The Elder Scrolls

A complete newbie’s guide to roleplaying in ESO

TheElderScrolls3 - A complete newbie's guide to roleplaying in ESO
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7oet5mhbrqw51 - A complete newbie's guide to roleplaying in ESO


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I've noticed that many ESO players want to RP, but are too shy/intimidated by it with no one to show them the way. Some others think RP is too weird/geeky. In this guide, I'll be explaining RP and how to get started, as well as shattering a few stereotypes along the way.

A little about my own experience: I've been roleplaying in various games such as ESO and GTA online for many years now, and I'd like to impart some of my knowledge.

It might be a long read, but if you can't bring yourself to read a lot of text, maybe RP is not for you 😉

  • What in Sithis' name is RP?

RP stands for roleplay, which is an activity where a person plays the role of a character they create, and interact with other characters belonging to other people. It can be done irl as LARP or through MMOs, but for this guide I will be explaining RP in ESO.

Rping is quite fun. It's basically co-creating a story that involves your character and other characters personally. It's something akin to creating your own quests, and the stories could evolve and become quite intricate and deep. It's like reading a good book, except you decide what happens next!

While RP can be very rewarding and entertaining, it needs a lot of patience. People need time to think about a response and type it out, and it varies from person to person. You could be siting for a few minutes waiting for your partner to respond, and this is why I do something else on the side such as listen to music, podcasts, play with my phone, watch something on a different monitor, etc. This is perfectly fine as long as you don't miss your partners response 😉

There's also the matter of having to build up the story bit by bit over many days, turning it into something huge which the all parties involved would be very invested in. Just like everything else, it takes time to build something worthwhile, Rome wasn't built in a day and all that, but it's worth it! You could get so deep into it that your character starts feeling real to you.

  • How good is RP in ESO?

Pretty good. There are a lot of tools available to us such as housing, guilds, emotes, emote chat, mementoes, and outfits. The community is pretty active with lots of guilds dedicated to RP, as well as many events and casual RP happening here and there.

RP is not only for nerds and neckbeards. There are people of all ages, genders, CP, and walks of life RPing at any given moment. You CAN be a hardcore trial pusher/Cyrodiil God that adheres to meta while RPing on the side. In fact, I only use my gameplay-viable characters to RP rather than create RP-dedicated characters like some other RPers do.

You don't have to be a full-time RPer to enjoy RP. You could RP occasionally between trials/dungeons/pvp/etc to enrich your gameplay or just chill. In fact, I myself usually do just that instead of participating in my guild's RP events.

If you find no point to housing in ESO beyond crafting and Ezabi/Fezez hangouts, RP will drive you to decorate your house and make it as cozy as possible, since you'll end up inviting RP partners there sooner than later.

  • Do I need to be good at writing to RP?

Not really, but it helps. People appreciate good grammar/spelling/typing speed/skill at weaving stories, but there's RPers of all skill levels and you won't feel out of place. Plus, you'll get better with time!

  • How do I get started?

1.Create a character.

I don't mean a toon, that is only a part of the story. Either take your main toon, any alt, or make a new toon, and think about their backstory. Where were they born? What was their family like? Were they abandoned at birth? Adopted? Did something happen to them that made them become adventurers? How did they become a vampire/werewolf? What is their attitude like? Are they considered evil? Annoying? Speak with a mysterious accent? The sky is the limit when it comes to building your character.

However, many newbie roleplayers come up with OP characters that could also make no sense in-lore and/or be very rare for it to consider a backstory. Such as a Daedric Lord, a half-dragon, the last Yokudan, an Aedra, etc. Such things are not very fun to RP and other RPers won't like interacting with such characters, so keep it tame and keep away from Mary-Sues.

If you're not good at making backstories, don't worry about it. There are many many generators online to give you a prompt that you could build upon. Here's one I like.

Once you're done with that, perhaps consider an outfit that fits your backstory. A vampire wouldn't be dressed in a revealing outfit in midday, a noblewoman with no combat training wouldn't be dressed in armor with weapons, etc.

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2.Think of a motivation.

Every person has a motivation, a thing that drives them, and that fact extends to your character. Motivations are often linked to your backstory. Having a motivation will give you a goal to strive to and will help grow your story naturally. If you have no character motivation, you'll end up chilling at inns playing alcoholic simulator and listening to other RPs for the rest of your RP career.

But how do you give your character a motivation? Easy. Look at their backstory and work from there. Here's an example: my Dunmer ran from Morrowind as a young adult, escaping the fate of running the family's slavery business. While exploring the ashlands, he was injured and later saved by a clan of vampires. His newfound nature helped him become stronger, and he vowed to free slaves and stop those who choose to use their strengths to hurt the weak. <- that's his motivation and what will drive him to go on lovely adventures with other RPers whenever I feel like it.

4.Learn your chat settings.

Once your done with that, extend your chat menu, enlarge your font to a comfortable level, and perhaps enable chat bubbles.

Most people use the Emote channel when RPing, but some people use /Say and sometimes /Shout depending on the circumstance. I suggest making a separate chat tab with /w, /emote, /s, and maybe /g ticked, it would filter out the guild/system/zone chats that could be very distracting.

When RPing in emote, use quotation marks (") to mark where your character's words start and end. This will be very easy to get the hang of if you like reading books. Here's an example:

laughs. "I've been around the area, indeed. Maybe I could show you around?" he puts an elbow on the bar and leans, but loses his footing and slides off, ending up in a heap.

5.Emote well, and often.

Emoting is criminally underused in ESO. There's a crapload of default emotes as well as many you unlock through collector's edition/antiquaries, but you barely see anyone using them. Emotes give a lot of depth to RP and are sometimes even needed in certain scenarios.

You can show a list of emotes in the Help menu or on the wiki. Of course, the chat will usually show you suggestions, so you could type what you think might be an emote and look for a suggestion. But a few you might find yourself using often are /sit, /drink, /crouch, /sleep.

You could also sometimes use mementoes depending on the RP, and get creative with all those useless group dungeon rewards.

To help with emoting without typing everything out, you could use this addon.

6.Basic etiquette.

When you see other people RPing, either let them be, or only wedge yourself in to RP if they want you to. Don't interrupt them and spam block on them, don't mess their environment and cause a scene with NPCs. Give them space. No one bothers you while you're crafting or doing quests (hopefully), and RPers should get the same treatment.

Also, remember to toggle walk whenever you're RPing, unless you're in an RP stressful situation/etc. Rule of thumb: do what your character would do at any given moment.

On the subject of ERP (erotic roleplay, yes it exists), only do it somewhere private (aka a house or a very obscure location) with full consent of the other RPer. Doing it around the Vulkhel Guard wayshrine in full view of everyone is not very nice, right?

7.Choose where you'll RP and if casual or not.

It's okay to start small. Once you have a backstory in place, head over to the inn in Fell's Run, Rivenspire. It's currently the casual RP hub, and it's quite packed in the evenings. You could chill there and listen to others RP to get a feel for it, and maybe walk up to someone and say something to them and see where it takes you.

Once you've dipped your toes there, head to https://www.eso-rp.com/ and look for Today's Events.

If you want something a bit more involved, then look in the Guild finder and filter for the 'Roleplaying' activity. My favorite is Invictus Imperium, which is a vampire/werewolf guild that hosts a whole bunch of events per day and features extremely involved inner-organizations and groups. They're very friendly and will help you through the few extra rules they have there.

I hope this guide helped you, and I hope to see more people RPing! Don't be shy, no one but douchebags will make fun of you. RPing is not cringy, and just as geeky as farming a Mother's Sorrow staff for five hours at a time 😉

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