Because being led by the ear is boring as hell.
Plot, I need a good overarching story to keep me going.
Player choice, if it's linear I don't feel useful.
Good characters, after all they do everything right?
GM Control, if the GM doesn't have control, (s)he can't fix anything.
Genre, poor genre choices kill role plays.
Relationships, a good role play should have great relationships between characters.
Action, a role play without some life and drama is boring, regardless of everything else.
Speed, a role play without at least a decent pace is a no go for me.
Character-centric, something focused on the characters, not the plot.
Plot-centric, something focused on the plot, not the characters.
None of the above.
Interesting characters add life and spice in the short term, and it definitely does help to have them, but if they are stuck in a line of preset events, you might as well just be reading a book instead of typing it out. That's why I stuck player choice above having interesting characters; it is pretty high on the list though!
Last edited by Yeovilty; 01-18-2013 at 10:47 AM. Reason: Correction.
Because being led by the ear is boring as hell.
Player choice also includes player's choice of character, if you're taking it in a certain context. In ways, Player Choice is... still clutch. The player chose to play that character, and they ultimately chose to play a bland one (in your example) so it still is on the player's head. But mostly the GM because they had to actually accept the sheet first.
It's just as an example of course, he would have been a very uninteresting character without that storyline, which in the case of an RPer, it would be the choice to go out and make that story.
I actually only even thought of it meaning different things like what you said after I voted and posted D:
I play mostly as a co-GM or flat out GM. Very rarely do I get the option to be just a player and I think that heavily influences the way I look at roleplays and how they are built and run. Having stated where I'm coming from, the only thing I don't think is important on this list is genre choice. If you're putting up a roleplay or joining it, then you're already interested in that genre. Sometimes they're niche genres which can be difficult to find players for but no story is dependent on genre for survival.
The way I see it, a lot of the success of roleplays on this forum comes from having participants who are all about the same level of interested and committed. Players who are interested and committed will usually take their time with crafting a good character to play and be consistent about posting. And speed is very important. If everyone is not on the same page about speed then some of the more frequent posters can lose interest, though having everyone post once a week works just fine if everyone agrees to that speed.
But the characters themselves have to be crafted well for exploration and to drive decision making. As a GM, I can plot all I want and it won't mean a thing if the characters are simply not driven to take bait or forge a path off of the loose plot I created. In fact, oftentimes, in-depth characters can make plot as they go. I voted for relationships between characters as helping me be successful the most because interaction between characters is essential to making the story come alive for me and my players. If characters have no interest in one another, it becomes increasingly difficult to have any sort of plot. I'm not saying the relationships have to be friendly mind you. I've had plenty of characters whose players spent half the game trying to kill the other's character because of some backstory revenge or the other character rubbing them the wrong way. [such as evil characters trying to take out the paladin-esque character that keeps interrupting their evil schemes].
And that's where the GM having tight control on the setting comes into play. You don't have to lead characters along to make a good story, but you do need to be firm on the rules that make up the world for the players. Oftentimes, I find myself having to remind players of certain rules that are in place for a very good reason. It helps lower the rate of players complaining that so-and-so did this if I can calmly point out that these rules were put down in the beginning and everyone agreed on them when they joined. It also helps mitigate players who want their characters to be overpowered or act as a god in their world.
Now that I think about it, all of it really comes down to communication. If you have an idea for an rp, or see one you think you want to join, everyone involved needs to be on the same page. The GM will paint the world and the structure of that world [tweaking if the players areunififed in a request and it doesn't break anything], the players will introduce characters that fit into that structure and hopefully add some color to it and then maintaining that communication throughout the rp for when new events occur or someone has an idea that may add some spice while they work at getting to the plot through their own way.
I probably wrote too much. Apologies, but roleplaying is near and dear to me. I could go on for ages.
I'm not going to read answers to this right now, but... Honestly? You really need pretty much everything on that list.
See, the GM needs to have a noticeable presence and have some measure of control, but the players absolutely must have an ability to drive the story, too. The characters should be well defined, and they should also mesh together in SOME fashion, so relationships (defined broadly here) and good characters are both also important... though so is character variety, since having four very special characters makes them all seem dull when nobody is actually roleplaying a normal character to compare them to. The story needs enough life ("action") to keep players interested, and enough speed, too.
In short: You REALLY need a to strike a balance, and base things based upon what the other players in the thread want. Remember: Roleplay is a group activity. We're working together to make a story, so you have to ask your fellow roleplayers (especially if you're the GM), "What do you guys want out of this roleplay?" And you have to tell them what you want, too.
Concerning genre choice... This really, really, REALLY depends on your roleplaying group. "Poor genre choice" is pretty much non-existent, because there are wonderful stories for every feasible genre out there. Rather, genre choice only matters as much as the group, as a whole, cares about it. I find that, mostly, the genre choice attracts a player to the roleplay, but it's RARELY what keeps a player there. The content of the roleplay and the dedication of the group will keep the player there.
As for whether roleplays should be plot or character centric, I'll just summarize it like so: Some people like epic struggles, and some people cherish character development. Others, still, want a piece of both pies. Both of these story types have their merits.
~An administrator from a NWN2 Persistent WorldRoleplay is a cooperative effort. We're all working together to craft a story here and it's important people remember this even when you are in heated combat with another player.
Current roleplays I'm in (this is more a note to myself than to you, but feel free to take a peek):