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All the World's a Stage: Drawing the line on ERP

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.

There are some people out there who use online games as a venue for their erotic fantasies, from husbands and wives spending some imaginative time together online, to complete strangers flush with desire and looking for some sort of satisfaction in each other. Most of these people who try out Erotic Role-Playing (or ERP) in WoW realize the need to keep it private; they do whatever they do in private chat channels, where it stays their own affair.

But there are a rare few who take ERP to an extreme: they form a guild whose whole purpose is to engage in ERP, and proceed to garner a largely negative reputation for themselves. They wear their suggestive guild name like a sign above each of their character's heads, as if to draw as much attention to themselves as possible. Their members indulge in various sexual fantasies, some of which may even be extremely distasteful and objectionable, played out in an environment where everyone is encouraged to "explore" with one another in anonymity.

Obviously, the moral danger here is that young people may be tempted to wander in, way before they are mature enough to understand or deal reasonably with what they experience there. We generally assume adults to be responsible for themselves in such matters, but children may very well be confused and curious, even willing to lie about their age in order to unravel such adult secrets. Indeed, ERP is a subject matter that the vast majority of players do not want to see -- least of all parents who like their kids to grow and learn from their interactions with others within the game, or at least have a safe and fun experience. Therefore, roleplayers of any sort have a responsibility to keep the public environment clean and safe for all who play there, and for the few involved with ERP guilds to do otherwise is dangerous and unethical.

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

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