[Guide] As a new Roleplayer, I wish I knew...

Wyrmrest Accord
Kunboket had a great idea on the "Server Info" post one about informing new roleplayers about often misunderstood information. I thought I would take it one step further and see what we as a community could come up with for new RPers.

So, what do you wish you knew when you first started to Roleplay?


What info would you like to pass on to a new roleplayer?

Your tips can be as basic or verbose as you wish.

If you have something you want to submit, but feel embarrassed about in-game mail it to me (H-Lindiwe A-Kazandra) and I will do it as an anon post.

The intention of this guide is not to create or enforce rules. It is to help new roleplayers.

In that respect, if you are coming into this thread to do any of the following, I respectfully ask that you find a different place:

  • Trolling - I know this is a hard one, but I believe in our community.
  • Sarcasm & jokes - As a sarcastic person I also find this hard to control, but lets keep these out.
  • Discussion - none of these tips are up for debate here, please make a new thread if you so wish to discuss any of the tips.

Lets try and keep this guide as clean and neat as possible. Once the ball is rolling a bit I will edit this post down to basics. Thanks so much!
The first thing I wish I'd known when it comes to making an RP character and getting started with RP is that no matter what anyone tells you, your characters are your own and if you want to play a character that you like the concept of, run with it. You'll find that you're happier with a crazy idea of your own than a normal idea of someone else's.
I wish I'd known that typing song lyrics -- especially modern ones when you're RPing non-modern things -- into RP is really annoying. I didn't figure that one out for an embarassing number of years. Sorry, everyone who used to RP with my bards!
I wish I asked myself why I wanted to get into RP and what I wanted out of it.

Answering those questions really frames this hobby for you and keeps it satisfying in the end.
I wish I'd known that if you want to experience walk-up RP, you have to initiate it yourself.

I wish I'd known that my character profile is not the same thing as my character's personality, and that my character's personality doesn't actually develop until they interact with the world around them.

I wish I'd known how much fun it is to RP solo (emoting and saying stuff as your character even when there's no other players around to see you), and how much it would end up enriching my game experience.

I wish I'd known (as a Horde main) to roll on WrA instead of MG. :)
::Edited for clarification:: (This isn't meant as a diss on Moon Guard, just that WrA has a more active RP community Horde-side. Moon Guard is a very nice server in its own right.)
You can't win RP.
It's pure play, not a game with rules and a score. So play what's fun & do what you can to help the people you play with have fun.

Don't take what the lore-yers try to enforce on you as gospel.
There's a lot more freedom of interpretation than they would lead you to believe. Best thing Blizz has ever publicly said about lore (imho) is that quest givers and other lore sources are unreliable narrators. That means it's ok to have your character see things differently.

It's ok not to know all the lore - even for your own race or home region.
In the real world (whatever that means) it would pretty unusual to find someone who knows everything about the last 12,000 years of humanity's history, art, religion, medicine, science, knows everything about the rarest species on every continent, can tell you the proper way to pronounce family names in every language anywhere on Earth, ...

Being ordinary is more fun. So is being happy.
Being the smartest or richest or most talented person in all of Azeroth doesn't leave others much to contribute to a fun RP session. OTOH, the guy who has trouble in combat but makes a decent stew will be a lot more enjoyable to be around in the long run. And if you play a bit more ordinary character there's a lot more freedom to develop your character as you go. When it comes to RP the shy miserable loner and the drama diva don't get invited to dinner as often the person who has their ups and downs but is dependable or the one who listens as much as they talk.

Stop writing.
Long paragraphs are for posting stories on a site somewhere. People don't know what's in your mind in real life. They only know what you say and what they see you do. Give your RP partners a chance to say and do things. That's how you get to know each other as players as well as characters.

Mog for life.
The clothes you wear express your character. And we don't always wear the same clothes. If you aren't dressed the same as you are when you are queued for a raid people are gonna think you are an experienced RPer :D And treat you like one - in a way that'll make your play easier and more fun. That doesn't mean you need to spend a ton on mogging - either time or gold. Ever seen anyone wear a hazmat suit to happy hour? Save some greys, or just put that chest armor (make sure you've got a shirt on underneath) and polearm in your bag.

It's ok to be inexperienced.
New means fresh. The best RPers are usually very happy to share what they do and the fresh perspective you bring is all they want in return.

RP is like jazz.
It's always live. You don't have to carry the whole melody yourself. Learn how to riff off what the rest of the players are doing. Make sure there's room for each person to experiment a bit. Each little surprise is an opportunity to play something new.
You don't have to always do serious RP, you can do silly/nonsensical things like RP that you're an abandoned bearskin rug(NoRegrets), a horribly lost world hopping tourist, or a newbie shaman chasing around a mini elemental with the temperament of a toddler.
Don't take yourself super seriously. You're playing pretend on the internet not writing a world changing novella.
I also wish I'd known that RP wasn't just about me having fun, it was about EVERYONE having fun. I am not the main attraction and everyone isn't there to be the audience to how cool I am. I alienated several RPers years (and years and years and omg YEARS) ago by trying to make them my audience instead of my fellow actors.

I wish I'd known that crabby, obnoxious characters may be fun for me, but not for anyone else and no one would want to interact with them. Woulda saved me some time in coming up with characters to play.
I wish I knew that spontaneity is fine, actually.

I spent a long time worrying that I'd break someone's story if I acted on my characters' distinct traits rather than playing a generic [race] [class] in their scenarios. And sometimes, when it's a GMed event or plot, they really weren't prepared for a curveball, but that's a chance for growth and figuring things out together. Whatever the case, playing out character motivations adds color, and if you choose them well it generates more RP.
10/06/2018 03:55 PMPosted by Morrowveil
I wish I'd known how much fun it is to RP solo (emoting and saying stuff as your character even when there's no other players around to see you), and how much it would end up enriching my game experience.
"If I want to treat Azeroth as a real world [what IC means to me] then I should behave toward npcs the way I would players' characters."

That is where the same idea started for me. Very first time I got seriously griefed was for bowing to a quest-giver. And the griefing lasted for a good solid 10 minutes.

The guy followed me down the road basically yelling at me. From the character name I'd guess he wasn't an rper. So i just kept telling myself - "that character wouldn't behave like that if the puppeteer wasn't such a jerk". I made a game out of ignoring him and continuing to walk down the road. As a player I knew the quests I wanted to do next were in the opposite direction. But it was a character who had never been there before. He finally gave up. I saw him logoff. So I think I won on both levels - as a player of WoW and as an rper trying to stay IC.

Made me a better rper in the long run i think. Because there are so many differences between a mask and a puppet that I could spend a lifetime working out how choosing one of those perspectives affects my rp. That was a few years ago.

A few months ago i stumbled across a youtube video with a slightly misleading title. All the Pandaren rper was doing was stopping at the roadside shrines you see in Pandaria and on the Wandering Isle. Seemed like he was getting a feel for how his character saw the world and what his motivations for exploring were for by talking to himself out loud as he walked along.

Turned out to be a guy recording himself stalking/griefing a Pandaren solo rper. Not me, and not the same guy. The stalker thought his griefing was as funny as could be. He actually said stalking rpers was something he did regularly for fun and that his goal was to try to get them to log out. Did my heart good to see the rper not break character. IIRC he asked the stalker if he was a ghost or an evil spirit. :D

Moral of the story is - Don't let the stalkers/griefers/haters get you to stop rping. Whether you decide to treat them as an evil spirit IC or as just not existing (the OOC pov) it's a chance to be better at what you do.
Hopefully that doesn't count as discussing someone else's tips in a way that violates the spirit of the OP. TL:DR is it was a thank you for confirming that I'm not the only one who enjoys doing rp solo & reminded me how important it is to help new rpers deal with the very small minority of non-rpers who are malicious .
First things first.

You can say no. In fact, you absolutely should when you find yourself in a bad situation. If you find yourself in a situation you don't want to be in, you need to talk about it with whom you're with. And if they don't budge on the situation or try to force things on you that you don't want to deal with. Leave. Ignore them and move on with your life. There are so many things that happened to me that I wish I had the wherewithal to speak up and stop things before they did happen.

This even includes backing out on agreements made weeks prior. If you're character is supposed to suffer some serious injury or death per a plot line and you agreed to it, and you change your mind you absolutely can back out on what you're doing.

It's okay to ask for help. I learned though largely winging it and while that worked out okay for me I wish I knew somethings before hand. There are common terminologies, among other things, and unfortunately not everyone does have the patience to deal with you when you're new. But you can always come to the forums, either this one or The World's End Tavern and you'll see plenty of people willing to help you out.

This is a big one. When just starting out, or even as an experienced player you might have problems with a character or knowledge of what you're doing. Feel free to ask for help from your friends or even the general community to provide you with your knowledge. The only foolish questions are those left unasked.

Experience doesn't matter. It really doesn't. It might seem daunting but even the most experienced roleplayer started out just like you. We all learned somehow and learning the lore, learning how to write your character takes time. You need to find your own unique voice, your own way of doing things. Sure there are guides you can read, and the community as mentioned above is absolutely a resource but there are things that no one can teach you. Finding what makes you happy and carving your own path, those are the things that you need to find out for yourself.

I'll echo the statement that you don't need to know everything going in. Asking you to know all the lore, to know how to conduct yourself is ridiculous. There's so many things in the lore to learn that it'd be impossible to know it all. Just learn the basics and go from there. And leading off from that,

Your character doesn't know what you know. This is something that a lot of newer roleplayers do make the mistake of doing. You aren't an omniscient god. You're a tauren hunter, or a night elf druid, or whatever. You might know quite a bit of your races history if they care about that sort of thing, but you shouldn't know everything. If you're a scholar it's more fair to say you'll know more than the average joe, but scholars don't know everything in their respective fields either.

The Lore Is Malleable. The beauty of roleplay is that there is so much freedom: Freedom in choice, freedom in character, freedom in story telling, and this absolutely extends to the lore. It's not some rigid ideology and because Warcraft is so super massive you'd be surprised the concepts you could easily put into action with just a little research and creativity.

Warcraft plays it fast and loose with lore. Some people hate it, but me I enjoy that aspect of the lore. If you got and idea you can probably make it work with a little tweaking. Just give it a shot and have fun with it.
Avoid Drama
Just have fun and don't worry about the drama that seems to spring up everywhere you go. This community is great, but also odd. Lots of seemingly benign things get blown out of proportion, so my biggest tip is to avoid overly dramatic guilds and folks who seem to be a magnet for that stuff. Nothing ruins RP faster than having to deal with OOC drama.

Find Friends...And Stick With Them
If you had fun RPing with someone, don't be afraid to whisper them afterward and ask if you can add them to friends for future RP. Having longer-term contacts and folks that mutually enjoy each other's RP made RP special for me.
You are allowed to not engage.
If someone is harassing you or hassling you, if they're making you uncomfortable, or if you just can't seem to get along with them, you are not obligated to give them your time and energy. You may not always have the option to turn off communication with them entirely, but if you can, you will be far less stressed in the long run if you just disengage.
People are more likely to RP with you if you download an RP addon.

This may seem simple and obvious, but when I was new, I completely missed this memo. RP addons are really worth getting, even if you use them to only fill out the most basic details of your character, like full name, age, height, titles and the like. I found it harder to find RP as a new RPer when I didn't have these addons, and people are automatically more likely to walk up to you if you have them, in my experience!

If you're a new RPer reading this, and you want a roleplay addon, I'd recommend XRP due to a more simplistic interface, but TRP is just as good if you prefer the in-depth detail. It's really a matter of personal preference.
You're probably thinking about it too hard. Your characters will come off as more authentic if you just go with the flow instead of trying to force yourself to have the perfect response 100% of the time.
It's ok to leave a guild. Doesn't mean you are a bad RPer. Or that they are either for that matter. When it stops being fun or your interests change, because your friends joined a different guild, wnatever ... just be polite about it.
I wish I knew that just because a trusted friend didn't like someone or something, doesn't mean that there's always something inherently wrong with that person or thing. Sometimes said trusted friend is just an !@# and a bad influence on a young, easily influenced person.

Good -god-, that was a long time ago. Ugh.

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