This RP guide, which was originally written for our guild website, is under construction as I haven't finished converting it into a wiki article yet. But I will get it done soon :)

What is roleplaying?Edit

In WoW, roleplaying (or "RP") means giving your character a name, personality and background of their own, and responding to things as your character would.

Why roleplay?Edit

Well, if you like acting, socializing or writing stories then you will probably find roleplaying very enjoyable. You'll also probably like it if you are interested in the backstory (or "lore") of Warcraft.

What are roleplaying realms like?Edit

In terms of game mechanics, they're exactly the same as other realms. RP servers have the same mechanics as PvE servers, and RPPvP servers have the same mechanics as ordinary PvP servers.
But be warned! Blizzard have given RP and RPPvP servers a few extra rules, which all players must follow:

Naming rules
Characters and pets need to have suitable roleplaying names. They cannot contain:
  • Partial/complete sentences (e.g. Ilikecheese or Letskillhorde)
  • Real world references (McDonalds, iPods, etc.)
  • Leetspeak ("lol", "wtf" etc.)
  • Titles (e.g. Knightdavid, Princessmaria)

Channel rules
The /say and /yell channels are for roleplaying in. That means you must switch to another channel, for example whispers or General, if you need to mention any of these out-of-character ("OOC") things:
  • Smilies (such as XD or :P)
  • Abbreviations/leetspeak (such as 'lol' or 'noob')
  • Real life/the modern world (e.g. 'My cat just jumped on the keyboard!')
  • Game mechanics (such as levels, DPS, chat channels, etc.)

Creating a characterEdit

Character creation varies from person to person. Some people plan everything about their characters at the start - they know their character's family, birthday and even favourite food before they've even logged in for the first time. Others only decide a couple of details at first, then log in and start roleplaying, developing the character as they go. It's up to you how detailed you want to be, but there are a few details every character

Your name is important - once you've chosen it, you're pretty much stuck with it unless you want to start all over again or pay for a name change. On a RP server, you also need to find a name that suits your race. We've written a guide to night elf names here, but if you are choosing a different race then your best bet is to look at NPC names and try to follow their pattern.
Whatever name you choose, don't just copy the name of a famous fictional character! It's not very imaginative.

Try to pick some key traits for your character, both negative and positive. Is your character nosy, shy, flirtatious, greedy, generous? Is there a reason why they are the way they are?

Think about your character's age, birthplace, upbringing and experiences. This may be difficult if you are new to WoW lore, but you can find a nice, short guide to each race at Dramatis Personae. Remember, your backstory is your creation and no one else's - no one can tell you what to put in it, including us! However, DP has a funny list of "groaners" here which you should probably try to avoid.

Starting outEdit

When you first login to your new RP character, you may not know how to begin RPing. You can just start levelling if you want, and most people do, because starting zones are quiet. Once you've reached a busier area, like Stormwind for example, try some of the following things to start roleplaying:

  • Walking instead of running. This sounds insignificant, but it gives off a signal that you're a roleplayer, so others know they can RP with you if they can find a reason to (most of us don't just strike up a conversation with any random person in the street, after all). You can toggle walking on or off by pressing the second slash key /, which is next to Num Lock on the far right of your keyboard.
  • Emoting things, e.g. looking in your bag, or checking your mailbox. You can create custom emotes like this by typing /e into the chatlog. For example, if your character's called Malena and you type /e searches through her mailbox, it will appear in the chatlog as Malena searches through her mailbox.
  • Visiting a RP 'hotspot'. In general it's best to roleplay as much as possible wherever you go, rather than rely on one place to find RP - but if you're a beginner it's a good idea to find a gathering of roleplayers and see them in action. The location of these 'hotspots' vary from server to server. On Darkmoon Faire, we see a fair bit of action in Brill and Ashenvale. We also have regular events, such as a weekly Horde tavern and a monthly Stormwind fair, where you are guaranteed to find RPers. Keep an eye on the forums to see these events advertized.
  • Finding friends to RP with. Roleplaying servers aren't brimming with roleplayers left right and centre - sometimes you need to go looking for RP, or create it yourself and wait for people to join in. It's also nice to have a group of friends to roleplay with when the RP scene is quiet. You can make yourself known on the forums, join a good RP guild, and even install an RP addon to indicate to other players in-game that you are a roleplayer. See our Links section for help with these.

Things to avoidEdit

You will become better at RP as you keep doing it, so don't worry too much about making mistakes, but we'll point out a couple of common ones you can try to avoid.

  • "Godmoding"
Taking control of someone's character, for example /e pushes Harry into the lake. It would be better to write /e tries to push Harry into the lake.
  • "Poweremoting"
Acting as if your character is invincible. We're all human(oid), and no character is immune to everything. If someone unexpectedly throws their drink in your direction, try being drenched and confused rather than just magically dodging the drink. If someone tries to throw you in the lake, you don't have to let them succeed but you should consider it. Roleplaying is about cooperation; let others win once in a while. This rule goes hand-in-hand with the rule above.
  • "Metagaming"
Acting like your character knows everything you know. For example, you may be able to see on a stranger's tooltip that he is a warlock. But if you approach him saying 'Hey, warlock!' you're metagaming. Your character probably wouldn't know the stranger was a warlock, after all. Another example is letting your character know too much lore; it's not common knowledge that Tyrande and Fandral dislike each other, for example, and no one knows exactly how Arthas beat Illidan. Use your judgement when deciding how much your char knows. :)

Other adviceEdit

Not everyone roleplays
You might notice that many people on roleplaying servers aren't interested in RP. Some of them don't even know what RP is! You'll see a lot of people breaking the rules we described above, because Blizzard don't display their roleplaying rules anywhere in-game, only on their website. Blizzard also don't monitor the RP servers to check on players' behaviour, so at first, it seems like anyone can get away with breaking the rules.
However, if you break the rules even after another player has reminded you about them, and that player decides to report you, Blizzard do punish you - with warnings, temporary bans or potentially even a permanent ban. So do make sure you stick to the rules.

Goldshire = nuts
AVOID GOLDSHIRE! For some reason, the place is crazy. It's full of cyber, OOC, duelspammers and people doing the most ridiculous, unrealistic, over-the-top RP you will ever see. Draenei prostitutes, gnomes pretending to be the children of night elves, people claiming to be Illidan's daughter... it's the worst place to learn anything about roleplaying. Avoid it like the plague. :)

RP-related abbreviations/phrases
ICIn character
OOCOut of character
OOCerSomeone who speaks OOC in /say and /yell
LolboiAn OOCer who is also a dumbass, and says things like "LOLOLOL RPER NUBZ L2P, I GOT 546 DPS LOOOL xD"
LoreThe backstory of Warcraft
LorelolA lore mistake; doing something that completely contradicts the lore
GodmodingTaking control of someone else's character without their permission
Power-emotingTrying to make your character flawless and invincible
MetagamingTreating OOC info as IC info