Hey guys, as a new player on this RPG and as an veteran roleplayer, I have a lot of problems with BZPRPG, and I want to share some with you. Mind you, half of what i'm gonna say is purely subjective, and other part is gonna pretend it's objective, so bear with me. Let's ride!
- Roleplay is systemless and is based purely on trust and staff's whim.
As a lover of Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Apocalypse World, Dungeon World and other roleplaying systems, I find that roleplay based purely on trust is highly exploitable. Not all players gonna react to you saying that your character is terrifying, and not all players can react to injuries mainly because there's no fear of punishment. In most systems good roleplaying is rewarding, and bad roleplaying is punishing. But it would be nigh impossible to adapt existing complex roleplaying system to BZPRPG, so how can we improve something? And I'm sorry, I have no answer here.
Second glaring issue that I encountered is no day/night/weather posts. Everyone roleplays in whatever time of day it is, whatever weather it is, and while two people can play in same day, for one it will be cloudy evening, and for another it can be sunny morning. As a game master and staff member of my own RPG, here's how we do it:
We put time of day and weather in a header of forum. But there's no header for this small subforum, so sticky topic can suffice. It will be updated as time goes on, and staff will decide what weather is now around different regions of the game. It will make players react to something global instead of everyone making up weather on the go. Yeah, no moody rains that start right when there's touching moments.
Staff of this game is amazing, don't get me wrong, but they mostly roll with what they came up with and force other players to either follow or stay out of reach, essentially putting story on a rail. I would advise looking at what other players doing more than trying to build up some epic narration for other staff members (and players that have high ranking characters) to enjoy. Act on players answers. It's not always appropriate, but careful balance between staff's epic stories and players' interacting with world is a must.
Which leads to another point. Staff must engage with other players more as an environment, aka Staff Member is a Game Master. Group of players going through forest? Make a Rahi attack, make them react, if they don't, you must firstly warn them that it's gonna end bad, and if they proceed to either ignore or god-mode, punish them. It can make a lot of players butthurt, but it will eliminate problem of no punishment.
Back to systemless vastness of this RPG. Recently, I encountered a great, easy to learn, roleplaying system that me and my boyfriend try to adapt to our RPG. It's Apocalypse World, and Dungeon World. I suggest for those who are interested to go look it up, it's really amazing and easy, while having a lot of depth to it. As of now, we are still working on it, and while we do, we still have players that need mastering, so we use simple "roll 2d6" system from Dungeon World. On 6- result, you get nothing, a fail. On 7-9, you succeed, but there's a catch, an ugly choice. On 10+ you succeed with no strings attached. Such system requires a GM to look out for people playing and interacting, as well as players requesting GMs to roll a dice. GM can modify results based on character that requested a roll. Is this character trying to shoot something from a bow, yet he never used a bow before? -3 to result. Is this character tries to charm a person and he's good at it (as in, either roleplays good or character is charismatic/attractive)? +2 to end result. It's merely a suggestion, and because BZPRPG is a big forum RPG and there's not many staff members, this system might not work, unless we have more staff members or just "rollers" that will act as third party in conflicts or interactions between players or environment and just roll a dice with showing results on which players must act.
- Profile template doesn't allow newer players to create good characters.
It's a problem I see almost in every RPG out there. Templates just don't provide enough questions to unexperienced players, and some of experienced players have hard times defining new characters. Most glaring issue is "Weaknesses" that is highly overlooked by most players. I've seen too many profiles here that just state battle weakness, like this game is very battle oriented, and it's not. Reorganizing profile template will improve new player experience, and provide help to even veteran players like me. Duh, I do mistakes too.
- Not enough descriptions, especially updated ones. Not enough topics.
There's a few reference posts, but nothing much. Vast region of Mata Nui is divided in 7 regions, and Kentoku Archipelago has only one. It creates a lot of confusion. But because BZPower is unspecialized forum, I don't think staff can create more topics, especially because BZPRPG is not only RPG running, so it comes down to better descriptions and reference posts. Update as frequent as possible so players can't wander to a location which is off limits or destroyed (bye bye Kumu Islest).
- New player experience in general.
That's my biggest problem. There's so much going on, people have dozens of characters everywhere, and these characters are already caught up in some sort of quests or storyline. I have a hard time deciding where to go and find someone to interact with, and because there's not enough reference posts and descriptions in OP, I get lost, and new players will. This RPG is intimidating, really, and I have no idea how to fix it.
It's a purely subjective rant, that will consist of me saying "This game killed so much canon character and has so much canon issues I have hard time believing it can be engaging for a canon lover like me!" Oh well.