As I mentioned in the Tweet-chat meeting last week, I've always referred to them as avatars as they are you or who you would be in that worlds setting. Never heard of them being called toons before this actually lol.
I was thinking about this question and I discovered something interesting about the way I play games. When I played WoW, I had a bunch of characters. By the time I quit I probably had a dozen or so, on two servers (one Horde, one Alliance). I'd often switch between them depending on how I felt and who I was playing with. A lot of my characters were started to play with friends, but then I'd out-level them and have to start a new character. I also used my different characters to either seek out or avoid other players, depending on my mood.
When it comes to single player games (which I play a lot more of), I tend to make one character. Just one, and no more. I play the game though once, making my decisions (good or bad) as I go, and watch how things play out. I don't go back and play again making different choices of playing a different class. I don't save and reload to figure out my options. I play through once and create "my" story. I think a lot more about my character, what her back-story is, and what choices she would make.
This is interesting to me because it demonstrates that I play these two types of games very differently. In WoW it was more about the social nature, who I was playing with, what role I wanted to fill (often tanking, but others too), and who I was avoiding. In single player games, it's all about the narrative and the character.
#7975594 Jun 12, 2013 at 06:04 PM · Edited 7 years ago
Like blueAppaloosa, I also found myself making a lot of avatars in an MMORPG. For me it was about creating alts to either support my main toon, through crafting or gathering, or to run with friends that I had out leveled. (seems to be a common problem here :D )
However in Sandbox genre games like minecraft and Second Life, I really only have one main avatar that I use. In SL, my avatar is Abacus Capalini and I initially created him to work with my accounting class to get students to expand their thoughts to how would you account for virtual goods. To this end, I modeled Abacus after Luca Pacioli, the father of accounting.
So Abacus usually takes the form of a Venician accountant in tribute to Brother Luca.
I agree with Abacus and blueAppaloosa in that I have a stable avatar that I use most of the time in Second Life. I have had several conversations with long terms users (5+ years) about this topic. For the first year, your avatar changes every time you log in... like virtual paper dolls, but after a bit you settle into a consistent appearance. I do maintain a couple of alts for exploring though. Since I am new to RPG games, I don't have great depth of experience with all the possible character types, but I am already eager to build alts. In my FPS gaming, we have one character but that character can change perks (i.e. demolitions, medic, commando, etc) in order to balance the team's skills. You can't have a team made up of only medics and successfully kill of hordes of zombies. I would say that the ability to change perks to complement other players perks is very similar to having multiple characters in WoW that you can switch between as you prepare for a raid or depending upon with whom you are playing. Both situations reflect the social side of gaming.
In the MMORPG games I have often had many avatars to try out the different kind of classes and play them out, and sometimes with the slower pace of the endgame to be able to go enjoy some lower level content once again.
However I have found that often I do have one definite "main" character that I do invest my time into the most, also often being the one who would have most detailed and definite background story as in roleplaying wise, and often the "alt" characters have much more minor role, and are often not so regularly played, and may take part in very little roleplay if any at all.
But also like was mentioned in some posts above, if wishing to enjoy some group content, sometimes certain classes are preferred, and this might not often match the class of my "main" character, so I might then enjoy more to play some of my alts, if their class might match better the ones that are often sought after for group content, such as healers for example.
But often the "main" character is one that I just pick up the class that I think I most do enjoy the idea of, the background story possibilities - and play it no matter if it might be the "best choice" regarding being wished for group quests or dungeons or such.
Game-based learning enthusiast, virtual learning environments creator, and an avid MMORPG player