->''"But as long as teenage unwed lesbian aliens need a home, this catgirl will maintain her sacred duty!"''
-->--A ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' player after a particularly {{egregious}} guild meltdown caused by this trope.

There's a large number of people out there that like role playing. After all, as much fun as it is to write [[SelfInsertFic stories with you as a main character]], you can get a more direct feeling by acting it out spontaneously. As such, a large number of role-playing groups in {{MMORPG}}s, {{MUD}}s, {{fora}} and other media have started to pop up. They usually offer a particular concept to get things going.

However, as a general rule, the more open the recruitment and the more specific the concept, the faster it will [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks mutate into something that the original members don't like]]. Obviously, change is a natural part of anything, but in open roleplaying, it's usually treated negatively. It will usually create a BrokenBase, with the purists claiming that the new people are ruining the group. It usually doesn't end too well.

This decay can take at least six forms:
# Any tight restrictions will eventually be broken. If it was originally exclusive to female characters, expect it to come up with a flimsy reason to include male characters. Same goes with ethnicity, concept, etc. This can be explained by the fact that once a leader wants to [[DungeonmastersGirlfriend include a friend]], he will find a reason to include said friend.
** This can, however, sometimes occur in reverse. Whereas revolutionary events and game-wide plots are often triggered by individual members when a group is small and everybody trusts each other not to do anything stupid, as membership and popularity grows that trust is often eliminated by the introduction of disruptive players such as GodModders; as a result, the mods may find themselves imposing tighter and tighter restrictions on what players are allowed to do.
# CerebusSyndrome applies here. Regardless how light-hearted the original concept was, expect it to be forgotten as people start role-playing {{Wangst}} and/or inserting [[TokenEvilTeammate Token Evil Teammates]] into groups of previously purely heroic characters. ReverseCerebusSyndrome is also possible; a game may start out with a serious concept and gradually slip into farce as newer players enter (or the original players stop taking it seriously).
# If the group was originally a parody, expect it to lose that focus as people start joining it with the [[MisaimedFandom misguided notion that it actually is taking it seriously]].
# In an {{MMORPG}}, if the group decides to take on another focus (e.g., endgame), expect the role-playing aspect to die off as people start joining specifically for such activities.
# Formerly group-oriented roleplaying becomes focused on a [[SmallNameBigEgo small, controlling group or even an individual]]; any RP not about that person or group becomes irrelevant, while that person becomes the center of all things.
# A group is supposed to have a limited run, but due to its popularity the [[GameMaster Game Masters]] [[{{Filler}} artificially inflate the length]] or just abandon the idea of an [[EndingTropes endgame]] entirely. Can be another source of increasing restrictions on what players are allowed to do due to the desire to [[StatusQuoIsGod preserve the status quo eternally]].

One additional form of OpenRoleplayingDecay that appears in many {{MMORPG}}s is the loss of a roleplaying population; while random, 'in-the-field' roleplaying may initially be a particular server's bread-and-butter, the roleplaying will eventually lose steam, and confine itself to guild-centric RP (or the occasional one-off RP event). As a corollary, speculation or inquiring about the status of this process as it applies to, say, one game server vs. another is a great way to [[FlameWar break the Internet]].