Well, I am officially done with the social media project. I was not sure in the very beginning what this was all about but in the end I have been able to answer one of the key questions that I presented at the very beginning. My conclusion is that Roleplaying is indeed artistic expression. There is a large amount of people who play City of Heroes and they have complex, original character ideas. Are the characters an extension of themselves even though many claim that roleplaying is about assimilating to a role and not being yourself?
I feel that it is. And I feel that people claim they disassociate from reality when it comes to their character as means to project something that is important and highly personal. It also made me have to look in the mirror about my own art. I kept it personal and protected for a very long time, but after soul searching a bit this project provoked a realization; my defensive nature with my art is not about protecting something fragile it’s honestly about a fear of rejection. Subconsciously I had talked myself into believing the opposite. Now don’t get me wrong, my art is still very personal but there is no need for me hide it or even to avoid the idea of someday selling my art.
The bottom line is that whether one is roleplaying, drawing, writing a book, painting, etc..Make it for yourself and do not fear the opinions of other people. Be who you are.
This project has made me reconsider my major. I think I am going to go deeper into gaming environments and the psychology behind virtual worlds and fantasy.
Well, I did make a video but there is no sound. In the video I was describing Pocket D but for some reason my voice cannot be heard. So! I will link to the video and explain what is being seen.
The video was shot in high resolution so it might make some less powerful computers lag when used at max size, though you have to use max size to see what I am showing.
OKAY! So the video is on me on my main character Oboritamos. I am in a section of Pocket D which looks like a bar. That’s cause it is! Now, previously I have been watching super groups and groups of friends roleplay but Pocket D brings something new to the table; anonymity.
The people in Pocket D are usually main roleplayers who have Bios (character Info) that you can access and view in a pop-up window which shows information about their character and what kind of roleplaying they do. Pocket D is apparently infamous for ERP (erotic roleplaying). I figured that it might be because of the whole bar scene, and that most RPers are adults. I guess sex is inevitable when you throw a large population of men together? :P
Anyways, the video gives a good view of me moving around to get a visual of the place. I also open these pop-up bios and you can pause the video to read them. Take a good look at Betnia’s profile. The character says “All Kind of RP” and also her Bio says she is a lesbian dominatrix searching for a subordinate female. Most people would shocked, but this is actually quite normal in Pocket D.
I wonder if this will change my opinion about Roleplayers and RPing being an expression of creativity. Or perhaps these ERPers are just the bad offspring of the actual good and creative people?
Maybe I’ll even get a little risque and interview them to understand why they ERP in a game aimed at the general public and not a game meant for that sort of thing.
SOES ANYWAYS! New Halloween theme! yays!
Okay so I am going to start messing around with xfire which can create ingame videos and I’ll probably start shooting the areas where people roleplay and try a few video blogs. It should be fun. Then people that do not play City of Heroes can see what places and Pocket D look like and get an understanding for what goes on there, including some of the not so savory parts.
Okay! So below I have provided some screenshots that I took while in-game of roleplaying. The first image that I provided above the list of images with the chat box is just a visual. There is Me, and3 other people and we’re sitting around what is apparently a bar while w role play. You can simply reach the chat box and see what we type beside our character names. You do not need to pay attention to text that is not white. All the role playing around the bar is in white text. Italics mark actions.
As I roleplayed with them I had a thought from the other roleplaynig that I have watched. People have characters that are very unique and even have a special background for that character, and yet they roleplay with this person as though they are common and not unique. I started to think to myself that it seems like a social placebo. Since you cannot go out drinking on a Friday night or maybe because it is not safe; you role play it in a game? It makes sense to me. I also wonder more how much of ourselves we tend to invest in the things we create. I personally invest a very large amount of emotional stake in my art. Roleplaying seems to be the same. But is this healthy?….
This is the image of the layout of the area we roleplayed in. Remember to click the image again after you follow the link to blow it up to full size. I have 1920×1028 resolution on my PC, so all the images will be that size when fully loaded. The following screen picks up in the chat box where the previous one left off.
The Roleplaying screens with chat box. They go in order. You can just follow and read. Let me know if you have any questions.
Roleplaying Screenshot 1
Roleplaying Screenshot 2
Roleplaying Screenshot 3
Roleplaying Screenshot 4
Roleplaying Screenshot 5
Roleplaying Screenshot 6
Roleplaying Screenshot 7
Roleplaying Screenshot 8
Roleplaying Screenshot 9
After the final screen shot I stopped taking screen shots. They continued to role play but I felt that was a good enough intro for now.
I’m going to be posting screen shots of roleplaying in-game by other players and some of myself as I try to get better and at roleplaying. For now I will just observe and take the screens. At first I thought that this might create an issue because people put a lot of time and effort into their characters and the stories behind a lot of them are original. However, I should put a stop to any drama it will cause now and remind the player base of something that many of them may have forgotten or perhaps never knew to begin with.
The characters are not ours. All characters made in City of Heroes are property of NC Soft, so even though the characters and their stories technically belong to the players, NC Soft owns the rights to them and this does include anything you place in their bio.
In essence this means that NC Soft owns the rights to any original story that you create around your characters and post in their bio. That being said, I hope that people do not take the posting of their RPs to heart. This is academic based and I wish to simply take a deeper look at roleplaying not exploit or disrespect anyone.
The ToS can be viewed here: Click to View CoH’s Terms of Service
Just scroll down to: 6. Intellectual Property
Interviews are going well. I’m going to try to get more people to respond. I would like to have at least 20 before I can really start to form an opinion about roleplayers and even then it will be a very flexible opinion since it would be impressible to represent Roleplayers as a whole. I’m also going to start recording RPs and posting them to show people even more what roleplaying is about. I’m doing this to get a feel for the different styles of roleplaying. As I read people’s interview results it becomes very clear that preference for character type will dictate the way that the person RPs. After all, it is a story they’re writing or acting out and if there are different methods of expression in writing and acting them there must be in playing a role in a fantasy setting.
Well currently I am working on the layout of the blog and getting together in my head what exactly it is I want to do. I plan to post images of the role playing areas and some of the screenshots from the game so people can get a mental picture of what kind of world this game takes place in. Might even post some videos if I get bored, just for a change of pace. For now, I have an optimistic attitude towards the whole thing. It will be interesting for me to really dive into what exactly roleplayers roleplay for, and perhaps even see where their ideas and inspiration come from. I’m not sure what I’ll find, but I am guessing that some will be creative characters and others might just be a virtual avatar of the person playing the character. What I mean by virtual avatar is that the character is played the way the person behind the mask would want to be, and what their desires are. Kind of like a a miniature version of their personality, manifested in a video game.
This brings up an interesting question I really would like to answer in my little experiment here: Is it unhealthy to invest a certain amount of your personal emotions into a video game? Can it really still be just a game at that point or will you start to take things personally and rely on that virtual world to get what you need from “real” people?