How to Attend Public Roleplay Events As a Shy Nerd

The first and most obvious step, that somehow people still miss: if a roleplay event sounds interesting and is stated to be open to the public, than go see what it’s about! Don’t let your shy nerdiness stop you.

Hello, readers! Though you may have seen this post first on Wowhead and then on the official forums, I decided it was well past time to include it on my official blog. I am Yotingo of the server Cenarion Circle (and more recently, of Sisters of Elune), of the guilds <AAMS> and <Gentlemen Assassins>, and I am a shy nerd!

A little background on me:

I have made my home on the RP-PvE server of Cenarion Circle for over ten years. During that time I have attended roleplay events, run roleplay events, run a roleplay guild or two (or three), been interviewed by WoWInsider (now Engadget) about one of those guilds, and I have seen many roleplayers come and go. As we roleplayers have a reputation for being odd birds (and we are!), it is my personal policy to be welcoming and helpful to new players who may be interested in getting involved with the roleplay scene. Hence I present to you this guide!

To get started:

One of the most common mistakes I see being made by new roleplayers is how they try to get involved with public roleplay events. Contrary to the grumpy old-timers, it is generally not because they are disruptive or out-of-touch with the awesomeness that is roleplay, but instead feel shy and awkward, so don’t open up, and so don’t get the quality in-character interaction that they and other roleplayers all secretly crave. (You do crave it, don’t you?)

This guide has some steps to take to make your ventures into the roleplay world more successful. Many of the tips are the same ones that are useful for attending social events in real life as well, so if you’re not a roleplayer, maybe you’ll still get some use out of this guide. (Except Step 4. Really, don’t be sitting on the kegs in real life, unless it’s THAT kind of event…)

Step One: Attend!

The first and most obvious step, that somehow people still miss. If a roleplay event sounds interesting and is stated to be open to the public, than go see what it’s about! Don’t let your shy nerdiness stop you. Sometimes the first step is the hardest.

Of course, sometimes just finding the roleplay events is the tricky part. If you are currently playing on an RP server, often your server’s official forums will have posts with information about roleplay events that are open to the public. (See Cenarion Circle/Sisters of Elune’s posting here for an example. )

Step Two: Bring a friend!

If you can’t bring a friend, bring a guildie (preferably one who also roleplays, or at least won’t embarrass you by dancing naked on the tabletop). If you can’t bring a guildie, take a mini-pet. While it’s not dangerous to go alone, sometimes a little moral support helps, and Fluffy, Bringer of Doom and Destruction might be a good conversation starter.

Step Three: Walk up. Say hello.

Introduce yourself. Ask if there’s free seats. Ask if food or drink is being served. Ask who’s running the thing and for what purpose.

In other words, don’t just slide in and expect people to talk to you. While this is a roleplay event, not a real life event, and we all know you’re here to interact no matter how grumpy and antisocial your character may be, human nature dictates that if you act like you don’t want to be talked to, people aren’t going to talk to you. If you’re all the way over there in the corner away from the action, people will assume that’s exactly where you want to be and leave you alone.

Of course, if you do just want to watch, ignore this step.

Step Four: Take a seat at a table that has at least two other people sitting at it.

Just like in Step 3, if you sit alone, or just with your friends, people are going to assume you want to be alone–or just with your friends. It is also generally easier to break into a conversation when the table is half-full, rather than completely full, but completely full is still better than completely empty!

If you can’t sit at the table because there’s no room, stand by it or sit on the closest sturdy object that is not the table itself. If your character is tall enough to see over the table, you can even sit on the floor. We get it; we understand. If this was real life, we’d probably pull you up a chair, but it’s not, so we have to make do with what the game-world has given us. If someone gives you flak for it, incorporate it into your roleplay. Yes, I’m Yotingo the Keg-Sitter. It’s kind of my thing, mon. Hey, barkeep, are you sure you tied this thing down properly? Okay, just making sure. Wouldn’t want to crush anyone, and I thought I felt it twitchin’…

Step Five: Shamelessly insert yourself into the conversation.

If you can, make a joke or a comment relevant to the conversation. If you can’t, ask other people about themselves. What are their names? What do they do for a living? What was their most recent adventure? How do they be feelin’ about shrunken heads, mon?

You see, people LOVE to talk about themselves, and roleplay characters are no exception! Even if the character is one of those anti-social sorts who will grunt or grouch at you for trying to start a conversation, the player behind it will likely appreciate the opportunity. This is one of those times when not to confuse the character’s feelings with the player’s (in the local lingo, OOC =/= IC ) ; for most roleplayers, more interaction is good interaction, even if their character may hate it.

Step Six: Keep trying!

If your first attempt to break the ice doesn’t work, don’t take it personally. This is maybe the next most common mistake made by new roleplayers. They assume no one noticed. They assume no one cared. They assume their new-ness is stamped across their forehead emitting icky invisible bubbles of awkwardness that make people sneeze. Or worse yet, they assume the other roleplayers are all elitist, exclusive clique-ers who secretly want them to leave but are too nice (or stuck up) to say anything.

The reality is, your comment may have gotten lost in chat spam (this is especially common in busy events). Or perhaps the other players noticed your joke and are chuckling madly to themselves about it, but were unable to respond to it for various in-character reasons like their character didn’t hear it, is too busy to respond, is one of those grumpy anti-social sorts, or perhaps the player him- or herself didn’t want to break others’ immersion by saying, “LOL OMG THAT WAS PRICELESS” to you out-of-character.

That said, elitist exclusive clique-ers can exist in the roleplay world just as they can in the real world, and if you get this reaction (or no reaction) habitually, you might want to consider changing your approach or finding a different roleplay event to attend. There’s plenty of fish in the sea, mon.

Step Seven: Show up again next week!

Many roleplay events occur on a weekly basis. If unsure, ask the event host. Just like in real life, the more you put yourself out there, the more likely people are to take notice of you, decide you’re one of the kool kats, and begin to interact with you. Mission accomplished!

Step ???: If all else fails, join a roleplay guild.

Sometimes even bringing your best sweaty mojo to an event doesn’t get you roleplay. I’ve been attending roleplay events for years, and I still get left out sometimes (or admittedly just get bored of all the small-talk). If attending events haven’t been scratching your roleplay itch, also consider joining a roleplay guild. Typically these are themed and so may be more relevant to you (and your character’s) interests. There are also guilds out there that cater to new roleplayers that can help you find your feet. Your server’s official forums is a great place to start to find these.

Now it’s your turn!

Was this helpful? What tips or advice would you give new roleplayers? (Jest be remeberin’, mon: de only good troll is one with a fancy accent like mine!)

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