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Posts with tag out-of-character

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)

A question of culture clash

Just a few days ago, I was questing on a new alt in order to check out how the roleplaying was on a new server I'd heard good things about. As I went through Ironforge to pick up my Winter Veil presents, I saw one of those ads for a new guild, "<Guild Name> is a new RP guild looking for mature new members! PST to join!" and I thought, "Why not check it out? At least there'll be someone to talk to." So, when I whispered this person, his only real question for me was to ask my age. Satisfied by my answer, he sent me an invite.

I wrongly assumed that guild chat was in-character, and immediately introduced myself in what I hoped was a humorous way. A couple members said "lol," and the leader introduced himself as a former Horde player who was getting started on a new server too. Somewhat disappointed that this guild was not so "RP" as it had advertised, I proceeded to ask some questions about the status of roleplaying on this server. I must not have impressed them this way, however, as I logged in a couple days later to find myself kicked out of the guild already.

One of the members I remembered from that first day happened to be online, so I asked him what had happened. "Oldman" (who's name I changed somewhat in this story) replied that, in the view of his "elder" guild members, I was "too wordy" and also "too juvenile." Thoroughly perplexed, I asked him what exactly I had said that was so juvenile. He told me that was itself a juvenile thing to say, and then used "/ignore" on me. I had been disappointed enough to leave that guild anyway, but to be dismissed offhand like that was rather hurtful until I made a realization: These "elder" members must think that asking questions is itself "juvenile" behavior, especially questions they deem unimportant; while according to my worldview, sincere questions of any sort are paths to more knowledge and understanding, and in themselves a sign of ever-growing maturity. Besides, completely ignoring someone just for asking questions doesn't seem like the pinnacle of maturity to me, either, but who am I to judge? Maybe there was some good reason I don't know about.

Have you ever encountered social situations in WoW that left you completely befuddled? Have real-life cultural values and judgments ever gotten in the way of your gaming, especially in ways that caught you by surprise?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Guilds, RP

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