First I'd like to say that I completely agree with how demotivating it can be if you go IG looking for RP and you are being ignored and see others running around trying to increase their skills. Yes, a greeting or small RP should not be too much of an effort in a multiplayer game. I also have been guilty of this behaviour occasionally, sorry, so maybe I can shed some light on why this is done.
Again, there should be no excuse to not do the small RP, but people might avoid it because they are not in the mood, you are tired and are playing a game to relax. Sometimes, at the end of the day just clicking is what you want to be doing. Still no excuse, but combine with these points:
- Small RPs often lead to very long RPs focussed on the other character, you get sucked into a story you don't feel like playing at the moment. Some stories are always the same. Some characters don't let go, so you are tempted to avoid them completely.
- You expected the world to be empty, so to make it interesting for yourself, you have set yourself a single player goal. If then someone who wants to RP shows up, you run the risk of not realising your goal. It is a switch in mindset that can be hard to make. (like a bad operating system, first finish one task, then reevaluate the priority of tasks and realise there was a more important task waiting then the one you just finished. My mind seriously works like that
) So you run off to complete your set goal, feeling bad about missing the RP later.
I agree we should think of ways to help players get into RP easier. A good way to roll into an RP with an unknown character is to do a trade or help each other. One thing I notice is that other characters often do not need help with anything. Hence, there is little reason to start an RP. If they would be in need of help or an item, an RP can start about this service/trade, or about giving pointers on the trade, doing the crafting together, solving the issue together and have a drink afterwards. Other topics can be introduced to get to know the character and more RP can follow in the future. But instead of stimulating a second interaction or trade, I often end up getting all the items I could possibly ever need for a craft from 1 very small RPed interaction, without a need for my character to return anything or any hints as to what interests the other character for future RP. Other characters/players are so eager to help for free that they take away the need for RP for getting the rest of the items or returning the favour. At least ask a few apples in return and figure out what type of fruit they like for the next RP!
What I feel we should definitely NOT do, is trying to Force others to RP, by making the game harder and less fun to play on your own.
Since the world is often empty, you want people to have enough to do and have a fun time doing it, to stick around until someone else comes along and there can be RP. What does it matter that you have 10 new players running around skilling? Of those 10, 2 will eventually get into the RPing and be an addition to the game. The other 8 will leave, ignore them. But if you make it uninteresting for all of those 10 to start with, you won't have the 2 that stick around either. My advice is: first make it fun, then get everyone to RP. Many of us started off RP shy and learned how to enjoy it gradually.
Another weird suggestion: put a cap on running.
Either make it so that after 5 minutes of running the characters gets too tired to run, or make them need a lot more food when they are running. Both are very realistic. If we discourage running in towns and while crafting, we get more time for typing an RP when other characters pass us by and we can snatch them up in an RP. (or is this just the Elfess in me, who doesn't feel the need for haste, ever