Cult of the Zenith
We welcome new players, and to help them with getting a good start with their involvement on server we have compiled advice from “old hand” or “veteran” roleplayers on the topic.
- It’s not to railroad you
The purpose here is not to ‘police’ your roleplay, as invention and testing boundaries can open all manner of fun stories and plots. This is to help you ground your character out, and cover any weak points you might have in your story crafting, so that you and others around you can have more fun.
Profiles and Backstories
- Simple is better
Don’t fill in more than you have to for your backstory or RP profile (see the addons page)! It’s tempting to fill a small novella about your character, since it can be very involving and exciting, but others won’t share the same enthusiasm for your character’s fourth birthday, and might pass you over when they get fatigue after the ninth page about your hair.
Keep it to a paragraph, possible two, for each category (description, backstory), covering the major points. Skip the parts that are obvious – people can see you wearing your helmet in game, and we know that your gnome is short – and stick to those things that are going to stand out to a casual inspection, like that they have a scar on their cheek or that they are cold to the touch. Simple is better, and more appealing in almost every occasion.
- Perceptions, not impressions
When you describe your character, remember to keep what you say to the literal things that observers can see, not to how they should take it. Your character smiling all the time might be a sign of their being friendly – or it could be taken for nervousness. You might think that the description given is ruggedly handsome or wonderfully beautiful, but others might not share your tastes.
If you keep telling how people see your character, instead of what they see, you are running into autoplay territory, a social gaffe and form of social attack. People will avoid you on principle from that.
- Bittersweet modesty
What we poor subscribers play are the ‘fodder’ and ‘raff’ of the game. We are the rank soldiers, the common town guards, the lay priests and the minor mages. While we canonically can’t hold titles, own land, or hold rank within the organisations of the Horde, we can still play up having such – the trick is maintaining the suspension of disbelief for your story.
Part of that is remembering that from Blizzard’s perspective, we are the audience to their story, not the parts playing within it. Canonically, we are not playing the “big heroes” of Warcraft. Onyxia was killed by King Varian Wrynn, even if the comics were terrible and you’ve been slaughtering her since vanilla. The chiefs of the troll tribes are known, and the Church of the Light and Scarlet Crusade have clear hierarchies of NPCs in the game. You might have achievements for killing all the Alliance faction leaders, but yet canonically they are still standing, alive, today. Garrosh was killed by Thrall, and it was Fordring’s chosen champions that killed Arthas.
As long as you don’t make grandiose claims about being a Grand High Magister of Silvermoon, and that you single-handedly slew Illidan and reign as High Chief King of Draenor, you should be fine.
- Shop local
The entire storyline of Warcraft is rich with locations, gods, peoples, and events. While some (Med’an) are far below the mark for use in acceptable story telling, there is a veritable wellspring of in-lore prospects for you to draw on. No power in the ‘verse will justify you worshipping Games Workshop’s Chaos Gods, or having an Ocarina from Hyrule, or being from Ankh-Morpork.
References are cool, and Blizzard (Harrison Jones) especially (Skettis) seems (Leeroy) happy (Did you say [Thunderfury]) to bring memes and current pop culture into the game. Steer clear of outright imports, however; it’s tacky, and will mark you as having poor talent, or of being a fan who won’t let things go. There’s very little leeway here, so the standing recommendation would be “don’t do it”. Let those dreams stay dreams.
Inventing new “lore” is in a similar, but more lenient grey area for being ‘tasteful’, and depends largely on suspension of disbelief. A new god that people have never heard of could work well if played out skillfully, but your months of effort will fall apart if a newcomer to your storyline cannot see the massive flying fortress you’ve constructed over the Barrens. They’ll just think you’re godmoding.
If you’re new to Warcraft lore, then we suggest taking some time to talk to other people about how your idea can fit. There’s probably something in the game that people know about that will suit what you need without invoking space marines or the Soul Reaver.
- Barbecue source
Make mental (or literal) notes about where your obscure clan is from, or what the spirits are that whisper to you, because chances are that people will ask you about it either in character or socially. Don’t be offended – it means you’re interesting enough that they paid attention to you. This is a good thing, even if some players can sound saltier than a saltine dipped in sea water.
If after pointing it out, someone still disagrees with what you’ve done – ask them why. You’re both free to agree or disagree, but even the most sour criticism can inspire new greatness.