This week's Escapist has several
excellent pieces on roleplaying and WoW. Mark Wallace's "In Celebration of the Inner Rogue" looks at the
connection between player and avatar -- when you play, do you think of your character as "you" or
"him"? If the answer's "her", then Chris Dahlen's "I Enjoy Playing a Girl" might be up your street.
Tying in with our discussion of female avatars, it's one gender-bender's story of girl power.
More on the RP side, John Tynes' "The Contrarian: Masks in the Woods" focuses on RP guilds in WoW, amongst other things. Finally, Will Hindmarch's "Roleplayer in Azeroth" talks about WoW from a D&Der's perspective -- why it's not an RPG, and yet at the same time fulfils the same "escapism amongst friends" role as tabletop D&D.
Roleplaying and gaming have a rich history together, and WoW provides a detailed framework for RP. These articles only serve to highlight the depth of role-playing one can achieve ingame. It's a shame, then, that Blizzard have so few RP servers, and that RP isn't enforced on these servers. I remember MUDs where if you spoke OOC in general chat then you were instantly kicked; is a crackdown needed, or will player policing eventually weed out the non-RP players?