Blog Azeroth – Shared Topic for the week of August 1st, 2011
Shared Topic Idea: Identity and Affiliations
How does your character define themself? What part of their identity is most important to their personality and self-presentation?
In meatspace, we have so many affiliations, it’s anyone’s guess whether we consider ourselves a tuba player first, or a student, a Gators fan, a New Yorker, a mother, a nerd, a liberal. Our identities are comprised of so many different aspects of life that it’s hard to tell which parts different people will choose to define themselves.
In game, there are less game-related ways to identify. You can identify as:
your class – your spec
your race – a particular subgroup (Mag’har, Wildhammer)
your faction – a faction other than Horde/Alliance
Aliera is in many ways a reflection of myself. I imbue her with my drive to collect and complete, my aspirations for conquest, my quiet love of crafting and creating… lots of c-words. As Akabeko so sagely indicated, it is difficult to say just by looking at someone which particular facet they call their core.
Outside of the game world, I am a gamer, a boyfriend, grandson, brother, uncle, a baker, a tennis player, a mathematician, a brand new engineer-in-training, all in parts. But behind all of it, the piece that makes me me, the core that centers my essence is music. I am at all times and in all things a musician.
In this particular way, Aliera does not have much of a chance at mirroring my real-world self. Music is not a part of the game in a way that translates. I cannot run into Orgrimmar, head to the bardic vendor and pick up a lute in order to train the minstrelsy profession (though I wish I could!). I cannot, during a boss battle, pull out a simple recorder and play a tune to encourage my party (or drive them to such anger that they destroy our foes if only to attack me afterward).
So Aliera takes other parts of my being in greater part. My love of stories and adventures is high on the list. I completed Loremaster prior to Cataclysm and have it in mind to go through again in the first few months of the autumn this year.
Along the way, I have displayed my love of collecting. Items, pets, mounts, and reputations are all fair game when I play. 62 little followers and 97 bigger ones (ride-able ones) tag along on my journeys. I have collected 370-some patterns for Tailoring and have every possible recipe for Inscription. 42 organizations, groups, and species hold me in the highest regard. I have united disparate and warring groups and honored all manner of festival and holiday. There are 31 special titles associated with my name and I have championed 29 causes by displaying their banner proudly across my chest.
Through all of this, however, Aliera has maintained a sure and defined core much like my real self. Aliera is, in all things and times, devoted to and empowered by the art of affliction.
I return to this story often when thinking about Aliera, so I am certainly repeating myself, but back when Aliera first shimmered into existence in Eversong I knew absolutely nothing about what I was getting into. My friend hooked me on the game and helped my pick out a class by giving brief descriptions.
Warlock immediately grabbed me. And not just any warlock, but Affliction. I was entranced by instant-cast DOTs and shadow, by sucking the life out of my enemies to empower myself, by enslaving demons to be my deathly companions. Over the past few years I have dabbled in Demonology and Destruction, but never really cared for the playstyle of either. To be perfectly honest, I felt a little dirty playing as Destruction, like I was betraying myself in some way.
And so, Aff has been the core of my Warlockian identity since the start. In boom or bust, Haunt remains my top talent and Sruuzhem the felpup has stayed faithfully at my side. After Cataclysm passes by and the next expansion looms, so long as shadow and fel has a place in the Warlock community I will check the box labelled Affliction.