What's Fun About Fantasy Role Playing?
An exploration of role playing games and the people who play them.
Role Playing Personality
The Need to Release Creativity in a Role Play Setting
Role playing games offer people a chance to step outside reality and take on another personality, usually their own game character. Players take on the role of their alter ego and step into whatever fantasy world they happen to be adventuring in. The freedom for players in large role playing games, like MMOs (massively multiplayer online role playing game), allows them to make their character into whatever they want him, or her, to be.
Some players prefer to gather in groups to enjoy table top role playing games. These games offer one thing computer games cannot - a real world social aspect. Let's face it, it takes more nerve to act out an alter ego in real life than it is to do so in a computer game.
That's not to say virtual role playing isn't fun, it is. It's just different than role playing with friends or game groups. Online role playing is often a person's extension of their online personality. It's perfectly natural for people that like to act, or make-believe, to find themselves going one step further and trying a big MMO, like World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online, or Star Wars The Old Republic.
These types of games are very involved. Where a pen and paper game might revolve around one village or dungeon, online adventurers find their options for exploration unlimited. That's a major advantage these types of games have over the pen and paper table top games. It's a thrill to stand looking out onto some picturesque landscape and realizing you can go anywhere you want in it.
The Freedom of Role Playing
Throwing Off the Bounds of Reality
People lead stressful lives in the 21st Century. Movies, television, and games are all ways people relax in their down time. It might be noted how all three have one thing in common. They're, for the most part, based on make-believe. You could place fiction novels in the same category. Many people want an actual mental escape from the realities of life, and they turn to these venues to provide it.
For the role player, it goes a step further. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and watching an imaginary tale develop, these people want to step into the action. They want to be a part of the story, just as much as the little boy with the wooden sword wants to be the hero in an epic fantasy stories about dragon slayers. Getting into a story and making a name for their character is what keeps low level players coming back for more difficult challenges. Their characters become an extension of themselves, a virtual part of their being that lives in a fantasy world, where any achievement is within their reach.
One of the sure ways to turn fantasy into grim reality is to become too involved with these games. Role players have a tendency to turn escape into escapism. They use a game that was meant to promote imagination in doses as a tool to pass huge chunks of their time. Doing so takes the fun out of role playing. Advancing a character turns into an obligation, rather than an adventure. Real life issues spring up because the player has been spending more time solving problems in their virtual world over the real world.
A great way for players to experience role playing safely, without letting it turn into an addiction, is to go out their way to make friends in the game. Doing so is a good safeguard to help them keep their game playing time limited. Players should focus on adventuring with others, even in the virtual versions of role playing games, because by doing so, they'll want to get online to play when their friends are on. They'll be less likely to solo play for long periods of time.
Another way to keep role playing as a fun activity instead of a self-consuming pitfall is to slow down in the game. If one approaches the game world as an experience to be savored rather than a mad rush to become powerful, they'll have taken steps to make their role play experience an enjoyable one.