MMORPG RP Basics

Breaking into a RP server/realm can be a bit daunting, especially if you are transferring over or really never been to one. Along with the other sections, this section adds some basic tips and things to look out for specifically for MMORPG role-playing.

Here’s some basics to help get you on the right foot:

  • Know your game’s Lore and Backstory
    Knowing about the land from your persona’s view can help shape your mindset and actions in it. This adds to your backstory and put more meat on the bones, per se. The best way is to look up and read on the land and world that you are in. Consult game books, in-game lore as well. Some of the coolest bits can be found on quests, unfolding the world as you travel. This can be made to work with your backstory. Growing as a character is part of the process of character development and can be fun.

    Sadly, most mmorpg game world allow little cause and effect to your in-game actions. Even if there is a change, it’s a short and sweet event. Make the most of them and carry on. The same can be said of instanced dungeons/zones, they can fall under being “outside” your history once you have accomplished what you can there. To inspire role-play, however, can can “play along” with someone else’s event – this can help both parties in both role-playing and turning static things “real” in the game world.

    There are RP and World of Warcraft (WoW) Resources links on this site. Use these as a guide. Here are some links for racial and historical reference in World of Warcraft for research:

    Wowpedia: RP Stats
    Wowpedia: Languages
    Wowpedia: Lore
    Wowpedia: Warcraft Universe
    Wowpedia: Racial Origins

    Note: Some of the racial stats are from the WoW RPG, which was officially labeled as “not cannon”, so use only as a guide and remember that these are subject to both edits, change and “lolore”.

    Here’s some more useful compiled useful information via the “Ask CDev Q&A” Series on World of Warcraft’s Story Forum:
    http://rpmadesimple.com/fyrp/ask-cdev-rp-details-1/
    http://rpmadesimple.com/fyrp/ask-cdev-rp-details-2/

  • You can sometimes “bend” lore, but try not to “break” it
    This is sometimes a topic of heated debate, but I’ll tackle this with my opinion:

    When creating your Backstory and RPing, it’s sometimes ok to “bend” the lore. Bending the lore involves slight tweaks to the backstory or RP which are non-impacting to other players. An example would be a mage that uses semantic and/or material components for all spells, ala D&D vs learn and cast game mechanics. Another example would be a Ice Mage, which just uses frost spells (no fire, period) and maybe some miscellaneous arcane spells. OOCly, the player can do as he likes.

    Breaking lore would be like being a relative to major in-game lore NPCs, or role-playing a real “god” in a game. Now, if your character is delusional and thinks he is a god – that’s different. :)

    Some role-players want to play (half) dragons, vampires, demons and the like. See what “openings” are actually in the game’s lore. I’m not going to say “No. Don’t do that.” mainly because it’s a player decision. What I am going to say is that it would be difficult to try to play that off.

    Tip!: Just running around bragging ICly “I’m a Dragon!” and Godmoding everything is a definite NO. Welcome to Goldshire. /cringe

    How I would get around it if I had to
    If you really, really really have to play a half-dragon or “dragon”, you -could- just be a disguised dragon, much like some Dragon NPCs are in World of Warcraft. Just watch who you tell and how you RP it – or not tell anyone at all. That way, it impacts nothing, but can lead to interesting RP with close friends that are cool with the concept.

  • Skill and Talent RP
    Incorporate/adapt in-game skills and secondary professions into your backstory as hobbies or talents.
  • Understand the basics of role-playing
    Check out this guide for more info.
  • Know what the terms IC and OOC mean
    IC means In-Character. OOC means Out of Character. Basically, use IC chat for things your character would say “normally” (/say and /yell), use OOC chat for non-rp info (RL stuff, game discussion, etc. – General Chat, Trade, Defense, LFG etc.). Whispers can be optional, depending on the intent and usage. The term ICly means “while in character” and OOCly means “while out of character”.
  • Know what Brackets (( )), [ ] or {{ }} are used for
    You will at some point see this: (( )), [ ] or {{ }} around info or chat – that is for OOC info and not something the character actually “said”. Tip: Try not to use (( )) in /say or /yell, since it distracts from the dialogue. Whispers can be used, just don’t forget the (( )).
  • Understand the Naming Policies for your server/realm and game
    This tends to be the most abused area for people entering a RP server for the first time. The names in a RP realm reflect the game lore and world.

Becoming a better Role-Player

  • Look for good RPers and see what they do
    While this may not work for everyone, sometimes just being a spectator can give you an idea of what’s going on. Find and go to good Role-Playing events, talk to people – learn the ropes. Don’t be afraid to ask someone a question. Role-players are human, really! Most will like to help if they can, just understand they may be busy.
  • Joining in the RP
    If you see some folks RPing and you would like to join in, handle it like you would in everyday life. Don’t be rude and don’t barge in and take over. If you would like to join in but not sure, a simple OOC whisper can save alot of headaches. Give folks time to answer, since alot can go on while role-playing.
  • Make friends!
    RP is a social game too! Make new friends both IC and OOCly.
  • Be active in your server/realm RP Community
    Working together and getting to know your fellow role-players in the RP Community can be a great help in finding, fostering and creating role-playing on your RP server/realm.

Dealing with Game Mechanics

  • Learn to see past the UI (User Interface)
    This can be the first stumbling block for some. All the , Character Names, and other UI stuff can really bog things down for some folks. With a little adjustment in your user interface settings, you can help a bit with immersion and getting into character.
  • Learn to see past the Game Mechanics
    Another thing is names and other items you see due to game mechanics. Ignore the class. Go by what you see as your character would. Just as in everyday life you do not know people’s names automatically and what they do. Take that idea ingame. While someone may be a Rogue, it doesn’t mean he’s RPing one. Be “realistic” and react “normally” ICly to the world as your character would.
  • You can RP at ANY level
    Some role-players think you have to level up to a “respectable” level to RP. In some cases, maybe, but you can RP at level 1 if you want.
  • Level =/= Age
    Some role-players confuse a player’s Level with age, sometimes using the term “Seasons” in place of age. Seasons should be used to describe years if it’s going to be used. Most Level 1 are not toddlers. :)
  • See past the static game world
    Some zones and quests targets persist after your character has defeated them. Just RP past it and let someone else have their moment.


Talking the Talk

  • RP Chat Channels for Role-Playing
    In RP Servers/Realms, most games have designated channels set for normal conversation /say or for yelling /yell. These are the channels that you use to talk ICly with others. Additional optional channels that may be used are whispers or “tells” (used for direct conversation). Some guilds have IC guild chat channels as well, so that adds another layer of immersion.
  • Learn to emote if they exist for your game
    Emotes can be tricky but they can be a big help when adding to your character. Just remember not to spam them or use them in a way that metagames or “godmodes” others.
  • Pace your text when speaking. Walls of text will crit the eyes. One or two sentences at a time, based on amount of words and the story pacing. Think how you would tell the story in RL.
  • Don’t spam. Period
    Spamming emotes, /say and /yell (or any channel) is looked down on and could get you reported. Why, you may ask? It disrupts people’s gameplay and really is bad behavior. Like in many things, think if you were on the receiving end of it. It’s not cool. Wall of text = Bad. This also applies to spell effects too, so use common sense.

Walking the Walk

  • Learn to “walk”
    A great skill to RP with. Find out in your game’s keybindings what the key is to toggle walk and run. Think how you would move in everyday life. There are times you run, there are times you walk. That easy.

    The default toggle in World of Warcraft is:
    Toggle Run/Walk: Num Pad /
    For Autorun it’s this: Toggle Autorun: Num Lock

    (For Laptop users: This keybind can be changed in your Interface Options> Keybindings if needed.)

  • If you must jump, jump responsibly
    If you -must- jump, say from a building – it looks better to complete the fall and briefly pause than to just keep running. It shows “natural” impact and looks more realistic.

Costuming

  • Dress the part
    Dress to impress – or just look the part. Don’t over/under dress for the occasion. Don’t forget just regular casual stuff for role-playing in town, based on your character. Develop your own fashion sense and see what others do. It can inspire some good combination, even with Gray “trash” items of clothing you would normally vendor for gold – you never know.
  • You can wear anything and RP
    What if you just have your armor from doing quests or bits of pieces of stuff (aka the “clown suit’)? It’s ok! RP with what you have and work from there. Even the starter gear can be something.


Character Development

  • Be consistent while IC
    Unless somethig really “rocks” your character, it’s good to remain consistent in your character’s personality, traits and even types of clothing. Change can be good, just don’t go off like a multi-color stobe light. Even if you play someone way off kilter, there should be some boundaries in there somewhere.
  • Growing as a character
    Don’t be afraid to “evolve” as your character gets “wiser” or experienced. Your motivations, character “direction” and mindset can/may change in some way during your character’s storyline. Makes for interesting rp, and great times with great people.

Conduct and Respect

  • RP Responsibly
    Remember that games are suited for certain age groups and that you do not know the age/gender of other players you meet. Try to treat everyone as fairly, with respect and with common courtesy. Also think before saying or yelling something you may regret, whether it’s IC or OOC. Know the ESRB rating of game you are in. The rating for the game you play is on the packaging and sometimes on startup screens. For more information, check out http://www.esrb.org.

    Also check the Terms of Service (ToS) or Terms of Conduct (ToC) and related policies for your game and read it. This gives you a good heads up on what is permissible or possibly banworthy.

  • Set boundaries for your role-playing
    If certain/behavior content is against the rules or inappropriate, don’t lean towards it. Set role-playing boundaries for both you and your character and stick with them.
  • About Language Filters
    Remember that younger folks may play and even a filter doesn’t give players a “green light” to be overly vulgar or abusive – or worse. Don’t force what may be “inappropriate” RP on folks (especially younger players) – it’s just bad form and can/will get you banned.
    If you “hear” such behavior that is clearly against the rules in /say or /yell, send a “friendly” warning and let it be. If it continues – report it and/or ignore.
  • Be a good example
    The best thing to do is get out there and role-play responsibly and have fun. Get involved and try to make a difference. Just do your best and inspire others via a good example. You may be the first RPer a new player meets. What will they see?
  • Respect each other and allow for mistakes
    This goes across the board for everyone – RPers and Non-RPers. If you are talking to someone, given them time to react and respond. Respect people’s privacy and gameplay – griefing is only a waste of time for all involved. Allow for people to make mistakes – we are all human. Typos, an accidental jump or slip of the OOC tongue will happen at some point. Don’t turn an accident into a RP “inquisition”.
  • In a nutshell, don’t be rude.
    Whether you RP or not, no one likes it and it seldom looks “cool” to be a total moron. Crashing an RP event is bad form and can and should get you reported. If you accidently make a mistake, apologize. Remember also that being bored doesn’t give you a free pass also to grief – so have some courtesy towards others. A good rule is the Golden Rule: Treat others as you’d want to be treated.

Stuff I gotta toss in

  • Resist the urge to jump nonstop and/or dance naked.
    Seriously, I have to include this. Hi Goldshire! /wave
  • Resist the urge to dance naked in a fire.
    Sadly, I also have to include this. Hi again Goldshire! /wave
  • Role-playing =/= Cybering. Really!
    This is a touchy subject (some pun intended) – but I’ll be upfront on this.

    Some folks get an idea/stereotype (mostly non-rpers) that all role-players are trying to get their “groove” on in-game. While characters can and do make close relationships ICly, it does not mean all RPers are “looking for love in all the wrong places”.

    While some players do try to turn RP “romance” into something else – it does not mean it’s the “normal” and that everyone’s “doing” it. While it may work for some, it doesn’t mean it works for all. Set boundries for you and your character and stick with them.

    Romantic RP: In romantic role-playing, sometimes a “fade to black” (like in tv and some movies) do the job admirably and tastefully.

    Bottom line: If ERP (Erotic RP) is your cup of tea, take it to a private channel and respect others. Get a room! :) Use a private channel, /whisper or something and respect others. If it’s not for you and encounter it – deal with it IC or move on and have fun elsewhere if it is an issue. If you’re harassed or if the behavior violates the game’s Code of Conduct (CoC) – report it. Remember that people are behind the pixels out there – don’t assume everyone has the same playstyle as you do in regards to RP.