Lukar

General RP Tips, Tricks, and Pitfalls

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With a new expansion on the horizon, and hopefully renewed interest in not just the game itself but in RP as well, I thought it might be handy to put together a list of tips, common pitfalls, and general advice for players looking to either begin or get more involved with RP. (Also, unfortunately, it seems some of the guides posted at the top of this forum are now dead due to the forum restructuring that Blizzard did in July). My hope is that we can all pitch in to create a list of all the things we've come across in our years of playing that either helped us, irked us, or landed us in hot water, so that we can continue to work towards being the best server and community possible.

 

Some general guidelines to remember:

Though nothing in this list is required, and you're free to do whatever you want, the below guidelines are the general guidelines that most, if not all RP'ers agree to abide by. If you choose to ignore them, you may find that you have fewer and fewer people willing to RP with you as time goes on.

  • Keep IC and OOC separate
    • Perhaps the cardinal rule of RP (well, aside from not RP'ing in leet-speek) is that in-character (IC) and out of character (OOC) are separate things. The biggest thing that this rule encompasses is that we all have to be mindful of the fact that OOC realities can end up interrupting plans. As such, being accommodating (within reason) is paramount for getting along, which leads to...
  • RP is a collaborative effort
    • You can't RP with yourself (well, unless you're RP'ing as someone that hears voices, I suppose). As such, being able to work and play well with others is important. You may have the best idea ever for a story arc, but if you aren't able to work with others to make it a reality, then it can never happen.
  • Do not "god-mod"
    • God-modding refers to a practice where you act in such a way as to control another player's character. The most flagrant example of god-modding would be in a combat situation where one player types an emote such as "Joe Cool lunges forward, his sword driving right through Sir Getsstabbedalot's heart." In that instance Sir GSA's actions have been dictated by the emote. He is not offered any chance to parry the blow or dodge away. In RP, the word "attempt" can be your best friend. So, using our previous example, a better way to write the emote would be "Joe Cool lunges forward, attempting to drive his sword through Sir Getsstabbedalot's heart." In that example, Sir GSA has a chance to react in any number of ways.

 

Tips (or: lessons learned from experience):

  • Don't be afraid to jump into RP and flesh out your character on the go
    • I'm sure we've all been there. Writing a new character can be hard work. One of the best ways I've found to get started with a new character is to simply dive right in. You can have a few concrete ideas such as birth place, age, and maybe a few world events the character would have likely experienced based on their age and birthplace, but once you have those feel free to dive in. Do not be afraid to let a character develop through conversations with others.
  • Being powerful is fun, but being all-powerful is boring (for others)
    • I think we can all admit that having a character be very good at a lot of things is a lot of fun. Your character becomes like a Gnomish Army Knife with a tool or skill to fit any job so you're always of use in any situation. But, to hearken back to one of the earlier entries on this list, RP is a collaborative effort, and if your character is good at everything, then no one else gets to be good at anything. That leads to frustration, boredom, and eventual disinterest on the part of those you are playing with.
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I find the last one is especially important. It reminds me of that scene in A Knight's Tale

Guy: "Losing proves that I'm a loser."

Girl: "Wrong. Losing is a much keener test of your love. Losing would contradict your self-love. It would show obedience to your lover and not yourself!"

 

Trade love for RP. ...or something. 

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Touching on god-modding, one of the things about free-form roleplay (roleplay where there are no rules or dice or stats to objectively determine the outcome of an action) is that no character can be more powerful than any other without the other's consent.

That's why making a deliberately weaker character is how you can add interest. A character who does take hits or isn't very good at something gives other people the chance to shine, and trust me, they'll appreciate it and remember you for it.

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My personal preference is for the less verbose type of roleplay. Some people are excellent writers, perfect grammar and spelling, but there really is no need to describe everything in excruciating detail. For me, that just makes it difficult to understand the conversation, (he said while leaning against the ancient wall of a stone fortress that had been destroyed many years ago during the war of the Elves, in which his father was supposedly somehow involved yet managed to survive.)

Some things need a description, such as what you are doing while your in-game character just idly stands there. But if you have an emote or can actually walk over to the old table, then use that. I think the important thing is to BE your character and DO what your character would do.

Just my two coppers worth.

Edited by Felonius Gallows
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Something I would like to contribute is a warning about the pitfall I call "Avatar Syndrome," as it catches many people off guard when they just get into RP after questing. This is an important part of keeping IC and OOC separate, depending on the situation.

What you are presented in game and how things are in terms of lore are drastically different. The first thing players interact with is the leveling experience, and most do not usually set foot into RP until during or after this process. This has a tendency to influence newer RPers who base their RP on the limited experiences available to them.

I will illustrate with an example:

You are a young adventurer that has been tasked with clearing the Fargodeep Mine of Elwynn Forest. Kobolds have infested the mines and make it their home, denying the locals access to valuable mineral deposits. 

Any player can tell you that this presents little to no challenge while leveling. Blizzard recently changed the pace of lower level questing to make combat last slightly longer, but it is still not overly difficult. Questing is very deceiving for new RPers, especially if they are new to RP but have played for years and have had access to Heirlooms which make leveling all the easier. In the end you are left with it feeling like there was no danger since everything crumpled and died in seconds. This often leaves the impression that being a juggernaut that dispatches multiple "threats" with ease is the norm.

To shake this off I recommend stepping back and evaluating the situation from a real world perspective. What would you be worried about going into the above situation? What hazards would you need to consider if your life was in danger? How would your character's experience and skills factor into all of this? The given example involved Kobolds in tunnels. They are small creatures, but they come in large numbers and wield heavy tools as weapons. The mines are also a constricted and darker place with many ledges and paths to be ambushed from. Taking all this into account paints a very different picture than the in game quest you might have. It might be easy if you're not prepared to become overwhelmed or lost in the underground corridors.

Always think twice about the world around you!  

 

Edited by Rorrek
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Piggy-backing on the comments about flaws and weaknesses, I tend to create simple and basic characters that allow for a lot of growth. One can end up with more creativity in the future if a lot of backstory is left open-ended and unclear. I find it much more interesting to focus on how awesome my character can be versus how awesome they were before meeting anyone.

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