Friday, July 4, 2008

The Cardinal Sins of Roleplaying - Roleplay Elitism & Exclusion

This one really needs no introduction...

Roleplay Elitism

First, let me explain the difference between a "Roleplay Enthusiast" and a "Roleplay Elitist"...

A Roleplay Enthusiast has been around roleplaying in some fashion, whether it's been through World of Warcraft, MUDs, LARPs, or whatever. They know the lore, study the story vehicle's background, make well-developed characters, and strive to preserve and encourage the RP community. Overall, they are generally warm to newcomers and if they need "tutoring" they are more than happy to oblige in a gentle informative manner.

And now for the Elitist (aka: "RP Nazi" in some circles). It doesn't matter if you're new to the roleplaying scene or if you have been participating in the fun for years... You will always meet someone who thinks the way they roleplay is perfect and EVERYONE should follow their example. If they do not, they automatically shoot your stories, scenarios, and characters down. And the funny part is, the Elitist might not even be a very good roleplayer themselves.

Thankfully, the Elitist, if not in a position of authority within a guild, is generally disliked by the members over time. Not only do they stir up trouble with their dictating "this should be this way and that should be that way" attitude, some actually have the gall to actually call the RP of others "crap" right to their faces (though I will admit that certain cases do deserve it). Either the hardcore RP elitists are eventually ousted by guildmates or they leave on their own accord to found their own guild under their own rules.

There are of course other shades of elitism in roleplay and that brings me to the next subject...

Exclusion

Roleplay in the World of Warcraft can be trying for the average RPer. While Blizzard encourages and embraces the roleplay aspect of their game, they have no real way to enforce it within the general populace. This can unfortunately jade a lot of people over time...

Say you've been in the roleplay scene for a couple years now and over time you've developed a very small tolerance for RP newbies or the blissfully-ignorant. You try to include them at first, not knowing how "horrible" they are, but once you get a good taste of what their RP and characters are like, you quietly shun them and try not to include them in any of your future group RP.

While I do understand that it's a person's own prerogative to build their stories around who they deem fit, it doesn't hurt to be inclusive. If someone hits a few faux-pas in roleplaying, gently offer to give them guidance in improving their RP. That's if they are willing, of course, because there are some who do get offended if you inform them that they are godmodding or something. If they don't want to improve, then there's not much you can do. Eventually someone else will call them out on it or they'll notice their folly through some other means (hopefully).

So in closing, there will always be people that will rub you the wrong way or people that don't quite know RP etiquette. But it is always important to embrace the ideals of RP and practice tolerance and understanding. Help those who are willing to learn, be inclusive, and try not to push other RPers away unless they really are that insufferable. If you practice being a good roleplayer, and most imporantly a good PERSON, the roleplaying environment will flourish.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sketchy Artistry: Zevahiros

Well I decided to dust off my artistic skills because it's been a good two years since I've done anything than a simple doodle with a pencil. So I decided to do a sketch-and-ink of my slated Night Elf Death Knight to-be, Zevahiros. It's a front profile with minimal shading to try and show Zev's gaunt physique. It's not that bad of a sketch for someone who hasn't drawn in two years, IMO.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

The Cardinal Sins of Roleplaying - The Lesser Evils

Being that I've already covered two big roleplaying don'ts, Godmodding and the Mary Sue, I felt the need to talk about some of the lesser evils of RP. They might not be as bad as others, but they're still called "lesser evils" for a reason.

• The Love Child •

A thing you don't see very often, thankfully, are characters who are the bastard children of some of WoW's prominant canon lore figures. Though when you do, your eyes will roll right out your skull in disbelief. If you have any inclinations to ever make your toon the child of Illidan & Tyrande, Thrall & Garona (etc), then just stop... Stop right now. Your character will not, no matter how much you might want it to, ever alter the Warcraft canon lore. If there's an illegitamate child of Kael'thas and Jaina out there... leave it to Blizzard to reveal it.

Another RP no-no that's close to "The Love Child" is "The Mentor". If your character is a teacher of Malfurion and Illidan, then you might want to rethink things...

• The Slippery Fish •

The Slippery Fish is a sort of godmodder. But one that takes a loooong time at going about it. A good example of a Fish (one that I have unfortunately experienced first hand), is that someone is being pursued by a group of somebodies and, no matter what the circumstance, will not let themselves get caught (even if the odds are tremendously against their favor. IE: More people, mounted pursuers, etc...) until they deem fit. If you DO manage to catch the Fish, they will stay around for a while before making their "grand escape" and make the chase begin anew.

The Fish I dealt with took such a route...

Fish detained in Darkshire --> Fish escorted to Stormwind --> Fish ESCAPES captors and runs away --> Fish cornered and captured (again) in Stormwind --> Fish makes escape and flees to another part of Stormwind --> Captured and finally detained --> Fish still tries to make a break for it! But fails... --> A long two hours later, the Fish is ultimately transported to a "safe house" in Kalimdor to await further questioning.

And just when you thought it was done...!

Fish springs the coop and flees from Teldrasil to Auberdine --> Fish takes the boat to Menethil --> Fish flies to Light's Hope Chapel in the Plaguelands --> A search team assembles in LHC and proceeds to look for the missing Fish --> Search team catches glimpses of the Fish running around the Plaguelands, but are "unable" to catch it --> After a final confrontation, and lengthy three hours of lol!drama and needless chasing, the Fish slips out of its pursuers' hands yet again and escapes into Stratholme despite the fact that all odds were overwhelmingly against it...

So there you have it... The chase can be exciting, but NOT when it takes a total of 5+ hours to do. But when it gets that out of hand, who's actually to blame? The Slippery Fish or the people chasing it? ~_~
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The Cardinal Sins of Roleplaying - The Mary Sue

In light of my previous post on "Godmodding", I can't in good conscience leave another heavyweight RP sin to sculk in the shadows. At least, not while I'm awake and on a blogging roll. ;)

• The Mary Sue •

Ahhh... The Mary Sue. Quite possibly the most reviled thing in all literature. Most people who are familiar with the term think that Mary Sues only exist in the realm of fan fiction. But they are sorely mistaken... You see, the Sue can be in ANY form of fiction, whether it's fan-based or original. Here is the "textbook" definition of what a Mary Sue is:

"Mary Sue, sometimes shortened simply to "Sue", is a pejorative term used to describe a fictional character who plays a major role in the plot on such a scale that suspension of disbelief fails due to the character's traits, skills and abilities being tenuously or inadequately justified. Such a character is particularly characterized by overly idealized and clich├ęd mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors." (Taken from Wikipedia - Mary Sue)

Simply put, Mary Sues are an embodiment of what its author/player wishes they were like. A great example of an original fiction Mary Sue is Anita Blake of the self-named series by Laurel K. Hamilton.

Now before you get too scared... Let me say that there is nothing wrong with putting a little piece of yourself in your characters. It helps you relate to them and find passion in writing out their exploits. However, there's a point where it gets out of hand...

Mary Sues come in all shapes and sizes, but here's a list of some of the more common traits.
  • Perfect
  • Popular
  • Beautiful
  • Tragic (not always though)
  • Misunderstood
  • People are strangely attracted to her.
  • Sole savior of the planet.
  • Has some sort of hidden power (or twelve) that emerges at JUST the right time.
  • Has mysterious/soulful/sorrowful eyes. Usually in the crimson, violet, emerald, and sapphire hues.
  • Has no visible faults or flaws. Aside from being perfect and beautiful, of course.
One other variety is called an "Anti Sue". Basically the polar opposite of what a Mary Sue is. An Anti Sue is so ugly/mentally insane/disliked/oh-so-tragic that it gets to the point of being laughable. I suppose you can say they're the extreme version of an Anti Hero.

If you have fallen prey to making a Mary Sue, don't feel bad. It's an EXTREMELY common thing for all budding writers to do and I admit to making a Sue or two within my life. The big thing is to know of what a Mary Sue is and make one anyway despite of it all (*coughLaurelHamiltoncough*). If you're concerned if your new, or existing, character might be a Mary Sue, there are many reliable litmus tests to see if you're standing on the precipice of Sue-dom (or falling right into the abyss, for that matter).
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The Cardinal Sins of Roleplaying - Godmodding

Okay. I'll admit it. I'm a roleplayer and have been for a little more than three years ever since I set foot on my first RP realm, Argent Dawn. That being said, making sure I have a well-rounded character background story is very important to me and others of like mind. But where to start off...?

There are many dos and don'ts when it comes to RP on WoW. Here's a big one to avoid doing.

• Godmodding

While it's all well and good that you want your character(s) to be powerful and oh-so-awesome, there is a thin line between your toon being powerful and God Almighty. If your warrior can stop meteors with his face and still be alive and well, you're godmodding. If your mage is all-powerful and can lay waste to all he sees before him with a flick of a finger, you're godmodding. Get the picture?

There is no faster way to piss off other roleplayers than being a godmodder. For example; "Joe Bob the Warrior swings his mighty metal-clad fist and clobbers Dave the Mage square in the jaw". That's a big no-no. You cannot automatically assume how the other RPer would react towards a big fist flying at him and you're not really giving them a chance to participate. The correct way to write your emote is "Joe Bob the Warrior swings his mighty metal-clad fist towards Dave the Mage". Leave it to Dave's player to decide if he dodges nimbly to the side or if he gets a big bite of knuckle sandwich. Do that or politely ask Dave's player OOCly if Joe Bob can smash his face in.

On another note, if YOUR character is being physically accosted, take a few hits now and then. It's more realistic and adds dynamic to one's RP session.
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