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Fun in RPG Land

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower Dec 19 2013 · 419 views

Bionicle LEGO RPG
The Bionicle RPG forum has some of our most active topics and the BZPRPG is a pretty popular game.

The LEGO RPG forum, not so much.

I've been thinking a little bit about what we can do about that. I'm open to suggestions. I have considered merging the two, but then we'd have to figure out what to do with Bionicle RPGs selected via contests and LEGO RPGs selected via judging. Certainly not an insurmountable problem, but something to consider.

I'd like to hear what you guys have to think about the state of the RPG forums and how to run things moving forward.

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Engineer Alexandra Humva
Dec 19 2013 03:26 PM

Personally I'm a bit distraught about the current state of the OTC RPGs; we have only two active RPGs right now, and while there are some in the approval queue, the state of the RPG scene over here is kinda terrible. I think, perhaps, there should be a greater emphasis on RPGs. Maybe this has already been done but just as good creations and stories get publicity on the front page, there should be some sort of RPG editoral, maybe a biweekly or monthly release discussing the latest in RPGs. Of course, that'd require activity to report on, but the hope is it can snowball itself.

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As I've said other times, part of this is because much of the memberbase doesn't have much interest in general LEGO stuff, which is somewhat sad. 

However, also, another huge part of what I think is a problem is that many of the Bio RPG regular forum-goers don't spare a glance at Lego RPG, and to add to that, I also feel that quite a few Lego RPGs have been passed up on because they don't know the GM. Some of it is surely just from the themes selected, but even among those it seems strange sometimes. The Exo-Force RPG is doing fairly well, but I will say that it's run by one of the regular vets of the Bio RPG forum, and he has brought many of those people with him into that RPG. Sadly few have expanded from that, as is evident in the Ninjago RPG. All of the members that have been in that RPG are fairly new members, not the 5-6+ people that form the bedrock of the Bio RPG forum. 

What to do? I'm not entirely sure, because much of this seems like a problem that simply stems from how the Bio RPG and Lego RPG communities never really interacted with one another until the forum-upgrade, where they were slotted together. Even then the Lego RPG forum has been largely ignored by many Bio RPG members. 

One solution that I could think of would be perhaps a BZPLegoRPG largish game run by the staff much like the BZPRPG itself. The simple fact of BZP staff running this new RPG may draw more players than one may think. 

The Lego Movie almost looks as if it might have an ideal spread of Lego genres and story points to be a good universe to build off, but who knows for sure. 

Alright, done with the ramble. :P Just my thoughts on the matter.

Zakaro

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-Windrider-
Dec 19 2013 10:00 PM

The simple fact of BZP staff running this new RPG may draw more players than one may think.

 

That's an interesting thought. I'd love to hear more on that - is it just the simple "appeal" of the hosts? Does having staff run the game add something more that a non-staff host can't bring?

 

Personally, I think merging the two forums would only serve to make LEGO RPGs less visible.

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Ricardo Mason
Dec 19 2013 11:14 PM
I think. We hold a contest to see what three Lego RPGs are the best, and if they hold up, we go back to regular judging. But also the OTC RPGs have not done well at all. Only Pokemon and Marvel are doing good, and Pokemon is seeing some inactivity what I see. I guess it's how the RPG gameplay is that drives the game to a successful state, or a grave dug into the ground. Either way, I don't know if the Lego RPG idea I gave is good or not. I will certainly agree with Windy on the merger of the topics. I think that in a few months, we won't see any Lego RPGs.
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The simple fact of BZP staff running this new RPG may draw more players than one may think.

 

That's an interesting thought. I'd love to hear more on that - is it just the simple "appeal" of the hosts? Does having staff run the game add something more that a non-staff host can't bring?

Yes, it honestly may be. The host can make or break a game, and if it's run by the staff that almost lets people know that 'Hey, we want you to join this, we won't let it die and all.' It doesn't even need to be the staff, just perhaps a prominent member that could bring in a few new players that would hopefully spread throughout the subforum.

The best example I have of this is, once more, the Exo-Force RPG and the BZPRPG. The Exo-Force RPG, being run by a Bio RPG regular, brought many members over to Lego RPG just for that one. Could it be that Exo-Force is just a theme they especially like? Sure, but what confuses me is the both proof and contradiction of Castles in the Air. It was run by a prominent RPGer who's run many others in the Bio RPG side, and yet it didn't take off like Exo-Force. Could it be advertisement, how Exo-Force's word was spread through PM-idle talk vs. only a vague sig? Perhaps, but it still surprises me that Castles failed, because a, it was run by an older RPGer, b, it was medievally based, which I don't see as being that much of a reason to turn away, and c, it seemed to be going nicely; right up until the 'new' factor seemed to go away. 

Perhaps that's it. The BZPRPG is so large, and has been around for so long, it's a habit for the usual crowd. The Lego RPGs, and even the Bio RPG contest RPGs, seem to only be effective while they're new and exciting, as things cool down people begin to drop away, back to the usual, constant, BZPRPG. 

It's a steady problem. If you have, say, 10 players, a decent amount, and 3 are interacting, if one leaves or forgets about the RPG, the other two might either move on, or just as likely wait forever for a reply that never comes, and then the RPG falls out of their immediate attention and falls behind on player count. 

..I'm finding I have a lot more to say about this than I thought. :P

Zakaro

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Engineer Alexandra Humva
Dec 20 2013 09:52 AM

I think something that might be causing problems is the age gap here; in my experience, RPGs of any forum tend to attract an older audience. While certainly not unheard of for younger players (I got into COTRPGs when I was ten or something so there's that), the bedrock community I see in OTC tends to be 14/15+. Problem is, as members get older, they have a tendency to migrate from the site in the continual cycle of life, so we've been losing veteran players and not really having new ones spring up. Even a good chunk of the veteran crowd in the OTC now is only one-two years experienced, compared to back when we had the likes of Robo and Exo-Fat running around.

 

And of course there's the big big factor the BZPRPG plays into all of this; so often I'll be on Skype, in one of the RPG chats, and be waiting for something to be done in the OTC, only to get the "sorry BZPRPG stuff to do" response. It's a massive RPG and it sucks up a lot of time, something of particular value to the older, veteran, crowd, many of whom are going into or are in college. Admittedly, it's always been like this, but back in the golden days of the COT RPGs, there were also a whole lot more players to go around, as well as many of the veteran crowd that stuck specifically to COT.

 

I suppose the tl;dr of it is 1)RPGs appeal to an older crowd, one that's increasingly scarcer on BZP 2)Said older crowd is moving on with their lives, and if you only have a handful veterans, a 10% drop per year is going catch up to you real fast. 3)There isn't enough inflow to the community to make up for the outflow and 4)The BZPRPG is a time sink for aforementioned shrinking veteran crowd.

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Okay, being one of ther Co-Founders of the popular Exo-Force RPG, I feel the need to put in my opinion on the matter. First of all, I would be very irritated if the two RPG forums merged! The (The Bionicle one, since it seems that there is another being discussed at great length here) RPG forum has an almost entirely different community (IMO) than the Lego RPG one. The jumble of lego RPGs that would go into the Bio RPG forum would be difficult to understand, and in general, not increase activity, just dogpile the immense activity of the bio RPG forum and the weak activity of the lego RPG forum into one big mess of confusion. So just please don't do it B6, while I may not speak exactly for all of my friends, I'm sure this won't exactly help things.

You see, the main reason why us of the regular and vet RPers of the BZPRPG don't get involved with the lego RPGs is mainly due to the extremely different styles of storytelling in the LRPG forum compared to the BZPRPG. From what I've seen (And do correct me if I'm wrong, for I am by no means an expert on the subject of past LRPGs), many lego RPGs from time past have used some form or "Ranking" system, in which those with a certain amount of posts in the topic would gain access to some better vehicle, armor, etc for their character.

This leads to the (IMO peculiar) vehicle systems of many previous LRPGs. Many LRPGs had your character restrained to a vehicle (99% of the time a set from whatever theme with the standard payload), but the catch is, you can only begin with a certain vehicle, until you/your character have/has "leveled" or "ranked" up. But the ultimate issue I (And many of my friends, if I recall) have with the player community of the LRPG forum is the lack of appreciation towards the most vital part of characters and the game: The character's personality and the development of that personality throughout the game. Personality and CD (Character Development) are really the heart and soul of the character. You shouldn't just want to make a character solely due to having an interstellar marine with a flamethrower, but due to the interesting possibilities of your character interacting with others, and possible plotlines that could be formed. It is much more enjoyable to see a driving force behind characters that isn't the hands of a puppeteer.

 Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to bash all of the inexperienced players or the ideas they have for their characters; I'm just saying there is room for improvement, and that many should keep their eyes on the true focus of TBRPGs: The interaction between characters and the relationships that develop. Yes, descriptions could be more vivid from the newer players- but keep in mind that there are several skilled RPers like Hubert and Kaithas who make excellent posts with only a few sentences.  I just want to stress that the complex personalities of characters and character development are areas of roleplaying that the LRPG forum is lacking IMO. 

Another reason I have thought of that would account for the lack of “BZPRPG vets” in the LRPG forum is simply due to many of them not being interested in the RPGs that are currently available, and also that many of them aren’t guaranteed to be alive long enough to develop interesting characters that develop as the story goes along, and they don’t see the time they would take to play in the RPG a good usage, given many people’s busy schedules won’t allow them to play every game they want

Sorry for that rather lengthy, rambling rant, and I don’t mean to sound harsh, but this is just my opinion on the matter, so take it as you will.  I don’t want to demerit the regular LRPG visitors’ abilities, but I am trying to show the vast contrast between the two player bases

And I would also like to correct Zakaro that the EFRPG is run by four experienced BZPRPG players, not one.

So that’s my opinion, take it as you will.  I would not call myself an expert on most of the things I speak about.  If anything I say was incorrect and you want to correct me, feel free.  I am speaking from my own grievances and experience, so I’m not sure what other RPers I know have to say on the subject.

 

TL;DR, I don't like the idea of a forum merge in the slightest.  The RPing communities are different, and it's not an issue with the BRPG forumgoers that the LRPG forum isn't active, it's just many of the themes that become RPGs are not as interesting to many players, and they don't last long enough for the players to get heavily invested in it. With more emphasis about the forum, maybe a contest (A prize would be another good incentive for those experienced players who aren't as interested)

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Canis Lycaon
Dec 20 2013 09:34 PM

Well, I'm one of the five GMs of the LEGO RPG forum, and all the rest are in Exo-Force.

 

One of the biggest problems I've noticed with the LEGO RPG forum is that many are not interested in the specific themes that the current RPGs are.

 

I think that a good idea would be to have a contest like the BIONICLE RPG to get some new RPGs into the subforum. Ninjago and Exo-Force would be exempt from this system, as they were created before it.

 

Different theme ideas would be submitted to the contest, and then the contest would be advertised. By having the people of BZP choose the RPGs, we could increase activity.

 

I remember a poll related to this topic.

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I can't see merging the the LRPG and BRPG forums doing the LRPGs any good. People have been making some very sound points against such a merge in their above replies, several of which I'd reiterate; I'll also pose some of my own observations:

 

1) LRPGs would be quickly swamped by and lost under the far greater activity of games like the BZPRPG. They'd be relegated to the bottom of the forum's topic listing, which is unlikely to make them more visible/more played. It'll only frustrate LRPG mods and players to see their topics shoved down again and again by the incessantly updating BZPRPG ones; in a similar vein, the abundance of topics in the BRPG forum could irritate its regulars by making the whole forum feel supersaturated and more tedious to navigate. The number of pinned topics alone would be overwhelming.

 

2) The game styles dominant in the two forums are different enough to be incompatible. I can really only speak in depth for the BZPRPG (as it takes up all my RPG time and energy!), but as Bulik pointed out, the way the LRPGs are run is with a heavier emphasis on the "game" aspect of an RPG, whereas BRPGs are fixated more on the "role playing." This is a subtle distinction, but one that reflects very different mindsets between LRPG and BRPG players.

 

Things like rankings are not only foreign to the BZPRPG, but discouraged, because my staff and I consider the telling of a cooperative story through the game to be more important than competition. When we tried to introduce a competitive element into the BZPRPG at the beginning of the year to spice things up, we found to our and players' dismay that it quickly fragmented the player base against itself, arousing some pretty shocking negativity from our gaming community.

 

Bringing the competitive aspect of the LRPGs into BRPG means that players looking for two different game experiences will be relegated to the same cramped forum. LRPG players and BRPG players, if they try to participate in one anothers' games, may be confused and frustrated by the double standards of play under one "roof."

 

3) The community of the BRPG forum is, for all its occasional squabbles, fairly tight-knit, and sometimes hard to breach. This is due in large part to the prevalence of Skype as an out-of-forum means of communication and socialization. I'm in at least five Skype group chats for different BZPRPG things, but these chats aren't just business; people talk about life, pop culture, jokes, you name it. People know each other more than they may have in the past, and this happens through the rising medium of Skype.

 

Immersion into the BRPG happens in more than just the forums, in other words, and while I don't know if LRPG operates in a similar way, it's safe to say that the two won't combine as easily as if things all happened at the forum level. BRPG Skype conversations, while beneficially rapid and informal, can also be, from my experience, some unfortunate breeding grounds for scorn and even animosity against other players. Lately this hasn't been much of a problem (especially since my staff and I culled the competition thing I mentioned earlier), but were we to give the BRPG and LRPG communities to one another, I could easily imagine some ill feelings arising behind closed doors and making the climate of the forums sorta ugly.

 

Well, that's the sum of it: I can't imagine a merge would be reacted to favorably by either community, and I don't think it's the answer to LRPG inactivity. I like the idea of LRPG contests as a solution, though; the idea of introducing a LRPG BZPRPG equivalent (something big and staff-run) is also intriguing. A lot of publicity (for either possibility) wouldn't hurt.

 

Staff survivor has been popular, so maybe there's something to be said about harnessing the charisma and RPing abilities of the BZP staff to bolster the forum. 

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Yeah. I'm pretty much an OTC-exclusive player and I can say I've seen the BZRPG kill more then a few OTC RPGs before their time.

 

Combining the RPG forums....might be the answer. Everyone would have access to the same player base, new comers would see RPG's on other topics and join up. Otherwise, from where I stand, there isn't much left on BZP for people like me. The RPG scene in OTC is on life support and what little is left is fighting with itself half the time. 

 

I am sorely tempted to move onto greener pastures, or just give up and start writing fiction.

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Canis Lycaon
Dec 22 2013 05:17 PM

I noticed some people discuss ranking systems in their posts that were not visible when I posted, I want to discuss this in further detail.

 

Currently, the Ninjago RPG is the only RPG on BZP that has a ranking system, and I am the only GM who has instituted a ranking system into a game.

 

And you know what my thoughts are on ranking systems?

 

I hate them.

 

When I started my RPG, Alien Conquest and the LURPG were still around, and both had ranking systems. In addition, it was not long after the end of the DARPG, which started the idea of ranking systems.

 

All of these three games had ranking systems. The DARPG lasted for seven and a half years. I put in a ranking system because everyone else in LEGO RPG had one.

 

My game has three tiers of ranks, which are as follows: Trainee, Standard and Elite. There is also a GM rank, but I am the only one with that. To get from Trainee to Standard, one has to make ten posts. To get to Elite, I promote you based on good merit.

 

I have wanted to remove Trainee Rank for months now, but I cannot, as I incorporated the idea of the ranks into the very game's story, and removing them would cause too many problems.

 

In addition, in the Construction & Design topic of the LEGO RPG forum, much debate was made about this very topic, but it was all lost in the August 21 to Halloween data lost.

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Like Bulik said, and adding onto Canis here, the ranking system is a relic of the ages when things were so busy in the Lego RPGs, when they were just apart of Lego Discussion, that they wanted to keep newer players from gaining power instantly and integrating into the game. Honestly and truely, it's a bygone aspect that we really don't need and would need to go if we're to make the Lego RPGs more like the BioRPGs in order to attract more people.

What could be interesting is a poll on what Lego RPGs people would like to see, much like one that someone ran this summer, just perhaps by the Staff and/or put on the front page or somewhere where more people than those who are looking for it would see it. Heck, it's even a possibility to put it in the Bio RPG forum just to gain that crowds attention. 

Lastly, I do apologize to the GMs of the Exo-Force RPG in forgetting that it is a multitude of you guys working on it. :)

Zakaro 

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Name:
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