I rarely do any proper roleplay in games, although I prefer to roll on RP servers and I’ve very much loved the light or just-for-fun roleplay that I’ve done with guilds. I’m respectful of roleplay, I walk when necessary, dismount before entering a building, etc. I will respond in kind if someone initiates roleplay with my character…but I usually will never initiate it myself, I would feel like a tit.
That said, I’m always “in character” – it’s why I play MMOs. I’ve written before about finding it difficult to play characters longterm if they don’t click for me as characters in their own right. My Warcraft hunter Kitsune had a backstory and a personality from the moment I created her, and I loved her enough to have her name in kanji tattooed on my spine. If that’s not being serious, I don’t know what is. :)
Ravven, my character in The Secret World, hadn’t clicked for me as a person until I hit the lighthouse in the Savage Coast and listened to the author’s cut scene on Life Imitates Art. Even given the extremely basic character creation tools, I’d managed to create a look that I could deal with. I had reserved my favourite name. I’d spent tons of cash in Pangaea putting together outfits for her. But I didn’t know who she was until I watched this:
That is Ravven. She is an ordinary person who worked a shit job until the world fell apart. She’s a bit like Thelma in Thelma and Louise in that it took a horrible event to make her realise who she was born to be. Just as Thelma discovers the outlaw living under the skin of the mousy housewife, Ravven discovers that what she was actually put on earth to do is kill, efficiently and coldly, without enjoyment but with a fierce desire to right an upside-down world. First it was survival, and then it was an avocation.
I rolled her as Dragon, and that fits with her emerging persona. You may think that the Dragon are anarchists and terrorists, but they are actually creating order out of a chaotic world using seemingly random events to shape and guide the future. Ravven is a force of change and the destruction that clears the field for healthy growth. She doesn’t know, and doesn’t need to know, what the grand overall plan is. She is just doing what she was put on this earth to do.
And yes, she is well aware that if she hadn’t been thrust into this broken world she would have been “another rat stuck in a race with a dead end job, living for a paycheck and the weekends, one long booze-soaked slide towards the dark and cold grave.” (Such gorgeous storytelling in this game!) She finally has her place in the world, a purpose, and a passion.
This is why I play.
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. :)
Tonight we visited the cities of Undercity, Ogrimmar and Thunder Bluff in RP. It was a lot of fun…aside from that little interlude outside of the Crossroads with two Hordies waiting for me to res so they could kill me again. I mean, really…some people! :)
Wearing a party dress for the occasion
Peeking into Undercity
Saying hi – the natives weren’t very friendly
Trying to get everyone out alive
Taking the airship to Ogrimmar
Our grand arrival
Really, someone needs to teach these people some manners. Plus there was an orc with a very rude name.
Noobing it up in front of Ogrimmar
Going in to sightsee and make new friends
Playing tourist and setting off fireworks
Getting the hell out of Dodge
Such a serene and lovely land
Going to say hi to our peaceful Tauren brothers
Who decided that the new version of the site would use .NET, rather than J2EE? Me. It was my fault. JSP, classic ASP, PHP, you name it, I’m fine with it…but I know nothing about .NET.
I was telling Miz that we’re at the point where the project seems totally, absolutely impossible. It’s an insurmountable task. As I start to put everything working, and the architecture makes sense, all that will change, but right now it’s really doing my head in.
Hence, tired, worn out, and not in the best of moods. I came very close to being rude to someone last night during a Kara run, and I am never, ever rude – I avoid conflict like mad, and I’ll never pick fights with people. This person’s an idiot, true, but I was petty and I feel bad about it. Especially since everyone is really nice, for the most part, and there are some superb players in this guild – I shouldn’t have been snappy because of one person who isn’t.
Still fighting with that awful Aran fight. I died so many times last night, as he seemed to be concentrating on me. I can avoid the blasts and blizzards and stand still during flame wreath, and I’m getting better at avoiding them while running around trying to do a CoT and fear on each one in turn while trying to keep one banished…but all I could see was a huge boss mod warning across my screen telling me that I had aggro from Aran. No shit I did, he was nuking me down each time without fail, even when I wasn’t dpsing him. I don’t know what I’m doing to trigger it, unless it’s just the act of fearing elementals that does it. Getting too close to him, maybe?
That’s all. Needed to vent a bit, and then step back for a while and not think about playing.
A final word, though? If you were properly roleplaying your character, and she was in a real battle, she would run to meet her comrades and not miss the start of every fight because she was strolling to meet them. And if we were all roleplaying properly, and you went afk for 15 minutes for dinner and then ran in while we were buffing and bodypulled Maiden, we would have all kicked your ass rather than telling you that it was ok.
It’s the little things that irritate me. :)
I created my first male character that I actually felt comfortable playing this weekend. I’d wanted to try druid, as they have such versatility as a hybrid class, and I was bored with the night elf starting area, so I created my tauren druid. Honestly, there’s not a huge amount of physical difference between male and female tauren, not like the humanoid races in Warcraft…I can’t handle the grotesquely huge chest and arms, and the pissed-off and/or constipated faces that most of the male characters have. Plus, I relate to characters very personally, so I always play females. This guy was different…from the start, he had a personality and a bit of a story to tell.
He’s a shy type, very sweet despite his looks; he can usually be seen sitting under a tree with his nose in a book. His family don’t understand him, and his father won’t speak to him because the boy has a serious lack of testosterone. He’s a daydreamer. He can fight, but he will go out of his way to avoid fights…he’s a flower picker and a bookworm and a bit of an artist. I like him.
I was thinking about roleplaying last night during the Gruul raid, and why I rp with Kit and not with Ravven. I do have a (thin) rp backstory for Ravven, but it’s a negative one…probably based on the fact that I just don’t like her very much.
On my guild app I used this story snippet for Ravven, a gently-born person banished from her family due to her embarrassing sexual fetish for demons:
Ravvenna rose from her bed in the inn, and went over to the cracked chest to wash her face and get ready for the day. This definitely wasn’t the environment that she had grown up in, but the days of living in the luxury of her ancestral home were long behind her. Hmmph, their loss. She tossed her pale hair and looked closely at her skyblue eyes. No lines there yet – she was still as beautiful as ever, although it was getting difficult to maintain her wardrobe while travelling.
The bedclothes rustled behind her. Looking in the mirror, she could see her minion Selxia sitting in the rumpled bed, sulky expression on her face.
“Good morning, sunshine,” Ravvenna said, just so that she could see Selxia’s expression darken.
There would be another battle today, and again she would kiss Selxia deeply and then sacrifice her, drinking in her powers, knowing that she would call her over and over again, sacrificing her when needed. Selxia would never, ever be free.
No, Ravvenna was not a nice person.
And why don’t I like her? The way that she looks, in part. She was the very first character that I created in the game, and I’d chosen dark skin, white hair in a ponytail, and big eyes for maximum contrast. In reality, she looks like a heftier version of Malibu Barbie with big googly eyes. She’s not interesting.
Kit, on the other hand, I’ve always seen as a real person. I rp her as a personality very similar to my own, but much more extreme. She’s a spiritual type who has been scarred by her experiences, so she is torn between her mystical nature and the times when anger takes her over and only bathing in blood will ease her pain. Not that I ever act it out, of course…but anyone who has been with me for any length of time knows that I have (rare) moods when I would gladly take every element of my life, relationships and jobs and home, things that are precious to me, and destroy them in a cold rage, regretting it later. Kit balances a desire for peace and connection to nature and the goddess with someone who could destroy for the joy of it, just to release some of the anger and pain. She’s a much deeper personality than Ravven.
Relating to the issue of characters having lives and backstories, I’ve always found it interesting that (pre-TBC) Ravven “wanted” to live in Stormwind (where she goes to the AH, etc.) and Kit “wanted” Ironforge…although she doesn’t feel as though she lives there. Azshara is her home. It wasn’t a decision that I made, it just felt as though that was where each of them needed to be. Strange.
Does that sound bizzare? Perhaps it is…but it’s part of the reason why I play. If Kit didn’t feel like a person, I’d still be playing first-person shooters or something. I like living in her skin.
I think I’ve found my raiding and roleplay guild. Ravven joined yesterday, and as soon as I catch the hunter class leader online, Kit will as well. They’re doing Kara (two groups) and Gruul, and I hope to be able to find a place in one of the groups.
Guildchat is IC, which I welcomed – but it’s interesting in that it seems to have had the effect of totally removing any conversation in guildchat. Everyone talks in the OOC channel. lol…
I’m levelling a troll priest who I’ll dual-box with my bloodelf hunter as soon as she catches up. I’m going to roleplay them as foster sisters, and the troll thinks she’s an ugly duckling. She’s wider than the other blood elves, and her feet are too big for glass slippers or even cloth boots. :D Hey, it’s not her fault that she has bad teeth, even though her mean older sister makes fun of her.
Got involved in a conversation at the wow_ladies LJ community, which I just realised (after thinking that no one was posting anything anymore) has been locked to outsiders. How stupid is that? They were offended that someone at WoW Insider was linking to their posts and discussing things that were said. That’s the nature of teh interweb, darlings – 3/4 of all blog posts are links to things the writer has read elsewhere. We’re just one big incestuous family here. Such as shame, since it was a very busy community, and it was done without a poll or vote or any discussion on the part of the members, which is totally wrong of the moderators of the community.
Sigh. Kids…whatcha going to do? :)
Well, I joined one of the guilds that I had run Mechanar with, the nice guys who weren’t an RP guild. I just wanted to belong somewhere, and not feel so adrift. I’ll give it a week or so, see how I like everyone, and then possible transfer Ravven over as well.
It’s a bit like real life, actually…I like my solitude, but I want to choose it rather than be solo by default. I want that solid support of family and friends, and I want to choose to go off occasionally to be antisocial, knowing that they are all still there when I am ready to come back. If I was ever truly alone, I would fall apart in very short order. It’s rather like cats…they want to be independent, they want to do their own thing, but put them out lost in the street, with no home or food dish or comfy sofa, and they’ll be scared and miserable.
You always need a home to return to.
…well, not really. :D In fact, as per my last stay in Moonglade, I’ve seen no rp at all. To be honest, though, I haven’t gone to hang out by the Cathedral in Stormwind, or buying strangers drinks in pubs or whatever you’re supposed to do.
Interviewing with the guild hasn’t gone especially well, for exactly the same reason as last time. I had a nice chat with the hunter leader, and since then I’ve been waiting for the chap who handles their rp interviews to condescend to talk to me. Last time I chased him for about a month, then gave up. I don’t know what the hell is up with him – if I interviewed and failed, that would be one thing, but he hasn’t even talked to me. I’m uncertain about joining this guild now, as (even though the hunter was quite nice and friendly) I am getting this perception that the guild is unfriendly and rude, just based upon one person.
Aside from that, I’ve gotten guild invites from everyone that I’ve grouped with so far…I suppose I should just take one. The guild that I ran Mechanar with last night was very nice, and they wouldn’t be a bad choice. Not an rp guild, definitely, but nice people. It’s very tempting.
I’ll give the Invisible Gnome one more chance to snub me tonight, then I think I’ll take them up on their offer. Being guildless and friendless on a new server is no fun at all.
This was originally written as a post on the Moonglade forums, but idiot me (knowing how sucky their forums are) forgot to copy it to a text file before submitting, and it was eaten. *sigh*
Kitsune tossed her dusty bags and travelling gear into a heap in the corner. She was exhausted and filthy from the long journey, and looking forward to a bath and a nap, not necessarily in that order. The inn was plain and the room small, but everything was clean and the bed looked like heaven.
From behind her she heard a surreptitious creak of bedsprings, and turning around she saw her huge black armored boar, Ennui, trying to look inconspicuous in the middle of the bed.
“Hey, fleabag! Get your fat self off that bed!” Ennui heaved a deep sigh, and closed his eyes. “Ah, well…move your great arse over, and make room.” She flopped on the bed next to the boar, and he happily rolled over onto his back so that she could scratch his stomach. Kit noticed that she had dried blood rimming each fingernail, and there was a distinct odor that she honestly couldn’t claim was boar. She needed a bath.
There was a mirror hanging over the cracked clothes chest, and she stood for a moment looking into it. Used to seeing her reflection in water, if at all, she flinched a bit as she studied her scarred face. There was more extensive scarring on her back, and around her wrists, but usually that was covered up by mail. Her face felt so exposed.
Ah, well – she’d never been a beauty, and having been imprisoned in Grom Hellscream’s hellhole for so long hadn’t improved her looks. As a young druid in training in Ashenvale, she’d been looking forward to her initiation ceremony and tattoos, but then the orcs had swept in and changed all of that. Her parents were some of the first to go down before the onslaught…so much lost, so much time, so much changed.
But anyway…what was needed was a pint or five of strong dwarven ale. She quickly washed, rebraided her long white hair, and stripped off the blood-spattered outer armor. It was easier, she reflected, to face a room full of demons and undead than to walk downstairs into a crowded tavern and try to start up a conversation, and make some friends.
Thats’ why she was here, after all…the long years of solitude in the autumn woods of Azshara had done a lot of healing, and she was almost ready to rejoin the world.