Do players discover pen and paper RPG gaming via MMOs?

Several MMORPGs have strong roots in books or RPGs – LOTRO (Lord of the Rings), SWTOR (Star Wars), Neverwinter Online (Forgotten Realms D&D setting) and the list goes on. I would say it’s likely that a good number of fans of the books / films / offline games or RPGs linked to these various imaginary worlds would have been attracted to the MMORPG by their connection to said world.

In the Internet age I would have thought that a good number of the fans of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars would know about the MMORPGs linked to those IPs if they care about gaming at all. For example if you search for “Lord of the Rings” in Google (.co.uk) the first link is a sponsored advert to LOTRO (same for Star Wars and SWTOR)!

But is it also likely that some people will have traveled the opposite journey, gone on from a big movie or book series to discover the pen and paper RPG hobby? RPGs seem to me to be even more niche nowadays than they were in the 1980s / 1990s; certainly the companies producing these games do not have the same marketing budgets that Warner Brothers, EA or other big game producers can bring to bear (such as paying for Google rankings).

As a purely anecdotal observation I’ve been looking up forums for D&D of late as I’m thinking of restarting a game I used to run and I’ve been somewhat dismayed at how (relatively) inactive the forums seem compared to the MMO forums that I frequent. I suspect that games like DDO, despite their popularity, do not necessarily help their ‘parent’ IP much. I doubt that the new Neverwinter Online MMO will do much for D&D either.

If this is true then it strikes me as a lost opportunity to introduce a wonderfully imaginative hobby to new audiences.

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4 Responses to Do players discover pen and paper RPG gaming via MMOs?

  1. Shintar says:

    *raises hand* I got into pen and paper roleplaying via MMOs! :) It had nothing to do with the IP though (I went from WoW to D&D, heh…) but with the fact that I made friends in WoW who were roleplayers and I eventually ended up joining their group.

  2. I already like p/p roleplaying – however I will often choose a new one based on finding out that there is one for a game I’m enjoying. So I’m more likely to play them. :)

  3. yanniesaurus says:

    I think it certainly sparks an interest for other forms of RPG, not just P/P. I know after my long streak of MMOs, I did go looking for some p/p rpger and was almost roped into some kind of creepy situation. So, from there, I decided to RP online. So yeah, MMO’s sparked my interest in P/P rpg.

  4. Pingback: MMO the Pen and Paper Destroyer | Robert's Hide Away

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