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Posts with tag role-playing

All the World's a Stage: Attitudes about roleplaying for the first time


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.

We've talked before about getting started in roleplaying, as well as how to find the right group to roleplay with. But there's also another aspect the question of roleplaying for the first time, which is that inner attitude people feel towards it.

I often see people leaving comments on All the World's a Stage, saying that they have some sort of story for their character inside their heads, but they don't let it out, for various reasons. Some don't feel that they have the right social space to let it out, and find it difficult to connect with others in such a way that their internal idea can actually take shape in reality. Others feel as though roleplaying isn't for them, even though they clearly seem to have the gift for it. In both cases, their roleplaying is limited to their own mind, where no one else can hear it or benefit from it at all. For every one who posts something about it on a site like this one, how many more just think about it, and never say anything to anyone?

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

All the World's a Stage: So you want to raise up the shadows of doom


Today, All the World's a Stage concludes a series on "how to be evil," bringing the bad guy back into your fantasy roleplaying, complete with ideas, methods, warnings, and practical examples. Be sure to check out steps 1-3, steps 4-6, and steps 7 and 8 on the path to evil!

Your friends keep telling you, "you can't play Arthas, man! Nobody's going to believe that your little human death knight is actually the Lich King in disguise. Get real!" But your idea just won't go away. You admit that creating a human death knight named "Ahrrthyss" might not be the best way to go about it, but you're in this guild which is devoted to fighting the Scourge, and you want Arthas to be a part of your story, not just an NPC who shows up in some quests and at the end of a raid.

We've already discussed a number of ways to be a villain in WoW – so you look at them to see if you can get one of them to work for you: The most obvious is to just start a new character and designate it to be one of your guild's antagonists, but the problem here is that making Arthas as an actual player character is way too Mary Sue. Such a tactic usually only works for very subtle villains (more like flawed heroes really), or for short-term possession, and your guild has done 3 "possessed by the Lich King's power" type stories already. You need something new! Another choice is to create a disposable villain, perhaps, some agent of the Lich King, which could be interesting, but still doesn't put you in touch with Arthas himself.

But there is another way, which many people have not thought of: to put the villain entirely in the shadows of the background, let him never actually be seen, but let his effects be felt based on what happens to the heroes. Arthas can indeed play a huge role in your story, without ever having to appear in person. It has been done to great effect before, even in novels. Sauron, anyone?

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Filed under: How-tos, Lore, Bosses, RP, Alts, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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


Today, All the World's a Stage continues a series on "how to be evil," bringing the bad guy back into your fantasy roleplaying, complete with ideas, methods, warnings, and practical examples. Be sure to check out steps 1-3 on the path to evil here.

It's been said that the secret to writing a good story is not having a really interesting hero, but rather an interesting villain. The hero himself is defined by the villain in many ways, just as a sports team becomes famous only once they've defeated the last year's champions, or a runner breaks the world record for speed, a hero needs someone to test himself against, a great obstacle for him to overcome or destroy. If the villain is interesting, then the hero will be interesting too.

It is natural, then, for a roleplayer to want to test his own heroes or those of his friends against some obstacles as well. Many of us sit down with the intention of creating a really interesting challenge for our guildmates to overcome – but in our creative endeavor we must remember that danger lurks behind every corner, and creating a villain in itself is a task with significant obstacles to overcome. In fact, one might say that the greatest enemy of such a roleplayer is none other than his own self, the ghost of cliché lurking just outside his field of creative vision.

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Filed under: How-tos, Virtual selves, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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


Today, All the World's a Stage begins a series on "how to be evil," bringing back the bad guy in your fantasy roleplaying -- complete with ideas, methods, warnings, and practical examples.

Up to now, we've mostly talked about roleplaying as a way that you and your friends can get together and enjoy developing your characters' relationships with one another. You don't normally tell stories about epic struggle against evil incarnate as a roleplayer in WoW, mostly because you have very limited control over the enemies you can struggle against in the game -- they tend to respawn every few minutes. It's hard to say, "We have just defeated Arthas and rid the world of the threat of the Scourge!" when your guild is scheduled to do the same thing again next week. There are ways around the continuity problem when you're raiding, but generally the best roleplayers tend to stay away from big lore characters and earth-shattering consequences, to focus on the more personal, down to earth things our heroes experience as they go through their daily lives.

It's kind of like if you had a TV series about all the things that happened in the general background of Lord of the Rings that didn't make it into the movies or novels – Frodo, Aragorn and Legolas would not be in it, but there would be other characters who could interact in the same world, and flesh out many of the details that wouldn't fit in the epic trilogy. (Incidentally, I have not had a chance to play Lord of the Rings Online, but I would hope that one of the goals of that game would be to do just this for the world of Middle Earth, the same way WoW roleplayers can sort of do for Azeroth.)

Now, even though you typically don't roleplay yourself beating up the biggest bad guys in the game, that doesn't mean you can't have any antagonists in your RP stories -- just that your own personal villains have to be somewhat low-key, and that you and your friends have to play them yourselves. There are a lot of limitations and pitfalls with that sort of endeavor, of course, but with a bit of subtlety and imagination, it can most certainly be done.

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Filed under: How-tos, Virtual selves, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: The art of the alt

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.

With all the talk lately about starting new characters once the Cataclysm arrives, it struck me that most roleplayers already have more than one, including myself. Like most players, I started with one, a night elf druid, and focused on playing that exclusively for quite some time. It didn't really occur to me that I would even want to play more than one.

Then, I began to notice that other people played more than one character, even within the same small group of friends. I had one friend in particular who had mastered the art of roleplaying multiple characters. She never said anything out of character to anyone in our group, and it took me ages to even realize that her characters were ally played by the same person in the first place. Each one had its own personality, and each had a different relationship with all our mutual friends.

Knowing her made something click inside my mind, and I began to see other possibilities for myself too, other sorts of characters I could play with different weaknesses, strengths, and entirely different stories to tell. As my roleplaying experience grew, I began to feel as though one character couldn't contain all the ideas I had jumbling about in my head, so... I started another one, then another, and ... another. Little did I know all the pitfalls I could run into with so many characters, nor the quirky little tricks that could become possible with multiple characters, a small group of friends, and a bit of creativity.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Guilds, RP, Classes, Alts, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: Cataclysm's new race/class combinations


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.

As you know, the new race and class combinations coming up in the Cataclysm will open a whole new set of doors to people who want an alternative character choice that goes against the grain of their typical racial customs, to one degree or another. With the exception of a couple combinations that feel as though they should have been there from the beginning (such as blood elf warriors, which need no discussion here), each new possibility presents roleplayers with an opportunity to play an outcast of sorts, a character who has made a significant break from the traditions his or her race usually represent.

The lore behind each combination is not yet fully clear. We know tauren paladins will probably worship the sun and call themselves "Sunwalkers" for instance, but not much more than that. Some things are clear, though, and there's a lot to get the imagination going for those roleplayers who yearn to play something a little different.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Druid, Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Analysis / Opinion, RP, Classes, Alts, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying), Cataclysm

All the World's a Stage: The new character experience in Cataclysm


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.

As you know, the Cataclysm is going to bring major changes to the whole world of Azeroth. There will only be 5 new zones for leveling above 80 and one new zone for each new race -- the rest of the work they're doing involves changing the old zones, bringing them up to the standards of zones in The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, adding new quests that are more appropriate to the current timeline, and completely rebuilding the areas that just didn't work so well.

You are also probably aware that this is a much-needed improvement. The 1 - 60 leveling process (except for the draenei or blood elf starting areas) has long been fraught with serious flaws. Going through it the first time wasn't so bad, since exploring everything felt so new, but doing it the third and fourth times meant sheer boredom. I remember many times going to a zone, completing many or all of the quests there, and leaving without ever feeling as though I had really "been" there. Except for a few real gems, quests mostly involved spending a lot of time running long distances in order to kill more nameless bad guys -- they felt more like pest control than adventure. Just being there seemed to remove me from the story of Azeroth, and dump me in some other world where there was nothing important happening. Vast stretches of land on the Azeroth map meant absolutely nothing to me as a roleplayer: no character, no story, no meaning.

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Filed under: Quests, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, RP, Alts, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying), Cataclysm

All the World's a Stage: More possibilities for goblins and worgen in Cataclysm

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.

So the Cataclysm expansion has officially been announced at BlizzCon 2009 and while there are many things we knew before (such as the addition of Goblins and Worgen), there are many things we just learned (such as the beginnings of their proper lore), and many things we still don't know as well -- some things even Blizzard still seems undecided about.

But there are some indications of things to come which will surely affect roleplayers. The most obvious change involves the changes the whole world will be going through. Each of our existing characters' will have their own reaction to the cataclysm, of course, as well as the opportunity to go through the game from 1 to 60 with a new character, and maybe not be quite as bored as you were the last 6 times you did it. Your new tauren paladin's leveling experience will be very different from your tauren shaman's, and each one will have different things to talk about once they reach the level cap.

Another obvious addition is that you can start another character with whichever new race you like most. Many players have been wanting to play goblins and worgen for a long time, and appreciate the new parity that the two races bring to the two factions -- the Horde now has a diminutive race that is likely the closest the Horde could ever come to "cute," and the Alliance finally gets a race that is actually monstrous. This opens the doors for people to try out the opposite faction even more than before. We've already talked about these two races in a previous article, but now that the expansion's new races are confirmed with additional lore and information, there's quite a bit more to say.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Lore, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying), Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

All the World's a Stage: Reflections on the passing of a roleplayer's mom

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

Long time readers of "All the World's a Stage" may remember that I wrote an earlier series of three articles, called "WoW is a Work of Art," which I viewed as a kind of launch pad for this column about roleplaying. The first article talked about how when my mom came down with a very serious form of brain cancer, I had to put other things in my life on hold in order to come back to the US and take care of her. I was happy to do this, of course -- it was an honor to be able to be there for my mother when she needed me, but I won't pretend it was very much fun. Cancer is a terrible disease that wreaks havoc on one's body and emotions all in one big punch. Roleplaying in WoW was one of the social activities I could do for fun at that time, a little world I could enjoy without actually having to leave my home and the loved one that I was caring for.

Last weekend, the life of my mother was very visibly coming to a close. As the deadline for this column approached, I asked for leave (incidentally the first weekend since almost two years ago with no article in this column), and spent every moment with her I could. She died on Monday afternoon, leaving me an inheritance of countless feelings and thoughts which I shall undoubtedly explore for the rest of my life.

Among many other realizations and ideas that have come to mind, I realized that my roleplaying career had come full circle. My decision to play WoW and eventually write about it had begun with my mother's cancer, and now that this cancer had finally taken her life, I wondered, how has this roleplaying contributed to my real life? Has it made me a better person? When I eventually lie on my deathbed as my mother did, will I feel thankful to have roleplayed in WoW the same way my mother felt thankful for all of her experiences in life?

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

Dwarf levels solely by exploring, gains World Explorer at level 17

Here's a cute story to brighten up your Sunday. Tenen, a Dwarf Warrior in Modan Co on Moon Guard, decided that he would start at level one and only explore. No quests, no killing mobs, no PvP. Just exploration.

Seventeen levels later, he's explored every single outdoor zone in the game, and completed the World Explorer achievement. So if you wanted to know how much XP you could get just from exploring, there's your answer. It took four days of playtime to accomplish.

Of course, he couldn't do it all on his own; aside from the ravenous mobs, some areas are simply inaccessible without a flying mount. He got some summoning help from a cooperative Warlock. The Charge skill was also apparently useful in getting to some hard-to-reach places.

Congrats to Tenen! It's always nice to see players do something a little different.

[Thanks, Frijona]

Filed under: RP, Achievements

Blood Pact: Spelling test


With a flash of flame and a gout of smoke, Blood Pact appears again! It demands that columnist Nick Whelan make a sacrifice! Either he must write on a relatively simple subject this week, or be doomed to perform poorly during his finals! Left with no other recourse, Whelan submits to the will of the column.

Spells are the essence of playing a Warlock. Just about every part of playing the game, save role playing, has spell casting as a central feature for us. Fighting for control of Arathi Basin, dueling on matters of honor with some upstart Mage, questing and leveling, or any instance from assailing Defias scum in The Deadmines, to unlocking the secrets of Azeroth in Ulduar. Without spells the only things a Warlock could do would be run, jump, and weakly bonk our foes with our staffs. And there just aren't enough platforming sections in WoW to make that kind of thing fun.

Depending on our spec and in-game vocation, different Warlocks focus on different spells. And the decision of which spells to focus on is based on numbers. Such as the time required to cast the spell, potential damage output the spell has, or the amount of time that the spell will allow us to reign destruction on our foes while they run around screaming in abject terror. Understanding the mechanical uses of spells is essential if we're to be effective Warlocks. But as I've said in the past: Rain of Fire isn't just an area of effect spell channeled over 10 seconds which causes 2-3k non-crit damage every 2 seconds to enemies within a 15 yard radius--it's fireballs falling out of the sky!

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Filed under: Warlock, RP, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Blood Pact: Minions are people too


Warlock writer Nick Whelan has been quoted as saying that the new WoW.com layout is ''trippin.' Stormwind City Guards later found Infinite Dust in the saddle bags of his Dreadsteed. While he was being held for further questioning, he wrote this week's Blood Pact.

On a whim, I pulled out some of my Dungeons and Dragons books a couple weeks back, and convinced a buddy of mine that we should pick up where we left off in one of our old games. Since then my head has been wrapped around Zalekios Gromar, Vasharan Warlock on a mission to kill the gods that spited his people in millennia past. And while the Eldritch Blast of D&D isn't exactly the same as WoW's Shadow Bolt, it certainly got me in the mood for role playing.

There was a time between my adventures near Northshire Abbey, and my discovery that I had a passion for group content while I was fighting a torrential updraft of trolls in Zul'Farrak, when RP was my primary reason for playing the game. And while you don't usually see me walking through Stormwind these days, there was a time when I was Lord Sentai Grehsk, The Corpseseeker. A Warlock driven by the horrors of war to seek world peace at any cost, regardless of how many people he needed to quietly murder to achieve it.

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Filed under: Warlock, RP, (Warlock) Blood Pact

All The World's A Stage: Impromptu RP Raiding

Comes the shadow...
Hey everyone. I'm back. David is not tied up and gagged in his own shoe closet. And even if he were, there would be nothing you could do to prevent me from writing this column since, like Adrian Veidt, I'm doing it before I tell you about it. Fiendishly clever, I know.

So, it's generally known (by those that care to know) that I play both Alliance and Horde. My horde play nowadays consists of my orc shaman who I am slowly leveling resto because I am an insane masochist and my tauren warrior, who is a raiding arms warrior.... mostly... because again, I am an insane masochist. That, and the abiding love I have for both the warrior class and the tauren race. As I said in yesterday's Breakfast Topic, I love pretty much everything about tauren. (Oh, and Karilyn, I did go stand back to back with a female tauren yesterday, and you're wrong and right at the same time. I'm taller, but she holds her head higher and stands straighter. I'm talled because my massive shoulders are higher than her head. She does look pretty freaking regal, though.)

My love for my tauren is so oddly obsessive that I've taken a staff that was going to be sharded to wear around town (It's my walking stick) even though it cost me a shard to do it. It was that run, actually, that introduced me to a fun concept for the insomniacs among us. See, none of my characters are on RP servers, but if it's late enough and you're putting a PuG together of people's alts and unsaved characters (I miss half of the Naxx raids due to schedule conflicts) then it's possible to get 9 or 10 folks together who are willing to throw caution to the winds and actually raid in character.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Raiding, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

WoW Moviewatch: What Happens in Booty Bay Stays in Booty Bay


(Warning: This video contains some harsh language.)

Just in time for the weekend, like a quick junket to Vegas,we offer a movie called What Happens in Booty Bay Stays in Booty Bay. The filmmaker, Brigitte Swiftblade, calls this an "RP documentary." I love this format; it's very original. Since she's playing on an RP server, she decides to follow around her pal, Zaitzegrait, and film the consequences while he tries to meet chicks in Booty Bay. Apparently Zait is quite a famous character in Trade chat (US Twisting Nether-A), so it's like she picked a celebrity for a reality show. And, in a way, a "reality show" is really what this movie is since Zait is the only one who knows why the little Dwarf Rogue is following him around so closely. (Her POV is the camera's eye.) Everyone else plays their part to perfection, albeit unbeknownst to them. The subtitles offer insight into the documentary setup and a running non-RP commentary on the action -- or Zait's lack thereof. The result is a very humorous, original movie that contains themes of love, betrayal, honor, and cross-faction hanky-panky. I would love to see more of this kind of documentary movie-making from role-players!

[Via WarcraftMovies]

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

Filed under: Machinima, Virtual selves, Humor, WoW Moviewatch, RP

WoW Moviewatch: Lingering Memory


Hey there, I'm the new WoW Moviewatch blogger since Moo unfortunately had to leave our hallowed halls. My first pick is a new film by Count Vrenna called Lingering Memory. The story follows a young Paladin's conflict with The Scourge at Caer Darrow. It's told without dialog or voiceover, with just a few titles by way of setup and some emotional music to carry the mood.

Count Vrenna asserts that this is his first time filming large battle scenes, but I wouldn't have guessed if he hadn't told me. The last scene showing rows of Death Knights -- including one of the Naaru, just like we find in Ebon Hold -- is chilling in its inevitability. Another scene I liked is where the hero confronts her fate and memories of her life flash before her eyes. It reminds me somewhat of Here Without You but without the love story. I've never quite gotten the hang of role playing but all these RP guilds making such cool recruitment videos sure make the idea tempting to try.

[Via WarcraftMovies.]

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

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