I have a confession to make.
I am a horrible roleplayer.
"But wait, Pike, don't you only play on RP or RP-PvP servers? Haven't you scrapped every single non-RP character you've made precisely because you miss the RP? Don't you come up with vastly deep backstories and personalities for all your characters and view them as being about as 'real' as they can be without actually being real? Isn't the 'What toon do I feel like playing today?' question usually answered by 'What character story do I feel like exploring today?'"
Yes. And all that is 100% true.
But stick me in an actual roleplaying situation and I'll be completely at a loss for words. I don't know what my character is supposed to say! She's not me, she's herself. I don't want to put words in someone else's mouth.
Oh, I can probably fake it decently well. Especially if I'm allowed to throw in knowing puns and anachronisms ("I heard this crazy story that the world was born out of a Great Blizzard.") But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't guilty of bursting out into a rather infamous song mid-RP-session. (To be fair, the other person was a blood elf and didn't know what I was saying.)
I guess that's one of the things I like about my main servers, Silver Hand and The Venture Co. They aren't exactly shining star examples of roleplaying servers; people are more relaxed and passive, but you still do get the sense that people care about their characters. And of course, once you do find the underground roleplaying community, it's quite expansive.
Really good roleplay can be a scintillating thing; a showdown between Tawyn's guild and an overzealous all-Paladin guild in front of the Cathedral of Light comes to mind as being a bigger adreniline-rush for me than Karazhan ever was. But I still think I feel much more at home trapping and pewpewing than wondering if I'm roleplaying correctly. It's simply a matter of which I think I am better at doing. I enjoy doing things that I am good at.
All that said, I couldn't dream of not having the roleplaying element in the game, even if it's more of a passive background thing for me. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the vast majority of my interest in this game comes from the fact that you can invent your own character. Give her or him a personality and a story and a life of their own. If that element wasn't there I think I'd quit playing.
I've had e-mails or comments or tells in game from people wondering how to get started on a roleplaying server. To be honest, if you're making characters on my servers it's going to be just like a normal server except you might see a few people with roleplaying-addons running around, and once in a blue moon you'll catch snatches of roleplay. That's really it. I think there's a misconception that people on roleplaying servers talk in Shakespearian English or use grandiose words in Trade Chat on a regular basis. I've never seen either. Don't be scared to roll on an RP server if you want to try it out; at the most, you'll be underwhelmed.
Who knows-- you might be better at roleplaying than I am. (Heck, I'm sure most people are!)