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On investing yourself

February 3, 2009

Before I left on my Long Drive, I read FauxPaws’ post Queasiness in Northrend.  While I was in Colorado months ago, I persuaded my little younger* brother to roll a character and play a bit so he would have some context to my random WoW ramblings.  So, he has an idea of how things worked.  I asked him the ethics question in the context of Warcraft and he replied right away that yeah, he would complete the quest.  Which shocked me, since I assumed he was not the torturing type.  He simply said that he was not his character.  His character was in a fantasy world and since the character was fake, he could have the character do things he wouldn’t do in real life (such as torture) and it wouldn’t reflect his values as a person at all.

So today while I was driving through Texas with nothing interesting to look at, I thought about what Luis said.  At the time that Luis said it, I said that of course there is part of you in your character, you play it!  I know part of me comes out in Anea, even though I do not role play her.  I couldn’t imagine that someone really could not invest part of themselves in their character, even if they did not actively role play.

I can’t wrap my head around the fact that there are some people out there that can invest hundreds of hours of their life to a single character and not feel any attachment at all.  Perhaps it’s a level of detachment I can never obtain.

Do you find that your character is an extension of yourself, in any way?  Do some of your values, beliefs, personality or humor come out as you play?  Might you even have chosen your race and/or class because it fits or represents your personality?  Or are you completely removed from the pixels that you play?  

*I have to say younger – the kid’s huge!  He towers over me and he can beat me up as revenge for how mean I was to him when he was younger (and a lot smaller).
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13 Comments leave one →
  1. stompalina permalink
    February 3, 2009 4:26 AM

    I see what you are saying…. and I agree that the toons which I invest large amounts of time playing are (in some sense) an extension of myself. I don’t RP either. But, I do pick-up and express traits that I think the character would portray.Such as….Stumpalina is a dirty little dancing gnome. I used to have a macro I used quite often where I would hump people’s leg. She would have no problem torturing someone to complete a quest… in fact, she would probably where a kinky outfit to do it in.Stompalina however is a tree-hugging hippie druid. Much more relaxed and hardly ever cares enough to quest in the first place.Both are traits which steam from me personally…

  2. February 3, 2009 7:51 AM

    i feel loads of connection with my dwarf not just as we both have Scottish accents.I could not have another main or indeed let someone play him Esdras is my guy and i have spend so much time and gold /played over 100 days now.

  3. ambrosyne permalink
    February 3, 2009 3:43 PM

    I feel a certain amount of attachment to most of my toons-and I’m an RPer-but I had no issues completing the quest, at least on some characters. My warrior woukd have gone about it a different way, perhaps, and my paladin not at all-but there comes a point where you just want the XP, too. Perhaps as an RPer it’s easier it have my characters do things I never would. I mean I’d never run up and whack a dragon on the nose, for sure…

  4. February 3, 2009 5:46 PM

    Tharion, my demon hunter, is the serious half of me. He’s the side that stays “caged,” the side that always feels the need to put on a proper face. But he also has a distinctly different morale code than I. He’s damned himself for the betterment of his people, promised his soul to the eternal corruption of the Twisting Nether. And for what? To have a chance at ensuring the world’s survival, even when he knows he’ll never be hailed a hero. He’ll only be shunned and distrusted for the sacrifice. Hey, at least martyrs have the release of death. Demon hunters? *shakes head*Me? I have no desire for such a sacrifice. I don’t have the same baggage as the character. And while there is a part of me in Tharion Greyseer, he is NOT me, and is free to follow whatever path he’d follow.

  5. February 3, 2009 5:46 PM

    Tharion, my demon hunter, is the serious half of me. He’s the side that stays “caged,” the side that always feels the need to put on a proper face. But he also has a distinctly different morale code than I. He’s damned himself for the betterment of his people, promised his soul to the eternal corruption of the Twisting Nether. And for what? To have a chance at ensuring the world’s survival, even when he knows he’ll never be hailed a hero. He’ll only be shunned and distrusted for the sacrifice. Hey, at least martyrs have the release of death. Demon hunters? *shakes head*Me? I have no desire for such a sacrifice. I don’t have the same baggage as the character. And while there is a part of me in Tharion Greyseer, he is NOT me, and is free to follow whatever path he’d follow.

  6. Adlib permalink
    February 10, 2009 8:17 PM

    Definitely I think of Adlib as an extension of me. Before the barber shop, I created her with a hairdo that was much like mine at one time. I am too attached to my guild and raiding to switch her to an RP server and have no friends on one to stick with leveling on one. That would be really cool though.I think I do that with all my characters. I leveled a DK just to see the quest line, and doing some of the quests made me feel really uncomfortable…to the point where I felt it in my stomach! The torture quest in Borean though…meh. I felt worse when I killed that dude’s daughter in Dragonblight and then got a letter from him. :(

  7. Anea permalink
    February 10, 2009 8:36 PM

    @ Adlib: Yes! I definitely felt worst after killing the daughter – I had no way of knowing :(

  8. February 11, 2009 8:52 AM

    I think many people get too hung up on these torture quests. We all have killed tens of thousands of sentient beings in our time in Azeroth.I inflicted a dozen gushing wounds with my daggers, sliced bodies open with swords, caved in heads with clubs, burned flesh from bone while the victim was helplessly frozen to the ground, why should one more gruesome kill worry me?

  9. Weid permalink
    February 11, 2009 3:18 PM

    I think there is a big difference between aspects of my personality shining through in my characters and the characters being an extension of myself.I do table-top RPG, most of my characters are based off 1 aspect of my personality. I will use that aspect as their main characteristic and build from there as to the rest of their personality. It is normal that the character shares something with me (the aspect mentionned earlier) but that doesn’t mean it would take the same decisions I would. Two shy people might be alike in the fact that they are both shy, but the rest of their personality can be completely different. I don’t think my Tauren Druid, who is caught in the middle of a conflict of epic proportion and fighting against corruption of the land sees things the same way I do. That being said I don’t RP in WoW, I don’t gain 12000 XP for torturing an innocent, I do not pass go and collect 200$. I find it interesting however that the quest managed to bring that question to your mind. It does show a level of attachment beyond just a toon in a game.Answering TheReaper, I don’t think torture and killing in a battle is the same thing. A lot of soldiers are more than willing to take life on the battlefield but will not torture enemy soldiers. It is quite different to use a weapon against an unarmed and helpless person than using it against someone who can defend themself.Sorry if I rambled on too long.

  10. Anea permalink
    February 11, 2009 3:30 PM

    @ TheReaper – Weid put into words what I was struggling to. It is one thing to fight against another armed person who knows the consequences of the battle and another entirely to prolong agony of another person who can do nothing to defend themselves.

  11. February 11, 2009 3:38 PM

    My character is most certainly a part of me, and my personality comes out in her at all times.And of course I felt bad doing the torture quests, or any similar “bad” quests. They affected me.As such, the Death Knight quests built a hatred for Arthas in me. They motivated my character to seperate herself from what she was involved in. Now I want to find Arthas and put an end to him, for the suffering he’s caused.And I’m glad for these things. As far as I’m concerned, questing in WoW can be almost seen as an interactive book or movie. You get invested in characters in a book/movie, even if you don’t control them.Would I want to only read/watch things that were all “good guy triumphs instantly over bad guy”? Nope, that’s boring. Conflict is important in any story, whether it’s a game or a book or whatever.

  12. February 11, 2009 11:02 PM

    My characters are not me. Sometimes they have aspects of myself, sometimes they have the inverse of myself.In D&D I have a wizard (Graden) who is reckless, and does very non-wizard things. Personally I weigh my risks and decide when to take one, and when to play it safe. To play Graden I weigh the risks and then very nearly always do what I personally wouldn’t. Graden will run to the front of the party and stand with the tank (er, “Defender”). Graden will “just take another shot…or two…or nine” at the spider even when Graden is so low on health that ANY hit from the spider will knock him down.In WoW I have a pally (Ginncrotz) that just gives his money to friends. “oh you need 500G for mats for new robes? Of corse you can have it. Loan? Don’t be silly, friends don’t loan money!”. Now personally I almost never ever *give* money or even anything substantially similar to money away. Loan to a friend in need? Sure. Even to a friend who I’m pretty sure can’t pay it back? Well, maybe if they are a good friend, but I still tell myself that is a loan.Those are more extreme examples (playing against my own type). I also play characters that amp up my own tendencies. My bank toon is grinncrotz’s brother Wellscargo. He is seriously tight with money. He writes letters about how Ginn has to clamp down on spending, or give up a profession and get into one that makes more money. Or justify the cash for epic mounts (the cash that Ginn handed over to “take care of”). Wells also refuses to take the birds if there is a tram, or boat, or even a walk that isn’t likely to cause too much armor damage.Personally I’m a bit frugal, but nowhere near as extreme as wells.Some of my characters would torture willingly. Some grudginly. Some never.None of my characters would do or not do it because _I_ would (or wouldn’t) though.

  13. Stripes permalink
    February 12, 2009 1:44 AM

    (figured I would add…)I personally don’t think torture gains reliable information. Many people while being tortured will make up any story they can to Just Make The Pain Stop. Yes, that reason for not torturing does an end-run around weather or not I think the ends justify the means or anything else, but that is how I think about it.Graden is in theory brilliant, and would likely follow my line of reasoning. Unless he wasn’t thinking real hard about it, he is a _lot_ more impulsive then I am.Ginncrotz would not follow my theory. He is also a end-justifies anything-I-damn-well-please kind of guy. He would torture, he would take no pleasure in the grim task, but he would do it because in the end he will do whatever he thinks it takes to save the world.Wellscargo would torture the fellow, but only after checking to see if he can sell the implements of torture for more then the quest reward.Loudarin would do it. No hesitation. You see he has a little backstory: “I was fourteen years and two moons, barely a man when the horrors came. Barely a man when I learned that some things hard as they were to see are impossible to unsee. The horrors killed my parents, and my sisters. Not right away, I was fourteen years and four moons old when my sisters died. Died because my father the blacksmith wouldn’t make dwarven armor for the horrors. Later my father died because he had made enough armor. I never knew why my mother died.Then the daemons came to me. Asmodious himself offered the power to free myself, and I refused. You see I still had my soul, and I prized it highly. They came to me again and offered me the power to free my what was left of my people. I grabbed it with both hands. There had been 600 in my village, almost 200 of them lucky enough to die fighting off the horrors, and nearly 300 were unlucky enough to have lasted this long. The very morning after the daemons gave me power I used it. I fought. I tried to save them. That is what I told myself at the time, but in my heart I know better. I tried to kill the horrors, every one of them. I barely gave any effort to saving my people. But I did save them. Some of them. Five of them. Three of them killed themselves within a year. Another the following year, and the last? I never try to find out. I hope that she lives still. Anything to convince myself that losing my soul to save her was worth it.But really I know she is gone, just as I know telling myself that selling my soul to save them was worth it is a lie.”With a life like that? He wouldn’t even comprehend that torture isn’t something someone could “deserve”. The real question is would he thinking his victim deserved it, or that he himself deserved it? (ok, so the whole “dark past” thing has been done to death, but not by me, I almost never make dark characters, so this was a fun departure for me)So my characters might or might not do it, but it depends on THEM and how they think (or at least how I imagine they think), and not on what I think I should (or even would) do.

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