I played this specific MMORPG since my early teens until my mid 20’s. I remember registering to the website where the game was played without any real expectations at the time. For some reason I forgot about my sign up on this website until one Summer when I got an email back showcasing a game overhaul and that’s when I really started playing this game.
The sign up was in truth the creation of a character to live in this virtual world that happened inside the game. The period was the renaissance era, each character was dropped into one of the dozens of cities that made the game, and everyone was free to start their character however they wanted. Everyone started without any in-game currency or goods, we all started poor, but in reality the heart of the game was the role-play aspect of it, and the background story of each character that could be what the owner, the player behind it, decided it to be.
Personally I had what I can only describe as a humble start. I could had made my character a king, a hero, or even a God, I decided to keep my character, let’s call him -S-, in the low end of the spectrum. S started out by being an orphan. There was this in-game position where players were received by other experienced players, someone appointed to greet and point every player in the right direction, and how they wanted their character to be and what it was required to achieve it, and soon after joining the game I found myself helping others get started in the game.
I remember attending to the needs of the city I was received in a gesture of gratitude to those that helped me get started. If the city needed certain produce and I would change my fields to grow those crops. It feels right to mention that the town market, where the players could buy goods – because this game simulated the way the renaissance era worked and one person couldn’t do everything or plant everything – was a perfect competitive market that was cared for by every player, without any real interference from the developers.
Later the need for characters involved with religion arouse and at the time I felt I shouldn’t decide, just like that, the future of S in regards to celibacy and so I got involved – so I could help the new characters get started into religion – but I kept it in a basic position similar to deacon. S then managed to start a relationship with another character but the situation got complicated and I decided to go through with the ordination to priesthood, which was also like the markets – the religion was also completely managed by players, from the priests, to the cardinals and the pope himself.
Ultimately my character had an amazing life, became even a count, was right hand of a king, cardinal, which was much more exciting than what I’ve imagined when years before I signed up. As I mentioned the heart of the game wasn’t the in-game mechanics that made the game itself, but rather the way (most) players would incarnate their characters in the forums, and role-play their adventures in a written form. I’ve come a long way from “appearances” in public events in just a few words:
To lengthy descriptive posts that would describe the tiniest details in S’s clothing and the weather itself.
Most of this role-play could had been made alone, like in a story mode or even a journal type role-play (which I proudly did for one entire year), but the best part was to involve other players and together share this amazing adventures where we would wait until late hours for the other player to post his next interaction in the story so that we could think about how to react during the next day while at work or studying.
I remember engaging with one player to go on a venture to find an holy robe used by the prophet of the religion our characters were part of. I also remember enacting my character death with another player in an undisclosed meeting where I delegated the other player’s character my succession at the same time I announced my character’s death to the player. It was funny to have the player come calling me on Skype to scold me for such an action.
I miss those times. Coming home from work or school and have this unscheduled gathering with X amount of other players to just interact in this in-character meetings about politics or to just advance our role-play adventure. I miss being able to create an entire universe outside the real world, a place where characters would be passionate about their interests, get into relationships, or even collide in wars. Most of all I miss the writing.