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RoleplayJan 23, 2016 2:00 pm CT

Role Play: When roleplay is hard to find

Sometimes you can have the greatest character in the world, but for some reason you just can’t find anyone to roleplay with. That’s a big problem, given that the majority of roleplay is all about your interaction with other people. It’s a social experience, and if you’re not being social, you’re not really getting anything out of it at all. Sure, you could spend your days sulking in Stormwind or moping in Mulgore, but while that might be therapeutic, it’s not really going to solve your problem. What do you do when roleplay is impossible to find?

Of course, before you start looking at the general lack of roleplay you’re getting, there’s a few points you want to consider. We’re nearing the end of an expansion, which means that players of any kind — roleplayers and non-roleplayers alike — aren’t necessarily as plentiful as they usually are. You also might want to look around at the server you’ve chosen, and see if the problem is a lack of roleplay, or a lack of people in general. Some servers have less players than others, and when you combine a low population with the usual end of expansion lull, the place may look like a veritable ghost town. In that case, maybe a server move might be in your best interests. But if you’re on a fairly active server and you’re still having difficulty, there are other points to consider as well.


Examine the situation

First things first: Are you actively looking for roleplay? And by “actively looking,” I don’t mean just slapping together a roleplaying profile and parking yourself in a busy tavern until someone hopefully notices you. I mean are you walking up to people, are you trying to start conversations, are you actively engaging other members of the roleplaying community?

If the answer to this is “no,” then it should become immediately obvious why you aren’t finding any roleplay around. Roleplay is about give and take — you can’t just expect people to walk up to you and start talking, you have to show that you’re willing to be engaged, too. The best way to do that? Find some people and strike up a conversation with them. If people see you roleplaying, they’ll be far more likely to approach your character, because they know that if they talk to you, you’ll talk back.

This might seem a little intimidating, but we did cover some tips last week that can get you over that hurdle and get you started. If a roleplayer is out there with an RP profile that says they’re available for roleplaying, they aren’t going to get mad at you for saying hello. And if they do…well, that probably wasn’t the kind of person you want to roleplay with anyway, was it?

Examine yourself

If you are actively looking for roleplay, and simply find yourself getting repeatedly turned down, then you might want to start taking a look at how you’re approaching roleplay. Is your character overly belligerent? Are you interrupting other people’s conversations? Is there a possibility that your character’s back story might be a little too outlandish or out there? Was that player you approached already in an established roleplaying guild?

Roleplayers by and large try to stick to the lore as presented by Blizzard. While that lore can be bent and twisted by various degrees, if you break it, you’re limiting yourself to a much smaller group of potential friends. If people keep automatically turning you down, you might want to take a look at the character profile you’ve written, and pick it apart with an objective eye. Is that character concept you thought was super clever actually something that is impossible in Warcraft lore?

If your character profile seems fine, think about how you’re approaching other players. A character who is gruff or aloof isn’t exactly the kind of person that other people are going to immediately warm to. You don’t have to be roses and sunshine, but if your character is rude, arrogant, or a babbling lunatic, the likelihood of anyone wanting to go out of their way to have an extended conversation is going to drop dramatically. And if that other player was in an established roleplaying guild, that might also hold the answer — maybe the guild itself isn’t exactly friendly to outside players, or maybe they were waiting for a guild event to start, and it had nothing to do with you at all.

Asking for feedback

Sometimes the problem is something that you just can’t see — sometimes, you’re too close to the character you’ve written and too fond of their quirks to distinguish how anything you’ve done could possibly be a problem. If you’re part of a roleplaying guild, you might want to ask some people to take a look at your character profile, or if you’re not in a guild, find a friend or someone who you consider a good roleplayer and ask for their input. Tell them about your character, and let them offer their feedback on what you’ve created so far. See what they have to say — maybe there’s a problem there that you simply weren’t aware of.

Alternatively, you can try muddling out the problem yourself. Sit down — away from the computer, the game, and any distractions — and write a quick summary of your character. While you’re at it, write up what happened the last few times you tried to approach people for roleplay and were turned down. Make that list as objective as you can, you’re not looking for interpretation here, you’re just looking at a series of events. Once you’ve done that, get up and go do something else for awhile. Come back later, when you’ve been sufficiently distracted from the problem at hand.

Now take a look at that list again. Look over the events, and try to put yourself in the shoes of the other player. Take a good, honest look at that character summary, and ask yourself — if this were a random person on the street that came up to talk to me, would I start talking to them? Why or why not? Giving yourself a break allows you to see the situation objectively, and may help you determine why you keep getting turned down.


Starting over

If you’ve been through everything with a fine-toothed comb and still can’t quite determine why roleplay isn’t happening for you, it might be time to just try a fresh start. This might be hard to think about, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time developing the character you’ve created. But you have to ask yourself — is the character I created giving me everything I want out of roleplay? Are the experiences I’m getting with this character mostly positive, or mostly negative? Am I willing to simply keep going with the status quo?

If you aren’t getting what you want out of roleplay, and you aren’t happy with things the way they are, why keep a character that is obviously limiting your experience? You don’t have to delete the character entirely — you can always use the barber shop to give them a change in appearance, or pay to have a name or race change, or even try a faction change if you’re up for it. Get rid of your old character’s backstory, and come up with something completely new. Sometimes a fresh start is really all you need.

What you need to remember is that you are the author of that character you created. If your audience — in this case, the roleplaying community — isn’t really receptive to your character, you can’t really blame them for simply not liking what your character had to offer. Everyone is allowed preferences and opinions. But you don’t need to blame yourself, either. Don’t beat yourself up about it, and don’t look at a lack of roleplay as a failure, just look at it for what it is — an opportunity to improve your skills, try something new, and see what works. It’s rare that anyone gets it right the first time, and rarer still that anyone immediately finds themselves drowning in roleplay opportunities right from the get go. We all have to start somewhere, and sometimes, we have to start more than once to get what we’re looking for.

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