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Early last week I was perusing the Role-Playing section in the official WoW Forums, when I got to noticing a trend that I had missed before. If you've ever browsed the posts there, you may know as I do that there are many threads started by people who are jumping into RP for the first time. Many of their questions and concerns evolve around how to RP correctly. However, there is another underlying item many are seeking advice for, at least as I understand it, and that is the question "Where do I RP?"
When the question hit my mind, I at first balked at how anyone could ask a question with such an obvious answer: "You roleplay in WoW. Wherever your character is, that's where you RP." Then I got to thinking about it, and with the help of a couple of events in my own gaming time this week, I have come to see that there are people, even those who profess to be RP'ers, who think that RP should be done only at certain times and at certain places. Hogwash. I'm here to tell you, outright and publicly, that it is my belief you can RP anywhere and everywhere in WoW, from solo play, to groups, to instances, to Battlegrounds, to 40-man raids, and everything in between, it simply does not matter. Wherever your character is, that's where you RP.
Now, with that said, there are some prime examples that lend themselves more easily to RP, some which have been set up by the Blizzard wizards, and some which have been created by players. Before going into those, I also want to show you some places to potentially find RP'ers out of game.
If you happen to see any of my characters about in game, then you'll instantly know I'm a roleplayer. It doesn't matter that I'm a group of one, and I don't need to be at a specific place or time to be singled out as one who RP's. My characters talk to themselves, NPC's, pets, the spirits (both ethereal and liquid forms), and, of course, other RP'ers. Being stopped in the street and engaging another RP'er in conversation can often be an excellent moment, and moreover, rarely do you have any control over the when and where. It simply happens because you're there.
The aforementioned Role-Playing section in the official WoW Forums is one good place to begin looking for fellow RP'ers. Take one day a week, as I do, and skim over the thread titles until you find one you may be interested in. Delve into and read it, pay attention to who posts what and how, find out their character's name and server, and you're on your way to possibly making a great RP friend.
Another place to seek other RP'ers in the http://www.warcraftsocial.com/" title="" target="_blank">Warcraft Social Network. While it certainly sounds like a Match.com site for WoW players, it is more akin to MySpace in look and feel. You can browse through other WoW players by real world location, server, character race and class, post photos and blog entries, and they are promising a Guild Pages section that should help guild members get and stay in contact with each other.
The WSN had some good momentum for only a short time after its creation, and returning to look at it after a long while, very little looks to have changed since. However, there have been some changes, so the site is not entirely dead, just kinda zombie-ish. I'm going to go in and update my own profile very soon, and I'm hoping to gather other RP'ers and guild mates in to join me.
Naturally, in game is the best place to bump into other RP'ers, the obvious places being where characters happen to conglomerate en mass for whatever reason. Here are a couple of places in Azeroth where I have regular meetings with other RP'ers, so maybe they'll also work for you.
Banks and Auction Houses seem to me to be the busiest places in each of the major cities I've visited so far. The game designers who built Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff, Booty Bay, and Ironforge have done no small treat in having these two places located in close proximity to each other, which causes characters to mill about the general location, and which in turn can sprout up all kinds of RP. Characters gather around sharing stories of their latest adventure(s), showing off their newest gear, or any number of reasons. It makes approaching someone running MyRoleplay / FlagRSP2 (almost always the sign of a roleplayer) much more comfortable, and gives no shortage of subjects to use for striking up a conversation.
Another place available on both Alliance and Horde side is the Darkmoon Faire. This has the potential to be all kinds of fun, and the last time I had a character attend with a bunch of guild mates, it was! There are a bunch of games to play, prizes to win, beer to drink (yea baby yea), and is just home to mass amounts of RP frolicking and frivolity. One thing that stands out about the Faire, which I have yet to have a character experience, is that it is one of the few places which I could see lending itself to romantic RP. Not that I know anything about romance, mind you, but I envision walking around with your favorite mate, sharing the sights and sounds of the Faire while really enjoying the other's company, could be rather romantic. I don't know; you tell me.
Lastly, another two places to tell you about that are particular to Alliance / Horde. On the Alliance side, the small town of Goldshire is widely known to be an RP G-spot, and if you play on the Blackwood Raiders server, you may understand the pun I just used. Anyway, Goldshire is often the meeting place for RP'ers, I'm thinking because it's close enough to Stormwind for a quick run to the bank or AH, yet there's room enough to spread out, and generally not near the lag you may get in the larger cities. Horde side, there's a little place south of Silvermoon City, called Sartheril's Haven, which has a 24-7 party going on, complete with revelers, fireworks, and dancing. If your Horde brethren happen to be planning an RP party, think about using this place as your setting. I had a character who attended a double-wedding reception here, and the atmosphere was perfect. Try it out for yourselves.
These are just a few ideas that may help get RP noobs and old timers alike into a better RP mood. I'm sure there are others, so feel free to share your favorite places to go for some great RP. Just remember what I said earlier. RP can and should happen at any time and at any place you choose. Make it so!