Posted by: Sean | October 9, 2008

Honor (and shame, and mischief) in Combat – The Art of Emoting

Cyrna posts on an excellent non role-play concern: The overuse of the /spit emote in World of Warcraft, and the lack of respect it shows. She’s absolutely right, of course, although I suspect her audience, and ours, aren’t exactly the kind of people who need to hear this message. (And truth be told, it’s not the post-combat behavior I have the greatest problem with. That honor belongs to the people who utter, “lol” after defeating you in a duel – Nothing is quite so enraging.) Still, it is true that your use of emotes says a lot about your character; and if you’re a role-player, your character’s character.

Which, of course, means /spit might very well be appropriate at least some of the time. I can think of a few types of character who might /spit on a fallen foe – A Scarlet Crusader killing a forsaken character is probably likely to perform some act of contempt, even if the fallen forsaken fought well. That forsaken in turn might spit on a human corpse in equal contempt. But really, can you imagine a hardened orcish warrior doing so? There’s lots of ways he might react – A bestial raging beserker might /roar in anticipation of the next kill, or a dedicated soldier might /salute his fallen foe. Either of those could work. But /spitting? Nah, I can’t see it.

It’s a shame, since unless there’s a really surprising backflip from Blizzard on inter-faction speech (which I, for one, would not support), the emote is the only way you can communicate cross-faction. (Apart from the internationally understood language of violence.) As such, it’s one of the few ways you can characterise yourself to the opposing faction, and this can be a lot of fun.

One of the most hilarious sequences I’ve ever enjoyed as a role-player was when my undead warrior, the honorable Baron Ligradi DeMontafe, wound up in Teldrassil. Truthfully, I just wanted to see if I could get there. But the role-playing justification I created was that, well, he got lost. As such, the bewildered night elves were confronting with a shambling corpse alternately /sobbing, expplaining that he was /lost, and looking /confused. Some of the night elves quickly recoiled and ran. (Or maybe they just decided they didn’t want to play along with my impromptu role-play.) Others, however, got into it, offering /comfort and waving as if to say, /followme. While in the end it didn’t really go anywhere, it was none the less a tremendously fun day.

But what about in combat? Well, Ligradi’s a rum one. Deeply impulsive, he /charges down any enemy he can find, although frequently he will /salute one before battle. This is especially true in PVP, since I want to create the impression of a deeply honorable warrior. If I win (which isn’t that often) then he will /kneel before his fallen foe in tribute. Overall, I kind of hope my opponent, while annoyed at dying, to think, “Well, can’t say he didn’t fight fair.” And Ligradi does fight fair; he won’t attack enemies being attacked by other monsters, although he will step in to help out another Horde fighter.

The same can not be said for my gnomish rogue, Fulthruttle McKenzie Winterspring. Unlike the honorable Ligradi, she is, while cute and lovable in her own way, a rogue. She is on record as noting that she fights, “So that they die, not me.” As such (apart from attacking while another monster is attacking the character; she’ll take any edge she can find) if she emotes at all following a battle, it will be a sigh of /relief. However, since I refuse to attack anyone whom won’t give me any honor as a matter of ethical principle, I often use Sap and the /kiss command as a cheeky way to demonstrate her more mischevious side. After all, if you’re not going to get any tangible benefit from a kill, why not do something other than a standard gank? Sheep them, /pat them, and then move on. DoT them to within an inch of their life, /cackle and /taunt them, then leave. After all, any fool can just kill someone randomly. People with style let their opponents live to tell the tale.

You can, however, also be vicious with an /emote and have the same style. One time, Fulthruttle got absolutely demolished by a similarly leveled Blood Elf rogue whom, seriously, was an unbelievable opponent. He didn’t laugh once she died. Oh no. He stunlocked her, and while she was /gouged, then he /laughed in her face. That’s nasty… and I like it.

Or you can be gentle about it. My priestess Tahowra /prays for the souls of her fallen opponents. Equally good.

At Cyrna’s post, she offers an excellent collection of useful /emotes to offer after killing an opponent. Go over there and think through which one your character would use, and what it says about them. Done right, not only will you stand out from the whole tiresome /spitting, /laughing crowd.

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