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Posts with tag acting

Voice acting in Warlords of Draenor

There was a moment in the Warlords of Draenor beta when I realized that I was getting a quest from Frank Welker. Aka Megatron. Aka Nibbler from Futurama. Aka a million other voices. The man has 728 credits as an actor on IMDB, and here he is, doing a voice in the Warlords beta. Specifically, Reshad the storekeeper. See, they recently added a ton of voice acting to the beta - pretty much every character you interact with has significant voice work put into it, and for the most part it's frankly stunning. I'm not trying to exaggerate here, but the difference between this expansion and, as an example, Lady Sindragosa's Betraaaaaaaaays you dialogue is night and day.

Heck, just pop over to Frostfire Ridge at level 90, or run through the Tanaan Jungle opening, and you'll hear a variety of voice actors, more so than World of Warcraft has ever boasted.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

All the World's a Stage: Yes, and...?

All the World's a Stage is brought to you by David Bowers every Sunday evening, investigating the mysterious art of roleplaying in the World of Warcraft.

Roleplaying is, at its heart, a form of improv. Of course there are many differences between improv and roleplaying, but when you look at the actual practice of each, you can see that they both live and breathe by the same basic principles, and they both crash and die when these principles are ignored.

"Improv" is an interactive performance art that requires a certain level of training and rigor. The audience pays the actors to appear on stage, and the actors shape their performance around cues from the audience. It's entirely spontaneous, and as you can imagine, it can be quite crazy for an actor, not knowing what's going to happen next.

To help with this, they use a special technique they call "Yes, and...?" which lets them handle whatever sorts of situations that might come up without getting thrown off-guard. Basically it means that each actor always accepts what the others say is true, and modifies the performance to go with whatever comes up. For example, if one actor says "hello mother" to another actor, now the one he spoke to is his mother for the duration of this scene. The "mother" accepts this new reality and offers something of her own in response, such as "Where have you been all night? Your father and I have been worried sick!" Alternatively if any actor denies what another actor just said or did, that's called "blocking," (as in, "No, I'm not your mother!") and it tends to stop the scene right there unless the initial actor can roll with it and accept it in his turn (as in, "Oh. I'm sorry... My mother was standing there a moment ago... I'm blind, you see...").

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

All the World's a Stage: Oh the drama! -- When to "/ignore"

All the World's a Stage is a weekly column by David Bowers, published on Sunday evenings, investigating the explorative performance art of roleplaying in the World of Warcraft.

We've talked before about roleplaying as an art form, whether you think about it as acting or puppeteering, fiction or improv, there's definitely something creative going on here. But like any art form, roleplaying is best when it means something; that's to say, when it expresses something ultimately "true" about human experience, and perhaps even illumines the minds and hearts of the roleplayers in some way.

Roleplayers all want to achieve that creativity, of course, but one problem often stands in our way: it's a rare work of art that really works for everyone. That's why the regular old art world is such a complete mess -- one man's fingerpainting is another man's post-modernist masterpiece. People constantly disagree about what subjects make for acceptable art, whether some art pushes extremes too far and becomes obscenity, and whether real art actually requires talent and skill. One person may curl up with their favorite Jane Austen novel and read it for the 10th time, while another may come home from the comic book store with the epic adventures of the Bone cousins. Each story conveys very different things to the reader -- but then the people who want to read these stories are looking for different things to get out them as well. Each form of storytelling speaks its own language for its own special audience.

We have the same problem in roleplaying. To illustrate, imagine there's a teenage boy going through public school and not getting along with his peers very well. When he roleplays, he plays an intimidating character who likes to try to get in your face, pick a fight with you and insult you to show how very powerful he is. That power fantasy may be very annoying for you and me, but for him it really means something. That's not to say it's high-quality art by any means, but nonetheless, his feelings are important too, and he has his right to play a character on an RP server the same way we all do. It's just that for us, the "/ignore" command starts to look really tempting every time his sort comes along.

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

All the World's a Stage: And your life is a mine rich in gems

All the World's a Stage is a weekly column by David Bowers, now published on Sundays, investigating the explorative performance art of roleplaying in the World of Warcraft.

For some, the whole process takes 5 minutes. They log in, click on "create new character," choose a race, a class, painstakingly compare each and every face and hairstyle, type in a name, click "accept," and they're done. Some take their time by paying a visit to the forums of each class, or asking their friends about which race is best -- but who sits down and makes up a story idea, a personality, and actual characteristics for characters these days?

Roleplayers do, of course. But how? What if you'd like to try out roleplaying but you just don't know where to begin creating an actual character, rather than just an avatar for yourself in the game? Each roleplayer tends to have his or her own way, but there are are a number of things they have in common. One of the first things to remember about designing your character concept, is to make your character essentially human, relatable, based on real experiences that you know about.

Mine your life. Think of what kinds of experiences you are familiar with, and which of them could be used as the foundation for another person's life, a new character with a story to tell, and a personality to engage other people's interest. Today, I'll give you a couple examples of how I tried to do this, and explain some of the pitfalls people often fall into when trying to make up an interesting character.

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

Othello - the World of Warcraft Way

OldeSchooleNews brings us this interesting example of fantasy worlds colliding - when they act out an abridged version of Shakespeare's Othello entirely in World of Warcraft.  While the voice-work is  a bit on the quiet side, the video is well put together.  While I've seen quite a few stories told within the framework of WoW machinima, this is the first classic re-set in Azeroth (at least to my knowledge). 

Filed under: Machinima, Fan stuff

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