Claiming a space in new games

I abhor pristine hotel rooms.

Whenever I arrive in one, I have a compulsion to dump my case in the middle of the bed, put toothpaste in the bathroom (even if some is already there), hang clothes up (even when I wouldn’t bother at home), throw the pillows around and generally place my home-brought stuff on their nice hotel tables. It is a compulsion. Once I’ve put a few things out, I can go out and grab a coffee and do other things. But it doesn’t really feel like MY hotel room until stuff is removed from my travelling bags and put … somewhere.

I call this a kind of ‘claiming’ behaviour. There are (random) things I have to do before a new space feels as though it is mine. I’m sure part of the desire for housing in MMOs is just to have a space where you can strew some stuff around to make it feel more like your own place.

And of course for games which allow UI customisation/ addons there is a nearly limitless variety of ways to make the playing space feel like your own. It’s something I sometimes miss in single player games – although a well designed UI is probably better than anything I could do anyway.

Similarly on new social networks. I joined google+ recently and I obediently filled out some profile details and added a picture, just because it makes my profile page feel more ‘homely’ and less sparse and pristine. If you’d like to be added to my g+ gamer circles, just leave a message on this post with your favoured email address (if you’d like to be added to my social work/ sociology circle can you also say cos I try not to spam disinterested people with that.)

So it’s interesting to me that there’s really very little you can do to claim a new character other than picking a name. Sure, in games which allow cosmetic gear you can work on customising it later on. You may later be able to use different titles also. Some games allow the player to generate a profile page if they want (or generate one for you a la WoW’s armoury).

Do you like to customise your own space in games/ social networks?


16 thoughts on “Claiming a space in new games

  1. I avoid doing so out of paranoia. Any information about myself I put out in cyberspace is another piece in a jigsaw that when completed shows far too much about me to all and sundry. Not that anyone will probably bother but I don’t want every where I go on cyberspace to have access to real name, photo, email address, phone number, work number etc.

  2. You know, in the hotel example, I’m the exact opposite. My house is fairly tidy, but there’s always something lying around; whereas, in a new hotel room, there’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place. I’m loathe to disturb it. I like to keep everything just the way it was when I entered it, because, well, I dunno.

    Which is odd, because I can’t play with WoW’s default UI. I *have* to change it. Same with any game that has addons, I *will* download them to avoid spending too much screen space on crap. But I won’t go to the extreme of making it asymmetrical.

    I hate asymmetry as well.

    So I have to find a balance between removing all clutter, and making it symmetrical. If I can’t do that, the game’s going down the toilet. Quickly.

  3. Customization is the part that I’m most torn on in lord of the rings online. Amazing clothing options, almost zero interface/addon options. Only recently did I find a plug in that allows me to sort my bags, which is possibly the least game breaking, most intuitive, mo fire st frustration-relieving function possible.

    I think RIFT is the first game I tried where the interface was ‘ good enough’ right out of the box. On the flip side, the cosmetic options I found to be surely lacking, with very few people (even 50’s)around that looked so amazing that I’d follow them to get a chance to inspect them to try to figure out what they were wearing. Even the best stuff was pretty meh.

    Is love a G invite @

    • I finagled an invite from an old friend this afternoon, so just being added to a circle would be great… 🙂

  4. I’m the exact opposite with hotel rooms … I keep as much of my stuff in the suitcase as possible, and those things which I remove, I try and keep in one place as much as possible. I think I just don’t want that feeling of ownership in a hotel room.

    If you could add me to both your gaming and social circles (neil.m.banerjee at gmail dawt com), I’d appreciate it. Injecting some life into my G+ stream would be nice 🙂

  5. The comments above are great. 🙂 I think I claim my space with my UI. Maybe that’s why I’m compulsive about addons and changing things. Trying it out. Since my in game expressions of that are kind of limited (Once I roll a character, anyway)

    Add my to your g+ circle please! valkyrierisen at gmail

  6. btw, you don’t need to explicitly type in your email address in the text of the comment (unless you’d like other commenters to add you also) – as the blog owner, I can see the email tag in the comment header.

    Happy to edit email addresses out if anyone wants, just reply to your own message if you’d like that.

  7. One of the biggest draws of LotRO for me was the housing. While my buddy made fun of me for it, we all eventually formed a guild and got our own guild house which we decorated with the spoils of our conquests. I spent a lot of time doing the seasonal events to get the decoration items, crafted plenty as well, and LOVED that bosses dropped trophies to display (I think that would be a great compromise in WoW; boss drop cosmetic gear; it would function like a glyph or enchant that changes the appearance of something but wouldn’t fill the slot or change the stats). So I definitely understand that compulsion. However, I am offended by your baseless discrimination omitting me from your group. My wife, though, will probably be contacting you (;

    Great post!

  8. i wish blogs had ui’s like warhammer online/mmo’s. Instead of having drab/basic templates or needing to know detailed html coding, we could drag and drop everything we want 🙂

  9. One of the first things I do with any game is look at the control scheme… and change it if I can to something I prefer. Usually that means altering the camera controls and maybe a few other keys/buttons.

    It’s not so much ownership as it is ease of use, though. And yet, one of the first things I do with a new sketchbook is put my name in it, just in case it gets lost. I think I definitely have an itch to claim space (I like my bubble), but it’s more about my own comfort, less about any sort of social ramification.

  10. I am completely with you on the hotel room thing! And I’m an addon nut with WoW – and did I mention my fishing outfit? 😀

    I do miss the option of cosmetic clothing in WoW, but there are a few options at least if you take the time to look.

    Would love to be added to your gamer circle.

  11. I would be grateful to be added to your gamer circle.

    Also, where did you get the tentacle thing for your Lotro garden? How large is it? My inquiring hobbit alter ego wants to know 🙂

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