roleplay both call themselves heavy, and at least one will consider the other to be medium or light. It doesn't mean anything without qualifiers specifying what you put this weight on.


Say one Free Company has a 100% IC policy and requires members to not only stay completely in lore but to avoid being anything special within lore, to the point where no one can have the Echo. That company, however, is populated mostly with alts, of players who concentrate on gameplay with their mains, mostly unlevelled. They have very little activity except during scheduled events a few times each week. Another Company has a voluntary members-only OOC Linkshell, is okay with gentle lore-bending so long as its plausible and adds something genuinely interesting, and encourages members to have the Echo and play with it within reasonable bounds. On the other hand, they're full of mains, who have been through much of the game's content frequently approaching it as in character as they can without creating contradictions. They're very active, bringing roleplay with them all over Eorzea into high-level regions and endgame activities as much as the cities and tamer areas.


Both Companies generally see themselves as the one true way for heavy roleplayers to also engage in endgame. They each think the other has made compromises that entirely defeats the premise of heavy roleplay, and can't stand one another.


They're both right, on both counts. This stuff is entirely subjective and what makes for strong roleplay is whatever aspect of roleplay appeals to the roleplayer, but one only decide what works for oneself.


To sum up, general gradients are useless, it's the details that matter. This is why hardly anyone claims to be a medium roleplayer (though I do if I don't feel like making a big speech). You're on the right track, Blade. :)

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I think Deirdre hit the nail on the head in that more research should be done about the various RPLS's rather than simply assuming "heavy", "moderate", or "light" would be enough of a qualifier on which to make a selection.


I like the idea of additional bullet points and trying to expand upon why a linkshell might be regarded as heavy RP. I have belonged to a couple RPLS's now that I felt misrepresented the quantity of immersion, and spent a good deal of time in my first year or so hopping around looking for something that fit me as a RPer. And I think that's what almost needs to happen before one can truly find a sort of "RP home" in which they can really be comfortable. Figure out what you want out of a RPLS and then find out about what's available. And don't just go by an introductory post, but rather ask the members how they feel about the quality and quantity of the RP. Ask others from the RP community. Sometimes that third-party opinion can really shine a light on things. This is all probably common sense, but the more information you're equipped with, the more easily you'll be able to make a fact-based decision about what best lines up with your own interests and goals.


For individual characters, I tend to form my own definitions based on my own set of criteria. And I imagine most others will do the same thing. While I think nearly everyone wants to regard themselves as a heavy RPer, I don't necessarily think this is always the case. I'm not going to lay out my own criteria though because this has never been a disqualifier for RP to happen. Everyone looks for different attributes in a group with whom they can RP anyway. In the end we should be celebrating whatever time is spent being in-character anyway, even for those who may be light RPers.

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For individual characters, I tend to form my own definitions based on my own set of criteria.  And I imagine most others will do the same thing.  While I think nearly everyone wants to regard themselves as a heavy RPer, I don't necessarily think this is always the case.


You just illustrated my point exactly. :\ It's too subjective to be of any use at all.

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