The "Why" of RP Standards


100 Night Elf Druid
Again, Engrid gets all the credit, as she wrote the original post.

The Big Question:
I pay $15 a month just like everyone else so why should I care about this and why doesn't everyone accept my RP?

The Over-Simplified Answer:
Because Roleplaying is a group activity, and if your behavior is leading to people not wanting to participate, or interact with you, then not only does it hurt your character's potential, but the RP community as a whole.


This post is in response to questions asked in some of the other threads about why RP standards should even matter, why "elitists" won't RP with certain characters, and the reasons behind it. These are not hard and fast things, simply explanations of certain situations that have caused divisions, and an attempt to give the cause for such things. It's not meant as a condemnation or to say "ur doin it rong," just to provide answers to those who asked, and suggestions for those who might be interested in them. If your character does something listed here, but folks get along just fine with them anyhow, and you are happy with your RP, then for goodness sakes, don't worry about it! There are exceptions to everything, and these are just some broad generalizations.

For starters- there will ALWAYS be someone who thinks what you're RPing is dumb, that your character is lame, or that your plot isn't their cup of tea. That's okay. There are plenty more people who may love it. Don't let one person's opinion discourage you from RP, or anything else. We don't all like the same art, music, books, etc. Though, most of us can agree on what color blue is, that wind chimes are more harmonious than nails on a blackboard, and pages with coffee stains all over them are often illegible. This post isn't about idiosyncratic tastes, just some things to try to contribute to greater harmony (I don't mean a lack of IC conflict. That would be boring.) and successful RP.

Section 1- Your Characters

Make your character believable to other characters in the game.

Blizzard has given us a rather vast universe, and been so kind as to ret-con, twist, and convolute things to the point that there are a wide variety of backgrounds and lives your character can lead that would be well within most folks notions of "non-lore breaking" while still being unique concepts. However, there are also character concepts that will make the majority of RPers try to ignore your stories because accepting them would cause their IC "world" (the Warcraft Universe) to have its laws bent in unnatural ways.

Here are some examples, and reasons why each might cause someone to shy away OOCly, along with some alternative suggestions.
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100 Night Elf Druid
Established Faction Leaders/Direct Heirs to the Throne/Other Person In Very High Power of Something That Already Exists In Game- These are some of the things that Blizz has already provided for us. These are the characters that they have given the power to give us, as players, orders, political structures, epic quests, etc. Anytime a character you are playing tries to assume a "given" power that others aren't able to question or contradict, you are god-moding. It's not fun to play with someone who -tells- you they have authority, without there actually being any way for them to make it believable ICly. Please note- I'm not saying there aren't ways to show some form of roleplayed authority. After all, we have guild leaders, "Battlemasters," etc. I'm referring to things like "I'm kicking you out of My City."

Better Ideas- A character with political ambitions, always in the "know" of the latest goings-on in their chosen campaign area.
Start something Blizz hasn't! Take The Northrend Commonwealth, for example. A group of expatriated characters who chose to abide by their own laws while living in foreign lands. They have their own politics, leaders, and stories, without conflicting with in-game powers. Their "citizens" are all willing participants, and they don't try force their rule on those who aren't interested.

Character I Brought from X Game Without Changing ANYTHING to Make them fit WoW Lore- This is World of Warcraft, not Guild Wars, FFXI, Runescape, your old Shadowrun campaign, or anything else. If you are playing a character that you used before and trying tell a backstory that happened in another universe and use all the powers they had in that world, other people's characters are probably going to look at you like you're crazy. Out of Character, they're probably going to wonder what's wrong with you, and frankly, think that it's rude. We pay our money to play -this- game, and so do you. That's because we want to play in this universe. Many of us RP in other universes as well, but when we're in WoW, that's the one we're playing. Please don't break our immersion by not being kind enough to make your character function in our world.

Better idea- This one's really super easy! You love your character concept from X game/story you wrote in 3rd grade/crazy dream you had last night? Awesome. Then it's probably a fantastic character no matter where they were born. Keep the idea, just tweak lifespans/locales/past adventures to things that would match up in Azeroth.

The Undefeatable/Awesome Character of Awesome- Whether for good or for ill, you never allow your character's plans to be foiled or changed by anyone else's characters. Your understudy mage is directly tutored by Rhonin, and also has Garona's dagger in his bags, cat-like reflexes, and the perfect pie recipe. When interacting with others, only your ideas will work, and you find ways to make Every. Single. Effort. by other players fail. This is commonly caused playing a "Mary Sue," (if you'd like further clarification on the term is a good place to start) and is generally frustrating to those around you. Often, we have many ideas for traits that would make our characters really interesting, but can get carried away piling all of the "virtues" into one single character, and none of the flaws- or no genuine flaws. Being "too beautiful to be taken seriously" or "so good at fighting everyone wants to beat them up" isn't a personal character flaw- it's trying to cause flaws in others by making them jealous of your character's (self-perceived) virtues.

If your character is so over-the-top in all of their attributes that RPing with them just makes others feel like they're being used as plot devices to further build up your character's ego, or if it becomes a futile effort for others because nothing they try is ever allowed to work or be helpful, people will start to shy away. No one wants to feel like their RP is being ignored, but if your character quickly overcomes anyone's well-thought-out obsticles and then blasts away the Big Problem with a magical wiggle of the pinky finger and you just saying "Ha! It's fixed!" then that's how those around you will start to feel.
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100 Night Elf Druid
Better ideas- When coming up with a character idea, try to think up 5 flaws, and 5 positive traits. Flaws do not include being too good at something, being "sad all the time," or similar. Don't use backstories closely linking your character to major players in WoW lore. Here I don't mean simple things like being one of the orcs Thrall set free, but rather being personally called upon by Bolivar Fordragon to singlehandedly deal with transporting a precious artifact to Bronzebeard's throne room, then becoming the greatest non-dwarven commander their forces had ever known, getting a letter of recommendation signed by all of the Alliance leaders that put you in a position of high power with the Argent Dawn and one time being Arthas' childhood playmate.

When RPing with others, try to remember that they put time and effort into their characters, too, so don't discount everything they are trying to do with you. Be happy that people want to interact with your stories because they find them fascinating. RP is meant to be dynamic. Just because you have an idea in your head of how something should proceed, doesn't mean it's a hard and fast course. Be open to other possibilities! Maybe another player is trying to lead you down a new path, see where it goes and don't get upset that it's not how you had intended.

If you have something very specific that absolutely must happen to your character for their story to be furthered and you are worried that involving others will result in something not going your way, why not make up some NPCs of your own and write up a story about what happened?

Section 2- Your Actions

I'm going to start with the Big Ones here and then move on to more minor issues as we go.


If your considered course of action is going to cause another character's loss of free will, permanant damage, change of gender, condition of being alive or dead, or tax filing status, ASK THE PLAYER FIRST!!! This helps avoid a great deal of OOC drama in RP. It's also very simple- a quick tell of ((Hey, is it okay with you if Jimmy gouges out Billy's eye while they're fighting?)) can work wonders. You wouldn't want someone taking control of your creations without permission, so have the courtesy to return the favor. The other player might not be comfortable with a mind-control plot, but would be totally open to some other alternative. You don't know until you ask, and if you don't ask, you risk them deciding not to RP with you at all because you've freaked them out. You could even turn someone off of RP entirely if they think that's what it's all about.

IC is NOT THE SAME as OOC- This rule comes into play in a wide variety of ways when roleplaying. Just because you, the player, knows certain information does not mean that your character has the same knowledge. Try to make sure that conclusions your characters reach are based on information they came across through roleplaying, or other in-character interactions (quests, newspapers, posters about town, etc.)

Confusing In-Character and Out-of-Character is one of the leading causes of drama when it comes to interactions with others. Just because someone's character acts a certain way does not mean the player behind them acts or feels the same way. This applies to all sorts of relationships, whether they be your character's enemies, friends, or lovers. Bringing an IC jealousy or hatred OOC is a surefire recipe for disaster and hurt feelings. There are many other posts that have dealt with this in-depth, and Lurial's comments in post 13 of this thread bring up very important things, so I will leave it at this.
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100 Night Elf Druid
PREGNANCY AND YOU- (warning: this paragraph does not mince words, because I think the situation calls for bluntness) This is not something I had even thought of discussing until recently, but I've started to see some extremely disturbing trends that need to be talked about. If your character is involved with another and the other player decides to break it off, it is NOT appropriate to try to force them to stay in the relationship by suddenly deciding yours is pregnant. This is essentially trying to blackmail another player into playing the way you want, and goes back to the cardinal rule of not doing things that would alter another person's character irreversibly without talking to them about it AND it is usually the result of confusing an IC matter for an OOC one. It is an extremely selfish action, and also, it doesn't work!

You may say, "But it'd be my baby, and it's my body! I'll get pregnant if I want!" If that's so, then ask yourself if the intention is for your character to become a single mother, or is it to try to win back their lover? If it is the second, then you aren't trying to control your character, but theirs. It's a game, get your fear of rejection and separation out of the RP. You got dumped, QQ and move on as if you were a healthy and well-adjusted young lady. Quit trying to villify people who decide they want to move in a different direction from you. /end rant

Other notes on pregnancy- Going back to the "Keep your characters believable." If you are RPing out a pregnancy, do try to educate yourself a bit on what this would entail, and keep it somewhat realistic. If you are already pregnant, then you can't get pregnant again ( Talking about two pregnancies at once. Not saying one pregnancy after another). If you're deceased, you probably aren't getting pregnant either. Very pregnant women have a difficult time running quickly and getting into fights. In the later months, you might want to RP them as taking a break from combat, or have them huffing along at the back of the raid talking about swollen ankles and needing to stop to go pee.

Try not to exploit game mechanics- This one is tricky, because a lot of times we have to ignore the static nature of our world to make our RP work, but I'll try to give some examples and hints.

Is your character a well-known thief, murderer, enemy of the state? Would they logically be arrested by guards if they were in a city? Then maybe they could wear a mask, helmet, or disguise while in well-populated areas. Just because we can't *really* call the guards on someone doesn't mean it isn't fun to act like we've got to be on our guard, checking over our shoulder if we're on the lam. It all helps with that whole keep your character believable bit.

The same applies for a lot of IC combat situations. If you're in front of the guards, you probably shouldn't be trying to shank a guy for his wallet. But you might have some very urgent business he needs to come with you right away about, leading to a private room or deserted alleyway.

More on IC disagreements- Keep it believable. If you are alone in a group of five characters who all want to kick your butt, but you're all the same faction, try not to abuse that mechanic to get out of it. Just because they can't *actually* attack you doesn't mean it makes sense for you to provoke them all and then refuse duels or other methods of resolution.

An Example of Emotes- This is in the vein of not doing things to others without giving them an opportunity to react. I think it's our natural tendency to want to write out our actions with the hoped for result, but we've got to remember that the other player has abilities and is not just a robot there for our enjoyment.

wrong- Evillina swings her broadsword widely, taking Bobby by surprise and chopping his head off.

right- Evillina swings her broadsword widely at Bobby's neck, hoping to take him by surprise.

See? The first is Evillina emoting *at* someone with no chance for reaction, the second is RPing *with* someone.

(Quoting Jaggedspine here)

A lot of times, people will /emote things that are in their thoughts, that others would not know just by looking at them.

Ex: Jaggedspine looks wistfully across the room at Tru, who reminds him of his long-dead wife.
Ex #2: Jaggedspine realizes with a grin that this is the first anniversary of Naxxramas leaving the Plaguelands.

All anyone would actually be able to see would be 1) Jagged looking across the room at Tru, 2) Jagged grinning. The reasons would either have to be spoken aloud, or revealed through questions and answers, since others IC would not be able to read his mind...

Thank you all for your feedback and support. Enjoy yourselves out there.
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80 Orc Rogue
I'm new to an RP server, and haven't actively RP'd since pen and paper D&D some ten plus years ago. This answers a tremendous amount of questions for me.

Thank you.

Edit: The only strange events I've encountered so far on CC are people that insist on being IC when I'm not. (Dungeon running, getting something crafted, or crafting etc.) It just makes for an odd meeting.
Edited by Morukkar on 11/20/2010 10:11 PM PST
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100 Night Elf Priest
Morukkar, my advice to you in those situations is to respect the boundaries. Never ever ever go OOC in /say, /yell, or emotes without using some sort of OOC indicators (enclosing in double parentheses seems to be the standard), and if possible try to keep anything OOC to whispers if practical.

If somebody's being IC in party chat, *shrug* I'd make a reasonable effort not to ruin their immersion, but running a random dungeon, OOC tactics are going to be discussed. Throwing double parens around it every time would certainly be courteous, but I wouldn't consider it a "necessary" courtesy. Dungeon party chat hasn't been accepted as a "by-default RP channel." People occasionally go IC to see if the party is the sort willing to play along. If not, they can still have their fun, but don't feel that you're expected to play along if that's not what you're there for.

As someone who's become known for wanting to maintain a semblance of order on the RP front (and enforcing it by refusing to serve customers who don't meet my very basic standard of non-stupid names), my personal crafting standards are:

OOC in General/Trade/LFG
IC in say, yell (though Trol doesn't much have cause to yell), and emotes
Whispers: IC if you whisper me IC. OOC otherwise.

Hope this info isn't unwanted. >.>
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65 Blood Elf Priest
Hello all!

I am back with the 7 free days to have a look at all the changes. So far so good! I have characters on both sides, though I am bringing along a few friends new to WoW and RP so if they take to it I will ultimately roll a new character to level with them.

Anyway, until then, I was just wondering how things have changed in regards to RP. Obviously some of the scheduled events will have to change venues and whatnot.

Is there a preferred RP Add-on yet; like MyRolePlay, etc? Have any of the RP hotspots relocated?
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85 Human Death Knight

In ways there are more preferred RP Add ons like MRP. Gryphonheart Items and Gryphonheart Rep and a few toys that came out for Cata.

In a answer to the last part have any RP hot spots moved, A few have really SW Lost the park which means less Taverns for Tavern RPs, Northrend I know didn't really change, Besides a few Lines in Kalm it's almost the same besides Mount Hyjal which really opens up more areas, The Barrens got put into two parts so that sworda adds another spot for RPs and can make them better in ways, And last time I checked Org and most of the horde areas are still in one.

Hope this Information helped.

Note:I know Gryphonheart Items and Rep have been out for some time but I'm sure they updated them cause I had to update them be for Cata. And once again hope this helped :)
Edited by Mikemike on 12/22/2010 5:28 AM PST
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I'm not sure if this is the right place for this question, but I figure it's as good a place as any to ask.

What are the general guidelines for adding your character's reactions to story threads started by other people? I see it in the vast majority of IC/story threads that go up, but are there standards for when it is and is not appropriate to respond?

With the given assumption that my character has a reason to be involved or associated with the storyline in question, should I check with the original poster OOC to make sure they're okay with me posting in their thread, or should I just jump right in and share my character's side of the story?
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I really haven't had much time to get involved in story threads, but I'd like an answer to this question too.
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100 Undead Priest
06/16/2011 11:46 AMPosted by Starstone
With the given assumption that my character has a reason to be involved or associated with the storyline in question, should I check with the original poster OOC to make sure they're okay with me posting in their thread, or should I just jump right in and share my character's side of the story?

If you're worried that it might upset the flow of the thread or something, I'd go ahead and check with the author OOCly, as you suggested. Also, lots of times people will use an "Open" or "Closed" tag on the post to show how they feel about people jumping in.
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56 Dwarf Hunter
I like yer way with words.

I roam the hills an' hollows with my bear, as a pair of bachelors there is no worry of any little ones unless he slips away when I find a minute to sleep.

May yer aim be true and yer blades sharp an' swift!

(Roleplaying isn't what your character does, it is who your character is.)
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