Role Play: How to approach roleplayers
So you’ve gotten all of the character creation out of the way and come up with an amazing story for your new roleplaying character. But that’s really only the beginning of roleplaying. Character creation is just creating a piece to play on the board. The board itself is the game, and you aren’t really roleplaying in that game if you aren’t interacting with all the other pieces out there — roleplayers just like you. Trying to figure out how to approach roleplayers for roleplay is a different kind of puzzle to figure out, and it’s one that can be more than a little intimidating for a new roleplayer.
It’s not easy to just throw yourself out there, particularly if you’re not a social person to begin with. But roleplaying is all about being social and talking to other people, sharing stories and having fun. Knowing how to approach roleplayers, and even when not to approach roleplayers goes a long way towards taking some of the apprehension out of the process.
When to approach
First things first — having some kind of roleplaying profile addon is going to help you out tremendously in these kinds of situations. MyRoleplay, TotalRP, or XRP will all tell you at a glance, when targeting a character, if that player is actually a roleplayer or not. While not every roleplayer out there has one of these addons, the only people who do install them are usually roleplayers. This means if you see a profile when you click on a character, that person is 99% guaranteed to be a fellow roleplayer. For a new roleplayer, this takes a lot of the guesswork out of trying to figure out whether or not someone is up for some roleplay.
A lot of these addons also have some kind of status field that says whether or not they are currently in character, out of character, or available for contact. Take a good look at that profile and you should be able to tell whether or not someone is available for roleplay. On top of that, you can get an idea of whether or not this is the kind of character your character is likely to randomly speak to. If, for example, your character is very friendly, outgoing, and agreeable, and that profile you’re reading is of someone who is sullen and looks like they’re ready to bite someone’s head off, it might not be the best idea to walk up and just say hello.
Once you’ve figured all of that out, it’s just a matter of coming up with a reason to say hello. And that can be just about anything you’d like — maybe your character needs directions to a particular part of town. Maybe your character is looking for someone in particular. Maybe your character is taking a survey, or maybe they’re looking to purchase something and they aren’t sure where to find it. Really, anything will work here, as long as you’re in character.
When not to approach
Typically speaking, if your character’s personality and the personality of that other character don’t mesh, you might not want to just walk up and say hello. But there are a few other things you want to watch out for as well — if a profile addon says that a player is OOC, that player probably isn’t really interested in roleplay at the moment. If they’re at the auction house or targeting a vendor, it’s also likely they’re in the middle of something else. Breaking out in spontaneous roleplay during a dungeon or a raid isn’t really advised for a beginner, either — most of the time, people are far too busy paying attention to things like the fire they shouldn’t be standing in.
If there are a group of roleplayers hanging out together and having a conversation, you also might want to be a little wary of just walking up and saying hello. You never know if they’re just having casual conversation, or if they’re a group or guild in the middle of some kind of roleplaying event. Feel free to watch for a while and see if you can figure it out — or send an OOC whisper to one of the less chatty participants, asking if they’re okay if you decide to jump in. Err on the side of politeness, and you should be fine.
And if you run into two people in the middle of an in-character conversation, the same rules apply — send an OOC whisper before interrupting. After all, the last thing you want to do is interrupt a private moment, because that’s just going to irritate people, and make them far less likely to roleplay with you in the future. Some of the best places to find random roleplayers looking for contact are in capital cities, bars, or other highly populated areas.
Tips for keeping in touch
When you’re trying to reach out to someone for the first time, especially as a new roleplayer, there’s some things you want to keep in mind and some things you want to avoid. Picking a fight with someone the first time you meet them is generally a pretty bad idea — starting off your roleplaying experience by making people angry isn’t exactly going to encourage them to come back for more. Similarly, standing with your back to a wall or sitting in a chair and saying nothing isn’t exactly going to make people want to roleplay with you. Even if you’re just in observation mode, toss out an emote every now and again to let people know what you’re doing.
If you’re in a conversation with someone, try to avoid dropping your character’s life story on them. Heavy information right off the bat can be a little off-putting, especially if it’s an exceptionally sad, depressing tale of woe. It’s also not exactly realistic — how often are you likely to tell a random stranger you’ve just met all about your life? How likely are you to listen to someone who walks up to you and does it?
If you’ve had a good conversation with someone, don’t press the issue when the conversation is over. If you see them again, feel free to say hello. Another thing I like to do is utilizing the in-game mail system — if someone gave your character directions or helped them out, dropping a thank-you note in the mail is a nice way to end the interaction on a positive note. And not a lot of people use the in-game mail for anything other than auctions or mailing items, so getting a random note is always a nice surprise.
Don’t get discouraged
Chances are high that you are going to get turned down for roleplay. It happens to everyone, and it happens a lot. More often than not, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with you or your character — the player behind that other character is just busy, or afk, or in the middle of conversations with other people. There’s no need to take it personally when someone turns you down, especially when there are so many other roleplayers out there.
But really, the biggest hurdle to get over is that apprehension about piping up and saying something to someone. There’s nothing wrong with being nervous about saying hello, but if you don’t make an effort, your chances of finding roleplay are pretty low. Sitting around and observing the roleplay going on around you is fun, but you can’t expect people to just walk up to you and start talking. There has to be some give and take involved. Don’t stress out about it too much, though — once you’ve gotten over the initial apprehension of taking that first step, you’ll find that it gets much, much easier with each additional encounter.
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