We all know what it's like to be brand new! We don't know anyone, don't know the "unwritten rules" of a site, don't know who's who in the Realm, don't know who is friendly and who is a.. err.. who is not.. In short, we pretty much know nothing, socially, about the site!
Having the game play bits down is simple! It's pretty much the same everywhere. Sure, the Dragon might be a Cannibal or spider or giant Stay Puff Marshmallow Man (hmm.. wonder if anyone has actually done that!), and the training hall might be called something different, but really, it's all the same.
The overall "tone" of the site though.. That is a whole other ball of wax (or pixels), and it can be difficult to get noticed in the village without resorting to drama queen "attention getting behaviour", which generally pisses everyone off.
This post is geared to help you get to know people and engage in RP without being an ass (unless your character IS an ass, of course) and with the higher likelihood of not being simply ignored! So.. without further ado...Read the Site Rules and FAQ!
Yes, this is the very first thing you ought to do before trying to engage in role play on a new site!
You should have done it immediately upon signing up, but if you didn't, now is the time! Or even if you did, going back for a refresher is a very good idea.
Because most sites don't count ignorance of a rule as an excuse for breaking it, and every site has different rules and guidelines for role play.
Are OOC comments allowed? How bout profanity? How far can you go with public displays of affection? Where is the line drawn regarding what is considered godmodding?
You really don't want your first interactions with the staff to be a warning or worse because you inadvertently broke a rule! First impressions are important, and being labelled right off as "someone to keep an eye on" is really not a good start.
The site FAQs are also often a good source of information on those "unwritten rules", and expectations and such, and will often help keep you from making embarrassing blunders. Make an effort!
The next thing to remember is that it's up to you to "make the first move".
Many times, newcomers simply assume that the people on a new site are unfriendly or cliquey just because the Welcoming Committee didn't show up with bells on immediately just because they arrive in a new village.
Well... Think about it! Does that happen in real life? Do you go someplace new and have everyone stop what they are doing, turn around and look at you and go, "Oh hi! I see you're new here! Welcome to the pub! My name's Skippy and this here's ....." ?
Of course not! And if it DID happen, you'd probably be majorly creeped out and get the hell outta there at warp speed, cause that's the sort of thing that you find at the beginning of slasher gore horror films! Of course, the new folks in said films usually DON'T get the hell out, and then they all die horribly except for one or maybe two of them, so there is setup for a sequel... But ANYWAY......
Same thing in role play. It may not be real, but people are still people, and most typical social rules apply.
Most people on any given server will happily mingle and such with new folk, but you have to make the effort too. That means making moves to interact with people first, at least with a nod or wave or looking specifically at someone .. you know.. SOMETHING indicating you are interested in communicating and being a part of what's going on. Just "dragging through" or "sitting in a tree and watching folks" and such isn't usually enough. It can be useful for initially establishing your character a bit, and that is a good thing, but it most likely won't encourage anyone to talk to you.
Once you are ready to jump in and want people to RP with you, a good thing to do is to just pay attention to others in the square (or wherever) and kind of.. gently insert yourself.
If you see some RP and there is a situation where your character could help (or hinder, if your char is more that sort of bloke LOL), or add something to the mix in some way, speak up. That and nod or smile (or grumble) at people.. That sort of thing. Don't let fear of rejection stop you!
If your character (or you!) are afraid of rejection, which is perfectly common, work that into your character development... The actions are handy for this, cause you can say what your character is thinking or feeling, which will explain certain actions.
For instance: Newguy Aughendyn sits at the edge of the crowded square, feeling like a fifth wheel and trying to bring himself to be sociable.
...Or something along those lines.
Of course, that may not work the first time, and almost definitely won't if you time it wrong.. which brings us to the next point...Timing is Everything!!
Making your début successfully depends largely on timing it right.
Obviously (or maybe not so obviously, hence, the reason for this post)
, if it is in the middle of some major fight scene or tragedy or other intense RP, that isn't really the time to casually cast the line for some recognition with smiling and waving at people.. That would more be the time to jump in with, "Hey there! I couldn't help noticing that your friend there's head has just been lopped of. I've got a balloon and some paints! We could draw a nice face on it and he'll be good as new mate!"
Well, OK... Maybe that exact
thing wouldn't be so well received.. but you perhaps get the gist.
The point is that you need to be aware of what's going on and tailor your approach to fit. Watch out for Insular RPers
How your introduction to society goes can also depend largely on WHO is logged on and role playing at the time. Some players routinely do their own little completely insular RP, and completely ignore everyone else, as though they are the only ones in the area.
Now, I, personally
, believe that if you are going to ignore everyone and everything else about, you should be doing that RP in a dwelling, or at least somewhere far less public than the village square. I feel it is terribly rude, but we haven't actually made a rule about that, partly because it can be really hard to know where to draw the line, so it happens.
When you're dealing with the sort of folks who just want to do their private RP on public display, it really doesn't matter what you do.. cause it won't work. They will simply ignore you and carry on with their public, private RP. If you pay attention, you should be able to spot that sort pretty soon.
That said, when people are doing that, you can
sometimes have a bit of fun and perhaps draw other
people into RP with you.
It can be highly amusing to have some sort of major uprising or natural (or unnatural) phenomenon happening right by the couple who are having their little (public!) private interlude and have them not even notice flaming debris flying at them because they are being rude and ignoring everyone else.
Just remember to keep it from becoming godmodding!! Try YOM (or in game mails/PMs)
If you aren't seeing a good "in" for some role play in the chat areas, try messaging a couple people. Now, this does NOT mean spamming several players with an identical message, but rather, after watching others RP and perhaps reading the bios of other players, pick a couple who you think might be able to help you get started, and send a message. Something simple like, "Hi, Im new here and I'd like to get involved in the role play here. Will you help me out?"
. Most people will be happy to help you get started and established, introduce your character to other characters, and the like. Avoid RP Party Fouls!
Things like unnecessary drama, being emo, godmodding, insular RP, annoying attention seeking ploys, mixing RP and RL, taking things personally, attacking people personally (OOC), spamming, flooding, and the like are all not only a good way to find yourself VERY unpopular in a hurry, but many of these things are also against the rules on most servers.
For a more in depth look at RP party fouls, take a look at this post
, on that very topic!