Do any of you play World of Warcraft or similar games? Do you have a Second Life? Wanna tell me about your avatar? Is it like you? Not like you? Do any of you have an avatar of the opposite sex? Anything else you want to tell me about your avatars?



  1. haddy on #

    ha i do i play maple story

    my brother has a black person hes white its realy random and i dont have red hair though it would be cool i love my giant hammer

  2. Tim Pratt on #

    I play World of Warcraft, though I run hot and cold on it (I’ve been playing a fair bit lately, after a hiatus of several months). My few forays into Second Life haven’t been very successful — it’s always seemed a boring, empty place, albeit with some very cool settings.

    My main WoW avatar is a female undead mage, three things I am not. I chose an undead mage because, well, I’m *me*, and my love for sentient zombies who shoot fire from their hands is limitless; I chose female for the practical reason that when I tried a male avatar, people constantly challenged me to duels, to the point of annoyance, but when I played a female character, no one ever challenged me to duels.

    I made my avatar as ugly as possible, complete with gaping holes in her cheeks and hideous spiky hair, because most people tend to make their female characters really pretty, even the undead ones, and I wanted mine to look a bit different. (Undead do have pretty options, in a goth-girl sort of way.)

  3. Eliza on #

    I don’t play any games that require an avatar, but did you see this slideshow in the NY Times Magazine?

  4. Ted Lemon on #

    I used to play Matrix Online. I had several avatars. I started out with a male avatar who was skinny and geeky-looking, but after a while I switched to a female avatar who was skinny and fashionable. I played her up to level 50. It was more fun playing a female avatar – even though I was totally up-front about being male IRW, people still seemed to like hanging out with my female avatar more than my male avatar.

    Later I started a female avatar with really dark skin and crazy facial tattoos. She was a lot of fun to play, but I never got her up to level 50. And she didn’t have as much of a social life as my white female avatar, but I think this had more to do with the fact that I was playing her on the hostile server, where people aren’t as friendly, and she never made it above about level 25.

    I think the aspect of MxO I enjoyed the most was playing the avatars and socializing – the actual game play was fairly lame. I think people who write MMORPGs don’t really get how to keep things interesting. Other than the online socializing, it seemed like pretty much a waste of time.

  5. marrije on #

    I used to play Habbo Hotel, and had an avatar that was very much like me. Same with the avatar I made for Second Life, which I played for about 17 seconds because a. I found very little to do there, and b. it didn’t really work that well. My little wii-person looks like me, in a sketchy way. This seems to be the pattern for me, and I usually play/chat/publish under my real name, too.

    The only time I had a guy-avatar was on a site I was checking out for my children, Runescape, when I played as Wim-Lex (the name of our crown prince) because I had no serious intention of playing for a longer time.

  6. haddy on #

    i also play dofus its iteresting

  7. Sash on #

    i created an avatar for second life but it all seemed like too much effort for basically wandering about. i’ve decided i just don’t get them. they’re right up there with fish and baked goods on facebook. no idea.

  8. CW on #

    I’m female. In EverQuest I played a female dwarven paladin. She was short (like me) but apart from that she did all sorts of things I don’t do In Real Life: she drank like a fish (you can develop your alcohol tolerance in EQ, much like any other in-game skill), and she also swam ..err.. like a fish (this is another skill you can develop in EQ – I don’t know how to swim IRL). In wow i tend to play male characters – mainly because i am sick of juvenile comments about “titties” and other similarly enlightened interactions with other players. in sl i have only had female avs (but i find sl pretty dull).

  9. hereandnow on #

    I haven’t played MMPORGs like WOW but I have played other rpgs like the baldur’s gate/neverwinter nights franchise. I discovered fairly early on that I can’t stand playing as an evil character. Can’t do it! i like slaying evil, negotiating solutions, solving riddles – and I feel bad for fictional characters if I have to screw them over. basically my gaming persona is very similar to my real-life identity. but with a compound longbow. and access to the magic missile spell. and sometimes I’m a half-orc.

    if given a choice, i don’t usually play as a male character because i feel like there are enough male heroes in gaming already – and i like the feeling of agency/solidarity ‘prodding buttock’ (in the words of Terry pratchett) gives me as a female character.

    it does really annoy me when game developers assume that players are going to have a male avatar. for example, with a male protagonist in baldur’s gate ii you can develop romances with one of three women, but if you’re a girl you’re stuck with one guy (and he’s an absolute prig!)

    i haven’t tried second life – i haven’t had a reason to yet.

  10. Diana on #

    Justine, I recommend reading my tiny life by julian dibbel. i quoted him in the avatar section of the essay I just wrote for that pullman anthology, discussing the idea of gender and avatars, etc. (we can discuss this more over email).

    my partner and I play world of warcraft. my main on there is a female draenei priest (very pretty, except for the goat legs) that I play with one of his alts (he plays more than me) who is a male draenei warrior. so that’s very conforming to gender roles, our real life counterparts, etc.) but *his* mains are all female. his argument is that if you’re goign to spend a lot of time staring at them, they might as well be cute.

  11. ktbuffy on #

    I actually met my fiance through a MMORPG. We were both playing City of Heroes, and since then, when we can’t be together in person, we still go online and play together, with the avatars standing in for our actually seeing each other. He also plays WoW, and is trying to get me to join him in LOTR online.

  12. violetprose on #

    I can’t play anymore (no high speed internets where I live), but when I lived in Atlanta I played WOW quite a bit. I miss it muchly.

    I’m female, but my main was a night elf male… I played with my best friend at the time, also female, also with a night elf male avatar. We would RP them as a gay couple. Not as caricatures or stereotypes or anything…just as themselves, really. Her guy was sociable, he did all the talking. My guy was quiet and tough, very protective of his partner. I have no idea why we fell into playing them that way. That was just what worked for the characters. I’d slip into a whole ‘nother persona. I kinda miss those boys, too.

    Sounds a little weird, I guess, but there you go.

    I also had several alts that I’d play solo – one gnome female, a couple human females, a couple night elf males, a night elf female. I preferred to play the male avatars as they tended to be left alone… The females sometimes got flirted with, and people always wanted to group. I didn’t RP with those avatars, just basic hack ‘n slash, grinding my way through the levels. I’d switch back and forth depending on what kind of game I wanted to play…warrior, mage, hunter, druid, etc. That was fun too, but not as much fun as my main.

  13. aden on #

    my girlfriend bought me a copy of world of warcraft when i moved halfway across the country from her (out of economic necessity, not choice). she bought a copy for herself, and we wound up having something we could do together that didn’t tear through cellphone minutes.

    my main’s a female human mage, but i haven’t played her in quite a while. i’ve found myself leveling up a series of alts, but I have to have a sense of the character before i can really invest time in their development.

    i’ve got a male draenei paladin, who isn’t really like me at all, insofar as he’s a totally self-righteous unquestioning bigot. he’s principled, and can actually be a good person sometimes, but he has a gestalt that he cannot break free of.

    my other alt is a little female gnome warlock. she’s not really like me either… though it is fun to have a giant ball of pure evil rolled up in a tiny pink-haired package.

  14. Alys on #

    I play wow and my avatars, like myself, are female.

    I’m old enough that I’ve also played the text-based mporg’s. When I did that, I made a male character because I was less likely to get chatted up as a male. I feel guilty about it now, because a female player started flirting with me and I didn’t tell her right away that I was female, which was information she should have had. After being friends for awhile, I finally decided to hint to her that I was a girl, and she really didn’t take the hint. Commenting about my female roomates, discussing the girl-power books I was reading, and other hints I can’t remember now, she couldn’t get out of the mindset that I was male until I came right out and told her explicitly.

  15. shelly rae on #

    Hey Justine,
    I’ve played WoW, ran a guild, and had quite the social life on my particular server. My main avatar was a human female paladin but I played a number of characters–all female expect for one male character I made to just hold stuff from the others–I named him “CabanaBoi.” Interestingly other players refused to believe that I was a “real” girl (partially because I played well I guess–go figure) until we set up a way to “talk” to one another when we did raids. The first time they heard me talk they were shocked. After that I recruited for raids by pinging, “come raid with us and talk to a real live girl!” in a sarcastic manner of course.

    I haven’t played in a while though–too busy doing other stuff like triathlons and such. Maybe when the weather gets bad I’ll sign back in.

  16. genevieve on #

    Justine, these comments are heaps more interesting than the mundane bit of technews I’m about to share – apparently at a big tecchie do in the States, this crowd have unveiled their beta ‘U’Vatar program. You might like to have a look?
    I can’t for the life of me see what’s that special about it, the imaginary avatars are rather more impressive. Reminds me of a comment an acquaintance who dj’s in SL made – he says so many people go on there with avatars and scenarios like their real lives. Am yet to check that out though.
    Anyhow, here it is, http://www.befunky.com/

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