Sunday, April 7, 2013

How to Roleplay with your Non-Roleplaying Friends

In case you couldn't tell, I really enjoy roleplaying. It is a wonder medium for creative expression and storytelling and it is just plain fun. I really put a lot of thought and feeling into my characters and though I do not necessarily need to roleplay all the time, I always have a sort of “personality” for my character that I am playing regardless of what I am doing.

Why are you looking at me like that?

Oh no reason, Hawkens...

Unfortunately many of the friends I really enjoy playing with are not roleplayers. A few just don't really like it and some outright seem to be made nervous by its mere mentioning. So how can we coexist peacefully while both enjoying the game and each others' company? My best friend, who does not consider herself a roleplayer, gave me some tips she thought up as to why she still enjoys some moderate roleplay with me and some of my other friends. She is also the one who suggested this article to me as a way to help out other RP and non RP people out there in the WildStar community and help them better understand each other.

I found that Star Wars: The OldRepublic was one of the best ways to bring roleplayers and non roleplayers into a happy medium. For most roleplayers the character stories and quest dialogue were an awesome way to build their character's personality and listen as they grew and shaped with time. However there were also many people who did not consider themselves roleplayers who enjoyed these same aspects. I had to smile every time these friends would turn to me and explain to me why their character made the decisions they did. Perhaps their bounty hunter really had a heart of gold and would never kill an innocent. Maybe their Jedi was struggling with the Dark Side or their Imperial Agent was fighting to keep their humanity. All of these led to a personality and attitude that they built for their character and it delighted me to no end.

When we would group up, the decisions we would try to make based on our character's personality would make for some interesting scenarios. We did not always agree and sometimes that would lead to teasing or friendly arguments over who was right or wrong in a situation. After this our own stories we were building for them just sort of began to happen as we created relationships for them. One of our friend's Sith was tolerant but always racially insensitive to our Rattataki bounty hunter while they would both nod nervously every time my inquisitor tried to explain to them that he was really a coilicoid. Some of the stories were silly and that was okay, we just made things up as we went. They weren't all pure roleplaying gold, but they were FUN!

Our Trio of Doom! (art by author)

And all of the sudden I found my non roleplaying friend taking more and more interest in her characters. She didn't feel like she had the pressure to make amazing stories and she didn't feel uncomfortable being around people who she believed took their playing waaaay too seriously. She began to link other of her characters to our silly stories and we've had fun with it ever since.

Although in WildStar we won't have the personal stories or dialogue options quite like in SWToR, I think we have already lain the foundations for some awesome adventures. My friend has already picked a character she has played in the past and has been building some ideas as she learns more about WildStar. Both her and my other friend have agreed to build another trio with me that we will only level together, making sure that they grow and evolve together!

If you wish to work alongside another, one must be prepared to make compromises. Only if both parties feel equally valued can you have a trusted partnership.

While playing SWToR with us, my best friend had to start with an open mind and be willing to give a bit of roleplaying a shot. The fact that we didn't force anything and just let things develop naturally helped a lot. However there were some other pointers she wanted to add that she felt were important to share.

  • -Please make time for your non RP friends by putting aside RP now and then. Sometimes it is really easy to get into roleplaying and enjoying going back to see what will happen next and that can occasionally make it harder to enjoy just running a dungeon or something of the like. It is still important to take the time to stop and make sure that your friends that don't rp still can enjoy having time to hang out with you too and do the things they want.
  • -Building character relationships can be fun when they happen naturally. By not forcing your friends to make a personality or story ahead of time, but just letting them build it as they go is a lot more fun. If they don't feel pressured to take it too seriously and can just have fun and be silly, they will enjoy it more.
  • -Don't type or whisper other friends when you are playing with your friend. This doesn't mean you can never chat with others, but if you want your friend to feel more involved, then you need to be more involved with them.
  • -Inside jokes can be a lot of fun to make. Bringing up instances of past hilarity will help them to not just have fun with you but feel a bit more invested in their character.

I've met some amazing new friends in the WildStar community and there has already been an explosion of creative genius and roleplaying over on that has gotten me excited for RP in WildStar. But even so, I am also very much looking forwards to playing with my best friend. Even if it may not be the most epic stories I've ever worked on, our time together is fun and a great way to spend time together!

I'm definitely looking forwards to hanging out with my friends on the Nexus, RP or no!

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