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All the World's a Stage: Roleplaying Q&A

Anne Stickney

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.

Since Cataclysm's launch, we've covered a lot of information for new and beginning roleplayers and addressed issues that affect everyone who roleplays, from rank amateurs to experienced roleplayers who've been doing this for years. Today we're going to take a break from the tutorials and instead take a look at some of the questions you guys have been asking in the comments section and hopefully give a few answers that will help. So let's get to it, shall we?

Rhogan asks, in regards to What does your character know?:

What about if your character has actually lived through many of the events -- say, TBC/Wrath/part of Cata? My draenei was once a paladin and is now a Lore Keeper, in terms of RP roles. He actually studied all the Azerothian history he possibly could during his time "leveling up" in Azeroth.

Does that mean he has that knowledge at hand? Or does it means he knows a lot, but there still has to be things he can't possibly know? I don't know, it confuses me.

That's a good question! Draenei are a tricky race, because their interactions with Azeroth are fairly limited -- they only became aware of Azeroth's existence some time after the Second War, when the Alliance forces came through the Dark Portal. Even then, they didn't really interact with the natives of Azeroth in any great detail until the launch of The Burning Crusade, so knowledge of Azeroth would be relatively small.

Keep in mind that your character's knowledge is limited to what he's experienced. If he's played through events in The Burning Crusade, he'd know about what occurred during that time period -- but only in regards to what he had personal experience with.

What I like to do is pick and choose the quests, zones, and events that would have had a major impact on my character. Anything that directly affected my character's frame of mind, anything that caused her to think differently, anything that made for a major "a-ha!" moment was integrated into my character's memories, because it had that direct effect. In real life, we don't remember every moment of every day, but when something happens that is a major, eye-opening moment or something that challenges our way of thinking, we tend to remember it vividly.

As for Azeroth's historians out there, it's a matter of keeping a realistic set of limits for your character's intelligence. Again, if you think of it in terms of real life, it makes it easier. Think of the sum of all knowledge in the world as a giant, interlocking puzzle. Each aspect of knowledge we carry is only one piece of that puzzle. Nobody in the world knows every puzzle piece of that puzzle -- we all know various sections of it, but in relation to that giant puzzle, what we know is relatively small.

With Warcraft, the sum of all lore and history in Azeroth makes up that giant puzzle. It would be incredibly unrealistic for a character to know the entire puzzle, even if the player knows how it all locks together. The draenei are going into the Alliance knowing absolutely none of that puzzle at all -- so it'd be a little far-fetched for a draenei to pick up all of Azeroth's history in the few short years that he or she's been on Azeroth. So pick and choose pieces of that puzzle, find the elements of history that fascinate your character, and focus on those.

Windhorn asks, in regards to Sealed with a KISS:
1. Is it unlikely that your blood elf would like to be in the Horde?
2. Would a blood elf magister be able to be in the Horde army?
3. Is it frowned upon if you live somewhere else than Quel'Thalas?
4. How would a blood elf ambassador feel about the other races? Would he have enough experiences to have a positive view about the other races of the Horde?
Blood elves, much like draenei, are a little tricky. With draenei, we're dealing with an alien race that had no real knowledge of Azeroth until they went through the Dark Portal at the end of the Second War and tried to fix the orc problem on Draenor. With the blood elves, it's a matter of playing a race that once allied with one side of the equation and now allies with the other side.

As far as blood elves and the Horde go, the blood elves joined the Horde because they were at the end of their rope. Their race had been largely decimated when Arthas plowed through Quel'Thalas and destroyed the Sunwell; their leader had left for another world in order to find a solution to their problems. Blood elves, formerly high elves, are generally regarded as a reclusive race -- they don't really enjoy allying with anyone. In history, the high elves originally allied with the humans back during the Troll Wars because the trolls were a major threat to both high elf and human civilization, and the high elves couldn't handle the trolls on their own.

After the war was over, the high elves made a pact to help the leader of the humans at the time. Thousands of years later, the last descendant of that human leader suddenly showed up on the high elves' doorstep asking for help again. As a reclusive race, the high elves would really rather have left the humans to their own devices, but they were honor-bound to assist -- that's why they joined with the Alliance. They didn't particularly care to; they had to in order to fulfill their promise. After the Second War was over, the high elves went back to Quel'Thalas and didn't give the humans a second thought.

When Arthas paved the Dead Scar through Quel'Thalas to reach the Sunwell, it took the high elves completely by surprise. The humans of Lordaeron did nothing to help, largely because they were embroiled in their own conflicts at the time. After the destruction of the Sunwell, the high elves (now blood elves) were basically a shattered civilization. They tried to help out the humans, and the humans weren't exactly polite in return -- so the blood elves once again withdrew. They joined with the Horde because joining with the Alliance was no longer an option.

Would your blood elf like to be in the Horde? That depends on his or her political view. If he's anxious to rebuild and survive, he's probably thankful for all the help the blood elves can get. If he's a typical blood elf, he'd rather be left alone -- but in light of the sheer devastation that the blood elf race suffered, he's probably aware that there's no other option. The blood elves didn't join with the Horde out of any great wish to do so; they did it because they needed help, and the Horde was the faction willing to lend a hand.

To that end, all blood elves that are useful would definitely be used to bolster the Horde's forces. However, given Garrosh's current point of view of blood elves, it's unlikely that a blood elf could join the Horde army proper, simply because they're small, relatively fragile, and thus not much use in combat situations. Think about it -- if you had your choice between a bodybuilder or a man built like a 13-year-old boy, which would you rather shove out there to fight hand to hand with the enemy?

As far as living in places other than Quel'Thalas, I doubt it would be frowned upon. Since The Burning Crusade, the blood elves have been trying to establish their own place in the world. Not all blood elves believe that locking themselves away from the world is a preferable option; not all blood elves are self-absorbed. In fact, the blood elves would probably like to know more about the people they've chosen to ally with, purely for their own interests -- obviously, they didn't know much about the human race, and look what that led them to. So no, I don't think it'd be frowned upon for your blood elf to take up another place of residence -- just keep in mind that all blood elves originally came from Quel'Thalas. Any resettlement would have happened after The Burning Crusade, when the blood elves began to reach out from their seclusion.

That leads into your last question regarding ambassadors. By default, an ambassador is a representative of his respective race, and he is seeking to strengthen alliances, not weaken them. An ambassador is generally the best representative of his race, and as a result, someone who automatically doesn't trust or otherwise like the other races in the Horde wouldn't be chosen for that position.

As a reclusive race, the blood elves wouldn't really know much about the other Horde races. They do know the Forsaken to a degree, because the Forsaken were the first to offer their assistance, and the Forsaken are also led by the former Ranger General of Silvermoon. Though now undead, Sylvanas died defending her home, so there's a thin level of trust there. As for the other Horde races, they were a blank slate when the blood elves joined the Horde.

Ambassadors aren't just representing their respective races; they're also seeking to understand their allies, so there has to be a degree of trust present there. How an ambassador feels about a particular race is up to individual interpretation; whatever experiences your ambassador has would color his impressions of the races.

For more information about blood elf history, you make want to check out the Blood Elf Politics article from Know Your Lore.

Pryn asks, in regards to If someone asks you if you're a god:

This article touches on an issue on my own server of late, where guilds that would be involved in public service sort of RP (where they are approachable for a particular type of RP, and mostly styled on lore based organizations) have been broadcasting "rules" and trying to impose them on other RPers in the area regardless of if the other RPers are engaging with their guild or not.

What do you do when a guild known for providing RP to the community takes it upon itself to dictate to the community in a way that imposes both on other RPers and on the lore and mechanics of an area in game?
This is a tricky topic. Public areas are just that: public -- so you can't really dictate what goes on in that area, nor can you dictate what kind of RP happens in that area. It all comes down to being considerate to your fellow roleplayers. If you want to RP in a public area, by all means you are free to do so. If someone comes up and starts to godmode or otherwise interfere with your RP, you can address them via whisper and politely ask them to leave. The key here is "polite"; you don't want to lash out at fellow roleplayers in a way that could escalate the situation. If they insist on continuing to godmode, again inform them -- politely, of course -- that they are interfering with your RP, and you would prefer it if they'd leave. If they continue, you can viably report them for harassment.

Public RP guilds are generally trying to foster RP, and nine times out of 10, they don't mean to be offensive, and they don't want to infringe upon the roleplay of others. However, overzealous guilds sometimes get out of hand. Keep in mind whether you are interacting with a public roleplay guild or you are a member of one of these guilds, being polite and considerate to those around you is a must in a social activity like RP. Not everyone's roleplaying styles are going to mesh, and not everyone is going to get along. Simply interact with those you wish to play with, and don't try to enforce rules on those you don't.

If you have any questions regarding roleplay, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I may do more of these Q&A posts in the future if I get a good response. Happy roleplaying!

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!

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