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Our game characters and the people who play them

Exploring the player characters in and out of the game world.

Author: whilan

Why should I care?

Posted by whilan Friday February 18 2011 at 1:42PM
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Okay, I start off my first blog post on the concept of caring about your character and connecting to it and the world it is in and why.

In most of the MMOs i've played, (which most are RPGs) i create a backstory for my character if one does not already exists.  However as i play the game, i try and make choices i think would fit best to my characters profile.  Thus living our their story and lives.  This allows me to connect with the character and understand them better.

I can easily do this in any SPRG to date, as theres a reason for that character to be doing what they are doing and you can understand what the purpose is.  It's always in sight and your always heading towards it.

The story and the character(s) development were the main core reasons i started playing RPGs in the first place.  So when i heard that my favorite genre was going to be played online with many thousands of others, i was pleased as punch so to speak.  I loved it.  However my enjoyment of it slowlly fell over the years.   I was never able to quite put my finger on it, until just recently when Jon Wood was talking about the new zombie trailer.

Here is the link:

He states about connecting to the characters and understanding the situations they're in and how it affects them.  This seriously got me thinking about why most of the MMOs in the past were simply not that interesting to me.

My character for all intent and purposes in those games are nothing more then, task completers/armories/vendors.

They don't have any emotion. No purpose beyond another solider in the war.

They could easily be replaced with any other person on the entire game world and it would make absolutely no difference what so ever.  With less emphasis on why we are there and more of you are just another person, games in my opinion lose more and more of the RPG part i crave and just become games of grind.

I always played RPGs for the story, the only time i grinded anything was if i needed a bit more money for the upgrades in that town or a couple of levels to beat that next monster.  It was a side venture at most.  Whereas in the MMO market the tables seemed to have switched and the story is the side venture with a large focus on the grinding part.  The part i had hope to never take front stage.

Now i'm pretty pleased that story is coming to MMOs, but i'm also worried that it may not be as well recieved as it is in the single player world.  Not so much that it can't be done as more so that people have become accustomed to grinding and getting gear and less focused on the story aspect.

I have heard several times that people would rather just skip the story all together and get to the end game.  The raiding and such.  While i can understand a certain playstyle, i was always under the impression that the point of an RPG was to tell a story.  The levels and armor were a means to an end, to show your character getting more powerful over time. 

My only hope is the next few games to come out that are focused on the story and your role in those stories that go much further beyond then just doing a task because thats the fastest way to max level or to get the gear you want.

Games like EQ were light on story and you generally had enough to get you along but over the years it stopped becoming enough for me.  I feel that RPGs are more about the story and how you fit into the world and not so much about the gameplay itself.

Anyhow, i'll wrap it up there for my first blog ever.  Hopefully that helps people to understand what kind of person i am and why i look forward to some games more then others.