What’s your mental image of other players?


When you meet other players in World of Warcraft, and you interact with them, what mental image forms in your head?

Okay, for me I just think of the casual people I meet as their characters. “Ikeelu? Sure, I know that guy. He’s this 70 Hunter I met in a Pug, had a flappy thing for a pet. Probably PvPs a lot, had a lot of Merciless gear. Seemed like a nice guy. Can’t Chain Trap to save his behind, though.”

Yep, I think of you, when we are chance-met travelers in the wastes of Azeroth or Outlands, as your characters. When I think of you later, I picture your character and class. For better or worse.

But what about your guildies?

What mental image do you form of the people you interact with regularly in guild chat, go on instance runs or raids with, and talk to (or listen to) on ventrilo regularly?

Think about it, and let me know, honestly. I’m curious.

I do tend to think of people I know in guild, or have known for a while, as a mental image of real people, an image of maturity or lack thereof based solely on voice, typing/phrasing ability, communications skills, and a wierd bit of your main character that you were playing when we first met thrown in for good measure.

And since all the gamers I played RPGs with in real life were in the service for the most part, when I think of gamers in general I automatically have fond memories of times in the service and good campaigns with good friends… who were all Marines. Except Manny, the token tanker doggie.

So you may be surprised to hear that I think of you all as being in surprisingly good physical condition, considering we all spend at least part of our time sitting on our butts playing a video game.

Which is why I sometimes feel a wierd dissonance when someone I meet or see in the media starts talking about WoW players as being fat no-life basement dwelling geeks.

Who are they talking about? I don’t know anyone like that.

Well, maybe Occulus. 

I find it interesting how different someone else’s appearance turns out to be in real life, when you have only met them through killing stuff together.

First time I saw Gerolan’s picture on his Myspace page, I thought “Damn, he’s young. I thought he was older than that. And had hair. And that guitar looks ridiculous. He needs a warhammer in that picture. And where are his muscles? You need more upper body strength than that to wear plate armor.”

Just something I was thinking of, when I saw that picture I posted above… I think the stereotype sometimes says more about the people who buy into it, than it does about the people they are trying to ridicule.

I can tell you for a fact, time was I’d have been delighted to make a costume and go out and wear it. 

These days, I am older and wiser. And just as poor, and with even less time.


22 thoughts on “What’s your mental image of other players?

  1. I play horde, so I don’t exactly picture guildies as orcs or trolls running around irl. Except for one. 😛 But I do find that if they post pictures, they’re not what I expected.

    I guess my mental picture is a mix of their character plus their personality and voice. I have a hard time not seeing female trolls as being “frumpy” for example.

    Mentally I expect people to be attractive, like the “normal” people you see on tv. I’ve also found that the less I know about someone’s rl side, the more off my perception of them can become. My brain will fill in pieces so I can think of them visually as a whole person.

    An off-shoot note… I have the same situation with guildies’ rl names. I’m so used to intricate, unusual names that it’s a shock when you find out they’re normal and plain. When I polled our officers once, I came away with Bob, Tim, Bill, David, Jim, and Stan. True story. o.O


  2. I have rl friends who play a gender opposite than their RL gender, who find it funny that I view all people as the gender of the character they are on at the time. It doesn’t matter you have 3 girl char, 2 boys and are a girl irl. When you are on the boy you are a boy. When you play a girl you are a girl. 🙂

    I find I don’t think of people and what they look like I just see them as their char even when we are talking rl stuff. Maybe its because the game is so visual I never need to?

    *cough* and the picutre is of cosplay not larping darn it! 🙂 said as someone who has done both.

    side note-love your bloggy goodness


  3. Moreover, has there ever been a picture made available of John Patricelli? As a fellow Minnesotan I’ve often wondered if I might run into you by chance. At the Minnesota State Fair I saw a guy walking around with an Alliance shirt and I asked myself, “Could it be?”


  4. Folks is always tellin’ me they’s surprised me RL avatar don’t look (or sound) more orcish. What can I say? I rolled a nerd, and minmaxed him fer major-league nerdity…


  5. I’ve found that unless I hear them over Vent, I cannot visualize any kind of pre-conceived image of a person.

    Once I’ve heard them, though, then yes, I immediately get a mental image that doesn’t always coincide with what they actually look like.

    One of the healers in my old guild had a high, musical voice, with a soft Southern accent, and I immediately pictured her as a petite, shy blond in her late 20’s/early 30’s.

    After seeing a picture, I had a hard time reconciling the voice with the picture, as she turned out to be a biker chick in her late 40’s… not an unattractive one, either. O_o


  6. So, I’m going back and forth about something, and maybe y’all can help here. I’m considering making and wearing a costume to Blizzcon. I don’t LARP and I’m not making the costume to CosPlay so much, but I just think it’d be really fun to be a little WoWy in a real-life setting. (I also play Horde, but dressing up as my boy-cow is totally not an option.)

    I go back and forth between embracing my inner dork and being TOO dorky. Being _that_ nerd, ya know?

    What do you think?


  7. Scary enough, I picture you, John, as being a big roomy guy… Large thru the shoulders…So, yea, i kinda see u as “bearish” in my mind ;p
    Cassie, in my mind, has always looked slighter of build & tiny (in comparision) standing next to you. I see her with a huge lovely smile & kind, happy eyes.

    Now there was a warlock in my old guild who I never really thought of what he might look like, but when I saw his pics on myspace, I was floored! He was very attractive.

    I recently rolled an female orc (never did before) & now I see why I didn’t. Believe it or not, my body type is very similar to that. I’m a sawed off little tank looking chick! It’s kinda creepy! Of course, my face looks nothing like that so that’s good! O, & i dont have green skin ;p


  8. Costumes…well hell yeah! I live in New Orleans and Mardi Gras is THE holiday here. Any adults who are too ashamed to dress for Halloween after their kids outgrow it are welcome here.


  9. This is actually why I dislike voice chat. While it certainly has it usefulness… it destroys the fantasy.

    No, not the fantasy that the other people I’m playing with are dorfs/tauren/bears/whatever. The fantasy that they AREN’T sad little nerds like me.


  10. I’m an avid LARPer with a couple games in the twin cities… and several friends I picked up in that circle have also picked up WoW… we tend to create social atmoshperes around a day of playing WoW with “manual ventrillo”… grilling and pot lucks all add to the fun.

    It does really change the perception of the little toons you go kill stuff with. But it is another interesting experience.

    As for the picture, yeah… I have to say God Why too… I’m more used to some well throught out subtile costuming and prop usage that can somewhat blend in with society… perhaps with a couple odd quirks… dressing up like japaness anime characters is more akin to walking a model’s catwalk at some event, then an actual LARPing experience.


  11. I actually find that voice contributes most to the way that I think about people. Since joining the Devils after being in a local guild, I am suddenly the odd one out with the weird accent whereas it used to be the other way around. So I figure out what I think you are like from your voices – then you go and post pictures and I just can’t reconcile the two.


  12. The people I play with are their characters while I’m playing with them. Except in certain cases, as in the case of Sharlet the Paladin with the intense deep voice and the dainty fem pally. 😛


  13. I know in RL alot of the people that I play WoW with. They got me into the game two months ago after they’ve been playing it for years. I’m now at level 64 cat>bear and I’m just starting to meet more people. I guess that I think the new people I meet are just like my real life friends… middle class college grads who are intelligent and friendly. I’m often wrong.


  14. When some of my guild members bugged me enough to get me to give them my myspace info, they all thought I’d be older fatter and geekier. Believe me, I’m geeky enough – but I don’t LOOK that geeky.

    There are always the ones that prove the stereotype, but if you really look at it, most WoW players are regular people.

    Still it is crazy to hear people for the first time and then see their RL pics and go… Wow! NOT what I expected!


  15. Oh god…

    I personally tend to “place” people according to their voice. I was RL in a quite large guild pre-TBC, and we had this absolutely awesome mage.

    He was very, very insightful, and always spoke at just the right time, always saying something intelligent and thoughtfull.

    I had, however, never heard his voice. He didn’t have a mike, hence no voice-chat with him. After about 6-7 months he did go out and buy a microphone. Excellent, I thought, we’re raiding tonight, will be good to hear his voice.

    That, ladies and gentlemen, was a turning point for me. He logged into Vent, and spoke a couple of sentences… His voice was EXACTLY like that of the gnome in “Illegal Danish”, the “WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN MY GUIIIIILD?” voice.

    I swear, the guy could have done the speak on the entire film, he was that close.

    I was cracked up over it. All seriousness evaporated from him, simply due to his voice…


  16. Back when I was in one of my old guilds, I put up a picture of me on the guild website, and the girls (we had a bunch of girls who played, it was pretty cool) all kind of flipped out. I believe their exact words were, “TRACK, STOP RIGHT NOW. YOU’RE TOO GOOD LOOKING TO BE PLAYING WORLD OF WARCRAFT”.

    Of course, wipes from then on got blamed on mobs being attracted to my handsome features… 😛


  17. We have a post on our forums, “the face behind the toon” and I always enjoy meeting a new recruit, first in game, then on vent, then usually a week or so later as a picture on the forums, once they’ve become comforatable with us.

    As for not looking like you sound, I had a long time guildie finally browse the forum thread with all the pictures in it and post: “I thought Ori was a fat chick.”

    I cried a little.


Comments are closed.