It has always been a struggle RPing in MMOs with balancing what the game allows a player to do, and what a character in the world are actually able to do. Things such as Player Death are a constant occurrence, every Player has the single greatest weapon of our time, or is The Champion of Azeroth herself. While these things work (arguably) fine from a gameplay standpoint, when it comes to RP, a lot of self-restraint must be enacted to create a character in the world, rather than using “The PC” as a model for character power.
This thread is to help you create that character that will allow for the most dynamic RPing experience, character growth, and fun!
It’s important to keep in mind that the toon and class you play is built mechanically first, foregoing lore and realism for the gameplay. For example, Tauren Paladins (Sunwalkers) have the same spells and abilities as Draenei Paladin, despite their source of power, cultures, and religions being very different.
This is also good to keep in mind for spells and abilities. As say, a druid, you can shapeshift into several forms and change spec to be proficient at any kind of combat or skill. However, a younger druid may only be able to take one form reliably. Even an older druid may have put more focus and energy into one form and be rudimentary at best with the others.
Key point is this: Just because something is possible/available mechanically in game, does not mean your character should be able to do it with the same simplicity.
Every skill and talent must be learned and practiced, just as in real life. Make sure to consider how much time and practice it might take to learn an ability and either write it into your character’s backstory or, even better, work learning it into RP!
Reasons to have a lower power level:
Room to grow: If you start at the top of the ladder, there is little place to go beyond for your character growth. New stories can feel stale if there’s no character growth to go along with it. While it is great to have your character be proficient in things, leave them plenty of room to still grow and learn. This can create all kinds of RP opportunities.
Challenge: The best stories are about overcoming weakness or shortcomings and striving through to conquer it. It can be tempting to make a character that can decimate a village of enemies with a flick of his fingers, or never need a healers help for their wounds, but that leaves no room for character development or friends to help. It may make your character look awesome to you, but it may lead to a character that others do not wish to engage with as it removes any challenge that the group would otherwise have to work together to achieve.
Balance with peers: Being too high in power level above the other players you RP with can make you or your character seem dismissive of the choices others make for their characters. For example, if a healer is carefully tending to a wound, being sure to clean and properly dress it, and you snap your fingers and claim its completely healed, not only have you ruined the RP of another player, but implied that their character is incompetent. Take time to learn and observe the skills and abilities of other Characters to best balance and reflect your own characters actions in the group.
Some Do’s and Don’t’s for examples:
Don't have them know everything that is going on in current lore/to the PC
Do have them be ignorant of (at least some) current events that they can then learn through RP
Don’t make light of powerful spells like summoning elementals, healing, portals, etc.
Do make spells a challenge for your character, require materials, or assistance
Don’t make your character a master of all weapon or combat styles
Do make them proficient in one or two weapons or combat style
Don’t have your character be easily able to cast any spell/use any ability according to mechanics
Do have them be unable or incompetent in some facets of their class
Don’t have them be morally flawless
Do let them have some biases on race, class, homeland, etc.