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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Being Ordinary

Posted by MikeB Sunday July 7 2013 at 10:53PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Poll: Would you play an mmo where your character is ordinary?" by BrucyBonus:

What I mean is that your character story would not portray you as the hero saving the mmo world.  There may well be an all-encompassing threat and you may well be a foot soldier or archer in the army or a sailor in the navy that fights it.  You would see everything that happens but the npc's would not be hailing you once victory is achieved, rather you might get a pat on the back from a fellow soldier and a ration of rum.  

Given the massively part of mmo's this would strike me as slightly more credible than most 'every-player-the-hero' stories. 

Read on for some highlights from the thread!

SpottyGekko's favorite MMO experiences were ones where he wasn't the hero:

As it so happens, in my two alltime favorite MMO's (EVE and SWG pre-NGE), I played an ordinary person. My character wasn't even remotely "the hero", but that was utterly irrelevant to my enjoyment of the game.

As hundreds of other people have said before me, I find the concept of being "The Chosen One" in a game with 1 million other players who are also "The Chosen One" to be rather difficult to swallow.

In a SPG like Skyrim, I can become "The One" or the leader of the Thieves Guild. In my game world, there IS only one leader of that guild at any time.

Purutzil feels being ordinary would be a bore:

Well not every game does this, but a lot do give you that feel of a hero, and honestly I don't think its wrong. When done right it can feel like, you know, you are actually a hero considering the tasks you do. Rift often kind of does this as a good example often speaking to you as an ascendant, which is in ways just a glorified soldier really in the world. A lot of other games do give this approach as well giving you that feeling of being important without being the 'you are the one' type of response.

In the end, being ordinary would be... well boring. The acts you are doing SHOULD be extroidinary in some games, though a sandbox would likely represent you in a different fashion. In the end though, a game that makes you a hero ONLY after you do accomplish something I feel has nothing wrong with it and in ways is a lot more realistic.

For Axehilt, it depends:

All depends on the gameplay.

Although if gameplay quality is equal, I slightly prefer heroism.

With equal gameplay, it's slightly more fun to defeat villains and save people than do menial labor as a dirty peasant.

As for me, I definitely prefer the "ordinary" role. In fact, I tend to go out of my way to be somewhat ordinary in games and MMOs when I can. As others have mentioned, Star Wars Galaxies was filled with "ordinary" characters, and most of us were all too glad to be a simple Weaponsmith or cantina dancer. Star Wars is my favorite IP and it's always been one of my favorite fantasies to play a simple Trooper (Imperial or otherwise) while everyone around me always seemed to want to be the Jedi. That's not to say that being a Jedi isn't a fun experience, but there is a lot to enjoy about being ordinary in an extraordinary world.

Ironically, the MMO I played longest was City of Heroes -- where you literally play the hero (or villain). But with just about everyone around you being a villain or hero you sort of felt a bit ordinary yourself. And no, I didn't feel this detracted from the experience overall.

Gravarg writes: I never really liked the idea that everyone's a hero.  I'm an avid crafter, that's just what I like to do.  The one thing I miss most from DAoC was people who I didn't even know would ask me to craft them things, because I did so for a friend of theirs.  In Skyrim, I have an Orc Blacksmith.  All I do on him is crafting, and really no fighting at all, unless it's to clear out a mine for ores :)  Being a normal guy is normal. I like it that way. Mon Jul 08 2013 9:57AM Report
Ziegler writes: depends on the setting. but Yes, I have always hated the're a unique special snowflake....just like the previous 5 hundred thousand before...then same as the next 5 hundred thousand after you. Generally, if it is a themepark, I'll ride the ride...once and leave. Only thing worse than doing lackluster doing it twice. In a sandbox's a whole different story...what'll we do today brain?....the same thing we do everyday....what ever we want, and if that happens to be take over the universe...then so be it. Mon Jul 08 2013 10:54AM Report
Hrimnir writes:

This is something ive been bitching about for years.  Im SO tired of this crap that every single game you have to be Captain McBadass who is saving the realm etc.  I like how in EQ your first quests were basically talking to the guard in the noob area who says, "hey man, i got this rat problem, help me out and ill put you in touch with my sarge and he might be able to get you some work".  I like the idea of eventually working your way up to being captain mcbadass.

I loved how in EQ2 your rep and things like that would determine which NPC's would wave at you or say hi as you walked by.  Earlier on it might just be some local guards who knew who you were, but the peasants didnt care, and it wasnt until way later, after you were max level and had completed some of the major, longer length quests that you were known by everyone (npc wise i mean).

I really miss those days.  Of course, i personally believe its just a reflection of modern society.  I.e. the feeling of entitlement.  I.e. instead of having to make something of yourself, you just deserve to have things given to you.

Mon Jul 08 2013 7:34PM Report
Battlerock writes:

I'm already ordinary in every mmo I play. It seems like pretty much everyone has better gear, more achievements, and knows more about each and every game I play than I do. So to answer your question sure I would play an mmorpg where I was just ordinary. The in game hero's are the guild leaders and raid leaders, team leads that take the time to organize and manage the game/drama/groups/tactics.......... Everyone else is ordinary and that's about 90% of the player base.


Mon Jul 08 2013 8:33PM Report
Rohn writes:

I also greatly prefer being ordinary in a game that supports that type of play.

Then again, in a game where everyone is extraordinary, then no one is.

Tue Jul 09 2013 9:00AM Report
onapthanh writes: <span com_body"="">I like how in EQ2 your rep and things like that would determine which NPC's would wave at you or say hi as you walked by.  Earlier on it might just be some local guards who knew who you were, but the peasants did not care@ Tue Jul 09 2013 4:25PM Report writes:
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