The Tip.It Times

Issue 199gp

The Avatar as Art

Written by and edited by Tip.It

Inevitably, at some point during the course of your Runescape career, someone – be it a spouse, a chum or a ‘special friend’ – will ask you why you play it. Indeed, for those given to introspection, you may have already quizzed yourself on the subject.

This question is frequently paired with why you spend so much time playing. The argument is frequently put that spending an hour or more a day developing a character that has no impact upon the real world is pointless, a waste of time. Those who put this point forward very rarely grasp the nihilistic implications of this train of thought: nothing you do in life will impact upon infinity, so any action is pointless. We can, therefore, safely ignore such questioners.

However, this leaves the broader point still open. While the simple answer, “Because I enjoy it” may be enough for those living the unanalyzed life, let’s briefly explore this in greater depth. I would like to supply a slightly different perspective than may be normally given.

I have a friend who has recently finished constructing a guitar from scratch*. He has spent the last couple of years carving wood, sanding edges and attaching frets to create an instrument so impressive it almost seems sacrilegious to play it. Why would he do such a thing?

The answer is the sheer joy of creation. There is something profoundly inspiring about creating something or fashioning a tool that will enable you to go further and do more than you could achieve before it came into being. Within Runescape, this comes out as crafting a character who can perform certain actions; be it creating potions, effectively killing others, or indeed looking a certain way. The last one is most deserving of comment, even though it is certainly not my motivation for playing. There are many – particularly on TipIt – who use the clothes and level constitution of their character to inspire certain reactions in others. This is, in essence, the same as art. We could claim that a finely-wrought level 3 skiller dressed as a woodsman is as worthy of inclusion in the Tate Modern as many of its current exhibits. It may mean less to the general public, but it is arguable that a massive crack running the length of the Turbine Hall is not particularly popularly resonant, either.

Runescape has far greater scope for fashioning avatars as tools or creating them as art than many other MMORPGs – particularly World of Warcraft, wherein your freedom to do as you wish with your character is much more constrained. We can therefore see ourselves as a community of artists and craftsmen, a community so involved that the ranks of artistry are known to all. Strangely, they all seem to end in –oob.

*Needless to say, this friend is far cooler than I.

Did You Know...
... that new eggs have been introduced for summoning? Refer to the links in today's newspost for information.

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Will you use Menaphos to train your skills?

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