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All the World's a Stage: Getting too attached to a character

Usually when we talk about getting too attached to a character, we're talking about getting too attached to one's own character. Heck, I'm actually most accustomed to hearing about that kind of thing from other roleplay venues: LARP, tabletop, maybe even PvP MUDs. But WoW roleplay doesn't usually involve character death, so it's not usually an issue. So, if we're talking about getting too attached to a character, what could we possibly mean? We're talking about getting too attached to someone else's character; we mean getting obsessed with an in-game partner or wife, to a point where problems can crop up.

The Drama Mamas passed this letter over to me, since it so greatly involves roleplay. I've obviously altered the names of those involved. Let's roleplay that this was a letter to ... the Roleplay Drama Papa! (Feel free to insert a "Who's your daddy?" joke here.)







Drama Mamas, I need help.

I am fairly new to the world of Azeroth. I have always loved RP, and so rolled an ally and a horde alt on an RP server and jumped in. My ally is the one in the current predicament.

You see, upon traveling to Stormwind, I was invited to a pub-based event. Feeling happy enough I immediately jumped in and started roleplaying with a gentleman. Our characters were vivacious types, so they they hit it off. Some problems arose early on, which I shall confess since I want a completely honest view.

One problem was that even after roleplaying for a couple hours, the other person always acted hurt when I cut the RP off. A lot of times it was to get some leveling time in, since I was still a lowbie and wanted more opportunities. Another was the discussions about erotic roleplay. Now, ERP isn't my thing. I describe kissing and that is about it. We could see our characters heading towards a relationship. I thought I had ended the issue.

Except the guy kept bringing it up. And I admit, I was too nice because I allowed one or two things more than I should. Little things, and our characters haven't even slept together, but still.

Recently, I decided I hated leveling the class I was playing. Since this person was the only one I really RPed with, I told him my decision to reroll this character as a Death Knight.

The other person was obviously distraught, Two things made me raise my eyebrows. He said he was so distressed because he cared about my character and didn't want her to go through that story. The fact that he was so attached to my character did not sit well with me. The second problem was that he suggested changing the back story of my character to have her be a virgin. It was so that her first sex was more meaningful

He eventually started talking about how his character was probably going to wander off, but mine would always be a part of his roleplay, and how it was fun RPing with me. I thought he was just overreacting, but I shared how my character would probably react. He then said it looks like I really wanted the characters' relationship to be over.

He said something along the lines of me having won the debate, but both of us losing RP partners, trying to sound all elegant while doing so. I must admit, I was ticked at this point. I simply said I didn't understand how I lost the roleplay in the first place, because if I had lost I wouldn't have cut him out of my stories. He said that I had gotten cocky, and though I admit some of my humor can turn out as such, I apologized for that but then he said the smilies were also cocky. I had always thought they were used to defuse situations.

To put it simply, I could understand it if the debate had been more fired up than it was. It never crossed lines and I thought it was just a friendly one. And the fact that he reacted so heavily bothered me. Also, he said the bomb I had dropped about planning to have my character turn Death Knight within the week shocked him, and how that bomb also affected him. And also how he didn't like losing debates.

So I am in a quandary. Although I apologized for any bluntness or hurt feelings, the person still acted like a martyr, I was truly annoyed, and though I was polite and patient when I logged off, I just got madder and madder. Now I need help, because I feel my emotions may be clouding my judgment. Should I not communicate with him? Should I ignore him, or should I just continue on like nothing happened? I feel like there are some warning signs, but maybe people take roleplay this personally and I was not aware. I need help, Drama Mamas.

-A brand new RPer

Brand New,

First, I should tell you -- yeah, people can get really invested in their roleplay. I chose that word carefully. If you spend hours every week for months developing a story and a character, you're going to get attached to that character. People get ideas in their heads of how they want their characters' lives to be, and can get frustrated when things don't turn out the way they want them.

Now, obviously, it's impossible for me to guess everything going on here. The player might just have honestly been that shocked, or maybe he thought that you were tired of him. Even if you were being truthful that the mechanics of your character's class was why you were rerolling, he might believe it was his fault.
Or, the guy might have an unhealthy attachment to your character. That does happen, and I've seen it a few dozen more times than I'd like to admit. (Though, admittedly, I'm more accustomed to seeing that kind of thing in LARP than WoW roleplay.) I've seen players go on year long vendettas when their in-game lovers are killed. It's kind of crazy, admittedly. But I try and chalk it up to "they lost an investment, and that can always be frustrating."

What should you do? Honestly, if you're frustrated, then you need to decide if you think something unhealthy's going on here. If you're getting a "creep" vibe, then you should walk away. If you still want to play with the guy, though, then tell him that you think this felt a little odd, and would prefer not to go back down that road. The key is to be completely honest about your feelings; don't hem and haw because you want to be nice and friendly. And, again, if you're getting a creep vibe, walk away without another look back. Nothing good can come of a bad dynamic like that, and it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Good luck,
Drama RPapa



All the World's a Stage is your source for roleplaying ideas, innovations and ironies. You might wonder what it's like to sacrifice spells for the story, or to totally immerse yourself in your roleplaying, or even how to RP on a non-RP server!

Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

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