Saturday, February 12, 2005
it isn't really roleplaying if you're not playing a role
WARNING: This entry contains high geek content.
As my friends, GF, and family have noticed, I've been spending a lot of time in front of my computer recently exploring the virtual landscape of WoW. I've never really played a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online roleplaying game) until now, but in search of unleashing my geek potential, I decided to give it a try after my friend Mel gifted me a copy.
And boy, have I gotten sucked in.
RPGs have come a long way since pen & paper, multi-sided dice, and thick rulebook manuals that read like Encyclopedia Britannica. Geek experimentation with RPGs is akin to any other adolescent experimentation, though it's decidedly less cool than booze, drugs, petty crime, or sex. Fortunately, my own potential RPG geek-ness was nullified by an even stronger force of geek-itude: Nintendo!
Today, video games have now exited their status as a pillar of geekdom, but playing RPGs have not... people hold parties to play HALO, not Everquest or Ultima Online. As sultan of spin Senor Stone concisely remarked, "Video games are cool now..."
"...ummm, except for MMORPGs".
As a videogame critic myself, I have to say that WoW is so good in that while playing, you're not never really conscious that it's a MMORPG... it's just a fun game to play. By giving the people who play it an easy interface and lots of options for customization, it achieves the gaming nirvana of being both simple and deep.
In any case, what's been fascinating for me to observe amongst my circle of friends who are all playing is how much their "online characters" closely correlate with "real personalities." Sure, we're playing a game in very LOTR/Tolkien-esque world filled with humans, elves, orcs, etc., yet people's behavior is still the essentially the same. The game merely exaggerates certain traits.
For example, I'm not a very social person in real life and it's the same in the game. My online game character is a hunter, able to wander the wilderness alone with only his pet dog and his hunting rifle, shunning groups (except for my friends). Another friend, who's very generous in real life, plays online a character who can brew make magic potions, which he often sends to his friends' other characters.
I suppose it's similar in a way to how a great actor plays a part by not really pretending so much as he is presenting a part of himself in an exaggerated manner - Johnny Depp plays crazy characters probably because he is a bit crazy; Morgan Freeman could play a wisecracking, grizzled old man because he is a wisecracking, grizzled old man.
I could go and on... but often, even when people are supposedly encouraged to "be someone else", people are still can't help but still be themselves. Personalities are sorta like dirty old men in trenchcoats wandering Pioneer Square late at night: they eventually expose themselves.
digital gravel happiness
Make fun of your local oppressive regime by buying a t-shirt featuring Kim Jong-Il (Movie Makers: Always Shooting), Vladimir Putin (News Correction Services), Donald "I Screw'd Iraq & American Soldiers" Rumsfeld (Guilt-B-Gone Cleanser), or Italian president / media gazillionaire Silvio Berlusconi (DOUGH MAKER$).
I <3 digitalgravel. Too bad the Kaiser Soze t-shirt is sold out. =(
'Personalities are sorta like dirty old men in trenchcoats wandering Pioneer Square late at night: they eventually expose themselves.'
Hmm...I used to have a roommate who would play Everquest, a MMORPG, every moment of the day that I saw him. He was an incredibly intelligent guy and spent a lot of time online playing that and Diablo 2. So much that he would stay up the whole night and sleep during the day. This went on for a period of 3 years that I lived with him. I can only say that I think that amount of time everyday was not good for him.
Anyway, like everything, "a man's got to know his limits." That's my advice. Or rather, Clint Eastwood's. heh
f- ;)Post a Comment
stone- haha, look who's talking... MORTEQUAI.
jon f- yeah... gotta limit my dosage. Too much War-crack is bad for the health.