[R] A Brief Guide to Roleplay


So you want to roleplay? Maybe you’ve never done it before but want to learn, or perhaps you’ve only done things on other games such as Guild Wars, or in DnD. Whatever your background, this handy guide should help you out!

Preface: What is roleplay?
If you have no idea what this wonderful thing is that people do on roleplay realms, I suggest you scroll down and read the second post by Gwendolena, which gives a rather lovely explanation as to why you should want to do it! In short, roleplay is creating a character, and then acting as though you are that character - e.g. an adventurer, a civilian, a mage with a drinking problem - the possibilities are endless.

1. Roleplay Addons

First and foremost, you’re going to want a roleplay addon. It’s a personal choice which you use, and some choose to use none at all - however, they are very good for allowing you to share extra information about your character - for example, an accent, walking with a limp, or a trinket your character carries with them that doesn’t show on the model like a necklace or a particular weapon. It’s also useful for adding a full name - i.e. surname and first name, or a title, to your character (which will then appear instead of your OOC name in the chat box, and you can also set a custom colour for your name to appear in. The main two are MRP and TRP3, and both transfer data to each other, so it doesn’t matter which you use.

TRP3: www.curseforge. com/wow/addons/total-rp-3-classic

MRP: www.curseforge. com/wow/addons/myroleplay-classic

There are also other addons you can use to help facilitate roleplay. A lot of them haven’t been translated to Classic yet, but I’ll add them as they are.

Misspelled: www.curseforge. com/wow/addons/misspelled

This is a great addon that acts as an in-game spellchecker! Very helpful to grab those pesky typos.

2. Slash commands

Slash commands are the bread and butter of your roleplay. Here are all the commands you can use in Classic, and what they do! The command will be in italics, and what appears in the text box will also be in bold.

/s - your basic command to say something. For example:
/s Hi!
[Arletta Pritchett] says: Hi!

/e - this is your basic emote command. It comes up in a brownish colour, and is useful for describing your character’s actions.
/e walks into the bar and looks around.
Arletta Pritchett walks into the bar and walks around.
/y - this is the same as /s, but the text will be read and visible to people who are very far away. In general, you do not want to use this (expanded below).

  • if you use these in /s or /y, it makes the text appear brown, like an emote - an example being the infamous /y gunshot.

There’s also a long list of commands you can do which will have a different result if you target someone else, or if you target no one. I won’t list both results, only the one for if you are targeting someone. These are very useful as to the person who is being targeted, the emote will say “you” instead of “insert name here”, which is the result for everyone else. It makes it obvious who you are talking to and is often a lot faster than typing out the full emote.

/peer - Arletta Pritchett peers at you searchingly.
/poke - Arletta Pritchett pokes you. Hey!
/hug - Arletta Pritchett hugs you.
/laugh - Arletta Pritchett laughs at you.
/giggle - Arletta Pritchett giggles at you.
/kiss - Arletta Pritchett blows you a kiss.
/glare - Arletta Pritchett glares angrily at you.
/stare - Arletta Pritchett stares you down.
/blink - Arletta Pritchett blinks at you.
/cheer - Arletta Pritchett cheers you.
/smirk - Arletta Pritchett smirks slyly at you.
/gaze - Arletta Pritchett gazes longingly at you.
/pat - Arletta Pritchett gently pats you.

These are the main ones I can think of for roleplay, a full list can be found here:

vanilla-wow.fandom. com/wiki/Slash_commands

3. Dos and Don’ts

You’ve got your addons, you know how to talk. Now, what can you say? In roleplay, there are many abbreviations, as well as dos and don’ts. I’ll do a brief definition of the major ones below.

IC - In character. This refers to events that have happened in roleplay, or just the fact that you are currently ready to roleplay.
OOC - Out of character. This is events that happen out of character.
Metagaming - taking knowledge that you, the player, know; but that your character likely doesn’t.
Godemoting - this is when you make your character overly powerful, also known as being a Mary Sue. For example:
Sir Berengar casts a divine shield on himself and hearthstones away.
Cyrus calls down a meteor from the heavens, flattening Stormwind.
Anna calls on the power of the Light, and resurrects her friend.
Poweremoting - this is when you create a situation that another player can’t respond to as it doesn’t let them respond. For example:
Arletta Pritchett stabs Anna in the neck, causing her to bleed out.
Mary Sue - this is a character who is perfect in every way. An expert in all kinds of combat, Archmage of the Kirin Tor, otherworldly beautiful without a single flaw, while being only twenty years of age! This is generally seen as bad and overpowered by other roleplayers. It also isn’t very interesting to roleplay with someone who has no flaws. People who roleplay Mary Sue characters often end up poweremoting or godemoting as well.
ERP - Erotic roleplay. This is sexual roleplay and should never be done in public. Keep it in whispers, or out of the game entirely. Keep it PG-13, folks! This also refers to roleplay profiles, which can be seen as ‘ERP profiles’ if they have overly sexual descriptions of the character, for example describing breast size, kinks and other things. New to roleplay and horrified that this happens? Believe me, it does. Don’t do it. Remember, children play the game as well.

So what can you do as a roleplayer? The general rule is, anything you want. However, do remember that the vast majority of people on Azeroth have little more power than the average citizen. Basically, use your common sense. If your character draws a sword in a tavern and starts a fight, they will likely be arrested. However, if you are on a campaign and killing murlocs, this is completely acceptable. The same applies to magic. A good guideline is to think - would I be arrested if I did this in real life? If the answer is yes, and you are not roleplaying a criminal character (not recommended for beginners), then you generally shouldn’t do it.

IC and OOC, or Metagaming - this can often ruin someone’s roleplay experience. You should never use out of character information in roleplay, for example knowing that someone is a warlock when they haven’t told you so themselves. This can also be as simple as knowing a character’s name when they, or another person, hasn’t told it to you in character, and should never be done. Can’t remember if you know someone’s name? Assume you don’t and ask again!
Levels, class etc - these are often ignored in roleplay and have no bearing on your character. With roleplay addons, you can also set your class to be different to your in game class, which is very useful, especially if you rolled a gnome warlock, undead holy priest etc. and have no idea how to roleplay it (or other difficult race/class combos). Of course, you may well want your character to be a priest or a mage, and you are welcome to leave your class the same as in game if you wish to - you can also get creative with it. Have fun!

4. Roleplay Basics

This section is basic roleplay etiquette. In general, follow these guidelines.
Running - in general, unless you’re in a hurry or you’re being chased, you don’t want to run. Have a look in your keybinds if you are unsure of how to make your character walk - the keybind for most is / on your numpad.
Weapons - make sure they are not unsheathed if you are not in combat and using them. For most people, the command to put them away is z.
Clothing - you may have heard people mention “roleplay sets”. This refers to clothes you wear when you roleplay. In general, your character likely wouldn’t walk around in full plate all the time. It would be very uncomfortable! Just use your common sense and think; ‘would I do this in real life?’ if you are unsure. In general, most people choose simple clothing and weapons (no Ashbringer IC!) as in character, detailed and flashy armaments would be very expensive to craft and buy.
Typing emotes - make sure to use proper punctuation when you type emotes. I am not talking about spelling - we all make mistakes, and some people are dyslexic - however it is considered good form to end each emote with a full stop. You should also, if addressing a particular character in an emote, use their character’s name or other descriptor instead of ‘you’, as everyone will see this and think you are addressing them! Third person past or present tense is recommended (usually present tense is used). Also, never use smilies such as :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue: in your emotes or in /s. While we are on the topic, in general you don’t want to type entirely in capitals or in /y unless you have a very good reason to do so as it can be annoying for other roleplayers. Also, try not to swear excessively. If you want extra immersion, try using in-game references, such as, “Light damn you!” or “For fel’s sake!”.
In game actions - Another thing some people do is claim relationships with or to major characters in Azeroth, or that they have killed them. What you do in quests and dungeons is generally not what your character would have done and you should not do it. Of course, you can take part in these things, e.g. you were part of a regiment to deal with a gnoll infestation in Elwynn, however you wouldn’t have dealt the killing blow to Edwin VanCleef etc. If everyone claimed this it would get very confusing, as you can imagine! If you are a regular citizen, you may not even know that VanCleef is dead. You should also not claim to be friends with major characters, such as Mattias Shaw, Thrall, etc. Your character was not trained by Malfurion to be a druid, he was busy sleeping in the Emerald Dream!
Classes - in general, if you are a beginner, it’s not recommended to roleplay a non-playable race, or a warlock, as these are both very difficult for someone who is new to the lore.
Fighting - often, people use emotes or /roll to decide the outcome of a fight instead of using duels. This means that a low level character can beat a high level one if it makes sense for them to do so, but maybe they haven’t had luck grinding gear, levels etc. As said before, your level in-game should not be representative if your ‘power level’ in roleplay.

5. Lore

I’m not going to explain the full lore of World of Warcraft, as I’d be here all night. If you want to know more, I’d recommend you check out youtube videos, such as nobbel87, or check the wiki pages to find out more! These places are very useful for researching lore on your race or class as well, which is very useful for creating a backstory.

I hope this guide has helped some of you out! Please don’t be afraid to ask other roleplayers for help if you are unsure about anything, and remember to have fun!

If you have any feedback or suggestions, please do let me know on discord - Charlie#7263 - or comment below.

Original guide: docs.google. com/document/d/1XEylgIT_F_WcAVPKi9Gtoad6QlXU7s8ropo0NtKvdAQ/edit?usp=sharing


That’s all well and good, of course, but they’re very little use if we don’t know what the basics of roleplaying even are.

Roleplaying is about inventing a person in a specific setting, and acting and speaking as if you were that character.

What’s available to you in-game, through various channels, emote commands, and even add-ons, are tools to facilitate roleplaying with other players.

In World of Warcraft, most roleplay happens separately from the gameplay. You could certainly ‘roleplay’ through it when you party up with a few players to defeat Mor’ladim, but indeed, it would become difficult to claim you did this to other players who in turn claim the same thing. That’s why we make the distinction between “out of character” moments and “in character” moments.

This also means that you can play a fantasy that’s different from your actual gameplay class. You certainly could play an adventurer, but you could also play a regular citizen with no combat prowess.

Roleplaying can be silly, it can be serious. Roleplaying can be deeply engaging. Because WoW as a game is so good at creating emergent gameplay, it is also an excellent tool for roleplaying.

The sky’s the limit. Have fun, but of course be mindful of others - for people to roleplay together, they need to be able to trust eachother. Roleplaying means engaging with this beautiful world and others who inhabit it, in a grounded way. Surprise eachother, but make sure to keep other people’s boundaries in mind.

And yes, there are many pitfalls to keep in mind, as explained above, but I don’t love roleplaying because of what you can’t do. I love it for the endless world of imagination that it provides.


I was going to leave a reply basically saying the same things, but then Gwen went and done it already.


That is a beautiful explanation. Thank you so much - I’ve added a note to the original post that refers people down to your comment.


Oh hey, I met you while ruining some poor Yetis evening just yesterday ~grins~

To add to all this: I would recommend for a newcomer to pick a simple concept, that doesn’t require a lot of lore knowledge first. Certain classes may be somewhat difficult to portray properly without said knowledge. Warlocks come to mind, as mentioned in the guide above, although it might be helpful to explain why Warlocks are considered difficult to portray.

It essentially boils down to demons not being viewed as the most… lovable of pets, what with the tiny little Burning Legion invasion that happened just four years prior to Classic. Therefore people who summon said demons are looked upon somewhat unfavourably. A warlock will, therefore, probably have to hide the fact that they are a warlock to the best of their ability, which can be a little challenging to do.

Other concepts that might be a bit more difficult for newcomers would be anything revolving around Night Elves, considering the sheer age of those. The average night elf tends to be at least a few hundred years old, a whole lot are over a thousand and some are pushing over ten thousand years of age (Tyrande, Malfurion and every important lore character for the Nelfs, basically). Portraying that kind of experience in a meaningful manner (and especially the culture shock Night Elves must experience, now that they are mortal and in contact with mortal, short lived races - at least I believe they are mortal in classic… the immortality-through-dragon-aspects thing came later, no? My classic lore is a bit rusty) is very difficult and requires a decent bit of lore knowledge.

That isn’t to say that someone new to roleplay should under no circumstances attempt concepts such as that, just that it will be exceedingly difficult to do it well and something simpler, easier might be more fun in the long run and lead to less frustration.


I was out there killing yetis for a whole hour! A whole hour!

It’s definitely good advice to keep in mind what you’re capable of playing and comfortable with playing. If the fantasy of these difficult classes or races is exactly what appeals to you, by all means, take on the challenge. Don’t be afraid to suck, we were all pretty naff at some point.

Well, except for me, I was born /emoting.


First of all: wonderful thread! Thanks for starting this!

…waiting for the day when roleplaying groups start to shout at warlocks who drag their summoned pets behind them over a marketplace and through the whole city. (Well, a roleplayer can still dream! :wink:)

That is actually something I really would love to have/find more info about. I already tried to incorporate those facts into my RP, but already clashed a bit with other roleplaying elves because we weren’t sure how long we already could’ve been “out there in the wild”.

Reminds me of my dwarven priest from the old days, who was mute and only able to communicate by using emotes. :grin:


Great guide! Thanks for posting!

A pet peeve for me is roleplayers who metagame that I am a mindreader.
/e thinks about drawing his sword but decides not to because he doesn’t want to be arrested.

I am not telepath. Please stop.
It makes my head hurt…


It’s something like 5 years between the end of “The Long Vigil” (aka. The Flight to Kalimdor) and “The Gnomeregan Incident” (one of the markers for the start of Vanilla). Night Elves have been mortal for just 4 years at this point.

A Night Elf is considered to be an adult at age 20 (yes, not much older than humans) and will usually gain facial markings tied to an important aspect of reaching adulthood but some choose to wait for a more important event in their life. Almost all races that were connected to the Well of Eternity have multi-millenia lifespans (Highborne, Kaldorei, Naga, Frostsabers, Satyr, etc) or are immortal due to some kind of special power (Aspect’s blessing, N’Zoth, Twisting Nether).


Oh, I never heard that, might I ask where you got that? I only knew that their body was matured by that age.


Likewise, I believed their bodies matured at 20 but I thought it was more like 1-200 when they were considered adult. Then again, humans are considered of age at 12 in WoW so.


…which again has to do with the fact that this fantasy universe (at least the human part) is loosely based on our real medieval ages where life expectancy was around 40. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:
[edit] Just looked it up. Central Europe was even only 33 years! :scream:


I stuck around for ~40 minutes, then logged off to make some food. Then came back for another 30 minutes. Those yetis really like that rod and hide it very well.

I believe the 100-200 number stems from the old WoW RPG core book, which is now considered not canon anymore (although the numbers make sense to me and if I were to play a night elf I’d have them consider elves below at least a few hundred years as relatively young).


As Raindancer mentioned. The 100-200 figure is from the WoWRPG books. The Illidan book has a line something like: looking like an adult Night Elf, so anywhere between 20 and 10,000 years old.


Going by wowpedia the line is

“He had the ageless look of a mature night elf, which meant he could be any age from twenty years to fifteen thousand.”

This is clearly just about optics, if that’s the whole quote. Of course that doesn’t make the RPGbooks any more valid, but it isn’t a source for when Night Elves are counted as adults. Just when they look like it.

(Grawle) #16

I read somewhere that Sylvanas was a Ranger in her twenties - if I remember correctly.

Provided that my memory is not playing tricks on me, surely an elf must be considered adult around that age?

They wouldn’t set a barely adolescent girl to such a task…?


Sylvanas is/was a High Elf. Those have a different lifespan than Night Elves. Night Elves were functionally immortal due to the World Trees influence. High Elves had a prolonged lifespan due to the Sunwell, but they were still mortal. Difficult to compare the two.

I’m really not overly fond of the way Blizzard has been handling the age thing in regards to elves. It sounds totally plausible to me that Sylvanas was the bestest, most amazing and incredibly awesome Ranger at age 20, because that’s more or less the quality of Blizzards writing lately, but it still kinda… irks me that they’re treating such a long lived race as basically humans with pointy ears.


I mean, the alternative is that elves take a lot longer than humans to learn things which doesn’t actually make sense. Also bare in mind that Draenei have much longer lifespans than Night Elves (without the immortality buff at least) and are considered adults at 25. I suppose the question then becomes, what defines being an adult?


There’s two parts to adulthood - biological adulthood and social adulthood, as in the time when society considers you to be an adult. Historically the latter has fluctuated quite a bit, which tends to corrolate with the average lifespan (although that is to be taken with a grain of salt, average lifespans were pretty low in the past because child death was much higher, which drags down the numbers by a lot. Once you were past a certain age you usually had quite a good chance to live to your 60s and 70s. But I digress).

It makes perfect sense that elves (and Draenei) would have a somewhat normal biological maturation process, until the whole immortality thing kicks in. But, to me personally, it would also make sense that a race that literally lives thousands of years would maybe not consider someone who’s in their early to late twenties a fully adult member of society.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that it would take night elves (or draenei for that matter) longer to learn something than it would a human, just that society as a whole most likely wouldn’t take them all that seriously until they passed a certain age.

Although I’d imagine that you’d probably be a bit more lax about learning things, if you quite literally have all the time in the world to do it, so it might actually take a night elf longer to master something than a human. Purely because they don’t really have to hurry to do so, so they can allow themselves to be distracted by other things. That’s in part what I meant when I said that portraying Night Elves is somewhat difficult due to their age. How do you properly portray how the passage of time feels to a being with a livespan roughly twice as long as recorded human history?

What does “soon” mean to a Night elf? A minute? A day? A week? A year? A decade? All equally plausible answers, in my opinion.

Sorry, I got rambly there.


Is the markings significant for when a Nightelf is considered adult?