Discussion: What Makes a Compelling Character

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I would like to point out a few things that sort of stuck out to me over the last two expansions. I've noticed that Tyrande/Malfurion have basically been thrown aside story wise. Malfurion doing god know what, and Tyrande fighting against the Horde in the scenerios with Varian. However, what I wish to bring to notice is the absolute lack of development for poor Shandris Feathermoon. Is she well? Is she going to get a part in the main story soon herself?
Ooh, ooh! To add on to my love of halflings (or in this case, two quarters and a half), are we going to get some Med'an love at some point?? I find him to be a compelling character and, I believe, he's never REALLY been introduced properly in the WoW game itself! Kids got so much back story with so little love!
are we going to get some Med'an love at some point?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfbK_dbsCu0
03/29/2013 02:30 PMPosted by Nethaera
I also see a lot of vague mention of "relate able" or "realistic" or "rational". What makes a character fit this, and how do you think this translates into the game (within the restrictions that it entails.)?


As much as people love fantasy, they still prefer that world to have restrictions. It's littered throughout the forums as a common denominator.

I will use a class as an example. Throwing multiple kegs of beer is cool but its very unrealistic that this Monk has a Squire hauling around a wagon of Kegs to throw. Even though this is a fantasy where people throw Shadow Bolts... it still feels unrealistic in this World because Kegs are physical to us and it creates a disconnect. Where as a Fireball is conjured by magic.

This directly ties into how players want their Heroes. They have to be realistic to this world and the real world for it to resonate with the player base as a compelling character.

For example, you had Tyrande call Varian, "High King" and practically bow before him while offering the "Elves" as a tool for him to wield. This would never happen, should have never happened. This is not her nor the mentality of the race.

There is no point in creating new compelling characters if you cannot keep the current characters personality and ideology intact. Completely butchered Tyrande.
03/29/2013 03:24 PMPosted by Seebach
are we going to get some Med'an love at some point?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfbK_dbsCu0


Why not??? O.o
03/29/2013 02:30 PMPosted by Nethaera
I also see a lot of vague mention of "relate able" or "realistic" or "rational". What makes a character fit this, and how do you think this translates into the game (within the restrictions that it entails.)?


it's unrealistic for guys like Thrall and Saurfang to hang back when Garrosh blows up the home of the person who has most pushed for peace. And to also stay gone as the faction tears itself apart. They're a little late coming back.

It's unrealistic for Varian to talk about how the Horde is bad and needs to be brought down during Wrath when they're pretty tame, only to try and make peace and work with Vol'jin when they're at their darkest.

It's unrealistic for Jaina to calm down and chill after her home is destroyed, but a couple Sunreavers betraying her is what pushes her over the edge and keeps her there.

There's plenty of instances where characters just go completely out of character or off in the other direction, those are just a few I have issue with personally. I'm sure there are others that are fine with them, but I find them odd.

Why not??? O.o


Me'dan is pretty heavily hated. Wanting him dead is one of the very few things in this world that Alliance and Horde can agree on.
About Anduin being a golden child: I don't see this as the case, myself. I see him as a capable young man who has to deal with everyone around him treating him like he's made of glass because his father's the king.

I would love to see more exploration of his use of shadow magic, actually. Shadow magic (as in what shadow priests use, not fel, which is different) could really use a lot more of a lore explanation. How does it relate to the Light? Can a priest use both and maintain that balancing act? How is it looked upon by society -- as something shameful, or an accepted counterbalance to traditional Light use?
03/29/2013 03:24 PMPosted by Seebach
are we going to get some Med'an love at some point?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfbK_dbsCu0


http://youtu.be/Eal4fep7pK4
Why not??? O.o


Me'dan is pretty heavily hated. Wanting him dead is one of the very few things in this world that Alliance and Horde can agree on. [/quote]

I can understand Medivh, but why Med'an? I never understood the hate for Med'an. Is it because he has two crazy parents (Garona and Medivh)? I wish to be enlightened. As far as I recall, he hasn't done anything wrong.
It's unrealistic for Jaina to calm down and chill after her home is destroyed, but a couple Sunreavers betraying her is what pushes her over the edge and keeps her there.

Think about it, though. Jaina has basically had two homes: Theramore and Dalaran. One of them was obliterated, leaving her with only the one, which she now has to lead because her good friend left her the command. And just as she's picked up the pieces, those she has been trying to protect in her only remaining bastion betray her.
If a character is going to do something out of character, the players have to understand why. For example, Varian's decision to allow Saurfang the Elder to retrieve his son's body in ICC. At first, it seems out of place: he hates orcs with a passion, so why the moment of kindness? Then you realise that his compassion stems from his own love for Anduin and it makes sense; Varian sees Saurfang as the father of a fallen war hero, rather than an Orcish enemy.

The wrong way to do it is when the character's actions seem to diverge completely from their past behaviour and no explanation is given as to why this time is different. For example, Jaina's decision to attack Orgrimmar immediately following Theramore's destruction. She did not respond this way to the fall of Lordaeron or Dalaran, nor did she feel the need to avenge her brother's, father's. or mentor's deaths. One of her clickable dialogue lines was "I hate resorting to violence" and she spent most of Wrath/Cata convincing Varian not to retaliate. Now, suddenly, she reaches her breaking point just as Varian conveniently becomes the voice of reason? Unlikely.

Character inconsistency should say something about the character's beliefs/personality. In Jaina's case, it just seems to say that she's broken.
For me, a good character is one that is built based on the scenario that it will be inserted.

Male or female matters A LOT if it matters A LOT in the scenario.
Let's say we are talking about making a character for a more real based medieval setting, being woman in the scenario matters a lot, but change it for a fantasy setting like FF, or even Eberron d&d setting, and we see those roles of male/female weaken greatly.

Warcraft scenario seems to be on the weak side of the fight between male vs female, there is many well know female fighters, even legendary ones, and there is female guards everywhere.
But there is still some differences, manly when looking at human nobles, but those are niches.

I disagree about making a female character with our world meaning of being female in a world like warcraft where it has similarities but also great disparities.

In case of Jaina proudmoor, the problem with her being called "crazy" and i agree, was because it was a too strong personality shift.
She had know demons, the orc story, thrall, she had fought wars in the past.

Certainly a nuke on your homeland can change people, but she changed from a champion of good, of equality, to a cold killed.

He vengeance should be focused against Garrosh, not civilians. Against the mages that made the bomb, not common people of Dalaran.
That was the defining thing of her character, the fact that she didnt bent to her fathers hate of the horde, people liked her for that.

Turning her on the exact same thing she fighted against on all her life seems weird.
Even if the backstory supports it, it just feels misplaced when you look at the big picture.

The defining thing of a good character is to be consistent with itself.
People change, but not that drastically, not when they are heroes, ideals, where they fight wars for their entire life for that...
Characters can change, evolve, discover new things, but when the core of the character is so drastically changed, for a character that did not showed signs of that in the past it not fits.

Arthas fall was expected, he showed signs of it since the start of his story, it evolved, but was part of his character, of the core of it, from the start, Jaina was not.
I can understand Medivh, but why Med'an? I never understood the hate for Med'an. Is it because he has two crazy parents (Garona and Medivh)? I wish to be enlightened. As far as I recall, he hasn't done anything wrong.
It's not about what he did, it's about who he is.

He's part Human/Draenei/Orc who practices Not just arcane, and not just The Light, but also the Elements thrown in.

Triple race plus triple power pool with a character so spotless that it puts Anduin to shame? Yeah, people tend to not like that.
Having written a fantasy novel of my own I can say from experience that a compelling character doesn't have to be powerful, talented, or even good looking. Real character development is showing how a character is weak and then overcoming their weaknesses. Life is about choices, you may not choose your skin color or race but you can choose whether or not to let your fears an your weaknesses overcome you or you can choose to stand up and conquer them. Who or where you are born into doesn't have to determine you become is what I'm saying and the best character development is found in that kind of story. Varian overcame his anger and depression. Velen discovered that focusing on the future too much blinds you to the difference you can make from the day to day. And though ill conveyed to the player-base Tyrande discovered that because of pride she may not have always been able to see when others were right. I honestly don't see much growth among the Horde characters in personality, the Blood Elves still live for revenge, the Orcs continuously fall into their old ways, perhaps only Zul'jin and Baine have grown as Horde characters because Sylvanis continues to fall into madness.
My turn!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkpzR5vVA9k
To me, a well written character takes time to develop. Not, you know, how long it took Thrall to walk his butt outside of Org, but a decent amount of time. As an example, Garrosh felt like he was swapping attitudes too quickly, but even then in Cata and Wotlk he was my favorite character. He had been the most well written character, especially in books, at least in my opinion.

To further this, the best character I've seen as of now is Wrathion. He's not jumping ship from personality to personality, Varian Chinn or Garrosh, he's pretty similar to how he was in the rogue legendary chain, and he has PERSONALITY. Especially in his voice acting, I may be bias here or something. Basically, the character has to be similar the entire time to how they began. Garrosh and Varian seem entirely different from how we first saw them, Varian's excuse is god wolf. What's Garrosh's? Daddy issues? Well, that's neat and all, but I seriously liked Garrosh in cata, and him doing a 180 to what he'd been suggesting the entire time in that expansion ruined the character for me.

As an aside, characters being similar to how they originally began is important, but never changing is horse-poo. Vol'jin is the single most boring dude ever, I enjoy Lorthemar a hundred times more.
03/29/2013 03:49 PMPosted by Shimaula
I can understand Medivh, but why Med'an? I never understood the hate for Med'an. Is it because he has two crazy parents (Garona and Medivh)? I wish to be enlightened. As far as I recall, he hasn't done anything wrong.
It's not about what he did, it's about who he is.

He's part Human/Draenei/Orc who practices Not just arcane, and not just The Light, but also the Elements thrown in.

Triple race plus triple power pool with a character so spotless that it puts Anduin to shame? Yeah, people tend to not like that.


That shouldn't be a reason to hate him. Anduin and Med'an are two entirely different people. I love both of them as characters. Isn't it a little silly to judge by race at this point?
it's the fact that they're trying to make him too perfect. We may throw the term Mary Sue at Thrall a lot, but it fits Me'dan a lot more.
it's the fact that they're trying to make him too perfect. We may throw the term Mary Sue at Thrall a lot, but it fits Me'dan a lot more.


In no way is Med'an perfect. And it's really not his fault he was born with so much power. There's no such thing as a "Mary Sue" to me. He has a lot more problems with that much power. Why do you think he was such a great target for the Twilight Cultists? Not to mention he has to live under the names of two "hated" parents. I just feel he can be fleshed out more, and really should be introduced into the game.

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