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Against all Logic

April 18, 2011

Dear Reader,

This past weekend, I flew from where I live in Illinois (the Midwest of America for those of you elsewhere) to South Carolina (on the East Coast) to be a part of a wedding.  My oldest friend got married, and I was part of the service, something I’d never been before.  I am married, dear reader (sorry to disappoint so many of you, I’m sure), but I’d never been in another person’s wedding.

It was rather hellish.  I see now that the best thing a person can do for a friend in relation to weddings is not ask them to be a part of it.  I know now, but too late.  It was quite a whirlwind of activity that meant I got about 8 hours of sleep in a 72 hour period and was fully dressed up in a tuxedo or suit for about 20 hours.

It got me thinking about the only other wedding I’ve really attended.  It was held on Azuremyst Isle, just outside of The Exodar, where a cliff falls to the beach near a little grove of trees.

That’s right.  I went to a wedding in WoW.  A “real” wedding where toons committed themselves to one another with the blessing of the Light before the two players got married in the real world.

I was a part of an RP wedding.

As the title says, this post will repeatedly commit crimes against logic.  The first is numerical, because, dear reader, it seems that, somehow, RP is a “four letter” word.  I realize that when counting you will not come to 4.  Perhaps it should be spelled “Arpe” or “Rpee.”  I don’t know, but reading about it on the blogosphere certainly seems to verify the number of letters: 4.

It’s tricky to write about something like RP.  There’s a lot of very strong feelings on the issue, both for defending RP and for eliminating it, and since no one can really be “right,” everyone instead has to be “loud.”

To start, let me admit that I have a history of RP in WoW, and I’m a little embarrassed by it.  This, too, is against all logic since I play Dungeons and Dragons and Shadowrun and other games of the sort with gusto, enjoying every moment of Role Playing I do (well, not every moment, but most of them).  My first big-time server (I spent about 40 levels on Drak’Thul before this) was an RP server, Earthen Ring.  I went there to escape the constant ganking I experienced on Drak’Thul (a PvP server).

I found very little RP going on, actually.  Throughout my first year or so playing I never knowingly saw any RP at all.  We teased my buddy for “Rping in the park,” a claim he vehemently denies, but I find it likely that he was, in fact, RPing.  Then I joined a guild with a lot of people of different interests where I would be able to raid and found myself being invited to RP events and having to politely decline.  They wanted to have RP dinners at inns in Stormwind.  There was the RP wedding I previously mentioned which I did attend out of a sympathetic kindness to the players involved.  I also partook in an RP guild promotion event that I was a part of (when I was becoming a raid leader).

I didn’t feel I could say no to the last two, so there I was.  Both were stuffed with text macros as long as your arm, emoting, using fireworks, Elune Stones, and the like.  Most of the people involved took them very seriously, and out of respect I tried to, as well.  My buddy caused a bit of a stir at the promotion ceremony when someone, RPing, said that they were done and wanted to grab a brewski, so my buddy used his Direbrew remote and several “important” people there ended up in The Grim Guzzler with no real way back, which had us laughing for a while.  Overall, though, we tried to be respectful.

It was strange to watch these things happening.  People had prepared for hours the macros that they used.  They had carefully picked the spot, outlined the events, typed the Macros, and prepared the guildies getting promotions by walking them through the event.  It was as serious and as formal (as in Formal Wear – tuxedos and the like) as a real-world event.  And let me be clear – there was no irony in what they were doing (though there was a sizable amount on my end).  They were dead serious about the gravity of it.

They were good people.  They had jobs in the real world, families, kids, grandkids.  They were productive members of society, but here they were, playing make-believe in WoW. Yet that’s all WoW is, isn’t it?  All of WoW is make-believe.  It’s all dressing up and pretending in a digital environment, and that’s why it baffles me so that some people can be so vehemently against role-playing.  Why?  You’re doing the same thing.

Sure, sure.  You’re improving your character by getting specialized gear.  You’re fighting raid bosses by executing movements timed precisely.  I get it.  So were the people in that promotion ceremony, though.  They were improving their character’s status in the guild.  They were moving in a precisely timed fashion.  There really was little difference, in the end.

You see, WoW is a game that creates such adversity in its community based on how it should be played.  Role players seem to take a lot of grief for doing what they want to do, and I think it’s just base cruelty to try to stop people from playing how they want.  You don’t have to RP if you don’t want to.  I don’t, that’s for sure.  But that doesn’t mean you need to claim that it’s wrong or stupid to do so.  It’s neither; it’s just a different way of playing the same game.  As infrequent as it sometimes seems in-game, we should all just play and let play.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (who grinned and bore it through two multi-hour RP events)

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