October 24, 2009 – 10:51 am
One of the cool things about getting incoming links from other sites is that they bring in an audience of folks that don’t normally hang out here in my little palm-frond covered corner of the internet.
Of course – sometimes that means those folks aren’t familiar with RP, especially if they’ve been playing on a PVE-normal or PVP-normal server for the entirety of their time in Warcraft, and haven’t ever really thought about roleplay at all (other than the MMO-RPG part). One of those folks had the courage to ask me, flat out, about RP (though he or she didn’t actually leave their name), so instead of leaving my answer buried in the comments, I’m going to tackle it straight up.
I’m gonna be frank and just ask… What IS RPing?
Is it a series of carefully planned scripts people follow ingame? Do you talk with a medieval accent? Do you wear greens and grays to role-play characters? Please Help!
Dear Unsure -
Roleplaying is nothing more than approaching our characters in game as though they were actual people living in an actual world. Rather than just being “toons”, they have personalities and histories.
- Sometimes that means simply having a loose idea of where a character came from. If you play a Forsaken character, it might be something like knowing who they were before they died, or how they broke free from the Scourge.
- Sometimes it means setting up big “player created” quests and events in game. These events can involve just your character or your entire guild – or even the entire server. They might just be a big party (like the one I’m throwing on Tuesday to celebrate a year since the Zombie Invasion of Stormwind), or they might be more serious.
- Sometimes it means writing stories about them (I have a lot of those up at the Story Archive link at the top of the page). Those stories can be long or short, serious or humorous.
- Sometimes it means that we sit around like old friends, getting drunk and telling stories in the local bar, where everyone knows us, but where we welcome and enjoy the company of new friends as well.
You should check out my sidebar of links about RP, or go check out the world of warcraft official page about realm types and RP servers to get more information. In fact, they have one of the best short-definitions of RP I’ve seen:
If you choose to play on a Role-Playing realm, you should act and speak as your character would in the World of Warcraft setting.
However, it does NOT mean that we sit around talking in a medieval accent.In fact, this is one of the most persistent stereotypes about warcraft RP, and it is almost 100% false. I’ve met a lot of people in the last four+ years of roleplay, and I have never met ANYONE that said “Forsooth!” in a roleplay situation.
It also does not mean that we are incapable of raiding, pvping, or progressing through content. In fact, some of us even raid in a roleplay environment – and are pretty successful at it (progressing through ToC 25 heroic). Our (mostly) Fearless Leader, Tarquin ap Danwryith, wrote an excellent post on how RP Raiding works, if you’re interested.
It’s something we do in WoW – and everyone approaches it a little differently. There are as many different ways to enjoy RP as there are Roleplayers (much the same with raiders and pvpers an any other game demographic).
It also doesn’t mean that we set up elaborate “scripts” for other players to follow, like writing theater. Sometimes we have a “well, this story needs to go this way” clause for things? Kinda like a party planner usually has a list of activities or events. Those don’t define how people react to them or what the final outcome always is. They just give a basic framework to something that’s going on.
Though yes – sometimes we DO wear greens/greys or non-tier armor when we’re not out fighting. (People that wear only “RP clothes” while fighting usually get pretty frustrated with it) Would you want to sit around in a park with your friends while wearing an entire suit of armor and padding, unable to bend half way? I know I wouldn’t! So Aely usually wears pants, a shirt, and a vest, with some leather boots when she’s just “hanging out” – simply because as a /person/, it makes more sense. (Even Knights from the Medieval era didn’t wear armor 24/7)
I hope that helps as a little “basic intro” to Roleplay, Unsure.
I know that we roleplayers get a lot of grief, especially in places that aren’t populated by many roleplayers (or around people that have only ever met some notably unfortunate examples), but we’re not a bad lot!
Keep an eye around these parts early next week for an updated post about resources for a new Roleplayer!
October 22, 2009 – 10:58 am
Some of you may have noticed that I write things.
For awhile, I was even getting paid to write things (and being employed as a writer was pretty cool) – though sadly that job doesn’t exist anymore.
And the more I write – about the various Annas that hang out around this little corner of the internet – the more I wish I wasn’t writing something that is, essentially derivative. I could never make these works my own. They’re my writing, but I’m writing in a borrowed world. And, should they decide that my writing is in some way bothersome to their copyright, the Big Shots at Blizzard could email me a cease and desist, and tell me to take all of my writing down.
This is not ideal – especially for characters like Aelflaed, who could easily stand on her own in another world, because who and what she is doesn’t depend on the Warcraft Universe.
Some of you have asked me if I was planning to do NaNoWriMo.
My response has always been no, since November is incredibly busy, since I have houseguests and traveling to do, and since – to be honest – I don’t have a novel’s worth of writing planned out. Of course, the fact that I don’t have it planned out is largely a factor of my not having planned it out. I have characters rattling around in my head, to be sure. And bits and snags of world building too.
So I’m pitching my hat in the ring.
(Which is scary, really – now I can’t weasel out of it.)
I have nine days to plan out what I’ll write, and then thirty days to write 50 thousand words. Fifty Thousand. For reference – the Wrathgate story (not including the epilogue post) is around 6500 words.
No, my writing will not be public – I don’t post unedited writing, and the essence of writing 1700 words per day means I don’t have time to edit. But yes, it will be fiction. Probably fantasy. Possibly somewhat historically grounded fantasy – dunno. We’ll see. I’m going to go plan now.
October 20, 2009 – 9:49 am
One of the hardest things about being in an established RP group is dealing with people that obviously want to join in… but who are so clueless as to toe the /ignore line because their behavior is egregiously annoying. This goes whether you’re new to the group, to the server, or new to RP altogether. As a whole, RPers like new people. They bring new ideas and fresh perspectives into a group that’s sometimes so well established as to be a little bit boring.
Each new RPer is a risk though, because sometimes you run into a bad egg. And some nights, you get lucky enough to have a not-so great experience with one new person and a fantastic experience with another one. Last night was one such evening and was the inspiration for this post.
So. Things to beware of.
The Bad! (And sometimes Ugly)
- Repeatedly stating things in /say, but using ((OOC BRACKETS)) is really annoying. Particularly if what you reference in say using brackets is bitterness at someone who didn’t read all of your RSP flag. (see point #2) A casual ((afk a few)) is fine, every once in awhile – though there are in character ways of dealing with afks as well.
- RSP mods are great, but not everyone has them. If your description is seven screenshots long? Nobody is going to read it. Pretend it doesn’t exist and RP from where you are.
This is particularly true if you have, in the past, chewed people out in general chat for having what you deem “bad RSP descriptions”, only to have yours contain the information that you are a DK but you’re not really a DK, and that your bust is exactly such and such size. If you have to break it down into sections like “Physical Appearance” “Armor” “Is Not a <Class>” and each of those sections is more than a paragraph? It’s too long. Which is fine, just don’t demand that people who are busy in the middle of several conversations around a bar-room table stop what they’re doing to read all of it before they RP with you.
- Long, passive aggressive emotes will only annoy the people you are talking to. Things like “/me sighs and stares pointedly at everyone at the table who is ignoring her attempts to stalk them.” aren’t going to make you any friends. In fact, if even YOU think it seems like you’re stalking them? They’re probably not real keen on your being around.
- If you want attention, and you keep doing attention hogging things to get it, people aren’t going to be keen on giving it to you. It’s the equivalent of ignoring the three year old running around with a shipping box on her head. When everything you do screams PAY ATTENTION TO ME I’M SPECIAL… it’s not conducive for a group RP setting. If you come across as trying to be the center of attention, you’re probably going to be unsuccessful (or at least get a negative reaction)
- Point #4 also goes for Elune Stones. Standing around in spotlights and then ignoring anyone that tries to ask you if you’re putting on a show? Not a good way to have people want to spend time RPing with you.
- If, when you get frustrated with a group of people’s refusing to acquiesce to your demands for attention, you stand on the table, dance, strip naked, make sexy emotes, or do other behavior usually found in the sphere of griefers…. you seem like a griefer. Even if you aren’t trying to be one.
In short, demanding – either outright or through your actions – that you MUST be the center of attention because your character is somehow amazingly special isn’t going to make you any friends. If you were going into a real life bar or coffee shop for the first time, and a large group of people who obviously know each other were there, how would you act? Those same kinds of guidelines work for your character as well. Real people don’t like emo, passive aggressive behavior, obvious ploys for attention,
Now, not every new RPer does this.
In fact, last night at the Pig we had the pleasure of RPing with someone new both to our circle and our server. And this young paladin, in short, got it right.
- Use emotes to your advantage. Emotes are a great way to let a group know that you’re there, and that you’re interested in RP. Talk to the bartender, order a drink, make a face at an NPC (Aedis and Brom are particularly good for this, if you’re in Stormwind). In general, let people know that you’re there… without demanding any response from them.
- In an active, busy group, know that you might have to try a few times to get noticed. Especially when the chat window is flying by at the speed of sound because there are four conversations going, a single emote from /anyone/ can get missed. (In fact, they frequently ARE missed. It’s no big deal, just roll with it).
- Offer something to the conversation. If someone is talking about something your character knows, or doesn’t know, or doesn’t believe in, or thinks is a bunch of hooey – respond. Conversations are not limited to the people holding them, and sometimes expressing an opinion is a good way to break the ice. Just be wary of being overly creepy. If your opinion is that you enjoy necrophilia… expect characters to be somewhat revolted.
- Be present enough to participate without forcing all attention to be on you. Going AFK is fine, especially during long nights of RP – but if you emote once and then just sit in the corner, people don’t know whether you want to have interaction or not.
- If a particular character interests you, see if you can strike up a conversation. Whether that’s asking about an accent (Aely gets lots of those!), a particular item of clothing, a non-combat pet, or just something someone said earlier, little things that make your character go “huh?” or pique their curiosity are good ways to break the ice. Sometimes by focusing on one character that seems particularly friendly, you can find an “in” with the rest of the group.
In short – be a courteous part of the group. Is it a fine line to walk? Sure, and it takes guts too. But people are very willing to forgive a few flubs if you’re obviously making an effort. It’s only when someone starts to force their way into the RP that a group will be less likely to overlook things.
As a side note, you’ll notice that nothing in the list of “do’s” is related to backstory. After speaking with this person OOCly to invite him to our usual RP night last night, I found out he doesn’t really have one. All he has is a loose character concept – and that’s all he needed.
We had fun, he had fun, and maybe Aely will have a new protégé to look after. Who knows?
So go forth and RP. Be patient and courteous of other RPers, and they’ll return the favor!
October 15, 2009 – 12:27 pm
So one of the things I talk about every now and again is character creation. How to make a new character, things to think about, ways to make them balanced and interesting, and even lists of questions to consider about them.
But at some point, at least in my experience, you get a character built up and start RPing with them… and then all hell breaks loose.
Because that character takes on a life of his or her own.
And every once in awhile, you turn around in the middle of an RP conversation, look at your character, and say “WAIT WUT? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!”
Maybe this is a product of my very free and unconcerned attitude towards backstory.
None of my characters have a document where I tell you exactly what happened to them, and when, and how, and why. Aely’s childhood story is the closest thing to that – and she was a fully developed character before any of that came to be. When I start RPing with a character, they do have a loose history, but I’m more interested in seeing where they go from here – seeing how interaction brings them to life and how they take shape.
Without a backstory that’s set in stone, their history is (mostly) their own. I don’t decide when I roll a new character exactly what their opinions are on everything – those opinions are shaped by their interactions in game… and sometimes they come out of left field and reveal something new, and I’m left stammering, wondering when or where they got that from.
The character basically becomes independent from my conscious development process – and I’m free to set them up for things without knowing exactly how they might respond.
Does this happen to anyone else? Do you guys encourage this kind of independence for your characters or do you prefer to keep more control over where things go and how they react?
*This post is inspired by Aely, who threw me a curveball last night. I’m still trying to process exactly what the implications are, but what happened, and what she said, puts a lot of things about her character into very stark relief.
February 25, 2013 – 9:13 am
I’ve decided, after no small amount of back-and-forth, to put my energy behind Annie Mae to be my second max character this expansion (with Angoleth likely to be third). I can’t really get into Shaman gameplay, so Annorah is going …
January 9, 2013 – 6:33 pm
I no longer enjoy WoW’s endgame content.
I like raiding, and the raids in Pandaria so far have been interesting. But I am no longer all that interested in the rest of the endgame.
This is OK, because Pandaria is, …
January 4, 2013 – 4:02 pm
I’m still getting my head on straight after the holidays, which involved throwing two parties, taking two road trips, and miraculously avoiding having the flu. As such, here are a few interesting things I’ve been reading that you might like …
December 10, 2012 – 7:48 am
I am remiss in not linking to it earlier, but you should check out the inimitable Tarquin’s article on Roleplaying and why it’s awesome, over at Dorkadia. He’s starting a series there on roleplaying in general, and this is …
December 7, 2012 – 7:49 am
This week, in lieu of a set of questions, we have a ficlet prompt! This is intended to be a small piece of writing, no more than 500 words.
This prompt is in honor of Shad, who came up with …
December 4, 2012 – 9:47 am
Last night we did an Ulduar 25 man run for some transmog gear for our DK tank (and of course, I got 3/4 of a set that I wanted, so I’ll have to go back to finish my own set …
November 30, 2012 – 8:32 am
Your character has unlimited funds and unlimited space to make their dream abode.
- Is it in the city or country? What zone, if you could pick one?
- Big or small? What does it look like?
- Is it cluttered and crazy
November 29, 2012 – 8:28 am
I’m here today to talk to you all about a very serious problem I see in the RP community – RPer disease. I don’t know any roleplayer who doesn’t suffer bouts of this infection, and while not exactly contagious it …