Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO ColumnRoleCraft: Expanding RPJim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO Column - RSS 2.0
Northrend is the new land to be featured in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion for WoW. It comes about through Blizzard working Warcraft lore and events that happened in the previous game Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Before the WotLK expansion was announced, anyone but the most ardent Warcraft loremasters would be hardpressed to state any facts about Northrend itself. This lack of earlier information is no obstacle to the competent roleplayer, who may simply hear (or tell) of rumors of a far off land of ice that is now being connected to the mainland through a new harbor in Stormwind, or via zeppelin towers outside of Orgrimmar and The Undercity.
Players with scholars of ancient history may suddenly be finding lost tomes of knowledge that vaguely mention Northrend, and perhaps even the known inhabitants of the land. Sailors and pirates in Booty Bay and Ratchet may be whispering from darkened taverns about seeing new creatures and ships on the line, and about seeking adventurers for hopes of plundering the riches of a new land. Priests, druids, and witch doctors may be receiving bad portents of things to come while in prayer, meditation, or from rolling the bones. All this and so much more can be employed by roleplayers to ingrain their characters more into these upcoming world events long before they arrive.
In regards to explaining in RP terms the multitude of new skills, professions, and spells arriving with the expansions, I'll share two of the notions I'm using: necessity and evolution. My WoW character Arsonite Tinkerboom, prestigious member of the Enlightened Assembly of Arcanology , Alchemy, and Engineering Sciences, has for years been experimenting with thousands of elements and materials in an effort to correct an personal matter with his being. While he has yet to be successful in that endeavor, his efforts have not been wasted, for sure. He has devised and found quite a few very useful spells that up until now (i.e., the release of theWotLK expansion) he has not publicly presented.
That's one result of the evolution example I'm using. Another is much akin to the same game mechanic that is already in game, where an alchemist has a chance of discovering an new potion, elixir, or transmutation recipe with each attempt thereof. I widen that concept to include all skills and profession traits. To me, it makes sense that if you work with something long enough, you'll learn new things about it. Hence, in MMORPGs, that means new spells and powers, be they with a weapon, piece of equipment, or within your character. Simple!
To paraphrase the commonly known quote by Plato, necessity is the mother of invention. In RP terms, this means that something new will arise in response to something else new, like a new class of character unexpectedly in the public eye in direct response to a new class of creature. How this comes about in RP is entirely up to theroleplayer . It could be as simple as praying to the gods for a better way to oppose the new threat and receiving their gifts of blessings, or by creeping down to the crossroads and making a deal with devils. However it happens, it is bound to happen, and has possibly beenprophecied since ages past. Roleplaying the introduction of a new class (and race) is open to the imagination of any and all enterprising roleplayers.
Of course, these are but a few of the methods available that roleplayers use in rolling new game content into their everyday world. What other methods are there? What ways have you used to accomplish the same goals in your favorite MMORPG? I welcome your thoughts and ideas, either stated here in the Comments section, or sent directly to me at RoleCraft at gmail dot com. You may also feel free to contact me in game if you wish. Role on!