Roleplaying FAQ

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An extremely detailed FAQ on roleplaying. Originally based on the forum thread found at the World of Warcraft roleplaying forum. The credits for the original FAQ go to Chro, Mortiz, Nycte, Scarletbeard, Intuki, Karathos, Rhi, Silvermist, Hurbert, Skyfire, Malverity, Shabadu, and Elianna.

See also:


Role Playing FAQ

Role Playing FAQ thread by (Chro, Level 38 Human Rogue, Guild: Night Blades, Realm: Feathermoon):


Every day the Role-Playing forums get the same questions over and over again. In this article the most common questions will be answered for the betterment of those who are new.

If you are simply looking for the rules of the Role-Playing servers, please read this:

Also included in this FAQ is a guide to Role Playing on the forums. It can be found here:

What is Role-Playing? (RP)

-Role Playing is when you act out a specific character In-Game or in a Role-Playing thread. Basically you are an actor in an unscripted environment and act as you think your avatar would.

What is the difference between a PvE server and RP server?

-A PvE server is one in which you simply play the game as a game, leveling and looking for loot. An RP server is different only in the fact that you are required to Role-Play as your character. If you are caught going Out-Of-Character too often and in the wrong ways you can, and probably will be reported for it.

The game mechanics, however, are the exact same for these two servers.

Is there a PvP Role-Playing server?

-Yes, the Patch 1.8 has added the RP-PvP server type. Their number will grow over time.

Ok then, can I still participate in PvP on a RP server?

-Absolutely. In fact there are many guilds devoted to PvP on RP servers. Many think that for a true RP environment players should always be flagged for PvP. Others even have called for a Free For All RP server, but don't expect that to happen anytime soon.

Ok, I've got down Role-Playing in-Game, but what about the forum Role-Playing?

-Role-Playing on these forums is done in written form. It is best to give an example of it instead of trying to explain it.

-Bad RP:
Billy Zepher comes into the room.
hey everyone he says. We need to go now They all walk out the door.

-Good RP
The door creaks open as Billy Zepher quietly slips into the room, waving shyly to those inside. "Excuse me," he says meekly. "Sorry to interrupt, but we need to be going soon."

The first example uses poor description, In-Game emotes, and little grammar. It also 'God-Modes,' meaning that your post uses the other people's characters without their consent. The second example is descriptive, even though it is short and most posts are preferred at least a paragraph. It also gives the other players a chance to respond and take action.

What are good RP Names? I want to use real ones, but not like 'Fred' or 'Bobertthegreat'.

- is a great resource. The randomizer can also generate great names for your race.

What does OOC stand for?

-OOC stands for Out of Character. If something happens in which you need to leave the game or if you want to explain something to someone, this is the way you do it. It can be displayed in several forms.

-OOC: I have to go to the bathroom.

-(I have to go to the bathroom)

-((I have to go to the bathroom))

-The third version is the most preferred, as it is easily recognizable as OOC. In the game, you should probably use OOC talk in /party or in a whisper, as people tend to get ticked when they see it in /say.

So what is IC then?

-IC stands for In Character. Basically whenever you are role-playing you are In Character. It is a good thing to note that when a person acts like a jerk or starts flirting with you, it may have nothing to do with the actual person behind the avatar, just how the character would act. It is wise not to become offended by anything someone does In Character.

The rules say I need a storyline. Do I have to write out a five page essay and submit it to make my character?

-This just means that your character has to have come from somewhere. You don't have to have a glorious past, and you probably shouldn't as you'll be starting at level 1. You could be fresh off a farm, or just came of age. Just make sure your character didn't pop into being when you hit the 'create character' button.

I just got totally flamed for a thread I made!

You most likely posted one of the following threads that are not generally accepted in the RP community.

- A Personal Ad
These threads are the kind that are "Looking for Love". You are in the wrong place for that kind of thing.

- An Anti-Roleplay Thread
This most likely doesn't need an explanation at all. Frankly, if you are just here to make fun of roleplayers, you are just itching for a fight.

- A "What is RP?" Thread
These are threads that ask questions that are so trivial, and/or so common, that its obvious that the poster hasn't take a moment to read the FAQ.

- A Completely Off Topic Thread
Often, many of the threads that should be put in the off-topic forums get dumped in here. Most RPers don't take to kindly to this. If you are courteous, and avoid the preceding threads, you will most likely not be flamed.

I just got yelled at for not knowing the lore of Warcraft. Is there a place I can learn it?

-Yes. Blizzard has a full history on the world of Azeroth on the website. You can find it here-

Ok, I just got reported for being out of character! I have a troll character and all I said was: "Hey mon, did ya be seeing dat movie "Dude, Where's My Car?"

-Adding an accent does not mean that you have a solid character. An accent does not hurt at all, but a character it does not make.

-Also talking about things your character would have no knowledge of (movies and such) is OOC in any case, accent or not. Similarly, a dwarf or troll character may not have a heavy accent at all, and still be believable.

Ok, ok, I know an accent isn't all that makes a character. But I still want mine to have one. What are the race's different accents?

Based on common observations and stereotypes:

-Troll = Jamaican

  • Hey mon, ya need ta be staying away from da voodoo.
  • Watchu want?
  • Dis was me brutha! I an' I be killin' ya now.

-Dwarf = Scottish

  • Aye lass, ye dinna know ale 'til ya try Dwarf ale!
  • I ken yer meanin', but it's a daft idea.
  • Ah, Loch Modan. Always a great sight for me old eyes. Ev'rythin' so neat and tidy, an' tha few beasts around 'ere... we'll be takin' care o' them in no time.

All other races use an American English dialect.

NPC voices have noticeable accents (orcs are gravelly, gnomes are squeaky, Draenei usually have a thick Russian accent), but these can't be expressed in text. Draenei can, to some extent, usually by using bad grammar and replacing 'g' with 'k' in certain places.

Every other race is free to pick an accent they might like within logical boundaries. Troll and Dwarf are the only two with defined stereotype dialects when it comes to accents. Add-ons are available to automatically edit what you type if you feel like cheating.

What kind of Role-Playing goes on on these forums?

-There are several different types.

- Open RP
You are free to join these on-going stories so long as you don't 'God-mode' and you join in a logical fashion.

- Structured RP
In these, the Original Poster is a narrator of sorts. They have a story to tell and try to steer things in the direction they want. If you are uncomfortable with someone else taking mild control of your character, do not join these.

- Story
Just a plain story, or 'fan-fic' as some like to call them. You aren't part of the story, you just read and give a review or compliment.

- Off Topic
These are just casual threads about nothing or something odd. You usually participate as your character, but removed from the world of Azeroth. Not traditional RP and are fairly lacking on the rules. Feel free to blow up, decapitate, or rob blind anyone else most of the time. They'll just come back without explanation (Or at least a really weak one.)

"L0L0L0L!!!1111 I pwo|\|s u N00B!!!!11111" What kind of language is that?

-That is what is known as 'leet speak' and it is not tolerated on the Role-Playing forums. If you post a message in this style on roleplaying forums (or even worse, use such language in the IC channels in-game), you will most likely be ignored, flamed, or even reported.

Ok, I know what RP is now. But why do you guys do it? It seems dumb to me.

-Role Playing adds another level of immersion to the game for some and allows the players to expand the creative side of their mind. However, some players may prefer less immersed, more laid-back style of playing, or simply focus on other aspects of the game. These players would feel more at home on non-RP realms and outside of the roleplaying forums.

I want to Role Play, but I don't have good spelling.

-That's OK. Just keep writing and asking people to correct your words and you'll do fine. And if you want to be aggressive about getting good at spelling, type up all of your posts on a word processor and spell-check. You'll get better in no time. So long as you make a genuine effort, others should accept you and try to help you along.

What is the best RP server?

We would all like to say that our own is, but it is a matter of opinion. Try a few and see which fits you, though you will probably need to get up some levels before you can tell what kind of RP goes on there. Be mindful that many old RP servers are full and suffer lots of lag and downtime, so a newer one might be preferable.

Is it true that Trolls and Night Elves came from a common ancestor?

This is a hot topic for those concerned with RPing, but for now the roleplayers have come to the conclusion that there is not enough hard and fast lore (or at least lore that doesn't contradict itself) provided by Blizzard to make any concrete conclusion.

I'm looking for a guild, what's the difference between Light, Medium and Heavy RP?

These definitions are tough to classify as to the meaning. In general, always read as much as you can of what the guild says about themselves and how they say it, plus chat with some members prior to joining. There is a lot of variations within each classification of RP type. However, some common traits can still be found that define the "heaviness" of RP:

Heavy RP
Characters are expected to remain in character at all times – in /say, /yell, /party, /guild, etc... There may be a special channel setup for out of character (OOC) discussions or the guild may allow members to use ((OOC discussion info)) style notations in guild chat or only allow OOC in 1 on 1 situations via /whisper. Some may have rules about how you can RP, others may have rules against telling someone how they can RP so there are personality variations between guilds. The activities such a guild gets involved in may range from story telling – in pubs or chat channels – through end-game raiding and/or PvP in battlegrounds or around the world. When looking to join a Heavy RP guild, it is best to chat with a member a bit about their activities first – if you’re into story telling, a guild that does battlegrounds or raids may not be a good fit or visa versa.
Medium RP
Characters are expected to remain in character MOST of the time but always in /say, /yell or other situations. OOC may be allowed in guild chat, as normal conversation, or may require (( )) style notation when speaking out of character. In general, Heavy and Medium RP guilds tend to have many of the same properties but Medium RP guilds are a bit more tolerant of slips. Medium RP guilds may also use Ventrilo/Team-Speak servers, or the like, where it is 100% OOC and tend to be 100% OOC when raiding in /raid chat.
Light RP
This “classification” of guilds tends to range from folks that deal with role-playing lightly through the “Anti-RP” types that verbally attack role-players or sneer/snicker at them. Often folks who are new to role-playing and are interested in the idea of trying it out, look for a Light RP guild to "learn the ropes" and "try it out" and some guilds encourage this but many don't. It is usually best to read the guilds statement about itself and “look for the signs” such as a blunt statement of “no RP”, “separate RP channel provided”, through “encouraged by the guild”. Most light RP guilds don’t require nor desire any RP in guild chat channels nor groups, parties or raid channels. Some are into the lore of the world and will discuss the subject whereas others aren’t interested in anything but playing the game.
Where it states, “we are indifferent towards role-playing” through the “we don’t tolerate role-playing”. Such an addition would clear up many misunderstandings on actual role-playing. However, it should be stressed that communities that "don't tolerate role-playing" are not welcome on RP realms, and posting recruitment threads for such communities on RP realm forums will most likely end in the thread being closed.


Do I have to play only a playable character on the forums? Say I want to play a goblin, but my avatar has a Night Elf?

-On the forums it is perfectly acceptable to role-play as a no-playable race. However, be aware that some people may become confused by your avatar, so make sure you clearly state what species you are.

Someone called me a troll here on the forums while I'm clearly a Tauren! (Or Murloc if is April 1st.) What gives?

-A forum troll is someone who basically goes through the forum posting stupid replies and acts like a jerk. They want a fight and are willing to ruin other people's experience to get it. Trolls will be shot, hung, shot with an accursed shotgun again, and then fed to the In-Game trolls.

Hey! My role-playing topic is gone! What gives?

-If your topic does not receive any replies after about a week, it will be deleted. This is to keep the forums from getting too congested.

I don't want that to happen. Can I bump my own topic?

-Bumping your own topic is acceptable, but not suggested. However, if you are going to bump it, don't just say "Bump." Make another addition to your story/Open RP/whatever. It will keep you from seeming desperate.
Also, there is a thing called a 'stealth bump.' You bump the thread and then delete your post, and no-one knows you bumped it. It is kind of smarmy and probably will be looked down upon, so only do that to keep your thread alive and concise if you must.
Stealth bumps are impossible on the new World of Warcraft forums.

What kind of topics aren't allowed here?

-If you have a question about the mechanics of the game or the forums, you had better ask it on general. If you want to see something added to the game, put it in the suggestions forum. Most forums are self explanatory, so only post here if you have something related to role-playing.


I role-played a character on Everquest/City of Heroes/ whatever. Can I play the same character here?

-It is possible, but you must make sure that you change the character to fit Azeroth's settings. In other words, don't try to pass yourself off as a monk from another game, play it as a druid or something similar.

Are there any other times when I should talk out of character?

A good time is probably when feelings or relationships are at stake, as well as when your In-Game decisions differ drastically from your real life ones. For example:

  • A paladin and a warlock enter the room. Both alliance*

Paladin: A warlock! Foul demon caster!
Warlock: I am just passing though Paladin. What do you want? ((What have I done to you?))
Paladin: I saw you fighting earlier! You were killed by a spider three seasons under you! You need my assistance!

This scene would much better go as:

  • A paladin and a warlock enter the room. Both alliance*

Paladin: A warlock! Foul demon caster!
Warlock: I am just passing though Paladin. What do you want? (What have I done to you?)
Paladin: ((Oh, sorry. Did I come off a bit strong? I must apologize. Anyway, I did see you make a few mistakes. Would you like some help with them? I also play a warlock. ))

Ok then, how about some other OOC times? In which channels can I go OOC in and when?

I'll address each channel of communication separately.

Say is your primary way of Role-Playing. You should attempt to stay In-Character at all times when you /Say anything as those around you can hear. Sometimes, however, you want to say something OOC that you want many people to hear, so in those hopefully rare cases you should always put double brackets around your words.

Never ever go OOC in this form. There is absolutely no reason to do so as you make everyone in the region listen to your comments. Doing this will most likely get you put on many a ignore list, even if you do put brackets around your words.

This is usually your OOC channel if you have a problem that you need answered and there is no need to put brakets around your words when you talk in it as most people know you're OOC. It is alright to Role-Play there as well, just don't expect others to do the same.

Though it is acceptable to do this OOC, you will probably get a bit more respect if you advertise your items in a Role-Playing form. This is another one that is up to you.

/Local Defense
Though many go OOC in this channel, it reflects very well on you if you stay IC while communicating through it. Some roleplayers adopt the idea that your Hearthstone acts as a way to communicate to the channels you tune it to, but that is a personal decision. This is commonly known as the "hearthstone excuse", but not all roleplayers accept it.

/Looking For Group
Like Local Defense, it will probably net you a group much quicker if you stay In-Character. It is ok to do this OOC, but it is in your benefit that you stay IC.

This is generally your OOC form of communication between party members and it is a good idea to stay in /say even though you have this. Use it for communicating across distances or for establishing group tactics.

Whispering is usually the way you tell someone something OOC without disrupting the RP flow of those around you, but it can be a powerful tool for IC communication. put up an emote that says you are whispering to someone and it will pipe the interest of others around you. You can oftentimes also RP through /tells across great distances though you by no means have to, and you must make up an explanation for such long-distance IC communication. In this form it is a good idea to put brackets around your words if they are OOC.

I know you can get reported for spamming. What if I have a really hyper character who tends to be very chatty? Can I get reported?

Most likely not. So long as you stay IC most people will not mind. Sure they might get annoyed by the character, but they aren't allowed to do anything against you so long as you are Role-Playing. Now if you keep saying the same thing over and over and over again it can be reported as spamming, so you better have a darn good IC reason for doing it.

Are there times when I can be completely and totally OOC?

Yes, so long as it is in /tells, /party, an explicit OOC channel, or you place brackets around your words and you are not talking about things in the Real World. Times for this are like when determining group loot rules and during trades. It is, however, to your benefit that you stay IC as often as you can. People will be quite impressed if you pull off some RPing in places they would have never thought possible.

What about stuff like lag and glitches and just all around nasty stuff that is totally RP breaking?

Again, if you can pull RP out of unlikely places, people will remember it and you will look good for it. Though it is ok to go OOC to explain these things, sometimes RPing them can lead to quite a bit of fun.

What is Meta-Gaming and why shouldn't I do it?

Meta-Gaming is when you know things about the world that your character has no way of knowing and you still exploit that knowledge. It is not a good idea to do so as it has no RP basis. It is better that your character heard a rumor from someone sometime that such and such might be somewhere than to say something and have no way to tell them how you know it.