Written by | Posted November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm Deconstruction

Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.

The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.

Yva Darrows was their first target.

Tirith and Aely were their second and third.

They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …

Birdy Druid is 4 Flite!
comment 11 Written by on March 22, 2010 – 5:43 am

I’ve always liked flying in game (even if I hate 3D/flying boss fights)*.

There’s something magical about taking off and soaring around in the sky, maybe doing a few loops. Part of this, undoubtedly, comes with experiencing flight first during Burning Crusade. Northrend is awesome, and it has beautiful zones and gorgeous northern lights in the sky, but the skies in Outland are breathtaking.

That, and I spent a lot of time flying around Nagrand at night chasing clouds of air with my mote extractor.

So anyway, Annylais, my little Fail!Kitty druid, has had her flight form since 60, but I’d been doing more straight-up leveling and less general lounging around or exploring. (Annylais doesn’t get a lot of RP time right now because 1) I don’t know much about her yet, and 2) I have Aely and Annie Mae taking up most of my mental space.)

In lieu of really pushing to hit 68 tonight though, I decided to finish leveling herbalism up to 375 and finish off inscription to 375 as well. This required I do a smidgen of herbing. I chose Nagrand (no surprise there), and realized as much as I love flying, I love flying as a druid even more. There is no mount. There is no casting time. There is just Annylais the Stormcrow, gliding around the almost ethereal skies of Nagrand and then later Blade’s Edge.

At which point I discovered one final reason flying as a druid trumps all other flying in game:

perching

*perches on a railing*

*squawks at passers-by*

*poops on an orc*

(Ok so there weren’t any orcs in Sylvanar. But she totally would’ve pooped on one if there had been.)

*I hate 3D/Flying boss fights because they tend to make me slightly motion sick (especially Malygos – ugh). And no, I’ve never actually been one to have dreams where I could fly, oddly enough. I just really like it in game.

WoW Lore and Rubber Bands
comment 33 Written by on March 20, 2010 – 12:07 pm

In which Anna makes an analogy to describe WoW Lore.

There’s a lot of information out there about WoW Lore. There’s lore on the Blizzard pages, lore on wowwiki.com (my favorite place to find lore info, btw), lore in books and in the tabletop RPG, lore in old games and in the current game, lore in quests and character dialogue and cutscenes and… well, it’s a wonder any of us can manage all that lore well enough to write our stories.

At its most rudimentary level, lore is the basic framework upon which we build our characters and communities.

The greater story of Azeroth is what gives Azeroth its shape. It’s what lets us all know Gnomes are short (ish) and Tauren are tall (ish) and Elves are old (ish) and so on. But a framework is just that – a starting place, a building block on which to give our characters shape.

The lore says the past has happened in such and such a way. The Orcs came to Azeroth through the Dark Portal, and Grom Hellscream sacrificed himself to rid them of the bloodlust and demonic dependence. But it doesn’t say how an individual Orc would respond to such an event. There is no official “all elves responded by doing such-and-such” explanation for what happened after the world tree. Simply put, the official story gives us all a place to start, and we build our characters from there.

At which point, the lore is like a rubber band.

Rubber bands are stretchy, they hold things together, and if you pull them too hard… they break *poing* and snap someone in the nose. The greater story into which we fit our own stories is the same way. It’s stretchy, it goes around things and holds them together (rather than comprising them, it simply encircles the outside, with lots of room left in the middle), but if you stretch it too far, it breaks *poing* and snaps someone in the nose.

Only maybe without the nose part.

Anyway.

That stretchiness is really the wonder of an RPG.

There are a great many instances in the lore where there isn’t a defined “right or wrong” answer. Roleplay happens in that enclosed space, the “creative inbetween” of the Lore, since we can’t all be Jaina or Arthas or Sylvanas (and if we were forced to all be the same, it’d be pretty boring). Roleplay builds on what’s already there. Our characters have the opportunity to grow – either in response to or in conflict with what happens.

The lore holds us together; it’s what lets one character walk up to another character and have enough common history to be able to understand each other and maybe even have a conversation. But inside that rubber band, there’s still lots of room for creativity and experimentation.

To use myself as an example (aided, of course, by Krizzlybear), there are Gnomes in Stormwind and harvest golems in Westfall. Would it be too far outside the realm of possibility to think that after the second war, when Gnomes helped with the Alliance for the first time, a Gnome and his wife moved to Westfall to help service and repair those harvest golems? What would happen if they had a daughter? (Meet Annie Mae!)

If there was ever something in the official Azeroth story which said no Gnomes ever lived anywhere outside of Dun Morogh, then my little exercise would be stretching the lore too far – it would, in essence, break the rubber band and ping me in the nose. (And it would probably feel like a ping in the nose to anyone who tried to interact with Annie Mae, if there was such a rule about Gnomes. Instead of interesting, her story would be jarring and make people step back – and possibly not really want to RP with her.)

Fortunately, there is grey area in the lore, and inside that grey area – inside the encircled space held together by the greater rubber band – is where the magic happens.

Azeroth is a world rich in history but sparse in details.

There are so many things we will never really know (or just haven’t been told yet), and that’s alright. When we write stories and characters, interact with other players’ characters, or even just sit in the pub and shoot the breeze about the most recent news out of Icecrown, we interact with that greater story, and help to fill in that grey area.

Sometimes our ideas might conflict with how other people see that grey area, and that’s alright too. When there isn’t a right or wrong answer, each community has to answer for itself. If conflict happens, both communities/individuals work out a common ground.

And maybe later on, some people might have to change how they think about certain things, because a new expansion changed the official story, or expanded on a point that had previously not been dealt with. That’s alright too. Blizzard’s official story has never been static; they change their minds all the time. We must be flexible in response. Official lore changes can provide character growth and interesting interaction (I know that Aely will be very upset by some of the changes coming in Cataclysm, for example).

The lore is there for our use as roleplayers. It’s the building blocks that help us start our stories, and it’s the rubber band that holds them all together.

Just, you know, try not to ping each other in the nose, OK?

annas

Being ‘left out’ is part of RP
comment 10 Written by on March 18, 2010 – 6:45 am

No matter what group you are a part of, how many friends you have, how established you are in the group, and how much everyone loves your character, you will get left out of RP.

Other people will write stories in which you will not participate, and they will be awesome and amazing, and you will want to play too, but you won’t be invited, even if you ask. People will leave RP gatherings to do things “in private” and you will get left behind at the bar with nothing to do.

This sounds doomy and gloomy, but it is not at all either of those things, because it is realistic and true to actual people – a sign of characters who have depth and who are tangible and relatable. It happens to everyone – even the so-called “popular” people, and it bugs everyone sometimes.

Don’t let it get you down. Left-out-ness is normal, and not necessarily bad.

Why?

RP groups are like groups of people. They’re like real friendships.

You have a best friend or two who are very close, and possibly a spouse or significant other that’s as close or closer. And then you have an ever widening net of friends and acquaintances and random people you saw at the park one time. Each of these relationships has a defined role with your character – and every other character has those relationships as well.

In real life you’d not become instant best friends with someone after a two minute bar conversation or spill out your most intimate and personal secrets to someone you hardly know, so your character probably doesn’t want to do those things either.

So what do you do when left-out-ness happens? (Because it WILL happen)

Use it.

Let it help your character.

Does it make them angry or sad or lonely? Are they jealous of the close relationship between two very good friends or within a couple? Do they resent being left at the bar when someone leaves with a close business contact for a delicate conversation? Do they get warm fuzzies from knowing that the cute elf couple who just left are head over heels in love? Do they try to figure out how to get involved anyway, or what they need to do to find that kind of closeness with another character?

I actually regard left-out-ness as being a hidden, silver-lining kind of benefit to RP groups. It does a couple of things, even beyond character development.

Left-out-ness gives you something to talk about.

If your character is involved in everything, he or she never gets to ask someone else what’s going on, and becomes something of a meta-dictionary. Nobody ever knows everything, and your character won’t suffer from having to ask occasionally, “So what’s up with Jimbob?” Occasionally, gossip can be a really fun part of RP.

Left-out-ness helps you control what your character is or isn’t part of.

Nobody can do everything, and your character will eventually break if you throw too much stuff on his or her plate. Too much drama will result in reclusive behavior – which is great, if it’s a character trait, but not so great if it means a mental breakdown. The natural self-selection of relationships keeps things balanced within a group, and keeps any one person from being too involved in too many other stories.

Left-out-ness lets your character connect to other characters.

When two people leave the bar for a private chat, everyone else there is “left out” of their private conversation (as you’d expect, given the “private” part of the description). This is an RP opportunity, NOT an RP snubbing. Have a conversation with someone else there; chances are, they’re feeling a little left out too, and that’s an instant connection.

Being left out is part of RP because being left out is part of life.

Embrace it, use it to your advantage, and keep it all in perspective.

annas

Yes, I know left-out-ness isn’t really a word. I like it anyway. I didn’t want to use “being avoided” or “being excluded” because of the negative connotation, and because I think a lot of this happens in the mind of the left-out person instead of in the mind of the person(s) looking to have a private conversation.

Godmodding and Griefing
comment 116 Written by on March 16, 2010 – 10:49 pm

I very rarely take on other bloggers** around here, especially with bloggers participating in fun things like a new “bloggy” guild that’s sprung up over on Argent Dawn.

Unfortunately, I came across a post today, and (as I’m sure you’re going to notice) it’s made me rather upset.

Anyway, here is the post from the other blog:
(Apologies for the long quote, but I want this to be in full, so that I’m not accused of “taking it out of context”. The post has since been deleted, but the original post was titled “The Single Abstract Noun Bad RP Challenge”. If necessary, I can provide a google cache link for this, but I don’t think it’s needed. The point stands.)

Fun blogger event!
I’ve been hearing a lot about some… indecent or just plain awful RP that seems to be happening at select locations around Azeroth (such as the infamous Goldshire).  Denizens of SAN are both outraged and amused by these incidents.
Step 1 – Mock the RP
Note: DON’T mock poor saps who are minding their own business and really trying to RP legitimately.  Use your good judgment on whether the participants should be mocked or left alone.

Go into one of these locations of ill-repute, and, in character, find a way to confuse and annoy the terrible RP-ers.  Examples:

  • Azeroth Vice, here to break up prostitution.
  • The minstrel whom the paramour hired and then did not pay.
  • Repo man here for the mount (look, I don’t care what you’re currently doing, buddy, you are late on your frostsaber payment)
  • You’re the dude with the 2:00 PM appointment with the lady of ill-repute and you HATE to wait.

Anyway… the list goes on…  Be creative!  The important thing is to stay in character, and totally throw the RP people a situation they aren’t expecting.
Step 2 – Screenshot & Post on blog
Then we can all mock them together!  You might want to redact names or particularly gross bits of text.

And, if you don’t mind, drop me a note or pingback, because I want to see!

I’m going to say this plainly. I’m going to say it in bold text. And then I’m going to explain:

This is griefing.

This is godmodding.*

This is not something that should be going on, ESPECIALLY on an RP server.

I don’t care how bad the RP is. I don’t care if the persons involved are cybering a half-dragon, vampire threesome in front of your eyes. (If they are, ask them to stop OOCly and report them for a TOS violation – cyber in public places is against the TOS). I don’t care if they’re using aol-chatspeak and not using any punctuation. I don’t care if they’re talking about another game and pretending it’s WoW RP.

I don’t even care if they’re godmodding YOUR character and telling you that you now have to deal with it.

This is NOT how you “deal with” so-called “bad” RP.

This is griefing RPers.

It is taking control of other players’ characters and situations without their permission, and it is ruining something that they are enjoying doing for no other reason than that you feel like doing it (because it’s fun and you think they suck).

Ha ha. Isn’t that funny. Let’s mock the RPers.

This is no different than the people that mock/grief “good” RP, because they do the same thing.

It doesn’t matter to me that my friends and I have well developed characters and other people don’t. It doesn’t matter if other people are RPing terrible characters that bend the lore and make me want to smash my face into my keyboard. These are people who are not doing ANYTHING to anyone involved, and they are being targeted simply because they’re bad at something. Something they may very well be new at, have never done before, or are trying out just for grins to see if they like it. They might be very young. Or they might flat out be bad.

None of that matters.

“Using your good judgement” doesn’t enter into it. Those “poor saps” who are just doing their own thing don’t earn the right to be left alone because you think they’re OK, when those OTHER RPers are so bad it’s OK to grief them.

NOBODY gets to be the Good RP Police.

You know something? I started out as a bad RPer. My first RP character was a horrendous, nausea inducing, lore bending Mary Sue of unbelievable proportions.

And do you know why I still RP?

I still RP because nobody pulled this kind of griefing with me. Nobody ruined my play time for laughs because they thought I was bad. Nobody came up and took control of a situation I was RPing by “playing” that they were there to be the RP police and they thought my RP was bad.

This behavior is godmodding, griefing, and a reportable offense.

Just because it is being done in character doesn’t make it any less awful.

You want to reposess someones frostsaber? You whisper them first and get permission to join the RP.

Walking up and taking the situation, dumping it on their heads, and then posting screenshots on the internet for you and your buddies to laugh about? Approaches the point where I want to report you for griefing. And you know what? If someone tried any of those stunts with me? I would be reporting them for griefing, as well as putting them on ignore.

On an RP server like Argent Dawn especially, rules exist to protect people that want to roleplay, and within those rules are provisions that state “if you don’t like it, go away.” Nobody gets to ruin anyone else’s fun just because they don’t like the RP, even if the RP is “bad”.

There is no rule that says you have to be good at RP to enjoy doing it.

The only rule is that other people either ignore RP they don’t like or go somewhere else where it’s not happening.

Step 1 – Mock the RP

Step 2 – Screenshot and post on blog so we can all mock them together

If you want to have a good time and start a bloggy fun project, be my guest. I don’t have any problems with people having fun. (I don’t have any problems with people pointing out that some RPers are just /bad/ either. Because some of them are! I was one once, and I learned and got better!)

Everyone is entitled to the same enjoyment of their $15, as long as they’re not violating the TOS. There is no reason to ruin *someone else’s fun* because you don’t agree with or like it.

annas

*Godmodding is what happens when someone takes control of another player’s (or players’) character(s) for their own gain, without permission – essentially they are “playing God” or “playing as a God.”

**This is an edit. This sentence SHOULD have said “taking on other blog posts” – as it is, it’s a little close to the line of a personal attack, and so I apologize. I’ve refrained from actually changing it, since the original should stand, and I’ll stand by what I said, but know that the intent of it (which doesn’t change what was said at all – and I know that) was “blog posts” and not to attack a person.

(EDIT: It has come to my attention that the blogger who posted the Bad RP Challenge may have done so without actually having any input from the guild Single Abstract Noun. While I don’t intend to change the title of the post on someone else’s blog, I will more than happily remove the links to the guild website if there is a disconnect here that I didn’t know about (not being a member of the guild, I can’t tell if there is anything on the forums). If the SAN leadership wants to get in touch with me, I’m happy to discuss this.)

(EDIT #2, after having spoken with the guild sort-of-leaders from Single Abstract Noun, I’ve done a bit of editing. This post isn’t any attack on SAN or it’s founders or members – many of whom are new and unfamiliar to RP and rolling on an RP-PVE realm for the first time. My issues, as I outline them above, are completely with the ideas presented in this post. As such, I’ve chosen to remove the link to the SAN guild forums – though not to totally remove the name – since there aren’t actually any guild sponsored events and this seems to be a one-off decision by a guild member.

Hopefully nobody takes from this an excuse to be nasty to YOU guys. Because quite honestly, a big part of the point of this post is “Be less nasty to each other”, and going to be trolls in your forum kind of defeats that entire purpose. There will be more in the future on this front, but for now, I think that’s enough clarification.)

Deconstruction

November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm

Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.

The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.

Yva Darrows was their first target.

Tirith and Aely were their second and third.

They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …

Patrol

November 13, 2013 – 9:59 am

The cathedral bells stop ringing overnight, except for chiming the hours. Three bell strikes, and Angoleth padded softly around another corner of the Cathedral District, staying carefully in the shadows. Trained ears picked up Mogget’s soft breathing – nearly inaudible …

Riders in Lordaeron – Memory

November 7, 2013 – 1:33 pm

(Written by Jolly, Tarquin, and Annalea)

The highlands of Lordaeron were not for the faint of heart; be it the putrescence of the Scourge’s long-lingering remnant, or the rock-strewn hills and valleys that made farmers out of only the most …

Riders of Lordaeron – Logistics

September 13, 2013 – 7:11 pm

(With Tarquin and Annalea)

Once more, four people made their way through the thickets and hills of Lordaeron, this time in the crisp chill of late morning, seeking after the Rider. Aelflaed had snatched what sleep she could while Chryste …

Riders of Lordaeron – Problematic

September 11, 2013 – 9:47 am

(With Tarquin)

She hadn’t wanted to leave Jolly – not so soon after finding him again – but once away, it took about five minutes for Aely to figure out she had a problem.

That problem had just announced that …

Riders of Lordaeron: Arrangements

September 9, 2013 – 10:05 am

It was an uneasy goodbye for him, but it was agreed by both he and Aely that a stroll back to Hearthglen would not be very easy to explain, nor would the explanation needed for the three Argent soldiers once …

Riders of Lordaeron

September 7, 2013 – 9:02 am

“Light sent me ye when I needed ye afore – an’ now again when I need ye. I canna ask fir more than tha’.” She sighed and slung the shield back across her shoulders. “It’s… Light. Been awhile hasna it? …

Dark Rider of Lordaeron (Part 4)

September 6, 2013 – 2:02 pm

She blinked, but did not drop either of her shields. “Aye, though I’ve been Caltrains fir th’ last near three years. Canna say I’ve any memory ay ye.”

“Yeh’ve far moar’n yeh realize,” he replied evenly, his grip tightening on …

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