As I wander many of the empty and awesome RP sims in SL, I often wonder why these places aren’t hustling and bustling with people engaged in their fictional place of choice. But in that same breath I ask myself why don’t I get engaged rather than just shyly exploring? The answer I usually come up with is “fear”. Many people who may be interested in the RP often don’t because they don’t want to get wrapped up in the details, may feel intimidated by the rules or are not comfortable with deepness of the RP. What ever the reason, I’m thinking a new kind of RP is needed.
I once saw a space sim with what they called “Grey RP” which is basically “Be your regular self…. just be in the situation or environment”. I thought that was a great Idea! That instantly removes the fear of having to play at a level you don’t want or may not be good at. No need to emote a paragraph of text, and no need to remember not to “lol” amongst other things.
Most sims I’ve seen, introduce people with “Don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t disturb, don’t, don’t, don’t.” The interested persons are left with very little to do in a sim of “do not disturb me” people, which usually ends up empty fifty or more percent of the time.
In contrast, I would add an element to draw new people in. As soon as a person leaves the rez area, they are in the RP no matter what (but don’t tell them that lol). I figure if people can see you, then you are as much a apart of the environment as everyone else. Save for being attacked or forced in to some act, new people can be approached and included in light RP with out them having to work up the courage to do so. Sometimes people are willing, they just need to be engaged and making them a part of the RP inevitably would make them more comfortable with the players and also would alienate them less.
There are of course, the few bold ones that dive into the RP head first or those that get brought in by a friend. But I think the best way I think to bring people into your grand adventure, is to let the advendure happen with them included.
My 2 cents.