You Can Take The Player Out Of The MMO…
Now, a GM has a lot to manage, like NPCs, responses to events triggered by the players, and also needs to keep his eyes one step ahead of the player’s next moves to keep the action flowing. Constantly reminding players to use their characters should not be a GM’s job. Players have one job — to act as their characters — and the character sheets have those numbers and columns for a reason. Of course, GMs need to match those rolls against something, but I’d assume that if a character wants to search he should state it and know to make the Perception roll, or if anything the GM should at most help the player determine the correct skill to use in the situation.
Systems like Fate and Numenera are different in that they streamline a lot of the number crunching inherent in traditional TRPGs, so simply saying “I want to search the room” is as good as a die roll, but even still a player needs to play within the confines of her character.
Again, I think this goes back to the muscle memory of the CRPG where everything is taken care of, and it’s only the intent to take action that’s needed, whereas in the TRPG, players need to be mindful that they’re going to need to take, and have the ability to take the action without prompting. I think this not only helps smooth out the session, but also allows for more creativity from the players, and can help the GM stay on his toes.
The good news in all of this is that it really is like riding a bike. Players can get into the groove of the old school TRPGs after a little bit of practice, and there’s something important in that. TRPGs are more about player choice, and about bending the story around their actions as they move towards a goal. If the party doesn’t mirror the trinity, then it forces the players to be more creative. If they take agency in playing their characters, they can come up with those creative resolutions instead of just mechanically doing what the GM tells them to do. In the end, these are the kinds of things that differentiate TRPGs from CRPGs.