Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Character Background

Raíne posted recently about Character Backgrounds developed for non-RP characters. There is a trend of druid players (and other classes, as well) often feeling very attached to their character's identity, something which I am very much aware of for my own characters, and is at the heart of my own faction-transfer dilemma (for my feral druid).

I would like to also link Sylly's "What's in a Name?" post, since it's in the same vein of thinking: what you name your character will often depend on or help develop your perceived character background. A good read on the styles of druid character names.

Raíne asked the general blogging community,

"What made you decide to play [insert class name here]? Was it because it sounded fun? Did you feel a sort of "calling" to play your particular class? When you made your character did you create a back story or other sort of role playing element? I'm interested to know about the scope and lengths taken to make your pixelated image seem more like a living being."

What made you decide on Druid?

I have a dirty secret: the class I wanted to play first was a Shaman. I absolutely love wolves. They are my favorite animal, a guiding totem if you will. Thus, when I first looked over the available classes in WoW and saw that shaman had a ghost wolf form, it was what I wanted to be.

Alas (but perhaps for the better?), shaman were not available for play on Alliance, where the very friends who had purchased the game for me already had established (vanilla wow) level 60 characters. The druid was the "next best thing," as it were, since it provided the option to play in multiple animal forms as well as be the healer/support character that I was used to playing in City of Heroes (I played a Mind Control/Bubbler character there, which did lead me to leveling a priest alt in TBC).

I'm glad that I leveled as a druid, instead. I have attempted to level a shaman, and she is only about level 44 right now, after... about 3 years of existence. She's a glorified bank alt. I have about 10 characters higher level than her. Playing her just feels tedious.

Okay, so you went druid. What about backstory?

I didn't really develop this immediately, since I didn't have a firm grasp on Warcraft lore when I started the game. I hadn't played any of the previous games, and all I knew of night elves was that were the only alliance race able to play the druid class and that they lived in a big tree.

I started her off with the name Kae, a shortened version of Kaera, a name I had used for a recent D&D game, where my character had been a wolf monk (yeah, my DM let me play an intelligent wolf, and later regretted it for the Trip-on-bite ability ;) ). In naming her, I used the Faerun/Cormanthyr elven name generators, specifically aiming to make this lawful-good monk’s name the antithesis of my (chaotic evil) werewolf ranger from a previous game. The werewolf’s name was Sirius Giauzar, star names which literally translate to “Scorching Dragon.” For my monk, I chose Kaera with the Cormanthyr naming table, which translates very roughly to “Dragon Winter Song.”

In this way, Kae, as a character, had a bit of a legacy already, but in a "past life" kind of sense. I was shy to really build on the druid backstory when I knew so little of the Warcraft lore, and decided to let her story build over time, as I played her.

Is there a story, now?

Why yes, after 4 years of play, Kae and even Kaelynn have their own backstory to fit into WoW lore. It's nothing out of the ordinary for the world, but they have their clans, families, and connections. I still think of the rogue Tulaar to be Kae's brother (he was one of the friends who got me into the game), and Kae herself is a bit of a druid mentor to Kaelynn (a Mistrunner). Kaelynn's mother, ironically enough, I named the same as my lowbie shaman (Stardance), as a personal nod towards my original shaman wolfie aspirations, though I've flipped back and forth about whether this Stardance is a shaman or a druid, herself. Kae's own mentor is the druid Maxhunter, though he quit the game long ago (slipped into the Emerald Dream, perhaps?). I haven't developed the background too extensively, nor do I ever really roleplay them seriously, but my druids are more than just pixels and data to me.

  • Began her path as a healer and, in the end, decided to be more up-front in her protection of others by becoming a tank.
  • She is a bit more sensitive about the horde-alliance conflict, however. A good chunk of this comes from having originally leveled on a PvP server.
  • I wear on her the Justicar and Commander titles as a badge of experience (without the insanity that comes with Marshals), as a reminder of the months I spent supporting a Marshal team as both healer and flag-runner, and of the odd friendships I was able to forge with the horde druids across the faction boundary: a real feat on a PvP server. Krang, this is a nod to you, if you ever stumble across this.
  • Her favorite mount is Suraku, the Azure Netherdrake, a dragon she worked hard to free in the Outlands.
  • The forced break from my first raiding guild was rough on me (raiding with them was giving me panic attacks since I am far more hardcore than was comfortable in a casual guild, though I loved the people there), and equally left a sad spot on Kae's history as a character. She slipped into the Emerald Dream, and awoke months later knowing she had no "pack" of her own anymore. For now, she walks the world alone, though she will assist groups from time to time. She is Dreambound, and the details of what may be going on with her are even unknown to me, until the full lore of what is going on in the Emerald Dream has been released.
  • Thus, she is now my pugging feral, quietly stepping in to tank or dps with strangers. She will warm up to some to the point of warmly joking around with them as though they were old friends, and remain quietly aloof to others.
  • Moonglade is her home.
  • Began as a soloing feral druid, a free spirit of a lioness that then turned to the ways of the oak, seeking instead to heal and nourish, though not quite ready to give up her melee habits (read: I often punch things while in treeform).
  • She is quite willing to jump into the PvP fray to save a friend.
  • I wear PvE titles on her, most often "Chef" or "the Undying." Starcaller will probably be my favorite, once I achieve it.
  • Her favorite mount is the Swift Brown Wolf, a mount I quickly ground rep for in Alterac Valley to purchase as my first epic ground mount rather than getting the kodo.
  • She is at peace with her "grumpy old man" treeform. I, as a player, would far prefer to see something more feminine, but Kaelynn knows herself to be more than the gnarled bark and sour face of a shapeshift, and knows that connecting herself with those hunched treants gives her a deeper understanding of natural magics. This is one point at which she differs greatly from Kae; Kae has an intense stubbornness against treeform.
  • Thunder Bluff is her home. I find it odd that she doesn't relate as closely to Moonglade as Kae does, but I let it be: the green plains of Mulgore are her home territory and where she feels most at home.
Both seek to protect and support their comrades, they just do it in different ways. They are quite similar (being aspects of my personality), but have some uniqueness as well, and both are far more to me than just pixels.

~~ I will be AFK until Sunday, helping to run a 5-day/4-night camp of 80 campers. Volunteer work is awesome! ~~


Bell said...

I wanted to be a hunter first. But my friends said they would make fun of me and call me "Legolass," so I rolled a druid. My very first character was Bellwether, and she's still my favorite.

Kae said...

Legolass! That's great.

I can't help but wonder if we were steered to our druids by fate, though I will admit that I do enjoy my hunter alts :)