From the first moment I realised that it was possible to play a massively multiplayer game online—that I could create a little computer person and interact in a virtual world with hundreds of other little computer people—I’ve only really wanted one thing: to be ordinary.
The thing is, I’ve never really understood the power-trip, hero-fantasy aspect of roleplaying games; especially MMOs. The desire to be a legendary figure of power and renown. It’s always struck me as a real immersion-killer to know that everybody I pass in the street has done the same great deeds as me and, more than this, it counters the very sense of power and achievement the game was presumably designed to provide in the first place. Because if everyone is the saviour of the realm, if everyone is an ultimate, special warrior… then nobody is.
Instead, I’ve always looked for experiences where I can feel part of a bigger world, where my character is just one face in a crowd. I want a fantasy setting that feels real—and this means that it needs shops, tradespeople and others just going about their business, and so on. Where most people are just, you know, making a living. Continue reading