March 26, 2010 – 9:00 am
The first thing you decide when you roll a new character is which server you’re going to play on.
Now, that decision can be pretty meaningless (eenie, meenie, miney, moe), but it can have a lot of later implications on your play style. Before cross-server battlegrounds, for instance, rolling on a PVP server meant knowing which faction was stronger on a particular server, so that you didn’t sign yourself up for repeated failure.
On an RP server, however, things can be a little different.
I’ve played on Feathermoon essentially since I started playing (I had two short-lived characters on PVP servers with a jerk of an ex-boyfriend, got over THAT, and rolled to play with my best friend from high school here on Feathermoon). During that time I’ve been a rookie member of a lot of failed guilds, an integral member of a few guilds that went under due to real life issues, expansions, and splits in purpose and personality, and a contributing member to a couple of really awesome guilds. Throughout most of that, I’ve participated in various RP events – some on the realm forums, some from guilds, some spontaneous.
But one of the things that makes RP servers particularly interesting is that they develop a kind of “server lore.”
Obviously this isn’t the same as Blizzard’s lore, but for the people involved it can carry a similar weight. Some of those lore events are, of course, sillier than others, but they do bring a kind of connection to the people that are involved. That connection then shapes further interactions on that server.
Now, let me disclaimer this – a lot of server lore (at least on Feathermoon) happens or is initiated by forum events and RP. If you aren’t interested in what happens on your realm forums, then you’ll probably miss out on some of these kinds of events – and that’s OK. Not everyone really wants to be involved in large-scale RP or PVP type things, and some people prefer almost-exclusively smaller scale RP. That doesn’t make this lore more important, it just means more people have probably seen or been involved in it.
Having only played on Feathermoon, I can only speak to our individual lore, but some of the things that I remember include:
- The Battle of Hillsbrad Between the advent of the Honor System (April 2005), and the introduction of better-functioning battlegrounds (October-ish 2005), Hillsbrad became a war zone. Noted particularly because at the time Alliance outnumbered Horde on Feathermoon by more than 2 to 1, several guilds and the long-standing PVP rivalries started up during this time. As a leveling hunter, I didn’t even properly understand how PVP flags worked, but I knew that there wasn’t any amount of money that would make me ride through Hillsbrad. Several well known – and utterly feared – Horde rogues made names for themselves during this event (Particularly Nimjhal and the guild Low Red Moon).
- The Rose Ball A server-wide RP event that happens yearly, and gets a lot of people to show up and have a good time. Run by The Order Of The Rose, this event includes games, prizes, trivia, and all kinds of other assorted silliness. An ongoing event, I always try to make it to the Rose Ball, if only for a fun excuse to get “dressed up” in game and hang out with people I might not normally get to RP with. It’s open to new RPers too.
- The Deeprun Tram Incident A dwarf, running through the Deeprun Tram, discovers two naked night elves, engaging in … risque behavior. Interacts with them, screenshots it, and posts it all over the internet. Feathermoon becomes synonymous with RP Cybersex. Mentions of “yar yar hump hump”, dwarven hand cannons, and acting like trees while making crow noises all stem back to this particular little juicy tidbit of server history.
- Guildwatch and the Tri-City Assault Arranged by an Alliance guild known for defending (and attacking) cities in World PVP, three horde cities were attacked in one night – Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff as diversions, with the Undercity as the main target. The RP that stemmed from this (including the trial of an Alliance rogue suspected of treason for warning the horde cities) was relatively legendary at the time. This, combined with the Battle for Hillsbrad, has gone a long way to sustain general hatred between the Alliance and the Horde.
- Boomsticks Pub Night – one of the oldest Alliance side RP events that is still ongoing, the Boomsticks Gang hosts a fantastic pub in the Dwarven District of Stormwind every Wednesday. (Similarly, Noxilite hosts a fire night for storytelling and RP on Mondays, and other guilds host or have hosted ongoing RP events like this. I think the Boomsticks pub is the longest running on Feathermoon, but I could be wrong!)
- Uthas, Plaguebringer, Absolution – Uthas Wordweaver, priest, preaches peace and community to both the Alliance and the Horde, starts a cult, and then gives them all the plague. The resulting chaos from this story created one of Feathermoon’s best known villains (who has guest posted here even!), and a server wide, cross-faction RP storyline that extended for months. His name is spoken still with reverence, with such epithets as “Sweet Zombie Uthas on a Pogo Stick”.
- A whole bunch of Forum Silliness – Hail Kull, Soulblade 178:7, Kill yourself and join the Sidewinder Band, /waffle, Cheese is not of the Forsaken, Pantsless Wednesday (more on that particular event soon!) and other such nonsense that bleed into general chat, forum conversations, and generally show up in random places, taking on a life of their own.
Within individual guilds, lore builds up as well – things like The Bloody Long Story (which is both bloody and bloody long), The Longest Night and The Wrathgate are recent events that have shaped, and will continue to shape, the Wildfire Riders. Current storylines will get folded into guild lore as well. I’m not sure if there’s even an official name for the story that has us wrapped up currently, where Tarquin is exiled from Stormwind (to avoid being hanged), SI:7 is causing trouble, some old god followers are generally wreaking havoc, and we’re finding bodies in the Stormwind Canals, but I’m quite sure it will be remembered in stories in the Pig and Whistle for some time. (I suspect Arthas’ death will also become part of WFR history, with as many exiled Lordaeron characters we have.)
So, to lasso this back to my original topic … of course not everyone on Feathermoon knows about, cares about, or remembers these events. Some of them happened quite a long time ago, before a lot of the current players were even thinking about rolling characters and trying out the World of Warcraft craze.
But these kinds of events (even the silly ones) provide each server with a sort of cultural history, a background that runs between the forums and the game, between factions, between guilds, that anyone can tap into and build from.
Which, of course, turns this post into a sort of Friday challenge.
What servers do you all play on, and do they have events and stories that pop up again and again? Are there major server-wide RP events that shaped how you play or how you see certain aspects of the game (I know I still, to this day, skirt quickly around Tarren Mill)?
If you don’t know, your server’s wowwiki page is a good place to start (this is Feathermoon’s), as well as looking through your realm forums or asking around in your guild. Getting people talking about old stories is fun, and you never know, you might learn something new about your server. If possible, you might try asking about these events in-character too, since an in-character retelling of a long-past event can be really interesting.
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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?
August 4, 2015 – 12:22 pm
An old story, reposted here as I’m shaking the mothballs off Ankona and needed an easy way to show people a little bit about the (batshit) things she gets up to. Enjoy, and don’t be too creeped out!
It really …
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Tirith and Aely were their second and third.
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