No doubt every gamer has his or her own convention or set of rules they follow when creating their MMORPG characters. I started picking apart my own motivations this evening, when I got bored and started putting together this list of characters from MMOs I’ve played recently/extensively. I noticed a few interesting trends:
1. They’re all female.
I prefer playing females characters because I’m female, no big surprise there. It’s not for any nonsense like “special treatment” or the free gifts people assume we girls must get showered with everywhere we go; God forbid I just want to be treated fairly and with respect like any normal woman would! That said, I don’t go around telling everyone in-game that I’m a girl in real life, but if someone, say, mistakenly refers to me as a “he”, I will correct them. Female gamers are gaining ground in the MMO market but we’re still outnumbered by our male counterparts, so I don’t blame the folks who just automatically assume I’m a guy behind that girly avatar. There are also far too many stories of gullible people being burned by guys pretending to be girls, so I don’t even blame them if they don’t take me at my word. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve greeted PuG groups on vent only to hear one of the group members cry out in surprise, “Oh, so you really are a girl!” Uh, yeah, I thought we settled that matter fifteen minutes ago back at the meeting stone!
My second reason for playing female characters mirrors the reason given by some men to explain why they do as well — I’d just rather stare at a female’s posterior all day instead of a man’s. I’m a straight, married woman, and while I’m as appreciative of the chiseled, muscle-bound male form as the next gal, I’ll admit the smooth curves of a female avatar are easier on the eyes when you’re staring at a game interface for extended periods of time.
The final reason is pretty straight forward — in the past, I’ve been inspired to role-play a bit with my characters. I’m no expert at it, and being able to relay the thoughts and feelings of a female character makes things a lot easier.
2. They’re all attractive.
Attractiveness is subjective and we’re dealing with so many races across so many games here (some might find the Blood Elf too scrawny or the Hobbit too vertically challenged for their tastes, for instance) so when I use that word, I simply mean that all my characters on the whole look like they’re respectable people and are in good general health. MMOs today are offering players so many more options when it comes to character customization, and that’s a great thing! I love having a myriad of choices available, but I’ll personally pass on the blemishes, black eyes, missing teeth and mean nasty scars when it comes to creating my mains and alts.
I confess, it’s my vanity speaking. I like to stay in shape and look pretty in real life, so it just goes to follow that I’ll want the same for my characters in-game.
Oh, and while I’m on a roll with these confessions, let’s talk about boobies. One might think that only men like to make their female toons top-heavy, but that’s not true. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of those women who, when given the choice, will push the breast-size slider all the way to the right. I don’t think I’ll want double D’s in real life though, due to reasons like 1) inconveniences such as discomfort while running, and 2) the possibility of future saggage. Seeing as my characters are immune to both these problems in the wonderful fantasy world of MMOs, I figure why the hell not then?
3. They all have different names.
There are some exceptions to this, especially when you look at the names of my older characters. I used to have one or two favorite handles that I’d stick with no matter which games I go to. After all, if you like something, why change it? It made remembering things so much easier, and character creation was also faster when I didn’t have to pause in the middle of the process to think up a clever/appropriate name.
I’ve ceased reusing names just recently. For one thing, I’ve been playing a lot of IP-based games as of late. As a general rule, I try my best to christen my characters following the naming conventions established by the in-game lore, and sometimes my existing names just don’t sound right or plain won’t work. And then one day, I simply decided that each of my lovely ladies should have the right to a different and unique name. I wouldn’t name my children or even multiple pets the same thing, so why would I do it with my online game characters? Okay, stupid comparison and not the same thing at all, but still — I see each of my MMO characters as a unique gaming experience, even if they’re from the same game. In some cases, I’ve even gone to the trouble of giving a character her own back story, so I think coming up with a special name to begin with is the least I could do. You might see me recycle the names of characters I don’t play anymore though!