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SAN, AD and RP

April 16, 2010

So, I have a small Blood Elf hunter on Argent Dawn, and her name is Lossiel. And I am RPing with her.

Now, I’ve been an RPer IRL for, blimey, 16 years now (I feel suddenly old!), but WoW has always been more a game for me than an RP venue. Let’s have a little look at why.

Firstly, I suppose, I’m a Dungeon Master, Game Master or Storyteller at heart. I like to design worlds, or at the least customise them. The World of Warcraft is in some ways too well defined and has too much canon for my naturally meddling self. And there isn’t much space for a traditional DM: there’s a plot, a world, and it’s all out there already.

Then, as a player, I like to feel that there isn’t a predetermined story. The classic D&D story of the DM creating a desert, an unfordable river and so on to make the party have to go east to fight the dragon is the thing I most dislike in a game. And indeed, one of the most entertaining game sessions I ever have had happened when the character the GM had designed that session’s hook for was unexpectedly absent, and the rest of our characters decided that they weren’t interested: they would rather go shopping. And shop they did, and we had a lot of fun, and some great RP. Because the GM picked the idea up, and ran with it, and the world was a richer place thereby.

In terms of my own character’s story, it feels sharply limited in WoW by the overarching plot, and the lore of the world. In fact, it’s worse than that. The disjointed nature of the expansions makes a personal story quite challenging. For a while, I saw the levelling experience as a journey through time, as well as space – so that as your character levelled up, they moved from the past towards the present. Nowadays, though, every time you visit a capital city, you are dragged back into the present. Things have changed, and that makes those starting area quests a little strange sometimes. I’m still not quite sure how to manage Outlands levels…

And of course, none of these things are necessarily Bad Things. They are just things that I have found have stopped me from trying to RP in the World of Warcraft – except for a few completely spontaneous, non-lore focused, precious moments – like the undead alchemist who upon seeing my hunter’s scorpid, asked if he might milk it for venom.

But! Thanks to the enthusiasm flowing around from SAN, little Lossiel has a story. It even fits within the lore of World of Warcraft. And for the first time, I’m starting to actually enjoy RP within WoW. It’s not like tabletop, but it does have a certain something all of its own. And even meeting a Blood Elf who claimed to be a Tauren in disguise returning to his ancestral home of Thunder Bluff on the Zeppelin from Orgrimmar didn’t spoil the rather special mood that Lossiel engenders in me.

So I’ll be avoiding the Undercity as much as possible: Lossiel does not like the slime they have everywhere.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Arcturis permalink
    April 16, 2010 14:53

    Mmm, similarly most of my characters have full background stories (often written) and personalities but few know them. Sometimes they
    manage to surprise me – I had not realised my belf Mage was so flamboyantly bisexual until he started flirting with another and asking for arcane touches!

    My baby SAN cow hasn’t really got a story though but he does have a personality. He’s a bit slow, a bit mercenary and is absurdly attached to wearing his bunny ears at the moment.

  2. April 17, 2010 09:26

    Glad that SAN has fired your enthusiasm. I know (ok ok I have been told frequently) that WoW isn’t an ideal roleplaying platform, but I don’t think it is completely optionless. I have found it quite a gentle introduction to RP 🙂 I am still not as brave with it as I should be though 🙂

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