Putting The RP in MMORPG

Putting The RP in MMORPG


So, recently I’ve been talking more and more about the story and lore of gaming. The games that create a rich background and intricate story for you to be a part of. As such I’ve been talking with a lot of RPers lately. I’ve been reading very interesting RP posts, and fan fiction stories, and have even begun writing my own for Lodur’s background. It can be a lot of fun to think about where your character has been and where they are going and how they might interact with their fellow raiders. This side of the game does appeal to me as I’m an old school D&D Role playing geek. It is however something I haven’t fully explored in game yet.

Blizzard has set aside entire servers for people to Role Play with each other, and no I’m not talking about the seedy dirty stuff, but honest interaction between players acting out their characters. There are a few different types of Role Playing you’ll come across in the game.

Spontaneous RP

This is a spontaneous act between two or more players who play out a short scenario on the spot. These players typically do not have background stories that cross paths and have a low likelihood of interacting again in a role-playing context. This is coming across someone randomly while questing or bump into in one of the major cities. These RP sessions can sometimes lead to further contact later on and might develop into character friendships later one.

Deliberate / Planned RP

Some role players will set aside specific times to be online to interact with others. This can be in a raid, a group that quests together as a party or simply a meeting in the local inn to throw back a pint or twelve. Many interesting interactions happen here. Friendships are made and lost, sometimes characters pair off in the way of couples, and sometimes they break up and throw bottles at each other. I have a group of friends I talk to on a regular basis that do set aside specific time to role play during the week, and I always enjoy hearing about what happened afterward.
Out of Game RP

Probably one of the more important things to mention here. Out of game RP happens in emails, forums and blog posts. This exists between spontaneous and deliberate RP events and honestly has no true end point. These can serve to flesh out backgrounds for your character, can help turn spontaneous RP encounters into full on character relationships and can really give some creative license to tell a very intricate story. I’ve seen posts that filled in the gaps of a raid, and some rather humorous explanations for why the group wiped on a particular boss fight. The forum posts I’ve run across or have been linked to are often the result of people working together in emails to get the story together before it’s posted. People have even created twitter accounts for their toons so they can RP with other characters through that media as well. The results are almost always a very very fun story to read. It’s like being an actor in a movie and really getting into your role, or playing out a scene in your favorite books. You get to be a part of a story of your making.

The community surrounding MMO’s has always interested me, it’s one of the most important reasons I got into MMOs in the first place. We make friends as we play the game (or enemies) and we get to share our triumphs and defeats. There’s something very gratifying about working with 24 friends and downing a big nasty boss. The community that has sprung up from the Role Playing elements of Warcraft is very strong as well. The people that RP have most definitely set up a community for themselves (and their characters) within the game. You can sit on twitter and see just how deep the interactions go. To them there is more to the game then the grinding of levels or the end game content. Now it’s not to say that all they do is interact in character, many times the OOC (Out Of Character) chat channels are hillarious with the Real Life interactions. It’s refreshing sometimes to take a step back and look at the other side of the fence.

Does this mean you’ll see posts here about role playing in game? Possibly, depends on how deep down the rabbit hole I go. (or how far @justanna from toomanyannas.com can drag me =P)

So, what about you? Have you tried RPing? Have you ever written a fan fiction about your character? Have you thought about it? What would your characters background be?

That’s it for now, I’ll have more for you later this week. Until then, Happy healing!


Image courtesy of madbrewlabs.com

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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.


  1. My mains are on a Roleplay server (Thorium Brotherhood) and have been for about three years. It’s seriously the most fun I’ve had in WoW (I started on a PvP server), the people are awesome and I really enjoy my characters. I also frequently write fiction for my characters (and in-character journals, like in my Blog list on Troll Bouquet) though they’re sickeningly intertwined and I’m trying to fix that, ha.

    Anybody that likes writing and creating should like the RP server experience or at least give it a try. There’s good and there’s bad on every server, of course, but one can make their time on a RP server better by seeking out the out-of-game community (some servers have forums, wikis or IRC channels for the RP community).
    .-= Matojo´s last blog ..Help is For Those That Want It =-.

  2. I’ve never really seen the appeal in actual RPing. I can see the fun in interacting with a world as myself, but never as someone else. I think I just see it differently than most people. I don’t want to live in a world playing a role; I want to live in a new world as myself, without the social morays I’m bound by in real life. To me, RP in MMOs takes away the closeness to the world.

    One could say I do a type of RP, though, as I like doing in-game things for in-game rewards and experiences, but I want to do those as “me” and not as “me being someone else.”

    Does that make any kind of sense?
    .-= Professor Beej´s last blog ..True Blood Season 2 รขโ‚ฌโ€œ The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. =-.

  3. Woot, you’ve come to the darkside! *offers cookies*

  4. Great post ๐Ÿ™‚

    I don’t RP a lot and have never done it in real life (as in D&D etc) but I’ve done it a fair few times with different characers in different MMOs. My first was as a crazy cleric in EQ and it was an amazing experiece. I was really surprised at how well all of the other players responded to me and embraced my roleplaying!

    I still try to RP now and I’m RPing my latest alt in WoW. Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to do that it used to be because of the advent of voice chat and the removal of real life/game life barriers. Plus some MMOs (like WoW) don’t supply anything to help you roleplay. Where’s my character’s bio section for instance? ๐Ÿ™
    .-= We Fly Spitfires´s last blog ..World of Warcraft Is A Lot Like Cake =-.

  5. I am working on a couple of different stories about my guild. The first story, the Origins of Ordo Fidelis, follows what starts out as a five man group and eventually increases to include a raiding party of people who treat each other, and feel like, a true family. It is based on and in the game and several places are recognizable and used, including some of the older instances.

    I am now working on another story called The Legend of Ordo Fidelis: Ghosts of Karazhan. This continues on the story that I began and uses the same characters.

    So I would love to see more RP posts here on Matticus and if you ever need any help with developing it, Lodur, just give me a holler. (My cousin and I are developing our own DnD game world which we one day hope to sell to WotC.)


    P.S. Oh, the stories, if anyone is interested in them at all, can be found at http://www.ordofidelis.com and clicking on the forums link. The stories are in the ‘Guild Chat’ forum, but anyone can read them without an account.

  6. I’ve role played a few characters in game and am currently working on serial fan fiction of one of them on my blog. For me, it’s just another way to be immersed in the game world and I find it to be very fun.

    I think one of the most fun fan fiction/RP writing I participated in was a “choose your adventure” style story project with a few other bloggers.
    .-= Syrana´s last blog ..Join Us As We Get Twisted! =-.

  7. Finally, someone posts about RP! ๐Ÿ˜›
    .-= Lilitharien´s last blog ..L2Discpline: Growing Your Talent Tree =-.

  8. @SpitFires: Look for FlagRSP, ImmersionRP or MyRolePlay on your Add-on site of choice. They let you create a description for your character, and most roleplayers use one of the mods (they all pick up the same descriptions, called “flags”). I’m using ImmersionRP and find it to be pretty stable.

    Dammit, now I have another entry idea and I’m not finished writing Tuesday’s.
    .-= Matojo´s last blog ..Help is For Those That Want It =-.

  9. I’ve been playing WoW for four years now, and I’m on my second year on a straight roleplaying server (EU-Die Aldor, german RP-Server). I must confess, although I like to see a dungeon from inside once in a while, I’m certainly not a raider. I prefer to RP first and then raiding and maybe a little PvPing (and I suck at both).

    I’ve written some stories (very amateurish) about my character Laranya Whitewood (an undead priest), and I really like her character development. I try not to be static, but often it is very easy to fall in that trap. RPing is not easy, but it is a lot of fun.

    Since I started to RP, I think I couldn’t play any MMORPG without being able to roleplay. I’m anxiously awaiting SW:TOR to see how it it will pan out in that regard.

    Without RP, I would’ve quit WoW years ago.

  10. I have tried role-playing but I am not very good at it. Maybe I need to read some more fantasy books. Heh. I am enjoying the Lore of the Rift: Planes of Telara though. It is inspiring me to role-play more.

    I will bookmark your site in Delicious and check and check back regularly. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I play WoW on Moon Guard. My character (named Tyrael because he was originally on an RP server and I didn’t have the foresight to change his name when I transferred him back in 08) is a Draenei priest with an IMMENSE backstory and an even larger pool of character development since his drop into the server. It’s an amazing experience, playing out your character alongside other players, and I must admit, I’m a bit competitive with it. I try to make my RP the best on the server…so far, it’s been working out, since my character is fairly popular. I would have quit WoW ages ago had it not been for my discovery of Moon Guard, and I encourage anyone finding the grinding/gear collecting a bit tiresome to give it a try. I’m not online anywhere near as much as I would like to be due to a deployment, but you can seek out my guild, The Shattered Pinnacle, and tell them that Ty directed you their way, and they’ll help you out.

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