Posted by: Jess Riley | October 9, 2008

Questions Answered: Practicality vs. Concept

Sagaril posed to us the question of:

How can you stay true to your concept without making playing in non-RP situations essentially impossible?

Firstly, I’d like to note that we have briefly touched on this idea of refusing to do certain things in play and how that can enhance a character. However, I realise in hindsight that I was silent on the subject of how to do this without making it absurdly difficult to play in non-RP situations.

This leads me on to my second point. The short answer here is unfortunate, but true: sometimes, you can’t. It is fantastic roleplaying to play a Holy priest who never uses a Shadow spell, but the flipside to this is that you have to acknowledge is that this is going to make it worlds harder to solo your priest. Engineering may be the best profession for your character, but it will make it that much harder to start anew because of the expenses it can incur.

This is a very boring answer, though, and it ignores a lot of important factors to simply leave this as the answer. (Not to mention, if that were all I had to say on the subject of roleplaying, I really have no business writing for a World of Warcraft blog). It is important to get that out, though: despite everything else, playing something impractical for pure RP reasons can get in the way of good non-RP play, and there’s no solid way to get around that.

Now, what can you do to turn it from ‘absurdly difficult’ to merely a minor setback, from ‘impossible’ to merely difficult? Well, I suppose that all depends on (yes, I know) what your character is like, when it comes down to it, but here’s a few ideas:

1) If there’s a time when you don’t feel like actively roleplaying, take some time to level out-of-character. This won’t help things like being specced poorly for leveling, but it can help ease the pain of, say, having expensive or counter-intuitive professions. Additionally, if you want to play a Holy Priest who doesn’t use Shadow Spells, if you feel like cheating a little, you can always learn the spells and only use them when you’re OOC.

This technique isn’t going to be for everyone, however. Personally, whenever I get on the game I want to be actively roleplaying, and whenever I don’t feel like roleplaying, I just play a character on a non-roleplay server. If you really want to dedicate some time to improving your character OOCly, there’s no problem with that at all – I’d just recommend touching base with anyone who wants to roleplay with you and letting them know that you’re not in an RP mood if it comes up.

2) Find a good guild. Not all characters are going to suit this idea either, but if it makes sense for your character to be signing on with a particular guild, then doing so can really alleviate any problems that you’re suffering because of your self-enforced challenges. Financial support can be provided if you need it, and running mates can help you to level quicker if that’s what you’re after.

If your character is something of a loner, or too prideful to accept help, or other kinds of setbacks, but a good roleplay guild will help to get you where you want despite any conceptual decisions you’ve made that make it difficult to go it alone.

3) Find a friend, and run with them. Now, this is something I do all the time, but that a lot of other people probably don’t. It’s so much easier to play certain kinds of characters when you’re constantly in the company of someone who complements you. A Holy-only priest runs much better in the company of a tank, a Protection warrior runs better in the company of good DPS and/or healing. Your professions can also complement one another to some degree, if you decide to take this road.

This is probably the most difficult to orchestrate, so I mention it more for completeness than seriously. This really only works if your running mate keeps very similar hours to you, and so usually you can only do it if you know the person in real life. So, if you want to get a friend into World of Warcraft? Great! Got a friend who plays that you want to spend more time with on the game? Awesome! It’s probably not useful if you’re not close with anyone else who plays. On the other hand, this also ties in with the guild suggestion; if you end up keeping similar hours with a guildmate, you can run together frequently to make soloing in PVE easier if you’re not well-specced for it.

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