RPG - Changing Your Mind
Is it worth the sacrifice?
You’ve spent weeks, even months plotting. All the characters are in place. And just when it’s time to roll your fate in the matter, it happens. You realize you’re changing your mind. Or worse, things don’t go as planned and other circumstances require changing your mind for sheer survival. I’m a planner, and hate when that happens!
In the Iron Realms game Achaea, I play a bard. She’s lucky to survive in a fight against a wargoat. She sucks at combat. When helping kill a newbie so it could reincarnate into a different race, it took a good ten minutes before the poor little thing finally bled out. But she loves to create things -- especially artsy things. As a bard, her requirements for advancement within the house (It’s like a guild.) included things like writing poetry and playing music. As someone who prefers combat in a themepark RPG setting, in a text-based MMO the bard was the pefect choice for my character! Since I first started playing in 2005, this character never altered her race, class, house, or city. At times it proved really frustrating! But in the end, not changing her mind always paid off.
However, a friend who started playing Lusternia, another text-based MMO, around this same time is always changing his mind! He’s tried every available race and class within the game, joined four of the six major cities, and been a member of at least nine houses -- all on the same character! I never would have had the patience to keep changing my mind and re-start the same character over that many times -- especially as former organizations he’d quit considered him an enemy for quite a long time. While his character will likely never stay in one organization long enough to earn any kind of rank or leadership benefits, that’s perfectly fine with him. He’s quick to remind others that changing your mind is a great freedom within an MMO and no one can accuse him of not fully exploring everything the game offers.
Some people, like me, are born planners. They can’t fully dive into an MMO until they’ve researched everything to the hilt -- from character traits and perks to player reviews and the game’s business model. But others are more like my friend and are more relaxed; jumping between races, guilds, and classes until they find what works for them. If you’re one of these people, don’t be surprised if you find yourself changing your mind, altering traits on a whim, and for reasons as frivolous as disagreeing with leadership decisions that affect your character to something more serious like spying on enemy factions.
And still others fall victim to an affliction that gamers refer to as altoholism. These people are called altoholics, and if you are one then you’ll find that your dedication to your main character prevents you from changing your mind about things related to that character. In this case, alts provide a somewhat safe way to explore the game without compromising the hard work put into developing your main character. Before changing your mind about your main, you can test out other guilds, cities, classes, et cetera. Some games, like WoW, even allow transfers and sharing between characters -- as long as they’re owned by the same person. Other games, like the MMOs from Iron Realms, prohibit the practice and encourage characters to each earn their own merit with little exception to terms of service and other policies. Spending any time building a character in a game where sharing is not allowed is something that makes players think twice before changing their mind about major decisions.
Personally, I find that changing your mind is easier in a themepark setting, like Skyrim! Even though it’s disguised as an MMO in terms of environment, I know what to expect each time I go through the game. Although my initial choices might cause the consequences to vary slightly each time I play with a new character, it’s still basically the same game over and over again. And I don’t see myself dedicating several years to developing a character as I have in my current MMORPG of choice, so changing my mind doesn’t really involve any kind of real sacrifice.
I’d love to hear your comments on this article, as well as tales of how changing your mind affected your own MMO character development. Thanks for reading!