Character Immersion

I have mentioned before I have a stable of alts in every level bracket and that current Legion content has not given me a ton of time or focus on them – although mechanics exist to help them “get into the endgame” activities quickly, there is so much to do that on my play schedule I only have time to play one or two “seriously” at any given time. Right now that is my Druid and Paladin, with my Rogue taking a backseat. I still have a lot of interest in experiencing other Class Hall quests and especially the expansion from the Horde side view and last night I started thinking about leveling yet another character. While pondering, I realized that I am more connected to my characters that in a fantasy sense I can “be”. I play both female and male characters and I naturally am more attached to my male ones. Taking it further down this thought path, I have an awesome new Gnome Death Knight with the name “Shiver” (which I think is awesome and appropriate for a DK!) and I have a hard time playing him because, well to be blunt, I have a hard time being a Gnome in WoW.

I am starting to realize that more and more  I “am” my characters in my games, I am not playing one. I like to imagine that I am the Druid, shape shifting and saving the day. It is *me* in the game. This is very different than being able to roleplay any race or combination that may be on your whim. I feel this is limiting and am not sure how to break out of that mindset and enjoy some of the different characters I have built and played with specific ideas in my head as to their personality. My Worgen Coosh (female) hates being in Worgen form out of combat. She is in human form in neutral cities and on flight paths. It was something about who she was when I created her, and I have her human form hot-keyed so I revert her back to that form outside of combat. When I play her, however, I default that the things I am experiencing and the decisions being made are of me, the human being, behind the keyboard. Which is a reality struggle since I am not a werewolf nor a woman. At least, not last time I checked.

It’s odd for me to think about because I don’t believe I have always limited myself to this in the past. In EQ my main was a Troll warrior, and I am neither stinky or green or naturally “evil” in real life either.  My other characters in EQ were often Gnomes, because I loved the starting area. I wonder if this is something I have developed as I have aged, as I moved away from pen and paper role-playing games and into online ones that the sights and sounds of controlling a character more directly has changed my mindset in how I play them. I am not  fully defaulted to being my characters though as I do not want to race change my Draenai Paladin due to the nice, 20% racial heal, and I dislike the male Draenai models enough that I keep female. The flavour and toolset of the Paladin class really speaks to me personally though which is why I enjoy playing that class. Historically I have always liked playing the protector. If you can’t tell, I am uncomfortable trying to sort through how I feel about all of this. Am I limiting my potential enjoyment?

Very think aloud post for me this morning as it struggle through the thought process.

When you play a character in a video game, do you become them, or do they become you?

2 Comments

  1. Asmiroth

    Depends on the game. I used to RP a necro when I played EQ2. I RPed a PK back in the UO days. I haven’t found that need in more recent MMOs mind you, other then perhaps a particular mindset related to class. I mean, that’s why I played a Rogue for so long. I am not a fan of the “multiple characters per player” model. FF14 works for me in that regard (as did UO back in the day).

    Board games though, that’s where I play a specific role as a character. I like making choices that I personally would not make. It throws off the meta, as people who know me see me make weird choices. Shadows of Brimstone, Descent and similar games work well in that regard.

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  2. Hazziesof

    This post reminded me of when I leveled a warrior years back while my main was a mage. I remember trying to hit a mob in the face with my staff instead of casting in front of my guild while raiding. lol I forgot I was playing my mage.

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