Discussion: What Makes a Compelling Character

90 Blood Elf Death Knight
0
You have a few flaws in your post.

The Long Vigil was not, and never was, designed to be a world wide vigil against the Legion's return. It was simply the watching over and preparing to defend Night Elven territory.

Tyrande only grew anxious about a Legion return later on in the Vigil, which she was correct about. Incidentally, you blame Tyrande for not adequetly preparing for the Legion, yet when she responds with quick, decisive hostility against fel-tainted soldiers whose leaders have declared their intent to cut the forest down, you call her hotheaded and reckless. Can you not see the disparity here?

Also, those orcs and humans attack the Night Elves, too, on sight. It's not canon which side struck first.


Nothing you said creates a disparity. The first NE mission she's not fighting against Fel tainted soldiers. The humans and orcs are clearly not fel-tainted, the orcs aren't big and red. You've got a paladin down there wielding the Light that you have to kill to complete the mission. Maybe that should have made her curious about whether there were differing factions among the orcs and humans. But no. Better to just slaughter rather than, say, sending an envoy under a flag of truce to at least learn something about a situation that began on a continent their race apparently just stopped paying attention to. (You'd think they'd have kept SLIGHTLY better tabs simply because the Highborne that went there kept practicing magic and became the High Elves, but no).

And as far as the purpose of the Long Vigil... I didn't say what their own purpose was. I said what they called it and that they had 10,000 years to prepare for the Legion's return. How is a failure to be prepared for the Legion's return not incompetence? How is orienting the Long Vigil towards mere Night Elf sovereignty not a failure? They're given immortality to defend one giant freaking tree created to mask a new well of eternity they !@#$%ed Illidan out over because of fear it would draw back the Legion. They're all caught with their pants down when the big thing they feared came to pass.

I am playing devil's advocate in terms of coming down on the Night Elves harshly there. It's not exactly fair to say Tyrande and Malfurion suck at their jobs as leaders and are failures before WoW even started. But the NE fans need to put away the rose-colored glasses. Almost everything that made them "good leaders" was based on their personal prowess and general treatment of nature, rejection of temptation in terms of power, a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

Tyrande in the scenario is no different than Tyrande in the RTS. She's not a particularly deep, complex, or great character. She never was. But they weren't inconsistent. She's hotheaded and decisive. Sometimes that pays off, sometimes it doesn't. The only difference is that the player doesn't control her like they did in the RTS, so she doesn't "win" every time. And that seems to be at the root of the mentality that's bothered by the Scenario. Of course, there's no real canon about how those battles she "won" in the RTS went, in terms of the cost of victory. Some players probably did great and lost almost no units. Some players probably lost a crap ton of NE units but just kept throwing wave after wave until they won.


Tyrande has virtually the same personality as Ji Firepaw. They're both passionate people who can't sit and do nothing. Why does it appear that Ji is more praised by fans while fans grow frustrated with Tyrande's treatment? They both do "reckless" things for good reasons. It works out for Ji in game but not for Tyrande. Why?
Reply Quote
90 Human Paladin
7705
Please, don't de-rail the nice thread that the CM made for us.

Since there have been so many discussions on character development (male, female, or otherwise) I wanted to start a discussion (just a discussion here, no promises implied) about what it is that you find the most compelling or interesting about a character? What is it that makes a strong female character strong, or a male character the right kind of vulnerable? What is "enough" for the development of a character?

Everyone has their different perspectives and rather than an argument about what people don't like, I thought it would be productive to find out a bit more about what it is you like.

(Examples are always welcome as well.)

*As always, please keep it clean and refrain from any personal attacks or inappropriate discussion. Please avoid flame bait points of discussion. ie. If you know it usually ends badly, please try to be aware of that.
Reply Quote
100 Undead Priest
21880

Tyrande has virtually the same personality as Ji Firepaw. They're both passionate people who can't sit and do nothing. Why does it appear that Ji is more praised by fans while fans grow frustrated with Tyrande's treatment? They both do "reckless" things for good reasons. It works out for Ji in game but not for Tyrande. Why?


I'd agree with that. I'd just say that sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. Though Ji Firepaw being "praised" by fans sounds kind of strong. Ji is enjoyed for the little that he does until the player hits level 10 or 12'ish. Voice acting is always nice.

Frustration with Tyrande seems very minimal to me. It seems like the people upset about this are the same number that were upset about young Tyrande having been told "Hush" once by Malfurion when the world was about to explode and he wanted to know where his mischievous brother was in an intense moment.

The way I see it, the best hope for good stories coming out of the Night Elf areas would just flat out play off of division and discord and anarchy within their own society. All the mean stuff I said about Tyrande and Malfurion.... a young Night Elf leader in the game should be saying it, questioning how well their previously immortal leadership really did with all the time they were given. Their society ought to be in absolute chaos. They lost immortality, they've lost their hold on most of the continent because orcs and trolls arrived and made an alliance with tauren, who also allied with the Forsaken, arcane magic use is on the rise and their refusal to master it has put them at a disadvantage, Highborne have come back, they had a massive betrayal from within their own leadership ranks with Fandral Staghelm and his flame druids, they're aware that Azshara survived the Sundering and her followers became naga and Azshara has a big grudge against Malfurion and his ilk.

To me, it's not enough to have a compelling character. You also need a compelling story, environment to tell that story, and story direction.

One of my biggest gripes is the faction war. A big theme each expansion is that our fighting is bad because our "true" threats will beat us as we get weaker or they grow stronger. Ironically, we not only fight each other every expansion, but we also have time to fight and defeat our true enemies. I feel like the message of putting aside our differences falls flat as a result.

The Alliance are always compared as being as bad or as petty as the Horde despite how in most cases, the Alliance reacts to what the Horde does in self-defense, retalliation, or to protect others.

The Horde are given both vague reasons to attack the Alliance, and vague reasons why the fighting is bad. The conflict between Garrosh and Vol'Jin has escalated, but it still started off with Vol'Jin disagreeing with Garrosh's war. Why? Why is the war bad for him and his people? Morality? Lack of something to gain? The timing and method of fighting?

The Sha failed to be a deterrent towards fighting in Pandaria. The Sha resulted in so much damage and chaos in Pandaria, but the fighting grew even worse in Krasarang and the Isle of Thunder. That's not including the war against the Mantid, Mogu, and Trolls. Why aren't they affected?


I'd agree that the faction war has not been well handled. I think it could be far better justified without changing the story.

The biggest mistake to me has been the total failure to actually paint a picture of how destitute the orcs have been. A general in Cataclysm in Stonetalon talks about how, since Garrosh came in as warchief, their families aren't starving anymore. The short story made it clear that the orcs poverty-stricken lives made a big impact on Garrosh's mentality in Orgrimmar.

Here Garrosh recovered his pride because Thrall gave him this neat presentation in Nagrand that left him feeling like his dad had redeemed himself and his race, then he arrives in Orgrimmar and sees that Thrall continues to hold their sins against them to some extent and has been keeping the orcs in a desert environment and letting them suffer to continue to cleanse them. (Though weirdly, the narrative about Thrall kind of ignores that he also let a bunch of fighting go on at the borders, I'd love to see that hypocritical behavior called out at some point in the Siege of Orgrimmar, but that's probably wishful thinking).

I actually think that when you take all of Garrosh's life events together, the story with him makes sense, and it makes perfect sense why the orcs would absolutely love him and view him as a better leader than Thrall. But the trolls didn't feel like they needed more. Their biggest enemy was one bad troll that took their island and practiced bad voodoo. The tauren didn't. They mostly only had conflict with the Grimtotems. Garrosh is focused on his people and believes that what is good for them is good for the Horde as a whole. It's shameful to him that the humans and Night Elves have all this fertile land and prosperity, while his people eek out a living on dry dirt. I also think the developers view the orcs as making up a huge proportion of the Horde. Something on the order of half of it maybe, with the other five horde races (troll, tauren, undead, goblin, blood elf) maybe splitting the rest around the time of Cataclysm.

I like the faction war. It's good to bring the game back down to more mortal type concerns of factions that have real conflicts with each other over the resources of their world. Given that everyone IS mortal now and shouldn't expect to live another thousand years, maybe they ought to be focused on the stuff that would seem most likely to impact them within their lifetimes. I mean, we the players know that Azeroth won't get a break from overarching world-ending threats cause Blizzard needs to constantly be working on an expansion. But why should the characters assume that threats which were on the order of once-every-ten-thousand-years should now be treated as practically annual events?

I like that Wrathion's approach is to determine which faction should have total dominion over the world to prepare for the Burning Legion rather than trying to broker a truce that will last indefinitely. Wrathion's one of my favorite additions.
Reply Quote
91 Night Elf Druid
9065
Frustration with Tyrande seems very minimal to me. It seems like the people upset about this are the same number that were upset about young Tyrande having been told "Hush" once by Malfurion when the world was about to explode and he wanted to know where his mischievous brother was in an intense moment.


The "hush" Tyrande was in the books, but the tone the VO used was definitely a poor one. I'm not so much upset about it, but it was poorly done.

As for Tyrande and ALP, here's the reason it doesn't fit with her past portrayals.

Lets take a look at her second mission in WC3. It required her to build an army while sneaking through Demon Infested lands (Demons who could kill her without much problems in that incarnation of her), until she had forces large and strong enough to destroy an Undead Army besieging a Sentinel Base, and she had to move that army around the Burning Legion.

That takes patience.

Now, lets take a look at the third mission on, where most of Tyrande's "recklessness" comes from. She's quick to action. But she's also up against a time frame. The third mission has her busting through Horde armies and slaying Primal Guardians who didn't want the Druids woken up. Why? Well, there was an army of Scourge about to kill Malfurion.

Freeing Illidan? Well, a demon army is knocking on the door, and the greatest demon killer is through that room. Her actions had a reason. And said reason turned out to be right. Dude saved the world.

Her words against Orc and Humans teaming up? Well, Cenarius said they were fel tainted. Yeah, they were not big and read, but in the game Cenarius mentions they have demon stink on them. They show up, start cutting down the forest, and then shortly after the Burning Legion shows up. All the evidence points to the Orcs and their allies (which included humans at the time) being in on the invasion until Medivh shows up.. Who really should have told Tyrande and the Night Elves on what was about to happen, but sloppy story telling.

Then let's move onto TFT.

Rushing out to Illidan? He was about to leave, she thought she had a better chance talking to him alone. Which, in THAT history, she did. Their connection made sense. The bridge further on in TFT? Well, there was an army about to rip the caravan to shreds. It was flat out said it couldn't survive the next wave.

Those actions of rashness and impulsiveness had reasons. She was either against a time limit, or had a reason to believe the way she did.

ALP? As per Kosak, she was just angry. You, Torvald, keep bringing up the dig in, reinforcement thing.. Which is an argument I've used myself when trying to argue Tyrande's course wasnt' that bad when ALP came out, though I was complaining about the whining.

I even said the whining was the worst part of it, and sorry, but it's not a word that doesn't mean anything. Her tone is whining. Trust me, I've got two little sisters, I know the tone.

But then Kosak SAID why she was wanting to rush in and get her people killed.

It wasn't to stop the Horde from digging in.
It wasn't to stop the hostages the official description said they have.
It wasn't to prevent a harder battle.

It was because she was angry.

And THAT'S why it's out of character for her. Not because she moved in fast and hard, which would have resulted in loss of life on her side. Because she's done that......when she had a good reason, or at least a reason you can at least understand on how she thought it was good.

In this case? No..

She was angry. And that's from Dave Kosak. Not from me.

You can't take a look at a characters actions and use said actions to justify a portrayal. A REASON for those actions, CONTEXT for those actions, must be present as well for actions to be considered in character.

Getting angry, and getting your troops killed because of it?

THAT's the problem.
Reply Quote
85 Tauren Druid
13985
You need to write your story to fit your characters instead of your characters to fit your story. Malfurion hating Ragnaros for destroying Hyjal but being cool with the Horde destroying Ashenvale doesn't make any sense. Garrosh killing Krom'gar for bombing Stonetalon and then bombing Theramore himself doesn't make sense. Varian getting mad at the Orcs instead of the Forsaken in Battle of the Undercity doesn't make sense. Too often your writers come up with a plot development that doesn't really fit and have people act out of character to justify it, when instead they should be coming up with plot developments that work with the characters and setting.

Characters should be flawed but those flaws should not alienate them from the viewer. It's okay for Varian to hate the Horde, but when you just have him rant about it with no in-game explanation he comes off as an angry racist. And most people in this day and age don't sympathize with angry racists. Now, had you elaborated more on what the Forsaken did in battle of the Undercity -kidnapping and torturing Alliance citizens while the factions were supposed to be at peace- and how it affected him and the Alliance, I think a lot of people would have liked Varian from the beginning, even if you still presented him as being "wrong" for wanting war with the Horde.


Another example of this, I thought, was Thrall's role in the goblin intro quest line. I know he was supposed to be there to help bring the goblins into the horde, and to give the goblins an exciting big deal lore character to interact with. But I thought his actions in that story line went against what his character was supposed to be in Cataclysm overall. He didn't seem at all diplomatic or neutral or wise to me when dealing with the Alliance or appointing Gallywix as the leader of the goblins.
Edited by Tesuque on 4/9/2013 11:20 AM PDT
Reply Quote
100 Undead Priest
21880

Getting angry, and getting your troops killed because of it?

THAT's the problem.


You're mixing a driving motivation with not being capable of perceiving other justification for your motivation. Ultimately, her position isn't that unreasonable, and the fact that she's also pissed and wants revenge on the orcs isn't out of character as a driving force. She'd love to snipe them from the forest I'm sure. She just doesn't think Varian can succeed in drawing them out, and there's no reason not to go in there and finish them off. And she's pissed and angry too.

You keep trying to draw on the fact that she can ambush or make her way around things. The scenario doesn't go against that at all. This isn't a lot of terrain though, not a bunch of sprawling enemy camps, it's just a temple the orcs have gone into. She's angry, but her approach is conventional even for someone who does ambushes in the forest.

It's perfectly in line with how she was introduced in the first mission of the Night Elves in WC 3. She knows virtually nothing about the humans and orcs that are there under the paladin commander. She decides to start attacking them because she's just pissed that they're in Ashenvale at all. That costs plenty of lives, and was far more reckless.

She's exactly as she was represented in WC 3.
Reply Quote
100 Human Death Knight
12815
I've always thought that Darion Mograine was a well written character. For all intents and purposes, he is an "anti-hero". An anti-hero is a flawed hero, and therfore, much more intresting then the more traditional heros. They can be working on the side of good, but with a tragic flaw, or a horrible past, or for reasons that are selfish and not intirely "pure". They can also be working for the side of evil, but with hidden noble intentions, or other underlying complexities. These darker heros can be jerks, pathetic, hard, jaded, or mean. However, all anti-heros must have enought heroic qualitys, intentions, or strenth (physical including attracktivness or mental) to somehow gain the sympathy of the audience.

Darion is so easy to like because his motivation is so clear and relatable. All he wanted to do was save his father, the ashbringer, from damnation, but in the process he ended up sacrificing himself.

After that he was risen as a Death Knight Scourge champion, then later freed at the battle of lights hope chapel. His only motivation at this point is revenge on the Lich King.

He is simple, his motives are clear, and we'd all do the same in his shoes. 8-)

I hope to see more of him in the future!
Reply Quote
I've always thought that Darion Mograine was a well written character. For all intents and purposes, he is an "anti-hero". An anti-hero is a flawed hero, and therfore, much more intresting then the more traditional heros. They can be working on the side of good, but with a tragic flaw, or a horrible past, or for reasons that are selfish and not intirely "pure". They can also be working for the side of evil, but with hidden noble intentions, or other underlying complexities. These darker heros can be jerks, pathetic, hard, jaded, or mean. However, all anti-heros must have enought heroic qualitys, intentions, or strenth (physical including attracktivness or mental) to somehow gain the sympathy of the audience.

Darion is so easy to like because his motivation is so clear and relatable. All he wanted to do was save his father, the ashbringer, from damnation, but in the process he ended up sacrificing himself.

After that he was risen as a Death Knight Scourge champion, then later freed at the battle of lights hope chapel. His only motivation at this point is revenge on the Lich King.

He is simple, his motives are clear, and we'd all do the same in his shoes. 8-)

I hope to see more of him in the future!


I, too would like to see more of Darian in the future. I see all the Death Knights as very Wagnerian characters, the knights who fell from grace, then were redeemed. Heck, I even named my DK "Tannhausna", to make a feminine form of Tannhauser, who was the knight in the Wagner opera who is corrupted, then is saved/forgiven.
Reply Quote
100 Troll Warrior
14990
A compelling character is all about likability. Even if its a villain you gotta be able to empathize with them and actually care if they achieve their objective (complete their arc whatever).

Take Illadan he was Imprisoned for thousands of years and his brother hooked up with the chick he had the hots for. Add the fact that he is a total boss that will use whatever power available to achieve results and you got a potent multifaceted mix.

In terms of wow, allot of time it comes down to the voice acting, a poor forgettable performance can turn even the most well written character into a big nothing. I hate Illidan in WC3 (and the night elves in general) but after seeing the TBC cinematic with the "You are not prepaid" dialogue, I quickly changed my mind.

Above all though, compelling characters need catch phrases.
Reply Quote
90 Night Elf Druid
16980
03/29/2013 02:30 PMPosted by Nethaera
I see a lot of people say that they want a character that's written without gender in mind, but even when this is done, gender defines the character, at least it does in your mind. Thus, there are expectations of that character based on that.


Actually to me, gender is less how a person is, and more of how they react to the society's pressures and demands of the person based on their gender.

thus, if we were to take Night Elf Culture for instance, obviously, female night elves are held to a different standard than male night elves.

The first is expected to be hunters, sentinels, leaders and priestesses, while the latter is expected to be druids, maybe priests, but less warriors and hunters.

Thus a female night elf character who doesn't go for a position of power could be fundamentally written the same as a male one, just as a result of different expectations from the culture that surrounds them, they'd be subjected to different situations than their male counterpart.
Reply Quote

Please report any Code of Conduct violations, including:

Threats of violence. We take these seriously and will alert the proper authorities.

Posts containing personal information about other players. This includes physical addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and inappropriate photos and/or videos.

Harassing or discriminatory language. This will not be tolerated.

Forums Code of Conduct

Report Post # written by

Reason
Explain (256 characters max)
Submit Cancel

Reported!

[Close]