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The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

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.