Try it, you might like it
Today’s question here on Achtung Panzercow comes from…well, me. More exactly, it’s something I’ve wondered about for years now, and some things I’ve seen since restarting the leveling grind for my characters on Feathermoon have brought it back to the front of my mind. The question is this:
Why would you roll on a roleplaying server if you have no intention at all of roleplaying?
I don’t mean for this question to be as accusatory or “get off my server” as it sounds at first listen. It is a genuine, sincere question that I have yet to be able to figure out an answer to. Let me give you a little background.
When I first rolled on Feathermoon back in March of 2005, roleplay was everywhere. It was the default mode of action, in fact. Yes, Barrens chat was still Barrens chat sometimes, but there were also people who actually talked on /1 in character. Even in the Barrens! If you ran across someone out and about, you had about a 50/50 chance of them actively being in character and being willing to RP with you. The Feathermoon realm forum on the WoW website was slap full of in-character stories and interactions. In response to the first people seen laughing at roleplayers, in fact, much of the Feathermoon RP community mobilized a large cross-faction “RP pride march” down across Stranglethorn Vale, with over 100 characters participating. It was meant to be a show to the RP griefers…something that said “this is our server and our rules, you are not welcome here if you continue to disrupt us.” It was an expectation that if you were playing on Feathermoon, you were a roleplayer, and if you weren’t, you respected those who did, were not disruptive, and would try it yourself at some point. If you rolled a character with a stupid non-RP name like “Chuknorriz” or “Baconbitz” or “Hurrpdurrp,” you’d get reported.
Over the years, for whatever reason, Feathermoon–and almost every other RP server in World of Warcraft–has slowly evolved from a place where in-character is the default mode of interaction, to a place where roleplay exists in here-and-there pockets surrounded by a vast ocean of players who are, at best, indifferent to RP and at worst actively trying to thwart it. Roleplay takes a back seat to raiding. (Don’t get me wrong, I love to raid too. But you can raid successfully and be a roleplayer, we prove that on Feathermoon all the time.) The realm forums descend into raid advertisements and non-RP out-of-character drama threads. Trade chat is no better than trade chat on any other PvE or PvP server. Most likely, speaking to a random someone in /say in-character gets either a blank stare or “lol wut.” And I’ve lost count of the number of times that in-character gatherings such as guild meetings or weddings or funerals or whatever have been griefed by idiots. You know, the kind of people who run around and dance naked on tables, or spam things to cause noise or graphics disruption, or spam /say or /yell with nonsense, or just run around saying “lol u rp nurdz suk.” And these aren’t usually level 1 “hey, my server’s down, I’ll go fuck with the RPers on Feathermoon” alts. They’re high level characters, with good gear…clearly a significant time investment.
Why? Why would people come to a server and not participate in that server’s ruleset? If I decided to level a character to 85 on a PvP server, I’d PvP. I wouldn’t whine about it when I got ganked, I’d learn and I’d get better and I’d participate in what the server is “about,” which is PvP in addition to everything else. So why would someone roll on, and spend significant time on, an RP server if they aren’t even curious about roleplay?
Please note that I’m not talking about the “RP-curious” or inexperienced roleplayer here. If you’ve never done it before and want to just watch and learn more about it, that’s fine. I don’t know any roleplayers on Feathermoon, for example, who have an issue with non-roleplayers being on the server…as long as they’re not disruptive to roleplay. I would take it a half-step further…my opinion is that if you are on an RP server, even if you don’t roleplay actively, you should be willing to try it. Why not? You created the toon on a server that clearly had “(RP)” behind the name. That’s the only thing that sets RP servers apart from the dozens and dozens of other PvE servers. Try it, you might like it! There are many excellent resources for beginning roleplayers…the two standbys that I always recommend are my fellow Feathermoonies over at WTT:RP, and the lovely and talented Anna at Too Many Annas.
I’m not going to get into what I think the reasons are why our RP servers have slowly degenerated over the years (I have a few opinions, but I’m saving them for later). I’m just looking for insight into why non-roleplayers–more precisely, people who have no interest in roleplaying and/or those that think RPers are “weird”–would come to a roleplay server and make a home there. Please, edumacate me, Gentle Readers. I are but a humble Panzercow who has taken one too many hits to the head.