At the end of the day your character can be as good as they come, and you could still be having trouble, because it is not all about having a good character, a strong concept and an interesting story, behind all of that, to make any of it count there needs to be a Good Role-Player. Which is a thing that exists, and contrary to popular believe has nothing to do with how much lore you know and/or how good your character and concept are. Your character and concept can be terrible or excellent and still these six habits, if formed well and early will make a lot of difference in your RP experience as you learn and develop and improve. So here goes, my six top RP Habit ‘s for being a good role-player that will have people coming back to you time and again for RP that don’t revolve around you being the best role-player on the server or any such lofty goals.
More Articles in the Beyond the Basics Series:
- Beyond Basics: Loaded Lore – The Horde Part 1
- Beyond Basics: Loaded Lore – The Horde Part 2
- Beyond Basics: Roleplaying Bar Staff
- Beyond Basics: Balancing IC and OOC
- Beyond Basics: All Kinds of Canon
- Beyond Basics: Six Good Roleplay Habits
RP Habit 1: Be pro-active
This is the top-top-top of my list as this is vital and this is the one nearly everyone struggles with, myself included, but too often they struggle and then use that as an excuse not to try and push through. They struggle so they stop and expect people to come to them. Role-players tend to do a lot of waiting. They create these wonderful characters and stories and wait for people to come and get involved with them. It would be nice if it worked that way but it does not and when too many people fall into that trap you have a city full of folks sitting around waiting to be approached and no one doing the approaching. So my primary advice is this, be that guy. Approach absolutely everyone you can find any lame-ass reason to speak to. Personally I tend to read people’s MRP add-ons and see if I can find something about their characters, dress, or something on their person to comment on to get things started. You have no idea where it might lead, and if it doesn’t pan out make your excuses and leave, it really is that simple and there really is nothing to lose. A lot of people just fall into the trap of thinking they would be intruding or feeling to shy and nervous to muscle in, even though I am certain more than nine times out of ten people wish you would, and would love you for it. So even if you struggle withit, do it anyway. push past it. Give yourself a goal; ”I will speak to one random role-player this week/evening”. It will pay off, trust me.
RP Habit 2: Be Bold
As I touched on above. BE BOLD. Stand out, bump into people, shoulder into RP where you can, approach them, as well as being approachable. Find yourself a Game Face Mantra and get it on, roll your sleeves up and go for it. You never know until you try and the worst people are ever going to do is ask you to leave IC, OOC or ignore you, and really, that is hurting no one. This is, yes, just a buffer point to support my first one, because my first one is so super important. It can be tiring to always be the person starting stuff, but it’s my hope that people learn from example, and that once you forge these bridges of communication in the fire of nerves and bravery that those other folks will be much more likely to use them themselves later on. And once you have broken the ice they might feel much easier about approaching you in the future. Be brave. Be bold.
RP Habit 3: Listen and Ask
Common role-play trap #876: Thinking it is all about you. It’s not, it is not even a little. In fact it is the very opposite. That is a lie, it is a little bit about you, but for sake of this point let’s pretend. Have you ever heard the mantra ‘Too many people listen with intent to reply rather than listen with intent to hear” well that applies here. Too many people create awesome characters then log in and approach RP with the intent to show off their awesome character, and let’s be honest here, everyone wants that. Everyone wants to show off their baby, me, you, Jack, Gill and Bob. Which means that whoever you are RPing with? They want the same, and if you’re both approaching Rp to show off your own characters, you are not RPing, you are just talking –at- each other about your own characters. So my advice is this. Try and focus on them, listen, actually listen, ask, pry and prod. See where it goes. Perhaps they will do the same back and you’ll get your chance to in turn show off your character perhaps they won’t and you get to walk away integrity intact and leave them wondering about that mysterious stranger than was so interested. They will come snapping back to your heels, I can almost promise it.
RP Habit 4: Offer and Give
So I lied, it is a little bit about your character, you need to be able to bounce things back, if you ask and they answer you need to be able to give them something back to make it a conversation instead of a Q and A session. Try not to focus on what you are and aren’t getting to see and show of your character and instead try and reply. To talk, to share, be witty, make a joke, share a similar experience, ask a leading question, give them back something of your character even if it is not a straight answer or information. Give them characterful responses. Give them something to react to and reply to. This is all sounding like a lot of work now isn’t it? And it can be with some folks, but with most it comes easily and naturally, I’m just pointing it out to make you aware of it so you can employ it when you are feeling stuck. Think of conversations you have in real life with friends, family and strangers and employ the same skills.
Always, always looks for chances and opportunity to create within the role-play. Now this won’t happen every time or even most times, but as and when you can, when the chances arise, grab them. If you are sitting and talking to someone and they raise a topic that gives you or your character an idea, go with it. Grab every little bit of inspired thought you can and make something from it, you have no idea where it might lead! Even just an outing to the woods. Then maybe you catch wind of a trollish patrol and the shit hits the fan. Something simple like that and you have created a bonding experience for you and the subject/victim, as well as generated RP, and they will likely walk away thinking you are some form of RP genius because so few people these days generate their own role-play, scenes, stories and ‘events’, particularly in an off-the-cuff organic manner. It could turn a simple conversation into so much more. And again those people are more likely to return, because RPing with you was engaging and rewarding.
RP Habit 6: Be Friendly
Be friendly, helpful. encouraging and supportive. This one is not actually about how you role-play but is just as important I feel. It basically boils down to; Be excellent to each other, in the infamous words of Bill and Ted. Everyone is trying, likely trying their very best and everyone is learning. And most people are wrong in some way or another, myself included. We’re all just muddling along together and doing our best, so be nice to each other. If you think someone could be doing something better, or their lore is wrong, offer them helpful and mannerly advice, suggestions and encouragement. One of my guild’s main mantra’s is to lead by example and to give people chances, which is why we run our community event tavern nights out of the acclaimed worse spot in Silvermoon, to bring decent role-play and good examples to the people there. Leading by example, being kind and helpful and supportive will always bear much better results that being cruel and shooting people down. Communicate, talk to people, drop them an OOC whisper if you are unsure of something, always ask them before you do anything to long-term affect their character, basic RP manners that I might go into farther in another post. Be a Helper. At the end of the day the more people you help improve their RP game the more excellent RP players there will be to RP with. Win win.
What do you think? Do you have any tips or tricks you would add to this list?