Well you have done it. You bought your first or second MMORPG and now it is time to get serious about it. You know what race, sex, profession, skill tree and class your character is going to be. You find yourself sitting at the character creation screen. I would hate to quote the Matrix on this one but your character will be your, “mental projection of your digital self.” For more hardcore gamers everything about this animated person they are shaping right now will determine how they play the game, and how they interact with fellow gamers.
I would like to take a moment to talk about stereotypes. As these games progress the level detail and the complexity of character creation is increasing. A lot of human-like attributes and characteristics are evident in a persons MMO character. Most of the big bulky male characters are played by two types of people: those with little man syndrome (who might say, “drive an extremely large truck”) and those who are the alpha males of our species (dominant confident males, not the typical gaming dorkasaurus). The females are a little different. Ninety percent of all females who play these games will be playing female characters and probably constitute about 10% of the “female character” population. The other 90% of female characters you see running around are played by males. Maybe a little sexually confused at one point or another, or maybe just taking some good ole fashioned advantage of having the boobs they don’t have in real life. Remember friend, when you go after that hot Night Elf ass, she may turn out to have a surprise below in the bedroom. But that never stops you from going after them initially does it? Maybe help her out with a quest or 2? Maybe give her some new digs to fight in? Doing whatever it takes to solidify you a possible position in those “potentially” female loins. I digress… moving on…
Just like in REAL LIFE your characters looks will determine how people interact with you. If you choose to have a glamorous looking beautiful character (a popular choice, since most of the MMO player base are introverts “the sun burns!! Ouch!”) then you will be treated like a member of the beautiful peoples club. Ugly characters aren’t really paid attention to etc. It is your freshmen year of high school all over again. The similarities between the simulated world and the world you simultaneously exist in for REAL, are startling. I think if Freud were a computer program just floating about Azeroth for a bit he would still come to the same conclusions. Or would he? Lets face it here, not everyone is out to role play. Which brings me to the next topic … the bully, the ass, the funstopper. A BAF if you will. (Note: I realize that BAF is a term used when mobs, “Bring a Friend.”)
Now the BAF is an interesting guy. He logs into the MMO with one goal, and one goal only. Take what you can! And give nothing back. This guy is the person who ninja loots, or kills noobs in the middle of the night when they are bored. A typical day for a BAF is to join a random group and try to take control of it. You know this person. The guy who is trying to tell everyone how to play their character and what their role should be in the group. He is the authority on everything and if you don’t listen to him then you are bound to receive (with caps lock set to AWESOME MODE) a series of tells telling you how dumb you are and that you have no idea what you are doing. He isn’t here for fun, or even to really get things done. He is just here to feed his inflated ego and bring his step dads controlling issues to the game where he can act out and not get hit with the electrical cord.
I might add more to this one later, but I’m tired of it just sitting in a text document forever… updates to follow I’m sure.
Danny Machal June 18th, 2008