"I Was A Schizophrenic, But We're Alright Now"

My avatar, Mr NOXx is an extension of my psyche, but for some unknown reason my avatar represents the nemesis of my real personality. This is an interesting phenomenon and one which I have searched my own soul to try and explain.

One can argue that the avatar allows us to live a life opposite to ones reality to create balance in ones life. My real career has always been one of helping others selflessly but online within EvE I enjoy ruining my fellow POD pilots life by depriving them of everything. Before EvE Online I can't recall or did not feel a need to do this so there must be something about EvE Online, or indeed any MMORPG which encourages this behaviour to surface.

My original character I played for six months. He was very similar to what I thought was my actual personality. His features were modelled on me as much as possible and his career followed what I asumed I would’ve done had I been born within New Eden. After a few months of play I became restless with my role in EvE. The termination of said character was executed without remorse or reproach. In fact I was rather looking forward to it.

Mr NOXx was born overnight and appeared to represent everything opposite my real personality. Three years later we are still together and enjoying our time together immensely.

Perhaps the nature of an RPG is at the crux of the effect goading us to become something opposite, even negative. Escapism is key here and although games such as Halo allow us to live out the fantasy of an elite cyborg; saviour of earth, these avatars are already packaged, stamped and have their roles mapped out according to the designers whim. Only in an RPG like EvE Online can one truly live any life, and one which has no rules or definitive ending.

Perhaps ones own subconscious plays a role as this is, as popular belief has it, opposite to our consciousness. Now I have never dreamed of murdering PODs or ganking cruisers but this is what I do best, and what I feel compelled to do. Perhaps I did dream of it, but being so deep in REM the conscious mind has no ability to remember. To be honest if this were the case I would be a little disturbed at this knowledge.

There’s another explanation; I get great pleasure from helping my fellow human being and the rewards are a feeling of achievement and well being, of making a real difference.

I also get great pleasure from murdering my fellow POD pilot. The feeling I get is almost identical just more so. My first kill was such a rush that I was literally shaking from head to toe. An adrenalin addiction is a likely cause because every time I kill the feeling is less pronounced, just like an addiction.

Whatever the reasons I find it fascinating that avatars become extensions of our psyches' nemesis and that playing a MMORPG seems to promote this effect. Perhaps they should have mental health warnings?


Anonymous said...

Back when I played Everquest, some friends and I played on the PVP server. We would slaughter people, take their hard earned items, and it felt better than good. It felt Great, and the rush was amazing. I still remember my first kill. In RL I was a quiet, nice kid.

In EVE I don't have that same desire, EVE seems impersonal to me. I killed some poor guy in a hulk yesterday, and all I got was a slight smile.