We never broke out of character, at least in public, and people began to take notice. Nightly, I'd fend off tells from people quoting the movie, or Thompson's other works. I'd usually cryptically respond with a one-liner bitching about Nixon or Reagan. One guy we killed actually created a Horde character on another account, just to tell me what a joy it was to be killed by Raoul Duke and Doctor Gonzo.
As my attention span would have it, Duke quickly began to out-level me, and like a fat Samoan attorney at the end of a drug bender, it was time for me to move on. I broke the news to Duke gently, who went on to level 60 while I took an extended break, not planning to return to our previous romping grounds (and I never did, at least on that character.)
For a brief time, we had been larger than life, borrowing the legacy of a dead mad scientist to connect to others in a familiar, albeit immersion- breaking way. But still, this wasn't roleplaying. If anything, it was low- level griefing; we were intentionally casting aside WoW's back-story, disregarding how others felt about our actions, in the pursuit of a good time. Shouldn't roleplaying be dark and mysterious? Shouldn't we have fought against the Alliance, rather than making them part of our joke?
A few months ago, Blizzard announced they had created a new roleplaying server with a PvP ruleset. I was intrigued; the roleplaying aspect would scare off most of the morons who are drawn to PvP for all the wrong reasons, but it was still possible for conflict to manifest physically. I still wasn't much of a roleplayer, but I could suffer a few "thees" and "thous" if it meant I didn't have to deal with guys typing in shorthand and making dick jokes. I still wasn't sure I'd make it back into the game, though. My love affair with WoW had ended as soon as I hit level 30, when it started to take hours, rather than minutes, to accomplish much of anything.
But then, the goons came swooping in and stole my heart.
Some of the Something Awful goons who played WoW were interested in checking out one of the PvP-RP servers, but they really weren't interested in the game's lore. Instead, they suggested we form two crime families, Famiglias Mariano and Luigiano, one on the Horde side and one on the Alliance. The plan was simple: The two families would collude in order to gain control over both factions' auction house. For instance, stuff deep in Alliance territory would be hard for a normal Horde character to get, but a member of the Mariano crime family could ask for assistance from a group of Luigianos to escort him to wherever he needed to be safely. From there, the Mariano could return home and sell the normally hard to get item for a high price.
In addition to running a racket on the auction house, other groups within the families would be available as hit men. If you had a problem with a player, be they on your side of the in-game lore war or not, all you had to do was put in a call to The Right People, and within a day, your vengeance would be enacted - for a price. There was also talk of a protection racket forming, and I had dreams of rolling up a gnome Warlock named Consigliere and running around alliance territory with a hulking minion in tow, warning low level players about how much it would suck if someone would continually train them over and over, then telling them how lucky they are a guy like me was there to stop that from happening - and all I charged was one gold per hour.