In game, a character’s reputation–their relative fame within factions–is measured from Hated to Exalted. The mechanics of this feature has changed since launch, but the overall concept of how a character is perceived has not changed. The more deeds one does for a faction, the more said faction respects said character. It is a simple system, designed towards gear and keepsake items (like tabards) more than RP, so it does not truly work at describing how a character is viewed by particular factions in character.
There is no way to ICly track how a character’s reputation. There are no achievement points for winning a Icly story contest. While other players may express their gratitude for the RP event you ran, it doesn’t exactly translate into a discount to repairs and items sold by their character. And as people who are grinding for Champion Seals can attest to, it doesn’t matter how many times you save that stupid bastard Kul, he always seems to be held the next day in the same damn spot. In our relatively static environment, where reputation means only one thing and the quest to gain rep are repeatable, Fame is a purely IC concept. Yet, addressing fame, infamy and reputation in game can add a lot to our RP.
First and foremost, there is no one way to address this. RP, like raiding, is akin to herding cats. However, I think a few guideline can help an RPer work with the idea of fame and reputation:
- By realism I mean the natural “cause and effect” realism that exist in the real world as well as staying within the Lore of the game. For instance, one cannot be a homicidal maniac, killing people indiscriminately, and still be loved by the entire populace. In regards to lore, one should stay away from being related to, or overly friend with, key lore characters. Yes, your toon may have ran into the Undercity with the Big Haired Idiot, but saying that your character saved Wrynn from an errant Forsaken crossbow bolt, and hence given a knighthood for it is stretching matters. Greatly. Personally, I think of Lore Characters as museum pieces: Interesting, for everyone to look at, only the researchers get to touch them and something to study.
- If one week a toon is hated by a faction and the next week they’re loved by the same faction, the RP is a broken. Establishing trust or fixing a broken trust, are not quick things. This takes time. This is a long term story arc for a character. For instance, Yva Darrows, The Ice Witch was a terror at Tarren Mill, a figure to be killed on sight. After years of game play and development, she eventually earned a pardon from the crown for brining a number of Cult of the Damned agents, collaborators and sympathaizers to justice. Her reputation proceeded her and she had to work exceptionally hard to return to the fold. This included fic, RP dungeons, and old fashioned RP nights. Did she get the pardon from Wrynn himelf? Of course not. Did she have an audience with him? Nope. Was it handled the same way one might handle the defection of a key agent or super spy…. Well, that’s not entirely my story to tell.
- There is a lot of RP that I do not care for; however, it is not my place to tell someone how to spend their $14/month. I can type out suggestions until the keyboard breaks, at the end of the day, a person may end up playing a Earl Jake Dunwana, a human warrior who earned his fiefdom by Wrynn’s life; however, he is a wanted man as he then tried kill Wrynn over a percieved slight towards Earl Jake’s girlfriend, Jania Proudmoore. Ignoring this RP and not associating with their RP is a far better solution than mocking them and deriding them.
- Respect also means working with others in the RP circle to keep fame consistent throught the circle. This kind of collaboration can also lead to additional developments for all the characters involved.
- Fame is a public thing. This means we need to know what you did to become famous or infamous. RP it out. Fic it out. Work with other players to brag about your reputation to the rest of your circle or server. Some RP posts, such as, “Get to know your character” development posts ask questions about how a character is perceived in game. Guild or Raid Websites are also a good opportunity to establish your characers reputation.
These are three simple ideas about reputation. On Feathermoon, we have Raid Progression topic, a Character Development Topic and a number of fic posts. TRI and the Wildfire Riders also have forums where character exploits are shared. This is not all that one can do to establish, track and develop an ingame repuation–and I’m sure there are other ways to do it. Sjhare with us how you share your toon’s exploits, how your main is regarded by the factions in Game and how you, the player, track that reputation!