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This is a touchy subject.  I hope it doesn’t rub anyone the wrong way.

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Okay, this is the last one I promise.

I’ve run in to this prevailing idea that roleplayers are consistently looking to use RP as a means to get their rocks off.  That the only sort of RP is ERP (erotic roleplay for the uninitiated).  I’m here to tell you that, like most assumptions made on the internet, it’s just not true…and at the risk of inciting the memetic “#NotAll____” response, I’m going to outline why.

First off, I can at least confirm that such a thing exists.  I haven’t taken part of it myself, but I have certainly been poked for it before.

Okay, THAT was the last one, promise.

While the sort of people who write characters that are nothing more than digital fleshlights exist, it’s still not the vast majority of roleplay.  I guess that the assumption came about as a result of where RP tends to happen.  More times than not, I’ve seen roleplay and roleplayers congregate in bars and taverns in-game.  Conversations tend to be pretty dry and underwhelming.  Maybe even lascivious sometimes.  But, then, that sort of mirrors reality a bit.  It’s not the only reason I write a character, though…and honestly, many of the other characters there are the same way.  It’s just the first and most obvious way to meet other people and chat.

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Also, the invisible beer is delicious.

There’s also the whole stigma of guys playing female avatars and every single pound of baggage that goes along with that.  Honestly, one’s reasons for rolling a female while being a guy shouldn’t matter.  There’s plenty of genderswapping going around on both sides that this is much ado about bullshit.  But, if one must have an excuse, mine is twofold–female characters tend to be more interesting to write for me, and they also have much more interesting outfits in-game.

Seriously, guy clothing in MMO’s is just…it’s kinda boring.

So what are roleplayers looking for exactly?  I can’t speak to the vast majority, but I can at least speak to my own experience and the experiences of those I’ve RP’ed with…and we’re all just looking for a bit of escapism.  To take on a new life in a thrilling and adventurous world.  To be a profession that just doesn’t exist anymore or to maybe live out a profession we’ve always dreamed of.  To create friends, enemies, stories and experiences.

And, yes, even romantic connections.  These kinds of things spring up (I PROMISE THAT WASN’T INTENTIONAL) plenty of times.  Honestly, though, I’d find it hard to believe that close battle comrades didn’t form bonds deeper than friendship.  At least in a fictional sense–I’m not saying that platoons of armed forces are pairing off for firing other rounds.

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“After we take this hill, let’s fuck to celebrate!”

Roleplaying is, in my opinion, one of the most social activities I’ve seen in an MMO.  Even more social–or at least sociable–than those who are in raid statics and other forms of assumed “doing it right” gameplay.  It takes coordination and forethought and quick wit and eloquence.  It’s a bigger mental exercise than many would assume than some jegoff using Shakespearian in a “hilariously” ironic manner.

And I’m gonna go one step further–those who do make characters that are nothing more than fuck bunnies?  Who cares?  If you’re dodging streams of ejaculate every two steps in-game, then yeah, okay, I can see that getting pretty old pretty fast.  But it really is a matter of ignore and move on.  I mean, I do that now myself.  There are whole sub-reddits of much more diverse and unique things that people jack or jill off to.  In-game booty is hardly the strangest form of porn our interconnected world has yielded.  And while I’ve spoken about why making women greater than their body parts is important, I’m also not such a prude as to say that people are disallowed from enjoying each other mutually in-game if they so wish.

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Some MMO’s make this easier than others.

Roleplayers just wanna have fun without all of the ideas around the hobby that comes with it.  Ultimately, lumping RP’ers as terminally lonely masturbatory gremlins is just as unfair as saying that all PvP’ers are sociopathic kitten-skinning psychos or that all raiders are drill sergeants for unimportant goals.  MMO’ing has so many ways for people to find something to love, and making snap judgements on playstyle preference is more damaging to community-building than pretty much every system a game dev could create.

We all have urges.  But we all don’t try to satisfy them on every personal encounter either.

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