Posts Tagged ‘SWTOR’

The Psychology Behind Character Creation – Part 2

A little while ago I wrote an article about why we make our characters look the way they do. To follow up on this I have conducted a few interviews with SWTOR players asking them questions about characters they’ve made. Something I quickly picked up on was the relationship with the players motivation for gaming and the attitude he or she had towards character creation. There’s a very clear connection between these two which you will be able to see for yourself below. If you haven’t already read the original article about the psychology behind character creation I would recommend you follow the link and do so first.

The Psychology Behind Character Creation – Part 1

Here are the summaries of four interviews highlighting some different attitudes to character creation and it’s importance:

 

Aaree
The Harbinger

Aaree tells me that the first character she makes in a new game generally is a slightly idealised version of her self. It’s got similar features as that of her own physical self. The alts that come after can differ a lot but tend to unnamed (2)have one or two things in common like the eye colour or make up. She gears her characters to suit the role they play.

“As in the case with my healer sage wearing robes, ect” she explains.unnamed

Almost all of her characters are female and have always been since she started gaming years ago. Aaree does have a male character that she is very fond. She tells me she has spent a lot of time getting his appearance just right.

From talking to Aaree it is obvious that immersion is important to her when playing a game like SWTOR. This is clear from looking at everything from the way her character looks to how she gears them and even makes choices in the story fitting the personality traits she has assigned the character. Her main is female and so are most of her alts. They look either very much like her or are very different but with one or two similar characteristics (such as being human, same gender or even eye colour). If she goes for other species then these tend to be human like in their appearance, marialans or cyborgs for an example. Similarities such as these will make it easier to feel a sense of immersion into the story. It is also a way for us to explore different sides of our own personalities within the safe environment that gaming provides.

 

 

Snave
The Red Eclipse

Snave tells me that he spent more time making his main character but then modeled the other characters that came later after that. This due to a combination of limited character design options in the games he plays and him “being pretty lazy about this stuff”. He has spent much more time customising his characters outfits ect than he did in the initial character creation he informs me.

When asked if he finds his main resembles him in any way he answers: “Unfortunately I am not blue, nor do I have red eyes. I guess we have similar hair at a push but to answer the question; no I do not model characters after myself normally.”

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Language, pls! Gaming slang, offensive?

When I started playing SWTOR my past gaming experiences were very limited. I remember playing a bit of Sonic on my uncles old SEGA but at the time I must have been about nine years old. Over ten years later I ran into SWTOR. Since reading and writing has always been a passion of mine I found this new medium of storytelling fascinating. I eventually found the little button on the minimap which lead me into warzone queues and that was that. I no longer cared about story content, I could beat people up in warzones instead. Well, get beaten up mostly really but for some reason I still enjoyed it immensely.

Needless to say at this point I was clueless about half of the things being said in chat. I was quite proud over having grasped the concept of the different roles (tank, healer and dps) but on a daily basis I was looking up acronyms like “ikr”, “aoe”, “pug”, “gg” and “fps”. Expressions like “casual”, “rekt” or “grind” were as incomprehensible to me. Urban dictionary was my best friend while unsuccessfully trying to camouflage myself as a real gamer like the rest you. I have to admit, the first time someone called out they were getting raped in a warzone I was confused.

After having played the game a little longer and thankfully gotten at least a little bit better at it the language too started coming more naturally. Urban dictionary and me no longer needed each other. Without thinking of it I was using the terms that had once been so alien to me.

One day when I was on TS with a few friends something interesting happened that I could not have predicted.

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The strange case of an online friendship

Another sleepless night. I told myself I would stay in bed and try to sleep. I told myself I’d be good this time and stay. But I never do. There is something uncanny about sleep. I’ve always felt it. Even though I’m tired, the thought of parting with consciousness always makes me weary. “A waste of precious time” I tell myself, and it’s true. Something happens when the rest of the world is sleeping. My crowded mind seem spacious just like the abandoned streets outside. Thoughts and memories come to me in a way that suddenly makes sense. That’s what happened tonight. As I lay in bed, deluded by sleep, the memories of the strangest friendship I ever made came suddenly to me all at once. It of course all started in the most peculiar of places; the MMO called Star Wars: The Old Republic.

To make the long story of how we became friends short lets skip over the exchanging of guards, peels and heals necessary when securing a new in game ally. Let’s skip over the many warzones that followed, the PvP drinking nights, the laughs and the somber 3 am conversations. Almost a year after we made friends we decided to meet up. At this point we had actually already met once before together with a few other in game friends. This however would be different. We’d both had a crazy couple of weeks and needed a break from everyday life. So it would be.

I met her at the airport. As fitting our personalities I was instantly comfortable and she the opposite though I knew she was happy to see me.

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Ranked PvP and why Bioware needs it

Every day millions of people all over the world interact with each other in online environments known as MMORPGs. Asking these players why they play reveals a wide variation of motives. Nick Yee made a study of this subject. Using this I will tonight write down a short and (hopefully) easy to read analysis of the long term benefits that could be gained from a functional ranked PvP scene.

Let us start by asking why people play these types of games. If we can first articulate the motivations then this provides a foundation to explore the methods of creating a satisfying in game environment. For game developers finding out more about player motivation is important since it can emphasise how certain game mechanics may attract or alienate different types of players. Though Bartle’s Player Types is a well-known player taxonomy it would be hard to use on a practical basis unless it was validated with more verifiable data. I will instead use the paper by Nick Yee: Motivations for Play in Online Games. In this study three main components emerged as the principal incentives.

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If we now take a closer look at rated gaming in SWTOR we have two types of ranked PvP queues available (even if they are highly dysfunctional due to reasons like imbalance between classes and poor matchmaking resulting in the existing population feeling discouraged to queue).

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