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Let me break out my wizard robe and hat

March 19, 2009

Amongst all the wtfpwning, screaming over vent, and sheer madness, I like to enjoy another aspect of most games I play and that’s the lore. I find it weird for people to get caught up in some world and not have a clue about the history of the world they are in. Biggest example I can give was back when I was on a roleplay server in WoW and TBC came out, there was a massive flood of Blood Elves. There was like, a 1 in 4 ratio going on that people didn’t even know what the Sunwell was. The only equivalent I can think of is if someone rolled a Warrior Priest and suddenly ask “Who’s the punk named Sigmar?”

No, this isn’t going to be a post about going lol at lore or what not. It has more to do with roleplaying. I have always enjoyed roleplaying, from tabletops to MUDs to PBEMs to MMOs. Even in my spare time, I will write stories about my various characters I have created over my years of roleplaying.

Now this comes to two questions people probably have for me. The first one comes from people who know me really well and that question is, “Why the crap are you playing WAR if you hate Warhammer?” This will probably piss a lot of people off, but I do hate the tabletop game WAR is based on. I’m not going to get into details, but if people ask, I’ll be happy to explain further. I never touched Warhammer and never intended to. Hell, when Pancakez first brought up WAR, I shot him a nasty look and said something to the effect of, “I will never play that.” Now look at us! All thanks to some badass concept art. I’m a huge sucker for that, so way to go Mythic.

I didn’t pick up WAR because I was some tabletop junkie, but I picked it up because it looked amazing. From there I started to get drawn into the lore. I cannot possibly play a game with so much history to simply ignore the lore. One thing lead to another quickly. Oh my god, these Witch Hunters look bad ass! But who’s Sigmar? Oh god, that’s awesome! And what about these dudes? Why are they fighting so and so? With each question I found an answer and probably five more questions to ask. I’m still absolutely no pro on the lore in Warhammer, but wow, it’s so fascinating. And that brings me to the next question people will ask.

“If you love the lore so much and you enjoy roleplay, why aren’t you on a roleplay server?”

Because roleplaying in WAR is an atrocity. I’m sorry to those people who are on RP servers, but it’s the truth. There are so many little things not implemented in WAR that makes roleplaying enjoyable. I hate to bring it up, but WoW had a lot of small things in it that made roleplaying enjoyable. It seems that Mythic tried too hard to be the anti-WoW and therefore gave up a lot of things that well… really weren’t that bad.

Like emotes. I know you can /e and do whatever you want, but how many emotes are there in WAR that have a visual effect to them, too? I can’t think of too many. Even compare WAR to WoW when it comes to emotes. You can’t dance in WAR. I’m partially glad you can’t because it became so damn annoying in WoW, but from a roleplay perspective, why shouldn’t you be able to dance? It doesn’t even have to be the Napolean Dynamite dance, it can be some traditional medieval dance.

That brings me to actions you can’t do in the game. Like sitting. Oh my dear god, why can you not sit? You can’t walk either. Or kneel. Or even look like you’re talking when typing something in /say. I would like to think that it’s not too difficult to animate any of these things, but they’re so simple and you can’t even do any of them.

The major cities, usually prime places to roleplay (at least from what I’ve noticed in past games), are rather detached from the rest of the game. It’s not some sort of Mecca in the sense that you walk to it in lower ranks. Nope, you take a ride via roflcopter or wyvren to it. You can technically walk to the cities… but it’s in T4 and in what feels like the back entrance. You don’t walk into some flourishing marketplace or something. It was designed more for an RvRer than a roleplayer. Most people who roleplay tend to level up slowly. Instead of spending several hours to get that new rank, they’d rather be roleplaying something amongst friends or enemies. That may involve leveling up, but not always. So there goes the idea of just walking to the city.

And then there is the lack of dressing up. In WoW, I had various outfits for all of my characters, from their battle gear (or real gear) to formal robes to traveling garb to casual robes to some sexy get up. In WAR, I don’t have any of that. I can’t even really try if I wanted to. There are sets for each tier, and then some variation in gear past the basic T4 stuff, but that’s it. And I’m not going to buy another game so I can get a cussack’s hat either. Hell, I care so much about it that I misspelled it. So I can’t have some basic robe for my Blackguard when she’s not on duty. Or are our characters always at war and must always be dressed like that?

Don’t get me wrong, there are a bunch of things that entice me to roleplay. The vast, complex landscapes are amazing. The idea of having surnames and various titles is great. Placing various trophies on your armor is a great way to customize how you look. Hell, do you guys even READ the quests or tome of knowledge? It’s insane! I get more excited finding more information about a noteworthy person than getting experience from finding them because it’s a tome unlock.

People might tell me that if I really want to roleplay, I should just play the tabletop. Maybe even play another game, because WAR isn’t lolroleplay or something. My view on it is that WAR is based off of a roleplay game, so I don’t see why they would gimp the roleplay aspect of the game. I do think WAR is a great PvP game, regardless of all it’s flaws in the system right now, and that Mythic focused more on that than what Warhammer truly was to begin with.

Then again, I may be wrong. Maybe roleplay is fine in WAR, and if that’s the case, feel absolutely free to tell me others. I might even try out one of the roleplay servers. I simply don’t understand how people can roleplay but not have access to things that pretty much every other MMO has had. In the meantime, I’ll stick to writing my stories.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Ventris permalink
    March 19, 2009 2:10 pm

    I never picked up the Tabletop game. For one thing is a pretty big monetary layout. For another I suck at math and it seems like something mathematicians have wet dreams about. I did play the PnP version for one campaign. It’s a pretty serious system both in setting and mechanics. It’s also a blast to play with the right mix of people.

    My main is on Phoenix Throne which is an RP server. There isn’t a whole lot of RP on that server that I can see though that’s not to say that RP is non-existant. I did RP with an Alliance mate once – that pretty much drew out about 3 quests over a 2 hour period. If you can remember, my typing is teh suck. I agree that missing essential emotes such as /sit and /dance, while not show stoppers in their own right, are representative of the significant lack of RP support on servers branded as RP. I pretty much play on RP servers because, on the whole, the player base is a little more mature with 1337 speak and Chuck Norris references kept to a minimum. (At least I think this is at a minimum. I don’t a) pay attention to chat and b) have the general chat channel turned off)

    As a History major I enjoy the significant canon behind the Warhammer franchise. Heck, I even find myself scanning wiki pages for games I don’t even own (Hellgate: London for instance) because I enjoy reading good backstory. When I sent in my submission for Greg’s Portrait competition over at Tome of Knowledge (pimpage here) I researched the other Knightly orders and heraldry of soldiers in my story. I feel that kind of detail added value to the story I was trying to tell.

  2. Omelettez permalink*
    March 19, 2009 2:19 pm

    Yeah, I figured you didn’t read chat in general when it took me forever to get your attention =P

    I’m glad to hear that people still manage to roleplay, that’s great. I just get puzzled at the idea that simple things were left out. Then again, Mythic left a lot of things out when they launched WAR, so who knows!

    And side note, OMG, if they EVER do another competition again (I don’t know how I missed that begin with D=), I am totally doing that. I’ve also contemplated posting up my own fanfiction on the blog, but I haven’t due to our whole anonymity of our characters thing.

  3. Sharon permalink
    March 19, 2009 4:31 pm

    I recently returned to WAR, after 3 years of roleplaying in WoW and plenty of rp experience in MUDs/MUSHes like a million years ago. I completely agree with your assessment. I didn’t play the tabletop game either, though my husband played it a bit. I’d probably dig it, being a spreadsheet loving, theory-crafting geek girl. I got into the lore starting with the quest text, and found that it was just a glimpse of the story underneath. The first character I rolled in beta was a DoK, and I’m pretty sure I thought, “Who the hell is this Khaine guy?!”

    I play Order on Phoenix Throne, and have yet to see any real rp, apart from people yelling the occasional war cry in scenarios or the RvR lakes. I suspect it must go on in guilds and individual groups. I’m surprised that I’ve never seen it in Altdorf. I’ve only been back at the game for a couple of months now, and find it hard to get socially connected. The community seems fairly tight. In WoW, it was definitely easier to find rp. I’m not aware of any mods that let you set rp flags in WAR either.

    Although the lack of emotes is a bit annoying, I have emotes filtered out at the moment, because the handful of emotes that ARE in the game are insanely overused. I had to turn them off last week, because if I saw one more person /burp repeatedly in a warband, I was going to poke my eyes out.

  4. tarisai permalink
    March 20, 2009 9:58 am

    they just need to be tastefull, then there’s no problem. /dance could be traditional folk dances, or even simply stamping your feet and clapping for some races.

    i don’t suppose orcs or chaos would dance, but dark elves must have some sort of hedonistic (sp?) body flailage.

    sit and sleep are coming into game, as i’m pretty sure i heard someone say they were in the beta client for 1.2. so they’ll be here soon enough, along with walk i’d imagine

    the empire special needs to go. it’s a disgrace. all order characters should be able to /smoke their pipe. simple hand gestures for talking etc etc

    i know WAR is like, the anti-WoW or something, but there’s a reason millions play WoW: and it’s not entirely to do with content. these little things get people hooked, and if these little things are done with taste and tact, then the childlike attitudes that follow childlike emotes won’t occur more often than they do now in WAR.

    i don’t roleplay that much, but i love shiney details. everyone loves shiney details. give us more shiney details.


  5. Omelettez permalink*
    March 20, 2009 10:05 am

    Shiney details are always an awesome thing =D

    @Sharon. I remember finding random RP in WoW being extremely easy. On our RP server, Silvermoon was the place to be. There was always something going on. Granted half the people actually knew what they were doing/talking about, but at least there was roleplay.

  6. ir0nclad permalink
    March 23, 2009 1:52 pm

    @Omelettez. OK. I’ll bite. 🙂

    “This will probably piss a lot of people off, but I do hate the tabletop game WAR is based on. I’m not going to get into details, but if people ask, I’ll be happy to explain further.”

    Why do you hate WHFB? For the sake of full disclosure, I’ve been playing Fantasy Battle, 40K and other Games Workshop games for almost twenty years now. Certainly not because they make the best war gaming rulesets, but rather more because of the, as you say, “But who’s Sigmar? Oh god, that’s awesome!” factor. For me, seeing a table full of rampaging greenskins or rows upon rows of High Elf spearmen provides that same level of “geekstacy”. I (and my long-suffering wife, bless her heart) agree with Ventris’ post about it being a big monetary layout – it *can* be. If you can control your addiction, it doesn’t have to be, though. Oh, and Warhammer is not actually a role playing game – you don’t have single characters – you have armies or at least warbands.

    My main is also on Phoenix Throne and I must agree that I see only infrequent role-play going on. I see two more reasons for this than those already mentioned. First, I find RvR and roleplay to be very difficult to combine successfully. To tell the truth, I’ve just never wanted to work that hard at it. Second, the Warhammer IP is very dark and depressing (with a sprinkling of black humor); there are precious few “white knights”. IMO that’s very difficult to roleplay well and consistently. I would suppose that junior Templars of Sigmar (the witch hunter religious order) get whipped by their superiors if the /sit down frequently in the field. And dark elves do /dance, but someone usually dies by the end. 😉

  7. Omelettez permalink*
    March 23, 2009 4:37 pm

    I think Warhammer is a massive money/time sink. Out of all the geeky things I’ve been into and seen my friends get drawn into, Warhammer was the one that managed rub me the wrong way. Personally, I can’t wrap my head around buying all these little figures, spending hours painting every single one, only to play what seems like a glorified version of Risk. I know I’m probably way off on that detail, but I’m just saying that’s how it comes off to me. I’ve heard and seen more horror stories of Warhammer addiction that I have with anything else. And I know it’s like, not technically an RPG, but every time I’ve seen people play, they’ve roleplayed it out, so I’ve always thought of it as one.

    And yeah, smashing faces and roleplaying at the same time can be hard. Whenever I’ve done roleplaying in MMOs, it has been outside of any constant battle, like RvR or a raid or whatever. I also find Warhammer extremely refreshing with how dark and depressing it is. I really don’t like light and fluffy stories, so the darker and more depressing it is, the better! Some people can do a fantastic job at it and others can’t. Nothing wrong with that either. We all can’t be amazing at everything.

    That’s pretty much it, though. Once I started playing WAR and survived the constant teasing I got from my friends, my narrow view on Warhammer has widened up by a lot, but there is still no hope in me actually sitting down and playing the game. Then again, I probably do things that make people facepalm, like buy a caffeinated drink everyday. It all works out =)

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