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I like to try to roleplay me+, where the + are characteristics I find lacking in myself in RL. A roleplayer I admired from another IRE game said that playing his character in a manner somewhat like that actually helped him grow as a person outside the game. I don't think I ever got the same effect, but I think it provides some interesting food for my own thought. At the same time, I have to admit that even playing me+ is a challenge, and I wouldn't call myself a highly skilled roleplayer (some people are just amazing at it, and I'm not even close to their level), but I definitely make it a priority to stay IC at all times.
I've always approached MUDding as an avenue for collaborative writing. For me, a MUD is like a book that we're all writing at the same time together. I play to tell the story of a character in the specific setting, and I utilize the mechanics to support that narrative.For example, if I play a tough-as-nails mercenary, I'll learn how to PvP well enough to play that role believably. But I can just as happily play a meek little pacifist and never touch PvP. It all depends on the story I want to tell.As for emoting in paragraphs: love it. Feel free to bring me your paragraphs, please.