Creating a Character

Byaghro at Diabolical Minds has been looking to change his blogging outlook a bit, and decided to undertake a small project that looks at how we view ourselves and at how others view us in our game-world of choice.  While there were two possible prompts, I voted for the second one since the first would require quite a bit of feed-back for a good discussion.  Having looked at the prompt for a few days now, I also thought that it’d actually make a pretty good starter for creating a role-playing character, so it does have some application beyond exploring how you view yourself, and how that translates into your characters.

If you were able to recreate yourself as a fictional character (could be in a game, a book, a movie…) what would that character be? In other words, both positive and negative traits would have to be provided (as a general rule of thumb to keep things interesting I would suggest a primary character trait, a personality description, a “fatal” character flaw, and one or two negative traits that could easily be included in the personality description).

Now, from the language of the prompt, I’m not supposed to make up some character out of no-where, I’m supposed to make myself and fit them into a character.  I’m using World of Warcraft as the base of my character creation since that’s the game we all know and love.  We can also take into account the lore of the game to help match us up better with a particular character, and let me tell you, flaws will not be a problem.

So, first off, I’ll have to examine myself for traits that can be grafted onto a character in my gameworld of choice.  This can take quite a bit of time, but I managed to dash a few off in a couple of minutes, and spent another couple of days thinking of a couple of more that I thought were relevant 😛  I did not organize the traits in any way, I just merely made a list of descriptors and will take the time to assign them in a minute.

goal-oriented, stubborn, whimsical, humanitarian, extremely private, strong-willed, emotionally mercurial, intelligent

Now that you have some traits, you need to consider the type of character you’re going to be playing.  The above are traits that say something about my personality.  However, your gender, race, skin, eye, and hair color, and other physical traits (as well as class bonuses/demerits) and the like will also play a part in determining your overall character’s description and make-up.

This is an extremely personal choice for you as a player.  Some choose on racial bonuses.  Some on aesthetics.  Some on a random roll of the die.  Your class and race combination will affect many things about your character and which additional traits your character may have, both in skills , and racial history and traits.  However you choose, you’ll want to consider the lore of your character’s race.  Many times you’ll simply add on a race’s traits to flesh out your character or to give a bit of background about your character’s history.  However, there are always mavericks–you can choose to cut against the grain of your race’s historical and societal morays IF you are well-versed enough in the lore to pull it off.

I almost always choose my class first and my race second due to the way racial bonuses in most games work.  If you don’t know your class, you can handicap yourself with racial bonuses, and while it is seldom crippling, it can make for some frustrating moments.  Sometimes, I choose a combination simply for the novelty of the idea, and sometimes, you just have no choice.  Want to play a paladin horde-side and you’ve got limited options.

Classes

Now, for classes, I’m going to give some traits that I think are inherent to the class.  These aren’t based on lore in any sense, just personal “feelings” for how the class should be fleshed out.

  • Death Knight: Death Knights came from every class before their transformation, so they are virtually a blank tablet.  However, I imagine on the whole most of them are filled with rage over their current predicament.
  • Druids: Despite the bouncing of the Night Elves, I always imagine most druids as fairly serious protectors of their personal lore–nature.
  • Hunters: Hunters don’t need much from society, and thus are perpetually in self-exile.  However, they can come in and get a bite to eat and a drink at the bar without too much hassle.
  • Mage: Everywhere you find a mage, you find him working on some type of research.
  • Paladin: This rather depends on which side you choose to play.  On either side, you’ve got the dedication and unwavering belief that what you’re doing is right.  As a human, you answer to the power structure of the church, dwarves tend to be a little less flashy with their devotions, and blood elves, well, that’s another story.  In any case, paladins are often a bedrock of law and order within their particular society.
  • Priest: Rather frail in this particular gameworld, priests have powerful magics in a rather delicate framing.  The shadow-priest is an interesting spin-off, and I personally have a hard time fitting how they get their magic to turn all dark and shadowy.  They also seem to be found in races that have shamans as well–an odd mixture of cultural blending.  Could go any direction at a moment’s notice.
  • Rogue: If a part of society, must be attached to a secret organization or be a complete maverick living on the fringes.  In some ways, rogues can be considered a melee type ranger, and probably have more in common with hunters in terms of personality traits.
  • Shaman: Spiritual leaders don’t get much wriggle room in social nicities I’m afraid.  Whether you’re going to be calling up spirit wolves, tossing lava or splashing waves, you’ll have to fit into your societal construct as one of the good ones.
  • Warlock: Shunned by most societies, Warlocks are outsiders looking in and thus tend to be a bit anti-social and self-motivated.
  • Warrior: The great thing about warriors is that while every society has them, you can choose to play them in just about any way you choose.  You can be a guard, mercenary, elite soldier, or a thug.

Races

Gonna do the same king of thing for the different races.  These aren’t lore dependent choices, just how I feel about the classes based on my exposure.

Alliance

  • Human: As usual in game-worlds, humans are the jack of all trades in Warcraft as well.  Add to that just about the most snazzy set of racial bonuses, and it’s almost a wonder why more people don’t play humans…. other than the whole “I want to play a FANTASY character.  Sheesh.”
  • Night-elf: Tall, slender, and in three shades of purple, night-elves are all about nature whatever their chosen profession.  Strong sense of history and self-importance.  Serious minded people.
  • Gnome: A small race known for their interest in everything mechanical.  Tend to be whimsical and distracted.
  • Dwarf: Short and stout, dwarves build things to last.  Fiercely loyal and protective (they did take in the entire gnomish population after all) Warcraft dwarves are not exactly dour, but rather just… solid and dependable.
  • Draenei: Tall and other-worldly, on first glance the horns and hooves bring to mind the Burning Legion.  However, there’s is a more “goodly” race and definitely other-worldly.  This is a people with a plan.

Horde

  • Orc: The counterpoint to the human race, orcs are an honorable people trying to survive in a hostile world.  A people of clans, there is much serious strife within the overall group, although strong leadership tends to keep a lid on it.
  • Troll: Another clan-type group, the tall, slender trolls are hard to read.  Tend to be led by spiritual leaders (shamans) and have little compunction about killing rival troll groups.
  • Tauren: Like the night-elves, tauren are deeply tied to nature and spiritual pursuits, although their landscapes tend to be plains instead of forests.  I always image Tauren as pretty laid-back until pushed into a corner.
  • Undead: A fragmented group, the only thing holding them together is their contempt for the living and their anger at the Lich King.
  • Blood-elf: A cavalier group that defied the precepts of their traditional heritage and now suffering from the magic addiction which marks their entire race.  Impetuous and arrogant.

And now, to choose how I fit into these categories.

My Character

For class, I lean heavily towards hunters and paladins.  Hunters because while I like people in theory actual interaction is a pain in the patooty.  I lean towards paladins because I really do have the “yes, I’m right, so there” syndrome, oftentimes with little to back me up.  For this character, I’m gonna go with my familiar paladin, and see if I can incorporate myself fully into what I perceive a paladin should be.

For race I tend to naturally gravitate horde side.  There’s just something about an underdog story, right?  That leaves me with Blood Elves.  Since I see them as a bunch of arrogant pricks, this fits perfectly into my own world-view of myself.  So time to make our character’s story sheet.  We’ll go ahead and use my current character’s name because I can’t be bothered to think up something unique and appropriate.  I just pull these things out of books / thin air as it is now!

Name: Aliera

Title: Master

Description: Brusque to the point of rudeness, Aliera is not a diplomat.  Often sharp-tongued and invariably blunt, she has stalled within her current advancement path where her lack of diplomacy has cost her several potential promotions.  She cares little, finding people frustrating and vexing creatures.  Her comrades know little about her personal life, and no member has been to her home although she has been a part of the Order for over ten years.  Often working alone, Aliera has been known to use methods outside her order’s usual methods–the sword and mace–and whispers have reached the capital about her involvement in local inns as a possible troubadour.  However they get done, she rarely fails missions assigned to her, and takes personally any suggestion that she has failed in her role as a Blood Knight.

This is an is not a reflection of myself.  Obviously, if I wanted to be a fantasy character, I want to blur my edges just a bit so I can enjoy my time in game; however, overall, I think this captures a very strong portion of my personality quite well.  I am blunt, out-spoken, and quite willing to flare-up over perceived or spoken slights.  Although it’s a bit short (and perhaps a bit overdone) overall, I thought it was an interesting exercise.

Do you find yourself making characters that have traits you see in yourself, or do you go for just the opposite?

 

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11 thoughts on “Creating a Character

    • Guess you've got to be a maverick to be a shadow priest unless you're undead 😛 I think that's my struggle with them–as a class they're fun, but as a lore element, they're kinda…. odd.

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  2. Oh it seems we have both picked up a somewhat similar topic! I've just written a rather long post about why I always play a human in MMOs a few days ago. I realize it's boring to many, but for me it has a lot to do with immersion, even if i'm not an RPer or anything.
    As for classes, I find buffing and healing classes the most interesting. I find close combat and melee too 'crude' hehe, I am in love with magic wielding and also, with the more subtler kind. A class that tips the outcome of battle by giving strength to their allies or weakening the enemy, or in a healer's case is the life line of the raid group that grants everyone else the 'time' to do what needs doing.
    I've always picked classes like that, bards, healers, shamans etc. =)

    • I tend to change what I play based on the game I'm playing, especially when it concerns lore I'm familiar with from previous games–I chose a night elf hunter first when I rolled up a class in WoW because I wanted to kick ass like Maeiv… then I discovered that was really rogues and went to the undead side 😛

      In FFXI, I chose a red mage, one of the most versatile classes I've ever played, and I did the same in DDO, rolling a cleric (I will save your soul with my mace ::whack::), so I definitely understand and love a good utility class. However, it's taken a few expansions for utility classes as assets to your team to really catch on–the trinity seems to be much more clearly defined in this game than in others I've played, perhaps as a result of the large player base and general QQ about required buffs and the like.

      • Jep it makes me sad that wow doesn't really give a lot of love to buffing/utility classes. sw-priests and shammies were a bit closer to this in the first half of TBC, but like you said all the QQ made blizzard change and equalize everyone over time. I guess its also easier to balance raids this way, but it's a loss of classes really.
        And I've played a RDM in FF11 too hehe!! =) also loved bard besides that, such an awesome class to play!

        • The pimp hat was the best part ^^ I was trying to try out the XIV beta despite the experience system but it didn't like my video card.

  3. Food for thought indeed.

    I'm a fairly 'hardcore' roleplayer from way back, with a background in MUDs and a bit of tabletop, so I've had many many characters over time. Historically, I have to admit to a tendency to keep certain of my traits (or traits I think I have!) across most of my alts – notably enjoyment of challenges and putting a high value on friendships, but there are a couple of others. Around that framework, of course there are variations, but those tend to be at the core. Also, I'm an incurable serial healer player, which corresponds almost exactly to my real life profession; I guess some things really do take over your entire psyche!

    By contrast, I've had a couple of characters (not in WoW) who were in a lot of ways the opposite of me, including a very hardline paladin-type and a terribly, terribly depressive and rather melodramatic priest (OK, the melodrama might be an exaggeration rather than an opposite *cough*). I found those characters really interesting to play, though almost tiring as I had to think every second about staying in character. They are among my memories of the most fun to RP and to play, though.

    My current major RP is a mage who has some of my qualities and some different ones; I'd like to think I'm not quite as vain as her, but I have a feeling I'm not as brave either! Although I don't have as much time for her as I'd like, exploring her personality is definitely a great escape from reality. Perhaps I'll have to try that character-building exercise for my next one, though – it's an angle I haven't explored before 🙂

    • I'm always interested in how people view their characters. Being a non-roleplayer myself, I'd be interested in following up a conversation like this with someone who, ya know, actually does ^^

      • I liked your character sheet for 'Aliera', though – it'd be a good starting point for roleplaying her 😉

        Personally, I think Azeroth-me would have to be a dwarven priest. OK, this has got me started now! I think I feel a SAN-US character coming on…

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