((The RP XP with MJ #19))
Sergeant Wex folded his arms over his armored chest as he squinted against the bright Tythonian sky toward the Jedi temple.
“Sir, how long do we have to wait here?” asked the corporal who joined him from the temporary Republic base a few clicks away.
Wex shrugged. “Jedi are a patient bunch. I’m expecting this to take forever.”
“What are they doing in there?”
“Meditating,” the sergeant shrugged, “Debating? Who knows.”
The corporal sighed under the weight of the rifle on his back and removed his helmet. He pinched the bridge of his nose with a gloved hand. “Oh, I wasn’t prepared for this.”
Wex couldn’t help but chuckle. “For what? Waiting?”
“Yeah,” the young trooper huffed. “This is a load, sarge! We should be back on Ord Mantell or sieging an Imp carrier or somethin’!”
The kid nodded and grudgingly screwed the helmet back onto his head.
“Well, be careful what you wish for.” Wex shouldered his rifle and moved toward the steps of the temple. “I have the feeling it’s going to be a busy year.”
I thought I’d take some time this week to talk about New Year’s resolutions for RP in SWTOR for 2012.
Typically, resolutions are made to break bad habits or to change behavior, to swear to yourself and those closest to you that you’ll stop smoking, lose weight, ride a bull, whatever. But, since SWTOR is literally only days old, it’s kind of hard to pin down bad RolePlaying habits to break.
But what if we resolve not to make those mistakes before they happen?
Here are some random RP “don’ts” that will keep you on the straight and narrow as you RP your way through 2012 in SWTOR. May the Force be with you.
1. DON’T GODMOD – Never take control of another person’s character by telling them what they’re doing, and don’t put your own character above others with some kind of special “invisible” ability such as, “I was surgically modified in a laboratory. Lightsabers bounce off my skin.” Um… no they don’t.
2. MIND YOUR LANGUAGE – Keep in mind as you RP in open areas that other people can read what you’re typing unless you’re conducting your RP in whispers or in a closed Party channel. Remember, swearing in Star Wars never went beyond the odd “hell” here and there. If you must use colorful language, use the K-word. Popularized in SW fiction, “kreff,” “kreffing” or “kreffed” is a perfectly acceptable canon replacement for the F-dash-dash-dash word. Like “Frack” in BSG, it can be over used, but if you really need to react to that blaster dropped on your toe….
3. BEWARE THE CLICHE – I’m sure one of the first things you’re aching to do in SWTOR RP is whip out one of the famous Star Wars lines. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” and “This is where the fun begins” are fun, and if properly timed can really add to the Star Wars feel of the game; a reminder of where we are and what we’re doing. Just don’t overdo it and don’t say it just to say it. Once per episode is plenty.
4. DON’T BREAK THE FANTASY – Coke, TV and baseball don’t exist in the Star Wars universe. If you make pop culture references in your RP make sure they’re from the right pop culture. Substitute fizzy drink, holocron and Huttball for the above and you’ll continue to fit in with the fantasy.
5. CANON, CANON, CANON – Please don’t say you’re the brother of Darth Malgus, or that you have personally led the project to fully irrigate Tatooine and turn it into “New Manaan.” Canon refers to a set standard, a predetermined set logic to a person, place or thing that should not be undone. That said, changing canon is like changing the markings on a ruler. You can’t off-set the established norm. It all began in 1977 with George Lucas, and — while it has changed several times since then — it’s still an unshakable property now expanded by BioWare. In short, adapt and connect to the worlds around you. Don’t alter them to suit your personal view. Remember: RP is a “social” experience. Changing canon alienates you from the rest of the universe.
6. WALK, DON’T RUN – Learn to use your walk toggle! If you’re an RPer, you have to play by the first rule of mobile common sense: People do not run everywhere. Sure, game-wise there’s a LOT of ground to cover and you’re not going to spend it moving at a leisurely stroll from one end of Coruscant to the other. I’m talking about moving from one end of a room to another (say within a cantina), or walking up to an RP in progress to introduce yourself. The default walk toggle and lock can be found on your number pad: “Num Lock” and “/” will get you started. In an upcoming ((The RP XP with MJ)) I’ll show you recommended preference settings for RPers for these and other cool stuffs. Stay tuned.
7. EMOTE SPARINGLY – A good rule of thumb for physical emotes is to think of them as punctuation rather than “sign language,” if you use them at all. You don’t have to emote “/laugh” when you can simply type “/e laughs” or “I laugh.” Using emotes after typed sentences carries more weight. For example, “I looked everywhere. I have no idea where he is.” Next line: /shrug. Always remember: good, short exposition goes farther than a mechanized avatar motion.
8. DON’T ASK – I’m on a designated RP server. Still, I find obvious non-RPers polluting the matrix with their PvP grinding. How do I know? No RolePlayer worth their story would name a character “Bootylicious” or “LordBoomBoom.” If you see these people, or see characters bouncing like Tigger across the frozen wastes of Hoth or jumping to their deaths from the scaffoldings of Korriban, chances are they’re not going to respond well if you ask them if they RP.
9. GO FISH – Looking for RP? Don’t run around the game world yelling in General chat, “Yo! Who wanna RP!?” RolePlayers are a subtle bunch. The best way to snag an RP is to go “fishing.” Just WALK into a cantina and identify yourself as an RPer through your actions. Typing things like: “/e orders a drink,” or “/e looks around the room,” or “/e nervously checks the time” will eventually draw the attention of other RPers who may approach and start up a conversation in character. Don’t forget to use the common Out Of Character (OOC) indicator of “(( ))” when speaking “as yourself.”
10. LOOK, DON’T TOUCH – If you see someone RPing in an open setting such as a cantina, don’t jump in without knowing what’s going on. “Listen” to their story by following the chat window and see if it makes sense for your character to interrupt. Is there something you can add to the story? Remember, even if you think so, these RPers may have a destiny in mind for their characters. Send one of them a tell (“/whisper [their name]”) and ask if you can join in. If you don’t have something to add, compliment them and ask if you could join them next time. Maybe they’re from an RP guild. Maybe you can join them. It never hurts to ask.
Got any tips or tricks? How about a cool RP story? 2012 is going to be a great year for swtor! Let me know what you’d like to see in this column and be sure to share your own epic adventures. YOUR Q&A COMING NEXT WEEK! Remember, every 10th RP column is dedicated to YOU. Send me your questions and comments!
((The RP XP with MJ)) publishes every Friday right here on swtor-life.com. You can contact MJ directly at swtorliferp(at)gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @MJswtor (with lots of Twitter-related RP stuff coming in 2012). He’ll tell you what server he’s on, “When it stops being full.” Have a great new year, everyone! May the Force be with you!
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