Do you know your character?

I was thinking the other day about how I didn't really know or care who my character was in any MMO that I have played. The fact is that I have never seen my character as an individual who has any character and can change anything. The only difference between who I am and the next person is how they look. MMOs today seem really to lack deep stories that surround and suck in the player. Sure, we have developers who brag about how epic their story is, but the fact is that if they don't press it onto the player then often we never know it is there.

LotRO in my opinion has the best story-telling elements through the Books, yet even that game failed to achieve an 'epic' story. I remember in Baldur's Gate I was able to shape who my character was and how people reacted to him. I was engrossed in the story; I wanted to help those in my group, I didn't want to offend some, and I wanted be someone. And the game allowed me to do so. The many various side missions are not just generic time-filling fluff but actions that have a real effect in the world in which I am playing.

The problem seemingly is that in MMOs you can't really change the world around you since it is inhabited by so many other players, but I think this is a problem that can and shoudl be overcome. Perhaps sometime in the future I will look at the back of my character in an MMO and not see just a lot of epics hanging off me, but an individual that I have created with his/her own character.


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