Where’s the RP in RPG?

drunkdwarf The other day, I was talking to my brother, and he said something about playing role-playing games.

“But I don’t play role-playing games,” I said, surprised.

“You’re playing a role-playing game right now,” he said.  We were playing World of Warcraft.  “My character is a beer-swilling dwarf.”

I let him win the argument at the time, but since then, it’s really got me wondering: Should I count something like World of Warcraft, or other similar video games, as role-playing? 

I don’t think I’ve ever had a thought, in character, in all the years I’ve been playing.  More to the point,  I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anyone else entirely in character, in all the years I’ve been playing.  And I technically play on RP servers.

But this just underscores how much I don’t know about table-top role-playing, either.  I know how these games are supposed to go, but do people really get in character in table-top games?  Or is it really just the same as playing a video game?  And then there’s the whole larp thing, which I confuse too easily with everything else…

So what I want to know is:  Do you consider a game like World of Warcraft role-playing?  Have you actually seen people playing WoW in character, or have you yourself?   And then what about console RPGs, like Final Fantasy?

Maybe everyone else is experiencing WoW differently, and I’m the only one devoid of imagination.  Oh, but just for the record:  I have been in WoW instances with the brother in question and never have I actually witnessed him behaving like a beer-swilling dwarf, either in my headphones or in text.  Just sayin.’

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