If I’m going to stick with a character in an MMO, I have to see them as a person. I may not be actively roleplaying him/her, but I need some sense of who they are. I don’t fully flesh out backstories in terms of game lore, usually (being a lazy person), but I definitely need a personal backstory.
In Warcraft, my hunter Kit has always been my favourite character. As soon as she was created, I knew who she was, what she looked like, and what her personality was like. I’ve written several backstories about her, some lost, but one survives here. My warlock Ravven never felt like a person to me, and that is part of the reason I hated playing her, even when I was raiding with her as my main. She was shallow and uninteresting.
In EVE, I’ve been trying to get a feel for Ravven (the second, what can I say, I tend to play the same names where possible). She’s Amarr, and I really can’t remember why I chose Amarr. So, a difficult type for me to see as a person that I can identify with, unless she becomes a rebel daughter who has escaped the structured, religious society that she was born into. So she’s not as readily apparent to me as Kit was, but I am waiting for her story to become known.
Ages ago, when I was playing roleplaying games with friends, I always tended to identify with a certain type of character: female, loner, assassin/warrior/solo fighter, an intellectual with blood under her fingernails. One of my longterm characters was an assassin type based on the a grown-up version of Mathilda from Leon/The Professional. Scarred by a rough upbringing and early tragedy, making her own way in the world.
I’m honestly not sure what that says about me as a person, since although I’m admittedly anti-social by preference, I come from a happy family and live and work in a very connected, social world. Perhaps I would prefer not to know. :)
6 thoughts on “Becoming a Person”
My characters in roleplaying games tend to be obvious extensions (or magnifications) of my personality: highly social, assertive, opinionated, rebellious, stubborn, action-oriented. Mynxee is a good example of that (although I don’t particularly think of EVE as a roleplaying game and don’t “roleplay” Mynxee in-game). Blogging from her perspective has developed her well beyond the “me with red dreads and spaceships” character she started as, allowing me to add complexity to her persona, “brand” her identity, and roleplay through the written word.
I pretty much play female characters exclusively. However, I did play a male character in a four-year long Traveler campaign who was nothing like me at all. He was a meek accountant, didn’t want to ruffle feathers, followed all the rules, etc. Not sure why I rolled him up as male–and he was sometimes very difficult to play because I had to think about how a wimpy man might react in certain situations (such being taken captive by lizard-like, brain-eating aliens and figuring out how to negotiate the release of himself and his friends)–but I had a lot of fun with him.
I’ve played several MMOs now, and Mynxee’s right, even if not on purpose.
No matter how hard we try, our true self leaks through into our character. It’s inevitable of good roleplay really. Drawing our own life experiences invariably makes for a more detailed, enriching character life.
It’s therapeutic if done properly, often allowing us to work through real life issues or fantasies we never could. Of course, it can go to the extreme, and you can get lost in your character, but I blame that on bad parenting.
Also, shame you’re Amarr. I am sworn to kill you, so probably better to signup with Mynxee than me at this point.
I am unable to play character I can’t identify with, so I understand You perfectly (I am guilty of trying and deleting a dozen such failed experiments). I can’t play female, can’t play rogueish or bully type, my characters are very Mary Sue’ish, but I simply can’t help that, have to play male and good guy.
You claim being very antisocial in-game, but very social person IRL – more often opposite is true. Perhaps you have hidden longing for being cool, self-sufficient loner, while in life you were always social and popular – but whatever cause is, it’s interesting quirk.
@Mynxee: I find it very hard to roleplay male characters; I’ve only had a handful of them. One was in Warcraft, when I created a male Tauren feral druid who walked around with a book in his pocket and wanted to sit on a hillside, enjoying nature rather than fighting…I stopped playing him after I realised that I had just created a version of Ferdinand the Bull. :D But I think roleplay allows us to examine facets of our personality that we might otherwise not.
@rocweiler: lol, I realised that when I looked up your corporation. :( And yes, roleplay can definitely be theraputic, allowing us to experience things that we couldn’t in the real world.
@TFM: That’s closer than you know. I always felt as though I was hiding my “real” self (as we all do, to an extent). In high school I was a cheerleader (not sure if that translates well to the EU, but if you grow up in a small town in the US it’s a big deal) who secretly wrote poetry at 4:00am with ink mixed with her own blood. Everyone has a hidden side…perhaps I like to roleplay mine. :)
My characters tend to be rage filled berserker warriors who are also usually dumb as a sack of hammers.
Wonder what that says…
That you like playing characters much different from yourself. :D