Hello! Welcome to our second research result update! We have gathered a total of 1006 responses to the survey. In this newsletter, you will find a deep dive into the roleplay section of our survey.
We found that 61.3% of players believe roleplay is very important in their game, 31% believe it is fairly important.
In terms of communications styles through their characters, 75.7% of players narrate their characters in the first person. 67.5% of players do accents and voices for their characters.
Most players are satisfied with their roleplay. Those who are not very satisfied want to improve on character accent and voices, avoiding meta-gaming, and being comfortable acting out a different personality.
We also looked into the therapeutic role of TTRPG and roleplaying as a performance art form and as a moral guideline.
Importance of Roleplay in TTRPG
The majority of Tabletop RPG players believe roleplay is very important to their game. We have been told that, after all, it is in the name of the game.
How do players roleplay?
75.7% of players narrate what the character does in the first person and do unique accents and voices. Players also switch between first-person and third-person frequently.
"When I talk to other characters in my group, I talk in character. When I talk to my DM, I sometimes talk in the third person."
Those who only narrate in the third person are most likely to be NOT satisfied with their game.
"Not very satisfied, I want to role-play in the first person but I don't feel very confident"
"No, not satisfied. My GM is not very skilled at role-playing or supporting player RP that I find interesting."
"Mostly satisfied. I'd like to transition to doing character voices with 3rd person narration, but it's hard with a group that doesn't also do it."
Those who are more engaged in roleplay report the most satisfaction in their gameplay.
RPG as Therapeutic Treatment
Last week, we looked into why people are interested in roleplaying in their games and we found these are the top three reasons:
We decided to dive a little deeper into the therapeutic aspect of roleplay: 54 survey participants mentioned the therapeutic aspects of roleplay. Tabletop Roleplaying games are cooperative, improvisational, structured, and free form interactive stories.
Studies show that RPGs have a positive effect on adolescent therapy. One may think the last person you would want to introduce to fantasy play is someone suffering from various dissociative disorders—someone unable to separate their fantasies from reality. However, contrary to that expectation, studies show when fantasy is structured and properly managed, the participants benefited significantly by actually improving their ability to differentiate between reality and dissociative events, as well as develop their ability to relate to others and self more effectively. The structure of the rules provides a vehicle for how one is to fantasize.
"The feelings this patient expressed in therapy were all threatening to him initially. The game provided a vehicle for the safe emergence of feeling within the context of organizing rules. As he first expressed them in a displaced way and got used to them in fantasy, he could feel safe with his feelings and begin to direct them more directly to another person. Slowly this man has been able to emerge from his isolation. He has developed self-esteem, made friends..."(Blackmon, 2008)
TTRPG as Performing Art
In one of our recent interviews, an experienced DM told us:
"It used to be a more combat-based game, people did roleplay, but it was mostly telling DMs what actions they wanted to accomplish. Now the expectation of roleplay has changed. People want performance theatre!"
Due to the success of shows such as Critical Role, where talented voice actors and actresses made Dungeons and Dragons an unforgettable performance, many players have felt that the expectation of roleplay has changed.
"Roleplaying ( when it is good ) provides the most lasting memories. I still have fond memories of people that don't exist decades later and what they said and did because of the roleplaying talents of my friends."
Do you feel that your game is a performance for players to remember?
For those who are interested, you can read more about TTRPG as a performing art with Mackay's book: The fantasy role-playing game: A new performing art.
TTRPGs as Moral Guidelines
In any game, a game master must establish a set of world views to guide the player's actions. For example, we can think of the following guideline in a typical TTRPG,
In a short discussion with a colleague, I was asked, "do you think we can use TTRPG to teach moral philosophy?"
What's your take on this?
Hello! Welcome to our first research result update blog! We have gathered a total of 1006 responses to the survey. In this newsletter, you will find basic demographics of survey participants, three pillars of gameplay, top ten TTRPG games, and changes in online play since last year. Our following newsletters will explore roleplay, the impacts of COVID-19, and the technology of RPG players in more detail.
We found that there is a slight increase in female players (from 30% to 38%). A lot more people identified as both player and game master than last year (36% increase). We had survey participants from 48 countries with 70% from North America, 22% from Europe, 5% from Oceania, 1.4% from Asia, and less than 1% from South America and Africa.
The ratio of interests in Roleplay:Exploration:Combat is about 7:2:1. We found that Roleplay is the most important aspect for TTRPG player across all age groups, with younger groups more likely to value it than older age groups. We delved into why people are interested in the pillar they chose and tabulated the most mentioned reasons.
We tracked changes in active online play, comparing last year’s data to this year’s. We found that 41.7% of the players who play online now had never tried an online session before COVID-19. The TTRPG community shows great adaptability and willingness to transition to new ways of play.
About the players
While the vast majority of our responses are from young professionals, people of all ages can appreciate TTRPGs as seen by the wide range of ages in our responses.
We had a 5% increase of female players compared to last year and also 36% more people identified as being both player and game master.
We also see a significant increase of game masters compared to players.
Three Pillars of TTRPG
Roleplay is an important aspect for TTRPG player across all age groups, with younger groups more likely to value it than older age groups. When we asked why they are interested in the choice. Here are the top three reasons for each category:
Types of Games
Top Game Challenges
Some quotes from players:
"For me, it's always been being able to fully commit to the actions of a character, specifically when their morals or demeanor differ from mine or when I know that their response isn't something that would be productive yet is something that they would do."
"Visualizing a complex area or battle without a map"
"Ensuring all players can engage fully, regardless of ability level (we have older and newer players in our current group)"
"Balancing good rule-following and "the rule of cool", because while the rules are there for a reason and fantastic, it's also nice to give players a break and let them play out something badass for themselves (forever DM here)"