Archive for the ‘RP, Out of Character Posts’ Category

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Ding!

May 11, 2009

Reant hit eighty last night amid a flood of congratulations from her friends and guildies.  The journey has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my WoW life to date and I am eager to join the “big kids” at play.

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Some of you may know this, but my decisions to create Reant stemmed directly from a conversation I had with Arrens of Through the Eyes of Death.

I stumbled on his blog by accident one day last February.  Fascinated by his character stories and glimpse into the RP world, I posted a comment.  He posted back.  One thing led to another and … here I am 80 levels later and a proud member of his guild.  It’s been a wild ride and he has been there every step of the way as a friend and guide.  I can’t thank you enough, Arrens.  ❤

In real life news, I lost my job last week due to outsourcing, so I will have to devote some time in the near future to the lovely job hunting pursuit.  I know many of you  have had the same experience and can understand.

I’m trying not to think about that today, though.  Happier thoughts are here because – tomorrow I am leaving on a week long vacation! *cheer*

I am flying up to Wisconsin to visit my dear sister and her baby.  We will be staying with my grandfather who lives on a dairy farm that has been in the family for  over one hundred years.   We used to visit when I was a child and there is still no place on earth so magical as Grandfather’s farm. I will not have reliable internet access during this time, so it will be a true vacation from even the internet and a welcome get-away.

As you can probably tell, there is a lot going on for me right now, so please continue to forgive my slower rate of posting.  I promise, I am not losing interest or desire – I just have a lot of things in real life demanding attention right now.

Until we speak again – good luck to each of you with your endeavors and I hope you are having as much fun in the game right now as I am.  ❤

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Patch Day: Going Shopping

April 15, 2009

Aleathea: Whatup Reant! Been a while since we last met.

Reant: Yea, verily, yea.

Aleathea: So, how you been?

Reant: Forsooth, I am right well.

Aleathea: Forsooth? Nobody says forsooth. What’s wrong with you?

Reant: I am a Role Player, this is how we speak.

Aleathea: Oh, I forgot you were one of them.

Reant: Of a truth.

Aleathea: Pretty exciting night last night, huh? So much to do now! Learn strategies for all the new raid encounters, tweak my specs for min/max efficiency, update my addons, rework my UI…

Reant: *nods absently* Won’t that be nice.

Aleathea: What did you do last night?

Reant: Went shopping in Undercity.

Aleathea: Shopping? On patch day? In Undercity??

Reant: Indeed.

Aleathea: Had some emblems left to spend, eh?

Reant: Emblems? Never touch the stuff.

Aleathea: Buying gems to re-socket for the new encounters then?

Reant: Gems? It is an affront to the Earthmother to disrupt the stones at rest in her bosom.

Aleathea: Earthmother’s bosom … How could I forget?

Reant: Seeing as you are not yet one of the initiated, I’ll let it slide.

Aleathea: You are too kind. So, then, what did you buy?

Reant: *produces a list* Of the Wolf cloaks in both short and long variations, of the Barbarian shield, of the Feathers headdress (for indoor use) and of the Physician helm (for outdoor use) – you can never have too many hats you know. Of the Spikes shoulders and, my favorite, an of the Whale chestpiece, purchased for the bargain price of 99 gold.

Aleathea: You … spent 99 gold on an of the Whale chestpiece?

Reant: *nods happily* The shoulders were a bit pricy at 89 gold, but they matched the outfit.

Aleathea: … I’m speechless.

Reant: My appearance often has that affect. You know, for a hardcore raider you’re not too bad. You should come visit my world sometime. I’ll take you shopping, fix you up a bit.

Aleathea: Fix…ME…up?

Reant: You’re living in the dark ages. Tier sets are so last year. These days, you just meander through the Auction House and buy what looks good on you. Give it a try, you’ll feel like a new woman!

Aleathea: I … think I feel ill.

Reant: It’s all that restricting plate armor. Try going with cloth. It’s better for your health and the environment.

Aleathea: Oh look, invites are going out for Ulduar. Hate to run but, duty calls, you understand.

Reant: Of course. May shadows brighten your path, Paladin.

Aleathea: …

***

Author’s Note: Lest you thought I was kidding …

 Reant Before

Reant

Reant, 250 gold later

Reant, 250 gold later

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Using Hooks to Involve Others in Your RP

March 25, 2009

The majority of my co-workers are in the 60+ age bracket. When they get together on break, the conversation invariably turns to aches and pains, medications and therapies, hospital visits and near death experiences as each attempt to out do the other with horror stories that prove they really do have it worse than everyone else. Knowing one day I will likely do the same, I try to hide my amusement and provide a good audience.

I’m picking on the older generation, but younger people often do the same thing. Some people just love to talk about themselves and how their situation is worse than everyone else. The same thing applies to Role Players. Some Role Players just love to write about themselves and every storyline places their character in the center of the universe.

There is nothing wrong with this. If you are writing for you, for the pure enjoyment of it, write whatever you feel like! Make your stories as long and dramatic as you like. Post them on your blog, your guild forum, your bulletin board at work … go crazy!

However, understand that what you are writing are short stories. That is not the same thing as RP and these stories, entertaining as they may be for you to write, are not what will earn you a place in the RP community. For that, you need to involve other people. Which brings me to today’s subject.

Using hooks to involve others in your Role Play.

HookA hook is something your character does that invites interaction. The more hooks you provide, the more likely that someone will take the bait. Lets look at some examples. These are various ways I could role play an entrance into the Protectas Lounge (guild chat).

Example #1. Reant enters the Protectas Lounge and seats herself near the fire.

In this example, we have established that Reant is in the room, but we don’t know what frame of mind she is in, what her attitude toward the others present is, or what she is doing. This is alright if you just want to let people know you are there, but it doesn’t provide any hooks for others to play off of.

Example #2. Reant enters the Protectas Lounge and nods in greeting to those present. Shuffling to an overstuffed chair near the fire she shrugs off her pack and, with a weary sigh, sinks down onto the chair. Drawing a large leather bound volume from her pack, she opens it and begins to read.

In this example, we can tell something of her frame of mind, her attitude toward the others present, and what she is doing. Although she is keeping to herself, there are a couple hooks there. Another character could comment on her obvious fatigue or express curiosity in what she is reading.

Example #3. Reant enters the Protectas Lounge dragging a dead Talbuk by the antlers. Calling a cheerful greeting to those present she heads directly to the kitchen, leaving a trail of blood behind her. From the kitchen comes the discordant strains of a Dwarven drinking song, punctuated by the crash of pots and pans and an occasional shatter as something breaks.

In this example, there are multiple hooks present. Blood on the Lounge floor provides an opportunity for someone to slip and injure themselves. The racket coming from the kitchen invites annoyance or curiosity. The fact that she is singing a Drarven drinking song – and cooking – provide points of interest that open the door for conversation.

Warning!

Be careful about giving information in such a way that it prevents people from responding in character.

If I say, “Reant feels cold”, your character would have no way of knowing that and couldn’t respond appropriately.

Instead I could say, “Reant shivers and wraps her arms tightly around herself.” This is something your character can observe and respond to.

Always try to present what your character is thinking or feeling in an observable way. Show rather than tell.

Providing hooks is one of the best things an experienced Role Player can do to help a newbie get involved.

Those of you who have been following my blog know that I am very new to the RP scene. I am by no means a confidant role player, nor am I particularly creative or spontaneous. I spend a lot of time watching the veterans, trying to uncover their secrets and determine what it is they do that makes them so entertaining, engaging and approachable. I am convinced that one of their secrets is the creative use of hooks as a means to involve other people.

Short stories are fun to write, but it is through interaction that you develop a connection with the community. Learning to use hooks effectively is a skill that requires time and effort, but it is a valuable tool for facilitating the interaction that is the heart of RP.

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Pitfalls for the Beginning Role Player

March 10, 2009

munchkinThere is a delightful card game called Munchkin that my friends and I like to play. If you have never tried it, you really should. In the deck, there is a card which offers a free level if you will “Promise The GM You’ll Stop Telling Him About Your Character.” I laugh every time I see that card, because it could have been written with me in mind.

A few years ago, I was involved in WoW tabletop RP with a group of friends. Reant, my Forsaken on the Cenarion Circle RP realm, is the re-incarnation of my favorite character from those campaigns.

Thinking that it might be good to brush up on her back story, I dusted off my notes and re-read what I had written a few years ago. I remember how very proud I was of my story and how eager I was to share it with everyone. My gracious friends not only kept a straight face, but even applauded my efforts.

Reading  it now, I have to laugh. I am still new to in-game RP, but I’ve had the chance to observe some masters and I can already recognize in my early writing several pitfalls that beginning Role Players often fall into.

Pitfall #1: Overly Dramatic Storyline

No one’s life consists entirely of climactic, soul shattering events. Most of life is spent in mundane, day to day activities which provide the framework for the occasional dramatic moment. If you write your story as one long series of melodramatic experiences, it will be completely unbelievable. Redemption, Repentance, Revenge … they are good themes, but don’t try to work them all into your first paragraph.

Pitfall #2: Unbelievable Character

It is tempting to take every trait you wish you had, remove every flaw you wish you didn’t have, and present yourself as a shining paragon of virtue (or the pure embodiment of evil). While it might be fun to imagine yourself this way, it is not a character that others can relate to or will be inclined to associate with.

This point was driven home to me recently as I observed a fellow guildie RPing.  He plays a Death Knight.  The character has been trained as a killing machine.  She is a well honed instrument of destruction. She is also unable to read or write; a fact that disturbs her deeply. Most evenings she can be found patiently sounding out letters, determined to one day unlock the mysteries contained within the book she holds. She is quick to ask questions and regards those who can read with awe and admiration.

sevenThis powerful figure retains such an air of vulnerability and humility that I am incredibly drawn to her.  She reminds me of Seven of Nine, one of my all time favorite fictional characters.  She was the embodiment of Borg perfection, but it was her humanity that drew the audience in and made her character unforgettable.

In real life, few things frighten me as badly as appearing vulnerable or imperfect to other people.  This is the single greatest challenge I face when it comes to role playing, but learning to overcome this fear and accept the weaknesses that are part of my nature is  something that is vital not only for the development of my Role Playing relationships, but for my Real Life ones as well.  It is through our humanity that people relate to us, both in RP and in RL.

Pitfall #3: To Much Too Soon

It is important to understand that RP relationships, just like RL relationships, take time to develop. You are writing a story with other people, and you must establish a context for your chapter before it will be understood and appreciated. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and spill your entire life story accompanied by shuddering sobs and expansive oaths of revenge, everlasting love and eternal fealty. At least … I hope you wouldn’t.

You shouldn’t do it in an RP setting either.  If you want your story to be taken seriously, you need to lay a foundation first. You do this by getting to know others, just as you do in real life. Be consistent in your interaction with others and take an interest in their lives. Each of your fellow RPers has a story to tell. Don’t become so obsessed with telling your own story that you forget to listen to theirs.

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Spontaneous Shenanigans

March 5, 2009

dance partyLast night I logged onto Draka for a continuation of our Naxx 10 raid from last night. Through a series of unfortunate events, we were down a tank and two healers. Being the hard core raiders that we are, we turned the event into a naked dance party atop Naxx. After about thirty minutes of raucous debauchery, I logged off Aleathea and retreated into the relative anonymity that is my life as Reant on Cenarion Circle.


I was breathing in the heady scent of jungle flowers, enjoying the peace and quiet while slaughtering Bloodsail Buccaneers, when I got a whisper from a level one warlock whose name was suspiciously similar to that of my Raid Leader, the one I had just left in a naked punching duel with my Resto Druid friend. Next thing I know I get a whisper from said Resto Druid, and before long my Hunter buddy shows up too. About this time, my hubby gets home from work and joins the fun.


forsaken-friendsDeciding it was time to visit me on my new realm, they had all rolled Forsaken and were questing in the Brill area.  My creative friends came up with the idea of starting a guild named “Zombies in Arms” (our Draka guild is named “Brothers in Arms”). Somehow I got talked into funding that venture and, next thing I know, I’m standing in front of the Brill inn emptying my coffers into their greedy little mitts.


Charismatic man that he is, my Raid Leader set about recruiting immediately. Only trouble was, he had taken the whole idea of “RP” quite to heart and had spent a good five minutes coming up with a back story. It involved one of the other Forsaken  having chewed his jaw off, so he could only say, “mrrghh!”.


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Undeterred by this little difficulty, he (Kraknagma) proceeded to advertise in trade while my hunter buddy (Onaboat) inserted helpful comments. I offered them each ten gold to swear never to mention my name or indicate they know me.


We spent most of the evening on vent, and the laughter continued late into the night. Tearing up raid instances is fun in its own way, but it doesn’t hold a candle to a night of spontaneous shenanigans.

Long after the bosses are forgotten and the epics are disenchanted, it’s nights like this I will remember.  The night my friends, not willing to let me drift quietly away, invaded my server, stole my gold, wreaked havoc on my reputation, and touched my heart yet again with their friendship.

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Lessons for a New Guildie

March 2, 2009

Gavlin from The Greedy Goblin made an interesting point today when he compared his experience at a college poker night to raiding in WoW. He states the point of the poker night is to drink beer and spend time together, not to win at poker.  The game is just an excuse, a framework for the social gathering. Likewise, the point of raiding for most people is spending time together, not downing bosses or farming loot. The raid is just the excuse, the framework for getting together.

While I do not agree with all of Gavlins philosophies, I will admit this point rings true. I continue to raid four or five days a week with my guild, but most of the content is entirely lacking in challenge. There are very few drops I need, and it’s not as if those upgrades would make a difference at this point anyway.  The only reason I am still raiding at all is to spend time with my friends.

Outside of raiding for the social aspect, I find very little that interests me on Aleathea anymore. Professions are maxed, reputations are exalted, and there are only so many times you can run the same heroics before your eyes begin to bleed. Additionally, I hate achievements. Yeah, my guildies think I’m an ogre too. Truth is, I just can’t get into them. If you find falling off buildings, slaughtering turkeys and hugging dead players enjoyable, more power to ya. It’s just … not my thing.

Fortunately, I have found a new pursuit in Reants adventures on the RP realm,  Cenarion Circle. Last week I was fortunate enough to be accepted into one of the oldest and most well respected RP guilds on the server.  There is no lack for RP interaction there either in game or via the guild forums and my RP nature is beginning to assert itself even on my non-RP server. 

Yesterday Aleathea was tanking for an OS guild raid. In between pulls I kept /emoting (very creative things I might add) until the other tank stopped, looked at me suspiciously and asked, “Do you play on an RP server?”   Arrens would be proud.

I also find a bit of the casual attitude toward WoW that is pervasive on an RP realm infecting me. I have always been very “hard core” and taken the game, especially tanking, extremely seriously. I would literally have nightmares after a night of wipes and most progression raids ended in tension headaches.  I find myself much more relaxed these days and am able to shrug off mistakes much more easily.

Besides the fun of learning to RP, my introduction into a new guild provides a fascinating opportunity to get to know a new group of people. I am intrigued by the way we interact socially, especially in an on-line setting.  It’s quite a new sensation, being the new kid on the block, especially coming into a group with such a well established history together.

This guild actually reminds me very much of my Alliance guild where I have been an officer for nearly three years. It’s interesting to find myself on the other side of the fence and I’m taking notes on what challenges I encounter. It’s been so long since I was new, I think this experience is very good for me and will help me be a more sensitive guild leader.

There are several principles I have learned over the years watching new people come and go, seeing who makes it and who doesn’t.  Their application is somewhat more difficult than their recognition, but these are the principles I follow while establishing my place within a new guild.

1.) Do not try to change the way they do things. There are few things more annoying than this. Just consider for a moment, the guild existed perfectly fine before you ever came along. They don’t need you, and if you think anyone is interested in your newbie ideas to change the guild, you are in for a rude awakening. If you see something that you think could be improved, make a note of it. One day, if you find yourself in a position where your opinion is actually sought, you can bring it up. Until then, do yourself and everyone else a favor and keep it to yourself.

 2.) Do not ask for handouts. This happens in ever guild I have even been in.  The most obvious example is lowbies asking to be run through instances. I can’t even express how much this irks me. The newbie who does this is a scrub in the making. They want to be run through by stronger players because they aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to earn the xp and loot for themselves.  Additionally, they do themselves and others a great diservice by circumventing the process by which they should learn to use their skills in a group setting.  No wonder we get so many level eighties who have no idea how to function as a productive member of a group.

3.) Be respectful, courteous and appropriate. It is utterly astonishing the lack of basic emotional intelligence that some people exhibit.  As a new guildie, do not insult,  smart off, or be sarcastic in your conversations.  This is especially important in on-line socials interaction where people have only your words to go by to judge your intent. They can’t see the smile, the tone, the body language that conveys so much of the meaning behind the words we speak each day.  Once you have gotten to know people and developed a relationship and history together, then you can be a little more colorful in your communication. But at the beginning, you do not have that history with people and you can do damage that will take months or maybe even never be repaired.

Finally, there is one point that I want to make to myself, as a guild leader.  It is not easy to be a new member in a group of people with a long history together. There is a lot of guild culture that is understood by those who have been there a long time, but is not clearly laid out for those new people coming in. It is easy for a new person to make a misstep without knowing it. When this happens, the kindest thing you can do is be up front with them and communicate clearly what is expected of them. Give them the opportunity to make mistakes while learning and don’t hold it against them if a few toes get stepped on in the process.

This is something that I highly respect from the leadership of my new guild. They are extremely communicative and open about what is expected and what they feel. It is an example I need to emulate. Too often my tendency is to quietly blacklist someone rather than confront them. I am learning a lot about myself, about my interactions with others, and about areas for growth both as a leader and as a follower through my experiences in this World of Warcraft.

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Milestones: A New Title and a New Mount

February 23, 2009

malySaturday night my guild downed Malygos for the first time. This was our most challenging encounter yet, and there was a real sense of accomplishment in downing him. It is always a pleasure when reaching the end goal to look back at what you learned along the way. I am certainly a stronger player because of this experience.

With Malygos defeat, Aleathea earned the title, Champion of the Frozen Wastes. It is my first Wrath title, and one I will display with pride for a long time to come.

back-in-the-saddle1The next day Reant, my Forsaken on Cenarion Circle, reached level thirty and I was able to purchase my skeletal horse. Thirty levels of running everywhere left me more than a little footsore, and I am delighted to be back in the saddle again.

While questing in the Tauren Mill area, I happened upon a group of RPers who I recognized from the clinic Tuesday night. Mustering my courage, I approached them and we chatted for a while. It was my first bit of spontaneous RP and was really a lot of fun.

Each time I interact in an RP setting I find it easier than the last. It is surprisingly like real life. When you first meet someone, it is a bit awkward, but as you encounter them regularly conversation flows much freer. I joined a guild today, so I anticipate plenty of opportunity for spontaneous RP in the days ahead. This experience is turning out to be quite an adventure.