13 Aug 2015
This is a response to a blog-post prompt from Jaedia:
What is most important to you when it comes down to ‘connecting’ to a character you play? If you don’t tend to connect to your characters, tell us about the things that tend to carry over between your characters. Certain names/stories/personalities/appearance features?
This is something I haven’t given conscious consideration before. Sure, I noticed certain trends with characters I like to create and play, but I haven’t tried to analyze it too deeply until now.
One aspect that is quite important to me is that I am able to customize the look of my character. I find it hard to connect, when I don’t like how they look. Interestingly enough I don’t have a fixed look that I try to recreate in every game I play. In SWTOR, for instance a lot of my more human-looking characters were dark-skinned with black hair and a contrasting eye colour — while I rolled very pale, red-headed FemSheps. One big outlier is FemHawke, where I have exlusively chosen the standard looking preset with the blood-swipe over her nose. And the characters that I am currently obsessing over the most all belong to the Sith Pureblood race. Make of that what you want…
I have never tried to re-create my own looks in games. Partly because I don’t find myself very attractive, and partly because 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, even though I take note if a game lets me do that. Female representation is very important to me (to this day I have yet to roll a male Sheppard, Hawke, Revan or Exile, for instance — all non-MMOs, incidentally), but I am not gung-ho enough about it to absolutely refuse rolling pretty-looking males. And yes, with the males it is mostly all about the eye candy.
Another big aspect is voice acting. A character with a voice I don’t like won’t get much love from me. I have recently levelled up a male Bounty Hunter in SWTOR because I wanted to see the Mako romance (which is suprisingly good!) — but the voice acting made it a real pain. To my ears the voice sounds like someone tries way to hard to be the manliest man that ever manned. Urgh. Once I was done with the Mako romance I didn’t touch the character any more — he probably won’t be played ever again.
The last point is a bit more diffuse: Story. I am one of those people who create character stories for almost all of their characters. Sometimes lightning strikes and I really start to get into the story of one character — Sa’jaak and Atross (better known as Darth Valium) are current examples where an idea seemingly took on a life of its own and almost wrote itself. I love it when that happens, and these are the characters that I usually get attached to the most.
And then, sometimes, a characters just surprises me, like Kheldaris in WoW, who started out as a lowly bank-alt and turned into my most played WoW character (gods, I miss my pretty Belf-rogue con-artist, foodie, cat-lover and fanatic troll hater!). I had absolutely no intention to turn him into a “real” character but a short exchange of pleasantries with another character while I did some banking in Silvermoon, and BAM! there he was, the magnificent bastard. 😀