Posted by: Sean | May 18, 2009

How to Run: A Party! Woo, yeah! Partay!

It’s Spring, and Summer is fast approaching, and maybe you’re thinking about throwing a pool party as a role-play event. And if you’re not, why not? There’s lots of great lakes and areas to hold a party.

Oh, you’re not holding it because running parties is a huge pain and they tend not to be fun at all?

Yeah, I don’t blame you.

Sigh. It says something that running a fun murder is easier than running a fun party. The problem is the basic structure of a role-play event, which we’ve discussed before:

  1. Periods of closed role-play, in which a leader of the event directs others in order to advance the plot of the event; which are interspersed with;
  2. Periods of open play in which everyone is invited to do their own thing, so that everyone gets the chance to role-play and enjoy the event.

Parties are really big on the second, and short on the first in real life. If it’s a birthday party, at least there’s some structured events. Presents get opened, speeches get made, etc. But a party for the sake of a party is really about everyone showing up, doin’ their thing, and having fun. This is difficult in Warcraft because, well, in real life? Getting a bit drunk is fun. In Warcraft? Eh, not so much. In real life, roughhousing about? Fun. Warcraft? Well, you can duel, I suppose. But it’s not as carefree.

The fact is that Warcraft is a universe designed for raiding, PVP and usual MMORPG stuff. That’s where the fun is. It’s not the kind of fun that screams “Part-ay”.

That said, it can be done. Here are a few tips.

  • The new Cooking Items are a blessing. Fish Feast is perfect for a lakeside swimming party. The other feasts have similar value. Yes, they’re not like a mage table where you can pull food from them, move over, sit and eat, but hey, you can pretend. These suggest large amounts of buffet style food, which is much better than our old technique for food distribution: Having servers trade food items to people.
  • Engineering toys are awesome. Three words: STEAM TONK, BABY! Steam Tonks are dead cheap to make, they’re a hoot at any party, and best of all: Non-engineers can use them. A must for every party.
  • If you’re going to run games, run ’em quick. At one party, I thought we could play a game wherein we’d need to name various lore characters in Warcraft, a typical party game. It bogged down FAST until another person at the group suggested grossly speeding up the timer, to maybe 5 seconds. Keep games moving. You’d be stunned how much longer things take in Warcraft.
  • Consider letting the Darkmoon Faire run your party for you. Seriously. They have tonks, a cannon, cheap booze and other fun available. They’re a great place to throw a party.
  • Consider making your party a smokescreen. This is one of the best ideas. Don’t run a party as a party. Run a party as part of a wider plot. Have someone secretly murdered with a pen. Plan elaborate hand-offs of illicit artefacts there. And if they do, let others discover it for extra fun.
  • Relax. Parties in Warcraft don’t look like parties in the real world. Don’t stress that your party isn’t going right. People are probably having more fun than you’d think.

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