RP and You, a Beginner’s Guide

One of the most popular posts I have ever made on my realm’s forums was a simple guide to RP for the beginner. The thread itself was stickied, and has had thousands of views, but you never know when Blizzard’s going to delete something. So in the interests of preserving the information and presenting it in a slightly more organized manner, I am reprinting it here on this blog.

Spook’s Beginner’s Guide to RP

World of Warcraft is an incredibly diverse game with many options out there for players to immerse themselves in, both while leveling and once you’ve gone as far as you can go. Before I go too far into the role-playing process and how it works within WoW, I’d like to take a moment to address a few of the questions and viewpoints that non-roleplayers have expressed over the years.

1. Why do you rp?

The reasons vary from person to person, but the theme is similar between all of us: we like to write. We like to act. Some people liked playing tag when they were kids. Some people liked running around apeshit on the monkey bars. Most RPers are people that liked the games of let’s pretend, where you pretend you’re something you’re not. Some would call it dumb I guess, others would say ‘oh you mean like acting on TV’, and the concept is similar. What you’re seeing when you see people rping is not a bunch of losers trying to make themselves important. (For the most part!) What you are seeing is a bunch of highly creative, literate people that are writing stories as they go along. For them, it’s not so much the game that’s important, or the gear that’s important, as the story that’s important, and Blizzard gave us one heck of a world to create stories in.

This is why in general, most rp servers aren’t up there with the whole bleeding-edge of progression in PvE. It’s why you don’t see them, most of the time, with gigantic PvP rankings, or insanely overgeared arena teams that cut through opponents like so much butter. It’s because our focus for the most part is the story, not the gear, not the progression, not the other reasons people have to play.

2. Spook, that makes absolutely no sense and I think you might be insane.

Okay, look at it this way. Everyone likes pizza, with few exceptions here and there, right? Well some people like pizza for the crust, some people like it for the toppings, some people like it for the sauce – there’s nothing wrong with liking one over the other, because hey, you’re all liking pizza, right? It’s just the way that you enjoy it that’s different.

Everyone here loves the game that Blizzard created, it’s just that people love it in different ways. This is why making fun of people for liking one aspect of the game over another is kind of silly in my opinion – we all like the same game guys. And we’ll all gripe about how our class is underpowered vs. that other class that just two-shot us eventually!

3. RP servers are lame and the people on them are dumb.

That would be your opinion and you’re entitled to it. If you don’t want to RP, I would suggest rolling on a normal server, unless you want the high-action leveling ‘oh god I might be ganked’ action of a pvp server. Having played all three, I can tell you this much:

A PvP server is an absolute blast and at the same time a pain in the butt to level on. You run the risk, every time you step out of your territory, of being ganked by whatever high-level mid-level low-level character of the opposite faction you run across. It’s not for people that don’t enjoy the mild adrenaline rush of constantly watching your back with every step you take. That said, man I loved leveling on one. To me, the rush was exciting, it made the quests that much more fun. I didn’t stay there because #1, I was playing alliance and I don’t care for alliance too much, and #2, the uh…typing skills of those on PvP servers tend to be…lacking. What you will find on pvp servers are people concentrating on killing everything in their path while staying alive, and the english language is not really at the front of their minds. But man do they know how to have fun, if you can get around the constant flow of shorthand.

A PvE server is uh…well, it’s a mix. Some people are there to PvP – but they didn’t care for leveling on a PvP server. Some people are there to raid and instance. It is rare, but sometimes you’ll find an RPer or two on a PvE server. You get…a mix of what you’ll find on a PvP or an RP server – there’s a lot of internet shorthand, there’s a lot of name calling and infighting, but if you want high progression, this would be the type of server to go to. Most people here concentrate on endgame or PvP, one or the other – but they are in general more concerned with beating the dungeons and the in game things that Blizzard designed rather than other players in combat. People on these servers, in my experience, are very much concerned with gear and loot and getting the best loot and gear that they possibly can so that they can go to other dungeons and get – guess what – more loot and gear. It’s fun, seeing the high-end content is neat, raiding is a blast, but yeah, if you’re looking for creative content, look elsewhere. People call this type of server ‘carebear’, pretty much because there’s no threat to leveling.

An RP server is…well, it’s a realm full of storytellers first, players second. For RP servers, it’s not so much what you’re doing as it is the journey getting there that’s entertaining. Most players on RP servers aren’t terribly concerned with being ahead of everyone else in progression, nor are they terribly concerned with being the best PvP players in the game. They’re content with spending their time exploring and doing quests and interacting with other people in character, and stories and the creative elements of the game. Do you get end-game guilds on RP servers? Heck yeah you do. People raid. Do you get PvP teams and guilds on RP servers? Sure, they happen too. The general atmosphere of an RP server is definitely more laid-back and quiet than either of the other servers I’ve played on, however. Internet shorthand is a rariety because you’re dealing with a ton of writers and people that are concerned with making sure what they are saying, story wise, is understood. Other players aren’t so much competition as they are potential friends and team mates. Yeah yeah yeah, some people may call it a carebear wonderland, but it’s fun in its own way.

4. Spook, I’m an rper and there are people bothering me/mocking me/being a general pain the butt/calling me names/running around with the stupidest name I’ve ever seen. What do I do?

There’s this amazing feature Blizzard built into the game called the ‘ignore’ feature. You can ignore a player by typing in /ignore (name of the character), and then you won’t see what they say anymore.

5. But they said this that the other and they were mean!

Right. And here’s the thing you need to understand about these people. Any reaction that you have is incredibly funny to them. If you get pissed off, they think it’s funny. If you cry, they think it’s funny. If you treat them like they’re stupid or childish, they think it’s funny. The only reason they’re doing this is because they think how you react is absolutely hysterical. And maybe they’re right, and maybe they’re wrong, but the quickest way to get them to leave you alone is to simply pretend they aren’t there.

6. But I have this amazing comeback!

If you give them anything, be it a witty comeback, a burn, a mention that you will be reporting him, a forum post, a whisper, they will laugh. That’s what they are there for. Just ignore it. Ignore them. Don’t give them what they want.

7. Okay I ignored them but now they’re following me around and won’t leave me alone!

That falls under harassment and you can report them for it. Do so. Don’t tell them that you’re doing it, just do it.

8. But they won’t go away!

Ignore them. Or move. Go somewhere else. Yeah it’s annoying, but there’s little more you can do without encouraging them.

Some may argue that RP servers are a dying breed – I don’t think that’s true necessarily, I think it’s more that RP servers tend to breed a certain caliber of player. Once you’ve found a person or a group of people that RP, it is entirely too easy to forget there are other players out there, both experienced and new, that are seeking RP as well. Unfortunately, most of these new players are being turned away from RP due to a lack of player communication, or because they’re simply misinformed or don’t understand how RP works. The problem that I have is that these new players are not being politely corrected, nor do they have someplace to go to that answers the simple basics of what makes for good rp, and what makes for bad.  I am hoping that in reposting this guide, a few more would-be rpers will be helped along on the way to creating a unique and entertaining game playing experience. More to come, stay tuned!

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