Role Play: Are you sabotaging your roleplay?
You might be new to roleplaying, with a brand-new character looking for interaction. Or you might be a roleplayer who’s been around for years, whose character has a lengthy and detailed history. But no matter your experience level, you can’t seem to find anyone to roleplay with. Maybe you find a few good prospects, but they never seem to stick around… so now what?
Regardless of your background as a roleplayer, if you can’t find people to roleplay with, the game isn’t much fun. When you’re stuck in a rut with no roleplay in sight, it’s easy to place the blame on others. But sometimes, a little self-reflection is in order — you might be shooting yourself in the foot without even realizing it. Let’s look at some of the reasons people might not be as interested in roleplaying with you as you are with them.
The single most common reason people may be avoiding roleplay with you is your character. How does your character behave around groups of people? Are they open and friendly, or more of a surly loner? If your character gives off the impression that they don’t like conversation, people aren’t going to speak to them. If they’re consistently grumpy when someone does deign to speak to them, that’s not exactly going to encourage further conversation.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a character that’s too friendly, people may take issue with that as well. This behavior is especially irritating if your character is prone to interrupting conversations or group events. Saying hello is perfectly fine, but inserting yourself into someone else’s conversation can be viewed as a little rude. A repeat offender is inevitably going to make their way onto people’s “do not roleplay” lists.
These two situations may seem contradictory, but they really aren’t. Basically, you want to ask yourself how these kinds of actions would be perceived out here in the real world. Would you interrupt a random stranger’s conversation in real life? No? Then you probably shouldn’t do it in game. Are you going to walk up to a scowling stranger and say hello? Not likely — which means you probably wouldn’t in game, either.
This isn’t to say you can’t play these types of characters. You can play whatever you like. But these types of characters tend to discourage roleplay, rather than encourage it. It’s something you should be aware of if that’s the kind of character you want to play.
You can absolutely roleplay anything you want in WoW. But there are certain types of characters that many roleplayers choose not to include in their roleplay. If your character has an unusual background, it’s going to limit your roleplay. It doesn’t matter how intriguing you think you’ve made that character. If it’s stretching canon lore, some people just aren’t going to get behind it — no matter what.
The list includes half-breeds, races that don’t exist in WoW, and races you can’t choose on the character-select screen. Obvious villain characters like demons or monsters aren’t going to get a lot of traction either. Some roleplayers may also shy away from non-canon combinations as well, like a Worgen Dwarf or a Pandaren Death Knight. You may think you’re being creative, but others may not agree with you. If it doesn’t exist in game, they don’t want anything to do with it.
Characters that claim some kind of direct relation or connection to major lore figures are also suspect. You might think it’s cool to be Khadgar’s long-lost niece or Arthas’ forgotten love child. Other roleplayers aren’t necessarily going to agree. They might even find the very idea offensive. Some roleplayers are pretty free with the lore, and bend it to fit their characters. Others rigidly adhere to lore, and expect everyone they roleplay with to do the same.
You aren’t obligated to stick to the existing lore if you don’t want to. But it’s another scenario that will inevitably restrict the number of people that want to roleplay with you. Roleplayers are free to pick and choose whom they want to roleplay with. If they don’t like what you’ve done in regards to lore, they may deliberately steer clear of interactions with your character.
Where are you looking for roleplay? If you’re consistently parked in one location, you might want to consider relocating to somewhere more populated. Major cities are where roleplayers are most commonly found. Dalaran may currently be a hub for quests and commerce, but it’s not necessarily a hotbed of roleplay opportunities. People tend to go there when they’re in the middle of OOC activities, while heading elsewhere for actual roleplay. There are always exceptions, of course — but nowhere near the numbers you’ll find in a capital city.
If you’re already camped out in a capital city and not really finding any roleplay, take a walk. No, really — hit your walk button and take a stroll through the city. That inn you thought would have a lot of roleplayers may not be the busy hub you’d hoped. Maybe there’s another district or section of the city where more people tend to congregate. Plus, taking a leisurely stroll automatically broadcasts you as a roleplayer. Not just any roleplayer — someone who is currently at their keyboard and looking for contact. If you simply sit in one spot, people never know if you’re actually there, or alt-tabbed out to look at something else.
Pause at those busy sections and take note of who’s around. Some sections of the city may be populated because the Auction House happens to be right there — and everyone is OOC. Other places may be busier, with more active roleplayers as opposed to OOC players. If you don’t feel like walking up and saying hello, just sit back and observe the roleplay for a while. See what people are up to, and if they’re talking to random characters, or involved in their own conversations. You may find a new favorite place to perch — one far busier than your original location.
The last thing you want to look at doesn’t have anything to do with your character at all. What about you, the player? How do you interact with others? What do you do when you’re not roleplaying? How do you behave in group content? If you spend your OOC hours trolling or just being flat-out rude to people, nobody’s going to take you seriously in-character. In fact, you’ll find yourself gaining the kind of reputation that makes sure you aren’t getting any roleplay at all.
Do you constantly make your character pick fights, and then never follow through? Are you offering OOC excuses for your character’s behavior? Are you constantly pestering people for roleplay, and getting angry when they have other things to do? All of these are reasons people might be avoiding roleplay with you.
Do you go out of your way to correct perceived errors with other people’s characters? Do you spend your free time making fun of roleplay profiles you don’t like? Constructive criticism is one thing. Offering unsolicited advice is another — the latter is never welcome. You wouldn’t like it if people told you your character was bad, so how do you think they feel when you do the same?
Yes, there is a line between IC actions, and OOC actions. But you shouldn’t use that as an excuse to behave poorly. Having a rude character isn’t going to do you any favors in finding roleplay. Being a rude person almost guarantees you won’t find any.
There’s no magic solution for the problem of finding roleplay. But identifying probable causes can help you figure out what’s wrong. You don’t have to change your character, but you may want to weigh your options. Is your character worth limiting your roleplay opportunities? That’s a question only you can answer.
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