Well met once more, dear gamers. Last week we talked about the basic concepts of Roleplay (RP), what’s to be avoided and generally accepted rules of behavior while interacting with other fellow RPers. This week we will go a step further and get knee deep while wading into more subtle and delicate matters because, after all, everything is the eye of the beholder and fun is a very personal subject.
As always, Age of Conan will be the base theme, for that’s what’s all about in this column: Hyrkanian Insight. Keep your wits and follow me after the jump for more.
First of all I would like to say a few words about naming. Many of you will probably know that RP servers have special rules for naming your characters. This is important and tricky at the same time, because, even when RPers won’t use the name that appears in the tag above your character, that is the first thing they’ll see and it is like a first impression: you cannot change that. Choose your name with respect for the naming rules, and if possible, making it according to the world you’re playing in.
The first thing that one should consider when starting to roleplay is the Character. Questions like: Who he is? Where is she from? What profession is she? How old, what personality will our character have, etc. There is no perfect formula for this, and each roleplayer in the end finds what best fits their style, and here comes the “but”; when you decide all these things, you also should keep in mind the community you will be joining, because roleplay is interaction and what you decide will affect to how others see your character and how they react to his/her presence in their surroundings.
Can’t help but remember a particular case that happened not too long ago in the Hyrkania server (EU version of the game) which is PvE-RP server. Someone wanted to create a new character, a powerful necromancer who didn’t hide her trade or powers no matter where she was. (I am not sure if the player behind the character was male or female, nor the character, since the discussion was going on in the server forums.) The question is, the reaction of the community in general wasn’t too friendly, mostly because such a mage user would be feared and hated in most Hyboria; and too open a display of such powers would probably lead to a lynch mob seeking to put the head of said caster in a pike. People can discuss whether it’s appropriate with regard to the in-game lore, or the original lore the game is based in, but wha counts in the end, is how the other roleplayers react to what you’re doing.
What I’m trying to explain here is that overly powerful characters from the start aren’t easy to introduce into a new community, because the rest of the roleplayers don’t know you and won’t easily accept that your character is a frightful assassin, or an imposing towering barbarian who can intimidate anyone with just a glance of their cold-piercing eyes. One should start slowly, not from scratch but neither trying to impose your character as the savior of the Kingdom or the super-mega-villain who is threatening to subdue a whole village under their foot. Well, you can, of course, but then you should be aware that such character won’t last long, and the result will be in the majority of the community not wanting to roleplay with you.
A way of starting without having to think too much is to decide some aspects of your character so you can start RPing with it, and then decide whatever other detail is needed to go on with the RP on the go. Personally, I think this is a way of allowing your character some flexibility, letting it grow and evolve more easily than if you’re tied to certain details, (though some mannerisms or habits from past experiences can help give form to the character.)
Something that people sometimes don’t realize is that, even if the game provides a limited choice of race: Stygian, Aquilonian or Cimmerian, it doesn’t mean you have to forcefully RP one of those races. The Cimmerian race can make up for Vanir, Aessir or other northlander peoples. Aquilonian may perfectly pass for Nemedian, Zamoran, Argossean… and so on. That is why it’s important not to use the information the game provides from a player while IC, because the tag will say “stygian” when the person is RPing a keshian, kushite, shemite or even maybe a Vhendian.
The same goes for classes, one doesn’t have to let their class limit their RP, and though sometimes a certain class can help because it provides a wider variety of outfits to choose from, certain abilities, or even a particular weapon you want to be able to wield, doesn’t mean you have to roleplay a demonologist, a priest of Mitra or a Dark Templar. There are so many options outside the classes available. To name a few; your character can be a Scholar, a travelling merchant, a noble, a bodyguard, a hermit, a slave, a serving wench in a tavern… and those are just a very few of all the things one can come up with.
Other important thing that one should ALWAYS take into account is the consequences of their actions IC. Even if RP allows you to do things you would not in your day-to-day life, it doesn’t mean those things won’t have consequences. If you rob someone, that someone probably will want some kind of revenge. If you behave harshly, people will walk away from you. If you insult others, you’re asking for a fight. And not only IC consequences are to be expected because, in the end, we’re all human and can’t help but get into our character’s skin, somewhat at least. You cannot expect everyone else to like your way of RPing, just as you cannot expect everyone to like you in real life, so keeping things friendly and nice is advisable too. If you’re about to perform actions with your character that aren’t too friendly, or your character is one of the “bad guys”, it might be good to just let know the other RPers in advance, (unless they’re your friends and already know what’s going on) this way other gamers will be aware and won’t feel it has to do with them instead of with their characters.
Emoting: descriptive vs dynamic
Yes, you’ve read right, I’m going to talk again about emoting, but going again a step further. And again this is a matter of personal preferences, but also sometimes it’s a question of what we’re RPing at that moment. Some people like extensive and very descriptive emotes, which can be very nice, but can also take a long time to type, thus slowing the advancement of the RP or making it take simply too long to keep track of what’s going on. This is why sometimes you’ll see people standing or sitting and apparently idle, they’re probably typing. :)
On the other hand dynamic emoting doesn’t mean that your emotes lack any description at all because that would be dull and even lead to misunderstandings (for example, if you’re engaged in a fighting scene.) So a certain balance should be achieved, knowing that certain scenes might require that you describe a bit more thoroughly while others require more dynamism to allow the roleplay to be more fun for everyone involved. This particularly affects emote fighting action, where one wants dynamism but also needs to describe their actions and movements well, to prevent misunderstandings. Emoting *attacks* *parries* *counterattacks* doesn’t lead anywhere; instead you can emote *thrusts an attack aiming for the man’s legs*, or *lowers the sword to parry as he jumps backwards*. And yet there’s a third option when you even describe the direction of the sword, or the expression of your face while you perform your attacks, making the emotes longer. Tip: if you have doubts what an emote means, or what the other roleplayers are trying to do, the best option is to ask them in tells and clear any doubt before going on with whatever youre doing.
And that concludes this week’s article, see you all next Saturday. Meanwhile practice your skills and come back to us with your impressions and ideas. Happy weekend!