Posted by: Sean | January 25, 2009

Katafray Project Experiment #1: Katafray’s Perspective

So, all up? Katafray did damn well out of her starting journey.

Setting up on Ammen Vale, we reviewed the rules of the experiment (“Roleplay with everyone, no matter how silly their name is. Keep notes. Keep going until level 10.”) and then set out into the world, managing to hold onto two of those three rules. Sadly, connection issues plagued us at the end.

KatafraySZ1.jpgUpon setting out I pretty quickly came upon one draenei mage with a fairly ‘silly’ name. Adhering to the rules, I attempted role-play with him, praising the Naaru that he had survived the crash of the Exodar. I got… no response at all. It was a trifle disheartening, but I’d pretty much expected this. The next encounter, though, was worse than I’d even expected. Running into a shaman whose name broke one of my cardinal rules of naming (ie. You should not be able to deduce a character’s class and race from their name) I tried a similar opening and was greeted with a very simple response, which I quote below:

wtf

Sterling stuff. I tried to continue the conversation and asked if he was hurt. His reply was two letters long and negative. It also lacked capitals.

This was looking like it was going to be a long night.

With some heavy heart, I hopped into questing, smashing into a variety of moths, flowers and bunny rabbits (mutated). As I continued, though, I did run into a hunter, and offered a gentle, “Another survivor. Praise be to the Naaru. Are you hurt?”

The heavens opened. For I got, “No.. no. I’m alright. Just a little shaken.”

We had role-play. Repeat. We had role-play.

That said, it didn’t last for long, sadly. While she brushed me off with tremendous grace (as well as full punctuation and correct grammar) it was pretty clear that she was either not interested in role-playing with me right now, or was not a role-player. (But faked one well!)

KatafraySZ2.jpg

Still, emboldened by the success, I kept trying and then hit paydirt when I noticed a warrior appear at the starting point. Rushing to the point, I emoted pulling him out of the wreckage, calling to him and asking him if he could hear me. He responded really well to the role-play, and I helped him limp down to the first quest giver. It was a great scene, and we really got into it. In addition, we spotted a mage pop up too, and we both helped her out.

These two were the real deal. (It turned out they were a couple who were playing together.) And they dropped a nice bombshell for our group – Both agreed that ‘[SERVER NAME] was a Horde role-play server’; that [SERVER NAME]‘s Alliance Side was not regarded as a great role-play location. This was interesting to know, although it didn’t stop our ambitions to change that. We continued to quest together a while with some really great role-play down the line, although the mage left fairly early on. Eventually, I chose to leave the group as I feared I’d end up overlooking someone else. Still, it was a solid, definite role-play of good quality. I was very happy about it.

KatafraySZ3.jpg

Sadly, this would not be repeated for quite a while. I managed to blow through the entirety of Ammen Vale with only spotting a hunter with a siamese cat (she didn’t respond to my observation that some of the ‘local wildlife’ seemed to be following her) and another hunter without one. (Who didn’t respond at all.)

After reaching Azure Watch, I met a priest with what I considered a ‘silly’ name. Internally, I admit, I wrote her off. But, based on our “role-play with everyone’ rule, I engaged her quickly, complaining about all the running around.

I was astounded by how well it worked.

The priestess was, granted, not the best typist in the world. (No caps, which I usually punish heavily for.) But she really gave it her all! She responded well, speculated with me about the fate of the other sections of the Exodar, and commented on how heavy all that mail I wore must be. I role-played with her Frosty pet, and had it peck my fingers no matter how nice I was to it. (And, in a nice touch, she explained how she found him “encased in a chunk of ice that had floated up on shore”. Hey, why not? It worked.)

I proceeded to role-play with her for the rest of my time in the game, which was sadly cut short as connection issues brought down half of our Project members and it was agreed to finish the project for now.

My overall stats were:

Levels gained: 7.
Characters approached: 11
Characters ignored by: 4
Characters rudely brushed off by: 1
Characters politely brushed off by: 2
Characters role-played with: 4

So, what did I take from my experiences?

1. There’s still very little difference between the races, as I’ve noted before, when it comes to role-play. People tend to pick races for the same reasons non-role players do: They like how one race looks, the racials are nifty, or otherwise. As such, role-players are mostly evenly spread through all the races. Why do we think the humans and night elves are where most role-players are? Because most players, role-playing or otherwise, pick them. We think back over our play and remember lots of humans playing, or night elves, and we think “that must be what all the role-players pick” when, in reality, it’s just what most players pick.

2. I have a new theory of starting zones. I think there’s sometimes not a lot of role-play in starting zones because people think there’s not a lot of role-play in starting zones. They rush to the city to find role-play… but in the process perpetuate the very problem that causes them to rush.

3. You shouldn’t write anyone off. Even the people who you’d swear aren’t role-players just might surprise you.

To everyone who role-played with me tonight, thank you. You made it a very enjoyable experience.

Edit: Yup, I gave away our server name. To anyone who caught it, well done.

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Responses

  1. A very well-done article and I’m very interested to see how the rest of this project turns out. I do have to agree with your 3rd point a great deal, as I’ve ended up having some very good roleplaying opportunities with players whose characters I would otherwise write off as “downright silly” and “lolwuters”. Again, excellent article!

  2. Great entry! I think the lesson we will all learn from this experiment is to set aside our assumptions and stop creating self fulfilling prophecies. And to just role-play our little hearts out.

    Because if we our to act on the perception that one race is more popular than others when it comes to role-play or think starting zones offer little to us or that a person’s name or whatever indicates their level of role-play potential. Then we will ultimately make all that come true, as we shall pick the perceived popular races most, blast through the starting zones and ignore players we look to as lacking in that department.

    Just look at servers and how they are usually looked to as good for either Alliance or Horde. Or just a great place for role-play in general. As they are a clear example of perception becoming reality, in most cases.

    ………………………

    In the end, we always must remember that good role-play is where we make it, not where we think we’ll find it. And if anything, this project will show that to be very true.

  3. City of Heroes has no dedicated RP servers, and by the look of it, World of Warcraft has them in name only.

    In a way, it’s a good thing. If ONLY roleplayers played on RP servers, you’d have a severe underpopulation problem, by the look of it.

  4. I “caught it,” but didn’t want to embarrass anyone.


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