I really need to check out HB. If I remember correctly, you said it’s a more adult setting, instead of schoolkids? I would definitely love seeing so ROs who actually show interest, for a change.
If I may give some input on this…
The problem with the more reserved ROs (or even ones that are enemies-to-lovers or just hostile personalities overall) isn’t the fact that they’re reserved, it’s how long it takes to get some kind of encouragement for the MC. I get that this is all fiction, so things can be more ridiculous than in real life, but the ability to suspend belief wears down over time when there is no sign that things are changing.
That said, some people love that kind of thing, where they have to chase the RO incessantly, hound them repeatedly, and beg and plead for their attention, because they feel like they’ve accomplished something when the game ends and they “won” the battle against the RO and get their kiss/fuck/marriage/whatever. That’s very gamey in its execution, and is really no different than having stats to build and passing stat checks to complete missions. You check the boxes, suffer along the way, then “win”. The problem is that, while it’s a great game approach, it’s not a very good character approach.
Not saying that it shouldn’t take time for things to happen between a MC and the RO, but perhaps authors should consider having two approaches to such ROs: one where the drama-loving crowd can drag it out until the end, and one where those who are more into the character side of things can get some obvious progress as they move through the story. Ice queen/king is a great trope, but it needs layers and depth to actually work as anything but an out-of-the-box trope. And retconning characters with no explanation just to drag things out is a shoddy way to go about it, too.
I just think authors sometimes forget that there are real people playing these games, and there’s only so much some of us can swallow without being unable to continue the way the author intends us to, especially with things like romance. For those who view things from a character perspective rather than a gamey perspective of “bring the pain, I love suffering to the end where I can win!”, we need to be able to connect with the character we’re RPing. And there’s only so much rejection someone can take before they’d either do something self-destructive or would, like me, be like, “Fuck this, I’m out.”
Just my two coppers, so take it for what it’s worth.
There are romances like that in these games?? Where? I feel like Blood Moon had that, in a way, which is why I loved that game (plus, the story was cool). Their Majesties’ Pleasure also felt that way later in the story. Other than that, most of these games are “chase the RO till they give in at the end”, usually while they kick the MC repeatedly along the way (often with proverbial steel-toed boots). Or nothing happens at all in the right at the end, where they’re magically together after speaking twice.
My issues with Jun/ko wasn’t that they were forward. It was that they enslaved my MC and then the narrative kept telling me how much my MC loved Jun/ko when they damned well did not. Stories that tell me how my MC feels about everything inevitably piss me off, in general. You can tell me what my MC used to be, tell me what their job is now, and give me a setting I can play along with, but ffs, at least let my MC decide how they feel about their situation. If we’re not getting at least that, then don’t tell me it’s IF to get my money, only to give me a set character in a set story.
As for dislike of forwardness being rooted in homophobia… I don’t get it. If a same-sex character hits on your straight MC, as long as there’s an option to say, “I’m flattered, but I only like men that way”, who the hell cares? Really, it should be the same with ROs who are really forward. Give the player the option to say they don’t like being chased or hit on, mark a variable that that RO leaves them alone from then on (locking them out of the romance, if it’s fitting for that character) and call it a day. As long as the MC has the ability to shut it down, I don’t see the issue–you’re giving them all the power.