Guild events are a good way for social guilds to build community, encourage members to be more active, and generally increase excitement within a guild, and an add-on that helps facilitate that in a new way is pretty cool. So I’m going to do something a little different this week. I’m going to talk about an add-on that I’ve fallen in love with: Total Roleplay2 (TRP2). I’m sure that most of you don’t RP much, if at all, but I’m going to subject you to a review of the add-on anyway because it’s an interesting way to create something completely spontaneous and unique for your guild. I’m currently in the process of creating a guild quest using TRP2, so I’ll talk about that a little as well.
RP addons can have a number of functions, but the goal of a basic utility RP add-on is to help you to better identify other RPers and to communicate with them in a more immersive way. A lot of RPers use MyRoleplay (MRP) or FlagRSP for this, in part because both provide a generic format of describing your character and giving some background, and also because they’re compatible with each other and other RP addons. That is, if you have MRP, you can still read the descriptions of anyone using FlagRSP or TRP2 and vice versa. Another appeal to an add-on like MRP is that it is incredibly easy to set up out of the box. It is limited in its utility – not providing much beyond basic description, enhanced names, and so on – but is very user-friendly.
TRP2 is also pretty easy to set up, but it appears complicated at first glance, which scares a lot of people off before they give it a closer look. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this is responsible for its limited popularity. In reality, the set-up and options are all pretty self-explanatory and very straight-forward, and the add-on even comes with an in-game guide, though I admit the guide made me more confused than not. It was easier to just wander around clicking boxes to see what they do. Since I wanted the guild to use the add-on without being put off by the seeming complexity of it I also posted a brief how-to on our website, which I’ll share here (link).
In terms of basic character information and descriptions, TRP2 provides more options than MRP does, though if that’s all you’re interested in getting out of your RP add-on, something simple like MRP might be more your style. But TRP2 is so much more than just a text tool to flesh out your avatar. With this add-on you can create unique items that interact with the game world through sound and emotes, give yourself “buffs” (called “states” by the add-on) that provide additional information about your character, name your companion animals and mounts and give them full descriptions that others can read in the tooltip, learn and speak new languages (such as Draconic or Druidic), leave items around the world in “caches” for other people to find or take, and much more. There’s an in-game notepad that can be used for….well, anything. I’ve jotted notes about potential pet names, date reminders for another guild’s events, which BiS raid gear items I should acquire, and something I need remember to do for a guildy – all right there in-game. The notepad is awesome! And if that isn’t convenience enough, there’s a one-click show/hide helm/cloak button on the main bar of the add-on. The quest-creation feature ends up being a splendiferous icing over the whole delicious cake.
Quest creation is incredibly complex however, don’t get me wrong. I’ll describe that bit in a moment. Item creation, on the other hand, is remarkably easy, despite the fact that at first it looks a sea of indecipherable jibberjabber. Patience is the answer here! Item creation is simply a matter of taking things one step at a time… skim each box on the creation tab to determine whether it applies to what you have in mind. Change something, save your changes (saving a lot is one tip I can’t emphasize enough), test the item to see what happens and tweak until it’s perfect. Once you figure out the basic concept of item creation, your options are limited only by your imagination. It really is that simple – even my ten year old daughter figured this out with just a five minute tutorial. Fifteen minutes after that she presented me with her first creation: “A delicious steak” that left me with two buffs after I ate it, “happy” and “smells like fresh meat.” Both buffs disappeared after a minute – a duration she added herself, without any guidance from me, despite the fact that durations are all in seconds (Google is your friend here: “how many seconds in [insert time]“) Anyway, this really is very straight-forward to use.
So what kinds of things can you create? Well, the sky’s the limit. Actually…. it’s probably NOT the limit, heh. My first creation was something I called a Gnomehead Stress Ball, which has an icon that is a female gnome’s head and, when clicked, makes either of the female gnome cheers – perfect for relieving tension during Rated BGs or when I want to whack a wise-crackin’ guildy! Actually, for the latter, I created “The Whip”, which makes a satisfying bullwhip sound and shows an emote that ensures everyone in the area understands they’d better shape up, posthaste. You can also create items that summons pets or your mounts, that sheath or unsheathe your weapons, that can be given to an NPC, or that interact with other items or characters or pets in a unique way. You can have it make you say or yell or whisper or emote anything, including in guild, party or raid channels. Sounds can’t be heard without the add-on, but emotes and other normal in-game actions can be seen by anyone, whether or not they have TRP2 installed. So many options! I even created a coffee pot for a friend who loves his coffee. It comes with coffee, filters, and a special “bottled” water – and he has to have all three in his inventory to “make” coffee with the pot. When he runs out, he can take a special token to a certain vendor (randomly chosen by me), who will then refill his supplies – in exchange for some gold, of course (the TRP2 gold, not WoW gold). The coffee gives him an “energized” buff, but if he drinks too much he gets a “jittery” buff and emotes about needing to run to the bathroom. Yes, incredibly ridiculous, but fun.
Quest creation is where TRP2 goes to an altogether new level – miles above other add-ons. The add-on comes with a little sampler quest to give you a very basic idea of what you can do in terms of creating quests, including talking to NPCs, giving and receiving items, and having to perform a specific action (like /wave) to get an NPC to react. I encourage everyone to do the sample quest anyway because it’s good for a laugh. But this is a pittance compared to the true scope of the quest creation feature; again, it’s limited only by your imagination. To explain quest creation, I’m going to talk you through the one my boyfriend and I are working on for the guild.
The genesis process for all quest creation begins with coming up with the end goal: what do you want questers to accomplish? In our case, there’s a guild achievement that I want – Heroic Halion – and I also love dragon lore. On top of this, patch 4.3 is a’coming, and that means we’ll be facing Deathwing soon. See the connections? We decided to prep our guild for Deathwing’s arrival by walking them back through the history of the violence of the Black Dragonflight up to current day, and end it with getting that Heroic Halion achievement for the guild. We talked about how we wanted to get them to our goal, drew up a very rough outline of ideas, and then broke the quest into three parts: the Blue Dragonflight + the Malygos raid, the Green Dragonflight + the Blackwing Lair raid, and the Red Dragonflight + the Halion raid. The Bronze Dragonflight would be the tour guides, setting questers on the path and taking them “back in time” to fight old-content bosses, since they’re involved with moving people through time anyway.
Breaking it into parts had an added benefit: the add-on shares information directly across the server via a dedicated channel (which you HAVE to be in, or it spams your chat like crazy searching for a free channel), and there’s always the risk that if you try to send too much information it’ll decide you’re spamming and kick you offline. There’s a built-in feature for dealing with this – a way to create “packets” of information, which you can then find in one of your WoW files on your computer and either send to questers via email or by uploading to your guild website, so that they can download it. We decided this was too complicated and were happy that our quest broke naturally into smaller branches so that we can send them directly through the game.
Once we had a general outline in place we focused on each branch individually, writing outlines for those too – a compelling story is a significant part of quest creation, so expect to do a lot of writing. We decided to have the first branch expand in a linear fashion, similar to WoW quests. That is, point A takes you to point B, which goes to point C and so on, until you get to the conclusion (the raid, in our case) at the end. This is a very easy format for quest creation, and a good way to begin learning how to make things work.
Even though it’s a linear quest line, however, it’s boring to just listen to people talk – everyone wants to DO something. Players can use the quest bar of the add-on (which appears once you’re on an active quest) to perform four actions: look, listen, search, and speak, so those are the actions you’ll use to get players to interact with the world and with NPCs. Perhaps they have to kill a number of things and “search” the bodies to acquire an item. Perhaps they have to use an item a questgiver gave them on a certain critter or mob or NPC (anything targetable) or maybe they have to use it in a specific area. Perhaps they have to search in a specific location – for example, maybe an NPC is waiting for a delivery and they need to go find it in the shipment of supplies that just arrived. You would build in the actions required and set the coordinates for success. The possibilities are endless.
Getting all of this to actually function is where it gets complicated, and you can expect to put in far more work building these pieces and testing them than you will writing. Writing the story is the easy part! All that I can suggest here is that you experiment and test a lot, and that using states to combine actions is the most fluid and least failure-prone way to go. But the add-on is big enough to allow you to do just about anything that you can dream up….as we discovered in the second branch of our quest.
For the second branch we decided that we didn’t want it to be linear, we wanted to add some silliness into it, and we wanted to see how far the add-on could go. We plopped questers into Moonglade and told them to talk to everyone. Every NPC in Moonglade was given a dialogue, and several of them have multiple dialogues, depending upon who else you’ve spoken to and thus what states you have on you or items you have in your bags. There are many ways to alter the way an NPC will react to a player.
There are two branches within this branch, both of which must be completed in order to move on to the raid, but which can be done at whatever pace and in whatever order players chooses. There are side quests and “easter eggs” that have nothing whatsoever to do with the primary quest, but are only there for fun. There are hints just about everywhere that aren’t required as part of the quest but which might make life easier for questers. There are items to fetch, items to use on critters (yelling “Shazam!” no less), items to fill, and items to find. There are even items to eat! Finishing either branch of the primary quest gives you a specific state; once you have both states, they recognize each other and cue the NPC you’ve last spoken with to give you new instructions. This is where the whole thing comes together. Getting the idea? Quest creation is only limited by your imagination. The add-on is comprehensive enough to turn it into reality.
I could probably talk about this for several more pages, but I’m going to end here and encourage you to check this out for yourself. It really is a fantastic way to get your guild involved in something entirely new and unique and catered specifically to them – we’re even creating a little mini-quest for our Spooktacular Hallow’s End event. And while challenging to get started on, it isn’t dreadfully difficult once you figure out how quest creation works. Start small and build up. If you can find me somewhere online, I’m happy to answer questions about it. But like my questers, I’m going to let you figure out how to track me down…. all the information you need is here somewhere.