Do you Role Play (RP)?
Role-playing refers to the changing of one's behaviour to assume a role, either unconsciously to fill a social role, or consciously to act out an adopted role. While the Oxford English Dictionaryoffers a definition of role-playing as "the changing of one's behaviour to fulfill a social role", in the field of psychology, the term is used more loosely in four senses:
- To refer to the playing of roles generally such as in a theatre, or educational setting;
- To refer to taking a role of an existing character or person and acting it out with a partner taking someone else's role, often involving different genres of practice;
- To refer to a wide range of games including role-playing video game, play-by-mail games and more;
- To refer specifically to role-playing games.
The problem with roleplaying is that -- unlike other playstyles -- it's not about being the best. The objective of roleplay is to exercise creativity and enjoy the company of others. Whenever it's possible in a roleplay scene, leave your actions open-ended so that someone else can respond. Conversation is like a relay race, and the objective isn't to hold the baton the entire way through. Be prepared to pass it to the next.
Right: sends his goblin after you
Wrong: sends his goblin which brutishly pummels you to death
The first statement allows the other player to decide what the goblin actually does, and perhaps he will carry that story back to you -- or to another player.
Staying in character
The greatest challenge and often the greatest pleasure is to maintain your roleplaying personality. If you're not aware, staying "In Character" essentially means that you're simulating the role of your virtual being. You see your character on screen. Now visualize what he may be seeing, smelling, or hearing. Speak is if your physical body is sitting in that dark tavern. Use emotes to convey what you are thinking and feeling, especially with dealing with real-life problems.
Right: My axe is craving blood, perhaps we could venture to the Orc Caves?
Wrong: I'm so bored can we go on a raid?
Another common problem is simple everyday phrases that are unacceptable in the roleplaying community.
Right: laughs full heartedly at the elvish fool as he attempts to tie his boots
Some roleplayers will allow the use of out-of-character discussion in brackets, whereas others reserve specific areas for chat that is not for roleplay use.
Right: [omg did you see the latest Ironman movie??]
Wrong: Did u see that Ironman movie? lmao
I thought it was worthwhile to mention the importance of maturity in roleplay. It goes without saying that roleplaying is not for the immature crowd and is only for those who are interested in taking it seriously. So if you want to be a roleplayer, don't be a n00b.
The roleplay universe is huge so don't feel obligated to rip-off some low-budget movie from the 90s. Roleplayers are smart, and most of us have been doing this for a while. We have encountered many roleplay tropes and character stereotypes in the past. Keep in mind that if you create something truly distinctive you will be well respected. How to be original? Details are critical, and it's safe to assume that everything you come up with has to have some reason behind it. If your character has a scar over her left eye (lame), then there must be a reason it's there. It's not required that you divulge where that scar came from because nobody wants to hear someone drone on about how you almost got your eye jabbed out. However, you should allow that scar to affect how your character acts. For example: The scar over her left eye was caused from a large lava lizard, and now your character is hesitant towards lizards.
Gear and skills
If there's anything that's set in stone, it's that your character's armor, weapons, jewelry, attribute-enhancing-clothes, skill or level have nothing to do with roleplaying. A level 1 Orc with rags on his back could very well roleplay the ruler of the world if he wanted. Roleplayers are like car salesmen -- ultimately they're trying to sell you a long drawn-out story.
Often a practice exercised my amateurs coming from the PvP world. Quite frankly, don't roleplay like your invincible. Creating a character that is immune to any type of damage is not beneficial for anybody especially your ego. If you want to become a god, perhaps you should stick to PvP?
Starting a story for your character can be a daunting task, and choosing a roleplay style can make your experience easier and more enjoyable. Choosing a roleplay style really depends on your experience with roleplaying, your gaming-style, and what exactly you want to get out of the game.
With the latest game engines, environments are becoming a thing of real beauty. Just finding yourself caught in the awe of fantastic scenery might accidently switch your brain to "roleplay-mode," so be aware of that. Immersive Environment is when you build your character story around the setting in which it exists. For example, your character may be a part of "The Woodland Elves of Tralus," in which elements of the setting are key characteristics for how your character behaves in-game. Roleplaying based on the environment can be very relaxing as it requires less creativity, you take elements of the scenery to build events instead of creating them yourself. Even if it may be easier, it can still be a challenging undertaking as it still takes a great deal of observation from the player.
This is by far the most challenging and risky style of roleplay. Using this method the player is building a character story or special event entirely from scratch, which requires a great deal of research.
"Lord Bukener runs a __________ from his home in __________ and occasionally plays _________ on the weekends"
It takes a great deal of creativity and imagination to create your character's story and allow it to seamlessly integrate with the existing world. If your story has a lot of conflicts or questionable elements, then there will be a good deal of hesitation within the community, and you face unfavorable results.
PvP or PvE
The biggest debate in the roleplay community is the integration of player-vs-player activity. In older games, this was a one-way ticket to griefing. Although with the popularity of roleplaying a "soldier," various RP guilds have seemed to adopted this perspective and proven it to be moderately successful -- at least successful enough to mention in this guide.
Great care must be taken into such activities. When engaging in active PvP, a player can become mixed with the riff-raff, lose sight of his character, become obsessed with gear, and ultimately fail his roleplay agenda. The key to PvP-RP is to enjoy the thrill of the battle. Whether you win or lose a battle is irrelevant; just because your character dies doesn't mean the player has to. I will mention numerous times: roleplaying does not exist to be on the top of any charts but simply to enjoy the game and community.
This type of roleplay is by far the easiest and is recommended for inexperienced roleplayers. This style involves a place where a player is given an outline in how to use their character. The character's backstory or personality is mostly irrelevant, but rather their role within the guild is crucial. This is a kind of "apprenticeship" for roleplay as they are given strict guidelines and pre-determined rules to follow. If the player can run their character to fit the needs of the guild, then his skills in roleplay will progressively build.
Apart from the level of difficulty, this style is also beneficial to create a strong sense of community. Often having individuals at similar skill levels can allow people to share and grow together. Whereas very skilled roleplayers with years of experienced are more prone to become rogues.
"Roleplaying is nerdy!"
At one time, playing pong on an Amiga was considered a nerd's hobby or in 1985 when friends got together to take turns shooting down digital ducks and saving pixelated princesses. Gaming is an evolving industry, but since the revolution of "next-gen systems," Guitar Hero, Halo, and Zelda are common household names. Now that those names have entered everyone's living room, where exactly will the gaming industry evolve next? I could see a future of Matrix-like devices plugging directly into player's heads or maybe holodeck systems from Star Trek. Aside from all of that, it seems quite clear that the future of gaming exists on the internet and quite possibly in MMORPGs.
Roleplayers do not rely on content generated by the gaming company but rather keep themselves entertained from player-generated content.
"Playing Video games is anti-social"
We are a generation who lives on the computer; we work in front of them, eat in front of them, our cell phones and televisions are even computers now. Spending endless hours in front of a TV used to be frowned upon, but unfortunately it's become a part of our lives. Because of this one could argue that our social-life has degraded; however, this isn't the case. Our abilities to socialize have mutated into a form that may be superior, and this is all thanks to the online community. If the concept of community seems foreign to you, it may be a tricky thing to grasp -- especially if you are an "endgame" player. Community is best friends, mentors, lovers, enemies, rivals, family and another other close-knit individuals. World of Warcraft is a perfect example of how to discourage the creation of community. For example, when a player enters an instance, the player will encounter other players; he will fight alongside other players for hours and never once even speak a word or looked at their names. The value of roleplay is that it forces you to interact with other players just as if you would in real life. It's unfortunate that greeting and talking to other people in a game is a practice mostly exercised by imaginative fanatics (roleplayers).
Roleplayers are an exclusive group and tend to regularly socialize with each other no matter their in-game differences. This is the community; this is a healthy social environment.
One day, I could see how the video game industry could surpass the film industry, or just somehow they merge into some type of interactive experience. The video game industry is swallowing up the entertainment market and is becoming one of the most profitable along with this comes an alarming rate of addiction. MMO's are without a doubt the most addictive type of video game, and some trigger our brain into producing an anti-anxiety chemical called serotonin. Mission-based gameplay is a prime example of an addictive element in games. Have you ever found yourself saying "Just one more quest!"? It's never just one more quest. It may seem like a stretch, but being a roleplayer actually lifts a lot of the burden of addictive gameplay. A roleplayer may play World of Warcraft for three years and never actually embark on any quests simply because he finds himself satisfied with player-generated content. Roleplaying and questing have nothing to do with each other. It could be argued that quests can be story-driven; however, without the social connection it remains PvE.
Remember, roleplay relies largely on player socialization, and interacting with other people is a critical element to dealing with addiction. If you find yourself unable to pull yourself away from gaming, maybe you could try roleplaying with other people?
Because roleplay relies on player imagination, every individual may have their own rules for what defines "roleplaying" especially since the concept of roleplaying has been deluded over the years.
The most important element to roleplaying is your backstory! Create your character's story as if you were retelling your personal life story. Think of every detail imaginable and make sure there are no conflicts with lore of the environment. There are no restrictions on how you perceive your character as long as it follows a realistic path within the world. Your character may be 5 years old, but if they are, how do they hold a battle axe? Maybe your character is 200 years old, but how did they live so long? Everything in your backstory must have a reason.
Grammar and spelling are a critical element for character immersion. And tlkin like a n00b will get u baned from any rp activity. Use your backstory to customize how your character talks. Are they a big huge monster with a small brain? Maybe they're undead and have trouble speaking because their jaw and tongue is rotten. Or are they a sea-fairing adventurer that says "Aye" ever other sentence.
Some would argue that a character must have a first name and last name are required in all roleplay elements; however, I do not agree. A lot of characters in fiction go by one name as they have "outgrown" their original, or simply despise it. Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter is a good example of this. It goes without question that creating a character with a name like KillingU, Worgenfreeman or Metrosexual is completly discouraged and will not be permitted in roleplaying events.
Some roleplayers insist that other players follow strict guidelines in their clothing and gear. Mostly this refers to clowning (Wearing multi-coloured peices of armor that don't match) which is understandable as it's called clowning for a reason. Other events and groups may insist that you are dressed in compliance with a uniform system. This is much rarer but adds a certain degree of realism.
Roleplaying is always in motion, and therefore you must be prepared to act in accordance with player events that transpire. If you're a "good guy" and your caught ruthlessly killing kittens, obviously that should have some effect on your character, and your actions should reflect within the community as well perhaps calling you a "Kitty-Killer".
Making your character know everything will make him very uninteresting to roleplay with.
This falls under the same category of "character flaws", adding flaws into your character definitely makes for a better roleplay experience. In fact, it could be very entertaining if your character had one leg, blind, partially deaf, one hand, an avid storyteller and a raging alcoholic. Although it's best to not go overboard in most cases a simple "scar on left shoulder" is more than suffice. Consider: the more traits you add, the greater your roleplaying skill must be.
Death is a sticky thing to deal with in roleplay, and it's often cause for much debate. Some absolutely hardcore roleplayers would require you to delete your character and start fresh. However, that doesn't seem very favorable. I would like to say that in most cases it's simply ignored, but it truly depends on the community that you interact with.
I believe a lot of people are afraid of roleplaying because they believe it's a requirement that they roleplay over voice chat. This never was an issue in the days when voice chat was not a staple in online games. However, it is not something that is very common in roleplaying and really only practiced by the most extreme roleplayers. A lot of communities use a variety of communication methods but you can guarantee that there will be some area where you can talk out-of-character.
Emote - Performing an emotion or action, often utilized with asterisks *smiles*
Clowning - Wearing multi-colored non-matching clothing or gear.
Goddmoding - Creating a character which does not fit with the realism of the world.
Griefing - A player who, due to psychological issues or unresolved frustrations, tries to disrupt the gameplay of other players, such as through interfering with play, racial slurs, or other such destructive behavior. According to industry sources, grief players are usually about 3% of the player population
IC - (In Character) - To act, speak and perform in a manner that is suiting to your character and elements of roleplay.
LARP - (Live Action Roleplay)
MMORPG - (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) - A type of online game which exists through dedicated servers and is maintained by gaming companies. What makes MMORPG distinctive is that almost all character data is stored on servers located all around the world, and only the static elements of the game are stored on players computers.
NPC - (Non-Player Character) - A character which is operated by the server, through software mechanics or artificial intelligence. Essentially any character which is directly attached to the world.
N00b - (newbie) often referred to as someone who is new at an experience, or quite frankly their an idiot.
OOC - (Out of Character) The opposite to IC, to talk and act in a non-roleplay manner, much more suitable for real-life.
PC - (Player Character) - A character who is directly operated by a human being.
PvP - (Player vs Player) - A method of gameplay that involves strictly fighting other human players, or PC's
PvE - (Player vs Environment) - A method of gameplay where players are directly interacting with their environment or the static world. Such as fighting monsters or completing quests.
PvP-RP - (Player vs Player Roleplay) - A method of roleplaying that involves players fighting other players.
RP - (Roleplay) - See page 1 of guide
Toon - A synonym for "character" which originated from "cartoon," it's a widely used term to define one's avatar. However referring a character to a toon seems like an overgeneralization and is discouraged within the rp community.
WoW - (World of Warcraft) - An MMORPG with the largest subscription record to date, it was used as a reference for this guide since it is more common than any other MMORPG.