If you haven’t already, you’re gonna want to read this first: WTF is RP Anyway?
Roleplaying in an MMO is fast-paced and visually stimulating. For those of you who don’t know, MMORPG stands for Massively Multi-player Roleplaying Game. Unlike other video games, MMORPGs take place in massive worlds filled to the brim with other players. Before entering this world for the first time, players create their character, customizing their physical appearance as well as choosing a class which will define their character’s role in the game. In MMOs you are one drop in a sea of other gamers, all playing the same game together at the same time, but each with his or her own goals within the game.
Most people who play MMOs might not even be able to tell you what roleplaying is though. RPers tend to make up a smaller portion of the MMO playerbase, though our numbers seem to be rising.
To RP in an MMO you simply narrate your characters actions through text and the avatar itself. You can move your character around where ever you want and most games come with a helpful set of animations to visually represent some of your character’s actions. These animations, and the narration you write for your character are called emotes. Your character can also communicate by speech, which will appear in the text window following “Your Character Says…”
Using these tools, RPers go out into the open worlds of MMOs, often wearing armor and gear that suits their character’s persona, race, storyline or whatever. Taverns are a common gathering area for RPers, who go there to drink and chat IC about their adventures. Unlike tabletop, RP in an MMO doesn’t have a specific time it takes place, aside from planned gatherings or events. Anyone can hop in at any time and begin searching for other roleplayers to interact with.
RPers often find that they can better get involved in storylines and tabletop-like-plots by joining a guild. This isn’t always true, but a good RP guild can be just the place to go to get into the deeper, more complex RP. Guilds are organizations of players within the MMO. They have their own ranking systems, collective goals and scheduled events. For an RP guild these events usually somehow progress the story of the guild.
“Random RP” as opposed to guild or planned RP is when you stumble upon another roleplayer and engage them IC. This can be as simple as asking another player for directions through the city or as interesting as attacking a passerby on the road in the dark of night. Many new connections can be made this way. You never know what to expect from another RPer. Unlike the static, straight-forward stories most games come with, roleplaying is an ever-shifting, constantly evolving story created by hundreds, sometimes thousands of authors.
As always the best way to learn more about roleplaying is to just do it. So go! Go my friends and roleplay!