Monday, February 8, 2010

It came from the bar: Roleplaying or Role Playing?

This is yet another guest post written by Holly from Feathermoon (US). As opposed to the innkeeper, who is a closet wanna-be-one-day role player, Holly does it for real.

The Difference Between Roleplaying and Role playing
What can a simple space mean in the world of roleplaying, at least to a silly little Holly bear? To me it means how serious you are about getting into the role, and what rules you're willing or enjoy breaking. Does your character fit into the world designed, game or not? Do you use out of character knowledge? Is the roleplay dramatic, comedic? Did you stick to the genre, or do something way out in left field?

Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's a wrong way to roleplay. It's just that depending on your style and seriousness of it, finding a group that accepts and enjoys what you do can do is the real challenge.

My Roleplaying Experience; Old, Older, and Present. No not presents, the present
Since well before joining World of Warcraft, I've often found ways to sneak into a roleplaying community. Sometimes it's erotic, sometimes fantasy, sometimes futuristic, but I've never been short of far too many identities to count. When I found World of Warcraft I started on a normal server (argent dawn, partly because it was the beta server) but soon moved to a roleplaying server (Feathermoon, mmmmm, Feathermoon)

I've hopped guilds a few times, and something that amazes me is the difference in roleplaying style and seriousness from group to group. Sometimes you have to do world RP and guild chat is restricted to out of character talk. Sometimes guild chat is in character and you don't world roleplay much, sometimes you get things like guild chat is in character officer chat is out of character, and then there's the seriousness of the roleplay.

The hardest thing I think when roleplaying is figuring out how much fourth wall you can break, and how much you limit yourself to the game mechanics. I've often found these two things tend to make or break how fun roleplay is. I've made many characters, serious and silly in various guilds, I usually take them from my stories (they're terrible, trust me, you don't want to read them.)

Lately though I've actually found myself in only one roleplaying guild, where the roleplay is so drastically different depending on which characters are on that it's mind boggling, sometimes it's more serious if our resident headmistress mage comes on. Sometimes it's so ridiculously off the wall when our waffle loving moonkin logs in and starts waving her kinetic waffle iron about. And my only real character, a mute, illiterate pallygirl raised by trolls (she's secretly a tauren pally in blood elf disguise***) fits somewhere between the two. I often wonder how I'd do in a more serious roleplaying guild these days.

I'd like to think I'd step up, and really get into character, a beautiful backstory, and not breaking the fourth wall, trying to stick to only in game references and knowledge. But honestly, lately my creative juices for roleplaying have mostly been run dry. The desire to slip into someone else's head is severely lacking and I think both my writing and my roleplaying has suffered greatly because of it.

Seeking Inspiration.
Normally when my creative juices run dry, and my desire to slip into another skin is a little light, life deals me a lemon, and that escape becomes much more desirable, lately though, the lemons I've gotten haven't helped inspired me.

Sometimes I find reading, either blogs, forums, books, magazines, anything I can get my hands on will get me in the writing mood. There's something about seeing words so eloquently written, ideas being converted into language everyone can understand, wonderful descriptions that transport me away from my little 6'x8' room in the middle of nowhere to rolling plains, beautiful skies, raging seas, or intimidating mountains, or climaxes that have you sitting on the edge of your seat, crying desperately in your lover's arms, or feeling a blissful moment lost in more wonderful thought, that can really get my creative juices flowing. I wish half the time I could write a tenth as well as some of the people I read (resident innkeeper included.) Lately though I've found my lack of skill at grammar and my usually generic ideas has left me feeling more bitter than creative.

So lately I've been trying to find a new inspiration, fire the old muses and hire a new one. I've been looking up beautiful works of art, to see if a visual muse might help me gain a passion for writing since my ability to draw doesn't extend far beyond stick figures. Because when I get the inspiration to write, I can, by association get the inspiration to get inside characters. I've tried opening myself to new experiences, trying new foods, new shows/movies, expanding my musical knowledge, etc. . . .

I hope to find my own inspiration soon, till then I have found the inspiration to send another post to the sexy gnome who, when she mans or womans the bar, needs a stepladder to see the customers and reach the bottles.

In closing I'd like to ask a few questions, okay?
To those who roleplay often, where do you find your inspiration? What type of roleplay do you enjoy most? Do you roleplay in game, in guild, in a private channel, or away from WoW altogether? Do my grammar and poor language skills make your eyes bleed? If your answer is yes, how do you type so plainly with bleeding eyes? Will I stop asking questions? Will Larisa bap me if I continue in this manner? Do gnomes really make a squishy sound when punted? How is a raven like a writing des-*ow!* Okay, stopping now, how do gnomes swing bar stools that ha-*ow!!!* Really stopping now, Holly over and out.


Spinks said...

I have an alt in a fairly heavy RP guild -- we're all undead and the idea is that we were all nobles in life so there is a lot of politicking going on.

It's brilliant fun and everyone gets to be very sardonic at each other.

BUT it's something we have to weave in and around the game. We have run some instances in character but there's no way that guild will be raiding. And when so much of the game lore is tied up in raids, it's kind of difficult.

I think that's why so much WoW RP tends to be trivial or silly. You can't do so much of the grim epic stuff unless you kill monsters.

gnomeaggedon said...

Pssst... Psssst... Larisa, come here...

You know that new bartender you hired?

Well, something is a little fishy... Well beefy.

Now, I would never question you decision to hire a Belf... Well, ok I would, but at least one belf I know was actually a dwarf in disguise, but... Ummm... between us Gnomes...

I think you have a Gnome punter on your staff...

PS: I kind of thought that milk in my coffee was a little too fresh

Holly said...

Hey! I'm a Night Elf Blood Elf Gnome Dwarf Tauren depending on character *cough*

I'm also not a bartender.

I'm also very cute.

I mean uh, I like candy?

Something...something....gnome punt?

Khaelie said...

I heard that gnomes squeak when you punt them... maybe we ought to test that out so we know for sure...

Holly said...

Oh dear, I totally didn't mean for my post and it's comment to only focus on gnome punting, focus people focus!

ooh shiny *wanders after shiny thing*

Hirvox said...

I tend to get my inspiration from various sources. Movies, books, songs, others' RP stories. Sometimes it's a specific scene, but usually just a character trait. I prefer to just pit the immovable object against the unstoppable object and watch the sparks fly.

I usually stay completely in-character in public channels like /say and /yell. I usually keep party chat ambiguous unless the party clearly prefers either IC or OOC. So no in-character bickering, but no specific references to game mechanics either.

As for grammar.. My WoW character spoke Orcish with a clear accent, so I'm not that bothered by it. If anything, overly complex sentences detract from the experience if it doesn't fit the character.

Dariush said...

I've been roleplaying steadily for the last twenty years or so, though I admit that I've never done it in wow (or any other video game). Somehow for me, roleplaying is about creating the world around me, even as I create my character and so I find video games a restrictive, stultifying environment. I just want to log in and kill stuff, saving my roleplay for pen and paper or online chats and instant messenger.

That being said, I don't judge those that do use video games as their medium. To each their own. Over the years I've played a lot of places, made a lot of friends (and a few enemies). Loved and lost and loved again. The one thing that has resonated however, is the need for change. Sticking to the same thing can induce stasis. Characters reach a point where their story is over, where they've evolved as far as they will go, and to play them further would just stick you in the rit of mundane routines.

My advice to recapturing that spark, is to change mediums. Not only do you have new things to kindle your ideas, but you find new people to inspire you. This could be a simple change, like swapping servers, or changing factions; or a radical departure, like leaving Warcraft and finding some pen and paper chats (world of darkness and L5R being two of the more popular online venues I know of). Meeting new people inspires me more than anything, and for me, Warcraft has always been what I do during my interlude between roleplaying games.

Now, please excuse me while I try to work a pink-haired gnome bartender into a Mage the Ascension setting...

Cantique said...

Bad grammar and incorrect spelling from others that role play do not bother me at all. My style of RP is very basic and simple, “Hi my name is Cantique Songhammer. Ah doint baleeve we’ve met?”

To me the roleplay is more important than spelling (omg I can’t believe she/he spelled “their” incorrectly.) As a partner of the interaction part of my job is to sort/sift through obvious mistakes and go on. Wouldn’t it be horrible if during an onstage production, someone from the audience yelled, “Hey you! You in the pink! …Your posture is horrible!”

Cantique is laughing at her own clever analogy.

gnomeaggedon said...

/em Gnomeaggedon winds up a pyroblast

I was kinda on topic wasn't I?

Actually what I have demonstrated is that my RP generally occurs outside of game, on my blog... If you can stretch the definition to RP.

The few attempts at RP in game have been met with...

"What? Just make sure you switch targets nub!"

Fremskritt said...

I had an alt lying dormant on Steamwheedle Cartel(EU) for about 3 years before I decided to actually breathe some life into her. Raid burnout helped in that decision...

That's one year ago though, and she's slowly grown into a full fledged character, I had a very vague idea of who she was back then, but she has grown into a proper character in the time I've done RP on her.

She's in some kind of hunting guild/semi-military division, and it's rather fun, even though we tend to fight against a bit too many pretend baddies for my taste.

Dàchéng said...

If your creative juices seem to be running dry at the moment, it might not be you; it might be your character. Perhaps you just don't like playing a mute.