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Gaming To Hell In A Handbasket

The trials, tribulations and musings of an MMO veteran trying to find the next holy grail.

Author: Strayfe

Strayfe vs. Roleplayers

Posted by Strayfe Wednesday March 11 2009 at 1:56PM
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For this article, I shalt refrain from language most vulgar, as I don the ephemeral visage of a roleplayer of yore.  Yonder miscreant, take heed and accept thy doom, a Strayfe draws near, thy fate is sealed oh hellish beast of a thousand fathoms.

Know thee well my loquacity.  My excessive verbiage shall rend thee asunder 'fore my blade shines in the morning sunlight, and yea, now that I have announced my presence and my purpose, I may finally swing at thee, foul foe!  En garde!

Surgeon General's Warning: Excessive use of the preceding actions may result in unintended side effects, including lexicosis, hyperelitism, misanthropic tendencies, virtual copulation, anti-social behavior, inappropriate accenting of common words, dysphoria, dysfunction, and possibly dysentery.  Consult thine physician before thou undertakest the mighty quest before thee, hero of ages!


Ah, yes.  Roleplayers.  You're walking along, minding your own business, chopping up an orc or two, when Kalanthias Orkkesbane strides purposefully into your field of view.

"I, Kalanthias Orkkesbane, son of Pururuvias Orkkesbane, son of Naldev Orkkesbane, son of Genen Orkkesbane, son of Thomm Orkkesbane, shall strike a blow for all free peoples of our fair world... get thee hence, rank orc, taste the steel of my well-tempered blade, son of a motherless... BLAAAARK!"

You watch in amusement as Kalanthias' tirade is interrupted by the orc in question.  Mob AI is apparently not impressed by his ability to recite his ancestry.  The orc chops off his head in mid-"thou art".  Nearby players are probably questioning his sanity, attempting to keep a straight face, or simply succumbing to the primal need to laugh themselves silly at... whatever the hell just transpired.

Congratulations, you have met a roleplayer. 

If you stick around for a few moments, perhaps Kalanthias will return to duplicate his earlier antics, and then spend a solid hour informing you of your status as a lower life form, because you elect not to speak in olde english, or provide a dissertation on the sexual practices of the mothers of every monster you come into contact with before you attempt to kill it.

It should be apparent from the above that I do not roleplay.  Roleplayers are often quick to point out that the reason for that is due to some failing on my part, rather than a simple choice.  I'm here to tell you the reason why roleplayers don't get along with non-roleplayers, why servers are generally segregated to preserve the peace, and why I, personally don't roleplay.

Here's a hint... it's not because I can't.  Snuggle up to your pillows and blankets everyone, it's story time.

Once upon a time, whether out of a need for change, or simple curiosity, Strayfe decided to try roleplaying.  The game in question was World of Warcraft.  Rife with plenty of "RP" servers, and a solid population to work with, he figured it would be difficult, but not wholly impossible to find an acceptable community for that purpose.

Now here's the thing... when Strayfe does something, he likes to do it properly.  He familiarized himself with the concept of roleplaying, and, as he had written fiction in high school, it didn't seem like too much of a stretch to step into and actively control a fictional character in real time.

So from the mind of madness, Strayfe's character, Jairon Blayliss was born, complete with backstory, goals, motivations, likes and dislikes.  Strayfe was prepared to guide Jairon through the storm of his faux-life, when, stepping into the the server for the first time, he was confronted with a male Human and a female Night Elf, "making love" in broken english, in the middle of the grass.  Not to be deterred that easily, Strayfe attempted to handle the situation as if he were Jairon, the sarcastic, slightly mad Warlock he had created.

Stepping up to the pair of unlikely lovers, Jairon immediately informed them that they had all the decency and half the attraction of a pair of deformed animals, and should vacate the area immediately.  Perhaps the two were deaf, or so absorbed in their escapades that they didn't or couldn't notice, but they did not respond.  Annoyed by their indignance, Jairon planted a firm kick in the male's back, hoping to jar him from his reverie.  To his astonishment, however, Jairon found that the man was numb as well as deaf, as again, there was no response.

Chalking it up to incompetence on the part of two players, Strayfe pretended the two didn't exist and guided Jairon down the path to Goldshire to further his ambitions.

A summary of the things Strayfe, and his extension, Jairon, saw over the next few hours include:


1) Sexual encounters between every conceivable race combination, occasionally involving threesomes, and in one case, a foursome, right in public, where any passersby could witness them; 2) Sexual encounters consisting of shapeshifting Druids using their animal forms and tails in... creative ways, again, right in public; 3) Sexual encounters involving mounts and/or hunter pets as additional partners; 4) Druids using vines in creative ways; 5) Magically enhanced genitalia, magically created sex toys and sex organs, girls with male parts, males becoming pregnant, males and females becoming pregnant with animal and/or demon, and/or werewolf, and/or dragon babies; 6) Succubi and Demons, imps, voidwalkers disseminating into gas and wafting up various orifices, BDSM, half-demons, half-werewolves, dragon-shapeshifters and every conceivable sexual deviation, combination and fringe fetish ever contemplated, all being acted out in real time, in public, by any number of people.


1) Bar fights, consisting of a series of poorly thought-out actions with little to no justification, breaking out at a rate of about 2 per minute, and ending with one or the other participants invariably coughing out the line, "-teleports behind Otherguy and slits his throat, letting his limp body fall to the ground dead-", only for Otherguy to ignore that and counter with something similar; 2) People roleplaying with mobs that they're killing, poorly; 3) People with text macros that activate every single time they use a particular ability, causing spam the likes of which hasn't been seen in modern days; 4) Naked individuals named "Leeeeeetsaucehax" or similar, dancing on elevated surfaces and mocking the "roleplayers" for "roleplaying" on a "roleplaying" server.; 5) 100,000,000 people going OOC to argue about what is or is not OOC, ad nauseam;

The Kicker:

All the above-mentioned archetypes ranting incessantly about how their method of roleplaying is superior to everybody else's, and that those who choose not to roleplay according to their preferred method are noobs, and should leave the server.


And they lived not-so-happily ever after.  The End... of the story that is, not the article.


Let me put things in perspective a bit.  The above is not an exaggeration in the slightest.  Granted, I'm no prude, and if you want to pretend to be a 14-year-old Night Elf girl who gets screwed by a kodo in gory detail, and has half-Elf ,half-kodo babies delivered through C-section, that's your business.  But from reading guides on roleplaying, and from what I know about the practice personally, I was not aware that the only engines for interaction were progressively more deviant sexual practices and poorly choreographed bar fights.  If I wanted that, I'd watch HBO after hours.

To make matters worse, when I have encountered roleplayers casually, they tend to thumb their nose at me, as if I were some sort of crap they just stepped in and tracked into the house.  Apparently, I'm supposed to be impressed by their writing ability, defer to their wit and charm, and possibly engage them in some sort of ancient sexual ritual that has been passed down from times long forgotten. 

While I am perfectly content to let bygones be bygones, and I concede that you are allowed to spend your $15/month how you see fit, if you get in my virutal face, and start thee'ing and thou'ing at me, expecting me to return the favor, I am going to roleplay Tybalt and you are going to roleplay Mercutio, and we'll make an evening out of it.  For the benefit of the masses, that means I am going to stab you, and you are going to die.

I think, perhaps, roleplayers need to begin taking stock of the image they're given by their kith and kin.  Like all things, there are exceptions to the rule, but nobody wants to wade through the rough to find the diamond.  If they happen to stumble upon it, great, congratulations, they just won the lottery, but it's certainly not something you go around expecting to find.

The point of this article is simple.  A roleplayer is a gaming archetype, just like a powergamer, a griefer, a casual gamer, you name it.  Roleplayers are not inherently better than anyone else.  They are not more mature (though they will all swear up and down that they are).  They're nothing special.  They're just like the rest of us.  The ones who cause problems are the ones who feel a sense of entitlement for what they do, as if their actions and choices in the game mean more, because they're spewed in a silly accent, or acted out between furious bouts of virtual sex, and unfortunately, this type of roleplayer just happens to be the most common.




OddjobXL writes:

Context is everything, man.  You were playing WoW.  There's a reason not too many experienced roleplayers will get near that thing. 

That said, I might surprise you and say I agree with alot of what you say.  There are folks who confuse sexual fantasies with roleplaying and I gotta say I'm not really comfortable with that either.  So, I ignore it and move along.

There's one magical trick any good roleplayer picks up eventually when trying to navigate the roleplaying scene in MMOs.  Selective perception.  Things that ain't right or don't work for you have to be ignored.  Commenting on them, interacting with them or even thinking about some of them won't get you anywhere.  Just keep moving like it never happened.

I am fairly skeptical about your "thees and thous" claim.  Even during my short time in World of Warcraft I didn't see much of it.  I never, of course, see it in games like Eve Online or Star Wars Galaxies.   That's really a myth about roleplayers that comes out of early Ultima Online days.  Folks there really did talk like that, so did His Awesomeness Lord British, and now people who hate roleplayers and know nothing about roleplaying keep on insisting that's how roleplayers talk.  It was kinda funny five years ago, maybe?

Now, given you were playing on WoW, which has Official RP servers, there may be something to the fact that some roleplayers get all uppity and insist people who aren't roleplaying "right" should leave the server.  Personally, I hate Official RP servers.  The rules never get enforced so the roleplayers tend to get nasty and bitter about nonroleplayers. 

The best roleplaying communities are on Unofficial RP servers (voted on by RP communities at launch).  There folks have to learn how to play at least somewhat nice with each other and nonroleplayers.  In the long run it makes for a bigger roleplaying community as people find out that roleplaying can help keep a game fresh even after the content gets tired.  Roleplayers make their own.

Roleplayers do tend to make for a more mature environment, given a game that attracts mature people in the first place of course, and I know many folks that don't roleplay who will always beeline for an unofficial roleplaying server.  They must have some kind of hankering for complete sentences and punctuation.  Crazy old people.

No group of people is ever going to be perfection.  Yes, there are going to be arguments and drama and weirdos and passive-aggressive OOC warriors in the roleplaying community.  But, by and large, it's a problem that's very easy to fix. 

See the first paragraph.

Wed Mar 11 2009 3:08PM Report
MadnessRealm writes:

Honestly, I agree with you on most points. Strange thing though is that the worst RP community is from WoW (WoW has a much younger player database than it used to when it first came out) and so many people are simply trying to RP and yet won't do sh!t. If you take a look at a real RP (RP forum, not a WoW RP guild), you'll notice  the difference (well at least on most of them).

There is also 4 different level of RolePlaying:
1: The non-RPers. He is in the RP community as he obviously plays a RPG. In other word, he plays the game using a character he made.

2:The Ignorant RPers: Without even knowing it, they participate in the RP feeling of the game. (EVE is the best exemple for this. Many carebear pirates and other scandals (EIB) etc which creates a very interesting story even if they didn't plan to RP in the first place)

3:The Small RPers: Instead of using a special accent or whatever, they will simply create a background for their character or guild and, depending on the goals set by the players, will involve a certain amount a RP through their actions.

4: The HardCore RPers: Following the strict rules set by "RolePlaying For Dummies!" they will create an amazing world using their imagination. There's 2 type of HardCore RPers, the one you saw in WoW and the real RPers which are really open to share their stories with whoever feels like hearing it and participate. Those type of RPers knows they are not the king of the world and are very friendly toward anyone even with their enemies (unleashing massive amount of action through their tirade before they enter into a fight to decide the winner) Priceless :þ

Sad thing is that the real RPers are slowing disappearing in a massive flood of "wannabe's having sex in WoW with another man who pretends to be a girl"

Wed Mar 11 2009 3:19PM Report
JKnight1 writes:

To base your opinion roleplayers on one single game or encounter, and over generalising them is both inept, close minded, and stupid. Not all roleplayers speak in olde english and act all uppity, nor do all roleplayers just cyber.

Many, like myself, love to get into the world around us, interacting with the environment, othe rplayers, and making stories. roleplaying is much like acting without a script. Improv, as it would be called.

What you encountered were what the previous commentor stated, wannabe roleplayers. People who think that roleplaying is just having sex a smuch as possible and making up anything and everything, breaking the lore so badly that it becomes a horrible B movie.

Real roleplayers keep to the lore of the setting they are in, expanding on it, using it in their stories and actions. EVE has some damn good roleplayers, and since the Devs have an ever changing, every growing, and player influenced storyline, EVE encourages roleplay, where as WoW is a theme park or game on rails, where roleplaying is limited to minced quest lines and linear stories. The player ha sno effect on the story at all, and, again, like the previous commentors stated, WoW is full of youngters who are clueless to true roleplaying.

Yes, if it looks to be suspect or suspicious, the bets thing to do is just ignore it. If the roleplay looks retarded, fake, or noobish in that it's just plain cyber or so out there that it looks stupid, then ignore it. You choose who you interact with. You just chose the wrong people, and, the wrong game.

Try more mature games like EVE Online, where the players need some intelligence and maturity to play, and you may find a haven of roleplayers that will change your perspective on roleplayers, and show you that we aren't all as you said.

Wed Mar 11 2009 6:44PM Report writes:
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