Monday, December 3, 2007

Roleplay & Character Choices - Combining my Comments into a Post

I've seen a lot of blog posts around lately that seem to be hitting on sort of the same note; that is to say, the idea of playing a gender different than your own (the subject may or may not involve roleplaying).

I've been responding to a lot of these posts and I noticed that a lot of my responses were coming out pretty much the same so I figured I would turn it into a full-fledged blog post.

On Roleplaying: Roleplaying and things related to roleplaying (coming up with new characters, giving them stories and backgrounds, imaging their life in Azeroth, etc.) is pretty much 90% of what draws me to WoW. The other 10% or so is the mechanics of playing my hunter. And I'm sure you all know how much I love playing my hunter, so you can definitely see just how important roleplaying is to me. That's just my personality and how I am-- I like imagining things. I definitely understand why roleplaying isn't everyone's thing, in fact, I don't think it's most people's thing. But, it is my thing. It is a huge, huge part of what makes WoW interesting to me. (Yes, I'm a geek, I know. =D) If you were to take away Tawyn, Night Elf Hunter who I've invented this huge story for... and replace her with an equally-leveled but different character that I did not invent, it would be very, very hard for me to keep playing the game.

And where is this leading to?


On Playing as a Character That is the Opposite Gender:

For a long time, I've been just a little confused on why so many people play as the opposite gender. It wasn't that I had a problem with it, it was just hard for me to understand why someone would play as a character that they couldn't identify with on that base level. Yes, you could make the argument that the opposite gender looks more attractive to you, but for me that wasn't nearly as important as being able to play as a character that you could really identify with. (And I say this as a very, very tomboyish female. My characters are tomboys, but they are still female. Like me.)

And then, thanks largely to an excellent article at Big Bear Butt Blogger, it hit me. I'm looking at the game a lot differently than most people are.

That is to say, I am a roleplayer and a daydreamer and I imagine my characters as extensions of myself, and... avatars of myself in a parallel universe, so to speak.

The majority of you guys, I imagine, are a bit more normal than me, heehee =P And you play the game as just a game, or as a movie. Big Bear Butt said that he liked playing female characters because he likes watching female characters kick butt, like in a movie or TV show, for example. It has nothing to do with creating a character that is an expression of yourself. And that's a very normal thing, and it makes a lot of sense. I had just sort of forgotten that, and assumed that everybody was like me and into the whole roleplaying thing.

So, thanks Big Bear Butt for hitting me back into reality for a few minutes and helping me understand a lot of my fellow WoW players better. I'll try not to dig myself so deep into the RP-hole next time. (Even if it is a lot of fun down here!)

P.S. A lot of roleplayers actually play the opposite gender too... because good character ideas are not limited by gender. So it's not a roleplayer thing, I think, so much as it's a "Pike" thing. =P


Anonymous said...

I'm one of those "males playing female chars" around, and I don't RP as that's hard to do when you have things like mobs/bosses re-spawning around you, stuff that YOU kill and doesn't stay dead, and so on, and so on.

My main was created and named after my wife's nickname; I have another one made after my 1 year old daughter; and the rest are just because I like the female chars better! :)

I'm one of those ppl that can be immersed in the action whilst not forgetting that it's just a game and still enjoying it the same!

Tengu said...

I can understand your reasoning for playing characters of the same gender as I felt the same way when I tried roleplaying in another MMORPG.

Though there was a guy who played a female character and he said he liked it because it felt challenging. Not only dead, he was a nice guy, but the character was pure evil. Not the type of evil that goes laughing maniacally and telling everybody and their dogs their evil plan. But the more subtle and corrupting type. Again, he said he did it because of the challenge.

And that is another thing that is attractive about roleplaying I guess. Challenging yourself with something that isn't about game mechanics that you have to be constantly working to make it be successful.

Or maybe I am just thinking too much as usual. @_@

Anonymous said...

I tried RP once - I think the server was Scarlet Crusade. Needless to say I didn't make it too far. I was bred to raise hell on pvp servers, I was ganked and did gank for years before tossing myself into this new RP-land. It didn't work out too well. I'm all for a great story but in the UD noob zone...lets just say I don't believe "ZOMG IM A DEADIE!!!" is roleplaying. And getting random tells like "Youre one hot undead chick, wanna power up together..."

Perhaps it was the noob zone thing, I have no clue. But it kind of turned me off RP entirely.

I know not every server/time/day is going to be like that...I just didn't want to deal with the times that it would be like that. I got the alt to 18 though. I did try at least hehe

I'm better suited for a pvp or pve server I think.

Nice post though, I like reading your blog :)

Maebius said...

One reason I have chqaracters of an opposite gender is to distinctly avoid the "avatar of Me" concept.
I have my favorite characters which are male, but my "main" roleplaying alt" she is a female troll. It is easier to mentally click "in character" if the character is distinctly different from myself. It's a bit subtle, but I find the added visual cue of "this is not a male" helps with a vague sort of suspention of disbelief.

Matticus said...

I rolled a Male dwarf Priest because I have nightmares of naked dancing female Dwarf Priests on the fountain in front of stormwinds bank *shudder*.

My other two characters were female.


More screen space. Less obstruction of view. Ability to see more.

Yeah, that's right, it's all performance related.

Seriously. =)

Anonymous said...

Matticus, you dont know how right you are. I wish my ex hadnt created Hawk as a male tauren...there's usually someone that has to move to see around me, or I myself have to kind of just hang back because my LOS is screwy.

Why couldnt he have made a troll female hunter?! nice and tiny

Faeldray said...

I'm just like you, Pike. I'm a dreamer and whenever I roleplay, my characters are pretty much extensions of myself. Which is why I can never play an evil character; I just don't have it in me. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy a little revenge now and then. And while roleplaying, I'm not very good at the whole faction thing either. I'm more likely to help out an Alliance character than I am to gank them, or vice versa.