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In LotRO, it is also much easier to step away from being an adventurer and play a profession-based character. There are still quests to accomplish to advance a profession or skill, which may or may not require you to be proficient at wielding a sword to protect yourself, but the forced option isn't so heavy as it is in WoW.
The daddy MMORPG, Ultima Online, has perhaps the best option for roleplaying a profession-based character, in my opinion, for the simple fact that the game is not level-based, but skill- based. Players do not earn experience points for killing a creature, and there are no levels to go through, which also means there is no level cap. If you used a sword to kill with, then your sword skill increases. Likewise if you instead used a staff, or your fists, or magic. This is also how the professions and skills are handled. Do you want to be a miner, or fletcher, or tinkerer? Then go mine, make arrows, or craft clocks, and that skill will increase the more you practice it to show your prowess at it. Once the skill is high enough, your title will also change to publicly reflect it!
Where UO shines and makes it worthy to roleplay in this style is the ability to have your own shop, and I mean literally, not just in the RP sense. In WoW and LotRO, it is your character that will have to fill his inventory and brave the bustling crowds of Stormwind or Thunder Bluff to stand and hawk your wares. In UO, you can actually purchase an NPC that you may place out in the world and fill their secured inventory with whatever items you wish to sell. Other players striding by may click on that NPC and purchase items, with their gold going directly into your bank, and you never even have to be logged into the game!
How to make this translate over to LotRO and WoW? Hire a salesman, or RP as one. Stand out in one of the many crafting halls and busy intersections to be found, and sell away. Dress that character in something special, have them use fireworks, create specific macros with a cleverly-written sales pitch, anything to attract more attention. Yes, I would even say this is one of the rare times I would actually endorse the use of scantily-clad dancing female characters, as long as it's fitting to do so!
So, there are some thoughts on roleplaying a profession-based character. Far from complete, mind you, but hopefully enough to help out. I have permission to mention this upcoming RP event in WoW (Blackwater Raiders server), so if you care to see an example of roleplayers rolepaying their professions up close, or wish to help with / participate in, then mark your calendars!
A note meticulously written and tacked to the outside wall of the Orgrimmar Auction House reads:
Fellow members of the Horde...
The Burning Tusk Tribe is hosting a Trade Faire in the Valley of Spirits, Orgrimmar on Sunday, May 4, between 12:00 P.M. and 2:00 P.M. It is felt that this would be an excellent opportunity for those that enjoy working with a craft to show what you can do and sell your wares to other Horde members. All crafts are welcome to participate. And if you are a miner, a skinner, or a forager, this would be the perfect opportunity to make contacts with those that regularly peddle their wares.
May the Spirits smile upon you and watch over you.
And may you role on!