Role Play: Making friends with roleplay
One of the single most difficult aspects of roleplay for many players is simply the act of finding people to roleplay with. It’s that terrifying moment when you’re expected to say something to someone else, and you’re not quite sure how they’ll react. And let’s just be honest here — there are a lot of judgmental people on roleplaying servers. But there are plenty more who are friendly, accepting, and looking for new people to add to their roleplaying circle.
So how do you go about finding roleplayers to hang out with? Sure, you can join a guild, but we’re looking beyond the guild here and more in terms of actual character interaction. How do you get your character in their good graces? And once you’ve got a good group of friends, how do you keep them around and interested in roleplaying with you?
This point really shouldn’t have to be made, but we’ll go ahead and reiterate it anyway. Treat the people around you how you’d like to be treated. Don’t be a jerk — seems simple enough, right? But what if you’re playing a character that isn’t a hero? What if your character is kind of a jerk by nature?
If that’s the case for your character, then you probably want to at least introduce yourself OOC before you jump into any random roleplay. Ask if it’s okay to jump in — explain that your character isn’t particularly friendly. But fair warning, some people may not be okay with that. And if they aren’t okay with it, then you should probably look elsewhere for your roleplay.
I usually recommend that new roleplayers that are just starting out create some kind of friendly character for this reason. It’s a lot easier to play a jerk after you’ve already established that you’re friendly, and given people a chance to get to know you. One you’ve let people get to know you a little, it’s a little easier to broach the idea of potentially playing someone who isn’t that pleasant, or even a downright villain.
Beyond simple introductions, you want to be considerate of your fellow roleplayers. Every character has a backstory, and every character has something they’re trying to do — a goal they’re trying to reach, a secret they’re trying to uncover. Roleplay is a social activity — it’s not all about you and your character, it’s a game where everyone works together.
So when you’re interacting with other characters, keep in mind that they’ve all got stories of their own that they’d like to be playing, too. In other words, don’t make every roleplay scenario all about your character — be considerate of other people’s stories. Sure, everyone wants to be a star, but letting everyone have their turn in the spotlight is far better received than hogging the stage.
Your character may have a path they want to follow, but they don’t need to follow it all the time. If you narrow your interactions with other characters down to nothing but the things your character wants, you’re going to give people the impression that you aren’t looking for roleplay so much as an audience for your character’s story. That means that roleplaying with you isn’t a back-and-forth game so much as it is listening to your character talk, while their character does nothing. And that’s not really very much fun.
Keep your eyes peeled
If you have yet to find a roleplaying guild, you can learn a lot about your fellow roleplayers by simply taking a seat and watching them play. Head to a populated area — usually the capital cities tend to have at least some degree of activity on roleplaying servers. Explore the city, see if anyone is roleplaying, and listen in. Get a feel for the characters that are hanging out, see if any of them are people your character might get along with.
Install an RP addon so you can see people’s roleplaying profiles. While a profile isn’t going to tell you everything you need to know about a character, it’ll give you a basic look at who they are. Most RP addons also have an option to designate whether someone is currently in character and available for roleplay, or out of character. If their profile says that they don’t mind walkups, go ahead and walk up and say hello!
Give your character a reason to interact with people. It doesn’t have to be a big reason — it can be something as simple as asking for directions. If you provide some kind of opening, most roleplayers will take that invitation and run with it. And if your character had a good time, or got some useful information while they were talking with someone, use the in-game mail system to send them an in-character thank you note. You’d be surprised at how much people appreciate something as simple as getting a nice piece of mail in their mailbox.
Talking to people and making new friends can be a stressful prospect. Being friendly and taking that first step will get you a lot farther than simply setting your character in a tavern and hoping someone notices you. You don’t have to be the chattiest person on the server, but saying hello will get you a lot farther than stone-cold silence. And relax — you’re not the only person out there looking for roleplay, and you definitely aren’t the only one who’s nervous about it. Be friendly and respectful to your fellow roleplayers. After all, they’re playing the game for the same reasons as you.
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