September 9, 2009 – 9:50 am
When you walk through RP hubs in WoW with a FlagRSP-type addon installed, a few things probably stick out as you read people’s assorted descriptions. There’s a lot of /emo. There are probably a few characters of questionable integrity. There’s probably someone with a mechanical body part or cat ears. And there are a metric ton of teenagers.
Sexy teenagers. Flirty teenagers. Particularly female characters, who are all on the “edge” of adulthood but have generous, quivering bosoms and ample hips and pouty lips … but are still extremely slender and muscular at the same time.
And it’s not just the female teen aged characters that have this kind of weird disconnect. I’ve yet to run into any potbellied, balding male character that’s not played expressly as bumbling comic relief – unless, of course, he’s totally bald or shaves his head, but is amazingly virile and strong/muscular/tall.
Obviously we’re feeding into some “idealized” versions of perfection.
But WoW is a world with /magic/. And miraculous healing. And races of people that haven’t started aging until very recently. Where are all the middle aged people? Even Night Elves, who can be 10,000 years old, wouldn’t be “mature” until adulthood – not “mature” as 15 year olds. Knights from the middle ages weren’t fully knights until they were 21 or so, and that was after years of training, and that was a “bottom rung” knight. If you didn’t get yourself killed, you could expect to be an active knight for 15 years – at least! Shouldn’t we expect the same kind of “progression” of warriors (male or female), if we’re going for believability?
Why, in a world where magic is so crucial to everyday life, can a short, scrawny, unattractive dude not be extremely powerful as a magus, and as such, be happy and successful? Heck – with all of the magic available in WoW (mage, warlock, priest, shaman, druid) it should be the shining, epic homestead of the skinny guys. You don’t need muscles to be an awesome magus.
In short, why are we bringing cultural stereotypes about aging and beauty into a video game?
Because it’s easier? Maybe.
Because we want to play out fantasies of what we’d like to be, if we could magic ourselves into something else? Maybe (though I doubt that most of those teenaged female characters are being played by women who think that being a female teenager is perfect and ideal and exactly what they want to be like).
We’re talking about FlagRSP descriptions here – things that frequently include items and features that aren’t standard to the character model, like height and build and jewelry and presence of fuzzy mechanical cat tails or whatever. Why is it so rare to find an “older” character – or even just a middle-aged one?
Wouldn’t it be cool to play a 35 year old woman who, because of her 15+ years of experience with a broadsword, kicks ass and takes names – even though she’s also the mother of two kids under the age of 10? Do we assume that makes her a bad mom or something, just because she’s got a job? These are adventurers – they kick ass for a living, it’s their job. It’d make sense that they’d only get /better/ at it as they gained experience. What if, as Scott Lynch says of his Lies of Locke Lamora series, that “opportunities for butt-kicking do not cease merely because one isn’t a beautiful teenager or a muscle-wrapped font of testosterone.”
Or has our youth-obsessed culture completely forgotten what it’s like to be 16, confused about who you are and where you’re going with your life, simultaneously invincible and unable to do anything of your own free will, and uncomfortable in your own skin? (Dunno about you guys, but being 16 kinda sucked, and I’m rather glad to be done with that phase of my life.)
If we’re OK with playing an idealized version of teenagers, who are mentally perfect adults with their “sexy,” half-developed bodies… why not play an idealized version of a 20-30 year old, who has the better figure, the better muscle structure, the better skin, the fuller voice – AND more of a life perspective?
Disclaimer: This is something that irks me. It might not bother you. That’s ok, as it is how blogs work. I’ll be actively moderating comments (though I doubt I’ll have a problem since you guys are made of awesome), so lets keep things civil. Debate of ideas is OK – assumptions about, veiled attacks on, and criticism of individual posters and commenters is not.
*image credit RobinUtrac
September 8, 2009 – 12:20 pm
Fully completed post on developing an accent for RP.
Eaten by a power surge. And my recovery tool isn’t finding it – not even the half of it I had saved. I’ll finish this sometime when I’m not quite so frustrated. See you guys tomorrow.
September 4, 2009 – 11:07 am
As was suggested yesterday in the comments, I ended up creating characterizations for both a Forsaken Priest and a Troll Priest. I ran into some trouble with the Forsaken one, since I’ve put so much time into Aely, not having that character end up drawing from too much similar experience – I didn’t want to end up with two “clone”-y characters, or a derivative one. (So something like a “what if” Aely wasn’t working either).
When I started digging around for Troll ideas, though, I hit the jackpot. So here she is!
Her name is Anzefi (she doesn’t have a last name), and she’s a Darkspear Troll (duh). Relatively slight… ok slight for a Troll… she’s somewhat unassuming looking (aside from the huge teal mohawk), but has a particular love of really bright colored clothing. She’s spent some time studying with the priests of the Zandalari, and as such is a firm believer in the Loa and has some skill in voodoo. She works particularly with water and ocean Loa – who, according to superstition – are both creative and judgmental, granters of wishes and second chances, but with a fickle temper (much like any ocean spirit would be, really).
Walking the fine line between healing and hexing, she’s not afraid to look into the future – and she’s not so bad at interpreting omens either (though she’s had a few … uh… miscalls in that area in the past). If you asked her to tell your future, she’d do so with a set of shells, or by scrying into a bowl of water.
She’s also quite terrified of bugs.
I’m super excited and spent most of last night exploring around places I’d not yet been in game (namely Northrend Horde towns!). She also brought with her a set of Heirloom leather XP shoulders for Anaje, which should help HER out as well. Hooray!
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September 3, 2009 – 7:11 am
So I have this priest.
Her name is Anaelle Fischer, and she’s got bats in her belfry.
And I’ve had a lot of trouble leveling her, plus have had interest in a high level Horde character for awhile. Rirri is awesome, but Rirri has one major flag against her. She’s a DK. DKs do two things – they tank, and they do melee DPS. And I really suck at those two things, and I’m not overly fond of leveling them. Admittedly, she does level quickly when I put the burn behind her, but with two OTHER characters in the 55-65 bracket, she doesn’t see a lot of time.
Anaelle is 75. She’s got the heirloom shoulders and robe. And she has no active RP to tie her to the Alliance /at all/ – I’ve spent some time working out a story for her, but it’s never worked out to where I felt comfortable bringing her to the Pig for RP night. Especially not in favor of leaving Aely, Angoleth, and Annie Mae back in the character selection screen.
So then I get left with my choices:
Anaelle Fischer – Forsaken Priest
- Has the advantage of no name change. In fact, her name works beautifully for a forsaken. If I were to change it – which I might, depending on how the faction change thing works – she’d become Aleydis Schaerbeck (who also has bats in her belfry).
- Added advantage of Lordaeron lore, something I’ve put a lot of work into.
- I already have a Forsaken character.
- Cult of the Forgotten Shadow, which rocks, and which would make “Remember – Patience, Discipline” quite applicable, as she’s rather firmly a discipline priest.
A Troll Priest Who Is Yet Unnamed
- Trolls are awesome.
- Would require a name change. (Possibly Ananda? Annala? Anzefi? Lots of options, Trolls have fun names)
- Trolls wear shoes funny, blech.
- Would allow me to do Troll Lore research – and having tiny lore nerd binging sessions is fun. Would also require learning and figuring out an accent, something else I rather enjoy.
- I don’t currently have any Troll characters. And Voodoo is also awesome.
So there are obviously good and bad sides to either option. No desire to play a Blood Elf (or a Goblin, or a Tauren priest), so it’s really just these two.
Or stick as a Human priest and not worry about it. I’ve not really officially made up my mind yet. But the ability to transfer over some of the account bound items, to have a “ready made” character that could see Northrend from a Horde perspective without getting slogged down in Hellfire and Zangarmarsh (the way Rirri is right now), etc. is pretty appealing. She’s also got epic flying/Northrend flying already, and an epic mount.
About the only thing I’d be sad to lose is that Anaelle is an enchanter, and she DE’s all my greens? But I could just as easily send those to my husband’s enchanter – who is already 80, and who does almost all of my enchants for me anyway. It’d put me back at waiting for enchants and paying for them again though. (booo!)
So what do you guys think? Is this worth it? Am I just, yet again, trying to breathe life into a dead character? Am I deluding myself thinking she’ll get more than an evening of play a week (if that), depending on how much time I end up not spending on my three, already invested Alliance characters? (I’d rather not end up overcommitting myself!)
I seek your wise council, oh commenters!
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