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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Taking the roleplay out of WoW

I like messing around with roleplay every now and again, especially during the waning months of an expansion. When there's little else to do, roleplay helps keep me entertained, and has the added side vantage of giving me a space where I can indulge in trying to answer lore questions that invariably make their way into lore columns. But beyond that, there's just something kind of fun about taking an hour or two off every now and again and just letting my brain be creative without the pressure of stress.

But one of the big problems with roleplay in WoW is the actual process of any kind of meaningful roleplay itself. Major, sweeping campaigns that are common with tabletop roleplaying systems just aren't possible in WoW -- trying to get everyone on an entire roleplay server to agree to a set list of rules for combat is an exercise in futility. Because of this, there's always been a limited scope to roleplay, a wall that simply couldn't be broken within the confines of an MMO. NPCs can't be controlled, players can't really influence major events in fear of somehow running into contradictions with canon lore. You can either dance around the limits, or you can ignore them entirely.

Or, as I recently discovered, you can simply leave it all behind. How do you make the limits in WoW work for your roleplay guild? By taking your roleplay out of WoW entirely.

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Filed under: RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying), Mists of Pandaria

The challenge of roleplay in the face of Warlords

Roleplayers have to dance around a lot of lore in order to make their stories plausible and believable. While not everyone is concerned with being 100% dedicated to known canon material in their roleplay, the announcement of Warlords of Draenor brings up a lot of concerns and questions for those that are. The somewhat unorthodox method of time-travel used in the expansion leaves many players wondering exactly how to handle the situation -- and on top of that, we've been told we'll be stranded on Draenor, presumably with no way to get back to good old familiar Azeroth at all.

So how do you reconcile what's about to happen to your character? Do you ignore the main storyline of an expansion that hasn't been released yet, or do you embrace the idea that your character may not be able to return at all? What kind of challenges are roleplayers going to see in Warlords of Draenor? More importantly, is this something your character should be addressing now?

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Filed under: Lore, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

The complete guide to roleplay in WoW

The complete guide to roleplay in WoW
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

This column began way back in September of 2007. Over the course of the last six-ish years or so we've dived into the depths of character development, roleplay interaction, places to roleplay, problems that can arise in roleplay, the basics of character roleplay -- in fact, we've just about covered it all. Multiple times, from multiple sources, in fact. And although the art of roleplay lives on, there's only so many times you can word the same advice.

That said, this is the final edition of All the World's a Stage. Before you panic, we've decided to put together a final gift for you; a mass compilation of six-ish years worth of columns, resources and advice covering everything from the very basic of the basics to the most complex situations your mind could dream up. Whether you're a new roleplayer looking for the best place to start out, an experienced roleplayer looking for more insight into just what makes your character tick, or a guild leader looking for a mass list of resources for your guild or organization, we've totally got you covered.

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Filed under: RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

The beginner's guide to roleplay-appropriate names in WoW

The beginner's guide to roleplayappropriate names in WoW
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Regardless of whether or not you're a roleplayer, if you're on a roleplaying realm, you're subject to the guidelines of that realm. What many players don't realize is that this includes an extended list of naming rules that PvP or PvE servers don't really have to follow. Even if you aren't a roleplayer, being on that realm means that if someone notices your name doesn't follow the guidelines listed by Blizzard and decides to report you, you'll need to change your name.

That sounds pretty annoying, doesn't it? Luckily you can avoid the issue altogether by simply picking an appropriate name to begin with. While that may sound like an onerous task, there's really only a handful of guidelines that you need follow. Don't worry, you won't need to dedicate hours and hours of time into finding the "perfect" name -- you just need to pick something that is deemed appropriate, without breaking the server rules that have been set in place.

So what's appropriate? You might better ask what isn't appropriate.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

The fine line of roleplaying a dual-class character

The fine line of roleplaying a dualclass character SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

If we as roleplayers take the stance of roleplaying the role written for us by the developers over at Blizzard, our characters are automatically in a pretty heroic role. While some choose to forgo the option and roleplay the more mundane roles in Azeroth life, others happily embrace that role of the hero without question. Within that role is a variety of different areas you can tweak to your heart's content, but you can rest easy knowing that your character is at least in some small way a part of this giant, ever-evolving storyline Blizzard has to tell.

But what if you'd like to step out of that role of the Blizzard hero -- not into the territory of the everyday mundane, but into a space where you amp up your character a notch or two? @kremlincardinal originally asked this question for The Queue, but it's far more complex than a simple Queue answer could really encompass.

From a roleplay standpoint, are hybrid classes possible (within reason)? Like a rogue with minor magical (mage-like) powers?

Is it possible? Yes. Should you do it? Well ... that's entirely open to interpretation, but we've got a few tips if you're thinking of giving it a try.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Roleplaying the mundane side of the Alliance

Roleplaying the mundane side of the Alliance SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Last week, we discussed the mundane side of the Horde -- what a roleplayed character who has not traveled to Pandaria would see if he were to remain in Azeroth. We also discussed some alternatives to traveling to Pandaria that don't involve joining the militia as a happy member of the Horde's wrecking crew. The Horde side of the equation at the moment is not really a happy one, the various factions almost seem to splintering apart, with nothing to bind them together as a cohesive whole.

For the Alliance side of things ... there isn't quite as much to talk about. This shouldn't be taken as a bad thing, because it means that the Alliance is finally starting to stand together again. There's not as much to talk about, because the Alliance isn't really fracturing apart or experiencing any major upheavals from a political standpoint. This doesn't mean that a character remaining in Azeroth would have very little to keep him occupied, however.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Roleplaying the mundane side of the Horde

Roleplaying the mundane side of the Horde SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Last week, we discussed the ongoing situation in Pandaria, and how your character's journey through Pandaria colors character development in the face of current events. Keep in mind that the column was written for those that wish to take that questing experience and use that to develop their character -- but that's not necessarily the only way to roleplay. The column brought up a really good comment from reader Musicita, who pointed out the following:
When I'm out questing, I don't feel like the quest text is referring to *my* character. My character would not be doing these things. The quest givers are talking to the fictional hero that Blizzard has invented for us to play. It's the Blizzard Hero who does all the brave things, who is the trusted agent of the King, etc., etc. I am not roleplaying that character; questing is an out of character experience.
This is an equally valid form of roleplay -- there are just as many people that would rather ignore the questing element in regards to character story as there are those that would like to embrace it. But if your character isn't embroiled in Pandaria, what sorts of things would they notice around the world? What's going on with the rest of Azeroth, if you're a member of the Horde?

It's not pretty.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

When lore and roleplay collide

When lore and roleplay collide SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

By and large, we didn't really have to worry too much about expansion storyline and how it related to roleplay in Cataclysm, or even Wrath and Burning Crusade. The most complex quandary for a roleplayer to consider in those days was a matter of who, exactly, killed the final boss of the expansion, and when that final boss died. Who dealt the final blow to Arthas? When exactly did he die?

But in Mists of Pandaria, the story has taken a far more personal turn. Rather than the simple question of end bosses, roleplayers are presented with a multitude of emotional situations. And on top of that, there has been plenty of political movement from both Alliance and Horde. Instead of being a character acting on his own, roleplayers are now far more intimately involved with the inner workings of their respective factions, for better or for worse.

How does one incorporate lore into roleplay, when the lore turns personal?

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

The grace between Light and dark: Roleplaying the priest

The grace between Light and dark Roleplaying the priest SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

One might assume that a priest is a benevolent servant of the Light, or Elune, or An'she, or whatever deity they happen to follow. Consumed with the Light's grace, a priest seeks to heal, drawn to the task by an innate need to heal and mend. For a priest, the world is a place full of lost, suffering souls waiting to be mended and healed, the gratitude of those mended being all that a priest needs. Humble, polite, quiet, the priest is a creature of benevolence and purity, an example for all those lost souls to follow.

One would be quite wrong in that assumption.

Priests are just as complex, perhaps even more so than every other class on Azeroth. While some are drawn to healing like a moth to a flame, there are others drawn to the darker side. A priest can harm just as well as heal -- in fact, they may be more deadly than even those dark practitioners of fel magics. For what makes for suffering more than a creature who knows quite intimately, inside and out, the inner workings of organs and mind?

Priests are terribly interesting creatures, and make for even more interesting roleplay.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Embracing the darkness: Roleplaying the warlock

Embracing the darkness Roleplaying the warlock SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

You want evil? Forget the warriors of the world, scoff at the rogues and give the mages of Azeroth a collective raspberry. Let's face it, nothing is as seductive as embracing the powers of darkness, harnessing fel energies and twisting them at your whim. Nothing is as addictive as the sweet thrill of control, and warlocks are all about control.

You want danger? How about following a path that leads to ultimate corruption for the majority of those that choose to tread it? How about harnessing demonic entities, never knowing whether they will serve you, or turn on you -- crushing your body into a fine mist, your bones to dust? How about having your very soul hang in balance between control and chaos, ready to teeter either way at a moment's notice?

The life of a warlock is incredibly interesting, and far from what any would call remotely sane.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

The hero you once were: Roleplaying the death knight

The hero you once were Roleplaying the death knight SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

A hero... that's what you once were. You stood boldly against the Shadow and purchased another dawn for the world... with your life.

The death knight class was introduced in Wrath of the Lich King as the first, and to date only, hero class. Former minions and soldiers of the Lich King, these warriors of darkness have now risen against their dark master and obtained their own freedom, of sorts. But the path to acceptance is much more difficult for a death knight than any other class in the game. After all, you were a tool of darkness at its finest, when you were "born."

This makes death knights a really unique opportunity for roleplay, because they essentially have two lives -- the life before they died, and the life after. It's that reconciliation between the two that offers the most fascinating moments for roleplay. How does a person come to terms with the fact that they were turned from hero to butcher in what should have been their final moment of saving grace?

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Harnessing the arcane: Roleplaying the mage

Harnessing the arcane Roleplaying the mage SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Mages are pretty much the most intelligent class on Azeroth. It takes a brilliant mind to master the art of the arcane, after all. But just because a mage is automatically intelligent, it doesn't mean he's also an insufferable windbag. Or it could very well mean he is, as well as a braggart and a man who looks down his nose at those that aren't quite as ... bright. It's all up in the air with mages, you see -- particularly from a roleplay perspective.

However, mages have a long and storied history that is both well-documented and likely very well known to any mage who has had any sort of extensive training. While it may not be the sort of passionate historical tales of battles hard-won that you'll hear from fierce warriors or devoted followers of the holy Light, it is incredibly interesting. And it extends far, far back to the beginnings of recorded history, with the elves of Kalimdor.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Tracking down the ins and outs of hunter roleplay

Tracking down the ins and outs of hunter roleplay SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Hunters are one of the more enigmatic classes in WoW. They have no racial requirement, and there's not really much in the way of hunter organizations in lore. While the elves have long had a history of rangers, other races don't really have that kind of back story involved. If you're a hunter, you really don't possess mysterious magical abilities or come from some sort of storied or tragic background.

That said, it means that roleplaying a hunter leaves a tremendous amount of story potential completely open to interpretation on the part of the roleplayer. In some ways, it makes it much more entertaining to have no limitations to work with, no history to look back on and consider. In other ways, it can almost be far more daunting, because there simply aren't any historical guidelines on what makes a hunter unique -- and that's a lot of information for a roleplayer to come up with.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Shifting with nature: Roleplaying the druid

Shifting with nature Roleplaying the druid SAT
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

There have long been arguments about just how the first druids came to pass, and which race was the first to become druids. But all of these shapeshifters, regardless of race, have a keen affinity for nature magic that is somewhat akin to the elemental call of the shaman. However, while shaman speak and listen to all of the elements, a druid's first call is to nature itself; the ebb and flow of the natural order of the world.

In vanilla, only night elves and tauren could be druids -- but this class has been expanded to include both troll and worgen as well in Cataclysm. Each of these four races have their own unique story behind the origin of their druidic practices, and each are equally compelling to roleplay. With a history that extends thousands of years in the past, druid roleplayers have a lot of material to work with.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Elements, heed my call! Roleplaying the shaman

Elements, heed my call! Roleplaying the shaman
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

In the days of vanilla, the different races of Azeroth weren't just split by faction -- there was a class split as well. While the Alliance had paladins aplenty, the Horde equivalent was the shaman. In fact, the Warchief of the Horde itself was one of the most notable shaman on the Horde side of things, although both tauren and troll actively pursued shamanism as well. But as the game evolved, so too did the class split. Now draenei, dwarves, and pandaren have joined the fray on the Alliance side -- and goblins and pandaren are also available to Horde.

But what makes up a shaman? What kind of character follows this particular path? Paladins have several different points of origin depending on race, and the shaman do as well -- although they don't quite have as varied a difference in beliefs. For a paladin, the Light comes from many different sources. For a shaman, there are only the Elements, and how one chooses to interact with them.

After all, everything that is, is alive.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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