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Jumpstarting RP

I know it’s been too long since I’ve written up a post here…I’ve had my fingers in too many projects and work gave me a bit of a slam lately, but I am still breathing and so forth. No worries there, at least. What I want to write about (and really, ask about, since this is not a subject on which I have any answers) is help with a situation we have in our guild: an odd inability to hit critical mass, as it might be. First, though, a little background.

Bloodriver is a small-to-medium guild; on a good day we have enough people to do a pick-up raid, if it’s in the cards, and almost all the time we have at least one member on.  There is no huge shortage of people. The guild originated as a pure RP guild, way back years ago, as a splitoff guild from another involving things I won’t go into. The important thing is that in the time since, it has evolved considerably, becoming lower and lower in the roleplaying department as our pure social status waxed, then coming into the last half of Wrath, we started raiding with something approaching seriousness. We made progress (slow and painful as it might be), culminating in our first Lich King kill sometime shortly after the pre-Cata patch hit. Not terribly impressive, I know, but we have our fun. 🙂

At that time we were pretty much devoting our guild’s prime time to raiding, and we were pretty driven. We planned for Cata raiding, and then, well…life happened. In the first few months, our elected raidleader, two of our primary healers, and one of our maintanks dropped their subscriptions (one each of the healers and tanks has returned since, and good thing—they’re our guildmaster and his soon-to-be bride!), while our other maintank swapped specs, our devastatingly erudite mage got his computer fried, and one of our very best DPS has been swamped with schoolwork. This means raiding, in short, has not happened at all.This, however, is not the real problem, but something I feel might contribute to it.

Our issue, brought into sharp focus by our recent guild meeting, is that we have a whole bunch of people who are adrift, and they long for the good old days of the high-RP guild, yet spontaneous RP beyond a few isolated social niceties seems vanishingly rare. RP events have been planned but sparsely attended, and in short, it seems we’re stuck below some critical forwardness threshold for there to be lots of juicy, story-based RP, with no clue as to making the jump. It’s not like we have bad RPers, or that they don’t enjoy it, just that it seems like everyone is wanting more RP without much actually happening.

My personal theory on the matter is that we have somehow gotten into a culture where it’s easy and natural to ask “Anyone for a random?”, but people find it awkward to ask “Anyone want to RP?” or think that no one will want to join them. Making a change to that…that’s going to need some more thought. Has anyone else ever found themselves in this sort of place, or have any ideas how to get past it?