Designing the Perfect Character

When I was running pen and paper RPGs, I noticed that some players always want to create the same type of character. It won’t matter what genre they are playing, or what ruleset. In their imaginary worlds, they have some kind of perfect platonic character, and that’s the one they want to play.

At first, people get bored of having The Man With No Name, CombatWombat the min-maxed fighter, Amnesiac Ubermage, DrizztClone #51, Mister Useless (there’s always one person who picks all the most useless skills available), and Spot the Comedy Dog turn up in every single game. After awhile it gets quite comfortable, like a RPG version of Cheers.

I see this in MMOs as well. People pick out some concept, look, role, or play style and decide that for them, that’s The One. In every game afterwards, they will play some variation on the same theme.

I have one friend who has this in a particularly strong way. She always wants to play male elves wearing plate armour who dual wield. They must also have long hair and a bishi look. World of Warcraft has let her down in this respect, Blood Elves cannot be warriors. She tries womanfully to make up for their mistakes – she plays a Blood Elf Deathknight and a Blood Elf Retribution Paladin (both plate wearing melee classes, but they both use a two-hander, the DK used to dual wield but she wasn’t happy with how it performed on the damage meters). She even has a Night Elf warrior but she’s not that fond of Alliance and the character model is way too buff for her taste.

I was commenting that if/when Blizzard do relent on the whole Blood Elf/ Warrior thing (and there’s no special lore reason why they shouldn’t exist), it could be her perfect character. “Not really,” she said forlornly, “Fury warriors dual wield 2-handers now, and I wanted a character that could dual wield normal swords.”

Sometimes you just can’t win for trying.