Your big beautiful beefy bulwark of badass.

For the times, they are a-changin’

Soon I’m going to start putting up some Cataclysm beta stuff on the blog, hopefully every few days, as I get time to play.  I’ll keep the actual content spoilers in terms of plot, story, art, etc. to a minimum, and try to focus instead on the mechanics of playing a Prot warrior while leveling from 80 to 85 in the brave new sundered world we’ll all be facing.

In order to do that, I’ve re-copied Linedan over so instead of being level 82, he’s back to level 80.  I was going to level him through Vashj’ir, but a couple of nasty quest bugs blocked progression there, so he’ll be grinding along in Hyjal.  This also gives him the solid raid gear that he’s accumulated over the three months since I got in the alpha.  So he’ll be leveling along with four-piece Sanctified T10, and most everything else ilevel 251 or higher.  Nothing so far has given him any significant trouble, although not being able to run addons means that I can’t really determine if his damage is really down, or if it just feels down because everything has so much more health now.

What I’m also going to do is, as soon as she hits 80, copy Latisha, my other prot warrior, over.  Latisha is the polar opposite of Lin.  She is going to hit 80 (hopefully tonight!) in a mish-mash of blue and green quest and dungeon drops, barely scraping 20,000 health in her tank gear.  And I’m going to keep her that way.  I want to see how bad it might be for a character who hasn’t spent well over a year at level 80 accumulating raid goods…what will it be like for somebody who just hit 80 in their quest greens and didn’t stop, but immediately headed back from Northrend to EK or Kalimdor and started dealing with the new zones where mob health is 30k instead of 12.6k and stuff hits much harder.  Their builds will probably be similar, but their items are worlds apart.  It should be an interesting experiment.

I’ve got other stuff on my mind with Cataclysm, though, and it involves Linedan.  I play on Feathermoon, a roleplay server, and I frequently admit that I should be doing a lot more roleplay than I do, especially with Lin.  He’s my main, after all, my beloved Panzercow, but he doesn’t get the RP love that he should, and it’s my fault.

I had a defined idea in mind that slowly developed over Lin’s first year or two.  He’s basically a decent cow–not particularly bright but not stupid, stoic, loyal, honorable as his culture sees it, dedicated to excelling in his chosen art of combat.  When I decided I didn’t like the clan name I’d given him (“Granitehoof”), I ended up ditching it by inventing a little bit of Tauren culture and making him clanless, something of an outcast from Tauren society.  He transferred his clan loyalty to his guild instead; he refers to the other people in Noxilite, regardless of race and without irony, as his “brothers and sisters.”  Yes, even the blood elves, albeit reluctantly sometimes.

That loyalty and stoicism is layered over a lot of built-in rage…yes, he’s a Cow with Issues.  He pushed harder and harder as he trained to earn the respect of those around him, and sometimes, he’s felt like he hasn’t when he should’ve.  As a warrior, he’s constantly walked a tightrope between the protector of his people and the berserk reaver of his enemies.  In fact, when I tried him out Fury for a bit, I wrote up a whole storyline about how he’d been possessed by what he thought was one of the troll spirits around Warlord Mandokir in Zul’gurub–remember the ones that would auto-rez you?–and it taught him the ways of how the trolls fought, furious, with total abandon.

My problem is, as the years have ground on, I’ve let the stoicism take over.  I’ve painted myself into a corner with him.  He’s gone from having a quiet personality to having no personality.  He’s fossilized.  That’s due to two problems not with him, but with me, the player.  First, despite having this blog and vomiting forth too much information on a regular basis, I’m actually quite shy when it comes to real-time interactions in-game.  I can roleplay within my friends, but around strangers, I lock up for fear of any sort of mockery that I’m convinced will come my way.

The second is the amount of mental energy it takes for me to stay in-character.  The past three and a half years have been…well, let’s be polite and call them “demanding.”  Moves, job changes, deaths in the family, mental health issues, financial stress, a high-energy daughter, so many other things…they all combine to leech my focus and energy, what my wife and I jokingly call “noodle,” right out of me.  There are many who view RP as a refreshment, a rejuvenator.  I don’t deny that, I know how fun it can be.  But staying in-character for me takes a particular kind of concentration that I simply haven’t had.  Paradoxically for somebody who claims to be a roleplayer and has been called an “RP nazi” more than once…it’s easier for me to focus on mashing buttons in the right order while tanking Arthas for three hours than it is for me to work out how Linedan would interact in a simple five-minute conversation with a guildmate.

This has left me with a main that I basically don’t RP anymore.  And I don’t want that.  I want to get my Hordeside RP back, with Linedan.  The buildup to and release of Cataclysm seem like a perfect time for it.  I’m just not sure what to bloody do at this point.  I’m toying with the concept, once The Anvil finally kills Arthas (ohpleaseletitbesoon), of Lin simply deciding that he’s done with all the slaughter and death and retiring back to Mulgore, just in time for all Deathwing to break loose.  Or maybe I can come up with something else to happen that will crack his shell a bit.  Right now, though, I don’t know what’s under that shell yet.  Is he stable?  Is he unbalanced?  Is he good?  Is he bad?  Will he stay loyal to the only home he’s known for the better part of five years?  I don’t know, and that’s a bit frustrating, and I can only hope that it will come to me over time now that I’m thinking about it.  Character changes like that, I’ve found, aren’t something that can be forced.  At least for me, they tend to blindside me when I’m thinking about something else.

In the meantime, how are you planning for your characters’ roleplay to change come Cataclysm?

11 responses

  1. Aggrokitty

    I have two major RP toons, of which Rashona’s the main one. She’s going to be considerably more feral in her outlook when Cataclysm hits, since as a druid she’s not likely to react well to that whole “crack the planet open” thing. (And then by the time she snaps out of it, she can find out about Southern Barrens…) I love playing up the contrast between her thoughtful nature and the fur-and-fangs combat style. I’ll probably get her back to Cerebral Cow eventually, but after years of playing Rashona as somebody who’s just not bothered by much, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to mess with her head.

    My other noticeable RP character is an orc hunter who missed out on the Third War and is desperate to prove her, um, orcishness. She’ll say all the right words, but I suspect she’ll be subconsciously grateful to have something really big and nasty and world-threatening to throw herself against.

    August 17, 2010 at 13:41

  2. You’re probably already expecting this so I’ll get it out of the way early: I’m pretty sure you’re safe from being mocked for RPing with your friends. At least, from those friends. I won’t make any promises about your friends & family irl or trolls, ’cause I know my own mother sometimes teases me for it.

    If you like, I (or probably any number of your friends and guildmates) would be more than happy to, say, do a bit of conversational RP in gdoc form so you can have a little warm-up and a chance to see Linedan come out of his shell. Sometimes interacting with people is the best way to grow their personality 🙂 Astrani might want some combat pointers, after all.

    August 17, 2010 at 15:06

  3. For me, it seems like the Camp Taurajo disaster has been tailor made for Linedan. I know my Blood Elf main is going to have issues with that, as he remembers fondly the time he spent in the Barrens.

    August 17, 2010 at 17:05

  4. Night

    I cannot wait for the continuation of the “So you want to be a Prot Warrior” series.

    My prot warrior who was a Sentinel for many years just saw Ashenvale and she is peeved…

    August 17, 2010 at 20:55

  5. Though a former pencil-and-paper RPer, I have never had the guts to go RP on WoW, which makes me envious of your commitment to do so – quite the opposite from someone who wishes to make fun of you 🙂 However, a few thoughts on Linedan might be helpful.

    Stoicism is widely admired in many circles…but you will find many RL stoics who are doing exactly the thing you describe – becoming more and more withdrawn in an attempt to suppress their emotions, rather than allowing them expression. Eventually, they wind up with the exact characteristics you describe for your character – no personality at all, all emotional energy spent on not showing any emotion. In the circumstances in which Lin and his guild have been operating, all energy has been spent on overcoming the “ultimate foe” – the Lich King.

    After that goal is reached by you and yours (have faith!), and he “returns from the wars” as it were, he could begin to show signs of fracture – what we would currently in RL refer to as PTSD. As suggested by Redbeard above, the Camp T. disaster would turn his attempt at recovery into something akin to rage – not only for the action itself, but also for being forced to go “once more into the breach.” This provides an excellent opportunity for several directions of character development – he is exhausted, angry, bitter, and yet feeling a need to take up his shield to defend not the world, but his HOME…the war followed him back to Mulgore, as it were. His emotional shell will have cracked – not only your guild, but even you might be surprised by what lies underneath.

    Whew! Sorry for the wall’o’text there. I love your blog and wanted an opportunity to contribute, it got away from me 🙂 I look forward to seeing Linedan’s development!

    – Hawk

    August 18, 2010 at 09:58

  6. Bricu thinks he’s going into semi-retirement. He’s talked to his missus about their plans–a chicken farm in the Grizzly Hills, a safe house in Red Ridge, looking for another safe house in Tanaris–and he’d rather give Wrynn the bird than sign up for more fighting.

    So far, Cata’s main storyline hasn’t grabbed me in terms of Bricu RP. I’m actually looking forward to playing a bit-part to the epic RP of others.

    August 18, 2010 at 13:04

  7. Aggrokitty

    Which is funny, because this is the first time I’ve had a Rashona-centric storyline in my head. She’s generally everybody’s backup/sidekick, and I am alternating between anticipation of really messing her up for once and total paranoia of *me* messing up.

    Then there’s the worgen druid in the pipeline… *knuckle crack*

    August 18, 2010 at 19:08

  8. Hammaryn

    I second what Bika said – I’d be happy to be a part of some Lin RP on any of my characters!

    August 19, 2010 at 12:22

  9. We’re still knee deep in the depths of some shake ups for the PoL. Every new thing that happens, changes what Kel and Dorri have planned.

    besides, those two aren’t exactly the type to retire. They’re already bored out of their wits doing clean up in Northrend.

    And I’ve already told you that I would love to do more RP with Lin. Pill will bring sheep to the new cow homestead.

    August 19, 2010 at 19:00

  10. I think the biggest thing for my druid brothers and co. will be the Ashenvale/Southern Barrens thing. Alanon in particular has always been a peacemaker who believes that a truce with the Horde could work out; once he sees what the orcs start doing in Ashenvale- their home- I’m pretty sure his whole way of thinking will be thrown out the window. Pitch would be feeling the same way as Alanon, and since he’s so much more martial than his brother… it probably won’t be pretty. Lark, I’m not sure about. I think I’d actually have to see the changes and figure out how she’d take it (come on, beta invite!).

    Horde-side will be harder to figure out because I know less about what will be happening. My troll shaman will hopefully be 80 by then and will be overjoyed to take the Echo Isles back, but as far as the changes to the Horde go, I’m not so sure. I hope to have my tauren druid transferred to Feathermoon by then; if I do, he’ll probably become my Horde-side main for RP. Since I’ve never really RP’ed on him before, I’ll most likely be playing by ear with him.

    My other toons may be kinda left out RP-wise I’m afraid, simply because of time/brainpower constraints.

    August 19, 2010 at 19:21

  11. Pingback: One More Dream (Linedan RP) « Achtung Panzercow

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