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All the World's a Stage: Plot points for worgen roleplayers

Anne Stickney
Anne Stickney|August 14, 2011 6:00 PM
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

The worgen are the newest race to hit Alliance side, and though they are humans affected by a curse, they aren't exactly the same as your run-of-the-mill humans we've been playing since vanilla. Worgen roleplayers have a ton of information thrown at them during the starting levels, but after the fight is over and everyone's moved on, it seems as though there's not much in the way of excitement or roleplay potential.

That isn't necessarily the case. The main issue I have with worgen -- and to a degree, their Horde counterparts the goblins -- lies in the fact that you are inundated with so much information in those first few levels. The story moves at a frenetic pace, and unless you're paying close attention, it can quickly become an overwhelming experience. Despite the relative lull after the starting experience is over, there is plenty for worgen roleplayers to use, even at level 85.

The fall of Gilneas

What happened The highlight of the worgen starting experience is the conflict between the Forsaken and the citizens of Gilneas. This erupts into a violent war, and it's a war that the worgen lose. The last thing a worgen roleplayer does in the worgen starting area is leave his homeland, with doubts as to whether or not it will ever be recoverable.

How this affects your character Gilneas is a kingdom that exhibits and highlights introverts at their finest. The Greymane Wall wasn't built for protection so much as it was constructed to keep the rest of the world out of Gilneas. Gilnean citizens are generally proud of their city and their homeland -- and don't really care for the rest of the world. There are, of course, exceptions, but the loss of home has the potential to hit a character hard.

What to consider Was your character a supporter of Greymane? Did he love Gilneas with all his heart? How does he feel now that that home has been ripped away? Was it a crushing defeat? Is he upset that he doesn't really have a place to call home, or is he of the opinion that home happens to be wherever he is currently at?

The worgen curse

What happened This is a relative no-brainer. Citizens of Gilneas found themselves afflicted with the curse of the worgen, a disease that caused them to transform into beasts. The worgen starting experience details some of the struggle of coming to terms with the balance between man and beast, and players learn how to transform from human to worgen and back again at this point in time.

How this affects your character Despite the fact that this was resolved during the starting experience, it doesn't mean your character has to be 100% comfortable with his worgen side. This curse isn't just about a physical change; it's about that curious conflict between man and beast, the thinking, logical half of a human being, and the bestial, primal side -- the thinker versus the killer. It's a bizarre dichotomy that isn't really something you resolve in a day or two.

What to consider How does your character view the worgen curse? Is he ashamed or afraid of his bestial side, or does he embrace it? Does the thought of having to deal with this for the rest of his life depress him, or is he making the best of it? Does he treat it with utter seriousness, or does he try to make light of the situation in order to cope?

Strangers in a strange land

What happened Not only were the Gilneans affected by the worgen curse in the starting experience, it was also revealed that this was the fault of the night elves. The night elves assisted the Gilnean people with their efforts against the Forsaken, and when that proved futile, they took the Gilneans across the sea to Darnassus and provided them with shelter and a home. The night elves are a foreign sort of thing to a Gilnean -- they weren't really discovered or spoken to until well after the Greymane Wall was constructed. The same goes for the draenei; these guys are utterly alien to a Gilnean citizen.

How this affects your character There are a few different things to think about with this situation. First, it was the fault of the night elves. They were the reason the Gilneans were even afflicted with this curse -- however, they are doing the best they can to make up for it, even going so far as to offer the former Gilneans a home. Second and almost more importantly, it was the night elves who offered the Gilneans a home, not the humans of Stormwind and the Alliance. And then you've got your neighbors the draenei -- demonic-looking creatures who don't look like anything you've ever encountered in your life.

What to consider How does your character feel about the night elves? Is he bitter and angry at them for even bringing this curse about in the first place? Is he grateful for the assistance, or does he view it as too little, too late? How does he feel about being taken to Darnassus? Does he feel welcome in Darnassus, or does he feel pitied? How does he feel about the draenei? Is he curious about them or frightened of them?

Human nature

What happened Touching on the above, it was the night elves who rescued the Gilneans, not the human portion of the Alliance. Worgen make their home of sorts in Darnassus, and Stormwind doesn't seem to have an open welcoming place within its walls, despite the worgen's being human at heart. There is no Gilnean district in Stormwind, and while that may be a design decision, it can just as easily be made into an opportunity for roleplay and character development.

How this affects your character As a Gilnean, your character has been essentially shut off from the rest of human civilization for the better part of 20 years, at the very least. Either he was a follower of Greymane and considered this a good thing, or he was of the same mindset as Darius Crowley and thought the idea of a wall ridiculous. Regardless of which way he looked at the situation, it has still been a very long time since anyone behind the Greymane Wall has seen another human, much less sat down and had a conversation with one.

What to consider How does your character feel about the Greymane Wall? How does he feel about the rest of human civilization? Does he feel alienated from the rest of human civilization? Does he trust other humans, or does he view them with the same kind of haughty disdain that brought about the construction of the Greymane Wall in the first place? Is he open to talking with non-Gilnean humans, or is he wary of them in general? Is he eager to see what parts of history he missed out on in his isolation, or is it something he simply doesn't view as important or particularly care about?


What happened The worgen have two major things working against them. First and foremost, there is the worgen curse, which obviously affected these humans in a profound way that sets them apart from the rest of the Alliance races, including the humans. The second is that because they are Gilnean, they aren't really known or trusted. Keep in mind, they built a wall closing off their kingdom from the rest of the world. It was an attitude of self-sufficient pride, and that self-sufficiency, that pride that sometimes borders on arrogance, was pretty much the downfall of the Gilnean nation. So it's not just the worgen curse that makes them different; it's the fact that they closed themselves off in the first place.

How this affects your character Your character may or may not be greeted with open arms by other roleplayers. He may be looked at in disgust or even fear in some situations. Even mentioning that he is Gilnean will probably earn him a stare or two -- and that worgen thing? That's going to get a lot of looks as well. Other races, be they human or Alliance in general, may treat your character with a wary uncertainty. On another level, there's a certain degree of culture shock that every Gilnean experiences. While they've been tucked behind that wall quietly going about their business, the world has gone on without them and made some serious strides.

What to consider So how does it feel to be an outcast on not one, but two different levels? Is your character comfortable with speaking with other races? Does he view this as an opportunity to finally see the world, or does he view it as being unwillingly dragged on an adventure he'd rather not have? How does he handle the culture shock? Is he curious about what has happened outside of the wall, or is he bewildered and confused by the sheer amount of history and events? Does he embrace learning, or does it simply frustrate him and make him angry?

The worgen race may have an awful lot thrown at them right off the bat in the starting zone, but it's dripping with potential character development and plot points that can last all the way to level 85 and beyond. Sure, there's an inner conflict going on between man and beast, but beyond that there are layers and layers of other things that former Gilneans have to absorb. Everything that's happened in World of Warcraft to date -- even the events of Warcraft 3 -- all of this information is completely new.

That's the hardest part of roleplaying a worgen. You have to keep in mind that while you as a player know everything that's been going on in Azeroth, your worgen character has absolutely no idea. Every experience, every zone your character travels through while leveling, every person they speak to, every river, every tree, even the sky is something that is utterly new, strange, and completely foreign to that character. It can be delightful, it can be amazing, it can be stunning, it can be frightening -- the reactions are all up to you. And that makes for a uniquely entertaining roleplay experience.

All the World's a Stage is your source for roleplaying ideas, innovations and ironies. Let us help you imagine what it's like to sacrifice spells for the story, totally immerse yourself in your roleplaying or even RP on a non-RP realm!