Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO ColumnRoleCraft: What Level Is Your RP?Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO Column - RSS 2.0
Heavy RP will most likely include any or all of those elements and more, and put them to use much more often. Rarely will public speech be OOC and will always be racially correct. Characters will address their friends in the most proper manner, no matter the circumstances, whether in or out of combat. Such decencies will also be directed towards NPCs, like the banker, barmaid, and town guards, all depending on the current situation.
Actions and interactions across the three levels are probably the most difficult to articulate, but are very essential for roleplaying at every level. Light RP may simply be firing off a macro now and then when the time is right, like a /wave to a friend, or an appropriate /cheer, /smile, or /nod. Medium RP may include ample use of /bow and /kneel to those worthy, even NPCs. Physical traits and personality characteristics may also be introduced here, like a player whose character is constantly wringing their hands, or flipping a dagger through their fingers. Heavy RP players raise the bar by connecting all these elements, often at the same time:
Thank you for repairing my armor, blacksmith. *slides a few gold coins across the counter*
The look of a character is perhaps the easiest and most often roleplayed item in MMORPGs. Being that it is also one of the primary game mechanic elements does much in the way of making it so, and this also makes it a bit more difficult to divide into levels of RP. The vast majority of players are constantly on the lookout for equipment and clothing upgrades, unless you are roleplaying a character who just isn't at all concerned about such things. Some things I know more serious roleplayers do to handle their RP look include having more than one set of armor or clothing. They will have gear to give them an exclusive look when attending a party or celebration, such as a wedding. They may also switch out their combat and adventuring gear for something more comfortable when in town, or when riding their mount. Even something simple as donning a lucky hat when fishing is a sure sign of a roleplayer.
A few words on my own feelings about the levels of RP. Personally, I say, you're either roleplaying, or you're not. And here's the kicker: everyone playing a roleplaying game is roleplaying. Remember that the next time someone blatantly makes fun of RP, and they are playing the same game, and / or on an RP realm. No one bought and continues to pay on a monthly basis for any MMORPG to be themselves in game. Everyone creates a character so they can 'be' that race in game, or so they can wield those spells or weapons in game, or so they can see and experience the lands, atmosphere, and ambience of the game through their created avatar. Everyone wants to 'play' a certain 'role' in each of these games, things they cannot or will not be able to encounter in real life. All these are fundamental aspects of fantasy, and why we roleplay.
As stated earlier, all of these examples are very subjective and completely open to debate. That's one of the reasons I am writing about it and all other topics here in public. I only have almost twenty-eight years of RP experience, and while I don't know everything, I do know a few things. What ways do you see light, medium, and heavy RP divided? Discuss, and role on!