Tag Archives: rp

“Connecting” to a Character – aka Yep, Pike Is Still an RP Nerd

Today’s writing prompt comes by way of Jaedia, who asks:

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?

I’m sure I have talked about this before, but I am definitely one of those people who puts a lot of thought into my characters.  Sometimes I already have a story and character idea in mind when I roll said character; other times it comes naturally as I play them.  But characters with a background that I can’t get into usually tend to get dropped after a while.

A picture of me, wondering when my MMO character will get interesting.
A picture of me, wondering when my MMO character will get interesting.

This may come as a shock to some of you (…like, one of you, maybe), but at the moment I’m, uh… kind of into blood elves.  This is because I feel like their story, as a race, is filled with copious amounts of pathos.  This makes it both easy and also a delight to make blood elf characters, because they come standard with loads of baggage.  Even a freshly rolled blood elf character is carrying around some serious backstory simply by virtue of being a blood elf.  I like this a great deal because it gives me a blueprint, if you will, for more character-specific stories and personality traits.

Because in case you forgot, every level one blood elf starts with this little event fresh in their memory.
Because in case you forgot, every level one blood elf starts with this little event from Warcraft 3 fresh in their memory.

I also like characters with traits that I can identify with (the techno-loving gnomes and goblins, for example, or my goggles-wearing-tauren) which similarly allows me to connect with a character.

Eventually I get to the point where I get really attached to my characters and, as I’ve mentioned before, they become the reason that I log in.  Other people may log in for their guild or raiding friends… I log in for my characters, who feel to me like friends.  It’s a silly thing, but it’s true.

Gimme fuel!  Gimme fire!  Gimme lore!  Gimme worldbuilding! …okay, that didn’t work out as well as I wanted it to, but hey, I tried.

Thunder Bluff is a Pain to Grind Rep For

Between a really big questline in Mulgore that ended up being available to Tauren-only, and a further long questline in Winterspring that used to give Thunder Bluff rep but no longer does because it was opened up to both factions, this one was a toughy and I resorted to buying about 40 stacks of Runecloth to slog through the final stretch.

But at long last, my inner RP geek is satisfied on yet another character!


I keep thinking “So, about that ‘of Thunder Bluff’ title that I can get at the Argent Tournament,” and then chastising myself with “WHOA THERE PIKE, one level at a time.”

To All The Characters I've Loved Before

As a wannabe cartoonist, one of my personal heroes is Chuck Jones. The mastermind behind Looney Tunes who brought Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and all their friends to life. There is a story that is frequently told regarding him, wherein he introduced himself to a small boy as “The person who draws Bugs Bunny”. The boy promptly corrected him, “No, you’re the person who draws pictures of Bugs Bunny.”

See, that’s how I feel about my characters in WoW. I am not Tawyn. I just play her in a video game.


Tawyn’s path to life has been a long and windy one. There were some parts of her character that I knew from the beginning: for example, that she lived in Stormwind instead of Darnassus. But most of the other aspects of her character wouldn’t manifest themselves right away. In the beginning, largely influenced by the night elf voice acting I think, she was a much nicer and more serene and overall “elfy” individual. It was my first ever Brewfest at level 50 or so where the guild running joke of Tawyn being an alcoholic surfaced, and I later decided to tie this into her personality. After that, it was just a snowball effect, with my character leaping unbidden from “neutral good” to a much more chaotic persona. She became misanthropic; a cowgirl and a mercenary. A Beast Master because beasts were the only thing she could trust. Time and all the changes it has brought to WoW had an effect on her as well, and I tend to say that she has since fled Stormwind due to the political goings-on and now wanders around Northrend as a vagabond.

When I think of her, I don’t think of her as a character in WoW. I think of her as this living, breathing individual. She is of course, not real, but it sure feels that way sometimes.

I think this may effect the way I play the game. For example, the idea of a faction- or race-change seems almost like a crime to me. Sure, there are races I like more than night elves, but the whole idea of Tawyn’s identity as a night elf and the internal struggles she has with this fact is bound tightly to her character. To change her into something different and rip that integral part of her story away is unspeakable. I don’t even like thinking about it.

At this point you may be thinking “Wow, you are superbig into roleplay, aren’t you?” to which my reply is, actually, I almost never roleplay in game. I was never comfortable with it. Primarily because I didn’t want to step into the shoes of this character who I knew I could never do justice. I always approached roleplaying with trepidation, the way an actor might approach playing some historical figure in a film. I don’t much like roleplaying because I know I am not Tawyn and am afraid I’ll play her all wrong. You’re laughing at me, telling me I invented her, but in truth it feels more like she came to me. I don’t fully know her yet. I’m still learning about her.


So it is that I have this character that popped into my head and I also play her in a video game. The video game aspect of it is a large part of it, and that’s why I never quite understood the “I don’t roleplay in WoW because stuff like spirit rez’ing is too unrealistic” thing. That doesn’t make sense to me because what’s happening is just that, a game adaptation of your character’s life. Stuff that happened in game doesn’t necessarily have to be stuff that happened to your character’s backstory. Tawyn didn’t actually murder thousands of the Defias Brotherhood. Tawyn didn’t actually wipe on Sapphiron or Curator billions of times. Tawyn didn’t actually do that infamous “torture quest”. The game is a loose roadmap for Tawyn’s life, but it’s not a home movie. Most World War 2 video games aren’t exactly how it happened either.

No, the Real Tawyn lives in my head and manifests herself to me in stories and in her little personal piece of lore that has been cooking in my head since day one.

All my other characters feel very real to me as well, of course– heck, I’ve been known to level characters only because I like their backstory— but none of them is quite as real as Tawyn is, and I think that’s why after all these years, Tawyn is still my main. Cause how can you shelf a character that real?

I gotta say, in the end, this is why I play World of Warcraft. I mean, the huntering is great. Obviously I love the huntering. But if you shoved Generic Hunter #13458 in my face and told me to play it, I’d lose interest. Very fast. Because in the end, the biggest reason I love WoW is because it’s a gateway for letting some really interesting imaginary people into my brain.


And that’s awesome.

The Amazing Races! (Semi-RPishness inside)

I sometimes think about all the races (and genders) in WoW and how I have a difficult time getting into playing some of them and a much easier time filling the shoes of others. And because I’m feeling verbose, you get to read all about it! Exciting, huh? …maybe, at least? Hello? Bueller?

Anyways, let’s take it from the top…

/hops onto the RP Box

I’m not gonna lie. I have a hard time playing humans. And the main reason, to me, is because hey– I’m playing a fantasy game, I don’t wanna have to play something I already play IRL. Ya know?

Though to be fair, it’s very easy to come up with just about any personality role that a human can fill. And I’m biased and love the stereotype of the brave human paladin smashing your face in with a hammer. It fits really well. Still, other options just seem more exciting to me, so I lean more towards the other options. I do like human lore and I love Stormwind, so it balances out.

Night Elves:
Weird love hate relationship with this race. Overplayed? Check. Difficult to RP well (in my opinion)? If you are going for default-night-elf, then check. But on the other hand, smexy long ears? (My fetishes are weird. Deal with it. >.>) Check. Oh, and fun to RP when you come up with something more unconventional? Yeeees. I love Tawyn’s character. Love it a lot. When I first made her she was more reserved, a Neutral Good character who was still rather Night Elfy, and she was okaaaay… but then I went “Aww what the heck” and turned her into a Chaotic Neutral misanthrope and now she’s an absolute blast to RP and write stories about. Tamaryn the Tree is very shy and reserved and I sort of think of her as having some sort of stuttering problem or something; though I really haven’t put as much thought into her as I’d like.

Conclusion: Taking a Night Elf character and going in the opposite direction that most people take them (i.e., giving them some sort of unappealing or repelling characteristic) is a lot of fun. But at the same time, there are so many Night Elves out there that I only make them very rarely.

I LOVE GNOMES. Oh my gosh. They’re so fun and steampunky. Love ’em, love ’em, love ’em. I only wish they had more class options. As it stands they are unable to be either of my two favorite classes (hunters and druids) and it saddens me immensely. WTB gnome healer or hunter. Lemme rephrase that. WTS my soul for a gnome healer or hunter.

I like dwarves in theory but I have a difficult time playing them. The number of female dwarf hunters I have stagnating between levels 8 and 12 is depressing. I love the female dwarf voice, too. I think I just have a hard time coming up with good personality ideas for them because their personalities always seem so… set already. If that makes sense at all. Someday I really want a high level dwarf, though.

Awkward thing about me and draenei, it took me forever to get one past level six. Eventually I realized it was because I kept making female draenei and female draenei come off to me as already coming prepackaged with a personality. I think it’s the voice. Because of that I had a hard time coming up with a good female draenei character that wasn’t super cliche.

So when I rolled my baby paladin, I made him a male draenei, and it’s worked out quite nicely! Male draenei seem more malleable to me. They can be heroic and stoic or more bumbling. Mine is absolutely horrible at speaking Common so everything that comes out of his mouth is some sort of innuendo that he’d never dream of saying in his native tongue, and he doesn’t realize it. (“The Light’s hands roam and touch you in a special way!” /Hand of Freedom) I lurve it. <3 Orcs:
The number of times I’ve made female orcs and then given up is similar to the number of times I’ve made female dwarves and then given up: A lot. And it’s not that I don’t like orcs, it’s just that I have a difficult time coming up with non-cliche character ideas for them.

Though, I have this really deep-seated longing to make an old, gray-haired, grumpy, male orc warlock. That would rock. Someday, I will. When I can get into playing warlocks. (You guys have no idea how many times I’ve tried. >.>)

I LOVE TROLLS! Love them all. Though I’ve never actually made a male troll for some reason, but I love them too.

…well, that was an easy one to write…

If there is anything I love more than trolls and gnomes, it’s tauren. The best race in the game. Love their culture, love their models, love their home city. <333 I mostly make female tauren because I think they're so cute and pretty (yes, pretty, deal with it), but I've made a couple male tauren too. Seriously though, female tauren need more love, so I support them (and make more of them) anytime I have the excuse to do so. *nods* Undead:
It took me a long time to warm up to the idea of undead. I was never really one of those people who was into creepy/Halloweeny/gothic stuff, I mean, I don’t dislike that genre, and there are aspects of it that I do appreciate… but it’s not really a favorite either.

Plus, I was always making female undead, and female undead have the same problem that female draenei do to me: I have a hard time giving them an original personality because their voice and look is so very convincingly default that you kind of have to stick with that. I do, anyway.

I have since figured out that I really like male undead though. They’re so cute when they do their little froggy-hop run, and I love the male undead voices. Seriously, some of the male undead vendors sound absolutely lovely; that smooth little “Heeellllooo”. Om nom nom. I have a baby male undead mage with a backstory I love; a magically-inclined farmer boy from the Lordaeron area who was studying to become a mage when tragedy struck! And now he’s undead and he thinks it’s wickedly awesome because he has the mind of a scientist. He likes blowing stuff up. I like that character a lot. I should play him more often.

Someday I am going to make an undead priest because I love the dichotomy of an undead character wearing shiny glowy robes. XD

Blood Elves
I have long ago given up trying to play female blood elves. Like the female undead and draenei, female blood elves seem so personality-infused right from the start that I can’t RP them as anything but a haughty jerk, and I was never good at RPing haughty jerks, so it doesn’t work very well. x_x No offense to you female blood elf players out there of course.

Male blood elves would have the same problem except for two things: a.) they’re hot (why yes, I am shallow), and b.) I had to give my male blood elf a rather complicated backstory which essentially gives him the excuse to be A Nice Guy. Which, I have come to learn, is kind of a faux pas among more serious roleplayers because it’s so commonly done with blood elves, but ya know what, nobody roleplays with me anyway, so there! /cough

Anyways, now that my male blood elf is A Nice Guy and also very kind to the eyes and ears (even if it is just Liquid Snake /cough), I’ve played him a lot. He’s currently level 42 and a half and I’ll probably play him some more after I finish this post. I actually briefly played with the idea of him and Tawyn meeting up in some story and potentially “hitting it off” but it didn’t take long for me to realize that they’d probably hate each others’ guts, so I’m sure that‘ll never happen. Might be fun to chronicle a story of the hatred, though. /muses

And there you have it. Why I play what I play!


/hops off of the RP Box


I don’t know if I will ever quite forget that first odd feeling, nor can I still really compare it to anything else.

Lemme explain what I’m talking about.

There I was, level ten, on the trial version of WoW. I had little clue what I was doing. I was merrily questing in Elwynn Forest since a friend dragged me there from Teldrassil at the tender level of six. I’d kept my hearthstone set to Teldrassil in case I ever needed to return there in an emergency, because I knew I’d never figure out how to get back otherwise. So there I was, questing away and picking flowers because I trained in herbalism specifically to give my boyfriend a Peacebloom. (Yes, that is the honest-to-gosh reason behind what is still one of my professions.)

So there I was going around Raptor Striking things and having a grand ol’ time when suddenly I hit level ten and was informed by the hunter trainer that I was to return to NightElfLand to get my pet.

I was scared to death that if I went back there, I’d never be able to find my way back, but I really wanted a pet, so I took a last look around at Elwynn Forest and then used my Hearthstone.

Several hours later, having spent hours doing the pet quests and scouring the archives of the first WoW site I ever visited– Petopia— before settling on taming an owl, Tux and I were ready to head back. There we went, taking the boat and schlogging through the Wetlands and finally ending up in Thelsamar where I (finally) remembered about this strange concept called “Flight Points” and proceeded to fly back to Stormwind.

That feeling of flying over the waterfall from Burning Steppes into Elwynn is what I haven’t forgotten. It was a feeling of relief, but more than that– it was homecoming. I was very struck by this odd feeling. No video game yet had given me a similar feeling, and I’d played hundreds of them. Some of them I had loved dearly and felt very immersed in. But none of them made me feel like I was coming home when I entered a zone. This one did.

That’s when I knew that I wouldn’t just be playing the free trial.

That’s also when Tawyn’s character really started to materialize and when I knew I’d be happy on my RP server, despite my initial misgivings. Tawyn who felt more at home among the humans than among her own people. Tawyn who was good friends with the inhabitants of the dwarven district, who prefers guns to bows and who has never in her life owned a saber mount because she has always ridden horses (or mechanostriders, or polar bears… but mostly horses, I promise) instead.

And as soon as my gryphon landed– that’s also when I set my hearthstone to Stormwind.



So this was a long time coming. Two years, in fact. Since long before the title even existed. My inner RP geek is satisfied.

The Negotiator

So remember that post I made a while back that got tons of publicity where I said I wanted a Violet Eye title?

Well I’ve been thinking I need to clarify something, namely, my wanting of that title is purely from a Pike perspective. Tawyn, the character, from a roleplaying standpoint– is titleless. Partially because I haven’t seen any titles in the game that fit her, and partially because I don’t think she’d want a title or feel very comfortable with one. Oh sure, I’ve got Jenkins (like everyone else), and I’m gonna wind up with Champion of the Frozen Wastes sooner or later (Oculus and Malygos left… my money is on getting Malygos first… that is how much I stink at Oculus =P), and I might wear that one for a bit later down the road when not everyone is using it, but… that one doesn’t fit Tawyn either. Tawyn is Tawyn. Period.

Lunapike, on the other hand, is a different story. I view her as being not only very intelligent but also good at understanding people, particularly “fringe” groups that she can connect with on some sort of deep level as she, too, is a bit of an outcast. This is in contrast to the more acerbic Tawyn who is sort of a misanthrope to people until they earn her trust. Anyways, this was largely why Lunapike wound up exalted with the Mag’har before achievements even existed– reputation is one of my favorite forms of “passive roleplaying” (mounts and tabards, by extension, are another favorite).

So then came Achievements and with it the Diplomat title and I knew immediately that it was Lunapike’s title. Since I already had the Mag’har finished I was 1/3, and I knew from experience with Tawyn that getting Sporeggar up there isn’t that hard. So I opted to work on it after Tawyn hit 80 and the resulting initial WotLK hype died down.

I really wanted to get a level on Lunapike first before I started, so I did that, and then for the past several weeks she hasn’t set foot in Northrend. Instead, I slowly worked on getting rep with the Timbermaw and Sporeggar between doing things on my other characters. The Timbermaw one was the most tedious especially at Revered when you stop getting rep-per-kill (except for named mobs) and have to go through turn-ins, but lemme tell ya, having House on in the background while you do it makes it go a lot quicker. >.>

Sporeggar was done mostly through solo’ing the first 25% or so of Underbog over and over and farming Sanguine Hibiscus (Hibiscusus? Hibiscusaii? Haibisukasu?). The mobs in there were all still green to me as a level 71, so not only did I get some experience for my pets but I also got experience for myself– 35% of a level entirely from Underbog. Not too shabby.

My hard work culminated in this today:


It looks good, and fits her character. Passive roleplaying for the win. *nods*

Oh, one last thing (off-topic!)… if you are actually at my “physical” site, you will notice that the Sitemeter button on the right hand side of the page is hanging rather precariously close to 200,000 hits. I would like to officially extend the offer I made at 100,000 to this one, too: e-mail me a screenshot of the 200,000 ding and get a free “WarCute avatar”. Oh, and if I already owe you one (I know I’ve offered out “freebies” before on my LiveJournal), I apologize and I’ll try to get right on it >.> And my apologies for forgetting to announce the “contest” until relatively late in the game. /phail

Meme Me

I’ve been tagged by a couple-a memes! Guntitan and Faradhim are the duo guilty of it.

First we have some questions to answer, which I’ll be having Tawyn answer in character, RP-style. That’s right, I said the “R word”. Picture yourself sitting across from her at the Pig & Whistle Tavern if you’re Alliance… or perhaps the Broken Keel Tavern if you are Horde.

1. What is your name, and where did it come from? I’m Tawyn Starshifter. That’s Tawyn to you. I dunno where it came from. Blame my parents. You can also blame them for the odd looks Night Elves give me when I do tell ’em my family name.

2. How old are you, and what is your birthday? Eh, I stopped keeping track of age a long time ago. I was born on the shortest day of the year. [Ed. note: So was I. >.> -Pike] Make of that what you will, I’ve had plenty o’ shamans tell me it’s important somehow. [Tawyn shrugs]

3. Are you in love, and with whom? [Here Tawyn makes some sort of vocalization that is somewhere between a chuckle and a snort, and refuses to go into any further detail, instead taking a rather large swig of her beverage.]

4. What is your favorite mount, and why? [Tawyn seems to open up more at this question.] I’ve a Palomino stallion named Chip– fiesty bugger, you’ve gotta have a firm hand and a firm heel with him. But he’ll take you anywhere, and fast, once you’ve shown ‘im who’s boss. He’s got a fire in ‘is eyes, the likes of which I rarely see in citybred horses these days.

Of course, horses ain’t got wings, but I’ve a… companion for that. His name is Spirakistrasz… I call him Sparks though. He doesn’t mind. [Tawyn grins.]

5. Do you prefer a certian type of Azerothonian meal, and where do you get it from? I’m really not that picky, but lemme tell ya, they make a mean meal in the World’s End Tavern in Shattrath. Have you ever been there? Worth the trip through the Dark Portal just for this roast they have sometimes. Hey, tell ol’ Shaarubo that Tawyn sent you… he might get you a discount.

6. You know those giant mushrooms in Zangarmarsh? What is your theory on how they came to be, and why they are so huge? Things are supposed to make sense up there? [Tawyn laughs good-naturedly.] You couldn’t get me to go back there anyway. Well, except for the World’s End, but I think we’ve already established that.

7. If you saw the Lich King walking towards you, what would you do? Shoot him. [Tawyn chuckles then quiets down.] I dunno, he’s a force to be reckoned with. I’ve faced a lot of things in my day, but… yeah. I suppose I’d shoot him.

8. (Dav added this one) Be honest, how many times have you used the Grizzly Hills outhouse without any real reason? Not even going there.

And Faradhim’s meme is to post screenshots from when you were much “younger” in this World of Warcraft. Now I’m such a screenshot junkie and I’ve got so many of them that it was hard to really narrow it down, so I’ll just toss up a few random ones I’ve found…


Working on Solo’ing Deadmines with Tux. I believe I mentioned how I used to attempt this every couple of levels until I finally cleared it at 41. Since then my personal record has been lowered to 36.


Creepy Pentagram Kids from Goldshire wandered into Stormwind. I was really confused. Yes, that is Wash. Of Heigan Dancing fame.


Just enjoyin’ the fire…


I went exploring and wound up in Brill, in the heart of Horde territory. I was sure I was going to die as I stood next to the Undead fishing trainer and calmly pulled out my own bait and tackle…


Darkshire quests were hard. (Mor’ladim, anyone?) Here I am doing them with the boyfriend. This is right about the time I stumbled across hunter-blogs online; anytime people mentioned ravagers (the “in” pet at the time), I assumed they were talking about the big wolves that attacked you in these parts.


Possibly the oldest screenshot I’ve got. I was level six, in Goldshire, 31 copper and a handful of abilities to my name– got in bed to log out (it just felt right to do that) and had a gnome inform me that I was in his bed. It amused me.


I was struck by the simple beauty of flying across Darkshore at night…


…or sunset.

Okay, that’ll do it. I tag whoever wants to give either (or both) of these memes a shot!

Why I Still Find Old Content to Be Fresh

If I had to pick a favorite part of World of Warcraft it wouldn’t be hunters. Nor would it be the social aspects of the game (though admittedly, that one is largely because most of my guildies are now effectively out-of-game-friends as well– we all hang out in AIM chats and stuff).

No, my favorite aspect of the game is character creation. And by that I don’t mean the whole choose your race/class/silly hairstyle part, although that is fun too.

I mean coming up with a story and personality for your character and stepping into their shoes for a few fleeting hours. That’s what I mean. That’s my favorite part of the game. That’s one of the things that first enthralled me when I started playing WoW. “Wait, you mean I can create my own video game hero/heroine?” Now don’t get me wrong, I love Mario and Link and Solid Snake and Locke Cole and Jim Raynor and Master Chief. I love them to bits, heck, don’t tell anyone, but I have a crush on Link that is like… thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis big.


Link. Om nom nom.

*cough* Sorry, sidetracked.

Anyways, yeah, there had been times before where I could sort of create a character, but not in the same way. Neverwinter Nights and KotoR were solid games but didn’t grab me on a “character” level. Pokémon didn’t let you create female characters (which I really wanted to do) until I’d already sort of drifted away from the series. Et cetera. Other games let you sort of make a character but thrust you into an already formed backstory anyway.

But with WoW, I discovered the game alongside my character. I learned things like how to play my class alongside my character. And for some reason, this was the first game where I not only experienced the story as I would personally, but thought about how my character would react to all the events unfolding around her, too. By the time I was max level, I cared for my character in a very deep and hard to explain way– she was sort of me, but sort of not me, and she was a good friend who I experienced this crazy world with. She has a real personality, one that is different than that of any of my other characters. In a way, she is real. She is something I created and can be proud of not just by topping a DPS meter or getting her all decked out in purples, but by being able to feel like I created a character in a story.

Mirshalak recently queried, “What are you addicted to?” What keeps you coming back to the game? Sure, my guildies do and my hunters do and my general enjoyment of the game does. But more than all that, for me, it’s the way Blizzard really succeeded in creating a world that just sucks you right in. It’s the way every time I do one of the opening quests that I’ve done a million times, it’s fresh and original because I’m seeing it through a completely different set of eyes. It is pure distilled roleplaying without actually going out and walking slowly around the Cathedral District and having some deep discussion about the state of Azerothian affairs. It’s something that I’ve yet to be able to experience anywhere else, with the exception of maybe Dungeons & Dragons, but for me this might even be more than that because it is so visual and hands-on and I’m a very visual and hands-on type of person.

That‘s what keeps me coming back. My friends are here– and this time, by friends, I mean characters.

Okay, gonna end this now that there is a big neon “GEEK” sign hanging over my head. =P My WoW account is now safely reactivated though I don’t anticipate too much activity for the next couple of weeks; I am moving into a new place and that will require most of my attention for a little while! Still, I’ll be here, yapping away, I’m sure.

P.S. Since I’ve already linked to one blog in this post, go read this. Trust me.