13.1.13

Shared topic: No Favourites

Which of your characters do you always look forward to “seeing?” But the real question is why? Perhaps think of this from a role playing perspective, that this character has a personality, play style and demeanour that inevitably just works.

Topic suggested by Mataoka of Sugar and Blood

My favourite character, the one I always come back to, the one I’ve played the most and who always makes my top ten list, is my shadow priest, Miriah. This post has become a bit of a tribute to her.

I created Miriah at the start of June 2006 for roleplay, duelling and battlegrounds, and my first character (who had spent her time duelling outside Ironforge and raiding AQ) never drew my attention back.

At the time this wasn’t all that confusing to me, as I had yet to figure out my preferred role in the game.

Nowadays, though, I’ve played through all the classes and I know I love being in melee range, if not tanking outright, more than anything else.

It seems a bit odd that my ‘main main’ is a caster. So I’ve been thinking a bit about why she’s such a compelling avatar.

Consistency

This is something I find can break a character for me. They’ve multiple specs and roles, and I don’t find one in particular to stick to. Or I think I have, but then I want to queue with a friend who plays the same role, and I’m actually quite good with the other spec, so I might as well just...

Only “I might as well just” actually involves research and UI modding and re-gemming and reforging and re-enchanting, and maybe it makes me lose a sense of focus or identity for that character.

The same goes for barber trips and faction transfers and what have you.

Miriah has looked the same all the way from baby alt legging it through Ragefire through to level-capped monstrosity melting faces for her pit fighter title. She’s been a shadowpriest all that time as well. I even healed Molten Core in shadow spec, because that’s how super elite and exacting my raid group was at the time. For all of Cataclysm both her specs were shadow (PvE and PvP) and, in character, she has never faltered and fallen to the Light.

I like that consistency. It’s low maintenance, it’s reliable, and it indicates a lasting focus for the character. If I want to play disc or holy, I just log my healer priest. I don’t get the pressing guilt of the hybrid character who won’t heal to help people out, because Miriah is DPS, and that’s that.

And I don’t have to worry about all that bloody reforging.

Character

Miriah is my main roleplaying character, and has been for going on seven years. A huge amount of progression has happened over that massive span of time.

She started out as a nervous eighteen year old, unused to human contact after being cloistered away by her light-wielding mother to hide her shadow tendencies from the rest of the community.

At the core of her, however, she had a great deal of hope and tenacity: despite the discomfort of her new state and the horrors she endured as part of the Scourge swarm, as undead she had the freedom to be amongst people and to actively and openly practice her art. Set on making the best of things, she threw herself into being strong, smart, decisive and reliable, and managed to become an active part of a large group of Forsaken.

I won’t say it went well for her at all times. Her enthusiasm grated on quite a few people who hated what they had become, and she grew attached to some dubious characters very quickly. For a Forsaken shadow priest, someone training under a powerful, manipulative mentor, she had an honesty about her shortcomings and her fears that sometimes made her very vulnerable to entirely the wrong crowd.

But she grew, gained power and confidence, and became a prominent part of her guild, The House of Sylvanas. Her greatest success was not becoming the guild leader’s majordomo, but the moment when, after Miriah had confessed how often she was afraid to her ward, the girl said right back, “Yes, but you control your fear! I think you’re made of solid stone.”

She has had her heart broken on multiple occasions. She’s given into fear, temptation, desperation and, with the Wrathgate, utter, dark fury. Entering a self-imposed exile out in the wilds of Northrend, where she acted as the sole provider for two children, one of whom had been foolhardily raised using necromancy and was doomed to degrade rather than to grow, she took a back seat while I roleplayed as a blood elf and raided as a dwarf.

During that time alone, explored primarily through prose fiction, she developed immensely, and re-entered centre stage as a very self-sufficient figure. After seven years, she has a lot of those qualities she first set out to gain. She’s powerful, she’s forceful, she puts herself and her loved ones first, she’s wickedly intelligent and she’s very forward-thinking.

The girl she once was, however, didn’t anticipate the wealth of other qualities she would pick up along the way. Miriah is a survivor. While she’s as hard as nails, her survival mindset has left her with mental processes that keep her vigilant, yes, but also make it far more difficult to bond with people.

She’s presently working on that, trying to be more open and approachable within a particular group of people, but she’s still something of an overwhelming character. She knows what’s best. Shadow hide you if you’ve a differing tactic: this woman managed to engineer two paradoxes on the sly during someone else’s Bronze Dragonflight plot arc, and she’d really like to know what makes you qualified to comment.

Sharing an avatar with such a powerful personality is an interesting experience. She does bleed over into my behaviour sometimes. I’m quite happy to channel Miri if a group’s getting on my nerves, and give them what for.

I’m also considerably more ambitious when I’m playing her, but without the need for speed I’ll plague myself with on other characters. I generally feel that Miriah will have all her achievements, all her reputations and her vanity items. It’s only a matter of when. It's sort of like arrogance-zen.

Solo play

Shadow priest is fun out in the world. I get the same sense of immediacy as I do as a melee character because most of the time I’m tanking for myself, and I’m not fragile like my mage can be when his main survival skills are on cooldown.

Miriah has a wide range of tools to fend off death and keep mobs controlled, and I enjoy making use of them: aggroing things on mass, rooting them in place and DoTing them up; fearing things; mind controlling one thing to beat down another; and using feathers to sprint about or break my fall.

With Silence, Dispersion, Phantasm, glyphed Fade and Psychic Horror she’s pretty bloody tough, and she has one of my favourite skills in the game: Mind Vision.

How to find rares: Mind Vision. How to freak out the Alliance: Mind Vision from behind a rock.

It might be a bit strange that my enjoyment of solo activities binds me to the character more than her performance in a group setting. This is a massively-multiplayer game, after all.

But I find that in a group setting I’m happy to play just about anything: the enjoyment comes from working alongside other people, so even the warlock I’m not exceptionally attached to can keep me occupied for hours in that sort of setting.

It’s when I’m playing alone that the game is more about me and my character than anything else. It’s solid solo play that draws me back to Miriah when the raid is done, or when I have a few hours to burn in the morning before work, or when I want to go on a ridiculous world exploration journey.

Ultimately, that’s what makes Miriah my favourite. Rather than logging her for a particular purpose, to fill a slot in a raid or to balance an arena team, I play her for her: because her class is fun, her character compelling, and her archaeology maxed out. I will never need to grind fragments again.

2 comments:

  1. Oh I love your description of Miriah! And her whole story! Thanks Nyx :)

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  2. I found it a really enjoyable topic! It's definitely nice to reflect every once in a while.

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