New folks (and plenty of old folks) might wonder how "that RP thing" works in TOR. I just wanted to provide you with some example and some advice to familiarize you with what kind of things are possible, so you have an idea of what to expect on from RP.
There are no MECHANICAL or IN-GAME differences between RP and non-RP servers. A RP-PvE server works just like a PvE server and a RP-PvP server works just like a PvP server. The only difference is the type of communities and players the server attracts; however the social difference is profound. The RP tag is likely to attract a group of people who support, appreciate, and/or engage in RP.
What is RP? In its most simple definition, RP is when you use the /say
emotes to have your character do things that he or she is likely to do.
Let's say I have a character named Vetala.
If I type /say Those sith look like they are about to start a fight.
Players of characters of both factions that have characters physically near Vetala see this in their chat box.
Vetala says: "Those sith look like they are about to start a fight."
If I type /me edges quietly away before a fight breaks out.
Players of characters from my faction only that have characters physically near Vetala see this in their chat box.
Vetala edges quietly away before a fight breaks out.
Using /say and /me you can type out what your character says and does. Add a bunch more people and you might get... (examples actually seen on my server):
- A group of troopers (one guild) planning a tactical strike on a group of bounty hunters (another guild) on Hoth. This is done through /say and /me to describe what the characters are doing, and then the Guild Leaders might agree to have everyone go to Hoth at a certain day and time and flag themselves for PvP so they can play out the raid.
- A bunch of people hanging out "in character" in one of the cantinas. Their characters might complain about how much repairs cost, buy each other drinks, or express appreciation for the music. A lot of this is done through /say and /me and transferring drinks bought from the bartender to other players.
- A big speeder bike race where people are standing in the crowd placing bets or cheering on the racers. Also a lot of /say and /me occurs describing what people's characters are saying and doing. The players might actually trade credits back and forth depending on the outcome of the race.
- A Sith Apprentice calling out her master for a duel in the main square in Kaas City to prove she's ready to take on a higher title. The apprentice would use /say or even /yell to challenge her master, she would initiate a duel and he'd accept, and then after the fight, they would have another conversation with /say to discuss what happened. The players might have agreed that the apprentice's player won't set her in-game title to anything other than apprentice until and unless she does well in the duel.
- A group of jedi mourning a fallen comrade as they bury him on Tython (in real life, the player left the game and deleted the character, so in a sense, he really is dead). The characters might all go to the falls, talk about the person who died, and talk through a funeral service.
- A bunch of IAs doing the Tatooine Heroic 4+ "Call Down the Thunder" and RP going on a mission to mess up the Exchange using stealth and trickery at Keeper's request. They choose to stay IC (in character using /say and /me) the whole time.
On most RP servers, it's hard to just walk up to someone and start RPing because RP works better if people have some expectation of what is going to happen ("we're going to plan a raid", "we're going to fight a duel", "we're going to bury our comrade").
This social contract just makes the RP a less vulnerable experience - it's like you can all agree not to make fun of each other for playing "let's pretend."
Some examples might be:
- Either someone will organize an open event (cantina night, PvP tournament, formal ball) and everyone is invited.
- Sometimes, the RP is necessarily mostly private (one group planning a raid on another group).
- Other times the RP is mainly about a small number of people (the apprentice dueling her master) but passerby can comment on it and may become involved in the scene. You could use /say or /yell to cheer on the Sith apprentice. Maybe she's grateful and wants to buy you a drink after the duel. Maybe she's insulted that you thought she needed help and *she* wants to duel you for that insult.
- The group of IAs might be a group of friends leveling together and agreeing to RP together.
There are some basic guidelines that you should be aware of before you start thinking about RP. They are GUIDELINES, which means that they are suggestions and advice, and not hard-and-fast rules or laws. You have to exercise good judgment and discretion to interpret them for yourself and apply them as appropriate.
Create your own unique individual character.
Realize that the events of your class storyline belong to everyone in that class, so don't use them as a large part of your personal story. In addition to not using your generic class story, don't use the same story, name, or appearance of a famous historical or literary character. There are too many clones of Malgus, Sheppard, Drizzt, Legolas, Aragorn, and Shan running around. You can come up with something new and different.
As a side note, your character should have a unique and Star-Warsy name and Legacy for RP. Most RPers aren't going to take Darth Araagorn of the Pancakes Legacy seriously, and some RPers will shun you based only on your character name.
Furthermore, names that reference drugs, sex, vulgarity, trademarks, media figures, celebrities, consumer products, copyrighted materials, religious, business, or historical figures, or characters from other works or names that include ďleet speakĒ or gibberish are against the terms of service and BW can force you to change your name, assign you a new name, or ban your account if you violate the naming policy. You are far more likely to be reported for your name on a RP server than a non-RP server so choose your name wisely.
Your characterís friends, family, adversaries and other relations should be unique player characters.
Resist the temptation to be related to NPCs (non player characters) - you're better off telling a story with other PCs (player characters) who can help you expand your storyline, just like you can help expand theirs. Even if the other PCs are your PCs and part of your legacy and not other people's PCs, that's better than being related to NPCs.
Spend some time observing others who are doing open RP before you jump in.
See what they do and how they interact. Try to figure out what's socially acceptable and unacceptable before you start making mistakes.
Itís okay not to know everything, just stick to what you DO know.
Thereís a lot of Old Republic canon out there. Most of us donít have that good a handle on the socio-political situation of the Old Republic, and thatís just fine. Stick to what you do know. This is pretty easy, because most people arenít going to RP having political or historical discussions. They want to talk about personal events and how they react to them. Keep it personal and focused on characters and youíll be fine.
Make your character mortal and (somewhat) realistic.
Your Jedi Knight isn't the son of Bastila Shan and Darth Revan. Your Sith Sorcerer isn't the Emperor in disguise. Your Smuggler isnít the secret leader of the Exchange. Your Imperial Agent doesnít own a Star Destroyer. No one else will believe this - itís just not in the expected scope of player character powers. Heck, in the game reality, you donít even have the power to permanently kill or injure another player character! Making your character some sort of superhero above and beyond the rest of the characters is called "god modding" (making your character a god) and it's offensive to and considered juvenile by most of the RP community.
Give your characters flaws and limitations that make them interesting and unique.
Many iconic characters were defined by their weaknesses (Han Solo, for instance, was an immoral greedy mercenary for most of Ep. 4 according to some people, which made it even cooler that he helped Luke blow up the Death Star.) Is your character lazy? A speciesist? A pilot that is afraid of heights? Give your characters realistic personalities - model them off of your friends and family in real life if you need to.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are key. Since you're communicating through writing (via /say and /me) people have to be able to *understand* you. Clear writing is vital; you don't have to be perfect, just clear. 1337 speak is right out!
Do a little bit of homework.
For instance, if you're going to play a Chiss, at least spend 10 minutes reading up on Chiss on the web to figure out how Chiss names and culture work. Same with other alien races. If your character is from a certain planet, read up on the history and culture of that planet. At least read the SWTOR codexes for your race, home planet, class, advanced class, and faction.
RP the way you want. Let others RP the way they want. No one can control you - and you canít control anyone else!
Your actions and reactions are your own. No one else can make your character do anything. Itís considered very rude to try to force other people to do things. No one can force your character to die, run away, fall in love, or give them stuff. Also YOU canít force other people to do things, even by interaction. For instance, you can't say "Vetala realizes Iím so handsome that she falls in love with me!" I'm in charge of what Vetala does and thinks. You can't say "I cut your head off with my lightsaber!" The other guy might choose for his character's head to not get cut off. If someone does this to you, whisper them (/w or click on them, click their nameplate and select whisper) and politely and patiently explain that your actions are your own.
If something is private, keep it PRIVATE.
Erotic Role Play (ERP) like all sexual activities, needs to take place in private between consenting adults. DO NOT use /say or /me for this because those are visible to other characters near your character. Create a party and use party chat so that no one else can see it. Bioware will ban you for being offensive in public - and remember that other people may find even very mild stuff offensive and report you, so err on the side of caution. Use appropriate discretion and prudence when dealing with strangers on the internet and with minors. If you see someone acting inappropriately then ask them to stop and go someplace private and if they do not then report them.
Use the game tools to your advantage
Find the right environment for where you want your story to take place.
- Use duels to create a confrontation if youíre in the same faction.
- If you have a cross-faction RP alert the other side that you want to RP.
- Use preset emotions are great for showing how your character feels and acts.
- Use /say or /yell since those are local channels, you donít want the entire planet hearing your RP.
- You can create custom emotes by typing on /emote and then typing out what you want your character to do or /me and typing it out.
- DO NOT RP in General Chat. Thatís not what General Chat is for.
Meaning find an appropriate in-game location for your RP. You can take your trooper/military RP to the starting area on Ord Mantell at Fort Garnik because itís got just the right atmosphere and setting. You could do your bounty hunter RP in Nemíroís palace on Hutta. If youíre looking for cross faction RP, the Hutt statue on Lower Promenade on Nar Shaddaa or the Outlawís Den on Tattooine are both great places to go. If you want a more secluded area there are many of them scattered throughout the galaxy - your guild or your RP group could meet up in the quiet pub on Tatooine, or in an abandoned cave on Hoth. Of course, the lower level the area, the more people can get there.
Be kind; donít be a bully, and donít tolerate bullies.
RP is about trust. Therefore, be kind to people. Cut them some slack if they are being awkward. Try to respectfully teach them if they donít seem to get the social guidelines of RP. Donít try to be intimidating or scary or overwhelming in RP without having some idea of where the RP is going. The other person can laugh in your face - he controls his characters actions and he may decide that heís not intimidated, scared, or overwhelmed. Part of this is not attacking people or their companions in a RP situation without agreeing on it OOC with the other player beforehand. If youíre a lot higher level than people, donít challenge them to PvP duels when you know youíll stomp them. Youíre being a bully at that point. If you see someone doing this, then gently and respectfully privately pull them aside (with a whisper) and try to convince them to do better. If you canít, then ignore them (type in /ignore charactername) and donít RP with them.
Cultivate RP with good examples, leadership, and patience.
Once you get into the swing of it, try to teach the new guy the lessons youíve learned. If you run across Darth Araagorn the son of Bastila Shan who says that heís so handsome your character falls to her knees in worship, then pull that player aside and gently show him the ropes. In the meantime, lead by good examples.
Remember you're having fun playing "let's pretend!" Donít take it too seriously. If you don't like it, use the "ignore" function liberally and just move on. If you liked the RP you've done with people, be sure to tell them thank you and that you had fun.