When Roleplaying Got Real

Spider man

As often as we can, me and two of my best buddies engage in night time online co-op games. Probably our top favorite pick when it comes to games is Mass Effect online multiplayer. Since we all have Andromeda, it has become our go to version. It usually is all fun and games until the one night when roleplaying got into play

Backstory

Me, Elias and Vasilis did not go out all three of us that often. Even before Vasilis went to live in Sweden, he still lived relatively far away, so mass outings were hard to arrange in a place suitable for all three of us. The solution: online gaming. All three of us preffered co-op games, so plenty of nights we just hoped on discord, set ourselves up and caught up on each other’s lives while shooting baddies in the mouth. From Guild Wars 1 to Left 4 Dead, if it has co-op, we are up for it. But in all honesty our go to game is Mass Effect online.

Wether it was Mass Effect 3, or now Andromeda, the simplicity and straightforwardnes means we can easilly game and talk at the same time. Conversations go on all directions, from work related, to gaming related, series, movies, various nerdy fandoms, you name it but every now and then something happens that has us laughing uncontrollably. From a video game bug that has one of us trapped inside a building asset, to just some line or another, nothing got us going more than that one time we decided to roleplay while playing Mass Effect Andromeda.

The Elite Squad Forms

There we were, about one hour into the gameplay. I was feeling annoyed because once more I opened a rare elite character pack that did NOT contain the human kineticist, but had that dumbass Batarian, who by the way now rests chillin in rank 2 with 0 hours of gameplay. Idiot.

Anyway, we were starting to get a bit mellow, you know, daily missions were done, challenges were done, so we were just gonna go into our favorite map, put on a silver or gold challenge and just shoot some stuff, get rewards and play around with characters.

Enter the Roleplay

I then happened to notice the ethnicity and sex of our characters. Wait. A baddass chick, a loud African American, a quiet but rather eccentric dressed soldier. DID WE HAVE A GENERIC 80’S ACTION FILM? Yes. Yes we did.

-Human Female Soldier for me, geared for support and long range with sniper and an smg. Her Rhonda Rusey badass lines were entertaining to hear, plus she was my rank 10 (highest rank you can get) so figured I should at least level her up to max, in case we ever wanna go tackle gold and above difficulties

-Human Male Guardian for Vasilis, geared for tanking and team support. With good abilities but an irritating twirly sword melee that was easilly the envy of Broadway musical material was outshined only by the fact that we think one of his lines sounds like an african american Schwarzenegger.

-Turian Male Soldier for Elias. He was tasked for dealing -all- the damages. With a flamboyantly colored yellow, red and black armor, he was to be the eccentric re-assigned Rookie. The one that we know he is the best there is, but still treat him as a rookie to create (un)necessary friction in the squad.

I was quick to point it out to my mates, who all went dead silent for a few moments, processing the information
So, we had generic Dylan (from Predator) sargeant, who always smokes a cigar, yells a lot and basically dies either first or last depending on how likeable he is supposed to be
Token female co-lead who had to work twice as hard as any man to get to where she is, but otherwise does nothing to either promote female empowering or the plot in the film, just…exists
Eccentric protagonist who wears completely odd and insane color schemes in combat that is the new transfer and everyone calls him Rookie but is the best around, and the sargeant always reminds him of that.

Commence the roleplay

Clichesquad enters combat. ETA: 1 minute

The mission was simple. Kandros wanted us to secure and protect a research facility that was apparently set up between a bunch of random asteroids with an eternal lazer battle (or lazer show) going on around it. Sounds easy enough. The Sarge yelled at us to
“Go into possitions god dammit, I aint paying you to sit around Rookie!” to which we immediately shouted (and by that I mean discreetely said on the mic with a whispery but intense tone) “Sir, yes sir!”
As the one geared for long range, I was tasked to look over the room with the entrances being on the other side of where we were going to be holed up, while the other two set up in the adjoining room. And then Kandros (the npc voice that tell’s you whats going on, you know) told us we were going to be under attack!

“God damn aliens, always here trying to kill our people and take our jerbs” the sargeant shouted
“It is just like that time I was in Viet-” I cut him there to correct him “- oh right, Space Vietnam” he concluded, now corrected
As the female co-lead I was not going to say anything unless it was exposition. Remember, this is generic cliche bad action sci fi of the 80’s, women either shouted exposition or flirted with the main characters, and I was a strong independant woman that had to fight her way to get to where she was and needed no validation from no man!
Also I was pouring myself some water and had to make sure I did not spill it on the keyboard

Intense Fighting Intensifies

So, yeah now with the slightly racist, sexist and cliche things out of the way, we actually got way into it. Like….the game got way harder for a reason. A team mate fell down? It was suddenly a matter of life or death! (we may have forgot how to use our self heals to be fair, cos immersion). The chat devolved from usual banter to this:

“They are comming from all sides sir!”
“Sir I am being overwh…HUURGH!”
“Dammit! She is down! Rookie hold the line I will go save her!”
“Sir yes sir!”
“Thank you sarge! I appreciate it!”
“You are not allowed to die on me woman!”

You get the point. From casually sipping water and talking about the recent blunder EA probably did or was about to do, it went on into sweaty, heavy breathing as we ducked and covered around the hail of bullets. We were now no longer playing a simple wave-based co-op game. WE WERE FIGHTING FOR OUR LIVES DAMMIT!

Back to reality

At some point during the randomly spawned waves, I got way into the zone. I was barely talking spare for the usual “I need assistance sarge”, instead I had channeled my inner soldier and was holding the damn line! The Scientists and the entirety of the Andromeda initiative was relying upon us, I could not let them down!

During this time, the spawn of the enemies got a bit…off, and while my comrades faced a few scarce opponents, next to them, I had turned that research room into a bloody kill zone. I was going headshot after headshow, the killfeed to the left was just spamming my name. It must have been rather intense, because for a split second Elias broke character and commented how they were sitting doing nothing and I was just murdering -everyone-, to which Vasilis replied, and I quote
“GOD DAMMIT WOMAN! IF I WAS NOT MARRIED TO THE FORCE, I WOULD MARRY YOU!”

Inside our heads something snapped

We. Lost it. Even Vasilis who was half laughing, half trying to maintain character eventually broke, while the rest of us had to struggle to continue playing while we were hunched over the keyboard laughing our faces off. As you can imagine, the game became WAY harder, since admittedly its very hard to aim and not die when you cant see from the tears in your eyes. Not to mention your motor skills go out the window when you are just laughing so hard you barelly breathe.

The roleplaying was significantly toned down after that. I mean that line went over the roof, there was no way we could top it off. With our overal co-operation improving and banter slowly becoming less full of cliche military lines we continued on our merry ways.

But this was only the beggining. It is abundantly clear that one day in the future, maybe next session, maybe next month, our roleplay demons will be unleashed once more.

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