I’ve been enjoying my time on Argent Dawn. So much so that I’ve hit the “You cannot create any more alts, you crazy person!” mark for the first time ever. Would have gotten there earlier but I tend to delete characters if I get bored with them before they hit level 30.
The only exception to this is the Night Elf rogue that was my first character ever. He will continue to wallow in his perpetual n00bishness as a reminder to me that we all have to start somewhere.
Which brings us to today’s lesson on how to behave on an RP server. I’ve encountered far too many people on Role Playing servers who don’t have any idea what RP is. I’m not talking about the people who think RP involves things taking place upstairs in Goldshire, either – I mean people who honestly don’t know what role playing is in any sense. This list* is for them.
1. A definition
Role Playing involves improvisational (and often unscheduled) acting. Anything that fits that description counts. The rest is details. Details like “good RP” and “bad RP.”
Telling someone to not RP on an RP realm is like telling someone to not PvP on a PvP realm. If you see someone doing this, they’re either ignorant or a troll. If you’re RPing, ignore or report these people (depending on how belligerent they are). If you’re one of these people, you’re doing it wrong.
Conversely, there’s no requirement that says you HAVE to RP on an RP realm. Plenty of people don’t. So long as they’re respectful, think of them as your audience as you act out a part.
Oh, and name choices go along with remembering where you are. RP servers have stricter name requirements than PvP or Normal servers. “Ipwnhorde,” “Lolkittydrood,” and “Sirtanksalot” are perhaps not good ideas for names. You can and will get reported and may be forced to change your name.
Behind every “half-demon, half-dragon, half-vampire, half-werewolf (Yes, they add up to two people now. I’m bad at math.), long lost illegitimate love child of Medivh and Chromie” is someone whose inner child just wants someone out there that’s strong enough to stop all the bad things in the world. Such characters don’t make for good storytelling, but it helps to understand the motivation behind their creation. Feel sorry for them. Try to steer them in the right direction. Don’t just point and laugh. (At least, not where they will see it.)
4. Don’t write reactions for someone else.
People in the game are going to do things you don’t like. Hunters will roll need on gear with strength on it, and RPers will have characters that you find offensive. You can ignore it, avoid it, or react to it, but even then there’s a right and wrong way to do it.
WRONG: “Elumi gasped in horror as she stepped into the room, nearly tripping over the discarded clothing. She quickly cast Entangling Roots on the Draenei and escorted the gnome out the door by the ear. ‘What were you thinking?!’ she demanded.”
RIGHT: “Elumi gasped in horror as she stepped into the room, nearly tripping over the discarded clothing. She quickly backed out the way she came, blushing furiously at what she had seen. ‘I … I didn’t think that was physically possible…’ she whispered faintly, before rushing to find the nearest bucket and losing her recently eaten meal.”
In both of these cases the person playing Elumi stumbled upon something that was less than pleasant, for the character certainly and probably for the player as well. In one case Elumi “forced” the situation. If your character attempts to interact with someone else’s character, your writing should be open ended enough for them to choose their own reaction.
A better response would have been “Elumi attempted to grab the gnome by the ear and escort her out of the room.” That would have allowed the player playing the gnome to decide if the attempt was successful or not without hijacking the story completely. I like the scenario I labeled “right” because it allows the love birds to ignore Elumi’s actions entirely if they so choose.
At one point I saw a male Draenei priest in Goldshire complaining that he could not study with the priest trainer because the room was “in use” and had been so for some time. That player took a situation many RPers (and non-RPers) like myself find distasteful and was able to create a story for himself based off of it.
(And since ERP in a public channel is technically against the TOS, you may want to report it if you encounter it.)
5. Create a back-story, but don’t broadcast it.
When was the last time you met someone new and immediately told them everything about yourself? Likewise, your character shouldn’t be walking up to random people and saying “Hi, I’m a half-demon, half-dragon, half-vampire, half-werewolf, long lost illegitimate love child of Medivh and Chromie! How are you?”
OK, bad example. You character should never say that under any circumstance that isn’t a joke. The point is, you should use your character’s back-story to decide how your character will react in certain situations. A Blood Elf whose family was slaughtered by trolls might not be so trusting of his large-tusked allies. A human who was raised by priests or paladins that were overly strict might have a certain disregard for organized religion. You don’t have to explain why your character is making every decision (at least not right away), but you should still have a reason beyond “That’s what I would do” or “That’s how the coin toss went.”
6. Tragic pasts are like noses. Everyone has them.
OK, maybe some of the Forsaken don’t have noses, but it seems you can’t learn someone’s back-story without discovering that their parents, siblings, significant others, children, best friends, and pet gerbil named Bob were all killed in a war, jungle expedition, boating trip, or freak accident involving enchanted tweezers.
I’m not going to say you should avoid tragedy altogether. Anyone who knows anything about the lore of Warcraft knows full well that there’s been a lot of that spread around. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t think that the “tragic past” angle will make your character stand out. (“Look everyone, I have a nose!”) For crying out loud, the only way to be a Forsaken is if you’ve already DIED once. That’s an entire race full of tragedy right there, and let’s not get started on the massacre of the Blood Elves or the loss of Gnomeregan.
To make a back-story stand out in Warcraft, it’ll have to have as little scary nasty stuff in it as possible.
7. How often do you run, really?
You may notice people walking around more on RP servers. It’s incredibly inefficient compared to running when you understand that your characters never get tired, but if you’re playing a role chances are your character is not someone who feels the need to always run everywhere. Sometimes this is called “RP Walking” or some variation. While I hesitate to use the term in regards to a fantasy themed video game, walking is simply more “realistic.” Well, it’s as realistic as you can get in a world where elves, gnomes, and goats from space can coexist peacefully.
(*Please note: since this is my blog this list is heavily influenced by my opinions. You have the right to your own opinions, of course. If you disagree with mine, feel free to leave a comment or – better yet – write your own blog post. Blogs are pretty much free these days. All the cool kids are doing it.)