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Posts with tag dramatis-personae

All the World's a Stage: The voices of every race and class speak in RP

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

All the World's a Stage has been a voice for roleplaying in WoW for over two years now. I didn't quite realize it at the time, but the article entitled "So you want to be a bad guy" was just about at the 2 year mark for this column! To celebrate belatedly, today we'll review some of the other websites about roleplaying in WoW out there. If you like All the World's a Stage, you'll probably enjoy these as well.

In addition, you will find that some of these websites have similar, but unique pages with information about roleplaying the various races and classes of Azeroth. So for those of you who would like to have a reference to all these articles in a single place, I've collected them all together in one list at the end of the article. This list includes my own articles, as well as those of all the other websites I'm about to mention which follow on the same theme.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Lore, Factions, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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

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

The first cultural influence you'll probably think of when you see the tauren and walk around in their villages is "Native American." That's fine as far as it goes, but you should remember that they're mainly based on the stereotypical image of what Native Americans are rather than their actual reality. I'm hardly an expert on Native Americans, however, so rather than try and speak for these differences, I'm just going to put the whole issue aside and take tauren as tauren rather than parallels to any human culture. Besides, aside from certain aspects of architecture, music, clothing, and mythology, the tauren are really their own species. They are quite general enough to remind us of all kinds of different cultures around the world, many of whom cherish the earth, revere their ancestors, and try to live in harmony with the world.

Some people say that the tauren are the noblest and most peaceful of the races in World of Warcraft, but for most of their history, they have been at war with the vicious centaur -- though not by choice. The centaur have always been very hostile towards tauren, driving them out of their ancestral homelands, slaughtering them and even cannibalizing them whenever possible. In a way, the centaur seem like four-legged versions of the nastier trolls who never joined the Horde. When Thrall came to Kalimdor and encountered the tauren in the midst of their struggle against the centaur, it marked the beginning of one of the greatest changes in tauren history.

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

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

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

Gnomes are probably the easiest race to roleplay in World of Warcraft. They have a strong (and mostly accurate) stereotype that people just get instantly, and there's a childlike "blank-slate" quality about them that means that they don't have to have complicated backstories.

In fact, you could define the gnomes as a race without a history to speak of. They are so very curious and inquisitive that they ask questions about everything, that they try to unravel any mysteries they encounter, and consider their personal life stories to be of little account. They've written tomes upon tomes on the inner workings of multi-polar data transfer relays and eletro-magnified parallel power circuits, but it never really occurred to them that they should write down the history of their species. They are a people always looking into the future, and whatever passes beyond the infinitely precious present becomes lost to them in the unseen reaches of the past -- out of sight, out of mind.

That's not to say they have no memory -- they make use of their superb memories in carefully constructing their world-renown masterpieces of technological craftsmanship! Rather, it would be better to say that their minds only serve up memories relevant to the inquiry at hand. So if the orcs paved through azeroth a while back and destroyed everything in their path, well that was bad and all but it was a long time ago and who wants to hold a grudge? If the monstrous troggs came from the bowels of the earth and destroyed their cherished technological city of Gnomeregan... well, they'd love to get it back, but it's no reason to be unkind or uncheerful!

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

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the 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 well, without embarrassing yourself.

Trolls are based on the "wild savages" you've seen in the movies or on TV, from King Kong to Discovery channel. If you've seen people hunting with spears, walking around in the forest without many clothes on, or dancing around in costumes and face paint in some kind of ritual you've never heard of, you've seen the apparent inspiration for trolls in World of Warcraft. The culture of Warcraft trolls are a mishmash of all the different myths and rumors that have grown up about some of the earth's indigenous peoples that live outside modern society: Strange voodoo beliefs and rituals? Check. Bloodthirsty headhunters with a taste for cannibalism? Check. Witch doctors, shrunken heads, human sacrifice, and rampant superstition? Check on all counts.

It's important to note here that troll culture is based on the myths about some indigenous people, not on their reality. Cannibalism, for instance, has been rare among human societies, nearly always viewed as anathema, but among the trolls of Azeroth, it appears to be the rule rather than the exception. Unbiased study of the world's primal religions has shown them to be far more sophisticated than early (and prejudiced) Western explorers ever imagined. Don't listen to the Jamaican accent trolls have in the game and assume that trolls are based on real life Jamaicans. There is nowhere near the correlation here that we might find with the dwarves and the Scots, or even the draenei and the eastern Europeans that they sound like. Indeed, one could argue that the choice of a Jamaican accent to represent the trolls and their culture reveals a great deal of ignorance we Americans have regarding Caribbean islanders -- but that's a discussion I'll not go into today.

Suffice it to say that as a member of the Darkspear tribe, the only tribe of trolls to join the Horde, your character living in a time of great change for your people. Your tribe is the first to embrace the more modern values promoted by Thrall, to take up the spiritual practices of shamanism, and to integrate itself with other races. Although the Darkspears have officially given up human sacrifice, cannibalism, and now tell you to "stay away from the voodoo," these practices are all elements of religion and superstition that your character would have grown up with, and may find it hard to let go of completely.

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

All the World's a Stage: What Blizzard seems not to see


When you decide to roleplay, a whole new world of imagination opens up to you -- soon you realize that all the World of Warcraft is a stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players.

Blizzard definitely cares about roleplayers. They listen to us and there's a special place for us in their hearts -- which is natural, because in many ways, their whole world has its own story and background which means a lot to them, and while all players get to see that story unfolding through their activities in the game, roleplayers are the ones who participate in that story by making their own stories within it.

The problem is that Blizzard and its roleplayers are on pretty different wavelengths when it comes to what roleplayers want to receive and what Blizzard wants to provide. Blizzard wants to give us more neat toys and perfect places to enjoy, with lots of lore and story behind them -- and while this is all very interesting and everyone enjoys it, most roleplayers are wishing they had more sandbox-like tools, spaces and items they can easily bend or shape in their own ways, to use for their own purposes.

Blizzard may care, but do they really understand? Read on for insights Blizzard may be missing.

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

All the World's a Stage: Character diamonds

All the World's a Stage is your source of roleplaying ideas n' stuff. The usual columnist is grateful to Alex and Matt for covering for him the last couple weeks while he got ready to defend his MA thesis.

Getting into character isn't all that easy. First of all, as Matt demonstrated last week, one must have the desire and the gumption to just do it. You can't sit back and say, "But I don't know how to do it right!"or "But what if people don't like my roleplaying?" or any other excuse like that. You have to put your fingers to the keyboard and just start playing your role. Whether people like it more or less depends upon a bunch of things, including your skills and knowledge about how to do it well, but first and foremost it depends on your willingness to go out and try things out -- then look back and learn from your experience. You won't stop having problems and making mistakes, but you will get better over time.

Today I'll share with you one idea I found that helped me a lot with a problem I was having: when I found myself having a bit of trouble "logging in" to a particular character's personality, I found the concept of the "Character Diamond" to be extremely valuable in pinning down exactly who this character is, how she would respond, and what it feels like to be inside her head. This concept was originally thought up by a screenwriting teacher named David S. Freeman, but it has gone through a bit of modification to suit the MMORPG world. So, with permission from the folks at Dramatis Personae who first taught me about it, I would like to sum it up for you here as a starter's guide and reference for making character diamonds of your own.

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

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