It wasn’t too long ago when video games were seen as a “geeky” and “nerdy” passtime, especially for those role-playing. You only need to look at the stigma which has surrounded RPG and MMO games such as World of Warcraft and Everquest. While that may still exist to some degree amongst those who are to “cool”, RPG games are as popular as ever and sell incredibly, incredibly well with the stigma being broken down over the past decade. Not only that, with games getting ever more realistic and graphically impressive, a new era is emerging for roleplaying. It’s something I’m sure we have all done but I am interested to see other peoples experience role-playing and where its heading in the future.
Have you ever been so immersed in a game that the physical world around you barely exists? You feel that you are a living entity within that universe and you behave and play how you would if you really were there. It’s one of those experiences that only gaming really offers and nothing comes close other than real-life, but how often do you get to survive in a zombie apocalypse or fly off to an alien planet and try to avoid extinction? Unfortunately, not often I bet.
DayZ is one of those games which offers gamers a great experience to role-play in. As you try to survive in a harsh, zombie ridden, post-apocalyptic world, DayZ allows players the chance to truly role-play, thanks in parts to its animation and simulation background. Just a quick search of YouTube will bring up hundreds of videos of people roleplaying in DayZ and some of them are truly entertaining. It was in one of these searches I stumbled across Roach and his game channel GamingRoach.
With TV series and dramas as popular as ever, I found myself invested as much into the story and lives of Roach’s characters Quinn Bauers and Eddy Beck as I did into that of Rick Grimes and the gang. It’s a testament though to the amount of effort, dedication and obvious talent that Roach, real name Mike, puts into his channel and role-playing.
I got in touch with Mike as he was not only one of the best role-players had I ever come across on YouTube but seemed to top everyone who I had ever meet inside any other game as well. Mike is just a 31 year old husband and father from Canada with a passion for games and role-playing. Having worked in media and graphic design, he put his skills into editing his YouTube videos which have gone from strength to strength.
His first character, Quinn Bauer shared some resemblance to Roach himself who like Quinn, was a touring singer. It’s those personal touches which he adds to his videos which make him stand out from the crowd, which even led to him being featured in the DayZ Community Spotlight in May. In the series, Quinn is desperate to find out whether or not his family back home is safe. It accumulates in a very touching episode where he manages to make contact with his wife and daughter back home from one of the radio masks which litter Chernarus’s countryside.
Eddy Beck, Roach’s second character and series is still ongoing at present. Not resting on his laurels, Roach has a few aces up his sleeve when it comes to Eddy Beck and his background. Not everything is as it seems and Roach delivers a great performance.
It’s one thing to role-play in-game where you are only interacting with the AI or other players, but when you add voice to that, there’s a fine line between staying in character and being believable. Roach manages to always remain in character and his performances are great. However he is quick to point out that it wouldn’t be possible without the people he roleplays with, all of whom also do so exceptionally.
Roleplaying in this manner is a very niche passtime and the question is, where do you begin? Hopping onto any public DayZ server will not wield the kind of gameplay you are looking for. The whole point of roleplaying is to do as you would do if this was real. Killing everyone on sight just isn’t realistic. I have heard of DayZRP lots of times before. It’s Roach’s choice of server and for whatever negatives you have heard about it, it is clear that when it works, it works exceptionally well as demonstrated.
Roach kindly took some time out to discuss with me how he got into roleplaying so heavily and answered some of my concerns and issues I have stumbled across trying to get into a RP server.
1) How did you get into role-playing in video games, especially how we see in your videos?
After playing 2 years of public DayZ MOD, I had always felt that the game was missing something. It was indeed all about killing and gearing up even if I always tried to be the good guy, the “Hero”. It felt stale after a while. A good friend of mine was registered on a website that featured DayZ role-play at DayZRP.com and he invited me to join the community. Prior to this, I had never role-played before, well not seriously anyway. So he gave me a quick rundown on what is expected in role-play and I had read a lot of things in that community’s forums to educated myself on the subject. I signed up and played for a little bit. Was not easy getting into the “role” at first. Back when it was DayZRP on the MOD, I was not very active. To me it felt more like a clan war environment with a lot of role-play. Not enough civilian role-play. But when DayZ Standalone came out, it was a game changer. DayZRP.com had announced that there was a server and I decided to come back and give it a shot. That’s when Quinn Bauer was born. I was much more immersive and actually felt like a survivor. The RP from others was great and inspired me to try and be as good. I played every single day for months and I can only assume that over time I got used to it and feels natural to role-play, less shy and more willing.
2) What are your first experiences? Were they good or bad, any standout moments?
My first experiences were a little weird to be honest. I did not expect a lot of what others role-played out to me. I kind of giggled here and there since I was still trying to get used to role-playing so it was all strange to me. It’s hard to pin point a specific standout moment though since I have lived so many but what I can say is that I got into it so quickly that I actually started to feel emotions for the character I was playing. I made friends and lived out many situations that tested my ability to role-play. The people around you in this game (In a great role-playing community) is what defines who you are and what you become over time. I like to think that everyone I meet has a massive impact on my character.
3) What is the best part about role-playing or the most enjoyable? For me, I feel it makes the game more fun as I feel like I am a living, breathing person in that world, is it the same for you?
It is very much like that for me as well. I have learn to not only play my characters, but BE the character.
I like to think that the best part of role-playing is having the chance to be someone completely different. Someone that you never thought you could be maybe. For example, Eddy Beck. He’s suffers from Schizophrenia so it creates a challenge yes, but also allows me to better understand this type of person. I do not suffer from this in real life so I am being someone completely different. However in order to achieve this, I had to study this illness for about 3 weeks before playing him. I’ve read literature on the subject as well as watch documented videos and even video blogs to help me better understand as well as some friends that live with this on a daily basis help me. The importance here is that I always want to live and breathe a character in order to bring the best possible experience for myself and others around me.
4) How big is the role-play community and what is it like?
Well as mentioned, I play on the DayZRP.com servers. It’s a pretty big community with thousands of members. Even the big boss from DayZ Standalone plays there on occasions, Brian Hicks himself. There are also many popular streamers and Youtubers that come and play once and a while, not as much as we’d all like but still nonetheless they sometimes come to play. It’s a massive community with tons that are very active such as myself and willing to help and possibly be a new friend. Most of us there do not see any other way to play DayZ anymore, a DayZ world without role-play is simply not as fun.
5) How easy is it to join a community or get involved? A lot of people may be put off by the lengthy processes required to get into a server or find the right community, why should they persist in your opinion?
Everyone is always searching for that right place to call home. For me it’s at DayZRP. The better the community, the harder the process is to be part of said community. It is very demanding and tough to join DayZRP for example. You need to fill out quite the form with tons of questions and a short story that you have to write. Yes it will take hours most likely to come up with everything so it’s right and ready to send but it is worth it in the end. I was accepted with my first application but even if your rejected the first time, don’t let that bring you down. Every artist out there had to go through rejection at some point in their career but yet some are famous across the world now. So look at it that way. You may fail once, but you can always get back up and try again. Fight for what you want and you will get it!
6) Have you always role-played in video games or is it something you grew into?
I have never role-played out of games nor have I in any other game. DayZRP is where it all started for me.
7) Do you think role-play will grow and get more popular, especially as more games like DayZ make gaming more realistic and easier to roleplay?
I think role-play is a very popular thing already, but underground. As I said before, when I was new it all felt silly to me. However, once you get started and you find your fit, then in all just flows naturally. I do think with time and more games like DayZ (with different subjects than zombies maybe), yes, role-play will become easier to do in games and gain more popularity as something cool and not nerdy as many I have heard say in the past. Heck, I have friends come over just because they want to watch me play live because they like to see this and want to give it a try themselves.
8) What is your advice to anyone interested in role-playing?
There are so many things I could say here but I keep it basic. Don’t be afraid to be your character. Get involved as you would in real life. Do not be a troll about it. Try your hardest to be serious about the role you are playing and always think to yourself “If this was real life, how would I react as this character?”
9) What are your future plans? Any games you have your eye on to move on to?
Well for now I am obviously stuck with DayZ. I just love this game as I have been playing it since the first week DayZ MOD came out. But I understand that eventually I will have to move on, maybe not completely, perhaps take a break and role-play in something else for a while and keep making videos and hopefully still entertain.
10) Other than DayZ, are there any other games, both online or single-player which make it easy to role-play? Is it the game or the person which makes role-play possible, and importantly, fun?
It’s hard to role-play without other people around to interact with, so offline I would not role-play. However online, DayZ seems to be one of the only fitting games to role-play in. You’re not obstructed by pop up point messages and sound effects and colors. It’s just you and a very small hud that you can turn off and feel fully immerged in the game. It feels more like a real life type game than any other. Sure there are other games you can RP in such as Rust and Reign of Kings perhaps and maybe I’ll give those a try one day. But for now I feel like DayZ is the way to go to get that full immersive feeling. There is however another game I really enjoy that I think is easy to role-play in. I am thinking of starting a series with it soon and that’s Arma 3 Altis Life or Arma 3 Life. It resembles DayZ a lot only it’s not the end of the world. But it’s open sandbox and a lot of role-play potential. I already play a Taxi Driver from New-York on Altis Life. I don’t record due to having a very crappy computer as they say. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to upgrade and bring more to people than just DayZ Role-Play.
If there is anything else you want to add as well feel free to as it will all be useful! Maybe a bit of background about you as well to start with?
My real name is Mike (Known as Roach online) and I’m a 31 year old husband and father. I live in Québec (Canada). I work a lot in media such as graphic designs and more. I used to work in video editing for a small company that would do wedding and event videos and then moved on to graphic designs. I now apply my editing skills to my Youtube videos. I was a touring singer/songwriter for over 10 years which was a lot of fun, but then real life called and said there’s simply no money to be made in music anymore and with a family to take care of I had to move on. It was a lot of fun though. I suppose my need for entertainment is now fulfilled by making my video series and streaming from time to time.
Links to all media sites for Gaming Roach Entertainment.
Twitter: www. twitter.com/Roach_GRE