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Roleplay > WoWMay 27, 2017 2:00 pm CT

Role Play: Roleplaying partners and you

Roleplaying isn’t really a solo activity – it’s about the interactions between your character and other characters. It’s about assuming the role of your character as an improvisational creative acting and writing exercise rolled into one. There are plenty of places to find roleplay; in cities or the open world, in RP guilds, or at realm-wide events. But you don’t necessarily need a lot of people to successfully roleplay – all it takes is one other character.

However, it’s important to remember that line between character and person. You’re not just interacting with another character, there’s a player behind that screen. With that in mind, there are certain standards of etiquette you want to remember when you’re interacting with roleplaying partners.

Real life takes priority

Your roleplaying partners have a life beyond the confines of their screens, just like you. This means that they’ve got jobs, school, friends, family, and social obligations outside of RP. All of those always take priority over a video game. If someone has to leave a roleplaying situation to go about their real lives, it’s not a slight against you.

If you find yourself in a situation where a roleplaying partner is consistently absent due to real life obligations, you shouldn’t hold that against them. What you should do is sit down and try to figure out a schedule where both parties are available for roleplay. Alternatively, you can always try to find a different method of roleplaying.

There are no rules regarding where you have to roleplay – you aren’t required to stick to in-game. Roleplaying via email, social media platforms, instant messages or even texting are all ways you can keep in touch even if you or your partner can’t log on. It might be easier to fit one of those methods into a busy real-life schedule. And if things are simply too busy, there’s no harm in stepping back from serious storylines and putting contact between your characters on a more casual level.

Partners aren’t property

You might be satisfied and perfectly happy with one or two close-knit roleplaying partners. But those partners aren’t obligated to roleplay with you and you alone. Roleplaying is a social activity, and some people like interacting with a lot of people, some people like interacting with a mere handful. There’s no one “correct” way to roleplay.  You can roleplay with as many or as few people as you’d like.

But what you can’t do is expect or demand that your partners do the same. Your roleplaying partner is just that – a partner – and they’ve got their own plans for their character. Some of those plans and stories may involve your character, some may not. You can work with your partner to schedule time for roleplaying, but you can’t demand they drop everything and roleplay with you at a moment’s notice.

Hand-in-hand with that, you can’t expect to dictate who your RP partner roleplays with at any given time. You have your own friends, they may have their own friends as well, and those two circles of friends may or may not cross paths. A roleplaying partner isn’t a piece of property you can order around at will – that’s another person on the other end of the screen. How happy would you be, if someone constantly demanded your attention?

IC doesn’t equal OOC

You and your character are two separate things. One of these is real, the other is not. The same goes for your roleplaying partners – there are the players, and there are the characters they play. Your characters may have a close relationship, but that in no way reflects on real life. Some people are fine with sharing out-of-character information; others like to keep their lives private. Just because a character is fine sharing personal information with your character doesn’t mean that the player is going to do the same.

This goes doubly so for characters in relationships. Maybe someone’s character is in love with your own, and they’re in a serious relationship. This doesn’t mean that the player behind that character is in love with you, much less has any kind of serious feelings about you. Along the same lines, just because a character happens to hate your character, it doesn’t mean the player hates you.

There is a strong dividing line between in-character and out-of-character contact. Forgetting about that line is not only going to upset people, but might even push your roleplaying partners away for good. If you find yourself starting to take things personally — or if your roleplay partner appears to be doing the same — take a break and step back from the roleplay for a while. Tell the other person what’s going on; talk it over if you need to before you continue. And if things are simply too uncomfortable, consider calling things off. Your well-being is way more important than a storyline.

Plenty of roleplaying partners end up being close friends in due time. Others roleplay for a while, then go their separate ways. There’s nothing wrong with either situation. Roleplaying is almost a creative bond in a way – it can unite people, or it can tear people apart. As with any kind of social situation, the general rule of thumb is to treat people as you’d like to be treated. Just be polite, understanding, and kind to your roleplaying partners, and don’t let the world of make-believe get in the way of real-world consideration.

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