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Image by Ricardo Gomez Angel
  • Writer's pictureRock

Roll Play vs. Role Play

I hate PvP.

Like, I loathe it, with a passion. Not just because I tend to suck at it (I do) and not in every game (some games are built around it), but keep your digital bragging rights away from my immersive gaming, thank you very much. Damn neanderthals...

Look, I get it, some people, that's their jam. PubG and Fortnite and what have you; Starcraft, League Of Legends, DOTA, whatever. You do you, have fun, the world would be a really dull place if all of us were the same.

But in a video game that hearkens back to my D&D/RPG roots, just take your bravado somewhere else, all right? I'm not interested in seeing who wins with the current best 'meta' build. You don't see that in Pen and Paper games (for the most part). Why? Because you're not going to start attacking your teammates, that's why. (I mean, unless you get mind controlled or something, but that's the exception.)

Look, I'm not saying I haven't seen groups rough each other up, but you don't go around killing everyone else's character either; this isn't Highlander, and it wouldn't be fun. I also think it allows for far more Role Play than Roll Play, and that makes a HUGE difference for how much I enjoy a game.

So what’s the difference? For those new to the term, Role Play is more about being true and acting like the character you’re playing would, whether that’s made out of whole cloth in your mind or something like playing Blade like the half-vampire he is. Roll Play, on the other hand, is squeezing every last drop from the mechanics of a game to get the best character you can, regardless if the aesthetics make sense. Iron Man can get +1 more chance to hit with a Katana? Give him the sword!

I know there are number junkies out there that get oodles of joy out of min/maxing the hell out of every last ounce of Skill Points or XP or Stats or what have you. I'm sure Skully could talk at length about it, and I've looked up builds and guides for things myself. But never, ever the first time I've played a game.

See, I think there's something to be said for not going the absolute, ultimate 'best' build in a game. There's value in making mistakes, not having the best items, the most efficient spells, the S-Tier god drops or whatever. You adapt what you do have to try to make it work. Most of the time, it doesn't, you'll have to try something else. But man... when it does...

You feel like you just f*#$ing WON THE GAME! You overcame! You found a way! Screw you, Dragon/Robot/whatever BBEG! YOU OWNED THAT BASTARD!

Look, eventually, I'll write up my favourite cards, characters and combos in Midnight Suns, but don't expect that soon. I'm going to be making sub-optimal choices, I'm sure of it, because that leads to finding out the tiny little tips, tricks and secrets that when you DO go for that power-build, it'll make you that much better, because you've already done it with less.

I know some people say you can't really Role Play in a single player game, but I call BS on that. You're making that story up in your head. You're the actor and audience, and it's far more entertaining in that situation if you have no idea where the story you're writing is going then knowing the end as soon as you make your mega-ultra-super-powerful character from the get-go. Plenty of time to do that on a future run.

You only get one shot at the first play-through of a game, though. I intend to savour the ever-loving hell out of this one.

- Rock

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