Guest Post Repost – I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore…

28 Jun

Over a year ago, I wrote a guest post for Arrens‘ now defunct blog (you can see my introduction to it here). It was one of my earlier attempts at blogging, so I decided to repost it here because I haven’t written much recently I think  you’d enjoy reading it. Even though it’s an older post, I’m still very interested in the subject of RPing in WoW. Let me know about your own experiences with RP (or lack of them) in the comments!

Hello! I’m Misha, from Me, Myself, And All Of Them… not that you would have heard of such a new blog! Anyway, I’m a Tauren, from Ysera, who likes long walks on the plains of Mulgore…

Whoops! Wrong post. What I’m actually here to talk about are my experiences on RP realms, as coming from someone who spends most of their time on a ‘normal’ realm, who is now spending slightly more time on RP realms. I was chosen for this task because Arrens doesn’t have enough posts on his blog (last I checked it was a month since the last one and that makes me sad); and also because I just joined his guild (Stormwind University) with my little Night Elf hunter (Likal) after excessive but very polite in-game stalking (or at least I think it was polite). And as you all surely know, Arrens resides on Feathermoon, an RP server. And get this: they RP over there!

Now, I’m not the most inexperienced RPer in the world. Back in high school (must be about 9 years ago now, my word, don’t I feel old), when The Internet was really starting to pick up and AOL was a viable internet provider (oo, burn!), I used to AIM RP with my high school buddies and a few of our internet friends. I even played in MUDs (specifically one based on the Wheel of Time series, ironically one I have not read), where I did some lighter RP. Eventually this lead to forum RP on Gaiaonline, something I still do today. So with all this RP experience under my belt, I know about the basics (probably – I’m sure there is much to learn!)

And it’s not as if I haven’t dabbled playing on WoW’s RP realms before. While my fiance would rather not RP, we still rolled a couple toons on an RP realm that a Gaiaonline friend played on. We didn’t level up too far though (probably because they’re Alliance – FOR THE HORDE!!). But we never actually roleplayed on those toons. Oh sure, we didn’t say anything weird in any public channels, we would emote back at people if they emoted at us, and every now and then we would giggle as we RP walked around town for a little bit (well, I giggled; I’m pretty sure the fiance just sighed and played along). And being the altoholic that I am, I rolled plenty of low-level toons on multiple RP servers (words of advice: When almost all of the servers are down, don’t roll a fresh toon on an RP server… it is not pretty), but I never really roleplayed on any of those toons either.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t done any WoW RP before; I’ve had some spontaneous encounters on my RP realm alts. Once, my level 20-something Night Elf druid playing ‘tour guide’ for a couple low-level lady Night Elves, who had put out a distress signal about horde on Teldrassil (they were just RPing, of course. Otherwise I doubt I would have lived). On our way to Stormwind (for that is where they wished to go), their personalities alternated between being naive and… lusty. It was very interesting baby-sitting those two on the way. Another time, I happened to be leveling my female human priest, who was level 4 or 5. There happened to be another human who was also leveling; some male warrior, I think. I was questing, he was questing, and so we ended up questing together a bit (in character!). He acted like a perfect gentleman. Except that once we got to Goldshire he asked if I wanted to E-RP. *facepalm* I should have known such an innocent RP was too good to be true while wandering around the human starting zone! (I firmly declined his invitation, of course, and he eventually respected my decision. Though we did end our RP conversations shortly after that.)

However, none of those incidents really felt like ‘real roleplaying’. One reason was because I haven’t RP’d ‘instantly’ using a chat client for a long time. I mean, RP in the WoW client is similar to AIM; you can converse as fast as you can type. You can’t hold off on posting, to ponder for hours, even days, on what the best way to react would be, and then to write it. You have to instantly spring up with dialogue, or actions, and make sure that those are things that your character would say, things your character would do. And that, for me, is one of the scariest things for ‘live’ RP. Especially if you’re new.

And it leads into the second reason why those RP situations didn’t feel ‘real’ – I wasn’t worrying too much about what my character would do or say, something that probably is, you know, important when roleplaying. In the above examples, neither of my toons above had a well-defined background. If I logged in again, none of the people I RP’d with would likely remember me, so I could get away with making up a new background. But now that I’m trying to establish myself on Feathermoon with a permanent character, with a set backstory, I’m worrying about that a lot more.

My worrying lead me to actually avoided doing any significant RPing on Likal for some time. I leveled Likal to level 10 (because what kind of self-respecting hunter doesn’t have a pet?). I picked professions that I thought would work well with the character (herbalism, for money, and tailoring, for bags). I got her the perfect pet (the Flamingo!); I spent days thinking of a suitable name. I worked out a backstory. Where was she from? How old was she? Why was she a hunter? Why didn’t she want to get one of those cats that are all over Teldrassil and instead got the bird from enemy territory?

I read various RP blogs for months, familiarizing myself with their stories, and other interesting tidbits that would (possibly) help my own RP in-game. I looked at various RP addons, eventually installing FlagRSP, which I spent some time fiddling around with. (Here’s a fun fact – if you go between factions a lot, you can actually read the profiles of the opposing faction. Freaky!)

And then came the hardest part – making contact.

Remember what I mentioned about stalking? It’s true. I would log onto Likal, to quest a bit or sell my herbs, and then I would /who University, or /who Wildfire, to see who was on from Arrens’ guild and Anna’s guild (Yes, this Anna). Sometimes I would see names that I had read about from their blogs, different characters all with interesting stories in their own rights. But since they weren’t the bloggers themselves, I decided not to freak them out entirely and limited my initial contact to only Arrens and Anna. It was easy enough to say ‘Hi’ OOC-like and have a conversation about how awesome their blogs are. But after a while, I wanted more than just to say ‘nice blog’ and giggle like a crazed fangirl. Yes- I wanted to RP.

But… I wasn’t too sure how to go about it. Sure, I had FlagRSP, but every time I set it for ‘Looking for Contact’, I would get extremely nervous that maybe somebody I didn’t know would start talking at me, and then I would make a fool of myself! Yes, my inherit shyness extends even into game. And that same shyness stopped me from seeking out others who were set to ‘Looking for Contact’, because, well, then I would be seeking strangers for RP opportunities.

Instead, I logged on and looked for signs of RP. I had to leave the Night Elf starting zone and Darnassus, as apparently no one hangs out there, and head to Stormwind. I hung about the two bars around Old Town and the Dwarven District, as I heard that sometimes RP happens there. I even followed some people who started RP conversations around town, to see what things they talked about, to see how what they would say (which, I must admit, would be pretty creepy to see a little Night Elf with a pink bird following you around).

Finally, one day, I decided to break the ice. Mainly because I saw that Annalea (who is not a Too-Many-Annas Anna, fyi) was in Stormwind. Well, I was in Stormwind too! Maybe if she wasn’t busy, I could try this roleplaying thing. To determine if she wasn’t busy, I tried to use my leet tracking skills to find her (Likal is a hunter, remember?) If she didn’t seem to be too busy, then I could casually start RPing with her. The fatal flaw in my plan was that I am a fail-hunter, and could not find her after wandering the streets of Stormwind for longer than I’d care to admit. Finally I broke down and whispered her, asking where, exactly, she was. But that at least broke the ice, and her directions to her location were utterly clear. And while our conversation started OOC, once I arrived at her location we started to RP!

It was just a conversation, of course. I was (and probably still am) a complete stranger to her (both IC and OCC, har har). Just a couple of adventurers, sitting near the wine shop, making small talk (well, I was standing for most of it until I realized that looked silly). We talked about all sorts of things; my pet and her name, where I was from, where she was from, various people she knew (a subtle way to indicate where I could find more people to RP with, I suspect), events that would happen in the near future (mainly The Rose Ball). She picked up on various descriptions from my FlagRSP; I mostly tried to keep up with the conversation and actually ask her questions instead of just answering. It was like I had studied for a test and I knew the answers; I knew enough about Likal that questions about her past were easily answered. I didn’t need to hem and haw when she asked me where I came from, or why I was in Stormwind. And that made it more fun to act out.

I’ve been present for two Wildfire Rider and friends Tuesday RP nights, mostly just watching. I’ve introduced myself to a few more people. I’ve joined the Stormwind University. I could probably go on about each of those events, but I think I’ve written enough for now. My ‘introduction’ to this particular RP group is still ongoing; Likal certainly doesn’t know everyone yet, and they don’t know her.

And while I’m still getting accustomed to RP in WoW, I’m still enjoying what I’ve done so far, immensely. This kind of RP may be different than what I’m used to, but in the end the goal is the same: To tell a story, and to have fun while doing it.


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