5%, quite possible, the actual amount of role players would of course be higher, since the qualifier of hardcore would place them in the 'heavy' role play group from the sample of the paper's study. In general in mmos, at least from what we here developers talk about when it comes to using terms like 'hardcore' (which should be defined), 5% seems to be the go-to number and is often slung around when referring to raiders as well. Should 5% of the player population not be considered due to their size? They certainly should be considered. MMOs can have considerably large player bases, and that 5% is by no means a small amount. If 5% was not worth consideration, I doubt we'd see Carbine bringing back features like 40-man raids. Also one thing to keep in mind. When you're talking about smaller niche sample groups, and especially if you are ascribing 'hardcore' to them, which brings with it the connotation that you're dealing with players that stress that particular activity above ALL other aspects of the game, you are going to deal with great degrees of 'elitism'. I find the suggestion that RPers might be some of the most elitist to go against the data presented in the previously cited paper, however if we are dealing with an even smaller focus group there (the high level RPers, as opposed to mid or low referred to in the sample group), I can see this being an acceptable statement. Any of your 'hardcore' groups are very similar in this regard however; anyone that has been part of a focused progression raiding guild can tell you this will be the case. What we're dealing with here is just simple human behavior. ALL THAT ASIDE, my views on the focus topic. How does this negatively or positively affect Role play? There's magnificent arguments both for and against having it and I think we have some good examples in other games. As for humanizing the opposing faction, does this detract from the game? It is entirely possible and as previously stated, that divide and unity people presented when it came to their choice of faction, can at times be an important and driving part of a game. Yes there are excellent studies concerning propaganda and dehumanizing an enemy, and they are very much considered fact; World War I and II have incredible examples of this, and there's great contemporary ones as well. Does this apply in the world of MMOs? I'm not entirely sure it does. Keep in mind, real life, and the online world have very different rules, and online there's something wonderful and terrible that we all get to toy with, anonymity. In WoW a lack of communication did feel like it would sometimes cause unnecessary conflict and tension, certainly, however I have NEVER felt more tension or seen greater spontaneous conflict than during my time playing EVE. in EVE Online, you can freely communicate with anyone, and there's something wonderful about being able to chat with the person that just podded you and blew up your ship, if anything the exchange in many cases can be quite cordial. I've made great connections with people that were rivals in EVE, and made new friends and had new opportunities just from opening up on someone and blowing up their shiny new ship. In WoW it was MUCH harder to make these connections, though they did still happen. I had my rivals in PvP, but we had to go out of our way to communicate with one another. Eventually we started doing so via mumble and other means, and you know what? We still absolutely murdered one another whenever we had the chance. People online do not necessarily behave as they would in real life, in fact, they can be much more cut-throat, and act without the moral constraints they'd normally do so, we definitely see that in EVE. So what would this communication add? From the role play perspective there is that potential for building a larger and more cooperative story. Are the benefits of this enough to make the change? I'd say no. Now what would it do for community overall however, would it improve that? If the answer is yes, either way, then it should be done. There-in would lie the crux of the argument however, is it helping or hindering it. I don't think we can conclusively say it does either way and in the end, its really going to come down to how the devs want to try and drive conflict. If the game were completely open PvP, I'd say leave the communication open, which does go against what many PvPers no doubt want, but again I'm operating from the EVE school of thought here. Spying is not an issue. If someone wants to spy, they will do it, you will not be able to stop them, and more likely than not they're not going to be using an in-game chat client to do so, they will be using mumble, Vent, whatever, especially in a game with action-based combat like this. That said, the potential of clipping someone with a telegraph and not being able to explain that you didn't mean it is beautiful...oh the delightful misunderstandings. So I maybe got a little off topic and just a bit more long-winded than I intended. Do I think allowing cross-faction player communication game hurts faction pride? No, I do not. These players will find the means to communicate, and some games like WoW have even put in the means to communicate with your friends that happen to be on the other side. This communication will happen one way or another. Do I think it can help drive conflict? Sometimes. I think those saying that player communication would diminish this underestimate the powers of boredom and the bloodlust of the PvPer. I can understand the griefing concerns there, but those of the griefer mentality will find a way, harsh language or not. So much for mainly addressing the focus topic. TL;DR 1. It would be nice for role play potential if that communication could occur, though if it does not RP will still flourish just fine. RPers are exceptionally good at making their own fun. Personally I'm quite okay with a bit of banter before I shoot you. 2. I want to taste your delicious tears, let them talk. Sorry, channeling EVE. 3. I would like this communication, but only if it betters the game as a whole. If it does not, I can do without and will make due. 4. Yes I actually RP. 5. I've also come to the conclusion that everyone basically RPs in an MMO, they're RPing themselves in a fantasy world. You are all D&D nerds whether you like it or not, now by proxy and nature of the beast. Roll for initiative.