This article was on WoWWiki at one time, but got deleted for some reason. It now lives here.

The Common Role Playing Code (CRPC) was crafted with the hope of creating a common structure for role play within the game World of Warcraft (WoW). Role playing is a game, and like any game it needs some structure so that we can all play together smoothly. This is especially true within WoW where you will be playing with people whom you have never met. The goal of this document is to provide an introduction to role playing within WoW and to set some ground rules, promoting a richer and more spontaneous role play culture.

Please feel free to edit this document. The idea is to create a common understanding among the role playing community. If there are sections you feel need editing OR if something needs to be added, please do so. We are hoping to create an organic document that will reflect our collective structure. Savvy? Also if you are a role playing guild, feel free to adopt this code as you see fit.

Part I: What is Role Play?

I’ve heard many definitions of role play over the years. However I think the best way to think of role play is as a collectively written fantasy novel. A group of players get together, throw their various characters together, and collectively affect how the adventure will unfold. In the case of WoW, this is done by communicating through a variety of chat channels which I will describe in a later section.

Part II: Outlook of a Role Player

The key to good role playing is to remember that what you add to the storyline is not for your own glorification. You need to be comfortable not being the center of attention. Feel free to hog the spotlight from time to time, but your default mode should be in a supportive role. Remember role playing is a group experience where everyone must work together to have fun. If you cannot handle that, then role playing is not for you.

Part III: Character Creation

Your job as a player is to add interest to the story and entertain the rest of the players in your group. Likewise their job is to do the same for you. To that end, create interesting characters that other players will enjoy interacting with. Often the most interesting characters are not perfect specimens of humanity (or trollity?). They have deep character flaws, sorted pasts, and completely intolerant points of view. The detail of your character history is completely up to you (and your guild). However make sure you have firmly established the personality of your character before you unleash him/her onto Azeroth.

If you are truly stuck, base your character off a memorable character from a book you once read. There is also plenty of literature online to aid in character creation. Don’t be afraid to look outside of the WoW community for character development tips and inspiration. Researching personality types within psychology can also be another good jumping off point when developing a character.

Part IV: Basics for Game Play

Role Play Everything

A recent study conducted by the Higher Institute of Gnomish Achievement has concluded that 95% of WoW content can be role played. That last 5% gap can easily be closed by a little reading here on WoWwiki or a well worded search on Google. Do your best to stay in character. Be creative, twist the facts, and make it happen.
At the end of this document, I have some suggestions on how to ask common WoW questions while staying in character. If none of this works, then by all means switch to out-of-character but be discreet and use proper channels. You don’t want to kill the mood.

Talk in complete sentences / Use proper punctuation

Continuing with the fantasy novel metaphor from earlier, in role play we want a well written novel. Take the time to utilize basic tools in crafting your sentences. If this is too much for you, then what you are saying probably isn’t worth saying in the first place.
Naturally this rule can be broken to suite your character. For example, you play less than intelligent ogre who’s been knocked over the head a few too many times…

Do not use acronyms or abbreviations

Role play is an open form of game play. The more individuals you have playing, the better quality of game play. Even if you can justify the use of acronyms in role play, they have a tendency to cloud meaning unless you already know the code. So take the time to spell out your words and stop abbreviating.
Exception: acronyms and abbreviations are suitable in the heat of battle where speed is key to survival.

Promote Role Play drama. Not real drama.

Role play drama and conflicts are a joy and keep things interesting. However, real drama is a drag. If you don’t know someone very well, it is considered polite to send an out-of-character /Whisper to make sure the other person is willing to play along with your role play conflicts.

Part V: Communication Channels

In-Character (IC) Channels

  • /Say and /Yell: Again role play is a collective, open experience. Therefore role playing should be done publicly, utilizing /Say and /Yell as much as possible.
  • /Party: Party chat holds the same conventions as /Say and /Yell. However this channel should only be utilized if the conversation requires secrecy within the party. Remember role play is a collective experience - you want other people to overhear you and join in the game.
  • /Emote: If role play is a collectively written fantasy novel, then think of /Emote as the narrator. This external point of view narrates our stories, turning them from simple scripts of dialogue into sensory rich experiences. The other in-character channels can only describe what we hear. Emotes describes what we can taste, touch, see, and smell.
  • /Guild: Guild chat holds the same conventions as /Say and /Yell, and allows for guild wide communications. However it is a private channel for guild members only. Overuse of this channel will prevent non-guild role players from joining in on the fun.
NOTE: Guild chat is a difficult channel to justify in terms of role play. It is geographically neutral meaning you can hear all members no matter where they are in the world. Although elves have ridiculously large ears, hearing someone a continent away is nigh short of miraculous.
A simple, yet common, fix for this issue is to assume that guild membership includes a special enchanted hearthstone allowing all guild members to communicate over great distances. However keep in mind that they cannot see you, so emoting is not suitable for this channel.

Out-of-Character (OOC) Channels

  • /General and /Trade: Widely held as OOC channels. Many role players turn off these channels entirely. However I feel that is a mistake. It does no good for the role playing community to unplug from the rest of the server. What you decide to do is completely up to you.
  • /Whisper: There is some contention as to whether this channel is IC or OOC. Mainly I have seen it used OOC, therefore I place /Whisper by default as an out-of-character channel. If you wish to speak IC, you should mark the whisper as “IC.”

Appendix A: Game Play to Role Play Translations

The purpose of this appendix is to gather common Game Play questions, sayings, etc and create a common translation in role play terms. Below are a few that i have started. Please add more as you see fit.

Game Play >> Role Play translation

  • What level is he? >> What is his rank?
  • You see “??” for his level. >> I do not recognize the markings on his armor/robe.
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