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Diablo 4 > Discussion > Video Games > WoWJan 26, 2024 8:00 am CT

Do you play video games for the game or the character?

I realized recently that I don’t play games as much as I use games to imagine various characters experiencing the storylines. Whether it’s World of Warcraft or Baldur’s Gate 3 or Diablo 4, for me it’s much more about playing a character — role playing in the traditional sense of trying to inhabit a role and using the game in question as a kind of prompt to help me get into what that character would think and feel and do.

I think that’s why, years after the fact, I’m still somewhat salty about the Burning of Teldrassil that kicked off Battle for Azeroth, because I wasn’t just playing the game. I was playing my characters — Vorn, a stoic but kind hearted Tauren who viewed everyone as being someone who needed help and Scythianas, a poppy upbeat Night Elf barely out of her 100’s who suddenly saw the fiery destruction of everything she’d come to view as home and both of her parents dead in the bargain.  I’d made choices and decisions for both of those characters over the years and they didn’t go well with the destruction of Teldrassil.

Now, to a degree that means that I’ve really been very interested in the epilogue stories of Dragonflight, because again, those characters I mention absolutely have feelings and intersecting narratives with what we’re seeing as the expansion closes out. But again, for me it’s not really about those events or the gameplay of it all — those things matter and are interesting, but I play these games to play these characters, I don’t play these characters in order to play the games. Without a character to explore the world with, without a role to play and a series of differing viewpoints to watch these events unfold, I’m not terribly engaged.

So what about you? Do you prefer games where you never have to play a character at all? Are you more interested in mechanics, gameplay, narrative, lore — and how do you prefer to interact with them, as yourself playing a game, or as a character living in a world?

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