Coffee Talk #43: Do You Actually Role Play in RPGs?

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the NY Yankees closing in on Curtis Granderson, the potentially awesome Google Goggles, or WWE Chris Masters’ dancing pectoral muscles, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Halfway through my fifth play through of Dragon Age: Origins, I was vexed. You see, I originally intended to play this round as a rogue, with assassin and bard specializations. A stealthy, backstabbing rogue with the passive assassin benefits and bard song buffs seemed like a great idea. When my character hit level 14, I couldn’t press the button to activate the bard specialization. A rogue that hid in shadows, backstabbed, and burst into song just didn’t make sense.

Dragon Age Origins 4

Some of my friends play games solely to win and would have added the bard specialization in a flash. I prefer to get lost in adventures and make decisions I like or make sense to me. I guess that’s why I don’t enjoy playing games as evil characters. In this case, my preference for role playing prevented me from playing as a singing assassin. (What do assassins sing anyway? Show tunes?) The thought of a stealthy rogue emerging from the shadows to suddenly backstab an enemy and burst into song sounds…it sounds…it actually sounds frickin’ hilarious. Crap. I should have hit the bard button.

Anyway, I wanted to see how you handle role-playing situations like the one I described. Do you opt for whatever makes your character the most effective? Or do you put yourself in your character’s Dragonscale boots and do what makes sense for the role?

Author: RPadTV

30 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #43: Do You Actually Role Play in RPGs?”

  1. Hmm, it depends. LIke in WoW I went for what made sense but I did try and make my person look incredibly goofy. The same type of customization isn't available in WoW of course.

    In DaggerFall and Morrowwind I was a good guy who went around vanquishing enemies and monsters. At night though I was a skooma and any other drug fiend who would beat down the door of your house, kill you, steal your stuff and claim the residence as my own. I would also fly to a really high point and pull a Remi from Higher Learning.

    It depends. I think the story dictates if I stick with a convention or go nuts.

  2. It depends on the game, though I generally tend to go more the way of min/max unless it seriously undermines what I feel the core concept of the character is (much like the singing assassin).

  3. off topic

    iceman suggested yesterday that we should all meet up in 5 years and have a in, but i dont wanna know anyones real names…thats breaking the 3rd wall or something and since im not zach morris, i dont do that

    Where is it gonna be?

    rays pad? that would seem appropriate…Koreatown, here we come!!

  4. A singing assassin actually makes since to me. Think about, you sing songs that debuff the enemy while hidden in the shadows and sing buff songs when you aren't. You're enemy would just think you are psychotic, but you are actually controlling him with you're creepy singing. Of course, I like controlling my opponents emotions during a fight because it makes it easier to defeat them if they can't think strait.

  5. @Thunder – Zach broke the 4th wall.

    @Sandrock – When your a Jet your a Jet all the way…

  6. I play to just win I guess. In Assassin's Creed, when I get a flying double kill I want him to be yelling all the way down to the ground. Or when I get a clean stealth kill I want him to yell "F#$& You!". I know it doesn't fit with being a stealth assassin, but I'd do an endzone dance, and be high-fiving anyone that stuck around.

    In inFAMOUS I played Good and Evil, but as an evil "superhero" what civilian in their right mind would mouth you or throw a rock at you after lightning came out of your hands, so they all had to die. I guess that's playing into the role.

  7. @Topic: In video games I find that more often than not I find myself just doing whatever would get me the best bonuses. But it does depend on the game to a certain extent. More often than not I find that I agonize more over the dialog choices than where I spend my skill points.

    As much as I love to play RPG's, there's a real limited amount of true roleplaying going on. Even games with moral choices and multiple endings, still have predetermined paths that I must choose from. So the real question is, are you really "roleplaying" in these games? No, I don't think so. Especially not after the first playthrough when you already know the crux of what happens

    In the old fashioned Pen and Paper RPG's it's all about what fits the character. So because I always feel much more in control of the actual roleplaying, I tend to agonize much more over which skills or feats to take. (And in January I'll finally be able to play a game instead of having to GM all the time. Yay!)

  8. @Nightshade386 I find myself role playing more after the first play through, since I already know what happens during the "good" path. For example, in my last two DA play throughs, I'm a total whore, sleeping with any woman I can get my hands on.

  9. @Rpad – in RPGs I really try to take on the roll of the character I am. I'm not quite as in to the different classes and such. I usually go for whatever I think will benefit my character the most. I try to have balanced characters each time I play. With the roll playing I really try to make decisions in the story and side quests based on my character. For instance I'm working on my Dwarven Noble and I don't know how I'll be able to side with the prince this time around.

    On a side note I am dumbfounded on this Traveler achievement. I have leveled both a Warrior and Rogue up to level 20 and beaten the game 3 times and still haven't "stepped foot in every area." I still have a flew blackstone missions to finish on one play through and I never did the Mages side quests. Didn't know those were an option.

  10. @Shockwave562 You're chaotic neutral.

    Hmmm, the traveler achievement was automatic for me in my first run. It doesn't count some areas like class-specific quests and areas unlocked from the Gnarled Noble quests. The one most people miss is the Aeducan Thaig, since you don't have to go there unless you support Bhelen.

  11. @Ray: Yeah, I'm on my 3rd playthough, and I'm definitely "that guy" this time around. I've got both Leliana and Morrigan eating out of the palm of my bloody hands.

    I find I roleplay more on the first playthough myself. I agonize over dialog choices, who to kill, who to let live, etc. I tend to make my first playthrough all about what "I" would do in that situation. The playthroughs after that tend to be either straight good or evil.

  12. I got Traveler on my second playthrough. At the time I couldn't figure out what I did differently, but I guess I must have gotten it because that's when I supported Bhelen.

  13. I think I never whet to the Kaden-Fe hideout for the black crowes. I'll have to do that quest this time around. Thanks guys

  14. I think assassin's sing scat jazz.

    "skiddly beep beep bop bop booty ooddy ooody" (shank).

    It would also seem easier to poison the listeners Manhattans.

  15. I forgot to mention the few cases where people have been yodeled to death.

    Also, since we have a native of NOLA around it made me think… a zydeco assassin would be cool as hell.

  16. My RPG playing goes to about the extent of pokemon, and I'm not even great at that. I just never was any good at any RPGs, something about it is beyond me I guess. I play sometimes though, and one thing I notice which I would find interesting to see changed more is that everything is a good V evil choice, and like most people here say, good is predominately the choice made. I want to see more choices for all sides, no particular orientation. I would like that more I

    guess, and I mean more than just choosing which order to do things in. Maybe that would entice me to the genre more, because RPGs now just don't do it for me.

  17. Speaking of Dragon Age, I'm gonna try to get all of the endings and achievements by the end of my 4th playthrough, with the exception of the 2 dwarven prologues. I'll probably just play through those prologues and not do full playthoughs. I just couldn't care less about dwarfs in general.

  18. @Nightshade – Ya I've finished all 6 origins but I have no intent of ever completing the Dwarven commoner or the Dalish Elf. Still though the background stories was a nice touch on this game.

  19. Yes. I try to play the game as if I were that character. Fallout and Oblivion, I dont even like to switch to 3rd person as it takes me out of the characters eyes.(that and Bethesda still cant get the character models to look that great while walking)

    After I have played and beaten the game I generally go back and have more fun with the world. If there are multiple paths, I try to stay mostly good. Once I have beaten the game and seen all I can of the story, I tend to create characters just to see how they play and after a few hours, start again.

  20. Well, now I have to ask since my curiousity has gotten the better of me; How many times do you have to go through Dragon Age to get all of the achievements/trophies?

    On a scale of 1-10, I am an 8 when it comes to being an achievement whore. I like to get every achievement (within reason) as I feel that it gives the game a certain "replability" factor.


  21. @Iceman After my first play, I went through all the prologues to get all those achievements. On my second round, I got the rest of them except one. I needed to play as a mage on my third run to get the "250 damage" achievement.

  22. @Iceman: I'm sitting at 885/1100 on my 3rd playthrough, but you can get a lot of the achievements early on if you just save before certain spots and then go back and replay things from a different angle.

Comments are closed.