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Other Suggestions and “Tricks of the Trade”
In addition to the conventions and tips listed above, many contributors have submitted great ideas for how to improve your role-playing. I have included a sample of those here:
- Learn to type. If you want to play a role-playing game over the Internet without voice communication, you have to be able to type. Probably close to 90% of the role-playing aspect of multiplayer NWN is expressed through text. If you just can’t help being slow, learn to use “stop phrases” like “Wait!” or “A moment, please, my friends!” in your Quick Slots. These can get your fellow players to pay attention while you hunt-and-peck out a thought or two. It never hurts to mention to the other players that you type slowly, and set the expectation that you may need a few moments longer than most to respond.
- Try to use correct spelling and grammar. OK, NWC has a large community of non-native English speakers, so they get the benefit of the doubt. But still, it’s a little bit of a mood kill to read, “run their going to kill the cleric,” as compared to “Run! They’re going to kill the cleric!!”
- Let others have a chance to talk. If you type 70 words a minute, it’s easy to drown out other players in the game. This is especially true when someone is trying to further the plot with an NPC, and you’re emoting away constantly or yammering with the other players. Unless your character really can’t stop talking for some in-character reason, know when to give it a rest! Even if it is in-character, know when to give it a rest!
- Role-play your stats. Really think about your ability scores, and try to match your in-game actions with those. Would your INT 8 dwarven fighter really be the one to solve the wizard’s puzzle, even if the player knows the answer? Most people are good at role-playing extreme strength or extreme stupidity. It’s the other areas that are more challenging, such as role-playing wisdom and charisma.
- Read the manual. Although there are plenty of people out there willing to help out poor newbies, it can be frustrating to constantly answer questions about how to possess a familiar, set up Quick Slots, or do emotes. These questions could be answered by reading the manual, which also comes in Adobe Acrobat format on your NWN CD.
- Don’t use spell names in the game. You’re Kethrid, Master of the Arcane Arts, a student of magic for some forty-odd years. Krok, the dolt half-orc fighter in your party, lumbers up to you and says “Next time we fight giants, use Horrid Wilting.” Enough said.
- Practice! It’s quite possible to enjoy NWN multiplayer right out of the box. But, like most things in life, it takes patience, understanding, a sense of humor, and a willingness to accept constructive criticism to improve. Particularly on Neverwinter Connections, there is a mechanism in place for providing players with feedback. When you get it, internalize that feedback and try to improve. In most cases, the negative feedback is going to offer more opportunities for improvement than the positive. Practice makes perfect. Try out a number of different character classes, races, genders, and personalities, and expand your mind!
- Role-play urgency. When you are under time constraints or a deadline the character should act like it. “Quick, the town is under attack!” “OK, hold on, I have to rest so I get my spells back…” Meanwhile, the town burns to the ground. You see what I mean.
- Try to make your avatar “behave”. If you are talking to player A whose character is standing next to you, don’t have your avatar facing the wall behind you. It totally destroys the atmosphere.
- Don’t complain about lag and connections. Hey, it happens to all of us. But, complaining isn’t going to help, and it just generates more OOC conversation. If you get booted and come back, say something like: “I’m sorry, I was lost in thought back there. You were saying…?” Or maybe, “Got turned around back there, sorry I was absent.”
- Respect death. Follow the rules set by your DM regarding death, and try to role-play death. If at all possible, avoid respawning, even if it means you have to wait a few minutes to be resurrected. If you are resurrected, give some thought into how someone might react if they had just been brought back from the dead, particularly if it’s the first time.
- Store plot-related items centrally. In a multiplayer game without a DM, give all plot-related items to one player at the end of each session. The host is preferable. It’s very frustrating to continue your next gaming session, and find out that the player who can’t make it this week was holding the Master Key that you need to proceed into the next area.
- Don’t allow Hasted items in your games. This one is for DMs. The Haste spell is fine, since it has limited duration. But, if you want players to stick together, any object that has the “Haste” modifier without limiting usage is just a bad idea. Those darned monks are hard enough to keep up with.
- Don’t be afraid to quit. Remember, this whole thing is all about having fun. Almost everyone has been stuck in one game or another with a player they just don’t see eye-to-eye with. (This does not mean one player is “good,” and the other is “bad.”) If conflict with another player is ruining your enjoyment of a game, quit! What’s more fun – arguing game-in and game-out with a player about who’s right and who’s wrong? Or finding a new game where the styles all match? There are plenty of other fish in the sea, so to speak. Yes, it’s disappointing to have to leave a promising game for that reason, but sometimes you just have to let it go.