So I’ve been fielding a few RP related questions lately and, after thinking about it, they’d make excellent post fodder here. So without further ado…
Lassira asks: “I know that being Jaina and Thrall’s lovechild or Uther’s beloved niece is rather taboo in RP, but is it appropriate to have relationships with other, non-central NPCs? At what point do you cross the line?”
This is a rather delicate sort of question, and I’d generally steer people away from ANY relationship with a major lore character. Obviously, a Knight of the Silver Hand would probably have met Uther sometime, but claiming a real relationship with these major characters is difficult, since it starts to push the boundaries of the lore. It’s also pretentious, as though you feel the need to make yourself feel important by being related to a major lore character. Not necessary at ALL!
That said, having a casual relationship with any of the various NPCs that hang around is less of an issue, especially if it’s a casual one. If your character is a shaman, it’s absolutely OK to claim that you have a relationship with one of the Shaman Trainers who has been a great mentor to you – that’s what Shaman Trainers do. Same with a mage that has a little bit of Khadgar-Fanboy going on. These relationships are both realistic, within the span of the game, and non pretentious – the mage isn’t claiming that he’s Khadgar’s personal student, just that he’s trying to follow in the steps of his hero. Using NPCs CAN add a little extra flavor and motivation to your characters, so long as you’re careful to do so in a way that is neither a ploy for importance or an act of insecurity.
Belladauna, from Fizzcrank, asks: “Are you going to dual spec, and how does that effect the realms of RP. Also I tried to pick a random RP realm and within 5 mins local chat and trade chat seemed no different to my non RP realm so I gave up.”
Ok – that’s really THREE questions, but here goes!
First, yes, I’m going to dual spec. Annorah will be dual speccing elemental and restoration – because that connects her to BOTH sides of her personality, and is very much in character for her. She’s extremely spiritual and connected to the elements, and so it makes sense that she’d be using both of those specs. I’m not sure yet about dual speccing Aelflaed – it would be fun to take her holy/ret, but she’s so strongly plugged in as a holy paladin that I”m not sure about spending the gold.
As for how it affects RP realms, well – I think there are people that will use Dual Specs as a tool for RP, and some people that will just use them like anyone not on an RP realm would use them. They’re neither an RP focus nor a non-RP focused ability, just one more tool that people can take advantage of. One thing they CAN help with is people that have raiding obligations but want to keep an RP spec on the side for when they’re farming/goofing around/instancing. Having a non-optimized spec in a raid is rather irresponsible, especially once you start doing “hard mode” stuff, but using a Dual Spec can let someone do that without sacrificing their raid responsibilities.
Your final question is probably deserving of a post all its own, but I”ll tackle a little bit of it here.
Your experience in RP server starting zones is not at all uncommon. If you don’t read Blogatelle, their Katafray Project is an attempt to find RP before level 20 on several realms, and they’re ACTIVELY looking for other RPers and still having trouble sometimes. Why is this? Well, WoW is an old game, and some servers (like Feathermoon and the other 5 original-release RP servers) are pretty old and established. Most RPers on these servers are level 70+, and their friends are level 70+. That, and they’ve had several years to develop into RP circles that they know, like, and are comfortable with.
Is this always the best thing? No, but it does explain the dearth of RP in low level zones. Also, keep in mind that many people roll on RP realms as way to get on a “more mature” server and just ignore the RP part – and sometimes people roll on RP realms specifically to be idiots and grief RPers and act in ways that cause drama. Immature? Yes, but not unheard of. The other thing you might consider is time spent there – RP takes *time*, and good RP takes a long time. You’re not going to get amazing RP at level 5 in Goldshire unless you get pretty lucky – just like you’re not going to get amazing instance groups at level 18 unless you get pretty lucky. Sure it’s *there*, but if you wanted to find excellent PVP or PVE content, you’d give more time than just a short trip through a starting zone to determine the ability of the realm as a whole.
My best suggestion is to use the realm forums – people use them for more than just raiding posts, and if you post there looking for RP guidance and tips on where to find good pickup RP, you’ll likely get good advice (and maybe a few murlocs, but don’t mind them) and maybe even a few guilds that you might check out.
Engee asks: “Anna, I’ve been wondering whether or not I need to have an RP story to justify a new name on an RP server, and if that will help me integrate into a new server better?”
You absolutely do NOT need a story to justify your name. Most people don’t have real life stories for their names, beyond “My mom and dad thought it was cool” – or maybe “I’m named after my great grandfather”. If you have to write a long, developed story as to why your character has a specific name, it’s more likely to be a nickname, and not your characters actual first name. Www.wowwiki.com is a great resource for character name conventions, as is Dramatis-Personae, if you’re looking for naming advice. Any online fantasy/medieval name generator is probably going to be alright as well, especially if you don’t mind somewhat cliched names.
Especially dangerous is trying to “justify” a non-RP server appropriate name through a convoluted backstory. Random people that pass you in town won’t know that backstory (and you probably wouldn’t force it on them anyway, since it’s not really normal to tell your entire life story to everyone you meet), so your name has to pass the RP server standards just on first glance alone.
Llanion asks: “Is there an official policy / community ettiquette on claiming to be a member of, or adherent to, in-game factions? Or former member of/adherent to?”
As far as I know, this one is similar to the NPC question, and is a problem of degree. If your Druid is claiming to be a key member and leader in the Cenarion Circle? That’s not going to fly – again with claiming NPCS as a form of self-aggrandizement – and a way to make your character more awesome. Using the Circle as a part of your Druid’s history is fine though, since most Druids *are* a part of the circle – just like it’s absolutely fine for a human Rogue to say that they spent some time as an agent for SI:7, or a Paladin to work for the Argent Crusade. These organizations have TONS of members, and player characters are very acceptable as members of those organizations.
Bricu asks: “Dear Anna; How do you RP the death of a character?”
To quote Elmer Fudd, “Vewy Vewy Cawefuwwy”… Joking aside though, this is something you have to undertake with a good deal of forethought and delicacy. Killing off your character can be a way to obtain release, to let them go, and to finish their ultimate development with a sense of “finality”. Killing off your characgter only to change your mind in a year with a “Just kidding guys!” is a really good way to annoy your friends.
Death is a part of life, so this is something that you should plan for and work out like all major character developments – but like with all difficult RP, it’s best to let other people in on the plan BEFORE you drop the “No, you can’t resurrect him, this time he’s ALL dead, not just MOSTLY dead” line. Other characters that interact with yours will need time to adjust to his/her death, especially characters that are close to him/her. Dumping this kind of thing on your friends very suddenly is likely to get you stunned silence or no reaction at all right away. Obviously the death can and often will be sudden to the other *characters* – but the players behind them will need time to figure out reactions to something as big as the death of a friend.
Whether you choose to send your character on a trip to the afterlife in an extended storyline fighting big bad monsters or just have them wander off into the unknown to pass on quietly is up to you. Different characters will have different deaths – some sudden, some not so sudden. And, in fact, it’s not unheard of for someone to just get old and pass away in their sleep. Like in real life, there are many ways that people die – so don’t assume you MUST do any one thing or another when planning the demise of your character.
However, using character death as a ploy for attention and making YOU feel awesome and important isn’t so awesome. And it goes without saying “You all just hate me, I’m going to kill my character” is NEVER ok. Besides, every time I’ve seen someone do that, they’ve killed their character, deleted it… and then shown back up a few weeks later with a restored character and an “oops just kidding”. So tread carefully, but don’t be afraid of this one if it’s the most realistic way for your character to progress.
If anyone has any other Roleplay related questions or concerns that they’d like to see addressed, I’d love to answer them! If I get enough questions, perhaps this will become a semi-regular feature here at Too Many Annas. I’ve enjoyed getting to work on these – hopefully you all get something out of the answers!
If you have questions for me, feel free to leave them in a comment here, use the contact form page, email me at toomanyannas at gmail dot com, or find me on twitter as JustAnna.