I guess it's pretty unclear on what can be taken IC from the real world and what can't. We're roleplaying in the modern day, and as far as I can tell there's no real set thing from the admin team on whether or not we're roleplaying in the GTA universe or the real world. People reference real life events, places, et cetera when they most likely don't exist in Rockstar's universe because their games are set in a parody of the US. Personally I don't mind real life events being referenced IC through Facebrowser, people talk about esports, video games, politics whatever else. I think it gives characters something to talk about and reference, instead of having to just make up who our president is, for example.
Definitely agree that oftentimes the crime ridden areas of South Los Santos don't feel alive, more interaction in these illegal factions as family/communities goes a long way to make the roleplay so much more than just selling drugs, guns, and fighting over them. It also makes those things, when they do happen, have a much more pungent effect on everyone involved in that community. Also agree that the escalation of violence is a bit dramatic, simple arguments turn into insults, which usually turns into a gunfight or whatever. Even if situations like that occur IRL, it's pretty poor roleplay, and there should definitely be more fear RP from everyone, as well as more less lethal means of settling issues.
It is a messy area, really. When I first joined PKs seemed so bizarre to me and they still do to an extent, although I understand the reason for them. So people don't have to lose all their character progress over a simple robbery gone wrong, whatever. Though I do think PKs in general do hamper roleplay, there is no continuation, revenge, et cetera. Of course if you get PKed, and your friends witness it, they can obviously get revenge for the act that their (undisclosed random friend) died. But I think it's pretty bullshit that a lot of criminals committing petty crimes like mugging someone resort to PK's just as a way to stop that person from retaliating. Do people kill others over petty shit in the real world? Sure they do, but it's something that shouldn't be so common. Just as the person being robbed/whatever roleplays fear, so too should the person committing the crime, why would they want a simple robbery jumped up to a murder charge? Because they know they can get away with it for the most part. Alternatively CKs can be way more common, at least if you're partaking in violence. Perhaps that would make people more cautious about getting into altercations because no one would just put their life on the line over simple beefs. Perhaps get rid of PKs altogether, and a kill is a kill. A little harsh, but it shouldn't be something done over a petty altercation, unless tensions arose and things got heated. Just my two cents.
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For some people they like to RP what they'd like to be, or are lacking in their real lives. The server sort of lends itself to young adults with near infinite funds driving fancy cars and going to clubs constantly, which there's nothing inherently wrong with roleplaying but there is a big divide between players choosing to be older adults. I'd guess most people that are on this server are in their late teens or early twenties, so naturally they'll feel more connected to a character of the same age. Most of the older characters I've seen are pretty much exaggerations of "boomers", either in game or on Facebrowser. And yeah it's funny, but there is a lack of serious middle aged characters. Just my two cents on the issue, I know I'm guilty of playing young characters too.