Dear Guild Leaders: Don’t Ignore Your Members’ Concerns

A new individual joined a roleplaying guild.  Existing members of said guild, who knew this roleplayer and had a history with them, expressed concern and offered proof of the individual’s ill fit with the guild to the leader.  Instead of taking and considering this information, the guild leader refused it, so the concerned individuals then said, “Alright, but we are not going to RP with this person, we are going to have to ignore them, but we will be polite.”

What did the guild leader do?

a. Change their tune and ask to see the information that made the concerned react this way.
b. Accept this, with the understanding that they would have to quietly deal with whatever fall-out would occur.
c. Chide the concerned individuals for causing drama and give them the boot.

If you answered anything but ‘c’, you are wrong.

This is not nearly the correct way to deal with this situation.

Once the potential problem member is accepted, you have two options:  You can take a look at the evidence, then wait and see what happens and if the person actually does show their ass … or you can take a look at the evidence and if it does worry you, you can tell them they are not a good fit and it’s time to go.  That is what the Harbingers wound up doing with the Ranger who gave a friend and, eventually, myself, some problems last year — the leadership took the evidence of their final blow-up in channel and decided it was time for them to go.  You absolutely do not ignore your members’ concerns because that is a douche move.

When anybody essentially says “I cannot deal with this person and will have to stay away from them”, the correct response is not the one that makes that person into the bad guy.  If one of your members, or several, have to ignore or stay away from another person within the guild, chances are there is an issue that needs to somehow be addressed.

There is no easy way to do this.  If you accept the need to ignore the problem individual and that individual then turns around and throws a fit upon finding out that they are being ignored, you will need to step in.  You will need to be firm.  You will need to express the importance of keeping such personal issues between those involved and keeping the drama away from everyone else, and you will need to state, quite plainly, that they are to leave those people alone.

Or, you can avoid the problem entirely by admitting that a mistake was made in admitting the individual into the guild, that you have found that they are not a good fit, and then send them packing.  Can this create other problems?  Of course.  If the problem player has a reputation in the outside world, however, the chances of this coming back to bite you are extremely low.

Punishing people for trying to protect themselves from shit hitting the fan, however, is not cool.

I definitely will not be involving myself with the guild in question when I am able to get back onto my account because I simply cannot support a leader that can’t see the danger in what they are doing.

Hybrids in World of Warcraft: A Roleplay Guide to Half-Somethings

[TW: Veiled reference to sexual assault.]

 

 

This article is a slightly edited version of a previous guide that was located on the old Troll Bouquet server. The general idea is the same, the language may have changed.

Roleplayers in any medium like to be unique. Some take it upon themselves to create a character that is a hybrid of two races in their particular game – a half-elf, for example – and, although this isn’t a bad thing, it is often done so terribly that many roleplayers won’t even give such a character the time of day, let alone screen time. World of Warcraft provides several opportunities to play such a character without actually breaking the game’s lore, while providing interesting story possibilities and without making too much of a “special snowflake”.

I’m going to get one thing out of the way first: Unless the race is mentioned in this article, it either a) cannot happen or b) the two races have not been exposed to each other long enough to produce offspring that would currently be adults. I do not encourage people to play children in WoW (this is another post), and I also think most people would prefer not to play an infant. I mean, to each their own, but that would be really boring.

There may be exceptions that appear unlikely on the surface, but these should not be attempted by somebody that’s new to the game and unfamiliar with the lore. 

What Hybrids are Available in World of Warcraft?

General Racial Information: This post on the Wyrmrest Accord forums has some great information on the (Horde) races of Azeroth. Bookmark it, read it, love it.

Half-Orc Half-Draenei

A half-orc born on Draenor could be the product of a union between an orc and draenei. The likelihood of this being a wanted union would be somewhere between slim and none, so it would be worthwhile to keep this in mind when pondering the character’s backstory. These characters would look more like their Orcish parent, since Orc genetics seem to take over everything, though they would not age nearly as quickly and they could be larger than other Orcs – perhaps not quite as thick.

What to research: The Draenei settlement of Draenor and orcish/draenei relations of the time.

Example: Garona Halforcen is half-Draenei, half-Orc. Raku, my Orc hunter on Thorium Brotherhood, was also half-Draenei. The potential half-Orc half-Draenei could have been born on Draenor as a result of Gul’dan’s projects, artificially aged and brought through the portal – or the result of an Orcish attack on a Draenei settlement. There are several options.

Half-Orc Half-Human

A half-orc born on Azeroth could be the result of relations between an orc and a human. Again, this would be a less-than-ideal partnership as humans and orcs have never not been at war. Your half-orc, in this case, could be from the Hillsbrad camps – before the Forsaken wiped out Hillsbrad’s human population, there would have been around 450 half-orcs living there – or from as far back as the First War, when the Orcs came through the Dark Portal.

What to research: Half-orcs, the First War, the Second War, the internment camps.

Example: Drann from the WoW RPG. There are not a lot of other examples in the WoW universe, unfortunately.

Half-Elf Half-Human

Half-elves are offspring of humans and elves, usually Quel’dorei (High Elves), and live longer than their human parent but not as long as the elven side of the family. Their appearance varies only slightly: they will either appear as humans of slight build or High Elves of thicker build than their fellows. If a half-elf joined Kael’thas and stayed with the elves in Silvermoon after things went to hell there, that half-elf would have green eyes and be Sin’dorei. The vast majority of half-elves are Alliance-aligned, however, so the chance of this is very small and they would have to do their best to hide the fact that they have human blood.

What to research: Half-elves, humans, high elves, blood elves. You really need to understand the difference between a high elf and a blood elf (it’s political, cultural and related to their magical addictions).

Example: Alodi, from the comics, and Arator the Redeemer in Hellfire Peninsula.

Half-Ogre Half Human

Since Ogres crossed over into Azeroth via the Dark Portal over twenty years ago, half-human ogres may actually exist. They would have rounder ears than humans, pinker skin, and their tusks would not be as large as their ogre parent. Their eyes would also be larger than their human parent’s.

A half-ogre would most likely result from the ogres’ attacks on human settlements, as no human would willingly choose to bed one, and the resulting offspring would have to be 24-28 years of age or younger.

What to research: Half-human half-ogre, ogres, humans.

Examples: There are no half-ogre half-human characters in World of Warcraft or the RPG.

Half-Ogre Half-Orc

Ogres and orcs are natives of Draenor – and don’t like each other one bit. As a result, there are many half-ogre half-orcs roaming about, as evidenced by the Mok’Nathal in Outland.

At one time, the orcs purposely bred half-ogres in order to combine the power of an ogre with the intelligence of an orc, unfortunately, half-ogres are far more stubborn than either of their parent races . The half-ogre population dwindled as many orcs lacked any interest in breeding with the ogres, and who could really blame them?

Half-ogres possess features that are a fair mix of their orc and ogre parents; they’re approximately as big as tauren, if not bigger, and are broad-shouldered individuals with thick skulls, big lower jaws (with large tusks), and small black eyes. Half-ogres are often mistaken for smaller ogres.

What to research: Half-ogre half-orcs, ogres, orcs.

Examples: Rexxar, Leoroxx.

Playing a Hybrid: General Information

When playing a hybrid, one has to remember that many hybrid races did not come about because of happy sexy funtimes – they exist because terrible things happened. They’re often made up of races that, with the exception of humans and elves, absolutely hate each other. The only hybrid that has any possible respect? The mok’nathal, or half-ogre half-orc.

Most hybrids will not brag about their background, especially as a half-elf among the Horde or a half-orc half-draenei among … anywhere. They may try to outperform members of their parent races, they may have a stubborn streak a mile wide and they will definitely exhibit aspects of both parent races in personality and in appearance. Some may even make an effort to hide what they are with the clothing that they wear.

Before deciding to create a hybrid, do some research on the parent races and read the articles I’ve linked here. I’ve given a general idea of timelines in many cases, so try to stick to those as best you can and be open to the fact that not everybody will like your character – if your character is open about what they are, expect and embrace the drama that’s bound to develop.

If you have questions, feel free to post them, I’ll answer to the best of my ability!

Troll Bouquet eBooks and Questions to the Audience

A lot of blogs produce eBooks to help bring in some extra money while sharing their knowledge in a highly portable, easily accessible format.

The idea of eBooks is one I find really interesting – I own a Kobo eReader, which I enjoy even though it isn’t fancy, and being able to save space in my tiny house is always a plus.  EBooks allow me to have a nice collection of knowledge and entertainment on a budget (or for free, since there are free eBooks about, and I’m definitely not against anything that saves me money in the long run).

I’ve been slowly working on a Roleplay 101 eBook between classes and school projects, which draws upon the things I’ve learned over twelve years of online roleplay (alas, no real chance to do any LARP or tabletop), personal opinion, and stories I’ve been told.  The guide started as a WoW-based thing, got extremely long (just with the headings!), and then I thought, “why not do a ‘basics’ one, and then a more advanced WoW-based guide?”  That’s the idea I’m going with.  I have no idea if there will be much interest in that sort of thing but I am generally hopeful.

Books! from www.sxc.hu

eBooks: All this knowledge in one tiny pdf file.

I do plan on writing other eBooks as time goes on. I’m a bit wary of putting my original fiction out into the world, but I may eventually do that (Pikestaff has and you should check it out) in the hopes that I can actually deal with the criticism when it inevitably comes about, but for the time being I will stick to instructional stuff. I’ll most likely leave gold guides to more capable individuals like the Gold Queen (if you aren’t following her, you should be), though it may not hurt too much to stick a foot in the ocean, so to speak.

If Engineers keep whining that they can’t make money from their profession, anyway (HAVE YOU SEEN PET PRICES!?).

Do you have eBooks available on your site?  Let me know – I’d be happy to link to your pages from here and spread the love, especially if you have some roleplay guides going.  The WoW blogosphere is blessed with a great variety of roleplayers with varying writing styles and approaches, and I’m all for spreading the love.

So, yes, that’s what I’m working on behind the scenes here, when I’m not drowning in coursework or being mauled by the cat.

My questions to my readers are:

  1. What are things that you would want a new roleplayer to know? General things.
  2. What are things you’d want a new WoW roleplayer to know?
  3. What are your favourite resources for writers?

Why Roleplayers Never Forget

Roleplayers have a very long memory for drama.

We aren’t the only ones; I’m fairly certain everyone remembers events that stand out in their minds, good and bad, and that more people have a memory for drama than would care to admit.  My dramatic memory extends to the beginning of my time on Thorium Brotherhood – I may not be able to remember how our characters met, but I can remember all the ridiculous crap that has happened to me before and since.

Why is this the case?  Why do we so vividly remember this crap that made our blood boil back in the day?  Why is it that we can recall some of the most heinous crimes other roleplayers perpetuated against us, but other events are so damned hard to recall?

It’s because we’re storytellers.

Just like reporters on the local news, we’ve discovered that stories that showcase the worst of roleplay are far more interesting than those that make things out to be completely reasonable and wonderful.  We are, at our core, lovers of the train wreck and for each and every one we stand there in awe of the carnage that’s going on before us.

I know it’s hard to admit.  It’s hard to admit that you feel a slight thrill whenever you see something going on (in someone else’s roleplay or out of character life, that is) that’s so utterly ridiculous that it is almost a dark comedy.  It’s hard to admit that you secretly enjoy the call-outs of the people that think you’re the worst person to ever walk the server because you know they’re wrong and that the problem is them, not you.  It’s hard to admit that you love seeing those posts on dear_gnome that call out bad roleplay, or that talk about the silly things other people have done (raiding drama stories, anyone?) in-game.

We don’t forget these things because they remind us of why we’re careful, or why we don’t do certain plots anymore, or why we don’t roleplay with certain people.  They remind us why certain behaviours are troublesome, and they provide us with tales to regale the younger roleplayers with, or they serve as explainations for those roleplayers who just cannot understand why you’re cringing at the way that other person is behaving toward them.  You can say, come here, dear, and let me tell you of that one time when someone acted the exact same way and what it lead to.

Maybe, just maybe, your drama can save someone else from drama.

The above is why I collect, share, and remember tales of my own drama.  I figure that if I can help prevent just one person from going through the same sorts of drama that I’ve dealt with, then maybe the crap I’ve gone through wasn’t so bad after all.  This isn’t to say that my personal issues are because of internet drama – some of them are, but I know that my stories are far, far more tame than what some have gone through, and other peoples’ stories started like some of mine.  The difference between my tame stories and those of people who wound up with a hell of a lot more baggage?  There isn’t much.  Given an extra few days, I may have wound up in the same boat (or ship).

It isn’t that we’re jerks or that we like to look for reasons to suffer, it’s that we’re storytellers and we collect these tales as little reminders, or as entertainment.  In most cases, those events that were so horribly annoying at the time they played out aren’t quite so bad when we look back.

Events as the Night Elf getting angry at Matojo for declaring his love to her Troll lover over Booty Bay, all in jest, because it took attention away from her for fifteen minutes (that same Troll whose player has caused me many, many late nights because I just don’t want to sign off Skype, not yet, okay), or the stories I’ve already told here. Those stories, which were so bloody irritating when they took place, now sit in my personal history as “oh man do you remember when” moments that I can share with the friends who aren’t completely sick of hearing about them.  Of course, that example was most likely more troublesome for the Troll’s player – I honestly don’t know.  If he told me, I forgot, but asking him again just gives me an excuse to make him talk about something.  >_>

What about you?  Do you have stories, roleplay-related or otherwise, that you fall back on and frequently share because of reasons like the above?  Why are they so memorable for you?

WtmN: Mama Bear and the Kid That Would Not Let Go

Once upon a time, there were two young women who were friends in WoW.  One of the women had a regular roleplay partner who was a younger male and who lived in a town near both of them, which freaked out the other woman a bit, but doesn’t actually factor into this story.  The young man desperately tried to script every roleplay encounter between himself and our heroine, which she refused, and when it became clear that the young man was creepily obsessed with the friend, the heroine was called upon to step in.  She banished the young man to lands unknown and never heard from him again.

This is closer to the reality than every other story.

I met another Canadian roleplayer ages ago, who played a female Troll and who was an absolute sweetheart and a talented artist.  I enjoyed our roleplay, I enjoyed the little plots that were being attempted, and I got absorbed into the goings-on between her character and her mate, who was a massive Troll with a bit of an unusual story and description.

There were several roleplay plots that he wanted to do that she expressed concern over, like one where he wanted to be a Fel Troll, and that I wound up talking him out of.  He got it into his head that he wanted his character to be the son of my main character, Matojo, and that is when things really started to get odd.

He had a very solid idea of how things would go and what would happen, and if things didn’t go that way he was very upset about it.  I had to really stretch things to even fit him into Matojo’s background (the character was twenty-nine years old, so Matojo would have been thirteen, which is fine for trolls but the whole thing was really bizarre), and then he wanted a very specific meeting, a very specific set of interactions – and I just couldn’t do that.

“I can’t script how Matojo’s going to react,” I told him.  “He has his own views, his own ideas, and he might not react the way you want him to because that’s how he is.”

This … didn’t sit well with the other fellow, and resulted in him getting angry that I wasn’t willing to do things his way, that I was impossible to roleplay with.

In between these interactions, he also expressed an infatuation with my friend that made me go to her and say, “What gives?”  She was married, which he knew, and this pissed him off but he still seemed to think he had a chance with her – and she wasn’t sure how to deal with him.  I knew something had to be said when, when asking for clarification on whether he realized his character had the relationship with my friend and not him, he waffled on the answer.

I put on my stompy boots and said, “If you can’t understand the difference between what goes on in-character and what goes on out-of-character, and if you continue to insist that roleplay should be done YOUR way and no other, I really want nothing to do with you.  Leave me alone.”

I had permission to tell him off on behalf of my friend, too, which I did.

I never heard from him again until I rolled on Wyrmrest Accord, when he saw me in Sen’jin village and flipped the hell out.  How dare I roll on “his” server (when I had no idea he was there)!  He was still dealing with the “ghosts” of his past on Thorium Brotherhood, why did I have to come back, too!?

He was in touch with my friend at this time and blamed her for me showing up, which shocked her after the “heartfelt” apologies he had given her when they ran into each other again on that server, and she locked him out of her life again.

The only time an in-character relationship may reflect an out-of-character situation is when a couple or some friends have characters that are involved with each other.  Some couples may choose to have their characters in relationships with each other because they aren’t comfortable roleplaying intimate relationships without their spouse, and that’s fine.

Assuming that your roleplay partner is totally into you because they roleplay your character’s spouse/partner is… not cool, though.  Seriously.

WtmN: Mama Bear and the Dissatisfied Spouse Player

[ Unlike the last bout, this one doesn’t really have a firm timeline – it happened so long ago that only bits and pieces are still fresh in my mind, so I’ve put it back together as best I can. People that remember the whole thing better than I do are more than welcome to comment without naming names! ]

Once upon a time, there was a young Troll rogue who fell in love with a young Troll shaman. It was a whirlwind romance full of danger that lead to a really quick marriage and immediately resulted in a child. Between the marriage and the birth of the child, there was all sorts of stuff happening – even a case or two of amnesia! – and the rogue had to walk the path of a mage when one of the bouts of danger left him physically unfit for hand-to-hand combat.

One day, the rogue-turned-mage and his mate drifted apart, and he took his father and together they had many happy adventures.

The story is not quite so simple as that, of course, as none of my stories ever are. I knew a player, back in my early days on Thorium Brotherhood (before I understood the patterns of behaviour that I understand today) who was highly respected in the community on Alliance side. She lead a guild (several over the course of years), had lots of roleplay going on, all of that, but seemed to have a hard time getting started on Horde-side.

I supported her as best as I could. She would complain to me on a regular basis that nobody read her stories, or seemed to like her roleplay, and I would tell her that wasn’t true and I would try to pick her up after these bouts of self-pity. I greatly respected her and thought she was a really good writer and roleplayer! I felt extremely lucky to be considered somebody she wanted to roleplay with!

She liked my rogue, a young Troll who had borrowed the name Torrington after an accident left him without the memory of his real name. As time went on he would gradually recall bits and pieces of his background. He was a nervous fellow who was terrible with women and not very good at sneaking.

The other player had a shaman who was young, inexperienced, “pretty”, and terrible with men. It was love between these characters fairly early on and I enjoyed playing their awkward meetings and misunderstandings, and I even had fun with some of the plots that this player came up with. Some were a tad odd, that was for sure! I was too inexperienced to really care at the time, so I just went along with it.

In the back of my mind I kept noting that every plot was about her characters, that was where the spotlight had to go, and this didn’t strike me as obvious until a plot where her Night Elf rogue’s Troll form (used for safely visiting her Troll lover) was taken over by Hakkar, or something, and targeted the rogue’s girlfriend. I do not recall the details, but I did have Torrington suffer some consequences for what was going on, too.

I think it was around this time, or not long after it, that the Night Elf went back to Alliance-side, for the most part. Her Moonglade home – where she and the Troll were staying – was attacked (blown up for reasons I forget) and the Troll was terribly injured as a result. Now, great roleplay could have stemmed from this as the Troll’s crew (he was a pirate), along with his daughter (one of my characters), went in for the kill for revenge against whoever planted the bomb; instead, the Night Elf’s sister (played by the problem player) whisked the now-amnesiac Night Elf away and shoo’d the Horde folk who had an injured friend and father – a man who might not have awakened from unconsciousness – away saying that the whole thing was going to be dealt with by her.

Hey, little Kezeyah risked her life to get to Moonglade to see her dad, she should’ve had some opportunity to do something! Alas.

By then, Torrington had married his sweetheart and she became pregnant on their first night together. I had agreed to them having kids, but thought it odd that it was so quick – oh well! It’s roleplay! What does it matter?

The player had a child of her own, and because of this and knowing that she had a busy real-life schedule, I would frequently tell her that I was open to roleplay, she just had to let me know when she was free. I wasn’t going to bother her too much because her real life is far more important. Naturally, the roleplay started dwindling, and when it did occur it was a lot of cuddling between Torrington and his pregnant wife, with occasional bouts of him assuring her that she was a good (person/healer/mother/insert other role here) or trying to convince her to stay with the Harbingers of War (she left and re-joined the guild at least three times in the time I knew her).

During one of this player’s bouts of dissatisfaction with World of Warcraft – during which they left for a short time – I asked if, since she was leaving as far as I knew, my character and hers could go their separate ways. This was agreed to. When she came back, the character felt bad enough about leaving that he begged to have her back and the character agreed! This, however, put me back into the rut I was in with the character to begin with, due to the really stagnant relationship.

I was still very open to roleplay with this person, but again, she had real life responsibilities and since I did not know her schedule, it was up to her to let me know. I did not want to be one of those players that was a huge pain in the arse over getting roleplay.

I would find out that this wasn’t good enough in a very unusual way.

Someone prodded me one day and linked me to her OOC livejournal. They said, “You might want to see this,” and I looked. What did I see? Public, unlocked complaining about how I never played my character, how he was an alt, and how her roleplay was stagnating.

I posted, letting her know that I had no idea she felt this way, why didn’t she tell me? We could work something out! I had PM’d her over the community forum, even, and…

In the end, I decided to walk away.

I came to a realization in my communication with this player: She was bad news.

The blame and responsibility for the OOC issues were placed upon me, in her mind, from what her PM told me. Her roleplay attempted to put her character(s) in the spotlight at all times and that didn’t sit well with me. Amnesia was used as a plot device more often than I can count. On top of that, the relationship between my character and hers felt very much like wish fulfillment fantasy from her end.

She deleted her character’s livejournal account not long after I opted to walk away, and then set her sights on a friend of mine since I did not give much fodder for drama. I do not remember the entire story from his side, so if he’d like to do a guest post sometime, I’d welcome that!

I learned a set of valuable lessons from this player:

1. Communicate. Even if something seems like a small issue (my dissatisfaction with the relationship, her dissatisfaction with the amount of roleplay she was getting), if it bothers you, bring it up. It saves a lot of trouble.

2. Plots that make the action all about one person tend to be kind of boring unless the plot is well-orchestrated.

3. Amnesia does not work the way most roleplayers think it does, and if one must use it, use it sparingly.

4. Only get two characters involved in a relationship if you trust the other player.

To my knowledge, she still plays on Thorium Brotherhood as a hyperactive-and-overly-”adorable”-when-convenient-and-mature-when-that’s-convenient Tauren hunter that’s loved and adored by her guild (and doesn’t tend to interact outside it).

The Troll pirate and I still roleplay together on occasion, and we’re also very, very close.

The pirate crew is scattered about but still partially in contact, as far as I know, and the other friends I have that were involved with this Troll roleplayer have also – for the most part – run far, far away from her. Wherever she went, she left a lot of irritated roleplayers in her wake.

~Fin~

Born on Thorium Brotherhood, Refuse to Die There

I am the Warcaller of the Harbingers of War.

That is to say, Matojo is the Warcaller of the Harbingers of War and I am the person that people look to to make decisions about the guild and its future.

HoW is the thing that brings me back to WoW over and over again. The people in that guild have helped keep me relatively sane over the past five years, and I guess it was inevitable that I’d wind up as the figurehead, so to speak, of the guild – if all those people disappeared entirely from my world I don’t know what I would do, it makes sense that I’m also now in a position where people think I’m in charge.

The guild is a strange beast in that the Warcaller isn’t, on an OOC level, actually the boss. Yeah, they make the final decisions on things and their word is the word of God, so to speak, but the entire guild is the sort of environment where everybody listens to one another and we’re all huge perverts. I’m not treated like a boss, I’m treated like a friend, and that’s pretty cool. It also helps that we haven’t had drama since we had to kick somebody out for being a terrible stalker and not understanding the IC/OOC divide, so none of us have really had to put on our Office Faces.

So, when members speak up on how Thorium Brotherhood no longer feels like a roleplay server, and that being on Wyrmrest Accord has really made them miss their TB characters – I’m listening, because I feel the same way.

Up until last year, I believed that the only reason people couldn’t find roleplay on Thorium Brotherhood and other old roleplay servers was because they weren’t looking hard enough, or they had developed such a horrible reputation that nobody wanted to roleplay with them. In some cases, this is still true – but there are, I realize, situations where the roleplay has gone so far underground that the environment is no longer a good one for public roleplay.

Things on TB were great until Cataclysm burn-out took place, and then a lot of people wandered off – even myself. I’m still toying with some free-to-play games, SW:TOR (though it doesn’t play nice with my system), and poking at WoW when the feeling hits me.

There does come a point in a server’s life where roleplayers are pushed out by those who do not understand the server classification system, by those who grief whatever roleplay they find (thinking it to be a terrible, terrible crime), and similar issues. It starts small, when people give up on reporting anti-RP behaviour because Blizzard’s reliance on communities to police themselves and report until their fingers hurt is not particularly effective. Then, gradually, that behaviour pushes people underground until they’re afraid to roleplay out in the open (because the griefing is that painful) or, in this expansion’s case, the roleplay trails off as people become tired of the game. When people were trying to tell us that the server was dead oh, at the launch of Cataclysm, they were incorrect. If someone told me that roleplay was, for the most part, dead now I would have to agree.

Bringing roleplay out into the open and cultivating an environment that’s friendly to roleplay and supportive of those that choose to engage in it is a lot of work. It requires patience, it requires time, it requires resources – things that most of us, right now, don’t have. If someone took it upon themselves, right now, to say, “I’m going to do my best to help cultivate a positive environment for roleplay on Thorium Brotherhood,” I would support them. I would be more supportive of someone new doing it because, chances are, they would not deny me the chance to offer said support – but if someone current was doing it I’d support them, too, if they’d let me. ;)

Right now, most of us just do not have the time, energy, spoons or fucks to give to do this. I spent several years attempting to contribute, even if I wasn’t in a very good mental place to contribute much, and I am not in a place where I can do it anymore.

I am not going to tell people not to roll on Thorium Brotherhood. There are still some good people there, and the server will gain new people as time goes on that are also decent. If you roll there for roleplay, be prepared to put a lot of work into the community and be prepared to do a lot of reporting and a lot of fighting for your space.

We do not have the energy to do that fighting anymore.

There’s the hope that Mists of Pandaria will bring some life back as roleplayers that left for other games will return to see the new content, but a lot of us aren’t holding our breath. I’m hoping. MoP is going to change a lot of stuff, after all!

It may not be enough.

I am looking for a new home for the Harbingers of War in the hopes that we can continue our stories in a more roleplay-friendly environment. This week, I will start poking at servers that have been recommended to me by dear_gnome on Livejournal, testing the waters and  getting information that I can then pass on to my harbies. I’m also working on amassing a small fortune so that any Harbingers that decide to re-roll instead of transferring will have some gold and bags waiting for them in the freshly-transferred guild.

With any luck, if we decide to move, we’ll be continuing our adventures and going back to doing what we do best – yelling drunkenly at passers-by.

Welcome to my Nightmare

In my time as a WoW roleplayer, I have had a lot of roleplay drama.

After five, nearly six years in any medium, everyone is going to have drama. Some would say that the common denominator being me should hint at the problem being, well, me, except for the fact that the people I have dealt with were… confirmed to be unreasonable even by people outside my circle. That in itself says everything that one ought to know!

Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing my stories – this also means re-posting one relatively recent story, of course – with varying levels of detail as I remember it. For some of them, the private messages and such no longer exist, and for others, I didn’t have the presence of mind to actually take screenshots and keep records like I do now.

Even with as much drama as I have faced over the years, I still adore World of Warcraft roleplay and would recommend it to anybody that plays the game. Yeah, there are going to be ridiculous sorts, and yeah, there will always, always be people we disagree with – but that should never, ever interfere with the fun aspects.

The list of stories here will serve as a reminder to myself and a harbinger of things to come:

  • WtmN: Mama Bear and the Dissatisfied Spouse-Player
    • Wherein Matojo finds out that somebody is dissatisfied with a character’s status as alt, and then all hell breaks loose.
  • WtmN: Mama Bear and the Kid That Would Not Let Go
    • A fellow gets a tad too attached to a friend, while wanting to script all the roleplay that goes on between him and our heroine.
  • WtmN: Mama Bear Teaches In-Character Consequences
    • An orc is challenged to armed combat! Or so she thinks. Out-of-character hijinx ensue.
  • WtmN: Mama Bear and the Angry Druid
    • A friend breaks an imagined code in order to help his wife in-game, and another player snaps for reasons ridiculous.

Stay tuned until next time, readers!

I’m Surrounded by Assholes! Or: On Playing Jerks

A common phenomenon among World of Warcraft roleplayers is that several of them do not understand why their character, who happens to be a complete jerk, isn’t liked. It’s not fair! What’s the problem!? When it’s pointed out that their characters is an asshole, the response tends to be, “So?!”

As with everything, there is an inspiration for this post.

Once upon a time, a roleplayer in World of Warcraft expressed frustration that their character was surrounded by characters that were jerks, and yet those characters were generally liked by other people while theirs was not (an exaggeration, I’m sure).

It was pointed out that this person’s character was in a bar full of Worgen and decided to play the “Gilneans are cowards” card, so it was only natural that this person would run into issues. Why would a bunch of Gilneans, all with differing backgrounds, be completely hunky-dory with a son of Lordaeron that was telling them they were cowards when they, too, are shedding blood for the Alliance?

It was a question that demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the situation the player had put their character in, but aside from that, it also created some discussion fodder.

Why are some assholish characters liked, even adored, while others are not?

It’s all in the level of character development – and the maturity level of the player.

The answer has to do with two things: the character’s depth and the player’s maturity level.

Creating a roleplaying character in World of Warcraft is about the same as creating a character for a story; the character needs to be fleshed out, their background established, their motivations understood by the creator, all that fun stuff. A character with no development is flat and unbelievable – not very fun to play with.

Meanwhile, a player that’s immature and doesn’t understand that the actions of a character are not the actions of the player – also not very fun to play with.

What does a well-rounded jerk look like?

Let’s look at Marvel’s Wolverine. Wolverine is prone to bouts of assholishness, but he’s well-liked by the audience (and his friends) because he displays other personality attributes beyond “jerk”. He’s protective of those he cares about, good to people that deserve it, and he does have a sense of humour. He has motivations beyond “be a jerk to everyone”. He has a well-documented background – even though, in typical Marvel style, it’s rather convoluted and bizarre.

In other words: Wolverine is a well-rounded jerk because he’s not a cardboard cut-out.

Why are some jerks liked while others aren’t?

Whereas some characters that are jerks are completely cardboard, two-dimensional and badly developed, others are just so well-developed that they are meant to be unlikeable.

Honestly, though? Nobody should be asking this question. It doesn’t actually matter.

If one is concerned about how likeable their character is, they are in the wrong hobby.

I know, I know, “That’s awfully mean, Matojo”. Think about it, though.

Generally, if someone is an asshole, people do not like them. Therefore, if one plays a character that is an asshole, it’s common sense to assume that other characters will not like that character. Other players may not like that character.

This is perfectly fine.

It is fine for other players and other characters to not like a character – regardless of that character’s personality.

Roleplay would be awfully boring if everyone adored one another. There would be no conflict, and part of interesting roleplay – and character development – is conflict.

Don’t worry about how likeable your jerk is – it doesn’t matter. Worry about how well-developed they are, or how realistic. Worry about how interesting they are. That’s the part that matters.

The last word: my advice to people that play jerks.

I play several characters that are jerks: Matojo Furiey, Phaedra Osbourne, Krensythe Manashaper, and more. They are more than just that archetype, however, and have lots of development. If you ask me any question about those characters, whether it’s information that I’ve published or not, I should be able to answer you.

Krensythe’s favourite colour is blue, because it doesn’t clash with his skin tone and because he’s a freaking blue dragon, so why are you concerned with his favourite colour, why aren’t you running away, seriously, go.

If you are going to play a jerk, understand that in-character does not equal out of character. The characters that don’t like your character are not out to get you. They may actually be quite fine with you as a person – it is your character that they do not like. If, however, they do not like you because of your character (I know of a few people that hate me because Matojo is a gigantic asshole), that’s their problem, not yours.

You should probably be happy because your character most likely saved you a hell of a lot of headache, since somebody that hates the player because of the character’s attitudes is incapable of separating in-character from out-of-character and is most likely a harbinger of drama. Nobody likes OOC drama. Some of us like watching it, but nobody likes dealing with it.

Next, accept that your character is going to be disliked. Your character is going to have others pick fights with them, or get upset with them, or actively avoid them – it’s fine.

If any of the above is a problem for you, don’t play an asshole. You aren’t ready. That’s fine, not everyone can play an asshole, and by not doing it yourself you save yourself a lot of trouble.

Resources

If you need help developing a realistic character, take a look at this About.com list of questions that relate to character backgrounds.

Do you play a character that’s a jerk? How long have you played that character, and how much development have they had? Do you enjoy that character? What advice do you have for other roleplayers that want to try playing this particular archetype?