When starting to make an avatar in WOW, many options are offered. This is one of the digital world’s advantage that it could provide us as many kinds of options as they can to make our own social identity online.
Encourage the sense that one is producing one’s ‘self’ without any type of constraint, or limitation, such as gender, size, body shape or skin colour. Thus avatars have often been celebrated by scholars and users alike as ideal entrepreneurial spaces for identity formation. (Nakamura 2015:338)
Based on most of our institutions, people are more deliberately to make their identities prettier than themselves, just like our habits when taking a selfie. They may fix makeup, change posture, and use photoshop before post it. Except some personalised creativity for a special willing and taste, or most men, it’s quotidian. Draw on normative concepts of the body beautiful, young, white, slim, and heterosexually attractive will become the priority concerned. We make ourselves the appearance only for media, even you know indeed that we may not look like the same in the real world. This might be the reason why Blood Elves are so popular played on Horde, and the second played overall after Humans. It is the type which fits the standard above: ‘body beautiful’. This is one of the racial discourse that has been existed in a game’s setting. Because I cannot find one possibility which is almost black or dark-coloured.
From my view, this is the most typical beauty model especially of female character, the same human size, slim heterosexually body and a normal western cosmetically face with ‘cosmetic contact lenses’. Also it is the most human alike except ‘human’.
I searched some comments about Blood Elf’s popularity, it seems like most people consider the appearance for an avatar counts because it sure is a part of the playing experience. Not everyone could have the ability to bear an ugly avatar which you dislike. The beautiful things correspond more with our appreciation of the beauty, but who established the standard? Or can it be changed?
‘I’ is a really personal thing even in game world, it somehow represents a player’s personality although many of them might be in the same class and the same race. The game provide a variety of small options which could help to look differently from some range of others. As for me, I chose to be a female Worgen because I like the wolf, and I prefer animal better when compared with human. But my priority choice for the class was Death Knight, whereas I had to pay for it and start from level 50, so I chose my second choice, mage. Her name is Elianna, a half-man half-wolf that can transfer between these two shapes.
My Worgen fits the surroundings well because our impression of wolf usually associate with the cold raining night. Also, her fur colour is dark green which suites the environment like the plants. Because of her race, she has to keep the wolf body while she is in a battle, I have no choice to control that due to the game rule. I think it’s not really free to be a Worgen in this way, but there might be some implication that wolf is more powerful than human when involved into a fight. She looks painful but strong when she is transforming, and I consider this is the most interesting part of being a Worgen. In addition, she is not totally wolf shaped, it’s more like a standing wolf which means the wolf in a human’s posture. On the contrary, the class Mage makes it a little inverse about the personality of a wolf, she dresses in an elegant way, holding a wand like a lady, merely she looks better with the suit in her human shape. Meanwhile, the Mage’s fighting quality is gentle and placid which also seems weird if it happens on a wild dread wolf.
The city Gilneas is the main place where she was born and learned as a beginner and levelling up now, I don’t know whether others are the same as me or not, but the environment around is gloomy, dark and wet. Everything is enveloped in the shadow of gray, it’s foggy for whole night without any light. The pale moonlight evokes the original fearer inside of heart, while the only warm colour is the weak kerosene lamp lights dotted around buildings and roads. Pine trees, thorns, stones, steeply hills and old castles illustrate a mid-century background which I think is perfect for the wolf-man to live in.
Because of the subjectivity in the gameplay, the problem in reality also been taken into the game world as well through the subjectivity of every players. While playing games, a fresh start means a chance to get the possibility to be equal. There are too many limitations which we can’t choose to be when we were born, and thus brings us discriminations from different aspects. Unless, some were born with the kind of ‘privilege’ even most of them would not like to admit.
It is not the word ‘privilege’ is incorrect, it is that it’s not their word. (Scalzi 2012). This is what John Scalzi said in his blog which he wanted to invoke the word ‘privilege’ to another way to the thing that the word signifies. So he made an example of playing game that ‘Straight white male: The lowest difficulty setting there is.’ Just like his metaphor, if game world is another begin, we could have a relatively fair circumstance as long as we are in the same difficult setting. They produce these things as a consequence of one’s own behaviour or play. Players can have that elusive and satisfying feeling of having earned privilege, of engaging in a meritocracy that works the way that it should. (Nakamura 2015) Lisa also states that in terms of being treated equally is to be an elite thus can win respect and produce social justice regardless of the customs or liberal contract. But I am not agree because that means the disadvantaged groups are already in the inferior position, what this suggestion based on is an inequality level of different groups. As a result, the disadvantaged one has to make more efforts than the preponderant one which makes the least efforts in their group.
Gaming itself becomes a mark of privilege within symbolic discourse. (Nakamura 2012) Even though it contains more freedom and creativity than the real society, the problem will still be there as long as ‘we’ are the players and the makers.
Nakamura, L (2015) ‘Racism, Sexism, and Gaming’s Cruel Optimism’ Identity Matters: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Game Studies [online] available from <https://lnakamur.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/racism-sexism-and-gamings-cruel-optimism.pdf> [4 Nov 2015].
Nakamura, L. (2015) ‘Race and Identity in Digital Media’. Mass Media and Society [online] 18 338. available from <http://lnakamur.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/nakamura-curran-article.pdf> [3 Nov 2015].
Nakamura, L. (2012) ‘Queer Female of Colour: The Highest Difficulty Setting There Is?’ Gaming Rhetoric as Gender Capital, Ada: a Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology [online] available from <http://adanewmedia.org/2012/11/issue1-nakamura/> [4 Nov 2015].
Scalzi, J. (2012) ‘Kotaku’ Straight White Male: The lowest Difficulty Setting There Is [online] available from <http://kotaku.com/5910857/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is> [3 Nov 2015].