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Old 08-04-2005, 01:28 AM   #1
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Sometimes, it's possible for some players to become so attached to their favorite RP characters that it's hard to take risks or to let go when the time comes.

How do you balance the passion for playing a specific character against the need to keep the character and player emotional tangle as separate as possible?
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Old 08-04-2005, 02:18 AM   #2
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First of all, I'll say when I play a character I don't aim for complete IC/OOC separation, mostly since I think it is impossible, that and I tend to be an empath with my characters: When I log them in, I put on their mask, and yes, to some degree I take on their troubles and worries and their hopes and dreams and all that overly dramatic jazz. I'm of the opinion that those who do aim for 100% IC/OOC separation can only progress to a certain point in their RP ability, since they don't have that internal understanding of the characters they play.

That being said, when I am done playing a character for the time being (or just not RPing with them) I can focus more objectively on the situations the characters faced. This way, rather than being driven by the emotion of the character whenever they come up, I can snap out of the role easily enough that I can deal with it. In other words: When I'm playing, I'm immersed, when I'm not playing, I'm separate.

As for attachment? As with the playing I find some attachment is a good thing. If I care as much about a character as I do my avatar in Diablo or some other CRPG, then what's the point? Oh, gee, he's dead, time to make another character. - How I learned to deal with character death? Mostly I dealt with it by it happening to my characters. Would it suck if a character of mine I cared about died tomarrow? Yeah, but give me a couple days, I'll be back with 2 more quality characters to 'replace' the one lost. :>

From a more objective standpoint, I think death is easier to get over in an RP environment where life is ICly and OOCly cheap. As in: You can die easy, one misplaced move with your shield and you're done for type thing. Also I think losing a 'big' character is in a way a test of one's RP ability to broaden horizons and all that.
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Old 08-04-2005, 02:27 AM   #3
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I am often way too careful with my guys. I feel like they aren't just some people, they are my creations, and I have to care for them and thus they always tend to not be risk-takers. In reality, I don't usually make rash decisions. Most things that I do involve lots of thought and judging before I decide to do them. I weigh the options, try to foresee outcomes, and plan for any possible situations. And that's why I'd never be a good insult comic.
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Old 08-05-2005, 03:08 AM   #4
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My RP chars never stand for insults and the like, and my suckage at PK combined with that usually gets mine killed a lot...but its fun, so ah well I had a small exp loss...
I used to play this one DBZ MUD (sue me) and as a member of one of the weakest clans there were, we got a lot of bashing. I was once told by one of my enemies after a very unsuccessful fight that I was the only member in my clan that had balls, and I had the smallest amount of pks and most pdeaths around...
All I is saying is death isn't permanent in MUDs, or at least in the ones I played and though death had big RP value, it didnt make me quit my character and create a new one
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Old 08-05-2005, 02:22 PM   #5
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I play Armageddon and it isn't a matter of risks, because there will always be those. It is a matter of nott getting "too" into a role.

How I make that distinction. It is just like working in a sense.
When I am working, that is all I think about. When I'm not working I think about other things.

When I play Arm, that is the only thing I think about, not food, water, or any of that. I just think about what my pc is going to do next.
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Old 08-06-2005, 02:44 AM   #6
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I think my very worst RP experience was when the situation called for my character to die permanently.   Talk about a heart-stopping condition.  This investment in electrons lost her head and ceased to exist.. and I sat here at the keyboard shaking for a good half hour.  There was nothing automated, so I had to issue the delete command, and I did.. but it was just almost too much to bear.
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Old 08-06-2005, 10:17 AM   #7
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I play Armageddon, which has permanent death. Most players don't have very long-lived characters - anything over a RL month I'd say is considered a bonus. I've been lucky in that almost all of my characters have lived longer than that, and one made it to around 9 months before she finally got whacked.

While I'm playing a role, I tend to get as deep into the role as I possibly can. It's almost like osmosis. But what keeps me from being devestated, or having "too much" of a personally emotional tie to my character, is knowing that I'll have a chance to do something really neato the next time around, and fall in love with the game all over again.
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Old 08-06-2005, 04:49 PM   #8
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Im currently playing Armageddon as a Water Elementalist (Vivaduan) And, when my characters die, I don't try, and stop the pain because it makes the game a much more breathtaking experiance. I have had about fifteen characters die, and with each one I sat there for about fifteen minutes almost in tears. I have learnt that the best way not to die, is to try not to take as many risks, like going out unto the dessert or messing with the "guild" Which my current character has already done, oops!

all im saying is if you try, and stop the pain of your character dying, then it makes the game a lot less breathtaking, and enjoyable.
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Old 08-06-2005, 05:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Brody @ Aug. 04 2005,01:28)
How do you balance the passion for playing a specific character against the need to keep the character and player emotional tangle as separate as possible?
It naturally follows that we experience "virtual grieving" when characters who have become virtual people to us pass on.

My main consolation is, as others have said, that this paves the way for new experiences with new characters. I suppose that's much like the way I deal with the concept of death RL--knowing that new life needs room and resources, that it will be a part of me in a fundamental sense, and so I can't stick around forever.

The MUD I play has an aging system with 1 RL week equal to 1 game year. This gives characters an average of 6-10 RL months, depending on their racial and invidual longevity. It's long enough to get very attached to your character and his/her friends. It also makes for some interesting generational issues--toward the end of a character's lifespan, mentors have passed on, many friends are gone, and young whippersnappers are beginning to rule the world.
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Old 08-06-2005, 05:38 PM   #10
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Did you listen to what I said? if you stop yourself from being attached to your character, you wont enjoy the game as much?
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Old 08-06-2005, 10:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Benreece @ Aug. 06 2005,17:38)
Did you listen to what I said? if you stop yourself from being attached to your character, you wont enjoy the game as much?
Sorry, Benreecee, I was responding to the initial post in the thread and not to yours in particular. I do agree with you, though.
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Old 08-07-2005, 03:40 AM   #12
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Whilst I agree a level of involvement in your character(s) makes for a much more rewarding gaming experience, there is a stage when the personal involvement becomes too intense.

This isn't a subject, I've found, that people really like talking in detail about. I've noticed, especially on non-permadeath muds, that the longer a player is attatched to a specific character, the harder it is for them to achieve a sense of professional distance from their creation.

For example. My last character had been in existence for a good 4 odd years. Now I'd always prided myself on being able to keep IC and OOC very seperate. This was before I began to have a string of incredibly 'bad luck'. (Of my own making, of course, even though the results weren't as intended.)

I found myself growing intensely frustrated, and Frequently snappish at other players OOC. The events which had lain my character low melded in my head into one massive cesspool of percieved injustice. Those players who I associated with IRL could probably testify to my indignant rantings every time another barb set itself in my character's flesh.

Eventually, It all got too much. I couldn't belive that I was getting so narky about a series of words on a screen. I made the descision to retire the character, and from day one of the new character, found my enjoyment of the game increased phenomenally.

I was one of the lucky ones. I've heard horror stories around the water cooler of players on various RPI muds who engage in rather contemptible behaviour OOC just to give their character a conflictual or sociopolitical 'edge' IC. Or players who cannot seem to grasp that just because my character is hostile/indifferent to them, that doesn't mean I as a player am out to nail their cat to a tree.

Personally, if that sounds like you, you REALLY need to get your administration to lock your account for a month or so and get some distance. Though they can evoke a whole cavalcade of emotions, when push comes to shove, games are supposed to be FUN! Not the reason you see your shrink five times a week!
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Old 08-13-2005, 05:27 PM   #13
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As much as I try to retain some distance between myself and my characters, I tend to get very emotionally attached to them. I've had some RP experiences move me to tears IRL! But luckily it makes me laugh a lot more. I also tend to avoid any plotlines that would make my character depressed, because I know that it would be depressing for me to play a depressed character. So in a way, this attachment does hold me back from certain plotlines that I could do. But I think it also makes the roleplay better. The emotional attachment makes the character's responses more natural and less calculated.
Also, it makes me avoid permadeath muds. Having my character on Armageddon die in about a third of the time it took to create was a major factor in why I decided not to bother with a second one. I like having a single character for a long time. I like for them to start out simple and grow older and more complex as they survive many things, and that takes a long time of gameplay.
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Old 08-14-2005, 03:49 AM   #14
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I'm not sure I agree with the idea that if you aren't attached to your character then you don't enjoy the game as much.  Looking back, the majority of characters that I've played I'm not overly fond of.  I've been fond of the people around them, or of the actions they've undertook, but not of them themselves.

Oddly enough, I'm not even quite sure why.
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Old 08-14-2005, 03:58 PM   #15
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True, but, you should make a character that you would be fond of, and maybe you will enjoy the game more? Also I don't see my characters as "other" people, I see them as my alter-ego's like Batman, and Bruce they are very different, but are still the same person inside.
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Old 08-15-2005, 04:06 AM   #16
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Hmm.. I guess I just fear getting too attached. I like taking calculated risks and I guess I fear that -I- might be the one to take the fall, rather than the character.
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Old 08-21-2005, 08:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
Looking back, the majority of characters that I've played I'm not overly fond of.  I've been fond of the people around them, or of the actions they've undertook, but not of them themselves.
Oh, I'm not very fond of most of my characters either. I have a tendency to make characters that are, not evil, but deeply flawed. I know that if I met my favorite char irl, I'd hate her and want as little to do with her a possible. Yet I remember in the first week of playing, as I fleshed her out and added more depth and reason to her, I just loved her more and more. Now my current character is sooo annoying, sometimes I just want to -=smack=- her. I'm simply awed by the people who actually do like her. And yet, there was a point early on when I decided to leave the mud, but after a day started grieving not being able to play that character, and so stayed on (and things did get better).
I think it is that when you have to know all the reasons why somebody is who they are, it makes you more sympathetic, and more likely to find the bits of good in them.
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Old 08-21-2005, 09:27 PM   #18
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Actors playing roles can invest their characters with emotion and passion without taking it too far. Even if they're immersing themselves in a role, week in and week out, they recognize that they're separate from the character.

That's the danger in roleplaying games, especially those with permadeath, where the actors on these virtual stages cannot always distinguish between where the actor ends and the character begins.

I'd never say "don't care about your characters." You should care. You should feel the adrenalin pump when they're in trouble. But you always need to know, in the back of your mind, somewhere, that they will end someday.
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Old 08-21-2005, 10:00 PM   #19
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I concur!

And I have had it where my hands have literally trembled when my char was in trouble. But I don't want to be too attached. I don't want my emotional wellbeing to be based on a few bits of text on a screen, however much I enjoy playing.
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