Criminals and accents.

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Criminals and accents.

Post by Izzifix on Wed May 21, 2014 4:42 am

Disclaimer: NOT exclusively aimed at the Cartel, although I look forwards to eventual cartelite replies.


This thread needs no real introduction, I think, as its purpose is quite simple:
I really want to know what's up with every criminal on the server having a random accent (that of course is transcribed by the player). Is "Crime" a separate region of the human kingdoms with its own customs and dialects? Is every criminal so easily influenced by his/her peers that his/her speech pattern changes when he/she breaks bad?

The accents themselves don't usually make sense to me either, as it seems mostly random what letters are skipped and replaced with ', ranging from removing vowels in long words to removing hard consonants or soft consonants. Spoken out loud, the accents generally sound like nothing I've encountered anywhere.

Basicly, I can see that a mild accent helps give a character a personal touch in his/her speech patterns and so on, but by the current state of things crime in SW could be reduced by near 100% simply by locking up everyone who speaks oddly. It's gotten out of hand over the course of the last year, it feels like. Never been so obvious before during the three years and some I've RPed on the server.

Thoughts? Experiences? Share them below!

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Thondalar Stormleaf on Wed May 21, 2014 4:53 am

My mage speaks with a accent. Not an overwhealming one, but a few " 'ello" and such here and there.

I do get confused where people place a ' and cut off words where it makes no sense to cut off at all however. There is a few people I actually have no clue what is saying at all, when the accent typing is combined with bad spelling.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Kittrina on Wed May 21, 2014 5:05 am

I would guess the reasoning is pretty simple:
Criminals (talking, career-criminal-thug-underbelly here rather than Steve the Accountant who goes crazy and kills his wife after finding her in bed with an elf) tend to come from the gutter/lowest and most precarious 'classes' of society.
Upper classes and some middle classes are educated/tutored to some extent and are corrected and encouraged towards whatever the most approved-of accent of that country is. (See: "Queen's English" in UK for example).

Of course it's all bollocks because nobody in WoW's actually speaking English, but Common, and they mostly seem to have American accents anyway whereas most people with 'accents' tend towards decidedly UK-style accents for the most part. The exception being Gilneas which has explicitly British, London-y accented NPCS.

I was guilty of it myself with Kitt but regretted it after a year or so of rping with it. It's just a way people try to quickly inject some personality and character to text, but it's pretty hit-and-miss. Seen so many freaking horrible 'scottish' accents on dwarves for example by people who have clearly never talked to a Scot in their life Razz

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Timna on Wed May 21, 2014 5:06 am

It's come to the extent that I can quite literally tell people, "Avoid the people with the weird accents if you don't want to get mugged". I see the issue. I really do. Stahp.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Sanara on Wed May 21, 2014 5:08 am

I've found most criminal RP (in WoW, and elsewhere) has characters that are criminals for the sake of being criminals, which leads to them being assigned "criminal character" traits, or rather, stereotypical personality tropes and clichés often seen in this kind of character in other media. Basically it's just a result of lazy characterization. (See also: Frequently smoking cigarettes, randomly swearing, abrasive/overly confrontational personality)


Last edited by Sanara on Wed May 21, 2014 5:12 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Gesh on Wed May 21, 2014 5:08 am

I think it's about mimicking the assumption that all criminals are of a lower class? and the reduction of language down to slang and such the like.

It's appropriate given that some characters (Even those who aren't criminals) wouldn't have the best pronunciation or vocabulary, but I can see how it might get a little tiresome.

Speaking of language and accents, I'm pretty disappointed in the amount of modern curses and language terms.. I'm pretty sure I saw some fool use " You're a fucking idiot, dude. " once and it made my skin crawl.. it doesn't all have to be Ye Olde England-Town.. but for lights sake let's try and at least keep a sense of maturity? everyone and their mother throwing around fucking like it's bloody candy really ruins my immersion.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by erwtenpeller on Wed May 21, 2014 5:13 am

Also, if they could all stop saying "cunt" every other sentence, that would be just swell.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Thelos on Wed May 21, 2014 5:16 am

I once considered giving Paozi a Chinese accent, but I wouldn't even know where to start. It's a tricky one to phonetisize.

I'm glad I didn't, though. There's other, more charismatic ways of enhancing your speech with Pandaren flavor, such as throwing in random proverbs that sound vaguely profound and making many comparisons to food and drink.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Gesh on Wed May 21, 2014 5:18 am

I always try and give each of my characters a unique set of words of phrases they favour as well as a general speech pattern theme to follow.

But to be honest, most of the time I can get a little lazy!

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Demurral on Wed May 21, 2014 5:56 am

Demurral doesn't have an accent, at least! He's just one happy, chuckling guy.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Vaell on Wed May 21, 2014 6:33 am

Okay, as someone who role-plays a foul mouthed guard - Kyven - I can speak on behalf of the defence!

Firstly, it's not an accent, it's called a lack of pronunciation. Some people do have accents but most just want to reflect their characters lack of education. They're typing in the manner in which they sound. It makes sense for street rats not to be able to pronounce every word properly and again, simple folk usually can't read or write so they're going off what they've heard. As a native speaker of English, I can tell you it's very common in the language because it's faster to avoid pronunciation.

The reason it's not an accent is because, for example, I could do a cockney accent in real life and say this sentence in the exact same accent:
"Alright sunshine, how's it going?"
"Alrigh' sunshine, how's it goin'?"

Lamb, swearing is in WoW and I'm sorry if it ruins your immersion but it's in the game. Swearing can be a very good tool for characterisation.

Sanara, some of those are cliché for a reason. Use a bit of common sense on the matter. Criminals are often confrontational because it's a very primal line of business for common street thugs. Intimidation, aggressive behaviour and insultive language should be traits of a common thug. They exist in real life too and I've never met a polite one.


I find the replacement of letters with ' is both good dialogue and characterisation. It creates a class system, it indicates how a character should sound and helps players imagine their voices.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Kittrina on Wed May 21, 2014 6:48 am

Everything Vaell said, really, tropes become tropes because they make sense. Irrational, violent, loutish etc....these things are common criminal tropes because...well, that's the kind of people that live that life.

Sanara in order of your points:
Frequently smoking cigarettes - I'm doubting anyone in WoW's really figured the whole lung cancer dealy so really if smoking is in at all it should be pretty widespread? Depending on the cost of whatever it is they smoke. Besides it's used in pretty much EVERY MEDIUM EVERRR to denote 'bit of a badass'- film, tv, games, whatever.
randomly swearing - Outside of 'polite society' everyone pretty much every adult swears, in varying amounts. A criminal thug is less likely to give a toss about offending people's sensibilities.
abrasive/overly confrontational personality - again talking thugs, being intimidating and aggressive, impulsive and violent are all part of the general gang/thug member attitude.

I'm sort of on-the-fence with swearing. It can be fine or it can sound like twatty modern-age teenage boys ie "DUuuuuude stop being such a fucking faggot". It's like biting on tinfoil immersion wise. I dunno.

A lot of this feels a bit like standard-issue elitism ie: 'I dislike the current criminal rp. So here is why criminal rp characters are bad rp and lazy and should change to appease me'.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Sanara on Wed May 21, 2014 7:02 am

Kittrina wrote:Sanara in order of your points:
Frequently smoking cigarettes - I'm doubting anyone in WoW's really figured the whole lung cancer dealy so really if smoking is in at all it should be pretty widespread? Depending on the cost of whatever it is they smoke. Besides it's used in pretty much EVERY MEDIUM EVERRR to denote 'bit of a badass'- film, tv, games, whatever.

Yes, it is used in every medium ever, hence why it's a cliché  Razz  I'm pointing it out because I very rarely see characters in-game smoking cigarettes (or indeed, doing any sort of tobacco or similar) that aren't your standard street thug stereotypes. Smoking and its hazards aren't as well-documented in a medieval setting, but it also isn't - in a medieval setting - the kind of thing you'd see among the low commoners. (Tobacco didn't even exist in medieval europe, it's an American plant)

Kittrina wrote:randomly swearing - Outside of 'polite society' everyone pretty much every adult swears, in varying amounts. A criminal thug is less likely to give a toss about offending people's sensibilities.

I swear all the fucking time, it comes with the culture, but note that I did say "randomly" in this case. It's related to what Erwt said above too about the word 'cunt' being thrown around, a lot of the time swearing isn't used in a realistic context, but peppered into dialogue seemingly without reason.

Kittrina wrote:abrasive/overly confrontational personality - again talking thugs, being intimidating and aggressive, impulsive and violent are all part of the general gang/thug member attitude.

I'd be far more lenient on this if it was done in a way that makes sense in situational context.

In a world where a guy walking around in full plate armor is quite possibly the kind of person who kills dragons for a living or can shoot literal bolts of light out of his hands that turn people into ashes, and a guy in a dress is more than capable of burning down an entire section of the city if you bother him, you'd think people would be a bit less suicidally overconfident about picking fights with random strangers.

I find it especially laughable whenever a human - a tiny creature physically weaker than the majority of the playable races, and weakest in the Alliance except for Gnomes  - trying to act tough in front of a millennia-old, plate wearing giant with magical murder-powers, and not expecting to have to pick pieces of themselves out of the canals. Real gangs don't tend to pick on potentially dangerous people, because uneducated doesn't mean stupid.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by erwtenpeller on Wed May 21, 2014 7:11 am

I must say I find the last point bothersome at times as well. Wellsworth tends to treat Draenei with great reverence, as supernatural beings sent from the heavens to save Azeroth. That is, until they prove themselves just another flawed mortal. It disappoints her every time.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Muzjhath on Wed May 21, 2014 7:19 am

Well, the last point can be put down to "SSS" and stupidity.
I'm an RPer, I'm special, I deserve to do whatever I want and my gutter-rat thug is ofcourse stronger than that immortal warrior.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Thelos on Wed May 21, 2014 7:38 am

There is also the videogame instinct that everyone has to be equal in some important competetive way. Some character having an 'advantage' over another just because they chose a different race (and somethines class, in the case of death knights facing paladins, for example) goes against people's gaming instincts. It is sometimes difficult to detach narrative play from game play. From a storytelling perspective, it doesn't have to be a disantvantage to your storytelling that particular characters are more powerful than yours; but from a gameplay perspective where you need to 'win' and 'defeat' others, it's disasterous.

I try to respect this videogaming instinct people have. From a narrative point of view, I feel like my character, being an old pandaren martial artist, should - all other factors being equal - have an advantage over almost any other unarmed combatant. He would be nearly invincible in fist-to-fist duels. But, to keep it videogamey, he'd have a proportinate disadvantage equal to his unarmed melee advantage against ranged weapons and especially firearms.

But that's just not how things happen in practical role-play, especially between people who don't know or trust eachother very much. People want to win. If you tell them that you think your character should kick their ass because aforementioned reasons, you will be accused of godmoting. So, instead, we operate in a videogamey world where everyone is somehow always equal to everybody else, because videogames are balanced like that.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by erwtenpeller on Wed May 21, 2014 7:44 am

I level the playing field on my Paladin by making her unable to use her divine superpowers on anything not sufficiently evil. If she where to have a fight with a street-thug, her own two fists and maybe her sword is all she can rely on.

Street-thugs are, after all, not evil enough to merit a good old-fashioned smiting.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Sanara on Wed May 21, 2014 7:55 am

erwtenpeller wrote:I must say I find the last point bothersome at times as well. Wellsworth tends to treat Draenei with great reverence, as supernatural beings sent from the heavens to save Azeroth.

It's not even specifically Draenei, but Night Elves too. These people are not only so old that a human being can't concieve of the timeframe, but they're also huge. For a person without some kind of magical advantage themselves to stand up to one seems like bloody madness to me.

I mean, we all saw the last episode of Game of Thrones, right? With the Icelandic strongman playing The Mountain? Can you imagine picking a fight with that guy, except he's got magical powers?

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Rmuffn on Wed May 21, 2014 8:02 am

Haven't read replies, but I'd say it's related to gutterspeak, just the impression that many crooks have grown up in the slums and thus developed a type of dialect while hanging out in those alleys and slums.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by erwtenpeller on Wed May 21, 2014 8:03 am

Yeah, but Night Elves are pagan darkness-lovers. They don't count. Wink

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Bradley on Wed May 21, 2014 8:22 am

I use different accents depending on where my characters are from. Not really because they are less educated and whatnot

This isn't the first time you Erwt has complained about swearing, and frankly - the cartel's a street gang. Thugs and ruffians. You should expect to find a worse language there.

I have thugs who swear a lot and I've thugs who barely swear at all. In the end it's just a character trait yknow? Some people swear a lot, others not so much.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Ixirar/Kavalis on Wed May 21, 2014 8:36 am

On the topic of picking fights with OP characters:

It'd be cool if the thugs would be smarter about their fights. However, if they were, they'd have next to no fights to pick. Everybody in Stormwind who isn't a street thug is either an arch mage, a death knight, a paladin or some other ridiculously powerful concept. There aren't civilians going about their everyday lives because that's a boring thing to be.

So what do the thugs do? The thugs come up with reasons why they would be able to beat people anyways. Thugs, as a concept, are very centered around the "We pick on the weak" mentallity, and it dies when nobody is weaker than themselves. Because of this, while I was in the Cartel, I saw master assassins, psychic witches, powerful warlocks and so on join the gang, because we -needed- that in order for a VERY central part of our random RP to function. Sure, that archmage is really really strong, but we have an assassin who specializes in dealing with archmages, and that assassin has a bunch of friends who just might be able to tip the scale in our favour.

A few years ago, the Cartel worked on a principle that they were -just- lowly thugs whose grasp on weapon technology extended to batting a nail through a plank. When I was in the Cartel, I saw that disappear, because nails in planks don't cut it for the kind of victims that they -need- to pick on now in order to not stagnate completely.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Thelos on Wed May 21, 2014 8:41 am

Ixirar/Kavalis wrote:On the topic of picking fights with OP characters:

It'd be cool if the thugs would be smarter about their fights. However, if they were, they'd have next to no fights to pick. Everybody in Stormwind who isn't a street thug is either an arch mage, a death knight, a paladin or some other ridiculously powerful concept. There aren't civilians going about their everyday lives because that's a boring thing to be.

So what do the thugs do? The thugs come up with reasons why they would be able to beat people anyways. Thugs, as a concept, are very centered around the "We pick on the weak" mentallity, and it dies when nobody is weaker than themselves. Because of this, while I was in the Cartel, I saw master assassins, psychic witches, powerful warlocks and so on join the gang, because we -needed- that in order for a VERY central part of our random RP to function. Sure, that archmage is really really strong, but we have an assassin who specializes in dealing with archmages, and that assassin has a bunch of friends who just might be able to tip the scale in our favour.

A few years ago, the Cartel worked on a principle that they were -just- lowly thugs whose grasp on weapon technology extended to batting a nail through a plank. When I was in the Cartel, I saw that disappear, because nails in planks don't cut it for the kind of victims that they -need- to pick on now in order to not stagnate completely.

That's a pretty insightful post! Thanks for that.

It's very tough role-playing a civilian in WoW, because the game-mechanics don't exactly cater to that. By default, your character is capable of amazing feats. It takes a lot of ignoring of said feats to bring your character down to a civilian level, even if he's level one. That's why I think superpowered psychic demon master assasin thugs are a good idea. You've got to compete somehow. It's generally a better idea to scale yourself up, than to demand that others scale down.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Kittrina on Wed May 21, 2014 8:54 am

On OP Characters/civilians:
It's tough being a regular person unless you want your rp to be 90% being mugged. Exactly because you are the only 'prey' that the criminal gangs can reliably take on, because so few play regular Joes. I had two characters that were both 'low-power' or whatever- A fat, old, town-crier, and an intentionally crap apprentice mage.

The town crier would be chased/attacked on most 'rounds', had his bell stolen, was later attacked WITH said bell, was robbed, was routinely beaten/mugged and forced into announcing out subvesive/pro-criminal statements.
And it was AWESOME. Because I went into it knowing that it'd probably include a lot of that, being a very 'public' and intrusive kind of role, rocking up to various places and making LOUD ANNOUNCEMENTS. But if I hadn't expected it, or didn't want it I imagine it would've got pretty damn boring/aggravating.

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Re: Criminals and accents.

Post by Thelos on Wed May 21, 2014 9:09 am

That does sound highly amusing to play out Very Happy

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Re: Criminals and accents.

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