Shortened from RETroactive CONtinuity, to Retcon means to change or revise what has previously happened when new information might oppose it. If your character had a bad encounter with water as a child, for example and developed a phobia, and later you discover, for wild example the entire next expansion and ergo all your guild’s roleplay is going to be in water zones and in and around water sources, you might want to Retcon that part of their back-story to make it a bit more functional to play, or at least recon the severity of the phobia so that the character is still playable in such zones.
People Retcon things a fair amount in MMORPG’s as it is difficult to gauge what is coming next in terms of content and lore in upcoming releases and expansions. If you were a writer writing a book and you discovered the story was leading you down a certain path that contradicts things you can always go back and edit it out before anyone sees it. In roleplay online you are not so privileged, your character and story is open to the public from the get-go so you can’t go back and change things so easily.
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
- Beyond Basics: Retconning