The Two Major Types of Role Playing Games | Role Playing Games

As the title implies, there are two major categories of role playing game. While these two classifications can sometimes intermingle within a single experience, in general they separate entities which are largely independent of one another.On the one hand you have numerical role playing. This consists of leveling up, acquiring gold, and basically performing tasks to increase the numerical statistics of a character. This is probably the most popular form of role-playing game today, due largely to technical inadequacies found in many modern role playing video games.The problem with a video game RPG is that your character is limited in growth and action, to whatever the programmers thought of when they designed the game. If all they were able to do is give your character the ability to move in two dimensions, then that is all they will be able to do. Even if they thought ahead of time, and programmed your character to be able to do a dance, they couldn’t possibly program in every single dance ever invented, and so you will be stuck doing a jig when what you really wanted to do was a line dance.This is limiting to more than just your own character, it actually makes it difficult for two different characters to interact in any meaningful way. In the old days this was fine, as the only interactions you really had were with dim witted pre-programmed non player characters. Today however a role playing video game can consist of hundreds of characters powered by real live people from around the world. However, the limits of character interaction make it very difficult for two people to interact in any meaningful way.The other type of rpg consists of social role playing. This is actually the oldest, and most natural form of RP because it is something we all do as children, we play make believe. In these games, the numbers do not matter, and all that is important is a good story, interesting characters, and the amount of fun being had.In its most potent form social role-playing is a face to face phenomenon. This can take place either in the context of a game, such as when playing dungeons and dragons, or it can occur in the context of a specific event, such as a Renaissance Faire.It can even be argued that many people engage in role-playing every day, without even realizing it. Whenever you put on clothes to look a certain way, that is a costume, whenever you behave according to a specific set of societal rules, that is an act; these things are inherent to the nature of being human.The problem with modern role playing games is that the technology limits the humanity of the experience. Even in multiplayer experiences, people are cut off from one another by the limits of the programmers.This is not a problem which is going to be resolved easily. In fact, it is probably impossible for current technologies to evolve to the point where we will have total control over an avatar. This does not mean that it will never happen; it is just that controlling a tiny symbolic representation of your character is limited inherently. One day virtual representations of one self will probably make this point obsolete.Until then, people are forced to connect in limited ways, using relative numbers and levels to compare situations, more than personalities and creativity.The one alternative to this seems to be role playing communities, which have sprung up to some, extent as an extended arm of traditional dungeon and dragon style board games. These communities began as simple chat and board style back and forth role-playing, but have evolved with the advent of the social web revolution, to include some rather complex web entities.