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Posts with tag role playing

When did you first understand your role?

It occurred to me the other day that something I would never have understood before has, thanks to WoW, become part of how I think about gaming, to the point that I instantly recognized it when I heard that the new version of D&D is basically copying it - I'm talking about the role a character plays in a party or raid.

Before WoW, I played a lot of pen and paper RPG's, and the one thing that always stayed the same about them when compared to games like World of Warcraft or its MMO antecedents is that, in most pen and paper games, there is no mechanism for roles like 'tank' or 'dps'. There would usually be a healer of some kind or another, but in a tabletop RPG no one cares if the strongest melee combatant in the party is a holy paladin, a brutal sword-swinging warrior or a stealthy rogue, and whether or not any of them did more damage to the monster than, say, the wizard would be totally irrelevant. There was certainly no mechanism in the rules to keep a monster or monsters attention fixed on the guy with the most health or armor, either. So when I first started playing WoW I had no idea that my first character, a paladin, would be asked to heal people nor what 'tanking' even was. And since I was playing it at the time it first came out with other folks new to the game, no one bothered to explain to me what tanking was because none of my friends knew, either.

It wasn't until my first Scarlet Monastery run that I even realized I was supposed to do something there besides just hit things. Now, MMO's like WoW are so popular that the oldest pen and paper RPG is trying to learn from them, including incorporating how the various classes work in combat to some degree. It's all gone full circle, I guess - the first MMO's seemed determined to be D&D, and now D&D is becoming more like an MMO.

Did you immediately understand what you would be expected to do in a party? Did you accept it or reject it? And do you think it will translate into offline play? I went out and bought every book for the World of Warcraft Roleplaying Game but I never tried to actually run it... maybe I was just behind the times.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves

WoW is a Work of Art, part 2: Blizzard's masterpiece

As you read the word, "art," what do you think of? Van Gogh? Beethoven? Academy Awards for Best Picture? What is it that established mediums of art, such as painting, music, and film have in common?

In many ways, World of Warcraft is a combination of all these media, and yet it is something of it's own too. WoW has vast landscapes to explore, interesting characters with their own meaningful stories, and powerful music to thrill you or spook you or make you feel awe. Not only does WoW combine these elements together in a deeply satisfying way, it stands out as a carefully balanced masterwork of the "game" as a creative human expression. In other words, WoW is basically a web of overlapping problems to overcome alone or as a team, for which all the visual, musical and story elements are metaphors that open the doors into this central element of the game's experience. Not only is it fundamentally interactive, exploratory, and progressive, but your choices, from the way your character looks to the way you chose to play him or her, all represent your own investment in filling out the open space the game has made for you and the community of players. You and your friends are the final keystone in the edifice of the WoW work of art -- your progressive interaction with the game and your cooperation with others is designed from the beginning to be the main stimulating force on your mind and spirit, just as looking or listening is with other forms of art.

Of course art is a subjective thing, like beauty itself. One person may be profoundly inspired and uplifted by her WoW experience, while another may be left shaking his head and wondering why he wasted his time. In their own way, both are right; art is never art without a certain kind of participation by the one looking at it, listening to it, or engaging with it in some way. The perceiver of the art always has to be open to the special impact that art can have on your mind or spirit, and be willing to make that leap of faith into the work of art and see what its creators intended. For some to be unappreciative of one art form or another is commonplace and natural -- people have their unique likes and dislikes after all -- but the fact that a certain work of art touches some people, perhaps many, in a profound way is what sets it aside from mere entertainment.

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

May the blessing of Elune be on this Wiki

When Warcraft launched back in November 2004, my Everquest guild decided to roll characters on an RP server. Not because we wanted to RP, but we hoped the maturity level would be higher. One of the pleasant side effects of this decision is occasionally stumbling across RP events by accident.

This mostly happened in Stormwind before the expansion. On the way to the flight master, I would pass two characters sitting in a boat by the canal professing sorrow at how the unending war had kept them apart for so long. Or when I stepped into an Inn to unload my grey loot and pick up more drink, I would spy a group of players in peasant clothing exchanging wild tales of heroism and foolishness.

While my RP interactions are accidental, I found a great resource for those who enjoy the Role Playing aspect of the game: The WoW RP Wiki. It's free to register if you want to contribute. I've dug around and found some great Stories in there such as the Equal Rights for Equal Heights gnome march on Ironforge (complete with video goodness) and the memorable Curse of the Ogre Loincloth.

Check it out if you are looking for a new RP resource or if you are looking for entertaining Warcraft fan fiction to pass the time.

Filed under: Fan stuff, RP

Beginner's Guide to Roleplaying

I know the first time I started my World of Warcraft client, the option of roleplaying servers surprised me.  Never having been a roleplayer myself, it wasn't what I'd bought the game for, and while I've spent a little time attempting to play on them, but never really had a good feel for how to interact with players there.  However, Manovan from EU server Scarshield Legion has written up a good guide for a beginning roleplayer - providing a good start for players who don't know where to start. 

Filed under: How-tos, Virtual selves

Breakfast Topic: Hidden gems

From an out-of-the-way inn my guild uses for meetings, to the time I finally managed to watch a race in the Shimmering Flats, Azeroth has many well-kept secrets. How many times have you stumbled across a location or piece of scenery and wondered what on earth it was there for? Aside from the game's easter eggs, which are fun to track down, some places seem to hold unfulfilled potential.

I've found that RP gives me a whole new outlook on these places; every one suddenly suggests several possible storylines, although I've acquired the habit of dismissing a lot of the empty-looking content by saying "oh, that's only for RPers". Do you think this is true? Are the deserted buildings and empty locations there for RP enjoyment alone, or to lighten the hearts of the players who love running around into every nook and cranny? Have you found a particular spot that surprised or delighted you?

Filed under: Tips, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics

The Escapist on role-playing

This week's Escapist has several excellent pieces on roleplaying and WoW. Mark Wallace's "In Celebration of the Inner Rogue" looks at the connection between player and avatar -- when you play, do you think of your character as "you" or "him"? If the answer's "her", then Chris Dahlen's "I Enjoy Playing a Girl" might be up your street. Tying in with our discussion of female avatars, it's one gender-bender's story of girl power.

More on the RP side, John Tynes' "The Contrarian: Masks in the Woods" focuses on RP guilds in WoW, amongst other things. Finally, Will Hindmarch's "Roleplayer in Azeroth" talks about WoW from a D&Der's perspective -- why it's not an RPG, and yet at the same time fulfils the same "escapism amongst friends" role as tabletop D&D.

Roleplaying and gaming have a rich history together, and WoW provides a detailed framework for RP. These articles only serve to highlight the depth of role-playing one can achieve ingame. It's a shame, then, that Blizzard have so few RP servers, and that RP isn't enforced on these servers. I remember MUDs where if you spoke OOC in general chat then you were instantly kicked; is a crackdown needed, or will player policing eventually weed out the non-RP players?

Filed under: Virtual selves

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