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Rosemberg's guide to roleplay

Feb 4, 2016
Stormwind City
Why another roleplay guide for World of Warcraft?

First of all, this question must be answered. Because there are loads of other guides around the web around this topic, so why would it be necessary to add another one? Well that's is for two reasons. The first one is that this is the first guide on Kronos - this is important because it brings the roleplay aspect of the game into discussion around the server's community and it is a way to rise more roleplayers around. The second reason is that I want to address some points which aren't commonly found around other guides, specifically I want to talk about the immersion obstacles created by the duo-persona "IC" and "OC" - but hey, we will get there.

This guide is constructed on the basis of personal opinions and views. If you have a different opinion or view, feel free to share it so I may extend the guide to have a more broad view on Roleplay as a whole.

What does it mean to roleplay in World of Warcraft?

So let's go first with the basics and them we will deep the discussion about this. To roleplay a game means to take part in the world, which basically means that you will play a role - suddenly you're not Mark anymore, you're Arkerius: a young student of arcane who's keen on traveling and fighting off monsters. So when you approach someone who's killing the same monsters you need you won't simply come off and say "inv pls", you'll go for something like "Greetings stranger, may I join your battles?".

By this point, there are basically two kinds of thoughts around roleplay: "Yeah I think it adds something to the game, but not many people play along when you do that" or "I don't think it is fun to complicate the communication on the game just to pretend I'm a hero and bla bla bla". And yes - I agree with both opinions. How come? Well, now we start to dig deeper.

Side note: there are some people that won't really find roleplay fun at all, but I'm assuming that the reader has at least some interest on it, because afterall you're here. So the rest of the text not only explains how it works but I also try to convince that it can be fun for everyone.

Roleplay can be viewed as a player's perspective

People usually undurstand roleplay as an activity that some players enjoy doing - "let's roleplay", "roleplay event scheduled for tomorrow", etc. Because of that, roleplayers adopted two main terms: IC (in character) and OOC (out of character). So they usually set some channels for IC (usually /say, /emote and /yell) and some other for OOC (/guild, /whisper, etc) - that way they're able to carry on their dual-persona during the game.

That is not wrong, but what is not commonly analysed is that roleplay is also a player's perspective that can be adopted through the game. So, basically, it is a different way to play/view the game: instead of simply going out for the objectives around the game, you try to immerse yourself as if you were connected to your character and the world. But how exactly do you do it?

What the immersion does to the game?

The immersion can be increased by many actions, but of the main ways to do it is by reading the quests and undurstanding what are you doing on them. We are currently during a XP boost, but let's face it: we spend a lot of time leveling and doing quests. Some people can't bother reading the texts and they simple go for the objectives, that way they act more efficiently but maybe they are not having the maximum fun that they could be having. Why is that?

Well let's take an example: the [Defias Brotherhood] quest line. Player A simply reads the objectives and player B reads the storyline. Player A spends about two hours walking around Westfall/Redridge/Stormwind/Westfall again/doing an escort/etc to get some XP and some better items. But player B is on a investigation: he's working with the People's Militia leader in order to dicover who's the head behind all those bandits around Westfall, so he is sent out to gather information from many sources before taking any serious action. Did you feel the difference here?

The immersion is what makes World of Warcraft a great game - it requires many factors to create this connection with a role inside a fantasy world. But it really depend on the player to view the game this way, because in the end all MMORPG's are quite similar: they're games in which you have to spend hundreds of hours to grind experience/gold/rating/etc to see your character progressing. But what makes them different is how fun the grind can be. And this is why you have storylines, beautiful scenery and great music with the game.

How to roleplay?

In order to roleplay you need to create a simple and a bit foggy background story for your character that will shape his personality. So let's return to our mage for an example: "Arkerius was one of the prime students in Dalaran, but when the plague hit Lordaeron during the Third War he fled to Stormwind in order to survive and continue his arcane studies. Because of the brutality that his kingdom suffered during the war, Arkerius has a strong temper and has difficulties to control his anger". You can even develop it more, this is only a starting story.

It is important to note, though, that just because you have a background story it doesn't mean you have to share it when you first meet another roleplayer around - "Hi I'm Arkerius, I'm a Dalaran refugee and I have a strong temper because of all the horrors that I saw in the past. Nice to meet you *handshake*". Usually roleplayers take time to uncover each other background story and they let their past be uncovered by their present, so, back to Arkerius, a conflict could happen in which he would feel sorry and try to explain himself by telling his traumatic past. Also, don't make too much epic proportions to your background story - you can't be Arthas - rather some humble setting or otherwise you'll only get in a party with badass superheroes.

The name is also important - there is no orc in Azeroth called Jake for a reason. There will be a small guide down here with naming tips, but for now I want to talk about a common mistake: you don't already know everyone's name - this is metagaming. Metagaming
metagaming can be defined as any action made by a player's character which makes use of knowledge that the character is not meant to be aware of.

When should I roleplay? How to find people?

Remember what I discussed back about the difference between undurstanding roleplay as an activity and roleplay as a perspective? Well, get that back on your mind. Now remember when I said that I agreed with the player who found roleplaying communication and setting tedius and not fun? Well, get that back too! Now let me tell you this: you should roleplay always and you don't need anyone to do it.

As I said previously, you can immerse and take a role in the world by simply by undurstanding the story and the world around you. Well, I consider that roleplaying - you're taking a role inside that quest/world and you don't even need someone else to interact with you. But World of Warcraft is a social game and you will eventually need some other people in order to complete elite quests, do dungeons and raids. So how can you be roleplaying all the time, even when you're with random people?

The immersion obstacles

There are a lot of things that make World of Warcraft accesible and easy, but that doesn't fit well in roleplaying terms. One of the main problems around this is when you need to do group quests, dungeons and raids. So what do you usually do? You call for people using the /world channel or even your local /general channel. But how can that kind of stuff fit in your roleplay?

There are two ways to deal with this. Common roleplayers simply deal with it as an OOC thing - but like I said before, I don't like that division. So how do you do it? Use your imagination! Let's say Arkerius is in Westfall looking for a group to do Deadmines, so the player finds some people in the general chat and get a group together. Them, the player imagines a dialogue with some NPC in Sentinel Hill, something like: "Hey, there are some other four adventurers here that are interested in helping you on your quest". Done, it's a simple way to "fill the holes".

And them, when he gets together with the group for the dungeon he could also imagine their characters introducing themselves while they're waiting someone to get in the entrance, etc. So basically: use your imagination, but dont break your immersion.

Besides that, there are many other immersion-breakers that are common on the character's environment, most of which can only be ignored. For instance, if you see someone mounting a phoenix on Stormwind (thank god we are still on vanilla here) or a warlock walking with a voidwalker around Darnassus can feel a little bit wrong.


Roleplaying is just another way of viewing the game, it is something that doesn't necessarily require big/constant dialogues. World of Warcraft is a MMORPG, but people still feel like there are two kind of players: the players and the roleplayers. But the truth is that we are all the same in the game, we are all characters in a virtual universe and we are all trying to have fun. So why don't we take roleplay in a broader approach?
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