One of the most striking aspects of this particular game is the extent to which players are devoted to their characters. The explanations for this devotion include some that fairly straightforward and common to many games:
- simple time investment; in some cases as long as 12 years
- effort; time and energy may have been spent achieving certain goals, such as strengths in particular areas or abilities that are difficult to acquire
Other reasons are not as typical, such as the devotion to the community of other players. Within the larger player base, most players develop networks of people with whom they routinely hunt, and while these friendships may grow beyond the confines of the game, for those who are geographically distant from each other, the game may represent an important way in which they can “be together.”
The most interesting reason to me though, is the way characters become more and more individual over time, and become more and more real — meaning they form ongoing relationships with other characters, not only in the game, but through posts in the game’s forum, through individual “scrolls” (blogs) that players create, and in the websites made for clans — players that form cooperative groups that are somewhat familial in character and may share a common purpose. Some purposes are rather lofty while others are humorous, as can be seen in this description of the Laughing Academy. My own clan is the Zouclougeist Alliance, which is devoted to silliness and being lazy. I am very fond of ducks.
In order to further explore the emergence of these characters as individuals, I’ve started keeping a “scroll” for my character. Interesting her voice in the scroll is not the voice she uses in game — it’s far more in character (IC) and rather serious. I’m not sure why, it just comes out that way. More on that experiment later.