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Highs and Lows
#1
So, a conversation came up in the GM channel on Skype that left me with some greater insight as to the occasional rift that comes up between the GM team and the playerbase. Here's something I've come to understand:

Many of the GMs, oftentimes myself included though not always, tend to prefer Low Fantasy settings over High Fantasy. The opposite is often true of many players.

You'll find that many GMs try to focus on the ideas of realism, having things make sense and strictly adhere to lore. To your average GM, players should be intimidated by large and imposing enemies like Doomguards. They want the world to be dangerous and the power ceiling to be fairly low. This chafes against the setting that we've put ourselves into, as World of Warcraft is a very High Fantasy setting where crazy, uber-powerful things happen all the time. Perhaps the greatest example of this are the varying views of the Warrior class: are they just Joes really good with swords, or are they masters of the physical form that are capable of super-human feats of strength like Hercules? WoW definitely portrays the class as the latter, even if many of us wish that the game didn't reach that power scale.

It's an interesting problem, one that doesn't have a solid answer. A lot of the clashes come not from who is correct or incorrect, but from differing styles and preferences in RP.

-----

Another comment: so, I heard earlier today that someone got upset at one of our GMs, and took a shot at me at the time by comparing them to me as an example of being unreasonable. All I can say at this point is that it's rather discouraging to encounter this on my second day back when paying attention to the server again, when I hadn't even done anything. I've been working quite hard on improving my attitude and interactions with the server. I have admitted, many times, that I have often been unreasonable and aggressive, problems I am trying to correct.

Seriously though, guys. Give folks a chance.
Have you hugged an orc today?
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#2
I'd never want to be a GM again. Never.
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#3
Quote:I'd never want to be a GM again. Never.

... I don't really want to be a GM anymore. This stuff gets grating. Especially when my friends take things personally when I have to act as a GM but am not on their side.
Quote:[8:53AM] Cassius: Xigo is the best guy ever. he doesn't afraid of anything.
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#4
Warcraft's setting supports both high and low fantasy really. There is crazy ridiculous stuff like Eredar warlocks, but it isn't like they cover every square foot of Outland. Similarly, plenty of normal stuff happens, with things like Defias bandits being able to lockdown all of Westfall and political corruption in Stormwind withdrawing all the soldiers.

And then you get stuff in the middle like the Wrathgate where perfectly normal soldiers beat the crap out of an army of undead horrors only to get shanked by the Lich King himself. Warcraft is high fantasy, but its got a lot of room for variation, and I think we should not alienate either the low or high aspects of the fantasy.

I'm pretty sure we can have our cake and eat it, too.
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#5
Warcraft is High-Fantasy, High-Adventure for me. Where OP stuff happens a lot, and you explode things with spells and there are paladins and heroes and wicked villains and there is a lot of awesome, and there are elves and dwarves and epic undead like Sol, and Dragons and stuff!

But the thing is, all that high-fantasy and that awesome power still follows some rules, set by the Lore. And in the confines of said Lore, you can be as OP as you like, as far as I'm concerned. As long as your freedom to do as you like and have fun does not overstep the freedom of others to do as they like and have fun, all within the boundaries of plausible Lore, and what generally makes sense in-universe.

So, that's my opinion. For now, a short one.
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Recommended reads: Divine and Arcane. Also, elves.
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#6
Low Fantasy is also more than just realism and a low power ceiling.

One of the main points about it is that it's basically the Middle Ages with some more fantastical things added in. The world is bleak and grim for the most part. Humans are very much predominant, with dwarves and elves being very rare or not at all and almost every other fantasy race simply doesn't exist (Save for orc types, but you're looking at Frazetta Men then. You know, big, lumbering, ape-like things). Magic is also rare but present, with it being very costly for its powerwith it being probably the most horrific thing in the story, often bringing ruin to everyone who comes into contact with it at the cost of the blood of innocents and all that, almost always utilized by some insane and twisted shell of a man whose sole purpose in life is to delve into things man was never meant to know. And the only beings of awesome power are Elder God type entities whose very presence basically ends the game.
Think Conan the Barbarian. Or Fire and Ice.

It's basically everything WoW isn't.

While Low Fantasy is nice, and oft times kinda awesome for RP, it's really hard to impose it on a setting like WoW. That Doomguard? In Low Fantasy, he's basically going to raze a city until the army mobilizes or Conan shows up. In High Fantasy, he's a rather painful nuisance until the local watch and friendly wizard show up or one or two heroes walk by for their morning stroll. Dragons? In Warcraft, they're these all powerful beings who can shape reality to a lesser extent, save the Aspects who can warp it. Low Fantasy? A dinosaur, probably.

And if you want the power ceiling to be low and things to be more mundane, why use a lore that goes very much against it? Like with your warrior example. The very setting makes them out to be awesome avatars of steel and muscle, not the standard foot soldier of any kingdom. It also doesn't help that magic itself is more prevalent than common minerals. That right there already makes it hard for warriors to be average joes with a sword. After all, why bother when people who could melt your face off by looking at you funny are quite common?


tl;dr The very setting is against Low Fantasy. Not so much the players.
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#7
(12-09-2012, 12:39 AM)Binkleheimer Wrote: tl;dr The very setting is against Low Fantasy. Not so much the players.

Perhaps I am using the wrong terminology when I say "Low Fantasy." I think to better explain the difference of just what I'm saying, I will simply point out a sort of "scale shift" that occurred between Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft.

In WC3, most characters were simple soldiers. They were footmen, knights, grunts, so on and so forth, and heroes that could single-handedly sway the tide of battle were few and far between. Yes, they were important, but part of that importance was because of their rarity.

Now compare to World of Warcraft, where many of these tide-turning abilities are now handed out to every character. PCs are much more common than the previous heroes that were almost always lore characters, at least in the campaign stories.

I'll probably ramble on this more when I've finally had some sleep, but I hope that comparison makes more sense. I ought to be in bed, only a fluke of RL circumstances that I'm not. Argh.
Have you hugged an orc today?
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#8
There the problem lies more in RTS vs. RPG.

With RTS, you basically just command armies to achieve the over all goal, making the standard human fighter seem weaker and more stock.

However, with the RPG, you basically take on the role of that named hero. The fact that several million people play WoW doesn't mean that there are several million heroes running around the World of Warcraft. In fact, from the game's standpoint, there really aren't that many hero types running around. Probably enough higher powered ones to fill up a full raid group, while there may be far more lower power ones to serve as sergeants and captains. And lore characters are basically boss level.

Basically, RTS: You control all those stock NPC's and one hero unit cohesively to crush a town.
RPG: You are that hero unit.

Nothing has changed power level wise. It's just the viewpoint at which the world is being seen.
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#9
(12-09-2012, 01:26 AM)Binkleheimer Wrote: There the problem lies more in RTS vs. RPG.

True to a point, but I disagree that there's no change in the power scale. The change may be due to the change in genre, but it's still there. For example, when you say "You play that hero unit" there's an immediate and obvious problem. Hero units in WC3 were lore characters. If you're playing that hero unit, you are literally saying "You are playing a character that is on par with Thrall/Grom/Jaina/Arthas/Illidan/etc." Obviously, however, that is not the case, so in WoW we are in fact NOT playing that hero unit. According to the relative power levels in WoW, PCs are more in this ill-defined space between the rank and file and the WC3 heroes.

But things brings us to another problem...

Quote:However, with the RPG, you basically take on the role of that named hero. The fact that several million people play WoW doesn't mean that there are several million heroes running around the World of Warcraft. In fact, from the game's standpoint, there really aren't that many hero types running around. Probably enough higher powered ones to fill up a full raid group, while there may be far more lower power ones to serve as sergeants and captains.

While this is true, this ends up causing a problem for us as a roleplaying server, does it not? If everyone wants to play that hero, that powerful character, then we get that power scale far out of whack and outside of the realm of realism. By the game's standpoint, there aren't that many hero types...but there would be if the GMs didn't put limits on what players can do with their characters.
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#10
As previously mentioned, WarCraft is a high fantasy setting. Fantastic things happen all the time and there's magic everywhere, but at the same time that magic is a horrible corrupting force that ends up biting the mage in the ass in the end of the day (or his friends, or his family, or his civilization). Sure there are huge demon creatures, but when the doomguard attacks a city, it really isn't just something that the city guards can handle. As we can see in the quests, they usually come crying for the players to come and save the day.

The player characters in the MMORPG are at the same power level as the Heroes in the RTS, as Binkleheimer said. It might seem like the world is full of god-like mages and herculean warriors but that's just a side effect of the time of game it is. While there might be 50 "heroes" wandering around the Barrens at the same time, in cannon its just one going around solving all the problems. A party clearing a dungeon? Its not drawing from some endless pool of schmucks, its a few great heroes who happened to be there at the same time. The people fighting the Lich King? Those are the biggest and the baddest, heroes that measure up to the lore characters. Canonically there's only about 10 people in that group, probably assumed to be the same pool of people taking out the previous dungeons and such.

The World of WarCraft is a lot more barren and low-powered than its made out to be. The only reason it appears to be at Exalted (erm, I don't know if that reference will catch) levels of power is because of the type of game most people were exposed to it through. Story-wise, there's no endless horde of super-powered mooks but only a few grand heroes scattered around the world. An MMORPG has to be a social experience at heart, so we see all these other players going about their busyness while we smash monsters for the sake of community. The game could have very well been portrayed as a traditional CRPG in the form of Neverwinter Nights or Diablo or what have you, but the overall story ark and the setting at large wouldn't have ended up any different.

So to be honest, it would be more true to the setting to stick to a more "low-fantasy" setting (not the correct term really, low-power would work better probably) when portraying the kind of role play that supports the sort of crowds CotH has. Sure, our server has quite a few heroic characters that can match up and really shine as the heroes of the setting and there's nothing wrong with that, in fact its a really interesting way of pulling things. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that WarCraft is high fantasy, but the superpowers are reserved for a select few individuals. CotH has always focused on the average joes, we're the footmen not the demon hunters, but we also feature a few characters that are truly heroic in power and scale. That's fine, and in my opinion its the best way to play the setting and a hell of a lot of fun to be a part of.

(Woo I'm back! If anyone actually remembers me)
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#11
(12-09-2012, 01:26 AM)Binkleheimer Wrote: RPG: You are that hero unit.

That's very true for RPGs, but an MMORPG has an entirely different feel to it. The only MMO I've played that made me feel like a hero was Guild Wars 2(which was entirely do to the plot revolving around your characters experiences.) Most MMO's you seem to be another dude under the command of a higher NPC(typically a quest giver). You're basically being commanded around like an RTS footsoldier through NPCs handing out quests telling you to perform a task or go to this specified location.

As for what was said earlier, as my understanding of it is, WoW can not in any way be -low- fantasy. Low fantasy is typically fantasy set in some fictitious Earth where the fantastical can happen, but is largely governed by the rules of the physical world that we all know. I.E; The Dresden Files; Harry Potter(to a degree); Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality.

WoW is set in a made up world with it's own physical laws and capabilities. Therefore it's much harder to promote realism that isn't set by game mechanics, and even harder still when trying to enforce realism when someone is interpreting this world how they see it through role-play. Furthermore interpretations of lore are fairly infinite when pertaining to WoW because it's not an all lore-friendly setting. It advances on the original Warcraft setting in ways that change the lore previously set. When Blizzard made this game it was for monetary purposes, not to further the story of Warcraft. MMORPGs were a rising market at the time and they had a convenient setting to create one in so they took a chance at it without serious lore thought.

Basically what I'm getting at is there are far too many ways to interpret WoW's loose lore and as long as you try to enforce it arguments and debates will be had, and the irrational will hate you for it. /shrug
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#12
You know, I had a post here. I derped with my own flawed reasoning and deleted it. Psychyn's boggled opinion v2.0

WoW has always been to me, high fantasy. When I started it on Vanilla, to when I joined here. During my time here, that idea of 'high fantasy' switched largely from 'doing whatever I could' to 'doing whatever makes RP fun that isn't entirely impossible'. I had a rogue on Retail, he tried to rob a person in Goldshire. Got murdered after by a couple of players that had grouped up against him. I was complimented for the good RP. A day or two later he walked around and fled when I read "Excuse me, I'll be right back. I thought I had killed someone." from a stranger in chat. Looking at it now; God it was horrible. *Snicker*

I'm not the biggest reader, or rather; I rarely read books. I've read the wow-wiki pages to get my idea of Lore, occasionally skimmed over the RPG books and when I get stuck on a lore bit; I google it. I don't memorize the in-game quests, I don't read the WoW lore books apart from one that I never finished. (Story about Arthas) and I'm a bit of a derp when it comes to realism. My take on RP is that fun should outweigh the realism restrictions. That leads my characters to do stupid things, but the people they are with enjoy them. (As I've not been told otherwise.) I've improved over my time here, to do less horrible things but I'm confident I still ask for things to fantasize my RP up. (That sounds rather messy, but try to stick with me. I got a point.. somewhere!)

I'm not against doing unrealistic things and I most likely never will be. While I'm not saying we should throw realism out the window (how many times have I written that by now? U.T.U strives for realism, and I carry realism in several categories.) I still think we should allow people to personalize their spells and abilities more. Not everyone can be a Marshal or Infernal-slaying-fanatic, but I don't see the problem in allowing people to make their abilities and spells stand out from what the mechanics and lore describe. I've requested such alterations (mainly spells) which were met with real skepticism. I've been told that "spell alterations are usually kept away from." which I don't get the full reason for. By changing the visuals, effects, smell or appearance of things you can personalize your character much more. Am I saying they are more powerful or deadly? No, there are many ways to alter those things to be less like the prescribed medicine of "You can do x or y."

What I had in my last post I will write again; Perhaps get some (or add to the group of) high-fantasy GM members so that there are opinions that vary more. With the realism party writing A, and the fantasy party writing C, middle-ground B should be easier to find. (As yes, I feel that currently the 'realism' party clings to realism and lore too much, no matter how fun the idea may be. (And no matter how much RP it might bring afterwards.) )

To summarize; I do not think the power scales need to be adjusted, but the customizing of an individual's abilities/spells in the current power scale needs to be loosened. That will make people stand out more, give more uniqueness to their toons to reduce the feeling (or requests) of 'People strive for power and hero toons.' I'd personally like to play more unique characters, but feel that in the current situation none of my toons are much different then soldiers or NPC's. Their personalities may be, just not their abilities. (Variant system was a step in that direction.) The ones that are different, usually caused me to set up a guild to keep that. See; Meline, Niarrin, Scarlett but with that guild creation, it adds a lot of work on the side where I don't even RP the toon I like.

Perhaps all of the above is already possible, but it'd need some clarification then on what is doable and what is not? (Which I've recently wrote that I 'thought I had a good grasp' on the limits, but recent PD discussions have shown me otherwise.)

Also: Welcome back Grakor. RP?
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#13
Powerful characters ('heroes') who always win are boring. Strange new powers never before seen in the lore do not add much to anything, besides the 'oooh, ahhh' factor. Enemies should be threatening, not just things you go 'meh, ten kobolds, time to curb stomp them'.

As Grakor pointed out in teamspeak yesterday, it's ironic that I enjoy low-power characters, as Ara'Gazhi is one of my favorites (a decidedly high powered doomguard). Why? Because with him, I had an antagonist who no other character should feasibly been able to beat in a fair fight. At least, that was my intention when playing him. To provide an adversary who would defeat you if it came to a physical battle. To bring that fear of defeat to characters that normally chuckled their way through fights while killing a man every turn in a fight.

However, people hated me for it, and decided that a doomguard was just as powerful as every other character. My time playing Ara'Gazhi strongly colored my point of view towards the general populace of CotH. That most people are selfish. No one's happy with a defeat. No one's happy with the bad guy having a victory for a change. No one's happy with an antagonist being in a position of power. No one's happy with losing an event, or wiping during an event. No one's happy with the GMs disagreeing with them, and for some inexplicable reason treat discussions about whether something's ok or not ok as a fight with a winner and a loser. Whenever someone perceives loss, drama comes along.

I'm weary of this. Defeat is an important part of any character's development. Always winning is always boring.
Quote:[8:53AM] Cassius: Xigo is the best guy ever. he doesn't afraid of anything.
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#14
Ara'Gazhi did kill one of my (throwaway) characters. No one insults a Doomguard to his face and lives to brag about it! Not Hag, anyway...

I'm fine with any setting. I prefer no-to-low fantasy, but I can happily immerse myself in high fantasy. I love to wander and explore, to experience new things, to discover fantastic worlds and hidden grottos veiled by ancient spells...

It's all cool. I like different things from each of the levels of fantasy. It's nice when high fantasy slows down for character development, and it's cool when low fantasy gets a kick up the butt for something awesome, as well.

At the end of the day, for me, it all comes down to the story.

Here's a good question to ask, if you're ever unsure: What do I get out of winning?

Some characters want notches in their belts, like gladiators and glory-seekers. Mousy science-y types and bookworms enjoy different sorts of victories. All of them need to fail every now and then to gain the motivation to win, though. If you got everything given to you for free, why would you ever feel you needed to fight for it?

This has been said in better words and more eloquently, but play fair and you really can't go wrong.
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#15
Quote:No one's happy with the bad guy having a victory for a change.

That, it essentially stopped me from rolling bad guy toons though I do love the scene. Meline is covering herself up in such a manner that now everything looks legal, not giving any trace and that's her strength as Smuggler. Though any other evil toon would get stomped the life out of them on a whim. Can't play a thief realistically as people aren't up for being robbed or halted on the roads. *Shrug* I guess it comes with the fantasy setting that 'good always wins'.
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