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~*~ DISCLAIMER ~*~
Along with this being a rant these can also be viewed as discussions of sorts. Have a problem with the way I see things? Want to add anything extra or want to share your own experiences with these subjects? Please feel free to share! The main thing to remember though is that this is in fact one person’s opinion on the matter, though the intention is to put it out there to gain a better understanding please take into consideration that I am not attempting to point the finger out at anyone in particular, that is far from the point. I want to bring these troubling subject to light in hopes of recognizing and minimizing them to build a better community.
I: Sick of being sick
Starting off my own little theme challenge here of listing off the top 13 things that urk me about the Warcraft Roleplaying community as well as a newly risen instalment of the this gameplay aspect; mainly the model viewer gathering that has sprung up here outside of the game since a majority consider themselves roleplayers.
The topic I have chosen to start this off is one not quite up there on the annoyance scale but it is still something that if it continues to get all the more popular that it will have the potential to be just as detrimental to quality roleplay as some of the other disturbing habits viewed in the community.
So let’s get to it; the implementation of real world diseases and ailments into the game. It’s a bit of a disturbing conclusion that people come up with in order to gain some semblance of attention or sympathy for their characters, which is not to say that it’s unreasonable for people to expect that for their creations, however there are better ways to accomplish this.
Here are the points I wish to bring up for those reading to consider when regarding this choice of character ‘quirk’;
Azeroth =/= Earth: I think this is the simplest way to explain the flaw in most people’s design of their character when they decide to implement this to create depth and conflict within their future story arcs. The main issue with this it they are in fact using earthly documented diseases and ailments to accomplish their goals, doing this on a somewhat foreign setting such as Azeroth may not always yield logical results.
Take for example the one major difference between our world and Azeroth; magic. The world in Warcraft depends on it, various types of energies flow through it to sustain itself and in turn its inhabitants are able to utilize this seemingly natural gift to their own personal and universal gains. This is the fundamental evolutionary cross road between our two worlds and it is a very important one to address when you want to play out a ‘sickly’ character. Who is to say that most earth strains of viruses and medical impairments would even develop and exist with the introduction of magic since the planet was formed. Yes there are common aspects between the worlds as well, which would in theory indicate that they may still mirror one another in many ways, it is doubtful though that anything contracted on Azeroth would share the exact same origin, symptoms and even cures with the environmental and resource dependent variables that are at their disposal.
Important note: The flip side of this is of course taking the whole ~It’s magic! I don’t have to explain a thing!~ approach to various ‘out there’ concepts is an abuse of the world’s magical mechanics. There needs to be a balance of the limitations in this world as much as our own, magic is an amazing source of energy that can indeed do more that what our world can provide for mystical feats… but there are some things that despite having magic to solve most problems for, can only do so much. We see on Azeroth that there are those that can resurrect the dead, but what rule to this is; anything undead… no matter how much magic you pump into it, cannot produce life (ex: Zombie babies, Forsaken/Death knight pregnancies, etc.) nor can those reawakened into unlife can ever become truly living again. There are of course always back doors that people try to create in order to make something work, but most of the time in doing so only ends up creating an unsalvageable concept as far as logic goes. Bottom line; magic is an amazing device given to us to roleplay with, but it demands respect of its mechanics if you really want to create something great from it.
Serious illness yields serious consequences: I think I’ll start off by saying this; yes, I understand why people do it but that doesn’t mean I have to like their methods. You want your character(s) to be interesting and unique, you want others to care for them and wish to know more about them, but to me… this is hardly the proper way to go about it.
Before I continue I will fully admit I am by far no medical expert, maybe that is why I have never tried to implement such a concept into any of my characters (I will be offering up my own characters for case study on this matter towards the end of the rant for those interested in picking them apart). I feel though that too many get a basic idea of what they want for their character, google up a general description, glance through the list of results to then get a vague assumption of what they are looking for… and then just roll with it. To me it is not that easy, a lot of base work people use for their character flaws are a bit more complex than that and I find that when reading up said descriptions I feel as if its being applied to their character half heartedly, though in doing so to begin with brings up a number of red flags in my mind.
Some of these viruses, diseases, deformities, etc are pretty serious and shouldn’t be taken to lightly whether it’s used merely on a gaming front or not. To me it’s almost borderline disrespectful to those that actually suffer from these types of things, personally I would get a little upset about someone blabbing on about their character having HSP (Henock-Schonlein purpura) acting as if it’s just something cool and unheard of to give their character so they could hang around in a wheel chair for a month or so. Based off my own experiences, it was far from cool…
Own key observations: Keeping with my promise, I am not going to pick out anyone from the crowd but there was a particular picture description I once read not too long ago. It was of a person advertising that they were looking for their toon to catch a disease… that alone make me cringe but I read on, only to become increasingly disturbed when they explained further. They wanted their character to ‘catch’ Stockholm Syndrome, something I am sure they are only looking at in a Hollywood point of view based off the blatant ignorance they had on how mentally detrimental it really is. There is more I would like to bring up on this sort of example but I feel it would be more appropriate in one of my other scheduled rants I have planned, so I will just stop here and continue on.
Lastly, though slightly off topic…
Falling into stereo types: This is another rising issue I tend to find both in game and out of game in regards to roleplaying. When someone decided to play a character with a disability, not exactly on the topic of diseases per say but it is looked upon with the same sense of shallow understanding.
You play a blind character? Well chances are you’ll be walking around with a blindfold to indicate this. Missing a limb? I am sure you are always willing to show off your new mechanical one. These two seem to be the most popular out of the disability list because they are the easiest to showcase, are they the only ways? Hardly, but this has sadly become the norm it would seem and because of that there is a real lack in creativity when every blind character is pretty much looks like a demon hunter (since most claim to be anyways, another rant for another day though on that dilemma), or every amputee looking like a cyborg. Maybe it’s just me who has an issue about my characters looking like carbon copies of other people’s characters, or even NPCs with ever so slightly changed bits here and there though that is doubtful considering there has been a lot of finger pointing and name calling when it comes to idea thieving, but is it really when people have been resorting to it as a means to create a simplistic concept for their character for such a long time, who can really claim these to be their own original ideas anymore?
This is probably the same reason why most tend to shy away from other disabilities since they are not as notable or lack a general reference, muteness can be considered almost as common as being blind though I find that these characters seem to be an exception since out of all the various ways to solve the communication issue there is no real stereotypical method of doing so; sign language, carrying a note book, having a speech aid or companion are all decently designed mechanics and all tend to have their own little unique quirks. What I mostly mean is I have rarely ever seen someone play a character that is deaf, lacking the ability to sense physical contact or cannot smell or taste anymore.
Tip: Most of the unused disability concepts are in fact general states forsaken are put into when they reawaken. I have discussed the logic of being undead with a few people, the idea of what such a thing would do to the one’s physical, mental and emotional aspects. Many have speculated that forsaken cannot see colors anymore, instead they must now view the world in shades or grey, also that they are only left with a dull numbing feeling and cannot sense physical contact anymore, even if they choose to eat out of habit from their former life all they can taste is ash. These are all very good defining qualities given to forsaken characters (and is why I personally enjoy playing them so much, among other great reasons on roleplaying terms), and can also even be utilized by Death Knights so do not let them go to waste if you want to play with a pre-determined set of ailments as long as you stay true to the logic given behind them.
I think this is where I will stop as far as this subject is concerned, and I hope this wall-o-text of sorts wasn’t too boring and was helpful and informative when considering these things in your character’s development, we have a lot to work with in this game, best thing you can do to ensure your characters fir properly into the world without too much hassle or strain on world’s mechanics is to do your research and abide by the rules given. Simple stuff really.
Now it’s your turn to tell me what you think, I would love to hear what others have to say about, I doubt I really covered everything that there is to this subject so please help me out here and join in on the fun!
As promised, a few of my characters that would fall into these categories and how they have managed to stay out of those troubling areas discussed;
On a side note I do plan on replacing these cases with their full bios once I have them completed but for now it's all I got.
Physical disease: Rythika (Forsaken Unholy Death Knight) –This is the closest case subject I could think of that would be considered sickly. Her particular ailment coming from her choice to serve the Scourge and become a Death Knight as her state worsened once she had chosen the path of Unholy; resulting her eventual decline into undeath. This change took place over several years, as her body began harboring the very harmful and unstable energies she needed in order to become worthy in the eyes of her master. I determined that the unholy magics coursing through her would have a sort of parasitic attribute to them, clinging to their host so they could function though in doing so would hinder whoever they were bound to when it came to regenerative abilities.
Therefore the wounds she gained once she became a knight would never heal, but in turn would never be enough to kill her.
This also gave her another strange side affect, an acidic aura of sorts that would decay any life she came into close contact with. Eventually she sought the aid of a close comrade at the time to try and neutralize the acidic affects, and though they were successful in doing so, it weakened the unholy bonds that literally kept her broken form together. Their dire solution to this was a series of bolts and screws to hold the bones and what remained of the flesh together, with an electric charge to kick start what was left of the energy still held within her (like charging a battery, the concept developed with Thadius as a base reference).
Though for the most part she is still able to move with ease, considering being bolted together there is now a series of electric bolts that course through her on a regular basis causing her to jolt stiffly when it happens.
Mental disorder: Relik (Troll/Elf Subtlety Rogue) –This strange little creation of mine suffers from what could be closely described as insomnia, something she developed when she first started killing. Born from the fear of reliving those moments; a distorted image of a horrified young girl who had caught her in the process of murdering her father in cold blood. A lot of the death’s she caused being that of undeserving targets, haunts her with a deep guilt towards those times and though she is no longer used for that purpose it scars her still. Because of this she always seems to carry a restless expression about her, coupled with the very dark circles around her eyes if you can ever catch her without a mask or helm to hide this.
There is an urge to always keep herself busy, refusing to let herself get bored which eventually leads to her feeling tired. Prefers to stand unless ordered to sit and even then it will only ever be around those she trusts. If she does allow herself a moment to black out even for a short period of time she is strict about where and when she will allow herself to do so (preferring secluded areas where she can easily hide and is hard to get to, during bright clear days).
Physical Disability: Poy (Forsaken Demonology Warlock) –This is actually a prime example within my roster since it involves the two majorly generalized disabilities packaged into one character!
Yes, she cannot see. To be completely honest though, she is not blind. She can see just fine (though the shades of gray concept would apply to her, she is a corpse), but chooses not to. I used the belt-face feature here to show this. Her reasons for doing so are easy, after all these years being forsaken (made her back at the end of vanilla) she still views herself as a monster and because of this she chooses not to see the world’s reaction to her. Though most, as far as Horde side is concerned anyways, are used to the concept of seeing walking corpses on a regular basis it is something that she feels with always bother her. That being said, this hardly makes her anything close to being Dare Devil, she still runs into walls, trips on stair steps and even with the mask given to her so she could see souls (and some simple formations of life force)… she still is sometimes caught apologizing to a tree she just bumped into. Though she has gotten a bit better with figuring out where someone is standing roughly based off what direction she hears their voice coming from.
As for her missing a limb, yes, she missing a good portion of her right arm. Is there a mechanical replacement put in place? No. It’s just a stump, somewhat hidden by the ragged end of her robe’s sleeve. Does she plan on getting a mechanical replacement? No, she seems to have become used to not having it. It happened more or less for out of character reasons I will admit, the moment I saw that archaeology hand pet I came up with the idea of her eventually getting it to help her with anything she needed two hands for. Though I accidentally blew off the wrong arm (*cough* I believe the hand is a left one), I did not retcon simply because it was just another quirk for her to in theory have ‘two left hands’ then, it made me giggle anyways. Being a master of controlling shadowy magics she is in fact able to form a temporary ‘shadow arm’ when absolutely needed, though the process is draining and therefore used only for brief moment, though she has found it is quite useful when extracting souls.
Well there you have it, my own character concepts related to this subject for inspection. Have at them!
Signing off for now but more to come.