In-Depth Character Development Guide Redux

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
Hello everyone. This is a guide I had stickied on the previous roleplaying forums, and I figured that while slightly outdated it would still have useful information in its current form. I intend to update this now that my account is active again, though it will admittedly take some time. I've had many different characters throughout my forum roleplay experience, and through the many different interactions with other roleplayers that I've had, I feel I've learned quite a bit about truly developing a character into something with many facets and a true personality: just as we, the writers behind the character have.

I cannot stress enough that I am NOT trying to tell you how to create your character or make them act. Like it says in the title, this is merely a set of guiding points to aid you in your own creative thought process. The greatest of writers take input and constuctive criticism from all sides, and as I aspire to attain a high-level of quality in nearly everything I post I am no different. Please post anything you thing I should add, or something I may need to touch on.
I will post in installments:

1. Choosing a Starting Point: Which Class is Right for You?
2. Advanced Classes: Creative Freedom
3. Building the Character Frame: Tiers of Personality
4. Backstory: Where do you start?
5. Avoiding Mary-Sueism
6. Class-Specific Recommendations
7. Finalizing and Tying the Package Together
8. Extras

This list is tentative, and subject to change. The best thing you can realize as a writer and roleplayer is to roll with the flow: sometimes the best inspirations will not come to you immediately. In fact, they usually don't!
1. Choosing a Starting Point: Which Race or Class is Right for You?


A. The best thing I can say when starting a fresh out of the box character is to figure out what kind of emotion or trait drives them. The defining emotional trait of your creation will be what carries everything else about them: their actions, their personalities, their fighting style, everything. Sometimes this even comes before a name, because that can be based on this as well.

I'll explain this by doing my suggestions with my own characters. I'll start with my very first forum rp persona, Sonori Amerneth. She's a blood elven demon hunter. How did I pick her? I wanted to rp someone who hadn't really asked for her particular skillset, but had a determined reason to use them in order to achieve a goal. I played it off one idea: a reluctant determination. She ended up being a bleeding heart with a tough outer shell to drive people away from what she really was.

Another example: Eclipse Shadowbringer. Her basis? Calm intellectualism. Eventually I decided that this could come from years of experience, and had her based out of the culture that permeated Queen Azshara's reign thousands of years ago.

B. After deciding their driving factor, you can funnel it into class and race choice. Sonori was reluctant determination, I picked demon hunter. As a blood elf she had rudimentary magical skills and an inbred will to get what she wanted, which formed the basis for her seeking out a greater fount of power to find a murderous demon. That came in the form of imbuing her own soul with that of a demon herself.

I'll give a rough template of more base emotions and factors from which you can build your own, more complex ideas. The format is well-suited class, archetype, then race. Once you get a feel for this point in character development, keep in mind that contradictory class and emotion combinations are usually more engaging and unique, though as long as you play your choices well it usually stays interesting anyway.

Calm: Plays well to classes such as Mages, Priests, or Druids at first glance. Of course any others can be calm as well, it's a rather adaptable trait. Works well for the chars that like to analyze situations. Night elves, Draenei, Tauren

Angry: Warriors, Death Knights, Warlocks, the archetype that deals with rage to fuel their might. Humans, Forsaken, Orcs, Trolls

Cheerful: Nearly any class, though suits roguish types who play pickpockets well or the innocent naive character. Basically any race, Dwarves or Gnomes work well.

Sad or Moody/ Reclusive: Death Knights, Hunters, sometimes Druids, emotional archetypes. Forsaken, Blood Elves, Night Elves.

Scholarly: Mages most prominently, followed closely by Paladins. The people who like to have an answer ready for everything. Gnomes, Humans, Forsaken, Elves.

Wise: Shamans and Druids. The venerable archetype who likes to pass information and teachings on to others. Tauren, Draenei, older members of the other races.

Feisty or Fiery, Passionate: Warriors, Paladins, sometimes Mages. Suitable for most characters who like to be in the thick of the action or instill their beliefs in others. Trolls, Humans, Forsaken, Orcs.

Hasty: Rogues, followed by Warriors. Characters who like to act upon a whim. Gnomes, Humans.

Patient: Hunters, Shamans, Druids. Personas that will wait as long as they need to to get what they want. Draenei, Night Elves, Tauren, Dwarves.

Empathetic: Priests, Shamans, Druids.. Those who want to care about others. Tauren, Dwarves, Draenei.

Eccentric: Mages, sometimes Warlocks or Rogues. The crazy genius, etc. Gnomes, Trolls.

Proud: Warlocks, Warriors, Paladins. The slightly snobbish noble or the character with the inflated ego. Makes for good sacrifices in roleplays though. Blood elves, Humans, Forsaken, Orcs.

Again, this is a very rough template and nearly any class or archetype can be linked to any prime emotion. You could have the most patient warrior in the world, or the most reckless druid. This is more of a springboard.

In summary, you want to pick an emotion you can really get behind and keep going consistently with your character choices. If you play a calm Tauren Druid, charging into battle constantly might not be the best course of action until you flesh out a bit more of a reason why. Perhaps it's one of his quirks, and he's serene out of combat. Don't forget, in forum roleplay you can usually be what you want as long as you write it well!
[Post Deleted]
2. Advanced Races and Classes: Creative Freedom

After thinking about it, this particular topic deserved its own section. It is not usually for the new roleplayer, who is usually better off with a few of the more well-established classes. For those jumping to this section simply because they think advanced means better, please note that this is not the case. It's simply that it takes a little more ingenuity to form a well-developed character from these classes, and because of this usually more time spent on said development.

Creative freedom is the idea that you can more easily express your own unique ideas with less rigid stereotypes and established guidelines: you can play as a demon hunter or a Furbolg! This is not to say that you can go to extreme lengths and make a necromantic dwarven paladin engineer who raises a chicken from the dead, gives it amazingly powerful prosthetic limbs that cause it to be the height of a skyscraper with the strength of ten gronn lords, then grants it the power to shoot the Light like lasers from its eye sockets as it razes Ironforge. There's an adjective I like to call realistic... It'll be your focus here. A developed and thought-out plain old warrior will always trump a quickly made-up spirit walker for example.

I'll give some basic examples of races or sub-cultures and classes here, but remember I'm not perfect! What you see here is in no way a limit on what is possible, again it's merely a starting point.

Races/ Sub-Cultures:

Furbolg: A peaceful race of ursine humanoids that have recently fallen to corruption for the most part. They are well in tune with nature, usually seen as hunters or shamans along with more militant professions such as warriors. Interesting concepts to incorporate could be fighting off a spreading corruption within your own character, or the realization that the number of sane members of your species is steadily declining.

The Highborne: Night elven practitioners of the arcane energies of the Well of Eternity and progenitors of the High Elf race. These Kaldorian spellcasters were the favored of Azshara about ten thousand years ago before the War of the Ancients and the Sundering. Afterwards, Dath'remar Sunstrider and his followers broke from the remaining night elves and created a new fount of magic with stolen waters from the Well: they created the Sunwell. Forsaking the nocturnal traditions and moon worship of the Kaldorei, the Highborne embraced the sun. Examples of this sub-culture would be the Shen'drelar and various inhabitants of Eldre'thalas (Dire Maul). Roleplaying a Highborne would mean distrust or sometimes even blatant hostility from the main night elven society, though plausibly you'd be friendly with the high elves. This particular sect will be playable come Cataclysm, so look for more info soon.

Murlocs/Gorlocs: Very rarely if ever roleplayed, so if you're looking for unique this would be a good choice. Please note that this would be a rather difficult race to play as, even among the advanced roles. These creatures are very tribal-based and somewhat simple-minded, usually following local paganism and belief structures. A good point to focus on would be that murlocs are usually more clever than they seem, and Gorlocs are fairly advanced intellectually as far as lesser races go with some bordering or surpassing humanoid intelligence while being friendly and trusting for the most part. Scavengers and Oracles are good profession choices, or elders.

Wolvar: Another rare yet difficult race. These creatures are also very tribal and fiercely territorial, though stubbornly loyal. They are somewhat simplistic in terms of how smart they are, but they can still understand most concepts and ideals while interjecting their own view of the situation. Shamans and hunters are good choices, as are elders.

Worgen: A sub-culture mainly derived from the humans. Originally these humanoid wolf creatures were drawn from their homeworld by the power of the Scythe of Elune, but have since greatly multiplied through an infectious curse that can be spread through the saliva or bodily fluids. No, this is not an opportunity to play a furry. Partial transformations have never been seen to my knowledge, and only with the greatest amount of control over the curse can one even hope to channel it somewhat. Worgen usually have access to any professions their normal forms do, though a feral and strongly bestial consciousness would likely play into any of these personas. [Cata]
Ogre: An offshoot of the gronn race. Mainly of lower tier intelligence, but can indeed channel the arcane as well as the elements. Ogres respect power and will usually follow the closest and strongest entity they can find, as evident in several cases: the Bladespire Ogres openly changed allegiance after being defeated even with Gruul very close by. Some documented cases of smarter individuals have occurred, and don't forget that they can have a second head! Conversations between the two minds are great for comedic relief.

Dragon (All flights): Another extremely difficult race to play well. The problem with roleplaying a dragon is the fact that they are inherently very powerful, and you almost always need to downplay this. Lifting a single finger and obliterating any opponent you find isn't quite what most people are looking for when they write with you. A good rule of thumb is to stay in a mortal form most of the time, and mimic another class while using your draconic form under extreme circumstances or when you're alone. A note, most dragons in mortal form will be spellcasters, so make sure they resemble a race that uses magic!

Goblin: A race of short stature that is almost completely fixated on earning money. Most goblins will be mercenaries or provide some kind of service for hire, and many are well-accomplished engineers. They are credited for creating the zeppelins and shredders, as well as other various dangerous devices. Playing one akin to a gnome could be a good start, but they are more miserly and blood-thirsty in general, and more self-serving. Good profession choices would include a somewhat magical avenue, but usually a trader or mercenary. [Cata]

Demon: Another very touchy class to roleplay. Most who try to do so without spending a long time thinking it out are inherently overpowered, and ousted or ignored in interactions. Some try to go the "demon in disguise, infiltrating the Alliance or the Horde!" route, but this is also very difficult. In short, to be successful you wouldn't be able to mention the fact to anyone or give out hints. Small stubs of horns or any indication that you aren't a normal member of your race, and you're pretty much dead anyway. These are best used with groups of others that have already agreed to this type of story or in mild possession arcs. Will be whatever profession they're disguised as.

Elemental: A rare race to be played, though its more of a collective term than an actual race. Any time you use one you will most likely be involved with some problem concerning the natural balance and order of things, and will need to adjust accordingly. Few normal elementals speak any fluent Azerothian language beyond Kalimag, so if you're as fluent as anyone else you'll probably need an explanation why. Perhaps contact with a shaman over a period of time?Personality could also be linked to the element: say Wind would be very subject to differing opinons, or Water would be very calm. Often seen as brutish, overpowering fighters or spellcasters.
Angelic/ Celestial Being: Very rarely played, as they almost never manifest on the material plane. These races are in services to the true gods and goddesses of Azeroth, such as Elune. As very powerful creatures, to roleplay one you experience the same hurdles as a dragon. Inherently you could crush almost anything that stood against you, but you need to tone it down if you want to rp. Can be spellcasters or warriors, most are calm due to their constant contact with their godly figure yet passionate about their faith.

Classes:

Demon hunter: My very first rp class. Let me tell you from experience, its not an easy starting point and I had a rather thorough grasp of writing skills to begin with! Branching from the original demon hunter Illidan Stormrage, it has become tradition to ritualistically receive tattoos carve one's eyes out with a magical blade and imbue your own soul with that of a demon. This is where this class draws its unique skill set from. This class wears very unrestricting armor, usually cloth or leather in limited quantities to allow for unrestricted fluid movement. A cloth or shroud is usually worn over their now empty eye sockets, which are now filled with magical flame. This accounts for the demon hunter's unique vision: they do not see in color like normal sentient beings. They see in various shades of grey and black, with undead and demonic essences glowing very brightly in contrast. To dispel a common misconception, this class is not restricted to glaives although they are symbolic to their original leader, Illidan. They can wield swords, daggers, even polearms. Go with what works best for you. A trait to keep in mind is that demon hunters contain a demonic essence within their own bodies. As proven by Leotheras the Blind in Serpentshrine Caverns, this essence is very self aware and can take over its host. This class is usually defined by a calm determination or cold vengeance, sometimes blind anger. Notable abilities are increased regeneration and an immolation aura, as well as the ability to see through magical veils or disguises.

Techno-Mage: A person gifted with both mechanical ingenuity and the ability to manipulate magic, techno-mages are a blend of twin passions. They see beyond any finished product to the inner workings, with an almost obsessive pondering to how things work. Aided with one of the most infinitely adaptable tools available, magic, they can take their interests much farther than any normal mechanic or engineer. Gnomes are a natural for this class, as are some goblins gifted with magical talent. Dwarves and Humans can also make good choices. Essentially any race that can access magic and comprehend how machinery works could play a techno-mage, but it's best to use a well-established combination until you get a feel for it. As this class, you won't really be walking around say in a battle suit throwing out fireballs. Your spells will be more tuned toward manipulating your creations themselves.

Astromancer: A different flavor of mage who channels the powers of the void and heavens. There isn't too much of a difference to this class, they're simply more of a blend between a normal mage and say a warlock without the demons. Altering gravity, tearing open spatial rifts, and conjuring intense flares and beams of concentrated starlight or sunlight is the flavor of this class.

Witch Doctor: Almost completely troll biased, though ogres and orcs can work as well. This class is very similar to a cross between a shaman and a shadow priest. Instead of using totems, they invoke tools called wards though they act much the same: empowering their master. Using shadows offensively are also a defining feature. In short, think of a debuffing class. A witch doctor will place countless crippling hexes upon you and employ strengthening defensive or debilitating wards until you can't possibly fight back, then finish you off. This class has a deep understanding of herbal mixes and effects, as well as a limited amount of spiritual power. Making a cannibal or alchemist always adds flavor!
Warmage: Think a blend between a warrior and a mage. Be forewarned, though they can employ both melee and spellcasting skills, warmages will be a practitioner of both but master of neither. You can't set a whole army aflame by yourself then single-handedly fight off three massive ogres in hand-to-hand combat with merely a stick you found on the ground. Like with the techno-mage, it's a blend. Your magical skills enhance your melee abilities, and vice versa.

Shadow hunter: For all intents and purposes a hunter with a more tangible magical side. Shadow hunters are somewhat akin to witch doctors, their magic is meant to weaken their target to make them much more vulnerable to their deadly ranged and melee attacks. Again, this is a more troll biased class than anything.

Necromancer: Similar to a warlock, though they deal with the dead in place of demons. Another point of note is that they almost exclusively use shadow spells instead of the shadow and fire mix that warlocks employ. This class is for all intents and purposes a casting pet class, summoning minions to fight for them while they cast curses and fling bolts of shadow energy. Abilities would include shadow bolts, afflictions, raising skeletons or other various dead, and manipulating the very bones of the fallen to shield themselves or attack. Nearly any corruptible race with access to magic and depraved morals could play a necromancer.

Spirit Walker/ Spirit Caller: A tauren biased class, similar somewhat to shamans. These chosen warriors call upon the spirits of their ancestors or any soul willing to lend aid, and empower themselves to fight in battle. Abilities are mainly melee based such as increased strength or wisdom, but it does depend on which spirits the walker is channeling. Their strengths and weaknesses can change depending on this. Some orcs have also managed to walk this path, and as a stretch any character deeply in tune with the spiritual world could become one but it's unlikely. Note that tauren's pelts turn to white if they are spirit walkers.
3. Building the Character Frame: Tiers of Personality

Alright, here we get to the real bread and butter of character creation. You've picked your defining trait, you've chosen your class and race. But what makes your character yours? Personally, I want my characters to be so alive in their own right that they're actually alive in my own head. Insane? Possibly, but it makes for truly believable personae. Just ask Eclipse or Rynori!

Tier 1: Base Emotion

This is essentially what you chose in part 1. This is the strong foundation upon which you build the rest of your character. Think of your chosen avatar's complex personality as a tower. Without a strong base, it all comes crashing down and your tower is no different from the rocks from which it was made.

Tier 2: Expansion

Here, you need to tie the other emotions into your foundation. Anger, want, fear, happiness, sadness, all of them are experienced by any real person. What you need to decide here is how they relate to your char as a whole. For example, a calm character might also be intellectual but have an inner pain, an angry person would go well with passion. If your base emotion is a foundation, this is your tower, the heart and soul of your character. For anything you make seem believable, they have to have a spectrum of emotions: not just always sad, or angry. For example the enraged warrior might also care deeply about his family or a loved one, and show it off proudly. Here pride and passion tie into anger and rage, making a more complete character. A note: melancholy and reclusive usually don't go well together. Most others will get the vibe to leave you alone, and you want to rp don't you?! If you're playing a hermit, bingo.

Tier 3: Crowning Your Achievement!

This is the penthouse where your character will live when they're complete! Of course, no one wants to live in a suite that's only half-finished or not to their liking, so keep this in mind: make sure the completed psyche you end up with is something you like. Just because you want to fit in and be roleplayed with doesn't mean you should change your character so everyone will like it. Some will, some won't. Make sure you like it first, then worry about others.

This section is for your funny quirks, or uniquely positive personality traits: perhaps you have an infectious laugh, or a penchant for bursting into song and making the mood lighter for everyone. It helps to create that unique character I was talking about, the qualities that make others think "Oh that's so and so you're talking about! I know them!" Don't be frustrated if it takes a while to figure this part out for your char.

Tier 4: The Underneath

In life, we all have things we aren't proud of. Secrets we tell few others if any at all. Well, what are our characters if not reflections of real life personae? I put this section last because once you figure the rest out, you can give your character the one thing that makes them whole. A flaw, some kind of shortcoming. For all good there must be a bad, or your creation will become too perfect. This, unfortunately, is bad. For my own characters, my dragon has claustrophobia and a fear of captivity, Vyrani is embittered by the Second War and becomes emotionally distant, and Eclipse is calm and aloof almost to the point of seeming apathetic. Think as hard on this as on Tier 3, this is important!
4. Backstory: Where Do You Start?

Okay, you've done a lot! You've fleshed out your character, chosen their path in life, given them the qualities that makes them a living, thinking being... So, can you tell me how they got to be who they are? Why they're the cold and merciless killer they are, why they're the family man who took up the blade to defend his homelands?

A backstory is your character's history, how they came to be. It can work the other way around and have the backstory form the character, but this follows the usual flow of thought. Again, I'll use one of my own characters as an example: Eclipse Shadowbringer. After making her the calm intellectual she is, I mentioned using age as a catalyst. Thousands of years is a long time to do nothing if she didn't have a backstory. The one warning I should offer is that this is the part of your character most roleplayers will question a lot of the time, aside from ridiculous powers. To make it believable and coherent within the WoW history, your best bet is cross-referencing the official and unofficial timelines.

The official timeline can be found on the WoW main website, and the unofficial is available on WoWwiki. Searching timeline on both will bring up the information. Nearly every character that is around the age of a middle-aged human will have experienced the Second and Third wars in their lifetime. Only very old characters would have experienced the First War, however. Even if your persona didn't actively take part, a good thing to reference is what they thought about the conflicts or did in the meantime. A good choice is to pinpoint several key events in your character's life, then build with those as the rungs of the ladder.

I'm not going to make this section long, as a backstory is very personal. I'm just going to provide a simple framework that I use. There are two major ways to form a storyline, though many others exist: Catalyst, and Predisposed.

Catalyst:

Personally my favorite way to build a backstory, gives more opportunity for dramatic events. This type makes your character who they are through some life-changing or altering event, say a family member dying, or a war.

Eclipse was extradited from the Sisters of Elune for killing a man who had attacked her after she tried to force his thoughts to good, and Vyrani was embittered by seeing her homeland forests burning in the Second War. Once you find a good major event, you can do a kind of before and after situation. Obviously, this covers how it affected your char.

Predisposed:

This is better for killers or characters with an overwhelmingly focused personality, but these are characters who have always been who they are in one form or another. Psychological problems or a driving purpose in life are sometimes like this. There isn't much more to say about this, other than they've always been who they are from an early age or birth.
5. Avoiding Mary-Sueism (With Touches of Meta-Gaming/God-Moding)

Probably one of the most annoying things to experience, but most entertaining to talk about! When you hear horror stories from other rp'ers of people they've encountered... you're hearing about Mary-Sues!
Now this label is extremely extensive, and there's no way I can possible cover every instance here. So I'll start with a definition! Mary-Sueism technically is making a character in a way that has been extremely overdone. As such, it should be avoided because not many people other than fellow Mary Sues will rp with you. Note that this ties in somewhat with God-moding.
This is by no means a complete list of what makes a Mary-Sue:
1. All powerful, cannot be hit or damaged. This is very, very annoying to other roleplayers and once they figure out that your character is like this, they'll most likely ignore you.
2. Impeccably handsome or beautiful, as well as physically perfect (muscles, feminine form, etc). Not as bad, but extremely overdone. If you want your char to be like this downplay it a little to fair or chiseled, eye-catching in a discreet way.
3. Claiming you're the best at something. The best shot, the best spellcaster, the toughest melee fighter, the best swordsman, the oldest, the wisest, etc. You can be very very good at something, but to be flawless at it hints at Mary-Sueism.
4. To always be right, to have everything work out your way. If there was no conflict, I'd be extremely bored. Wouldn't you?
5. To involve yourself intimately with lore characters. Relatives? No. Best friend? No. Close confidant? No. Friend of a best friend? Eh... no.
6. To be the life of every party or gathering, to be the one everyone goes to. Popularity is one thing, being an infallible icon is another.
I know I know! There are many many more than I have listed here, this is just very general. In short, don't make yourself the best of something or tie yourself to a lore character and you should be alright. Will add more as I think of more in-depth ideas.
As a colleague mentioned in the original thread, sometimes Mary-Sueism is more about the writing of a character than the character itself. Even if you give something flaws, if you only focus on their strengths they seem pretty perfect, don't they? Keep that in mind.
7. Class Specific Recommendations

This will be a shorter section, simply with traits and personalities I think fit each class rather well. Again, please note this is simply an opinion and the greatest and most in-depth characters come from your own creative ideas. To those who would post an extremely lengthy post as to why I'm wrong, read above statement =P

I'll start with the basic classes and a couple advanced ones, feel free to request more. Note that the inviting roleplay statement at the end of each class is pretty much geared toward in-game roleplay for once.

1. Death Knight- Generally a moody and dark class, most are repentant of the actions and horrors they committed under Arthas' command. A few keep their apathetic attitudes, seeing the schism of the Ebon Blade as simply a change in who's in command. A fair number will experience a particular pleasure at destruction and desecration. To instigate roleplay, try having your character speak out loud or in mutterings about how they were before death, how they died, or how their views have changed. You could even joke about undeath: "Wow, this bar used to be a lot more lively. I can almost taste the irony."

2. Hunter- Flexible emotions here, though as a base I would recommend patience above other virtues. Most hunters are trackers, and develop a deep emotional bond with their pet, so empathy is another good quality. Perhaps you could run an animal rescue group? To invite rp, you could speak with your pet in emotes or have said pet move to nudge others you might want to speak with. Making it cute is even better, making it maul someone's leg off... not so much.

3. Rogue- The fast-paced, live your life on the edge deal. Most rogues make their living by their namesake, being shady characters of questionable moral fiber. Many are fast on their feet and even quicker on the uptake, using their minds as well as their bodies to overcome hardships. Older rogues with more patience are fun as well, having had more time to hone their skills; they are more confident in them. To invite rp, perhaps a witty quip or even stealing someone's coin purse then offering it back to them as though they simply dropped it. Hanging out in a corner whispering to yourself about dark deeds usually doesn't garner attention.

4. Priest- Plays well to a calm and serene character archetype. Depending on shadow or holy light devotees, your playstyle could change. Perhaps you're a sadistic dark magic weaver who enjoys seeing others suffer? Or maybe you're a kind heart who enjoys volunteering time at the local orphanage on weekends. To invite roleplay, for a Holy I you could simply lay a blessing on someone, or even stand on a street corner shouting about fire and brimstone ("RAGNAROS COMES! THE END IS NIGH! REPENT!"). They may be annoying in real life, but tell the truth: you at least listen enough to know what in the world they're yelling about. As a shadow priest, a fun thing to do (if you're a high enough level) is to pick a target, hide, then cast mind vision on them. After watching what they do, waltz in and comment on it as though you were watching from their own eyes, which of course you were. That, or lash out with shadow energy and risk being arrested. Your choice.

5. Druid- Benevolent protectors of nature... sometimes. You can either go the feral route, in which case you will usually be as wild and unpredictable as the animal you choose, or the sentient-minded champion of the natural world who works for the greater good. You can range from zealous to a quietly firm believer here. To invite roleplay, I suggest either rubbing up against them or growling as a feral, or perhaps offering a flower or other symbol of nature to someone if you're more of the restoration or balance type.

6. Warrior- It's good to be simple and strong! Many warriors are well-played as simple yet complex at the same time. A lot of them have a good reason for doing what they do, whether it being protecting those they love or a simple infatuation with combat and being in peak physical condition. Some can be quite sagely as well, offering out advice to those who would seek their wisdom. To invite roleplay, you can be the commonly loud and boisterous type that you can find at any tavern, or calmly sharpen your blade in a corner while speaking quietly to someone nearby.

7. Warlock- Ah, the depraved. They can be the calm and malevolent power seekers, those who fell from grace in pursuit of a power to combat a great evil, or simply crazy. Passion and a thirst for greatness work well for warlocks, as well as a certain amount of sadistic ideals. To invite roleplay, it's not usually a good idea to be buddy buddy with your demons. In fact, torturing them as a display will probably draw more attention than "Hey little imp, grab me another drink would you?"
8. Mage- Scholarly or very firm supporters of their own ideals. A tried and true method is the studious route, mainly in being a student or constant practitioner of their chosen branch of magic. It's a good springboard, but honestly anything could fuel a mage... To invite roleplay perhaps offer to teach someone something they may not have known. If nothing else, start your own one-person fireworks show. Or light someone on fire, that's sure to garner attention.

9. Paladin- Somewhat similar to priests, with a bit more militant attitude. Many of the most pious paladins close in on zealotry with their beliefs, but know the limits. Of course, a zealot is a lot of fun to play as well. Not much else to differ from the priests that I can think of at the moment. To invite rp, you could always threaten someone with a big weapon if they don't adhere to your beliefs or tell you why you're right, or place a blessing on them.

10. Shaman- Somewhat similar to druids in attitude and demeanor, though the druids' nature is the shamans' elements. Most will strive to seek balance in not only the greater world, but in everything they do. Playing one such as this might help you develop your own personal playstyle for the class. Of course, favoring a particular element is not unheard of and could influence the character's personality. Fire- brash, Water- calm, Air- in flux, constantly considering options, Earth- solid and firm in beliefs. To invite roleplay, perhaps expound upon an element influenced attitude, or perform an act that encourages harmony between those around you.

11. Demon Hunter- Similar to a warlock, the greatest difference often times is the drive of cold vengeance. Almost every demon hunter became one for a singular purpose: to destroy the evil of the Legion with their own powers. As such, many demon hunters are somewhat moody and apathetic, even narrow-minded at times. To invite roleplay, you could relate your tale to others in a gathering, or even invite others in your quest to exterminate evil.

12. Witch Doctor- This sticks out in my head as the "mad scientist" route to roleplay. More of a combination (to me) of an alchemist, voodoo practitioner and shadow priest, it's a very varied role to play. It plays well to the infamous sort of character, the one that does impressive things in a twisted way. They usually have some form of rigid belief in their faith, though its usually through fetishes and relics. To invite roleplay, you could always ask if someone wants to "play doctor..."

Most of the others I mentioned in part 2 can be inferenced from this list, i.e. techno-mage: mage with a little more technical jargon or eccentricity.
8. Special Relationships and Unique Connections (Extras)

What is roleplay? Generally it's immersing yourself and others into your characters to enjoy the game and lore of Warcraft on a more interactive level, adding yourselves into the virtual world, i.e. becoming your characters.

Based upon that definition, don't you think it would be rather boring to engage in this activity by yourself over and over again? As most roleplayers will agree, its much better with others. To that extent, many players will develop friendships and connections with others, sometimes even going far beyond simple familiarity. With such integrated and interwoven activity, roleplaying events and interaction can exist on a much larger scale such as carnivals, weddings, etc.

I'll touch upon some of the more common levels of interaction as well as certain practices that many mainstream roleplayers will find unsavory if not downright offensive (yes, ERP will be included). By all means don't take this as me telling you what to do, simply regard it as a caution should you choose to engage in these activities. I will also add relationships such as twins or magically bound groups.

Friendship and Sustained/Recurring Roleplay

One of the most common of roleplaying connections. What happens naturally after a rather enjoyable bout of roleplay with someone or a group of someones? Why, most people would like to see them again and have another fun session with them at a later date. Despite out of character friendship and connections, if your character is well-developed you'll usually see that they attract certain archetypes of other characters, just as in real life.

For example, a militant character might accrue interested others such as other military personas or those interested in their way of life. When larger groups find that they are happy roleplaying together on a consistent basis, it is common to see a guild between these characters form. On the guild level, much larger events and interactions can be instated and enjoyed by those who aren't even involved with the guild. As a whole, the creation of friendships promotes roleplay in a much larger manner, even to those not directly involved.

Blood and Magical Ties

As in our world, there are families and relatives in WoW. Furthermore, with magic, there is another intricate form of binding that nearly rivals that of blood ties and at times surpass them. With either form, it allows for a more intimate level of interaction than simple friendship and familiarity might.

Blood ties are just as they are with humans (our humans). Siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents... They all exist in some form within WoW. As such, they invite the same wide variety of feelings that come with familial relationships. Most characters will feel at least some kind of responsibility (blood is thicker than water idealism) to those that they share blood with, and this can be used to further your own persona's roleplay.

Whether or not the familial relationship is good or bad is up to you, and can open wide avenues of particular roleplays. For example, my characters Sonori and Soronax Amerneth are siblings. I particularly enjoyed the roleplay I could draw from this, and it expanded into about 8 full locked threads worth of rp. Originally, Sonori thought that the demon that possessed her mother was solely responsible for the woman's death. As such, the elf became a demon hunter with two drives: one to find the demon who had caused it all, and two to find her brother, who had disappeared the same night.

For the first part of her "life," Sonori simply went on believing Soronax was just as she remembered, and that she would find him someday. During my Stormwind Ball thread, the brother and sister were reunited. This is where it got very interesting, as it was revealed that Soronax himself had summoned the demon that had killed their own mother. This was a shift in Sonori's goals (catalyst story base!) that led her to continue to pursue the original demon, but for a different purpose: finding her murderous sibling. The fact that they were so closely related gave it a very personal feel to the rp, and made the two understandable characters.

For magical ties, you could almost assume the same attributes apply to the participants as of those who are related by blood. The most common example of this is a promise or bond reinforced by ancient magics, on occasion spells that will cause harm to those who would renounce their vows. In a way, those bound by magic are more intimately tied than family, because their very existence could rely upon the actions of the other member. This is usually reserved for those who have known one another for a long time and have immense amounts of trust between them. Sometimes magical and blood ties can combine, such as in the case of the Twin Emperors or Twin Val'kyr in-game. They literally share life force through their bonds, though I wouldn't recommend this for roleplays unless you find it immensely interesting.


Romantic Relationships

Just as you would expect, this type of connection forms between two partners with mutual affections. You'll find that most roleplay is extremely progressive in the fact that not too many people grief same sex marriages or relationships, as long as ERP isn't involved. Personally, I see a lot of *@*!@##s wandering around, but there's a reason behind that which I'll leave unsaid.

There isn't much I can explain as far as this goes, simply that it provides much more intimate and understanding roleplay between those involved. For those who like to play the homemaker or the valiant defender out to protect his family and homeland, this is something to consider. A note to consider: Many people will become slightly annoyed if you're blatantly lovey-dovey or simply focused upon your partner and no one else. In other words, if you want to just romantic roleplay and nothing else keep it to a private channel or thread because you'll exclude others. You might as well not even be there in the bigger roleplay for what you'll contribute this way.
Superfluous OOC Comments and Griefing

This mainly pertains to in-game roleplay, but has a spot in forum threads as well. Known as griefers in WoW or trolls here in the forums, people with these titles usually don't roleplay at all and condemn others for doing so. Main reasons include a lack of understanding as to why people roleplay, or simply the kind of attitude that enjoys to disrupt others' pleasure. Most of the time the best course of action is simply to ignore them (quite literally in the game with the list). However, other creative solutions and exist and can be entertaining rather than annoying to the roleplayers. Use your the same imagination that you use to roleplay to deal with the problem.

Another problem, though usually not nearly as annoying as griefers/trolls, is an endless amount of out-of-character (OOC) comments. In-game at general hubs of roleplaying players, you will almost always see spoken thoughts in parenthesis. Now the original intent of such comments are to further roleplay either by providing essential information that may not be obvious in-character, or to discuss a particular avenue of roleplay before pursuing it. Presently, most people abuse this and simply have conversations as though they were using an instant messenger with avatars. Sometimes kindly asking players such as this to move their conversation to a private channel works, but not always. You may have to use the ignore list again. In the forums, this is the purpose of OOC threads to accompany IC threads. Flooding a story with OOC conversations is just as annoying as it is in-game, and detracts from the roleplay.


Erotic Roleplay

I will not go in-depth here, as this is a touchy subject and personally I don't think it needs much explanation. Erotic roleplay is roleplaying with the inclusion of mature sexual elements, and is relatively an in-game concern. The dreaded Goldshire or Silvermoon are indeed inundated with these types of roleplayers, to the point that most serious characters will avoid the areas like the plague.

Take note that ERP is not always just blatant intercourse, but usually degrades into it. A tasteful way to include this, if you feel it's necessary to develop your character's relationship with another, is to indicate where the roleplay is going then simply do a "fade to black" measure. Everyone knows what happened, but it is in no way necessary to put in all the intimate details. If for some reason you feel you must do so, take it to a private channel where no one else need see or hear it.

And with that, the redux guide is transcribed for the time being. I'll keep everyone updated on any new info added.
Thanks to everyone for not interrupting the flow of the guide! I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any questions or anything that you might have.
Come to think of it does anyone else remember those roleplaying with class mini-guides? I might have to do something similar to that... they were a great idea.
I also remember a blog that gave suggestions/tips for playing different races. It was very well written. Also posting here so it's easy for me to check back and read this later. You put a lot into it.
Up you go then. For some reason I get the feeling that this may be needed again sometime soon.
Thanks for this post. It's a fine guide for character development. I'd be interesting in learning about your demon hunter you role played.



I've been roleplaying Elrith since 2004, with the goal of making him into a demon hunter someday,( as I thought they were in the works from the beginning). Little did I know it would be 5 years before I saw any real fruit for my labors.



I did not simply want to be one of those "Hey guys I am a demon hunter" sorts, as I wanted to do as much as I could to explore the mindset of someone who would make such terribly drastic decisions.



I began with Elrith being a young and brash Kaldorei, (only 61 in 2004) with issues over his anger and standard xenophobia. His mother was a sentinel, harsh and unforgiving in her treatment. Demon hunters usually having some manner of arcane ability, I had Elrith born with a spark for the arcane, an affinity which probably would have seen him become a druid or one of the few male priests of Elune. His mother, being quite old and more traditional, despised this sort of thing.



From a very young age, she purged him of this spark. Conditioning him with physical and mental abuse, as well as hard martial training. By the time he hit puberty this spark was completely repressed.



Always dissatisfied with Elrith, his mother was a harsh and cruel teacher. Fast forwarding to the battle of Hyjal, she forbade Elrith from taking part in the battle. Insisting he ward over his younger brother Eldroth, hidden deep in the forest of Ashenvale.



Elrith was furious, but he did as he was bidden. They hid there in the forest for weeks before learning of the fate of many of the soldiers who fell at Hyjal. Elrith's family gone but for his brother, they wandered about as disillusioned urchins and refugees for a while. Elrith was devastated and without direction.



When word came of Teldrassil's creation, Elrith set out and left his younger brother Eldroth in the care of the druids there in Aldrassil. He then set out from Shadowglen without direction and filled with bitterness towards nearly all the lesser races, the world of Azeroth, but most of all the Burning Legion.



In the six years since then (through live role play exclusively )Elrith came to trust and consider the Alliance as his friends and allies. He even came to hold respect for the Horde. He had anger issues and problems with direction, but with through first Elune and then the coming of the Naaru and the opening of the Dark Portal, he came to find peace in his life in the service to these beings of Light, coming to serve in a guild dedicated to the spirit and values of Eonar. But most of all, he came to find direction in hunting and killing the demons of Outland.



In the past 4 years, he's been gathering fel artifacts and lore in partnership with a warlock and scholar who has valuable knowledge in this subject. They've had many adventures, Elrith a sort of blade for hire to this warlock in exchange for the warlock's expertise and advice. Through these years, they've gathered enough lore to crudely reconstruct the blinding ritual of the demon hunter, and the infusing of the demonic essence.



After I led weekly raid pugs into the Black Temple about a year and a quarter ago, I managed to not die of heart attack and stress and the Cursed Vision of Sargeras dropped for me! After four months of pugging raids there, I had the item I sought. (sadly, no warglaives)



For the next week, I and some friends role played out a hunt of every major named demon in Azeroth and Outland, gathering their blood and essences to be held within my Mantle of Darkness item.



[continued on the next page --->]

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum