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DiscussionMar 7, 2023 8:08 am CT

How do you deal with it when your character has to do something out of character?

Have you even been playing a game when your character has an action forced upon them that you find disturbing, upsetting, or just out of character?

One of the earliest examples of this I can think of was the quest in World of Warcraft during The Burning Crusade expansion where we were asked to torture an NPC for information. There was a lot of noise on the official forums telling Blizzard that the players base wasn’t happy being asked to do that. You could argue that what’s the difference between torturing an NPC vs slaughtering entire tribes of Murlocs or Centaur or Furbolgs — but to the player base there was a huge difference. We may be murder hobos, but we have standards, you know?

I know that personally, I seriously considered quitting World of Warcraft when Sylvanas burned Teldrassil. I have played a Night Elf druid since launch, and felt my entire race had been fridged to progress her story. The fact that the “resolution” to that storyline apparently happened largely off-screen just made it worse. I felt like my character had been robbed of their agency in this situation. Many Horde players were similarly appalled — they considered this a step too far, especially when she followed it up with letting off the plague-bomb on Undercity.

The story did give Horde players a choice to pledge allegiance to Sylvanas or not, but Alliance players weren’t given a similar option to seek revenge or accept the outcome.

But not everyone accepts the frameworks our games operate in. A notable example would be Doubleagent the neutral Pandaren Monk who has repeatedly reached the maximum character level without leaving the Pandaren starting zone — he refuses to pick a side so his character is still there in limbo. The player found clever ways to continue to painstakingly level this character while having other alts who are quite happy to slaughter their way across the multiverse and pledge allegiance to one faction or another, but they’ve found a way to protest the faction wars in a visible and unique way.

Sometimes our characters have been deceived in a way that has the person piloting that character sighing bemusedly. This happened most recently in helping out Fatescribe Roh-Kalo in Shadowlands as he tried to destroy our reality, but we also helped Rax and Snaggle Sixtrigger in Stormheim (Legion) who were obviously robbing some Taurens blind or even as early as Abercrombie in Duskwood who sends us to collect wildly suspicious items he eventually used to build Stitches, a monstrosity that was the bane of low level Alliance characters during vanilla World of Warcraft. While we may have been helping the bad guys, we didn’t always know that we were — or, perhaps more importantly, our characters refused to acknowledge we were.

Some games have even more distasteful examples, such as the forced pregnancy of Kassandra in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. How strongly you react to it can depend on on whether the action was optional or mandatory. Does refusing to engage with this action or choice block your progress in the game?

Have you ever played a game where your in game avatar has been asked or made to perform an action that makes you feel uncomfortable as a player — or even annoyed that your character can’t see through an obvious ruse? How have you responded? Did you stop playing? Did you let the designers know this made you uncomfortable? Did you shrug it off as “just a game?”

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Filed Under: Basic RP, Questing, Wow Rp

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