A lot has changed since the early days of table-top Role-Playing Games, or RPGs as they are known. Most video games are RPGs as well, such as Pokémon and Legend of Zelda, to name a couple long runners with no signs of slowing down. These days, there are websites where you can do much the same thing online with real people. The question is if this is even a good idea. While most of these games don’t involve any more of an investment than your time and effort, there is the fact that you are dealing with living, feeling people rather than a computer-run opponent or game system.
As your opponents, allies and administrative members (admins) are all human, it should be expected that they can and will make mistakes. It’s easy to rant at a computer – we’ve all done it, cursed the AI so bad the air turned blue or just plain thrown the system across the room. But such coping tools are ill-advised when dealing with an online RPG. There’s a real person on the other end with feelings same as you, which can make what would be a simple game extremely complicated.
The best online RPGs have room to grow, established rules that don’t change without warning, and a staff willing to listen to the issues of the players rather than lording their power as admins over their “subjects”. The best games also have an active staff to deal with concerns as well. Not all games are created equal, though most of the ones I’ve personally seen have some overlap regarding gameplay. It’s best to look into a game before simply jumping in.
People that don’t like dealing with – let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? – stupidity are most likely not the best players or admins for such games. Some can handle it, but you’re asking for trouble when you don’t consider the community of the game before joining it. Not all games even have a community – some are more like workplaces where everyone knows almost everyone, can work together to accomplish goals, but you won’t see them socializing anywhere else.
But I’ve rambled on enough. What are the pros and cons of such games?
So while there’s a real upside to joining and playing an online RPG, there can be a real downside as well. They aren’t for those that take the game more seriously than the group and its rules. Be cautious and look into the game you’re joining just as you would any other activity. You can have a lot of fun, but you can also destroy your faith in humanity. If you have any to start with, that is. All in all, joining one can be rewarding, but it might not be for you.