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Posts with tag hero-myth

All the World's a Stage: It's not about saving the world

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.

All those people who say "Roleplaying is dead" simply misunderstand what RP in WoW is all about. It's not at all about stepping into your favorite fantasy novel and acting out an epic story in which you are the great hero, sacrificing everything to save Azeroth from the legions of evil. For that sort of storytelling, there are pen-and-paper role playing games, which allow for a great deal more flexibility than any computer system can. While the majority of fantasy literature uses this "save the world" motif, it doesn't work at all for roleplaying in WoW because things happen in the game that couldn't possibly happen in a story.

But that's okay, because when we roleplay in WoW, our focus should not be so grand and epic in scope. Instead it should be more personal and down-to-earth, about our own characters, their hopes and failings, and their relationships with others. For all the game's outward appearances of epic battles and the fight against evil, WoW roleplaying is really all about character development, relationships, and the expression of who you are. Think less of the latest Oscar-award-winning fantasy epic, and more of your favorite sitcoms or drama series.

Your character is a savior of the world and a regular nobody -- both at the same time. All of us do exciting, heroic things in the game, but, while Blizzard has put a lot of story elements in there, none of it is actual storytelling. For a roleplayer, most PvE is just background to the storytelling, something your characters do offstage -- kind of like food, paperwork, bathroom breaks, and sleep in the movies or novels you enjoy. Of course any event in life can be an important moment for your character, but in roleplaying, you have to let all the repetitive hero stuff fade into the background while your characters interact with one another.

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

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