Hey there, he is my humble submission for the MMO Champion Guide Contest! This guide is intended as a, well, a guide on Roleplaying in the World of Warcraft!
Now, some people see roleplaying as a thing for nerds, people who aren't otherwise proficient at other things in the game, or otherwise just people who have no idea what "Fun" is. They're all entitled to their opinions, of course, but let's be honest, if you're reading this you're probably not one of them.
So. Let's start with the basics. Roleplaying is, at its heart taking on the role of a character and acting it out in-game through emotes, /say, /yell, and sometimes other channels. Players may also participate in roleplay outside the game by posting on blogs, wikis, or forums. The character's personality, goals, morals, and quirks may resemble that of the player or be completely different. Regardless, roleplayers recognize a boundary between what is in character (IC) and what is out of character (OOC).
So, let's break that down. What is "In Character" and "Out of Character" ? In character refers to a state in which you are acting out the role of your character. Out of character is, you guessed it; the state in which you are yourself, you are not acting out of character and you are not bound by that characters personality, morals, codes etc etc. If you wish to say something OOC in an IC situation, you can usually achieve this without breaking the 4th wall (Check Wowpedia for that, or this post will go on for the next 18 pages) you can use a double bracket "(( -OOC Message- ))"
Let's jump right into how to be a good roleplayer, then i'll move on to what exactly you should be doing in your time RP'ing (That's the abbreviation for roleplaying, if you didn't know!)
A staple of good communication (A big part of roleplaying) is proper grammar (Being using punctuation (( Commas, full stops, colon's etc)) and when to use "an" instead of "a" ((That last part isn't always as important, but it does help the flow of conversation))
Spelling! Now, spelling will always ensure that you are getting what you want to say across properly. Some of the little nuances of spelling, (Like Receiving and Recieving) are not always required to be perfect. But saying "Horrible" instead of "Horibul" will really buff you up in someone else's eyes. Now, as a little help with correct spelling my dear friend Google is always here to help you.
Now, using acronyms (Lol, rofl, omg, stfu etc) isn't a good idea. Not only is it crude when you are roleplaying, but it also can make you look very inexperienced or childish. People can also be led to believe you are trolling.
Emotes (/e) are also a very important part of roleplaying. You may use emotes to convey what your character is doing physically. If you ever wish to execute both a physical action and a speech simultaneously, you may put speech marks in your emote, as such; "/e strides over to Zang'Jon and shakes his hand warmly, muttering: "Throm'Ka, friend."
or you may put asterixes (*) in your /s, /y, /p or otherwise chat box. (E.g. *Strides over to Zang'Jon and shakes his hand warmly, muttering:* Throm'Ka, friend. (N.B. Some people prefer to use hyphons " --- " instead of asterixes. Both are acceptable)
You must also always remember not to Meta-Game or god mod. What are these things you ask? Well, Mal is here to help you! Meta-gaming is the act of exhibiting knowledge in character that your character would have very little to no ability to be aware of. For example: It's unlikely that a human born 20 years ago would have an in-depth understanding of events that took place 3000 years previously on the other side of the planet. Even in modern times, most people have a very limited knowledge of world events beyond their immediate circle. It's more realistic for your character to know little of most events, or to hold a distorted version of the story. For example, how would your character have precise details of the fight between Arthas and Illidan? It's unlikely that either Arthas or Illidan would be in the habit of telling people what happened and your character wouldn't have witnessed it.
God-modding is the act of making your character invincible, overpowered, invisible or otherwise very hard to affect. If you are saying that your character fought off one thousand undead, survived being thrown into a volcano and single-handedly killed the Lich King, then you are god-modding. Also, evading death, wounding, or injury by saying things such as "Moorwhelp jumped off the table, scaled up the bookshelf then did a double-backflip and shot Serenia with his Double-Barred Shotgun of Unavoidable Death" Then you are god-modding. A pretty extreme example, but i've seen something like that happen.
You should always look to your characters physical appearance when you are roleplaying. Using armor and weapons that aren't your usual DPS or Healing set is usually a good idea, as many people get an idea of what class you are by what your avatar is wearing, rather than looking at the nameplate. If a Warrior walked in wearing a robe, if you are IC you are going to assume that they are a Priest, Mage or Warlock, or something to that extent, and not a Warrior. Because a Warrior would be expected to be wearing plate.
Here is a small example of roleplaying. (Forum roleplay) For this example we will be using Ogrash (An Orc) and Zang'Jon (A Troll) This will be set in a planned meeting scenario (Situations such as this must be declared in OOC chat in forum roleplay, or in-game) I will put in small notes after some of the exchanges, to better help you understand what is happening and general tips.
Ogrash; *Strides over to Zang'Jon and shakes his hand warmly, muttering:* Throm'Ka, friend.
Zang'Jon; "Greetins' Brotha'"
Now, Ogrash has greeted Zang'Jon in a standard orc manner, while Zang'Jon greeted Ogrash in a traditional Troll manner, lacking any 'G' sounds or pronounced r's.
Ogrash: "Brother, I have heard that your home was burnt down by marauding Shadowspear Trolls, is this true"
Zang'Jon: "A sad story, Brotha' and a long one. You don' wanna hear it, it be a saddening tale."
Ogrash: "I would hear of it."
Now, most people see Orc's as a violent,, brutish race. But as you can see, their speech is quite articulate. At least, today's Orc's are. (See the Wowpedia Orc page, I also encourage you all to read a races Wowpedia page to get a better understanding of that race before you roleplay as that race.
Zang'Jon: *Zang'Jon looks down, a tear in his eye slowly forming as he speaks of his homes destruction* "Very well, Brotha'. If you wan' I will tell ya'. It 'appened many days and nights ago, da' tribe be sleepin', after a comin' of age ceremony. As we be sleepin', the Shadowspear be sneaking up on us, 'dey disabled our guards with foul magic, and snuck in to our village. As we slept, one of 'der Mages summon a ball o' flame and sent it howlin' towards ma' hut. After 'dat 'dey fled, hopin' the rest of the buildings would follow suit. I be wakin' up at 'dis point, 'earin 'da wood creakin' and feelin' 'da 'eat all aroun' me. 'Der was nothin' I could do. After a few hours, nothin' be left of ma' home."
Now, here, Zang'Jon has been very diligent in speaking as a Troll would speak, very inarticulate, not using pronounced 'G' sounds (As in "Nothin', Fellin' and Aroun') and he has substituted many "Th" sounds for 'D' sounds. If you are looking for inspiration on how to speak like a Troll, listen to someone with a Rastafarian accent, as that is the accent that Troll speech is modeled after.
Ogrash; "A sad tale indeed, Brother. I would come with you to help you rebuild, if you want my help"
Zang'Jon: "Yes, Brotha' dat' would be most welcome."
Now, this is an example of a short roleplaying conversation. Emotes were used, as was proper spelling, grammar and race-appropriate language use. There are many styles of speaking that would take much too much time to go over, so, as before, I urge you to read up on a races Wowpedia page.
Now. In the World of Warcraft you are limited to a one word name, with no spaces allowed. This can be very frustrating for people wanting to display their characters last names, middle names, titles, houses etc etc.
FlasgRSP is a great way to display this information to all those who also have the addon enabled. It has field for a Prefix (Title or alternate first name) Suffix (For a last name, clan name or other such name) and an alternate space for titles, house names, clans etc.
It also has a space for a physical description, as there is little to no character customization is WoW. This area should be used as a physical description only, as it is not always good to have your characters personality displayed, quite literally, on their sleeve.
GryphonHeartItems is also a very, -very useful tool for roleplaying. It allows you to create in-depth, custom items (Not actually equippable, it's still just an addon) that can be used to create screen effects, play sounds, and are generally very useful vanity items. These items can be traded through the regular game trade menu to other people with GryphonHeartItems installed and enabled.
Once you have taken all of this into account, you should be ready to jump right into one of the many prolific and populated World of Warcraft roleplaying servers such as Moon Guard (Just don't stick around in Goldshire ((This is also the realm I play on. Go figure)) Wyrmrest Accord, Cenarion Circle, or many of the other servers. Have fun roleplaying!
P.S. You know, I had some very nice photo's to use in this, but since i'm a long-time reader, first time poster, I couldn't even link them. *Sad face*
Last edited by ekent7; 2010-12-27 at 04:47 PM.
Reason: Probably should have titles this "Let's learn to spell! And Fail!" It's like 3 a.m. here, so I made some mistakes. Correcting
I loved it! I am on Veco (RP-PVP), and think this would be super useful for people just starting out, or those who just want to check their skill/experience level! You brought a lot of really good points to it, and the examples are excellent.
You forgot to mention that as a roleplayer you shouldn't give away 'secret' information when using FlagRSP or a similar AddOn.
To mention a character's exact age, his or her interests or dislikes and also hidden tattoos is something I see far too often. It's a PHYSICAL APPEARANCE AddOn, not a 'let's write down my chars interests so that you know exactly what to do when you walk up to her!'-guide.
As a roleplayer you have a duty, and that is to ENTERTAIN whoever engages with you. It's about giving, not taking, so make sure that exploring your character for another player is interesting and exciting, not handed on a silver plate.
Also, I absolutely hate it when people have unrealistic characters that don't go well with the race they play as. An orc wouldn't be a well mannered lady who dresses in fine silks for example, and an undead would NOT be drop dead gorgeous no matter what. I also get bored of seeing people who play over powered characters; powers similar to Illidan hanging around in Silvermoon City. WHY would a person so powerful hang in a BAR? I know it's just so that you can get roleplay served on a plate, but come on. It's not realistic.