Blizzard has given us a wide variety of tools to help us tell our collective stories. While the animations may not capture the nuances of our characters, they can help us set the mood and tone. When the standards animated emotes don’t work, we have the /e command. With /e a player’s imagination, and working knowledge of grammar, are the limits to the character’s interaction with the game world. This command is a positive for RPers: We expand our ability to interact with each other. It is also the single most abused command on a server.
Here are two close-to-real-life examples:
Player A and Player B have run into each other on the streets of Stormwind, and reading each other’s FlagRSPs, begin to interact. During this random RP moment, Player A and Player B begin to throw insults at each other (obviously, Player A and Player B are RPing jerks). Player B then emotes the following:
Player B lunges for player A and begins to throttle the life out of him.
Player C and Player D are talking in the Pig and Whistle. Talking leads to flirting. Flirting leads to the following emote:
Player C thinks Player D is one hot gnome.
Let us ignore the idea of choking strangers on the street or “hot gnomes” and deal directly the emotes in question. In example one, we have a player taking control of another player’s character. This emote assumes that an individual will either be taken unawares or too slow to dodge someone trying to choke you. From a story perspective, attacking another character without allowing them to respond removes agency from the player. From a realistic stand point—a stand point one shouldn’t always return to when discussing a fantasy world with magic, dragons, hot gnomes and magic weapons—it is rather difficult to lunge and choke someone on the street, especially when two people are standing toe to toe shouting insults at each other.
Example two presents a character broadcasting a thought to another character. Quite simply, that is redonkulous. The two characters are flirting: By default there is some sort of attraction—physical, emotional, intellectual—between them. Broadcasting that kind of thought is redundant. Secondly, and more importantly, it is impossible to broadcast a thought. If one’s character does have some sort of psychic power, then a /whisper would be significantly more suitable for said task.
These two brief examples illustrate just a small sample of the problem. RPers, eager to interact with each other and weave some sort of story, seem to forget basic rules of collaboration and communication.
First, I strongly recommend that when engaging in any sort of RP where your character has a huge impact on another character, you talk with the player to determine your boundaries. In the world of Table Top gaming, the Game Master is the arbiter of said boundaries. Dice represent the potential of what can occur. In WoW, there are certain circumstance—bar fights are the easiest example—that cannot be handled with the tools provided by Blizzard. Using /random 20 or even /random 100 to decide is arbitrary. Therefore, you will have to address these situations with each other. So before trying to choke someone, you should probably try talking to them.
As for emoting thoughts follow these simple Rules:
1) If the word THINK is in your emote, delete what you have written and start over.
2) If the word FEEL is in your emote, and you are not discussing the tactile sensation, start over.
3) Emote how your character physically responds to emotions. For instance, when angry, don’t type, “CHARACTER IS ANGRY.” Emote the vein that is bulging from the for head, the sound of teeth grinding or the cracking of knuckles. If your toon is nervous: fidget, laugh uncomfortably, stare at the wall or have them stutter. Don’t tell the rest of the server how your character thinks or feels. Show us.
Disagree with me? Have any other examples? I’d love to hear them.