Roleplaying power?

How do you roleplay differences in power in a world where game mechanics say that everyone is equal?

I recently got engaged in a flamewar about a roleplaying incident, which led to accusations of godemoting. Basically, in the incident a noble was talking with his friend in a known player-run bar, the Smoking Blade. He was repeatedly asked to leave, but he refused. Was this bad roleplaying or not?

If you look at the incident in pure in-character perspective, the bar staff would probably have been unable to eject the said noble by force. Still, there would have been consequences to be involved in a bar fight. Yet, because of game mechanics, there were no consequences. Actual fighting was impossible, and the NPC guards would not interfere. And both sides knew this. If the noble didn't want to move, the bar staffers could not make him to do so.

Out-of-character, the incident was much tougher to judge. Both the bar staff and the noble (along with his friend) are completely equal. Both pay the same amount to Blizzard. Neither of them can really own the building.

Now let's muddy the waters a bit. The Old Town Syndicate is well-known for Smoking Blade. It is generally accepted that the building belongs to them. So should they be able to dictate what happens in that building? What about the noble then? He has an elaborate backstory which establishes him as a noble. Thus, he should be able to command some puny peasants around, right?

No. The Old Town Syndicate does not own the building. No, the noble does not get to boss people around just because he wrote an elaborate backstory. Why? Both sides' power is all about consent. The majority of people on Defias Brotherhood has consented that the building belongs to the Old Town Syndicate. Similarly, people have consented to be the noble's underlings. But here's the problem. The Old Town Syndicate has not consented to respect the noble's rank. Similarly, the noble is disputing the Old Town Syndicate's position. He has not consented that the Syndicate is the law in that part of the town.

Elaborate backstories don't give you any authority by default. What gives you the authority is other people. People like the Old Town Syndicate's roleplay in the Smoking Blade, so they consent to it. People like the noble's roleplay and backstory, so they consent to be his underlings. Nor does rank 14 give you any real power over your faction. By definition, it just means that you have PvPed more than the most of the server. It says nothing of your leadership skills. If people like your leadership, they will follow you. If they don't, they leave you fuming alone in raidchat or WorldDefense. Similarly, people could walk to the Smoking Blade like the Old Town Syndicate was never there.

Consent is the key to everything in this game. I consent to paying Blizzard to play. I consent to follow the Terms of Use. I consent on getting ganked by rolling on a server with PvP ruleset. I consent to the RP policy by rolling on a RP/PvP. I consent to joining a party. I consent to duels. I consent on joining a guild. I consent to staying in a raid. But when we deal with roleplay within the same faction, the implicit consent is no longer there. Especially when dealing with roleplay involving strong emotions or violence, I have to get the other player's consent.

All it would have taken is a few out-of-character whispers to tell the other side about your viewpoints, so that consensus and thus consent could have been reached. That didn't happen.

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