Is this a farmer I see before me?
Ed Castranova, the same guy that brought us the idea that the GDP of Everquest was equivalent to a small country, has just received a good deal of money from the MacArthur Foundation to build a 3D virtual world set in the fictional works of William Shakespeare.
That means players can expect to trot around in 17th century regalia, buying ale in Elizabethan taverns and joining guilds aimed at toppling dukes and earls.
For Castronova, a longtime Shakespeare fan who once acted in a performance of "Richard III" and wrote a book called "Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games," bringing Shakespeare's universe to life is the chance of a lifetime. And, it's an opportunity to use an MMO as a serious social-science research tool.
Is this a farmer I see before me?
Logging off is such sweet sorrow.
Now is the winter of our disk content!
A friend pointed out to me that RPing in this game will be ...shameful. As if RPing in a fantasy realm wasn't awful enough already. Now you get to see it being done while the RPer is wearing tights and taking on professions like "Fop" and "Dandy".
Winner. Although someone needs to bust out that "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" quote, because nothing speaks to MMOs more than that.Originally Posted by Rob Beschizza
"I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me this numbing game:
My quests are minutes; and with sighs I loot,
Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch,
Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,
Is clicking still, in raiding the instance.
Now sir, the sounds that toll the leveling up
Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart,
Which is the bell: so LOLS and WTFS and LFG!!111!
Show minutes, times, and hours"
Richard II, Level 58 Rouge
Last edited by Rob Beschizza; 10-20-2006 at 09:48 AM.
Based on the one gameplay example in that article, rescuing fragments of Shakespearean works and having a "bard" turn them into enhanced combat powers, I just don't think this fellow - as nice and well meaning as he seems to be - understands how the dynamics of roleplaying (which is what he's asking for here) work at all.
Firstly, I'm not certain anyone can pull off an all RP server especially one focused on Shakespearean themes. He's got the right fundamental idea of creating game systems that cause the players to take on the mindset of the characters (rather than having to act 'around' the code) but the example of what's going to be taking place is surprisingly shallow and misses the mark of instilling behavior through incentives by a wide margin.
First you need an immersive world, one that operates in such a way that a player has to act in a manner that enhances immersion in order to be most successful. Yes, he's right, people will behave in ways that benefit them for the most part. But you won't find folks instinctively behaving like cunning political manipulators in a setting where the motivator is still phat loot and more plusses to hit with a sword - whether or not we're talking about picking up sonnets from corpses or magical gems.
Maybe such a place could be realized but I don't think he really understands how player psychology works at all.
Will there be no female avatars, too?
To play, or not to play? That is the question.
Whether tis more fun in the mind
to suffer the insults and PvP of outrageous cat-assers
or to take arms against a sea of aggroed mobs
and by opposing to lewt them?
To die, to lose XP;
to lose XP, perchance to quit playing.
Aye, there's the rub!
For in that XP loss what monthly fee already paid
when we have stopped playing this game
must give us pause.
[1. General Chat - The Barrenry] Thy words strike as if a blow from Charles of Norris
The famed man possessed of a third fist
Hidden 'neath his beard where the commoners keep their chins
$240,000, eh? That's going to be one rich, immersive environment!
For a substantial subset of the MMO-playing population, roleplaying and talking in a half-assed approximation of Shakespearean dialogue are synonymous, but I'm not sure if doing so in this setting will be jarringly inappropriate enough to hold anyone's interest.
A Renaissance mmo would rock.
A Shakespeare one? The e-peen is mightier than the codpiece.
Since it is an academic development, I think there is a market. Univesities could run it as part of literature, poli/social sci, or history classes (depending on how it is designed) to explore cultural and political issues. I think there was a NWN mod made by a school teacher that allowed students to play in the US during the Revolution.Originally Posted by Brian Rucker
The thing is, if I read that article correctly, this game will be set during the War of the Roses. Richard III. I'd really like to see how they plan on doing pulling this off. Obviously you want an Elizabethan flavor to things to bring out the whole "Shakespeare" selling point but to make a real game of it you need to do your homework on the historical period of Richard III. Know what was really moving forces on the field and motivating the leaders. Then bring in Shakespeare and his era to sort out what the bard's motives were in writing about things as he did, what he chose to stress and what was conveniently ignored, in order to make a point with his contemporaries.
One tabletop RPG that did an interesting job of blending the historical in with the legendary was Pendragon. It looked at Arthurian literature and used that as a framework for the flow of the story but it borrowed from the whole of the dark and middle ages in an accellerated progression of technology and culture as Arthur's Camelot came and, eventually, went. You start off with ragged Romano-Briton cities and their rough-edged mercenary lords fighting off Saxons and feuding with each other and end up with high Malorian chivalry, 14th century platemail, and everything short of gunpowder by the time of the fall.
That's not to say Arden would work anything like that but there are ways to blend two different eras that have a commonality of theme.
Mine naked weapon is out.
The thing is, practically everything Shakespeare wrote about Richard III is basically false. The Princes in the Tower, the evil tyrant, all of it - it all is derived from the accounts of the period written during Henry VII's reign - a man who, having seized the throne by force, had every motivation to try to put forward reasons to make his own rule appear legitimate and his predecessor not so.Originally Posted by Brian Rucker
http://www.richardiii.net/ has a lot of the specific, verifiable, historical evidence regarding the period, and why what "everybody knows" about Richard III is not to be trusted.
Also, I HIGHLY recommend Josephine Tey's "The Daughter of Time". It has the form of a detective story, but it lays out the actual historical evidence surrounding these issues in an extremely clear and readable fashion.
Yeah, this is a tangent, but Richard III is a pet obsession of mine.
No, they'll be there, but this time you'll know they're all played by males.Originally Posted by bloo
Oh, and I want chat to have a built-in function to filter out anyone who doesn't use iambic pentameter.
... and the females who do play are male avatars!Originally Posted by unbongwah
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to charge with my +5 vorpal and decapitate the archers,
and end all the long-ranged bullshit.
Allow my orc to voice his thoughts:
"For a substantial subset of the MMO-playing population, roleplaying and talking in a half-assed approximation of Shakespearean dialogue are synonymous."
You mean they're not???