One of the more interesting things about gaming in an MMO like SWTOR, is the level to which you can ‘get to know your’ characters. The longer I play online games, which now encompasses SWTOR, LOTRO and FFXIV, the more important it is for me to connect with my creations.
I enjoy slipping into the role of a character that is not me very much. I also don’t feel bound to create characters of my own gender
I agree in part with the first part of that statement and I definitely agree with her on the issue of gender in-game.
Here’s the tweet that got me thinking:
SWTOR Characters Which Are, in some way, like me
To a degree I agree with @Chadrassa but it wasn’t always like that. Cor-Jhan Arcturus (The Jedi in the header) is a fairly close approximation to me (minus the Force abilities and head horns!). I connect really well with this character and there are multiple reasons.
I have in the past written Fan Fiction of this character and so I kind of understood this character before I created him in SWTOR. I occasionally preach in my church and one of my often-frequented themes is that of balance. In life it can be too easy to swing in favour of an extreme point of view, creating division in the process. The reality is that life is a matter of balancing, often conflicting interest.
And so it is with Cor-Jhan. He is someone who fights for the Forces of Good and is now 100% Lightside. A selfless attitude, often to the detriment of himself, mirrors me in real life. However life involves tough choices. In my own writing Cor-Jhan is a ‘grey’ or ‘Shadow Jedi’ which is why he is a Consular Shadow in SWTOR. This means sometimes making decisions which don’t please people (which can be ‘dark side choices’ in-game, annoyingly). It also means he doesn’t agree with the ‘no attachments’ preaching of the Jedi. In real life I don’t agree with the detached religious communities (e.g. monks, convents etc). So although fiercely loyal to the Jedi, Cor-Jhan did get married (both in my writing and in-game).
If I don’t connect with my character, how am I supposed to develop the look, attitudes and choices they make in-game?
So a few of my characters reflect my own real character traits.
Characters Which Are Nothing Like Me
On the flip side of the coin is that the point of Role Playing Games (RPGs – not Rocket Propelled Grenades!) is to become ‘other-worldly’.
As you can see I also agree with @Chadrassa that I don’t feel limited to creating characters which are male. I can put up with occasionally being hit on by the occasional unsuspecting pre-schooler (yes that has happened) because I like creating stories and characters I can believe in.
Nyha – Sith Assassin
Nyha is completely nuts. Destructive sometimes for the heck of it, her enslaved past (a default part of the SWTOR Inquisitor story) made her bitter, distant from relationships and with a seething anger she wreaks on the galaxy. This is nothing like me in any way shape or form, but she kicks ass. Equipping her with the Cathar War Staff just helped add to the image. But by developing her gradually I can connect with her when I play – not because I relate to her but because she’s believable.
Sojourna – Bounty Hunter
A delicate balance of a good nature and wanting to make friends, is the necessity of killing people for money. Those close to her become her ‘family’, stronger than blood ties. But she is not averse to killing the occasional Jedi to make ends meet. Again, I don’t have murderous tendancies, but gaming means I can have an outlet for stress in real life, with zero real-life consequences. But equally, understanding who I want Sojourna to be means making decisions in keeping with who she is, rather than what pleases her companions or makes the most money.
What If I Get It Wrong?
I have deleted one character in all my time playing SWTOR. It was a Bounty Hunter (male) but was too aggressive and the male version annoyed me. So he got deleted quite quickly.
Another route is to use an event as a turning point. So I have Jedi Guardian who went down to Dark III and I just found her obnoxious. Rude people annoy me in reality, so my own creation started to annoy me. Not good when you’re 60%+ through a story. But I used a particular mission (I forget which) when she saw the destruction of the Empire and the Sith and vowed to put darkness behind her. She may make it to neutral alignment but I am starting to believe in her again.
I’m sure many people play MMO’s without having to believe in the character. Some do it for achievements, for lording over newer players, to earn credits and gear. For me, creating a character I connect with in some way matters, whether they reflect me in real life or not.
I’d love to know what you think – so feel free to use the comments.
May the Force Be With You. May It Make You Strong.
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