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It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

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RP Fears and First Steps
comment 13 Written by on February 13, 2009 – 10:27 am

On my post from yesterday, Thelyse commented:

I tried to play at RP server, but I didn’t know how to play / talk properly. I was worried that I’d be ignored if I don’t RP properly hence never considered playing on RP servers.

I started to write out a reply, but then realized that she might not see it, and that it’s something I should take head on (before I work on the Friday Five) as its own post, because this feeling comes up a lot. Whether that’s from RPers complaining on their forums, all of the stereotypes that RPers are (insert deroggatory remark here), or just from generally not knowing how it works, I’m not sure, but hopefully I can give you a little bit of insight – and maybe a nudge.

First, Thelyse, I applaud you for thinking about it (and for not wanting to do it “wrong”). In a game where there are so many ways to be right or wrong about characters, it’s pretty cool that you’d want to make sure you’re taking the right approach to RP.

That said… while there are some things you CAN do wrong, there really isn’t a “wrong” way to RP! (Its part of what makes RP so much fun.)

RP servers are not the bastions of elitist RP that they get made out to be (even on the server forums). In fact, you could make a character there and play, without RPing AT ALL, and not know the difference between it and a regular PVE server when it comes to your own interactions with others! That said, you’d probably see people having IC interactions on occasion in major cities, but it wouldn’t be hugely disruptive or obvious most of the time.

However, if you *want* to RP – trying is the first step. Take your character (you don’t even have to worry about whether he or she has a great backstory – you don’t really need one to start out – just a personality!) and approach the game from their eyes as opposed to your own. Spend a little time at www.wowwiki.com and look up your race and class to get a feel for how Warcraft Lore works. There’s no giant RP rulebook that says “thou shalt never make mistakes” and “thou shalt not (whatever)”.  We all start somewhere, and trying and learning are half the fun!

Oh – and nobody talks in Shakesperian accents either, even if that’s the stereotype. The vast majority of RP characters talk like regular, normal people (and the rest have racial or regional accents, but that’s TOTALLY not required at all).

Some suggestions to get you started though:

  • Basic RP etiquette: If you say it in /say, it’s usually in character – if you need to designate that YOU (and not your character) are saying something, ((double parenthesis)) or [[double brackets]] are the normal ways of showing that you’re out of character – “OOC.” Party chat is going to depend on the individual party – some will be totally out of character, others will use IC/OOC interchangeably.
  • Be polite – especially since this is a text based medium, and stay away from “aol-speak” and internet acronyms.
  • Research the servers: If you really want to reroll an alt on an RP server, find one that has an open RP environment – check out the realm forums (most will have an RP guilds thread, even if it’s outdated – you can use that to see about possible fits for your character) and maybe post there once or twice.
  • Give a little thought to your name – (Thanks Grimtorn!) RP servers actually have a name policy in place, so names that use acronyms, or are not fantasy based names are going to stick out. Grimtorn’s suggestion (in the comments) to use a name generator is a great one, as is poking around the various online baby name sites.
  • Remember that we all have to play together – so if your character is a giant jerk, people will probably respond to him or her like a jerk.  If you want to go this route (and it’s a difficult first character to pull off), make sure that you let people know OOC – a whisper is a great start – that your character is being a jerk, and work out a little bit of it with the other person.
  • Don’t get IC and OOC confused! What happens between characters is just that – between characters, and NOT between players 🙂
  • Don’t be shy! The hardest part about RP is taking that first step. And unfortunately you might meet a jerk the first time. But good RPers are out there, and initiating conversations is sometimes the only way to find them! (other than an addon like FlagRSP/ImmersionRP).
  • Let people know that you’re “new around here” – They’ll be understanding and might even help you out or offer some tips.  WoW RP can be just as casual as regular gameplay.

And most importantly?

  • Have fun! RP is about being creative, and approaching your character as an independent person.  If that means you think about the Friday Five, or maybe write a little story about a major game event that changes them, but never have an in character interaction with other people?  That’s fine. Doesn’t make you a bad RPer, doesn’t make you worse at it – that’s where you’re comfortable with taking this creative outlet.

So hop in! Everyone starts somewhere; Don’t let the naysayers (and asshats, ’cause there are those too, just like in every other form of gameplay) get to you, and start where you’re comfortable – even if that means out of game at first, and even if you never roll a character on a “roleplay” server.

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13 Responses to “RP Fears and First Steps”

  1. I’m glad you addressed her comment. I was thinking of replying to her to encourage her but realized it would take more than just a comment.

    I’m glad you wrote “nobody talks in Shakesperian accents either,” because I get that concern from others who think that they can not RP because they don’t know Shakespeare or old English.

    Garilos Durocs last blog post..Should I Continue

  2. Only thing I’d add is give your character’s name some thought before you finalize it. While a name like “Kimboslice” might be okay on a regular realm, it’s not for an RP realm. Google for “wow name generator” if you’re having trouble coming up with something on your own (I find the “PANDA” one usually comes up with good, legitimate sounding names).

    Grimtorns last blog post..Lover Boy, the Elder

  3. @Grimtorn –

    Excellent thought, and I’ve added that to the list. Thanks!

    By Anna on Feb 13, 2009 | Reply
  4. But good RPers are out there, and initiating conversations is sometimes the only way to find them! (other than an addon like FlagRSP/ImmersionRP).

    I feel kinda guilty about this, because I do walk around with IRP on, and the other day I got a random whisper from someone saying:

    Random Night Elf: You RP?
    Random Night Elf: I’d be happy to RP with you in Darkshire.

    I wasn’t actually staying in Darkshire — I was just turning in a quest and passing through — and if I were on a dwarf or a gnome, I probably would have at least poked back for more information about what he was looking for.

    But I was on a human female with an obviously female name. And of the people I’ve run into randomly who were on the level when it came to soliciting RP from my human, nelf, and draenei toons, there’s been… one. (A nelf I ran into who was doing the Missing Diplomat quest. The server was still really new; seeing people on their L40 mounts was unusual. I was a 38 human priest.) And he wasn’t trying to solicit me for RP; he was interacting with quest NPCs with RP and I jumped in after saving him from Slim. 🙂

    (As a side note: I so, so, so love it when people do that. People who get angry at NPCs at random or take a moment to compose themselves before going through with a quest objective, and so on. It’s one of my favorite ways to pick up incidental RP, but I can imagine it’d be a little like singing in public — hard to do if you think people are going to think you’re doing it wrong.)

    Anyway, I responded to “I’d be happy to RP with you in Darkshire” guy by letting him know how that sounded to a female character, and I felt really bad afterwards, because… how on earth else was he supposed to get my attention, or get started? Follow me around Darkshire? It’s not his fault that so many people are sleazy or use RP as an excuse to get their cyb0rz on. I should resolve to start giving guys the benefit of the doubt. >_<

    Teuthidas last blog post..Finished!

  5. A little emoting goes a long way. If you’re trying to edge into (or start!) a conversation, let other players know you’re there with something like, “/e sits on the bench and begins sorting out her herbs.” That way, people know the person who just sat down is an RPer, and not someone parking their character while they afk for a while.

    If it looks like the conversation is open to passers-by, offer a couple of comments or opinions. You might just find yourself pulled into the discussion.

    However! Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t acknowledged right away. If you’ve stumbled across a band of ne’er-do-wells plotting a heist, chances are they won’t be too open to a stranger joining in. Consider sending one of them an OOC whisper — you might find that, while they wouldn’t want someone spoiling their dastardly plans, they might tell you to stick around for a few minutes, and chat with you when they’ve rolled up the maps and stashed away the plans.

    RP can be sparked by the smallest, most mundane things! At the mailbox, wonder aloud where the Elders got these rocket clusters from. Haggle with the Auctioneers. Compliment Thomas Miller on his freshly baked bread. Yes, you might have to deal with the occasional “lol, rp,” but chances are, an RPer is going to see you making the effort and respond to you.

  6. Not making up character names at 2AM is my rule.

    That is why I have a character nammed Dorritow.

    Itanya Blades last blog post..I’d really just like to kill someone

  7. thank you for addressing my issue 🙂

    thelyses last blog post..cute murlocs

  8. a little emote, for flavor, it’s an easy way to show to people you are roleplaying.

    By oomu on Mar 4, 2009 | Reply
  9. Who the hell is named after me??? I’m the only one who should be named Thelyse!!! My mom made it up!!!! lol
    .-= Thelyse´s last blog ..EmoSingingAngel: i love music!!!!!!! =-.

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