March 24, 2010 – 9:36 am
RP takes place in all sorts of places.
Sometimes it happens in planned locations or expected places. Sometimes it’s out in the open where anyone can see it and take part. Other times it’s done in party chat, guild chat, or private channels. Sometimes it happens out “in the wild” with strangers. Sometimes those strangers become friends, but maybe you never see them again.
I, personally, have seen RP happen:
- in a city
- in an inn or tavern
- in Dalaran and Shattrath
- at a flight path
- in an auction house
- in the bank
- by a mailbox
- on a boat
- in guild chat
- in party chat
- in whispers
- in /yell
- in /say
- in general chat (yes, really. in general chat)
- by a quest giver
- at a cool or interesting place out in the zones
- in an instance
- in a raid
- on a guild forum
- on the realm and RP Blizzard forums
- in a google document
- in emails
- in messages and IMs
- just about anywhere, really
The most important place that RP happens is wherever you happen to be, even if that just means thinking in your head “I wonder how my character would react to this <whatever>” – that’s a little half-a-thought of RP that connects you to your character.
There is no hierarchy, no RP that is inherently better than other RP simply because it has an epic storyline. I’ve had as much enjoyment out of mundane, everyday conversations as I have out of huge planned events. (In fact, sometimes I like the smaller stuff better than the bigger stuff. My RP diet is wide and varied, and I like to keep it that way.)
We make RP happen.
In the words of the wise Falconesse - RP happens WITH us, not TO us. Being able to see all the minute opportunities to increase the immersion in this world (uh oh – there’s the “I” word… I don’t use it very often!) and in our characters can take a little time and thought, but I think it’s worth the effort.
If you never reach out, never participate, and never take the chance, you’ll probably get bored pretty fast.
And that’s OK, if your comfort level with roleplay is to think about your characters and their histories and then simply play the PVE game, not seeking out other roleplayers to bounce your characters and ideas off of. But if you want something more than just sitting around watching other people RP or running around never having any character interactions? You’ll find that being willing to get into your character’s head and letting them interact with others can be a lot of fun.
None of this is to say that I’m never bored, or that RP is never boring (just like my enjoying raiding doesn’t mean that raids are never boring or frustrating). I’m simply stating that the more chances you take, the more likely you are to find success.
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:
*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.
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.
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?
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.
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)
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.
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.
November 14, 2014 – 7:32 am
So I haven’t finished the intro quests yet (the server queues from the reduced server capacity due to the DDOS attacks meant I only got about an hour to play yesterday), but I’m finding that Draenor is pretty cool so …
November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm
The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger …
November 11, 2014 – 3:09 pm
What a long strange trip it’s been. I’ll be the first to admit that, at the beginning, I wasn’t sure Pandaria was going to be for me. I’ve made clear my dislike of daily quests, and that seemed to be …
October 24, 2014 – 12:01 pm
Squire Benjamin William Sullivan stood in the middle of Light’s Hope Chapel in his underpants.
Actually, it was white linen pants and a shift, but the effect was approximately the same. The little chapel was warm, on the edge of …
June 29, 2014 – 4:39 pm
So I’m not really in a position where I should be creating alts. This, of course, does nothing to deter me from making alts when the inspiration strikes. I’ve been really enjoying my Alliance hunter, and she’s my raiding main …
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 …
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 …
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 …