How to Roleplay

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How to Roleplay

Post  Rikkitazi on Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:35 pm

Our guild is on a role-playing server, it should nearly be expected, that people on the server knows how to play in character.
Still only few actually do so. You may ask if people don't like to, or why even play role-play, what the point with it is? My personal arguments for role-playing would be, that it makes the world of warcraft so far more exciting and interesting.

Blizzard made a great fantasy story, characters and a whole world with vendors, clothes, pets, emotes etc., so why not use it for more than just fill out? Since you have a character you like to spend a lot of time as, then why not form him or her a personality, relationships, feelings and a background story?

If you are one of the people who want to role-play, but don't really know how to get started, then here's some tips for you:

Starting a character:

First thing to do is to consider how your character is going to be like. Evil? Friendly? Sneaky? Naive? Which class is the character? Rich, middle-class or poor?

In your pursuit to create a character with appeal, there's some considerations you should do:
World of Warcrafts role-players have a tendency to create personalities that in one or more ways are contrasted to the official lore behind their particular race and/or class.
Therefore, before you go on to make a good warlock, an evil draenei or a city night elf, remember that a lot of players have already done that before and surprisingly few actually make a character that follows his or her racial/class-wise lore – besides, going back to basics can give you an excellent basis to make more advanced characters and personalities later.

It's important to know the basic about your race its lore, since most people know about their own culture and background history – not only about their own personal background.
The intro cinematic of WoW tells a little about what have happened, and here and there, books is placed all around the world with info about the past and history. By checking out www.wowwiki.com you can also find all you want to know, easily. So take your time to "get into the world of warcraft".

Next step is to try find a race which reminds you about your own temper. Easiest start on role-play, is to find a race which reminds you about yourself. Have the same temper and character features as yourself. Many beginners picks the race they find most appealing to the eye without even considering the racial background and characteristics. Often, the races are not what they seem to be.
The draeneis and blood elves are perfect examples for that: The draeneis looks like demons, especially the men, but behind the facade they are very empathic, loyal and noble creatures. This is also why this race has no warlocks or rogues. To contrast those humanoids, we have the blood elves who looks like the princes and princesses of a true fairytale – stunningly beautiful creatures with fair skin, high society cities and architecture, but behind the scenery they are the most vain and toxic people.

It is not wrong to make contrasting characters, but if you know how the chosen race normally is like, it is a shame to act completely opposite – unless you of course can find a sensible reason for why being so.
But at least, do not be surprised if your surroundings frown at you – that is to expect.

Generally humans or orcs are the most easy race to start as, since they have many “faces" and we all know how humans in general is like. Humans also have the most contrastful classes: holy priests, paladins, noble warriors, wise mages or sly rogues and warlocks. Orcs are slightly more primitive, being: hunters, shamans, warriors, warlocks or rogues, but still very easy to relate yourself with, if you imagine living in a more poor society in a fantasy dark age time.

When you have chosen a character, then you're ready to last step of the construction: look. You need to decide how the past has developed your persons appearance. Is he an old, experienced warrior, he will probably have a bit more scars and scruffy look, than if he's a smart, stylish dressed charmer, working in the city's most expensive restaurant as a waiter.

Playing in character


Now, you've made the character, decided a personality and decided the look. you're now ready to join the world and meet other people. easiest way to get in contact, is to take a seat in an inn and keep your eyes open. try offer a drink or ask them a question. Remember that your character only know what it hears. You do NOT know peoples name, age, profession, class or so, before someone tells you.

Keep in mind that what your avatar does shows his personality more than what he actually says. Also, it is very important not to write directly what the character is thinking. Always write emotes like you're a another person, watching your avatar while he's acting – you write what you see, not what your character is thinking, even though you know it, you'll have to express it by explaining the reactions. Here's two examples:

A) Cortak thinks the music is very loud.

B) Cortak covers his ears for the music, groaning in complain.

The first emote is very short and tells directly what he's thinking, while the second just as clearly shows that Cortak thinks that the music is too loud, but without mentioning it directly. Even further, it shows what he does – this is acting and expressing, which adds way more life and personality to the character than by writing the simple, mind-reading-emote.
Even many small emotes, for instance explaining the characters personal ticks, adds life to the character. For instance emotes like this:

“Patricia takes a drag on her cigarette, before tapping it with her finger over the ash tray. “

This is absolutely great for your surroundings, because it will help them figuring out who your character is like. Small habits, ticks and movements which apparently are irrelevant isn't useless at all. It is catching people's attention and tempts them to ask into who your character is, and when you've made a new character, a typical desire would be to tell people who you are and tell about your background. Remember then, that patience is your keyword for good RP!

RP fights

It is one of the parts of RP which has coursed most disagreement and conflicts in the game. Some people find it unrealistic that a lvl 2 rogue could actually manage steeling from an experienced soldier on lvl 80 who's fought several battles, travelled through the world etc. In general, I believe, that the best solution would be to ignore the number of level, keep that out of character in other words, and pretend that you are at an equal level, all of you.

When fighting, it is important not to take over the other person's reaction or decide what is happening. You can only try, attempt or hit something towards the target – not do it without giving the other player a chance to response on your emote. This is generally a rule for everything you do in the emotes. Here's an example:

“Zanoke grabs his gun and shoots Thalvanir in the arm. Bang!”

Now, this is a classic “god emote”. Absolutely unfair to Thalvanir, who can't give his own personal response. A more fair solution would be:

“Zanoke grabs his gun and shoots towards Thalvanir's arm.”

Now, Thalvanir can decide if he'd like to dodge the bullet or gets hit. Most realistic he would get hit, since the bullet is already in the arm before a human ear can react on the explosion, but he could perhaps figure what would happen as soon as he sees Zanoke raise the gun, and respond:

“Thalvanir swiftly cover himself behind his shield, as soon as Zanoke raises the gun, letting the bullet change direction, hitting the mirror on the wall, which crackles into thousand sharp pieces onto the floor.”

The same could be done in a more peaceful scenery, not only action RP. Try have a look at these examples:

“George bows forwards, kissing Lilly on the lips.”

Now, this rarely coarse as many troubles as in the more intense action sceneries, but what if Lilly would prefer avoiding the kiss? She off course could push him away, but a more idealistic emote would had been:

“George bows forwards to kiss Lilly on the lips.”

Then she would have a fair chance to turn her head before he could manage doing so.

How to make emotes:


All these emotes are quite simple and funny to make up. It's just to type /e and press space and the text will turn orange and start with your character's name. This means that you wont have to start with a capital letter in the sentence, or it'll look like this:

“Lisa Starts walking.”

instead of:

“Lisa stars walking.”

Also, if you have to describe something that belongs to your character, you can start the sentence with an 's. This will make it appear like this:

“Igrah's pet begins to bark and wave the tail, jumping energetic around in circles.”

Can you learn anything by RP?

Since role-play is a psychological game, it is a funny way to find out more about yourself and other people. By playing another personality or just playing yourself in a world with different politics and points of view, you find some of your own personal limits and gains a more wide view upon yourself and the human nature. For instance, if you lack self-confidence real life, you can try test yourself by making a pretty character and see how people are responding. Then you can consider if it's the fact that the character is handsome, or if it's something in you personality which changes, and if you could use it in your real life. As well you can try the exactly opposite, if you're a very self-confident and out-going person, you can try make a very shy person. It might start a certain interest in you towards other people and how they interact. Or Perhaps even increase your sense of empathy, which I doubt is a negative thing.

Can RP affect your real-life emotions?

Yes, in some degree, it can. If you can't see the differences between IC and OOC, you can get personally offended and hurt. Also, if you like to RP and you get friends in the game, it's very important to beware not to prefer them above the friends real life, or you will end up quite lonesome one day. Your real life is way more valuable and shall always come as a first priority.
On the other hand, if you have friends real life and invites them to role-play, it can be a very interesting hobby to share, just like any other kind of interest. Just remember to do other things as well, since it's pretty hard for people outside this “sub-culture” to find it fascinating.

For example, I believe that every player who've played a romance, has in some degree been shocked by the way it effects him or her personally. It is quite normal, but keep in mind that it is and will always stay as role-play, never something real.
So if you can't handle to lose an IC relationship, you should consider not to play a handsome character, or just never let your character fall in love.

In general, always remember, that what ever happens in character, is not a personal attack on you. Don't take it personally out of character, no matter if it's love or anger you meet in the game. It is something that you learn by maturing and develop as a role-player.

Why play RP in world of Warcraft and not live RP?


Especially RP in the world of Warcraft is very rich of possibilities, since you are not limited physical and economically in the same way as you are when playing live RP.
It isn't easy to play a two meter tall, dreadful orc if you're in fact only the 1,60 m tall boy on 14 years. Either it's cool to play a seducing, stunningly beautiful lady if you're a chubby guy on 24 years.
It for sure is funny to watch people working it out, and with a bit of imagination and self-irony, everything is possible, but in general, the world of Warcraft breaks the limits so you can get the visual effects which pen and paper and live RP can't offer you.

I hope you could use these tips and guidelines, or at least that it has confirmed or changed some of your thoughts about what RP is.

Written by Rikkitazi & Ngozi
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Rikkitazi
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