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Posts with tag backstory

Breakfast Topic: What is your character's backstory?

Breakfast Topic What is your character's backstory
I haven't roleplayed in a while -- and I have never done it on a regular basis -- but most of my characters (yeah, altitis) have backstories. To be more accurate, my adventurers have motivations. I have more fun when my character has a reason for what she is doing, even though I'm the only one who knows about it.
  • Roblinator the goblin Shamanator She has no interest in becoming a better shaman. Boring! She just wants to host parties and hang around with Sassy when she gets the chance.
  • Robiness the tauren druid Her name used to be Freja, and she is still that in her heart. She enjoys her friends but really likes to travel the world alone. She gets the most pleasure from solitary archaeological digs.
  • Boadicea the blood elf paladin She misses the days of holding a Naaru captive in a basement and stealing his energy to fuel her paladin skills. Evil. Boadicea loves killing, but she will heal someone helping her kill -- if necessary.
  • Robinemia the Forsaken mage She went a little, well, insane trying to please her tormentors. So now all she does is hang out at the Auction House and reminisce about what it used to be like to feel.
  • Peenk the gnome rogue She used to be somebody! Now she just sleeps in the shadows of Ironforge, smelling of ale and regret.
  • Qila the draenei mage This goody-two-shoes light stuff is for weaklings. It's all about magic, baby!
If you RP, I know you have backstories -- spill 'em. If you don't roleplay, do you still have histories and/or personalities made up for your characters? If so, what are they?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What's your story?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

I have a confession: I am not a roleplayer, yet I feel the need to create a backstory for every single one of my characters, from the mighty main to the lowly banker alt who sits comfortably in Stormwind. I do not really know why. Maybe it is the storyteller in me, the sheer boredom, or the 60 ounces or so of various energy drinks that keep me up at night, but I begin to imagine the details of my characters, even going so far as to create a web of connections between them, as if when I'm not playing, they are banded together, battling side by side as brothers and sisters in arms.

A main example is my main and all the human alts I play on. There are only two at the moment, but a third shall arise, of the wolfish variety, come Cataclysm. Their story? All of them are brothers, my death knight being the eldest, a once-accomplished paladin who fell during the purging of Stratholme, being one of the very few against it. My main warrior is the middle child who was the least likely to accomplish anything of the three brothers but fought nonetheless as part of the Stormwind guard, before becoming a mercenary for hire. The newest addition will be a worgen rogue, the long-presumed-dead, sickly little brother who was astute in the arcane and was taken under tutelage of a sorcerer in Gilneas before being infected as a worgen. He will return instead as a quick and nimble character, one of the few worgen who likes his new form.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, RP, Guest Posts

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 Roleplaying Spectrum


Today David returns to All the World's a Stage, still taking a break from his series of roleplaying lore guides for World of Warcraft. Instead, he shares a few thoughts especially for people who may roleplay all the time without realizing it.

There are lots of people playing World of Warcraft out there, and if you gave a survey to each one of them, asking, "are you a roleplayer?" most of them would probably say "no." But if you actually listened to them, or engaged with them in conversation about it, you might learn a lot of things that surveys usually miss. Many people who say they are not roleplayers actually have an imagination of their character's backstory, personality, or even just individual style. They may not know how to act out the character, and they may not have friends they feel they can act out with, yet at the same time, they do have a sense of their character as their own little creative exploration.

The distinction between roleplayers and non-roleplayers is not as clear as people seem to think. In fact, there's a whole spectrum of different kinds of players between those who say they roleplay and those who say they don't -- and most people probably find themselves somewhere in the middle.

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

511 characters per quest

One of the most interesting things we heard from Jeff Kaplan last week (besides that he agrees the Green Hills quest sucks; won't do that one again) was that quest designers are given only 511 characters (not words) to put their quest text in.

It's surprising to think that they've created all the backstory, throughout Azeroth, in just 511 characters at a time. But even Kaplan said the limit is a good thing: it means Blizzard has to show story to the player rather than tell it.

Still, doesn't seem easy to

Crap. Out of room -- that's 511 characters. Of course, they can fudge things a bit by having those "story quests" where characters can use multiple pages to build up their background, and the 511-character limit doesn't apply to all of the dialogue -- some of the later quests have pages and pages of dialogue as the quest goes on. But squeezing enough information to keep a player interested in just 511 characters is quite a feat.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests

All the World's a Stage: Descriptions done right

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening. Except for this week, when it is more like the early afternoon.

Your usual AtWaS columnist, David Bowers, has found himself a tad busy this weekend. Due to this, I'll be nosing in on his territory for a day. Don't worry ladies and gentlemen, I'll take good care of you. Just yesterday we discussed a little about RP descriptions. That is, the physical descriptions you can give your character via addons such as FlagRSP2 or MyRoleplay. David seemed to think this was a pretty good topic, so we're going to go a little more in depth into the right and wrong way of writing these.

Right and wrong in this case is naturally up to the individual, but in general there are some pretty solid guidelines you should keep in mind. The first and most obvious is that you should always proofread your writing. In general, roleplayers gravitate towards people with at least some grasp of the English language. A sloppily written description is the first thing someone will see, and it's going to set off alarms in the heads of other people.

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

All the World's a Stage: Background story

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

Your character is like an arrow. He was launched from the birthplace of your imagination with the aim of creating spontaneous stories with other creative people. Your character's personality is the particular direction he travels in, and his background story is the bow which set him on his way.

The bow-string tension that gives a good backstory its momentum is its lack of resolution. The desire to find resolution propels your character forward into the game, but it doesn't predict with certainty where your he or she will end up. Realizing this can free you of a great burden: your story doesn't have to make the New York Times Bestseller List. In fact, the whole idea here is to purposely leave your backstory unfinished, ready to be resolved through roleplaying. Too much emphasis on a dramatic background leaves you with not enough room for an interesting foreground, and little else to contribute other than the saga of your epic past.

Obviously, people aren't logging into WoW to read your miniature novel. They generally won't want to hear your backstory unless they specifically ask you about it (which they might!), but even then they'll care less for its narrative value and more for its ultimate impact on your character as a person. It's best to think of it less as a story in itself (e.g. "How I got to be this way"), and more as a prologue to the story you want to roleplay (e.g. "How do I get out of this mess?"). Its purpose is to set up challenges for your character to overcome with other people, and it should establish a direct line to your character's desires and aspirations.

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

Breakfast Topic: WoTLK: The perfect time to switch mains?

It's a faaaaaaaaake!It's an exciting time to be playing WoW, what with the WoTLK alpha information leaking out (Thanks for risking your eternal soul to break the NDA, anonymous screenshotter!) and 2.4 being pretty much a roaring success. By now, I'm sure everyone has settled in and is making plans for WoTLK, figuring out which zone they'll go to first, maybe setting aside a bit of money from all those dailies to powerlevel a trade skill.

So, I was thinking the other day of one more thing I was planning: switching mains. We've discussed the art of switching mains a bit before, but there's always a lot of hassles to it: there's the concern that you'll fall behind your friends, the concern that your gear won't be good enough, the concern that you'll have to grind your reputation up for certain keys and essential reputation rewards all over again.

A new expansion is just the ticket for getting rid of most of those problems. As long as your character is max level at the start of WoTLK, they can catch up on gear pretty quickly just from level 71 greens and quest rewards. Everyone's starting out grinding all the new WoTLK reputation grinds, so no worries that you're behind on those either. Despite being on a relatively "new" character, you'll be able to join your friends in Utgarde Keep right away.

So the reasons not to switch mains mostly manage to resolve themselves when a new expansion hits, and the question becomes, do you want to switch mains, and why?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Leveling, Classes, Alts, Wrath of the Lich King

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