I am, and I’m starting to wonder why I’m attached to this one particular look for a main character across MMOs and RPGs. There’s definitely a psychological explanation, which I will try to decipher.
Many who play Lotro with me, especially back on my old Riddermark server, has often said that I am instantly recognizable. When I first created Haffleheim, my Lotro Captain back in 2011, I paid more attention towards his appearance. My main at the time was a Champion, who looked younger, avatar-wise, so I wanted a second character that represented a wiser figure, someone who looked like he’s been through a lot in the war against Mordor. Someone who looked like a leader, that I felt would ease my immersion into my character and his progression, especially when playing the Captain. Now I don’t claim to be a hardcore RP-er, but I do enjoy giving my characters internal back stories.
Hence, the grey haired, long bearded Haffleheim was created. In no way was I thinking of replicating that Gandalf look. That was never my intention. Nothing really changed until I started doing more socially interactive content in game, such as dungeons and PvMP, over the following couple of years. I had put a lot of time and effort into the Captain to ensure that I was contributing effectively in my kin and in end-game groups with other players, who expected it. It paid off, and I was somewhat proud of what I had achieved, and was able to do with my Captain.
The keyword here I think would be recognition and gratification. I thrived on that recognition, staying humble, hungry, and always willing to learn from other Captains. Without realizing, I had built a brand that I was consciously looking after, inwards and outwards.
I guess that’s why I’m attached to Haffleheim’s avatar appearance, because of all that we – the virtual representations of myself – have been through; memories, emotion, highs and lows. I now replicate that look across most games I play, perhaps to make it easier to own the character, regardless of the game’s plot lines and narrative universe. Because in my head, I know him so well. The appearance helps me import the feelings, attributes and the personality.
Wow, this is deep. I wonder if any of this makes sense to you, dear reader. So my question for you then, is are you attached to your gaming avatar, or a certain aspect of it? Why do you keep using that color? Why do you opt for that same logo on your site? What’s your story?