Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Identity

Pick up a topic of interest, pass it around. Ponder, discuss, share. That's right folks, it's time for another shared topic from Blog Azeroth. This time around it's Akabeko who gives us the topic of which we are to ponder on.

Straight from my eventual post on the matter:

How does your character define themself? What part of their identity is most important to their personality and self-presentation?

In meatspace, we have so many affiliations, it's anyone's guess whether we consider ourselves a tuba player first, or a student, a Gators fan, a New Yorker, a mother, a nerd, a liberal. Our identities are comprised of so many different aspects of life that it's hard to tell which parts different people will choose to define themselves.

In game, there are less game-related ways to identify.
You can identify as:

your class - your spec
your race - a particular subgroup (Mag'har, Wildhammer)
your faction - a faction other than Horde/Alliance

Disclaimer: I don't typically read other posts on these topics prior to writing my own opinions! So if the topic seems a bit off of it's original intent, my apologies.

While I think Akabeko had a bit more of a role playing angle in mind for this shared topic, I'm going to take a touch more personal approach to it. Think of it as a "meatbag meets pixelself" type of fusion post, and by that I mean I'm going to tackle this from the view point of a non-RP player. Sure even us non-role playing types will be identified as "that one enhancement shaman" or "that one affliction lock" or what have you, and naturally we identify to some extent with our faction (insert "FOR THE HORDE" or "FOR THE ALLIANCE" here), but often we don't bother affiliating with our races. We non-RP types tend to choose races based either stats or pure looks, rarely do we know the histories and personalities behind the races that we play, unless we happen to pick up the information over the years.

Regardless of play style though - be it RP, PvP, PvE, RPPvP, or whatever other variation there may be - all players have something in common. All players will 1) project some sort of personality when interacting with others, be this their own personality or one they had in mind for a specific story/character 2) choose to either identify with a certain guild/clan that shares a likeness in thought processes to themselves or will fill the lone wolf type role. Naturally there are all sorts of shades and variations in what you may find a player identifying themselves as, but this is the general concept that I've gathered thus far.

The fine little details though are what make a character and player one. Like Aka stated, in the real world we often identify with being the bass player, the Packer fan, the couch potato, the reader, but how about in game? For me personally, on my shaman at least, I have always seemed to gravitate towards guild mom, raid leader, the negotiator between two butting heads, the soother, the stubborn "bitch", that one dead shaman on the floor. I've always tried (keyword) to be rational and to take care of my people. I've always tried to make sure folks were happy and tried to do right by my guild. These days though? I'm the bum who spends her time farming for mounts for an obscene number of hours at a time. I started my item hoarding long ago, but the habit seems to have exploded ten fold since my departure from the official raiding scene. I'm the lost girl in between guild homes, who even though finds this frustrating and lonely at times, is quite happy to have her little crew just a chat channel away. /join [channel name] is pretty much one of the best things ever.

Now, while I say "Oh, I don't RP" I do believe I have a bit of RPer in my blood. We've been over this a few times here at WoS already I think.  I don't really have a huge story line for my shaman like I am beginning to develop for my druid, but she has been a huge part of my life for the past four years or so. Because of this she fits like a glove. She is the more confident me, the me that I was many moons ago. Her and I have been through a lot of good times and bad together, and she's very much become my online identity. That icon that I use everywhere? Yup, Saz at level 80 in Naxx 25 gear. Heck, I think I even had a picture of Saz for my Facebook page for a while (no you may not have a link!). But it isn't just I who identifies with my Saz personality, but it's my WoW friends as well. A friend of mine has dropped a few good lines that I'd like to quote "Every time I see a shaman, I do a double take and think it's you." and "Well, now I have to get used to your real face. Every time I think of you I see your shaman in my head." Kind of funny to think about how much her and i have become one in the same, or nearly so. I project myself through my pixel form, my pixel form represents who I am or who I'd more or less prefer to be. Well, maybe minus the horn and hooves, though those may be fun change.

To get back to the original question about how Saz defines herself. Essentially she and I identify as one in the same. We are aggressive when need be, protectors of our packs, we like to heal the wounds of our friends, and remove our foes from our paths. She may be a dark skinned alien with horns and I may be a pale ginger with glasses, but personality wise we are not so different. We are friendly to those whom are deserving, will ignore those who are not. We are fiercely loyal to those who show loyalty in return, though we are quick to sever ties if we feel we have been abused in some way. Always observing, always listening.

Shamans are spiritual visionaries of tribes and clans. These gifted warriors who can see into the world of spirits and communicate with creatures invisible to eyes of normal beings. They are beset by visions of the future and use their sight to guide their people through troubled times. Although the shaman may seem wise and serene at first glance, he is a formidable foe; when angered, his wrath is as fierce as those who have a connection to Eternals or nature. WoWWiki

Of course the entry doesn't even begin to cover my association with my various of alts, for yes, they all do have a somewhat individual personality, though they all do very much have an infusion of myself. If you'd like to read more about the personalities of my alts, their associations with each other, and to try to get a gleam of my personality showing through them, take a gander at this previous shared topic, Behind the Faces.


  1. So, I'm a noob and just today posted my response to my own prompt...but this was exactly the type of feedback I was looking for! You're right that I approached the topic from an RP perspective, in which the characters are informed by my personality but develop independently, and based on in-game specifics like faction and race. Thanks for your unique take on it!

  2. Noobisms are fine m'dear, we all get distracted at some point : P

    I'm happy that I managed to hit the nail on the head with your topic from a non-RP perspective! I'd have loved to go with your approach a bit more, but frankly I'm missing any sort of background/experience required for such a thing. Definitely a topic that's getting the old brain thinking though.

    Thanks much for putting this topic out there! ^_^

  3. How interesting,
    While you are not an RPer, I see you as an immersion player. It means you have made an identitity with your character that you are proud of and that interacts within the genre of Azeroth. Doesnt mean you have to RP, just means you see yourself beyond the stat numbers. This is ok, I often do the same. It's interesting how you created a motivator for Saz's reason to continue. It keeps you going and doing. AWESOME!

    For me, I've gired and fired a ton of toons. But Grimrhok, my dwarvwen hunter has really resounded in my psyche. He is the explorer, the crafter and atempter of melding old with new. He believes in protecting the dwarven way of life but will always defend those in need. Grim is both an idealist (sometimes even naive) and yet pessemist depending upon the subject. When the horns of war call, he answers shot for shot. Often, he is the teacher of his ways. For a rough sort, he atttempts scholarly teachings blended with instinctual reaction. This is the pixel charactyer, rich and diverse in world experiences.

    Grim is a reflection of the real me ( I hate meat bag as a term as it dehumanizes the real person). He shows many of the traits that I respect and try to show on a daily basis. But, Grim is not me. He is the idealization of who I aspire to be. I think those who are immersive make their characters the idealization of who they are in the identity aspect. RPers often try to create characters that are either direct extensions of themselves or completely different in personality and motivation from themselves. Neither way is wrong by the way. It is up to personal taste. I do have an RP character, a very mentally disturbed dwarf paladin lol. But he is the escape from who I am. He can get away with the things I would never consider. He is chaos and potential blended. Interesting differences to me.

    Saz, fun topics, I enjoy our conversations!!! Have an awesome day!

  4. I suppose being an immersion player is one way to peg me. You are correct about the whole me not only playing for the statistics and numbers, for while I do pride myself in getting my characters' numbers into the ballpark of what is expected, I tend to take a much more "set it and forget it" method. I try my best not to obsess for too long over stats because, hey, I'm not a numbers person, that's not where my fun is.

    I hesitate a tad though to commit to calling myself an immersion player simply because I tend to skip a lot of the meat and potatoes of WoW. More specifically, quest text. Often with questing I don't read the quest text, instead I just roll through the motions. Always looking for the next job, don't much care what it is.

    Perhaps though that in itself is immersion simply because that's often how I deal with certain things in the real life realm. Long day at work, tough week at school, rough patch with family and friends? Put your head down and grind. I suppose my habits have just bled over a bit into the gaming world. Not too surprising that it's happened really.

    Thanks much for swinging by, Mhorgrim! You always bring in some neat perspectives, and I appreciate the comments! Hope you have an excellent day yourself sir ^_^

  5. I saw this topic and was intimidated by it but I never thought of going at it from the direction you did. My character definitely has a personality in my mind but no real back story.

    Nice to know Saz even better!

  6. That's half the charm of these topics, they're really just starting points. While I try to stick to the general idea of the poster's topic, me being me usually results in some kind of off tangent ramble. If it sparks you, go with it!