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Not to be confused with Refuge Pointe or Runic Power.

Roleplaying (RP), or role playing, in World of Warcraft means taking on the role of a character and acting it out in-game through emotes, /say, /yell, and sometimes other channels. Players may also participate in roleplay outside the game by posting on blogs, wikis, or forums (official or otherwise). Roleplaying has similarities to improvisational theater, with the participants acting out characters in unscripted situations. Underlying this social play style is the perspective players have on their characters, as fully-fledged fictional beings that are more than just avatars of themselves. The character's personality, goals, morals, and quirks may resemble that of the player or be completely different. Thus, even a player who doesn't appear to be role playing to an outsider may enjoy elements of role playing by appreciating the in-universe context of her gameplay in relation to his character. Regardless, roleplayers recognize a boundary between what is in character and what is out of character.

RP also refers to RP Realms. There are several RP servers available to Warcraft roleplayers. RP servers are functionally the same as PvE servers, with added social rules and stricter naming enforcement.

The same is true for RP-PvP servers and PvP servers. Both sets of rules apply. RP-PvP is commonly misunderstood to mean that the roleplaying part is optional. In fact, these servers were started in response to petitioning from roleplayers, who felt that the ability to engage in PvP added realism.

Basic expectations on RP servers[]

Off-Duty Cadets - D&D

Off-Duty Cadets playing a roleplaying pen & paper game in a hidden basement of the Proudmoore Keep.

In addition to Blizzard's normal In-Game Policies, players on Roleplaying servers are expected to abide by the rules outlined in the Roleplaying Policy. A policy that has changed a lot from its original layout. In summary, players should:

  • Create a name that fits within the World of Warcraft universe. Remember that rules for Roleplaying servers are in addition to the regular Naming Policy. "Iwillcrushyou", "Roguesftw" and "Shammysrule" are examples of names that would be against the Roleplaying Naming Policy.
  • Stay in character in /say, /yell, in emotes, or any other channel used for roleplaying. This means no discussion of real-life events or people in these areas. Players should also take the time to spell out words and phrases. Refrain from using internet jargon and acronyms such as "lol" or "pwn".
  • Maintain a positive atmosphere for roleplaying. Harassment of other players is never tolerated.

Please note that rules about the General chat channel state that is required to be on-topic, not in-character. Traditionally, General is used on roleplaying servers in much the same way as it is on any other server type. However, many people on roleplaying servers enjoy maintaining the same character persona across all channels. Roleplaying on the General channel is uncommon but not unheard of.

Supporting roleplay on RP servers[]

Roleplayers are sometimes disappointed at the amount of out-of-character chat, inappropriate character names, or anti-roleplaying behavior seen on the official RP servers. Forum threads lamenting the state of enforcement are frequently seen on the official forums.

Blizzard Customer Service Representative Pavonum clarified how Blizzard handles RP server violations:

...we work reactively in response to players' reports. Thus, if you observe players attempting to disrupt roleplaying events through the use of verbal, physical, or visual harassment, I would encourage you to submit an in-game petition... is contrary to our stance of not "policing" realms in search of policy violations—which is, again, in line with the reactive nature of our investigation—and partly because it is simply not logistically feasible to offer such a service, given the resources it would require. We urge you, however, to report any wrongdoing you observe...

-(Emphasis added)

Blizzard GMs do not go looking for RP violations. They address these issues entirely in response to player requests. It is up to the community on each RP server to establish the degree of policy enforcement they wish to see. Whereas one server's community may take a very strict approach to naming, another may be relatively lax. Rather than Blizzard GMs deciding how far to take it, it's up to the players themselves to "set the barometer" and determine what is acceptable or not. The GMs can then compare the infraction to the policy as worded, and apply disciplinary measures as required. Thus, it is up to players on RP servers to proactively support the enforcement of the official RP server policies by reporting infractions to GMs.

Roleplaying terms[]

Double brackets

Double Brackets are a function used by roleplayers to give "Out of character" messages to other players. Though it is an untidy method to give OOC messages it appears to be universally recognised by Roleplayers on every server and is relatively effective. However, players still should try to avoid cluttering the IC channels with such OOC messages and use OOC channels (such as whispers) instead whenever possible.

Erotic role play

Erotic role play or (ERP) is any role-playing activity which involves sexual themes and language. In World of Warcraft, players can use emotes, text chat, and character positions in any combination, to role-play erotically. Goldshire is notorious in the community for being a locale of choice for ERP. ERP has caused issues with below-legal age players and their parents. Blizzard has provided options to protect from obscene content such as profanity and obscenity filters, the ability to report players breaking rules, and the Ignore functionality.[1]

In character

In character, shortened "IC", is a roleplaying term. Whenever players are roleplaying, they are "in character", meaning they act as their character would in that situation.


Observation is a recounting of in-game events happening in World of Warcraft that do not reflect official Warcraft history or lore, but may be retold in a similar fashion. Unlike most fan fiction, some of the events described may have actually occurred as told which makes it partial non-fiction.

Open roleplaying

An open roleplaying event, story, or thread (sometimes called "Open RP" or "Open-RP") means it's open to anyone.[2] Also an open invitation to join a crafted series of events or roleplay usually on roleplaying forums. Some other events have auditioning or other requirements to participate.

Out of character

Out of character (OOC) indicates something said or done by the person playing a character, not the character itself. OOC speech is often interjected when explanations are required that cannot be provided in character. It is often denoted by the use of the emote system.


Permadeath, for role playing purposes, refers to a player character being killed in a role-play in-character sense. This death of a character, if the Real Life player chooses, can be permanent, hence "perma"death. The player should not log on as the character if they have declared this for that character. This can also mean that the RL player deleted their character off of the server and wrote up an RP story to explain it.


Power-emoting (or god-emoting) is an act of forcing the result of one's actions on another character, typically without the other player's consent and not giving the other character a chance to do anything about the emote. Power-emoting is heavily frowned upon in most roleplaying communities, since it takes the freedom of action away from the player being emoted on. The typical solution for this issue is to emote attempts instead of finished actions. Some standard in-game emotes, such as /spit or /slap, can be considered power-emotes.

See also[]


  1. ^ Kyrlanna; Arrestide. Cancelled My Son's Account. Archived from the original on 2010-08-15. Retrieved on 2010-11-29.
  2. ^ RP'ing for Dummies (thanks to The WFR on Elftown)

External links[]

WoW role play podcasts[]