RP and You, A Beginner’s Guide – Dealing With Problems in RP

This week on RP and You, we’ll be looking at some info from my old RP guide that’s really still quite valid. From the last several posts, you ought to have by now a character, a good name, a good back story for that character, and a basic understanding of the mechanics of RP. So you should be ready to go, right? Well…almost. What do you do when you can’t seem to find anyone to RP with? How do you find the ever-elusive roleplayer in their natural habitat? And what do you do if you find yourself, for want of a better word, snubbed by the general roleplaying population? I’ll be addressing these issues and more today!

How do I find a roleplayer to roleplay with?

Tricky question. Are you on a roleplaying server? If not, you may want to go make sure you’ve rolled on one – most people on PvP or PvE servers don’t bother with roleplaying, they’ve got other things in the game that they’d rather do. RP servers not only have the people who are focused on PvE and PvP, but they’ve also got a good chunk of the population that’s usually focused on RP. The best places to find roleplayers vary from server to server, although I’ve found that across the board, Stormwind appears to be popular on Alliance, and Silvermoon always seems to be a hot spot for Horde. The best way to find out is to just ask – on my server, we often have people ask on the realm forums where the good places to RP are located. Check the link here and scroll down to the realm forums section, and then choose the server you wish to play on. Remember to be polite – demanding answers is never a very good first impression.

The other indicator is pretty easy to spot. The roleplay addons mentioned the last post aren’t just for reading what other people look like – they’re also a gigantic ‘LOOK AT ME I ROLE PLAY’ sign. People that use these addons on roleplay servers are more often than not roleplayers themselves, especially if they have a description set up.

How do I know if they’re busy?

Check out their description. There is usually an indicator for whether or not they are IC – that’s ‘in character’, or OOC – that’s ‘out of character’. If they’re out of character, it means they aren’t roleplaying just now. If they’re in character, there’s a good chance that they are roleplaying, or will roleplay in character if approached.

How do I roleplay with them?

Well…you walk up and say hello, of course. Start up a conversation. Check out their description, or what they are wearing, or where they are at, and ask a question. Come up with a reason to approach them. If you’re a new character, maybe you’re lost and can’t find something in town – ask them if they could help you find it. You know…talk to them. They’ll talk back, I promise.

If you are nervous about walking up to people and just jumping into roleplaying, don’t be – it’s just…acting, only written out. If this intimidates you, I encourage you to go find someplace that is fairly active from an RP standpoint. Have a seat, and watch the show! See how people interact with each other, what is said, how emotes and /say are used, get a feel for the people who are roleplaying. If someone is particularly interesting, maybe you could get away with nonchalantly following them around a bit, see where they go, what they do. Observation is an excellent idea.

Nobody wants to RP with my character!

This is a common complaint, and one that will require some frank and honest self-exploration. So people are avoiding you, or don’t appear to want to roleplay with you. There could be a few differing reasons for this.

A. You aren’t really in a highly trafficked roleplaying area. Check around in various parts of town, find someplace that looks like it’s got a fairly large gathering of people, and watch.

B. You’ve run across a group of people who are in the middle of their own storyline, and don’t wish to be bothered. You may want to try politely whispering one of them – use your OOC brackets, and ask if you can join in. If they say no, then head off and find someone else – it isn’t personal, nine times out of ten. If you’re in the middle of a heated argument with your best friend, you’re not likely to notice that stranger watching you from across the room, and if they interrupt the argument for no reason, you’re apt to be angry with them. It’s a normal, IC reaction.

C. There’s something wrong with your character, and it may need to be tweaked.

Point C is the one that people don’t really want to look at or consider, but if your character is being flat-out ignored, then it’s the point where you need to ask yourself some important questions:

1. Is your character too overbearing/odd/unusual/strange? If your character is constantly interrupting conversations between other roleplayers to shout gleefully about socks and earwarmers, it is likely your reputation is not going to be good. If you’re content with this, and more than willing to play a psychopath, by all means carry on – but don’t get angry when people ask you to go away, because buddy, you brought that one on yourself.

2. Are you roleplaying something really outlandish? Chances are if you are roleplaying something completely out of the box, people are going to ignore you. World of Warcraft has many different characters and factions in it, but the following don’t really exist: Fairies, Vampires, Catboys/Catgirls, or pretty much any species of furry (excluding tauren but personally I don’t think they really count). If you are playing someone who is a vampire(half), then you should probably realize that most serious rpers are going to look at this, laugh, and walk away. They don’t exist in this world, and creating a character who is one of these things generally puts a big old red flag over your head that says ‘I am an amateur roleplayer who is not capable of working within the limits and boundaries of the world I am given to play in. Please ignore me.’

Please note, the above was written before the introduction of the Darkfallen in WotLK. Vampires do, indeed, exist in-game now – but they aren’t friendly, they aren’t nice, and it is highly unlikely that a character with any kind of sanity is going to want to hang around with one.

3. Are you godmodding?

Godmodding is one of the worst symptoms of an inexperienced roleplayer, and most people who godmod will be, as a rule, ignored. What’s godmodding, you ask? Godmodding is taking control of someone else’s character, and acting things out for them.

An example: “(Charactername) angrily stabs you in the heart with his [Steel Dagger of the Monkey], piercing deep into your flesh and wounding you terribly and making you fall over.”

Or: “(Charactername) has had enough of your foolishness, and throws a handful of sleep dust at you. You collapse into a deep sleep.”

Or: “(Charactername) sneaks up behind you, burying his sword into your back and killing you instantly.”

Or: “(Charactername) is invincible, your blade tries to pierce his flesh but snaps in two, broken forever.”

In all four of these examples, you are essentially telling the other player what they are supposed to be doing and saying that their character does it, or ‘playing god’, in other words. In the world of roleplaying – no matter what the game or genre – it is handy to keep a simple rule in mind: The only character you have any control or power over is your own. This is…an interesting puzzle to figure out in a game where you cannot fight with those of your own faction, and requires some dancing around. To re-write the descriptions above:

“(Charactername) angrily pulls out a dagger, rushing at you with a yell, clearly intent on stabbing you.”

“(Charactername) has had enough of your foolishness, and pulls out some sleep dust, throwing it at you in the hopes that it will silence you.”

“(Charactername) pops out from the shadows, lifting his sword with a snarl.”

“(Charactername) dodges the attack, ducking into a roll and calling for the city guards.”

All of these leave the person you are interacting with several options to play with. If you deliberately try to goad someone into one course of action, they will not want to play with you. Be nice, and be aware of this.

4. Your character simply isn’t interesting. This is, without a doubt, the hardest question to ask yourself and look at.

Take a good look at your character, and I mean a REALLY good look. A character is much like a story, an ongoing story – it should have an interesting premise, some sort of conflict, and some sort of feasible resolution. If your character has poured out their entire life’s story to anyone and everyone that will sit still, there is nothing more that your character has to say. If your character is constantly happy and never has a care in the world, nothing ever makes them unhappy or phases them in the least, then what exactly makes that character interesting to other people? On the other end of the spectrum – if your character is constantly miserable, constantly getting into fights or brawls, insulting people and generally behaving as if they don’t like ANYBODY, nobody is going to want to interact with you.

Another thing to look at is your character’s back story. Have you made them the son/daughter/long lost sibling of someone very prominent in the World of Warcraft lore? Have you taken liberties with the lore as it was written to make your character ‘important’? Let’s look back at the example description from last week:

(Character) is the long-lost son of Arthas and Jaina Proudmoore, disowned at birth by his mother and possessing part of the spirit of the Lich King. He grew up in Nagrand because that’s where they left him at and likes horses and chocolate. He’s killed over 12,000 people in his lifetime.

First off, in the Warcraft lore, Jaina and Arthas never had a son. This has already been written, so it is impossible that such a thing would occur. Secondly, even if they had had a son, there is no way that son would end up in Nagrand, as neither Jaina nor Arthas has set foot in Outland, according to Warcraft lore. Third, when Arthas and Jaina WERE an ‘item’, as it were, it was waaaay before Arthas had found Frostmourne, or had any contact with the Lich King. This character premise is impossible within the constructs given by the story already written, making your character highly unlikely. In this case, those familiar with Warcraft lore are going to look at you REALLY funny, and most will just choose to ignore you entirely. In Warcraft lore, you cannot possibly exist – and so, to them, you don’t.

Any of these are more than enough reason for people to ignore you.


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