Recently, there has been a sudden upsurge of roleplaying accounts on Twitter, most of them Warcraft. Without pointing fingers, some of them do it better, some less. Of course, it’s a very personal opinion over what makes an account good, but we have since gathered a community with some specific interests. Since many of those accounts follow me and some of the others as their first order of business, I assume they strive to join this community. Well, if you do, here’s how to, in my humble opinion, make a good roleplaying account on Twitter that people will enjoy reading from.
Step 1 – Choose a Character
This might seem simple enough, but believe me – it isn’t. A lot of the big, famous Warcraft characters are already taken in the list I manage, so you might wanna take a look at that list to make sure you aren’t repeating the character. If you do make a second account for a character that is already active and on the list, I will put you on the validating list. If the other version of the character ever goes inactive (while you don’t), you’ll replace him.
Also, the A-listers (the very important characters) aren’t necessarily the most fun ones to play. Their often story-breaking powers and importance in current events can be constraining to the roleplayer. Some of the most fun characters to play (and hear from) are the minor ones that are nevertheless very memorable through their quirks and personalities. See Lunk, an ogre that while still dumb like most ogres, is a very nice guy who’s against killing. And in the process of convincing others not to kill, does a lot of silly things. There’s still a lot fun and memorable NPCs that nobody has taken yet, and if you particularly like one and feel up to playing them, go on with that!
There are always original characters too. For example, my main character, Verroak Krasha, is an original character that isn’t an actual NPC in the game. Although these give you the most liberty to play with, some people prefer the known characters for the very reason of knowing what they’re dealing with. This shouldn’t discourage you if you have a concept for a character that could be particularly fun and entertaining. You can always do your actual in-game WoW character as an account, but in my opinion, these are rarely as fun as some of the truly original characters, who are often unplayable races, classes or race/class combinations.
If you still don’t know what character to choose, I made a handy list of concepts for characters I feel could be particularly fun.
Step 2 – Choose a Twitter handle
This step can be quite difficult, especially if the given character has already been tried before and failed or has been abandoned. All the Jainas and Sylvanases in particular are troublesome. But even if the character already has a couple of (inactive) accounts, you can still choose a good handle. Remember, try to avoid just adding numbers (e.g. Sylvanas2) because that just looks sloppy and makes you look unoriginal. For the same reasons, try to avoid just using a (intentional or not) misspelling of the name. One fun way to get around too common handles is using either canon nicknames and titles of the character (e.g. thebansheequeen), a fan nickname (LordBoxhead) or possibly a nickname you invented yourself but is still representative of the character (ChobbyCub). A creative nickname is always better than a simple iteration of the proper name.
While you’re registering, Twitter will also ask you to add an e-mail address. It has to be a real e-mail address, because you’ll have to verify it very soon, and you have to do that to avoid getting suspended for following about 300 people just after registering (Twitter will think you’re a bot, if you don’t verify the e-mail). The e-mail also can’t be used by another account already which means you have to either use some secondary e-mail of yours, or make a new one. If you’re doing the latter, I recommend using mail.com to register the account. Most WoW character names have not yet been taken up in their e-mail domains, so you’ll be very likely to get an e-mail like “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Step 3 – Follow us!
When you make the account, one of the first things Twitter will ask you for is choosing people to follow. Make sure you follow the roleplayers I verified through my list, as well as Blizzard staff active on Twitter. Some of the people who enjoyed our efforts in Twitter RP are, among others, Christie Golden, Sean Copeland and Terran Justice Gregory (yes, that’s a real name). Sean is also very useful when you need to ask a lore questions, although he can’t always answer immediately (so don’t press him).
Step 4 – Avatar and Bio
The next thing Twitter will ask you for is to upload a picture and write a short bio. In that step when the Twitter originally urges you to do this, it’s best to ignore the avatar (we’ll be back at this in a moment). As for the bio, it’s best kept concise and direct, speaking about the character in detail and in-character. So please don’t write “Thoradin was a warrior who united primitive human tribes into the Arathi Empire”. Instead, write “I am Thoradin, son of X, and I did the impossible – I united the tribes into an empire.” If the character is obscure, it’s important to remind us who exactly he is and where we know him from. If it’s an original character, make sure to sell him well!
Now that you’ve gone through the tutorial, you should click on your Twitter handle and go to the profile page. From there, you can edit the profile and upload your avatar and header. I asked you to skip uploading the avatar in the tutorial because 1) you can now upload it together with the header, 2) uploaded in the tutorial, Twitter would auto-position and auto-crop it, which will probably look bad. While editing the profile here, once you choose the file to upload as your avatar, you can manually reposition and scale the picture so that we can see the character’s face on its icon.
About the face – it’s always best to talk to a face, not a distant silhouette of a character. So here’s a short example of how to make an avatar that will look good in comparison to others: (pictured, Zalashji, a currently unused NPC)
If you don’t know how to crop a picture like that, search for it with the web-search engine of your choice. Optionally, you can rely on Twitter’s own repositioning and rescaling, but it’s not always perfect, while doing it manually gives you the freedom of choosing how exactly it looks.
Good sources of avatar: in-game pictures, official artwork, respected fan art. Bad sources of avatar: model viewer with no background, random fan art scribbled by someone in five minutes.
As for the header, just make sure it’s large enough and fits the character.
Step 5 – Interacting
Now that you have an account, with an avatar, header, bio and some first followers, it’s time to start interacting with others. Your default mode of communication will probably be in-character. Either say something in plain text as your first tweet (e.g. Zalashji opens up saying “I can now finally TALK to someone.” or “No ‘he’s my naga’ jokes, please”) or try to talk a character your character either knows or has reason to talk to. Do remember to relate to the character as your character would, not you – if you’re a worgen and you talk to Sylvanas very nicely (just because you as a player like her, or the person behind the avatar), that’s going to look odd. Most worgen will bear a strong grudge against the Banshee Queen for the whole invasion of Gilneas and killing the crown prince.
If @Arakkoa, @A_Swiftriver, @PacifistOgre or @ChobbyCub chat up to you in-character, they’re probably testing you. When you first create the account and I follow you back, I will add you to the “validating” list. I will not move you to the main list until I verify you know what you’re doing, or until you’re the only account of the given character currently active. So when those accounts chat up to you (sometimes it’s someone else I ask) respond and try to carry on the conversation in-character. If you check out, you’ll be verified and removed from the validation list into the proper one. You may think I’m self-centered to talk so much about my process here, but I’ve gathered a couple of people around my list – being on it means most new RP accounts will automatically follow you when they start (so you kinda wanna be there).
Step 6 – OOC
If you don’t know what this abbreviation means, it’s “out of character”. When you write #OOC before a tweet, or when you ((encase the whole tweet, or a section of it in double parenthesis)) it means you’re no longer writing as Alexstrasza, or Tirion, or Thisalee Crow. You’re now writing as yourself, the player behind the account.
While this gives you the license to get out of character in an in-character account, do not overuse it. It should be used sparingly. Try to limit the topics to meta-talk about RP, or Warcraft as a game from the player’s perspective, or similar topics. Try to not brag about loot that just dropped, unless you have a way of weaving it into the character’s narrative. Try not to complain about real life issues – if you have to, keep it short or confined to a real life account, separate from the character.
Step 7 – Maintaining the account
Even after you’re verified, do try to keep in contact with the other characters. When you see a conversation your character might be interested in, just barge in and share your five cents about the topic (in-character, obviously). Do it every once in a while. Don’t worry about getting into our discussions, unless said thread is marked (private) or (p) before the tweets (which simulates the effect that the other characters can’t hear the discussion, but their players can). We do it all the time ourselves and it usually results in fun or illuminating discussions for all sides.
Tweet without responding to anyone every once in a while too. If it’s a minor character or an original one, you can give this character an adventure that you will tweet about occasionally (probably prompting others to respond to you). If it’s a major character, you can post his in-character thoughts about the ongoing events (since what’s actually happening to the character is not up to you). If you don’t feel up to adventures and prefer keeping stationary, you can just react to random things that may happen in the character’s zone, e.g. Gretta the Arbiter complaining about different questers that want the bear from her, or some random Dark Iron soldier complaining about the places he’s posted in.
Consider starting a blog, be it on WordPress.com (like this one) or elsewhere (if you prefer). It can help you write in-character pieces longer than 140 characters and may help others get into your character, especially if it’s a minor character you gave a lot of personality, or a character you invented. It’s far from obligatory, but it’s fun to read these!
I rarely remove accounts from the list. The few circumstances that can happen are for example when I find someone far better as a given character (posts in-character more frequently, is funnier or otherwise more entertaining to interact with, etc.) or if you go inactive for a prolonged period of time. If you log in at least once a day and post something interesting or interact with someone, you are in no threat of getting removed. One fun trick is using TweetDeck or other similar apps to schedule a number of tweets that will be automatically posted at a given hour. In fact, most of Lunk’s tweets are done this way.
Remember about proper spelling. Unless the character has a good reason to speak oddly or improperly (e.g. a kobold, or an ogre) you should check what you write before you send it. Of course, an occasional typo is not something I will frown at (it happen to the best of us – by which I mean me) but if you consistently tweet with large errors despite being an eloquent character, I will at first complain – and then we’ll see.
Step 8 – the Most Important Step
All that talk about things you need to do to do it properly, or the talk about things I tolerate or don’t tolerate on my list pales to the most important part of this whole exercise.
This is what this all is about, in the end. If you break one or more of these rules but have fun, and others have fun with you, you’re doing it right. This guide is meant simply as a tool, a list of hints to what I think makes a fun Twitter account. If you can still entertain people while disregarding everything I just wrote, all the better for you.
TweetDeck – helps you manage multiple Twitter accounts at once, be it multiple RP accounts, or just your real one and the character.
GIMP – a free image editing program which could help you cropping and preparing your avatar, header or other pictures.
WordPress.com – a website where you can create for free blogs, that might host your in-character writings longer than 140 characters.