Role Play: Fashion and roleplay
We’ve talked a lot about developing your character and interacting with other players — the nuts and bolts of roleplay, both the creation aspects and the writing aspects. And it’s true that roleplay is really a creative writing exercise of sorts. Boil it down to the essentials, and you’re pretty much just co-writing a piece of fiction with other players, a piece in which each character in the story is written by a different author. But although writing is a major focus when roleplaying, it’s not the only thing you should be looking at.
Today we’re going to talk about fashion. Not necessarily how to collect different outfits, or what sets look really good, but how fashion can help define your character. That might seem a little silly to some, but it’s not really — what you choose to put on your character can reflect who they are just as effectively as a good roleplaying description. And in a game where your character is represented by a visual avatar, paying attention to that visual aspect can give your character an added spark of realism.
Obviously the advent of transmog played a big part in getting more players — both roleplayers and non — to take a look at what they’re wearing and how they can make it unique. In a game like WoW, there’s only so many armor sets out there, and between that and the limited character customization options, people start to look alike. Transmog allows players to customize what their armor looks like, as long as they’ve got that armor either in their bags, bank, or Void Storage.
But while transmog is an effective tool for customizing your armor, it’s not really what we’re talking about here. Despite being a fantastic tool for character customization, transmog has its limits — you can only transmog your own armor type, and there are certain pieces you can’t transmog at all. Transmog is meant to make the armor you wear look good while you’re out questing, doing dungeons or raids, or yes, even roleplay…but it’s not the be-all and end-all of how you pick your fashion for roleplay.
You aren’t usually doing a dungeon while you’re roleplaying. You aren’t usually questing, you aren’t usually doing anything that puts your character into active combat. While your transmog choices may be limited to your own armor type, that doesn’t mean you can’t throw on a piece of cloth gear, or take off the chestplate and wander around in a shirt instead. Transmog is a useful tool if you don’t want to take your armor off while you roleplay — but swapping actual outfits gives you a wider array of choices to make your character look unique.
Picking and choosing outfits
There are a few different things you want to think about while you’re picking and choosing outfits for your character:
- What does my character do? Is your character constantly in combat situations? Are they part of a group or organization with a uniform? Are they the type to advertise their heroics or their professions through what they wear, or do they try to stay low-key? If they’ve got a uniform, is it something they wear all the time, or something they ditch at the earliest possible opportunity for something far more comfortable, once the fighting’s over and done for the day?
- How does my character feel? Is your character injured? Are they tired out and just trying to relax? Are they on edge, constantly on the lookout for any possible danger or threat? Are they concerned with how they appear to others, or far more concerned with their own comfort?
- What is my character up to? Is your character trying to be intimidating or friendly? Do they want to talk to other people, or would they rather be left alone? Are they looking for a fancy party, or just looking for trouble? Are they trying to lay low and hide, or are they trying to be noticed?
All of these things play a part in what your character wears. Someone looking to lay low and stay out of the public eye isn’t apt to be wearing a flashy outfit. Someone that’s injured probably isn’t going to be wearing incredibly heavy or awkward armor. Someone headed to a fancy party isn’t going to be armed to the teeth, while someone that’s doing their best to be intimidating probably is. Your character’s outfit isn’t a one-time choice — it’s something they can swap out as the need arises.
Types of outfits
It might make things easier, but you definitely aren’t limited to transmog-only options when you’re choosing a roleplaying outfit.
- Armor sets Sticking to an existing armor set is by far the easiest way to get a finished look for little effort on your part — just find the items that come from the same armor set. Most green sets are designed to match. Tier and dungeon gear is usually designed to match, and so is PVP gear. The general rule of thumb seems to be that the more difficult a set is to obtain, the fancier and more detailed that armor happens to be — there are some exceptions, and some pretty fancy green sets to be had out there, too.
- Shirts and accessories If your character is simply loitering around town, there’s no reason they have to be wearing all that armor — a nice shirt and coordinating pants or skirt works just as well as an armor set. Tailors can craft most shirts, but there are others that are only available from vendors like Karandonna in Dalaran, who has a selection of really fancy tops to choose from. If your character is injured, head over to the First Aid supplier instead — Angelique Butler has some wound dressings that go in the shirt slot. Other accessories are a little more subtle — certain rings will make your character’s fingers flash, and you can even get your shoes shined by Sheddle Glossgleam for some extra sparkle, if you like.
- Mix and match Sure, it might be easier to use an existing armor set, but don’t feel like you have to do so. Mixing and matching different armor sets, or even different armor types can be pretty fun, too. Most armor sets in WoW follow the same color palettes, so it’s just a matter of finding two colors that work together.
Speak with your outfit
While your character description says a lot about who your character is, not everyone out there has roleplaying addons installed or enabled. It’s in these types of situations that your character’s outfit can say more than just a few exchanged words to your fellow roleplayers. Think about what your character is trying to say to the people around them, the type of image they’re trying to project. Do they want to be seen as a threatening figure? Do they want to be seen as an easily approachable and friendly face?
What you choose can also give away a few details about what kind of person your character is. Someone with a really snazzy outfit may be perceived as vain, or possessing a keen eye, a person who pays careful attention to detail. A character dressed in rugged, torn gear that looks like it’s damaged or worn gives the impression of being a world-weary traveler, or someone who simply isn’t that concerned with their own appearance — either they don’t care, or they have bigger things to worry about.
With the addition of the Wardrobe in Legion, players will have plenty of additional bag space to use. All outfits that your character can transmog will be added to the Wardrobe, meaning you don’t have to cart them around in your bags anymore. While you can’t transmog gear outside of your own armor type, having more bag space means more room for those outfits that won’t go in your Wardrobe, giving you more flexibility to expand your roleplay gear accordingly. Take a look at what your character is wearing, what it says about them, and whether that’s the story you want to be telling.
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