Or, how to know when it’s time to send the “It’s All About Me Dancers” home.
Sometimes, in my writing, I find it hard to turn them away. They stand there, in their feathered headdresses and spangly outfits, with glee in their eyes, totally willing to dance my praises. And sometimes, I will write out an entire story about how totally awesome Regatta is, and how she will single handedly SAVE THE WORLD! Then I look at them, standing there, ready to go, and hit delete, and send them home.
The thing about the game is, in quests and the like, the game tells you that you are THE ONE. But honey, the game says that to all the girls. It just wants to get in your pants. Now, there will be no slut shaming from me. If you want to roll in the hay with the game, by all means, do it, but don’t delude yourself. You are not THE ONE. Thee game already has THE ONE, and they are called NPCs.
But how do you know what is a logical assumption based on lore and game mechanics, and what is just pure hubris? This is where we look to the game, and let it tell us. For instance, Reg speaks Common. While she can not converse with Alliance characters because of game mechanics, the various NPCs in the game imply it should be otherwise. Forsaken and Human speak to each other, Dwarves and Trolls, Night Elves and Blood Elves. And all of them speak to the PCs. It is a logical assumption that your characters should be able to speak to others in the opposite faction. It is solely a game mechanic (put in to discourage trash talking and general douchebaggery) that keeps you from doing it. In Reg’s case, since she is Forsaken, why wouldn’t she remember how to speak Common? It’s her mother tongue. She can remember her life (as many Forsaken do) and therefore, should remember that language. Why would death suddenly make her know how to speak Orcish and Gutterspeak, but not remember Common? Seems silly, right? With language, there really is no logical reason why your character couldn’t learn any of the ones in game, if they have the desire. While they can not speak them in game, they can in stories. Of course, if you’re a strict “in game” RPer, it probably wouldn’t be logical to have your character speak any languages other then the ones assigned it. But if you do both, I say, have at it.
Another example is the moment that sends your character into the fray. What was it that made them go off to training that first day? For Reg, she caught the plague, died at home, rose, and was shuffled off to Deathknell by her family. I made this major assumption because I have watched a ton of zombie movies, and know human nature just as well as the next human. From Night of the Living Dead’s Barbara’s response to seeing her brother Johnny as a zombie, to Shaun of the Dead’s Shaun keeping his dear departed best friend in the garden shed, humans have shown how incredibly difficult it is to let go of the one’s they love. It is not out of line to assume that humans in Azeroth might react the same way. Use logic, and humility to determine your characters motivations. If you worry that you may be going overboard with the dramatic background story, ask your friends to read it and critique. Good friends will be kind, constructive, and detailed.
Another common “center of the universe” issue I see is in regards to a character’s power/ability/strength. There’s quite a lot of debate about whether or not it’s “fair” to base your character’s strength or abilities solely on in game mechanics. A while ago, on my realm’s forums, someone tried to start an RP movement to stop using duels as a means of settling in game disputes. The reasoning was that some people didn’t have epic gear, or weren’t good at PvP, or have not leveled up to end game might loose a duel, when their character was meant to be a big bad ass. There was much debate about things like writing checks ones in game ass can not cash, and whether or not people “wasted their lives” leveling up, raiding, or PvPing. But the main thing, for me, is what if someone else wrote their character to be even MORE of a bad ass than yours? Why should they even bother wasting their time with a fight with your character? Why should they bother rolling for superiority? It all goes back to my previous point, the only “ONES” in the game are NPCs. At some point, your character would be bested, and if you want your character to be realistic, you’re character should be bested. I don’t care how much training he’s had, how many notches are in his belt, he is not “THE ONE”. And while someone decked in the best PvP gear, at the top level may beat your character when you didn’t want to loose, you will still come out on top.
Because both you, and your character, will have learned humility.