September 1, 2009

Here Comes the New Rogue, Same As the Old Rogue

Okay. This is a warning- this is a post about RPing, as well as MMOs. So, that's a pretty niche audience right there. I would like for everyone to find this interesting, and will write it to be of interest to all... but that's what we're working with here. See, one of the announcements with the new WoW expansion was the new races, as well as the new race/class combinations. Some of these I will wait until the expansion to try out- I have never been able to take Shaman seriously, nor Mage, but playing a Dwarf Mage or Dwarf Shaman sounds absolutely fantastic to me. I also can't wait to try a Worgen Druid (can you tell I'm Alliance?). But the one that really gets me... is Worgen Rogue. I have to have one. And the only problem is... I already have a rogue that I like quite a bit, and I am NOT gonna have two of the same class, that's just wasteful.

My rogue is level 26, not too high, it won't be that awful to start over. Whatever. That's not my concern. I have deleted significantly higher level characters to restart them, that's for sure. My concern is this... I like my rogue, as a character. The characters that I really, seriously play always have an RP background, it's the only way I can enjoy them. I deleted a level 40 paladin not too long ago because I realized she just had no personality. She was retadin #782439, and that's not good enough for me. I just don't enjoy playing that character if I can't justify their background, and appreciate the way they think.

So far, I have a priest and a warrior at 80. My warrior has a lot of personality- let's just say that the quest where she was sent as a diplomat to the orcs was an exercise in self-restraint for her. I'd be happy to rant about each character's background, but I think it's likely more interesting for me to discuss the overarching problem- rerolling an alt you like.

My human female rogue has a pretty simple background, but I like her a lot. I like her name, I like her appearance, and she's overall just fun to play. Interestingly, she's actually one of the nicest characters I have... which is a pretty interesting characteristic for my rogue. Very pure of spirit. Anyway. The thing is, when I saw the picture at Blizzcon of the Worgen rogue in full tier 9... I knew there was no choice. I was going to reroll as a Worgen as soon as the expac came out. Period. And since I did really like my rogue's name (and I always have a hard time finding a name I like), and her appearance, I definitely wanted to reproduce that. But a Worgen is a pretty different person than a simple human lass from Elwynn Forest who realized she was good at sneaking. True, Worgen were human once, and retain much of that mindset... but it is very noticably tinged by the vicious instincts of their wolven forms. They are not human. They are close... but they aren't. And it is that very closeness that makes the differences all the more noticable.

So then, perhaps my new character could be my old rogue, Worgenized? But no- the Worgen are Gilneans, and while I could pull some fanciful crap wherein my rogue infiltrates the border only to be Worgenized, A) the characters of WoW are supposed to start out as fairly ordinary people. It is the course of the game that turns them into heroes- they do not start out being amazing exceptions to the rules, except for the hero class, because that's kind of the concept of that. That's why there are no human shamans- sure, there are probably humans out there that are in tune with the elements, but they are anything but common, so you can't be one. Worgen (ones that act civilized) that aren't Gilnean are rare, and besides, that would contradict the entire starting zone, as I understand it.

And B), doing that undermines the worth of the Worgen. Part of the thing of the Worgen is that they are questionably humane- this is a nation that once said that the rest of the world could burn so long as they were safe. This is a nation that let injured, dying people sit outside its gates, and never let them in, or even acknowledged their existence. Yes, they are part Worgen now... but that brings up the interesting question, what part of them do certain questionable acts orginainate from their lupine savagery, and what from their calculating human nature? Having a character that was innocent of heart, but corrupted by this curse is not nearly as interesting... and overdone as shit as well.

So I suppose my point is something more of a question... how much can you change while still holding onto the original idea? Are similar looks and the same name enough to consider it just a new iteration of the old character? Perhaps it's not an intellectual question. Perhaps what matters is how that character feels to their creator... and in that case, I guess we'll just have to wait for the expansion, so I can create my new rogue, and see if it invokes that old feeling.

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