I’m Your Hero, Baby
I guess I’m not your average hero. When I create a character for a RPG, there are usually four golden rules that I follow:
- Go for the direct approach. My preferred play style is that of grabbing the biggest, meanest looking weapon I can find, walk right up to the my enemies and recklessly attack them straight on. I don’t do subtle. It’s just not my style.
- Look different. Crooked nose, balding head, comb-over, moustache, gaunt, fat, anything but your stereotypical heroic hunk. I want to look like I’ve got character and a story to tell, not that I walked off the set of Baywatch (no offense to The Hoff if he’s reading).
- Be a mavrick. I don’t like to play by anyone’s rules, even my own. If there’s an opportunity to be evil or the bad buy in a game, chances are I’ll take it. What can I say, I just like being a bully and a brute… probably because it’s so utterly different from own personality in real life.
- Have flaws. I don’t my want my character to be perfect. No one is in real life so why should a virtual avatar be any different? Sometimes that might mean making life difficult for myself but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.
Most MMORPGs cater to point 1, some cater to point 2, almost none cater to point 3 and absolutely none (that I know of) cater to point 4. Single player RPGs usually cater to more of these points, such as choosing to be good or evil or making decisions that may penalise you for the sake of roleplay, but either way, I try my best with what I’ve got.
Creating a character is an important aspect of any game for me and I’ve really got to buy into him in order to be able to enjoy the game. The more flexiblity and variety there is for play style, appearance, and general character building, the more likely the game will immerse me into it’s world. I think it’s a little sad that a lot of MMORPGs have forgotten this fact and just tend to be action games with stats rather than true RPGs. When was the last time you, or anyone you knew, made an in-game choice for the sake of roleplay rather than “being the best”?
I guess what I’m saying is that my preferred hero is unique and flawed, not a perfect Warrior with maxed stats and the most effective talent build. I’d like to see more MMORPGs offer the flexibility we often find in single player RPGs. It might mean making a character who isn’t perfect but instead marred with petty human qualities or choosing between truly being good or evil and not just have it appear as some item on a quest journal. I want our character decisions to affect the MMO world we play in and the way we play and interact with NPCs and PCs alike. I think that would be a heck of a lot of fun.