Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO ColumnRoleCraft: Roleplayers Set S.A.I.L.!Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO Column - RSS 2.0
How your character interacts with other characters is another integral part to the whole RP process. Within this is a part I sadly see many roleplayers missing, and that is interacting with NPCs in game. Both are prime opportunities for RP, limited only by the players' imaginations. Roleplayers greet each other according to their characters' personality, and continue IC throughout the conversation. They may know the other character well enough to say or do things that only they understand, like talking in a language that only they understand, or using a special handshake known only to their clan. I have one character in WoW that greets and says farewell to another character with an ear pull. Be inventive, but also respectful, and be aware that not every player is an adult (in one way or another) in these games.
I'm not sure about what's considered rude on non-RP servers, but I feel it's very rude on any server for a character to cold contact another character with a guild invite, fellowship invite, duel challenge, open a Trade window (on purpose that is, as I've done it many times on accident), or even outright asking for gold in an obvious non-RP way. It is most easy to simply ignore a character who pops up with events like these, but that's not a proper RP way either. I reply in character, which either makes them go away, or rephrase their offer in a more acceptable RP fashion, which I am always happy to see.
In WoW, General Marcus Jonathan sits astride his horse before the entrance to Stormwind. Did you know, if you target him and /salute, he will turn to face you, return the salute, and say "Greetings, citizen."? In LotRO, throughout the Shire, the Bounders will greet your character with a friendly "Hello, Bounder Holo!" (or whatever your character's name is) once you have completed the quests to attain the title of Bounder. Point is, quality game designers put an immense amount of work into creating a living, breathing world for us to play in. Yet, many players are too busy running everywhere trying to 'win' the game, or just choosing to simply ignore the beauty and skill making up their surroundings. Roleplayers learn about such things, and add them into their own RP style as they see fit, which in turn helps to evolve the game for them above and beyond what is merely visible.
All the above certainly give roleplayers their own look, but we are not always content with just that. We very often make available choices according to our sense of fashion, and equip our characters with clothes, armor, weapons, and other trinkets to better match the character's personality. One important factor many roleplayers take to heart is looking beyond any race / class / level considerations for what may or may not be best for them, and garb themselves ever how they see fit. With the thousands of available armaments, armor, and clothing to be found, why is it so common to see more than a few characters dressed very much alike? Simply un-equipping weapons or exchanging a battle helm for an old worn hat while walking through town is a small yet very visible act of RP. Then, of course, there are those special occasions where a change of outward appearance is not only welcomed but often warranted, such as weddings, festivals, or some non-combat RP event. Again, the possibilities here are expansive, limited only to what items can be found in game.
As always, these are only tips and examples from my mind, written here for any who might benefit from the spark of RP creativity I hope it brings. Feel free to share your own thoughts about setting SAIL in your favorite MMORPGs in the Comments section here, or by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, role on!