In marketing language, a gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something “stand out” from its contemporaries. However, the special feature is typically thought to be of little relevance or use. Thus, a gimmick is a special feature for the sake of having a special feature.
Today, I want to talk to you all about Gimmick Characters.
“What the hell, Apple?” you ask. “What is a gimmick character and why should we care about them?”
Well, I’ll tell you – a gimmick character is any character in World of Warcraft (or any game, really, but we’re obviously focusing on WoW in this blog) who is played in a distinctive way, or has a distinctive trait setting them apart from every other character of the same race and class combination on their server. It’s a character whose player takes time to instil with a sense of originality or uniqueness. And I’m not really talking about RP here, to be honest, though obviously you can have gimmicky RP characters. It’s playing the game in a relatively unique way that wasn’t intended by the designers, a weird quirk you give a character to make them stand out. Some people do it for attention, some people do it to change things up or challenge themselves, some people do it because… well, hell, why not? It can be as simple as always wearing a pimp hat or always speaking in-character (on a non-RP server), to as difficult as levelling 1-80 naked, or without dying. Reinisch levelled from 1-80 without intentionally killing anything, and I know that he’s not the only one, and I know there was a hunter somewhere levelling as melee-only a while back.
Now, obviously these aren’t (generally) the kinds of characters you raid with or anything, but they can be challenging, interesting, and a lot of fun. Sometimes, a person creates a gimmick incidentally, because of something RP-related; I read a blog post somewhere about a year ago of a guy who’d gone on a raid with a holy priest someone had invited, and when he asked her to psychic scream or something along those lines, she said, “Oh, I don’t have that, I never trained any shadow spells. My character wouldn’t do that.” I had a priest myself I took to level 12, RPing regularly amidst questing, who didn’t learn any shadow spells or talents until then. Her character had grown into someone who WOULD take the spells, by that point, but it was definitely an interesting experiment while it lasted.
I’ve got a couple of gimmick characters that I adore. Kaeleigh, my gnomeish DK on Proudmoore, is my only DK specced Unholy. This is entirely so I can have the hilarious image of a tiny, smiling, pink-haired gnome girl running around with a perma-ghoul and an attack penguin (also known as Mr. Chilly). She also emotes and speaks (in all channels) in-character. And she’s a bloodthirsty little psychopath. :D So much fun to play, though – she makes me wish I liked PvP, because the free-for-all of, say a PvA area like the Gurubashi Arena would make her positively gleeful. Mellie also fits this, to an extent – she’s on my main server, which is PvE, but I have PetEmote enabled on her, so her minions will randomly emote. She often reacts ICly to this, chattering at her minion or whoever happens to be around at the time.
One thing that I’ve always wanted to do would be to level a DK to 80 without turning in the last Acheron quest. This would mean silenced and pacified in Durotar or Elwynn (depending on faction), no runeforge, and no respeccing. It would be an amazing RP opportunity, and one that I’ve started and abandoned at least three times. But think about it: You hit level 80, and your character decides that yeah, maybe they don’t like this race or that leader, but that doesn’t mean they can’t align with the faction in order to better get revenge on the Lich King, or better atone for their past deeds, or just… help people. However you want to play it. You spend those 25 levels forging relationships and building character, and then when the moment comes, you mount up and walk slowly through the city, your friends and comrades walking with you, as you finally deliver that letter.
My point is, really, that we all do quirky things with our characters, sometimes long-term, like levelling pacifistic or undying, and sometimes temporary, like when I briefly had a druid who didn’t like wearing the skin of other animals and levelled up in cloth armour, before I realised she was a pansy and should be a priestess instead of a druid and deleted her. XD It’s fun and it’s a way to shake up the daily grind of Azeroth.
Have any of you had a gimmick, short-term or long-term?