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Posts with tag all-the-worlds-a-stage

All the World's a Stage: Guild themes


All the World's a Stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players. They have their stories and their characters; and one man in his time plays many roles.

Every guild tries to make itself unique in one way or another, and yet much of the time it's hard to tell many guilds apart. Most guilds say something like "we are a group of friends" who "focus on casual play" or "on raiding progression" or something which can make clear its priorities in the game, whether in PvP, PvE, or RP.

Roleplaying guilds have a special opportunity to distinguish themselves with all these elements and then some. In addition to raiding schedules, loot distribution rules, and whatnot, they also have a story -- some idea of where the people in this guild come from, and what binds them together. The story theme that binds them may be something as simple as striving to fight against all evil threats to their homeland, or it could be as involved as running a weekly faire, full of trading, performance, and all manner of festivities.

Most roleplayers seem to just drift into an RP guild based on who they happen to meet in the course of their travels and what sorts of friendships they are able to develop. I worked this way for a long time, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, and in the end I gave up, feeling increasingly frustrated that I wasn't drifting into guilds that could really meet my needs. Finally I decided to steer my own ship and I realized that the theme of any particular guild could make a big difference as to whether or not I enjoyed being in it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guilds, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: Out of Character


All the World's a Stage. It really is. All the World of Warcraft is a actually a stage -- and all its orcs and humans merely players, each one with a role to play.

When people hear about roleplayers in WoW for the first time, some get the impression that we take our little game of "let's pretend" way too seriously, that everything we do in the game has to be some sort of mind-blowing expression of our innermost true feelings. But the truth of the matter is that only a portion of what we do in the game involves stories and character -- a lot of what we do and say to other players is not "in character" at all. In fact, our out-of-character (OOC) communication is essential in order to properly enjoy the in-character (IC) elements, and good roleplayers do a lot of cool things to help make both sides complement each other.

Much of what roleplayer does is out of character, and rightly so. Even just pushing buttons in order to activate abilities could be considered "OOC" -- in a way, the only character you can ever totally immerse yourself in is... yourself. Any time you play a role that isn't yourself, there's always some part you which is there in the background, knowing that it's all just a show. You can't really ignore your true self -- you have to let it guide and inform every part of the role you play.

The same is true when roleplaying in WoW. Roleplay is strengthened when you open up and accept OOC communication with others, establish real relationships in addition to those your characters create. Actors in a play have to support each other as real people or their play will fail, and in the same way, the honest communication we open up with our roleplaying friends can sometimes be what defines our roleplaying experience and gives it true meaning.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guilds, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: The guild hall


All the World's a Stage brings you the latest ideas and suggestions about roleplaying in the World of Warcraft.

One of the greatest problems people have with roleplaying in WoW is that the game has a tendency to spread people out all over Azeroth working towards disparate goals, and that makes it hard to sustain a roleplaying environment. Roleplayers can gather together in a meeting place of some sort in order to roleplay, but doing this every time isn't feasible -- inevitably, we want to go questing, get loot, and actually play the game too, all in different places.

So the majority of roleplayers join roleplaying guilds of one sort or another, and use the regular guild chat channel as their default in-character roleplaying channel which people can participate in no matter what they're doing in the rest of the world. Most guilds tend to imagine that their hearthstones (or some imaginary gnomish device) can act as walkie-talkies of sorts and allow everyone to communicate over great distances, no matter where they are.

Today, however, I will share with you some of the ways this solution falls short, and take a look at a better way to make roleplaying work in a guild, no matter what level you are or what you want to do with your game time. This idea can seem strange at first, but in the end it can provide many roleplaying opportunities -- allowing you to alternately build your RP stories, build up your character's levels, gold, or gear, or do all of these at the same time.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guilds, Lore, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Scribe

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirty-sixth in a series of roleplaying guides about how to roleplay various aspects of the lore and gaming elements of WoW.

What is inscription anyways? I mean, we all know that it's the newest profession, added in Wrath of the Lich King, and it lets you make these "glyphs" which allow you to modify or improve your various class abilities in interesting ways. In gaming terms all that makes perfect sense, but when it comes to telling a story with your character, there are a lot of details missing.

Technically, a glyph is a character or symbol, like a heiroglyph or a pictograph, which we can see to a certain extent when we click on the glyph and put it into our in-game glyph interface -- it looks pretty cool with all those circles and lines and stuff. But what does it really mean? Are you pasting these symbols into a book of some sort? Are they getting magically tattooed onto your skin somewhere?

And where did inscription come from to begin with? Has it been around in Azeroth all along somehow, or was it some sort of ancient knowledge only discovered recently, around the time in the Warcraft lore when the Wrath of the Lich King begins? If it was discovered, then who discovered it and how? How exactly does a scribe learn these glyphs? Does he or she pore over ancient tomes that haven't been read in thousands of years, trying to decipher ancient texts? Or is the art and magic of it more in the artistic calligraphy of it rather than any difficulty in discovering or interpreting the symbols themselves?

There are far more questions than answers when it comes to roleplaying a scribe, and to a large extent each roleplayer is free to choose his or her own approach. What follows is the just one suggestion as to how you might work out a plausible solution -- please feel free to read it and improve upon it in whatever way you like.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Guides, RP, Death Knight, Inscription, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be an Engineer


This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirty-fifth in a series of roleplaying guides about how to roleplay various aspects of the lore and gaming elements of WoW.

Engineering has been my favorite profession in WoW, both in terms of its usefulness in the game, as well as its status as an awesome profession for roleplaying. Maybe it's just because I'm a huge fan of steampunk, but I find that those gadgets and funny things you can make with engineering have a certain style that goes beyond simple utility -- You just look at an engineer with his goggles, his mechanical mount, and maybe even some sort of robot or machine trailing along after him, and you immediately get the feeling that this is a character with character. No other profession can give you such a distinct characterization: you're not just a rogue, for example -- you're a scientist rogue!

In addition to that, most other professions feel like "crafting" jobs added on to the regular game, which they are -- they may give you better stats in one area or another but otherwise don't add many new abilities. Engineering, on the other hand, gives you a lot of special abilities and buttons to push, all of which can start to feel like a special sub-class for your character, underneath whatever class he or she already has.

In fact, as roleplayers, many of us play up our status as engineers as much or even more than our status as a hunter, warlock, rogue, or whatever. That engineering style is so persistent that it can define our characters more than anything else -- our own Palehoof practically defined this style in the column devoted to engineering that he used to write every week, before he lost his horns and his hooves in a bizzare scientific experiment (and decided thereafter to spend more time with his family). His commentaries on practical and theoretical engineering serve as excellent inspiration for all roleplayers who would call their characters engineers.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Gnomes, Hunter, Engineering, Virtual selves, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: The core layer


This week's edition of All the World's a Stage concludes a three-part series on the layers of social interaction in roleplaying. Next week we will continue looking at how to roleplay one's professions.

Good friends are stars in the sky of life, and especially as roleplayers, friends are absolutely essential to our hobby – our whole reason for playing WoW involves creative social interactions. Even if you never really know who a roleplaying partner is in real life, just roleplaying with him or her for a few minutes can create a memorable experience.

Previously, we discussed how to roleplay when you first meet someone, as well as what to do once you've gotten to know them a bit more. The key in each case is remembering that roleplaying is a social experience first, and a creative one second – your character must conform to the rules of good socialization before he or she can succeed creatively. Even though at first this seems more limiting, in the end it will be more liberating, because through sociable characters, you can collaboratively create stories and experiences in a way that no other form of storytelling can.

In fact, the closer you become to your group of friends, the more the possibilities bloom. The core concept characterizations you used to use to entertain strangers are still useful, but here they can take on a deeper meaning. You still listen to your friends and adapt your own character to theirs, but now they will listen to you, and adapt their characters to yours. The closer your friendships are, the more your exploration and creativity are truly mutual and cooperative, and the more you can try out new things that you've never done before.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: The inside layer


This installment of All the World's a Stage continues the discussion about the layers of roleplaying, still taking a break from the series of roleplaying guides about how to roleplay your race, class, and professions. Last week, we looked at how to interact with strangers in roleplaying environments, on "the surface layer."

So there you are -- you've got a character who is gregarious and gets into roleplaying groups relatively easily. Your character's way of interacting with others makes it easy for other people to recognize you as a roleplayer, and even encourages them to come out and roleplay with you, even if they're not that much into roleplaying themselves. You've followed some good advice about finding roleplayers -- maybe even joined an RP guild -- and you're meeting characters you think are interesting, and you really hope they think your character is interesting too.

But then something goes wrong and you feel that special RP feeling start slipping away. The people in your guild stop talking to you as much -- sometimes the whole guild atmosphere seems to go quiet and dull, and no matter what you say, nothing seems to get the actual spirit of roleplaying flowing again. You start to think maybe your interesting character quirks aren't all that good after all. You keep trying to think of new ones, but no matter how funny your accent or entertaining your antics, people just aren't getting into it like they used to.

The problem here isn't actually you -- it's an assumption that many roleplayers, even experienced ones, sometimes have when they are in new roleplaying situations. We take the burden of creating a roleplaying atmosphere too heavily upon ourselves, when actually what we need to do is not create the atmosphere, but nurture it. Questions are the key here -- if your character has a genuine interest in other people then he or she will be able to draw out the spirit of roleplaying in them, get them talking about themselves, and start having interesting interactions together.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: The surface layer


This installment of All the World's a Stage diverges from the series of roleplaying guides about how to roleplay your race, class, and professions, in order to have a closer look at different layers of social interaction in roleplaying, and see in which ways you can tailor your character for each one.

So there you are -- you've got the coolest, funniest, most heartbreaking character idea on your whole RP server. You login, create your new masterpiece, and start leveling up... But as time goes by, you realize you have a problem. No one seems interested in you! You may be having trouble meeting people who actually roleplay on a roleplaying server, or the roleplayers you run into may not realize how truly awesome your character is. Let's say you even join an RP guild and try to impress your guildmates with your witty "/guild" chatter, only to discover that they're seem mildly interested at best.

What's a roleplaying genius to do? It would be tempting to think that you are not such a great roleplayer as you think, or that your character idea isn't as fantastic as you had hoped, but the truth might lie in something far less depressing: You may have created a character with true depth, yet lacking established friends to explore that depth with, your character has no way of showing it. Making such friends is never easy if you are too deep for them -- they expect some sort of interesting surface-level interaction first. Likewise, if a character is all silly gimmicks designed to entertain strangers, without anything deeper for potential close friends to enjoy, he or she may seem like an attention grabber, entertaining in the short term, but mostly shallow in the end. Choosing the right kind of surface-layer character traits to suit your personality and social needs is essential if you want to have a good experience in roleplaying.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Leatherworker

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirty-fourth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class (or profession!) well, without embarrassing yourself.

At the outset of this series on how to roleplay one's professions, Leatherworking struck me as the most difficult profession to write about, even more than skinning, herbalism, or mining. This was in spite of (and in fact maybe because of) the fact that it was the first profession I ever chose in WoW. My very first character, who was a druid, wanted to choose leatherworking in order in order to make her own armor as well as prevent the dead bodies of all those animals she had to kill during her quests from going to waste.

At that time I didn't know a whole lot about roleplaying, or how to play the game, and I knew even less about the background lore behind everything I was seeing. I originally roleplayed with my friends that my night elf had been born in Darnassus, only later to find out that would have made her about 3 years old -- a fact none of us had known, because WoW was our first exposure to the lore of Azeroth. This was actually my inspiration for writing these articles, so that our readers wouldn't have to go read pages and pages of books and websites or play old and (to me anyway) less enjoyable games.

As I played the game more and more, the leatherworking armor seemed less and less useful and seemed more and more difficult to make. I also started imagining what skinning all those animals and then stitching together parts of their dead bodies would actually feel like, and suddenly I felt more like a kind of Dr. Frankenstein than a peaceful druid. It turns out, however, that I knew as little about leatherworking back then as I did about the game itself.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Shaman, Leatherworking, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Jewelcrafter

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirty-third in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class (or profession!) well, without embarrassing yourself.

When I was getting ready for my wedding last month, one of the obvious things we had to do to get ready was to pick out wedding rings. I'm not much of a jewelry wearer myself, but I put a lot of thought into this choice, and in the end, I learned quite a bit more than I knew before about the jewelry profession and how it works. It struck me as a profession for people who really love making beautiful things and who love interacting with people at some of the most significant moments of their lives (such as ... weddings) -- but above all, real life jewelcrafters struck me as people who love details.

Of course, a number of professions in Azeroth have to pay attention to details in their various gaming aspects. Deciding which items to make for oneself, which to sell at the auction house, and how to use your chosen profession in itself requires lots of details. But when you think about roleplaying, there's a definite difference between blacksmithing on the one side, with its broad strokes of a hammer on metal, and jewelcrafting on the other, focused on the smallest of cuts and adjustments that the naked eye can't even perceive. Jewelcrafting is the profession on Azeroth that requires the keenest eye, the steadiest hand, and the most attention to detail.

In some ways, jewelcrafting in the real world seemed like sub-world of its own, where jewelers knew special secrets no one else knew. They used these secrets to draw forth items that were at once dazzling and magical, artistic and personal for each individual that wore them. Jewelcrafters in the World of Warcraft have no reason to be less devoted to their profession, or any less proud of their ability to craft the most delicate of magical items with the most powerful magical effects, using the secret knowledge only they can understand.

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

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Blacksmith


This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirty-second in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class (or profession!) well, without embarrassing yourself.

Blacksmiths are known for being brawny folk -- hammering pieces of metal together is not easy work after all. But in World of Warcraft, even the smallest gnome or scrawniest elf can be a great blacksmith. Azeroth is a land where even the smallest people can wield the biggest of axes, so it would follow that they could craft them too, as well as any other sort of armor or weapon that they could imagine.

Typically, however, even in Azeroth, blacksmiths are, by and large, members of a class that can use plate mail and heavy weapons, such as a warrior, a death knight, or a paladin, just as tailors are usually spellcasters of some kind. So even if a blacksmith appears scrawny on the outside, he or she is very likely still quite brawny on the inside. Underneath that elf's pretty skin are muscles of steel!

Being a blacksmith implies a state of mind as much as it does a state of body, however. Working with metals is not something for the light hearted. The weight, the heat, and all the soot are not for people who like to keep their clothes clean at all times, for instance. It's also not a very socially-oriented profession, requiring long hours spent hammering away at something until it reaches perfection, often using lots of material in the learning process before you finally get one right. Blacksmiths of lore tend to be patient and hardy people, tempered and perfected by their work, like good, hard steel.

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Filed under: Paladin, Warrior, Blacksmithing, Lore, RP, Death Knight, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be an Enchanter

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirty-first in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class (or profession!) well, without embarrassing yourself.

Enchanting cries out to be roleplayed. It could be a kind of magician's engineering, or a more refined cousin of alchemy. Although you could certainly play an enchanter as another sort of magical mad-scientist, the profession actually lends itself well to a more gentlemanly (and sane) approach, where experiments are not so much about creating some sort of autonomous monster or mind-controling love potion of serene bliss, but rather altering the nature of things to do what they never would have done previously.

Enchantments have a huge role in mythology and literature. Cinderella's fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a stage-coach with an enchantment, Hogwarts School's "Sorting Hat" famously talks to students who wear it, and the One Ring even contains the soul of Middle Earth's lord of evil personified. All these are enchantments in which ordinary items are magically enhanced so as to reflect some aspect of character development or plot in the story, and a roleplayer at the keys of an enchanter character can work similar magic in telling his own story.

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

All the World's a Stage: The Art of Roleplaying


This week, David returns (again) to All the World's a Stage as a newly married man, feeling particularly happy and joyful, and overflowing with enthusiasm for just about everything he loves in life.

The relationship between rolelplaying and real life is a multifaceted one. If you have read this column before, you've probably seen some mention of roleplaying as a creative art form, but for some readers, it might be a bit difficult to imagine roleplaying as an art. After all, some might say, it's just a bunch of people sitting around, pretending their characters are real people, having real problems and real stories, all in spite of a game environment in which one's character can't actually affect the world in any way that matters. Problems of continuity, such as instanced dungeons in which many people can slay the same monster at the same time over and over again, make some people feel as though there's no story value to the game at all, and that anything roleplayers do is a waste of their time.

The trick for roleplayers is to think of roleplaying as something more like freeform play art, in which the main point of the art isn't so much the end product that results from one's efforts (as it would be in painting, novel-writing, or composing music), but rather the thoughts, feelings, and inspiration that come to mind when we actually engage in the process of the art itself. The closest parallel to another art form might be improv acting games, where the whole point is to make things up for you and the other actors to enjoy, rather than to deliver a performance for a separate audience; but if you've enjoyed something so simple as building a sand castle on the beach, then you probably have a good sense of what it feels like to roleplay. Fingerpainting, mandala-making or even just freeform music and dancing can all give a similar feeling like what you get in roleplaying: the sheer joy of creation.

Some roleplayers need no more justification for their art than that they enjoyed themselves. But others look at their own roleplaying careers and see certain things that they've taken away from their roleplaying experience over time. These things are usually not as solid as an actual painting or recorded song, but they still have a kind of solidity in the roleplayer's mind, as they positively impact his or her real life in several ways.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: Going to the Chapel

I'm back again for another week, guest-writing once again for David Bowers. Today's All the World's a Stage is themed in honor of Mr. Bowers, for whom today is a special day. Everyone at WoW Insider is wishing him the best and it's in the spirit of the festive and celebratory that we take a little bit of time to talk about the roleplay wedding.

Last week, we talked about some tips for setting up a roleplay event. These included a small series of steps that would help you formalize and execute an actual plan for such a gathering. Today, we're going to focus in on a specific kind of roleplay event -- the "roleplay wedding."

Roleplay weddings come and go in popularity. Just now, it's been a long while since I've heard of one happening on my server. But around this time last year, it seemed that I couldn't take a quiet stroll in Darnassus without tripping across a pair of Night Elves getting handfasted.

So, let's talk about that most sacred and beloved of roleplay subjects -- the wedding.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: Hosting your own roleplay event

So, you're a roleplayer. You may be a deep immersionist, an escapist, or a light roleplayer. But, for whatever reason, you've decided now is your time to go that extra mile. You're not only enjoying what roleplay has to offer but you now want to gather up a group of roleplayers to interact all at once. And you don't just mean in the same Guild. You want to gather them in a single in-game location, at a single in-game time, and all play together. You want to host your own roleplay event.

A lot of the best roleplay events happen spontaneously. The best roleplay event I've recently intended was entirely accidental. Three or four folks were squatting in front of the Eventide bank in Dalaran, chillin' on their riding bears while waiting for the next instance. I thought it was funny, and parked my own white riding bear next to them. And then someone else did. And someone else. Within a few moments, there was a horde of forty or so bears walking through Dalaran. Someone asked "WTF are you guys doing?" Thinking fast, the leader of the procession said "This is an in-character mourning parade, in honor of the fallen Alliance hero." I can't say the name of that hero for fear of spoilers, but I'm sure the readers of ATWAS get the idea. It was awesome, and spontaneous. But that's not usually how events happen.

Usually, someone has to invest time, effort, and even money into formulating the idea, building the event and agenda, and then executing the whole shebang. And don't think that a successful roleplay event doesn't take a lot of time. You'll get out of your event what you put into it. So, let's take a moment this week and talk about what you can do to build your own successful roleplay event.

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

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