Getting in the head of a character represents one of the most fascinating bits of roleplaying for me. This particularly occurs in my case when my character feels frustrated. Maybe he can’t accomplish some goal, like finding the object of a quest, or maybe he feels the dull ache of disappointment upon realizing that the world on which he lives turns out to be far less idealistic and far more dystopian than he’d realized.
I’m experiencing that at the moment with EVE Online. One of my characters, Kudon Astraisx, flies for the Minmatar Republic, a collection of tribes who won their freedom decades ago in a revolution against the nearby Amarr Empire and the slavery to which they’d been subjected. I’ve consistently played him as politically naive and too idealistic for the harsh environment in that game.
Now this situation has begun to cause even greater problems, as the government he serves starts to revert from a parliamentary republic to a tribal council. This has caused him to become disillusioned at a particularly difficult moment, as a state of (limited) war has broken out between the two nations, with the Amarr having recently regained substantial portions of the initial gains by Minmatar forces.
I feel his frustration. What does a soldier do in that situation? Normally he fights on, aware that defeat would lead to an even worse situation at home. Maybe after a time he returns to his homeland, having completed his tour. From there, all manner of options open up: political activism, quiet working life, mercenary work, government service, substance abuse and depression… The list doesn’t end. We can spin out archetypical templates ad nauseum.
But the characters in EVE don’t necessarily fit those archetypes so well. They’re transhumans, who don’t die except by sheer accident due to cloning and backups. The ability to fly ships via pods rather than a bridge crew makes them so much more effective than any other traditionally-commanded ship that they can strike out and do whatever they wish. As a sandbox game, players can pursue nearly any interest that grabs their attention.
So I’m not sure where he’ll end up; maybe I’ll focus on another of my characters, or maybe I’ll continue his story in unexpected ways. What I do know is that I love the sort of universe we have in EVE, where ideal choices just don’t exist and your character’s future can play out however you wish.