First off I'd like to thank Zam for publishing this article. It definitely shows dedication to represent all members of the FFXIV community and an open mind. I'll certainly start pointing all my WoW and FFXI roleplaying and non-roleplaying friends to the site! I'd also like to thank Castiel for his tireless dedication to the RPC. It's difficult to represent 400-some people but he manages it very well.
Just to give people some background info on me, I am very into missions and end game activities. My social shell is made up of a group of friends who just happen to be able to do all the big end game events together. In FFXI I am a Freelance Roleplayer which means I roleplay in my spare time with people I meet who I know are roleplayers or at scheduled events.
When I first joined end game I heard a lot of the same stereotypes as are being listed. I can remember a few comments by members regarding intimate fantasy relationships, being delusional, and that roleplayers are anti-social dorks. However, in time I was able to help show that these stereotypes are just that. Now a lot (if not all) my linkshell welcomes people with roleplaying backgrounds and realizes there are a lot of excellent players within the community who are serious about the game.
I don't roleplay during parties, missions, or end game events. Honestly it bothers me to no end when people use internet shorthand, talk during cut scenes, and use improper spelling and grammar without even trying to get it right. By the same token I can see how it would bother others when they start roleplaying when they're trying to get things done or in highly populated areas. Also, roleplay lines in macros are just plain irritating. However, this is more an issue of being polite and respecting the different ways people choose to play the game.
Also, I don't do "adult" type roleplay. I have a wonderful man in real life who I have a beautiful little baby girl with. I'm very happy with my situation and as a mom I take my job as a role model very seriously. My significant other roleplays and our characters in FFXI have been married nearly four years. I do see that my imaginary characters would want their own life and family in the game. If any of my friends I've had for more then two years from FFXI wanted to roleplay a relationship with one of my characters they would have to make sure it was okay with my significant other and realize it's just a pretend romance. A nice fade to black when appropriate is okay by me and I think a lot of other roleplayers feel the same way. I do acknowledge that some people are into adult roleplay and I simply ask that they don't do graphic things in front of me. I don't want to see it and my character will not react kindly to towards that happening in front of her. The great thing is everyone can set their preferences and expectations about roleplay on the RPC forums in our Directory: http://www.ffxiv-roleplayers.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=12
What I do enjoy about roleplay is the chance to act out my character as if they are a living, breathing person in that world. It gives you a whole different view of the world once you have to deal with the "realities" of living in a war torn era where technology is relatively new and using magic is commonplace. Being able to come up with a story for my character and sharing it with other roleplayers is another great aspect of roleplay. Some of the roleplayers I've known in the last 6+ years have become life long friends. My boyfriend often says that roleplaying is a lot like being a kid again and inviting all your friends to play in the backyard. It's fun to see what type of character your friends come up with and interact with their creations. We have a lot of writers and actors who use it for inspiration as well as Dungeons and Dragons fans who like to see their creations come to life.
However, if roleplay is just not your thing then I respect that as well. As stated, I'm in a social end game shell in FFXI that is 100% out of character. There are a few of my friends who are just outright uncomfortable with roleplay and I still think their awesome people. When I invite my roleplay friends to join in our events I expect them not to roleplay during that time out of respect for those that don't enjoy it. I also expect my friends that don't roleplay to be polite to those who do and not bash or flame them. Honestly there is no reason why people who roleplay and those who don't can't get along as we all have one thing in common - a love of the game. I know a lot of people don't share that opinion though and I think to each their own.
I invite anyone who is interested in roleplay to go ahead and join in the RPC forums! Everyone is very friendly there and will be happy to answer any questions you have. Thanks for reading my rant and happy gaming!