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Posts with tag roleplayer

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

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the first in a series of roleplaying guides on every race in WoW, in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well without embarrassing yourself.

I know, you're thinking "wait a minute, I'm already a human, aren't I? Isn't roleplaying a human in WoW just like being a human in real life -- plus some sword and sorcery, minus some boring office jobs and unpleasant bodily functions?" The answer is no, it's not so simple -- there's a bit of history and culture at work in Azerothian human society that all roleplayers of human characters need to be aware of. Otherwise, it's easy to fall into the trap of inconsistency with the Warcraft lore and the roleplaying that everyone else is trying to do within it.

Suppose for example that you say "Hi! My name is Walter and I was raised on a farm. Now I've come to Stormwind to have adventures and become a hero!" You may find the never-seen-danger-before style of new hero interesting to roleplay, but it would be very unlikely to find such a human in the actual Warcraft lore: ever since the orcs first came through the portal 30 years or so prior to the setting of our game, every human nation has suffered terribly as the human race barely survived 3 huge waves of devastating warfare, with some whole nations of humans completely wiped out. No human growing up in that time would have been untouched by the conflict -- and if you want to roleplay a human, you ought to know about it.

Similar issues exist for all the available player races in WoW; there are certain details about your race's history that you need to know in order to roleplay well. So today we will provide you with the basic knowledge you need to be a human. We'll leave the in-depth lore to other columns, though -- today is just a basic roleplayer's primer on one race, with other races to follow in the future.

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Filed under: Alliance, Human, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: Center of the universe


All the World's a Stage returns today after a week off due to reasons beyond the comprehension of mortal man. Mysteries abound in World of Warcraft, and roleplayers are there to enjoy them.

In roleplaying, one's own character is never the center of the story -- this is true. But from another perspective, your character is always the center of the story -- and this is also true. It seems like a paradox, but it's actually a way of understanding your own relationship to the world.

In most stories, the main characters are usually the ones who have the most impact on the world around them: they are the heroes who save the day, fall in love, and make the choices that determine the ultimate outcome of the plot. In a way, the whole story circles around them, like planets around the sun. The structure of Warcraft lore is built with the stories of characters like this, whose choices made the World of Warcraft what it is today: Arthas, Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore and the like.

But the roleplaying community of imaginative characters is not such a centralized system. When immature roleplayers fail to understand this, they end up with a chaotic mess where everyone wants to steal the spotlight. But mature roleplaying environments are quite the opposite: they are cooperative rather than competitive, and quite unlike traditional storytelling patterns. Where traditional stories are like a solar system, with main characters around which all the other characters revolve, roleplaying in WoW it is like the expanding universe itself: a web of interconnected stories and characters in which the center appears to be nowhere and everywhere at the same time.

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

All the World's a Stage: What Blizzard seems not to see


When you decide to roleplay, a whole new world of imagination opens up to you -- soon you realize that all the World of Warcraft is a stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players.

Blizzard definitely cares about roleplayers. They listen to us and there's a special place for us in their hearts -- which is natural, because in many ways, their whole world has its own story and background which means a lot to them, and while all players get to see that story unfolding through their activities in the game, roleplayers are the ones who participate in that story by making their own stories within it.

The problem is that Blizzard and its roleplayers are on pretty different wavelengths when it comes to what roleplayers want to receive and what Blizzard wants to provide. Blizzard wants to give us more neat toys and perfect places to enjoy, with lots of lore and story behind them -- and while this is all very interesting and everyone enjoys it, most roleplayers are wishing they had more sandbox-like tools, spaces and items they can easily bend or shape in their own ways, to use for their own purposes.

Blizzard may care, but do they really understand? Read on for insights Blizzard may be missing.

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

All the World's a Stage: How to roleplay your way to level 70

When you decide to roleplay, a whole new world of imagination opens up to you -- soon you realize that all the World of Warcraft is a stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players.

A friend of mine recently complained that lately leveling has been extremely tedious. Even with characters he might feel excited about at first, he eventually gets bored after just a few quests. We talked about this for a little while, and he brought up the fact that if he was going to play WoW by himself he might as well play a single-player game instead.

It got me thinking that, in spite of all the demand people have for more solo and casual content, this is significantly better when we play it together. Even when I play by myself, my eye is always on my friends list to see if someone I know is going to show up and chat with me. Thinking about my friend's problem, I thought maybe it would really help if he and I were to go questing together -- so we found the two characters we had with the smallest level gap between them and we decided to go at it. Rather than just just going through the motions of killing the various enemies listed on our little quest sheets as if we were buying groceries or something, we made it into a neat little roleplay experience.

In fact, there are lots of quests in the game that are very appropriate for roleplaying. When you get together with your friends to level up and quest together, you can focus on the quest that has the deepest possible connection to your own character, or the one with the most intrinsic storyline. Of course there are many other throwaway quests you can do along the way, like "kill 10 Generic Humanoids" or whatever, but it works best to pick one that seems to have some meaning to you or your character and start there.

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

All the World's a Stage: Pros and cons of total-immersion roleplay

When you decide to roleplay, a whole new world of imagination opens up to you -- soon you realize that all the World of Warcraft is a stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players.

There are degrees to roleplaying. Some people like it "light," so that it never gets too intense, you never have to actually "work" to make your character profound or lore-worthy, and it's generally just a fun way to pass some time. Others like it "heavy;" they view their characters as works of art, taking special care to make their characters believable and interesting, and sometimes planning special roleplaying events for their guild to enjoy. Some even try to do everything in-character, from repairing armor to marking out targets with raid symbols.

Recently I joined just such a full-immersion roleplaying guild, and have been trying out their particular style. To be fair, I still have a number of friends on my server that I usually speak out-of-character with, because that's what we're used to, but for everyone in this guild, I do my best to stay in character at all times, with everything my character says and does. To some this may seem like an unnecessary pain, but to others it's a fun experience. Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of roleplaying.

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

All the World's a Stage: How to be a death knight

When you decide to roleplay, a whole new world of imagination opens up to you -- soon you realize that all the World of Warcraft is a stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players.

Last week, we took a look at how roleplaying a death knight will be different from roleplaying other classes, because death knights come pre-packaged with elements of a backstory for you to flesh out: they have, for whatever reason, at one time joined forces with the Lich King, learned from him how to be a death knight, and now are breaking free of his influence and striking out against him.

As Medeni pointed out in her comments, however, this can potentially lead to a kind of unlikable "celebrity in rehab" type of personality. Imagine, if you will, the death knight known as Marisoo: formerly a paladin of the Light, she sought to destroy the Scourge that plagued her homeland of Lordaeron, but eventually, as she was consumed with vengeance and hatred, she joined the Lich King instead of destroying him. Having learned to turn corpses into slavering ghouls and call forth armies of the undead, she eventually thought better of the whole "wickedly destroy all life" thing and decided to destroy the Lich King after all, only this time she would use his own power against him! Muahaha.

As you can see, there are some pretty obvious flaws in this idea. First of all, the first half of it is almost a direct copy of Arthas' own tale, and, while I can certainly appreciate the power of that story, and the possibility that other paladins could have gone through something similar, roleplayers who want to play a death knight character must realize that it's going to get old fast. Just as death knights aren't just human paladins, we can't all go around copying Arthas, brooding on how moody and wicked we've become. We have to come up with new ideas that fit the death knight mould.

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Filed under: Virtual selves, Lore, RP, Death Knight, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: How roleplaying a Death Knight will be different

When you decide to roleplay, a whole new world of imagination opens up to you -- soon you realize that all the world's a stage, even if just an electronic one.

We don't know a whole lot about death knights in WoW yet, but what we do know is already enough to show that death knights are the class with the most background story already laid out for them ahead of time: The death knights we will be able to play are former servants of the Lich King who have now turned against him and joined the Alliance or the Horde instead. This background story is built into the class -- something each and every death knight roleplayer will have to take into account when they roleplay their character, and it will have ramifications upon everyone else in the entire global society of Azeroth as well.

Some other classes have a great depth of lore behind them as well, such as druids, paladins and shamans, who look to Malfurion, Uther, and Thrall for inspiration. These classes certainly look up to their heroes and follow in their footsteps, just as, in some ways, death knights follow in the footsteps of Arthas. And yet for other classes that has little effect on each individual's path to becoming a practitioner of his or her particular abilities. The transition from normal shmoe to level one hero is left vague for the player upon character creation, unless, as a roleplayer working on a backstory, he gives it special attention.

Indeed, some classes are pretty straightforward, and don't necessarily suggest a story at all. Instead, they present us with an image, or an idea -- when you play one of the existing nine classes, you can fit right into the role without a story, because the role feels like a basic archetype you already understand.

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Filed under: Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Lore, RP, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: Character diamonds

All the World's a Stage is your source of roleplaying ideas n' stuff. The usual columnist is grateful to Alex and Matt for covering for him the last couple weeks while he got ready to defend his MA thesis.

Getting into character isn't all that easy. First of all, as Matt demonstrated last week, one must have the desire and the gumption to just do it. You can't sit back and say, "But I don't know how to do it right!"or "But what if people don't like my roleplaying?" or any other excuse like that. You have to put your fingers to the keyboard and just start playing your role. Whether people like it more or less depends upon a bunch of things, including your skills and knowledge about how to do it well, but first and foremost it depends on your willingness to go out and try things out -- then look back and learn from your experience. You won't stop having problems and making mistakes, but you will get better over time.

Today I'll share with you one idea I found that helped me a lot with a problem I was having: when I found myself having a bit of trouble "logging in" to a particular character's personality, I found the concept of the "Character Diamond" to be extremely valuable in pinning down exactly who this character is, how she would respond, and what it feels like to be inside her head. This concept was originally thought up by a screenwriting teacher named David S. Freeman, but it has gone through a bit of modification to suit the MMORPG world. So, with permission from the folks at Dramatis Personae who first taught me about it, I would like to sum it up for you here as a starter's guide and reference for making character diamonds of your own.

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

All the World's a Stage: Background story

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

Your character is like an arrow. He was launched from the birthplace of your imagination with the aim of creating spontaneous stories with other creative people. Your character's personality is the particular direction he travels in, and his background story is the bow which set him on his way.

The bow-string tension that gives a good backstory its momentum is its lack of resolution. The desire to find resolution propels your character forward into the game, but it doesn't predict with certainty where your he or she will end up. Realizing this can free you of a great burden: your story doesn't have to make the New York Times Bestseller List. In fact, the whole idea here is to purposely leave your backstory unfinished, ready to be resolved through roleplaying. Too much emphasis on a dramatic background leaves you with not enough room for an interesting foreground, and little else to contribute other than the saga of your epic past.

Obviously, people aren't logging into WoW to read your miniature novel. They generally won't want to hear your backstory unless they specifically ask you about it (which they might!), but even then they'll care less for its narrative value and more for its ultimate impact on your character as a person. It's best to think of it less as a story in itself (e.g. "How I got to be this way"), and more as a prologue to the story you want to roleplay (e.g. "How do I get out of this mess?"). Its purpose is to set up challenges for your character to overcome with other people, and it should establish a direct line to your character's desires and aspirations.

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

All the World's a Stage: Free your mind

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

Some people don't want to worry about staying in character; they just want to come home, play a game and chill out. That's fine, they have the choice to be a regular player and do what they enjoy. But for those of us who seek the path of the roleplayer, we ought not to stop there.

We spend a lot of time in WoW doing all the same things other non-roleplayers are doing, whether it's questing, instances, or PvP. In the process, it can be easy to let one's character slowly drift away from a genuine personality, and into a mere avatar for your own personality as a gamer in a computer game. After all, your character must do a lot of things in order to progress, many of which are game-oriented goals rather than story-oriented goals. You need boss loot, Badges of Justice, Arena points and a bunch of other things that don't always translate well into very interesting character motivations.

It's easy to rely on old standby motivations so much that they become excuses. We might say, for example, "I'm trying to help the Shattered Sun Offensive to prevent Kil'Jaeden from entering Azeroth!" or "I'm hoping to attack Pathaleon the Calculator and take from him his prized sword: The Sun Eater!" And these are fine reasons for characters to do things, but we must remember, there's nothing really new or interesting about them. Every one wants to prevent disaster, or acquire new weapons -- but what about such a desire reveals who your character really is? How can you make normal gaming goals and activities into an opportunity for interesting performance and immersion in a fantasy world?

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

All the World's a Stage: A good roleplayer is a good person first

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

Gamers, and citizens of the Internet in general, are not known for being very sociable people. To me, it's always been a big mystery why John Gabriel's GIF Theory seems so apt for so many of us. It's hard for me to fathom why people enjoy acting rude, crude, or unpleasantly in any situation. I hear them telling me "because it's fun!" but personally I can't imagine getting any kicks out of it.

The roleplaying community is one of those few online spaces where things actually seem a bit different, however. Many people are not roleplayers at all, but they join up on RP servers just because roleplayers care about things like grammar and seem to be more polite in general. Since roleplaying is an inherently cooperative activity, people who want to roleplay first have to be willing to communicate nicely with others. There are, of course, players on RP realms with whom real communication seems impossible, but those people usually aren't actually roleplayers to begin with. They get about 10 seconds of attention before most roleplayers start ignoring them completely.

To be a good roleplayer, one must first be a good person. The qualities of character that open doors of friendship and cooperation in real life are the same qualities that will help make roleplaying a positive and rewarding experience for you in WoW. Even if one wants to play an evil character, one must do it in such a way that others can tell you're actually a really nice and caring player behind the evil mask. Sometimes it's also handy to remind oneself how not to act like that proverbial Internet Fudgewad.

All the World's a Stage is your weekly source of roleplaying tips and helpful ideas that many players can benefit from. Be sure to read on below, follow the 10 commandments of roleplaying, and avoid acting like Mary Sue in order to assure surefire protection from the evil voice of Internet Fudgewaddiness within us all.

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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: Writing what you know

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

Many people don't realize it, but every time you put your fingers to the keyboard to spell out some words, that's the same writing skill that authors and poets take years and years to practice and master. Of course there's a big difference between a simple text message and an epic fantasy novel, but any form of writing shares many of the same the fundamental skills - skills which one must then adapt to suit the particular medium you are using to communicate.

As a roleplayer, in particular, one can benefit a great deal from many of the basic principles any writer uses when putting their ideas down on paper, especially principles of good communication within a storytelling medium.

Today, we'll explore a particular aspect of the writing craft as applied in roleplaying: Writing what you know vs. writing what seems cool.

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

All the World's a Stage: Joining the right circle


One of the most common difficulties many roleplayers face is that of finding other people to roleplay with. To help overcome this challenge, All the World's a Stage presents a guide to finding roleplayers in three parts: "finding the right realm" for roleplaying, "joining the right circle" of roleplaying friends, and "wearing the right mask" to attract other roleplayers to you.

So, here you are. You decided that you want to give roleplaying a try, so you picked an RP server and started leveling up. You even tried roleplaying with one person you met along the way, saying "Hail, traveler! Would you like to undertake this task with me?" Things were going along quite nicely for a few minutes until the other person said, "Dood, this quest suxxors, lol," and you realized that something had gone horribly, terribly wrong.

A mystery baffles roleplayers everywhere: why is it that even on a space like an RP server, set aside for roleplaying, it can be so hard to find other people to roleplay with? Even if you have thoroughly researched the question of which server is the best place for roleplaying, still you will not be happy there until you find a circle of friends whose roleplaying you can appreciate, and who appreciate yours in return.

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

All the World's a Stage: Finding the right realm


One of the most common difficulties many roleplayers face is that of finding other people to roleplay with. To help overcome this challenge, All the World's a Stage presents a guide to finding roleplayers in three parts: "finding the right realm" for roleplaying, "joining the right circle" of roleplaying friends, and "wearing the right mask" to attract other roleplayers to you.

Due to reasons we have discussed earlier, RP servers can vary widely from a very few who maintain their immersive roleplaying atmosphere, to the majority which often seem little different from a normal PvE or PvP server. Although Blizzard takes their RP server guidelines "seriously," they cannot enforce these rules wholesale, and rely on the players themselves to do much of their own policing and reporting where necessary. RP servers thus vary a great deal in terms of how many people there actually make roleplaying a priority, how many will report someone breaking the RP rules, and how many will strive to maintain that precious gem of mass cooperation: the roleplaying atmosphere.

It may not be obvious to a new player, but there are tools roleplayers can use to find the realm that suits them best. There may be no standardized way to group up for RP, but the fact holds true: "seek, and ye shall find."

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Filed under: Virtual selves, Guilds, Guides, RP, Forums, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

All the World's a Stage: Ten Commandments of Roleplaying

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

WoW
Insider is not Mount Sinai, and I am certainly not the Burning Bush, but there is a need for a clear, concise list of "do's and don'ts" which new and experienced roleplayers can refer to in times of need. I therefore submit the following commandments as a guide and a reference to roleplayers throughout the World of Warcraft.

Obviously the list of essential rules I lay out here will be different from a list you might make, but hopefully the basic ideas remain the same. In addition, being as I am hardly a prophet of the Almighty, I reserve the right to edit these commandments over time as times change and new insights emerge.

1. Thou shalt not play God.

You only have control over the actions of your own character. When roleplaying with others, you must never ever use an emote or action which denies others the right to choose their own actions in response to yours. For example: "Moosis glares with white hot anger at Faro" is acceptable; "Moosis glares so intensely that Faro's face melts" is not. Whether or not two people's characters are fighting with each other, their act of roleplaying itself is essentially cooperative -- even in a battle of emotes, both players must work together to tell the story in an interesting way, neither one presuming what the other will do.

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

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