Introduction To Roleplaying, Pt. I

Saturday, December 19, 2015 02:46 PM

Introduction To Roleplaying, Pt. I
Interested in roleplaying in Guild Wars 2, but feel intimidated and don't know where to start? Here's a few tips to help out.

Servers and Roleplaying

Guild Wars 2 doesn't really have any 'official' RP servers, though the two widely-recognized main, unofficial servers (NA and EU, respectively; unfortunately, I've no idea with the Chinese servers) for roleplaying are Tarnished Coast and Piken Square. With the implemention of the megaserver system back in April 2014, picking a specific server to (solely) roleplay on has become somewhat moot, since placement in maps functions based on your friends list, party, guild, and preferred language. However, if you want to play World versus World or Edge of the Mists with your roleplaying friends and guilds, getting onto one of said servers is a must, because WvW and EotM teams are tied to your chosen home server. Since these two servers are Tier 1, high population servers, they will usually show up as 'Full' and are pretty challenging to get into – usually, to join or transfer to one of these servers, one has to stay up late during non-peak hours when there are less people online (for example, 3 A.M. local time for NA servers to attempt joining Tarnished Coast). Unfortunately, one cannot transfer between the North American and European servers once you've chosen which region to be in; for example, you can't join Tarnished Coast and then decide to transfer to Piken Square later on. Once you pick your region (NA or EU), regardless of where you're from, you're cut off from actively partying up with roleplaying friends on other regional servers (however, you can still send in-game mail, /whisper, and send gifts to friends between NA and EU servers).

Not to say there aren't any roleplayers outside of the two unofficial RP servers. In fact, there are a lot of people spread out between all the servers who partake in roleplaying, and thanks to the megaserver system, they can all get together for small RP parties with one or a few individuals, or join in (by taxiing through parties) on large, planned roleplay events. Personally, I'm on a lower-tier server with a tiny population (Ferguson's Crossing – which I'd encourage everyone to join or transfer to; we could always use some more cool people out in World versus World), and I'm willing to bet there's someone on my home server that roleplays in-game. Honestly, I'd roleplay in-game myself, if not for my irregular schedule, inexperience with the fairly quick pacing of the typical in-game RP format, and generally being online at strange, non-peak hours. Rambling aside, the only real importance when choosing a server to RP on is considering which server most of your friends (roleplayer or not) are on, so that you can do competitive content (read: WvW and EotM) together whenever you feel like it.

RP Guilds

A good way to dip your toes into in-game roleplaying is to find an RP guild. There are plenty to be found, from race-specific (Human, Asura, Charr, etc.), organization-centric (Pact, the individual Orders, Inquest, Nightmare Court, etc.), general PvX and roleplay, and much more. A good resource to start looking for an RP guild is Guild Wars 2 Roleplayers (colloquially known as 2RP); they have an extensive list of RP guilds to choose from. Some guilds are very relaxed and don't require very much of the members, while others are much more stringent and may require filling out and submitting character applications for approval and may require regular representation. Choose one (or several) guilds that sound like they'll fit your RP needs, and contact the guild leader(s) for more information on joining and being a member.

Many RP guilds organize and host large roleplaying events from time to time. Some are closed and limited to guild members, and others are open to any and all who want to roleplay. Don't feel intimidated by the sheer number of participants – large group events can be a good way to explore, observe, and maybe join in on some roleplay for the first time. Every RPer had to start somewhere, and there's nowhere better than (organized or semi-organized) events to potentially meet some individuals or groups that'll be open and willing to RP with someone new, and perhaps make some new friends. Some events are serious, and others super-casual (like dance parties simply focused on light(hearted) RP and having fun with others). Yet other RP events even include/actively integrate open-world participation in PvE content (for example, the meta-event chain in The Silverwastes map).

For example, the image above was taken from an impromptu dance party that someone started in Rata Sum. Impromptu events are great for potentially getting to meet other roleplayers.

In-game Roleplaying Method

The general, perhaps most widely-used method people use to roleplay in game is the Emotes function. Besides the default emotes that come with the game (for example, /sit, /cry, /ponder, etc.), typing in the /me emote allows for someone to type in whatever 'action' they want, even though this does not show an animation for the action. For example, typing /me punts her mini-pet like a football for a twenty-yard field goal would show the following:

Your character name would show up in place of "Riiva the Fickle" (one of my characters), essentially the [me] you type after the slash (/) is your full character name. It'll show up just like a standard emote, in grey text, for everyone (that has emotes enabled) to see. In-character dialogue is typically typed normally, through the /say, /party, /guild, or /whispers chat tabs, though I've seen people brave enough to RP through the /map channel.

Above are three examples of what in-character dialogue would look like when typed into /say, /guild (specifically, in this screenshot, /g2 – guild number 2), and /map. This would look similar to text typed into /party (blue text), and /whisper (purple text) – for smaller groups (up to four other people) or individual RP partners, respectively.

Some people will type their in-character actions and dialogue as channel-specific text instead of emotes. Others will only type dialogue as 'normal' text and keep all their actions as emotes. Yet others might bounce between both normal text and emotes for conveying actions and dialogue. It's really up to personal preference, and one style might not fit another person's preferred style, but just do whatever makes the most sense to you.

Roleplaying Combat

As Tyria isn't exactly all sunshine and rainbows, your characters are inevitably going to run into some fights. Some fights are straightforward, especially if it's part of normal PvE content already available in the game (ex: fighting Risen in the Orr maps, Mordem in the Maguuma Wastes, etc.) However, there may be times where a group or guild wants to roleplay an in-character, organized fight scene or event to advance a more complex, overarching long-term storyline. Depending on the individuals or parties involved, determining the result of a fight can be done through several ways. Some people prefer a more Dungeons & Dragons dice-rolling approach, using online dice rollers such as this. Others like to get together as a whole to discuss what role everyone's character is going to fill in the storyline, if there will be any serious injuries or even character deaths, and setting the agreed-upon roles in stone prior to the organized in-character fight. Meanwhile, others prefer a more head-on approach with character-on-character fighting (especially if it's a duel between two characters or a battle between two opposing groups): taking it to an sPvP Custom Arena to actually compete against one another to determine the outcome of a planned fight. This in-game approach to settling an in-character fight in a Custom Arena can support up to twenty people (ten players per team).

That being said, RP etiquette generally states that all involved individuals and parties involved in an in-character fight should mutually agree to accept the results of the fight, victory or defeat, regardless of the method used to determine the outcome and the resulting effects on the shared storyline, and not to start out-of-character (OoC) drama over it. In worse-case scenarios, if you simply can't accept how an in-character fight turned out for your character or your part of the story, you can personally retcon (even if it's frowned upon to do so) the event or plotline for your character and/or start with a clean slate if you so choose.

A word of advice and warning –

I suggest avoiding groups or guilds that, if your character dies or is somehow removed permanently from the storyline, to be allowed to continue with roleplaying in said group or guild, they deem it absolutely mandatory to make another character from scratch – using a Name Change Contract and a Total Makeover Kit (or the Identity Repair Kit) or using an empty character slot. I understand there are groups and guilds with strict rules, and then there is overkill. Nobody should be forced into buying gem store items to remake and/or rename a character after a roleplay event death, especially if your character is already level 80, equipped with all Ascended gear, and has both available crafting disciplines at maxed out at 500. I'm not saying you can't join a group or guild that has rules like that, if that's what you're into. Otherwise, for anyone else interested in more 'serious' roleplay that includes permanent character deaths but don't want to essentially delete a character or start over from scratch with a new name and appearance, avoid these sorts of groups and guilds at all costs.

Other General RP Tips

One of the most important rules of roleplaying with others is – never, ever mix in-character (IC) and out-of-character (OoC) interactions. Just because your character is a mortal enemy (or romantic interest) to another player's character does not make you a mortal enemy or romantic interest of the other player. Make sure to set boundaries and stick to them. When potentially antagonizing IC behavior bleeds over into OoC interaction, it tends to lead to unnecessary drama, needless verbal abuse, and (usually) nasty falling-outs between everyone involved, if not worse. I've seen this happen to a lot of roleplayers, and if you value your emotional well-being, remember to keep IC and OoC behavior separate, no matter what. Respect your fellow roleplayers. I cannot stress this enough.

Likewise, know when to leave a potentially abusive roleplaying individual or group if need be. If someone deliberately keeps stepping over any mutual, agreed-upon boundaries, demands total control over what you can and can't do (IC or OoC, through godmodding, metagaming, etc.) or otherwise threatens, harasses, and intimidates you, cut all ties with them immediately for your own good. Use the in-game block and reporting tools as needed (use the Verbal Abuse option) if they keep harassing you.

If you're getting stressed out over RP for any reason, step back from it, take a break for a while, and try not to take it too seriously unless someone is going out of their way to harass you. After all, the point of roleplaying is to have fun creating stories with others and potentially form friendships as well.

Still too shy to try out the in-game public roleplaying scene, but still want to RP in-game? Don't worry; there are ways to RP in-game without being scrutinized by everyone around (for example, putting both IC dialogue and text into certain chat channels, such as /whisper, /party, or at the largest, /guild channel). Additionally, there are special places one could use to roleplay in-game, with a party of five or less. Not into in-game roleplaying? There are communities dedicated to roleplaying in other formats outside the game itself. I'll be covering those topics soon in another article or two. Until then, don't be afraid to dabble in the in-game RP scene and have some fun!

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