The Protocols of Role-Playing
We've looked at guidelines that players described related to character interaction and communication. We'll now turn to what players noted were unacceptable ways of story-telling in the context of an ongoing plot or role-playing event.
Above all, role-playing is a shared consensual experience among players. Thus it's important that actions are not forced on other players. Breaking this rule was referred to either as "god-moding" or "power-emoting" by respondents.
The most common rule that is broken, that I know of, is forcing someone into something they might not otherwise do. For example, a role player would emote, Laeque leans in to kiss Joe. A non-role player would emote, Laeque kisses Joe on the cheek. The first emote is open ended. The other player chooses to back away or accept the kiss as his character would let him. The second emote is typical of the novice role player. It allows nothing to react to and dictates the action. [DAoC, F, 50]
Well, there's a big one. Don't godmode. Do NOT act like an action that you roleplay succeeds immediately. Roleplaying is all about mutual consent. If you are going to do something that could totally alter the other character, ASK. Don't even try to do it at all and allow for failure. Ask the player in private. [CoH, F, 18]
And finally, echoing the early guideline to stay in character, players noted that it was important that players are consistent with what their characters know and do not know about the world. This was referred to by respondents as "meta-gaming".
You also should never meta-game. This is when you have, for example, played WoW to level 60 once already and have seen the enitre world. Then you start another roleplay character, and you use knowledge from your first character in your second, while your second character shouldn't actually have this knowledge, because it hasn't seen all these places and things yet. [Seed Beta, F, 24]
Most roleplaying newbies and 'outsiders' don't understand the concept of 'meta-gaming'. Meta-gaming is applying knowledge or influence from an out-of-character context to an in-character situation. For example, talking about the inner layout of a high-level dungeon as a low-level character who could not possibly have first-hand knowledge of such a thing. [WoW, M, 29]
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