What is it about the idea of the Ranger?
I am not a particular wilderness expert. I was in the Boy Scouts, did my share of camping and the like, but I’d hardly consider myself a survival expert. So it’s not like I’m identifying with the archetype here.
And yet, in each MMO I’ve played so far, the Ranger has gone with me.
Coreth Landwalker started the whole thing off. The Ranger profession was the closest thing to a pure “explorer” class in SWG, and the people in the SWG Ranger Forums were as class an act as I’d seen on ANY forums, before or since. To put it another way: the grand drama I spoke of in my last blog post didn’t really exist on the Ranger Forum. As I wrote stories on the character, I discovered depths to him that I hadn’t anticipated-all stemming from being who he was, at the core.
And it made a powerful impression on me, apparently. When I went over to WoW, I re-created Coreth as a Warrior, and ended up as a Protection-spec; the kind that I figured Coreth would be. (I didn’t make him as a Hunter because of species restrictions; he was a Human character, and I felt that was an essential part of who he was. A full disclosure would force me to admit that I eventually DID make a Night Elf Hunter named “Landwalker”….) I never wrote any fiction on this character, since I just didn’t have a feel for Azeroth.
There was a very short-lived Ranger named Coreth in Vanguard, but his appearance was the only deviation I’ve made from the basic character I’d had in my mind. Appearance options may have changed since my trial period, of course.
Then came along Lord of the Rings Online, and I did it again-almost. Instead of making the character a Hunter (because Rangers are the Dunedain in the game, and they aren’t available, except as a special kind of thing), I made him a Captain, a leader of men. But even there, I took up the Exploration profession, maintaining that all-essential aspect of the character. To keep in with the style of names in Middle-Earth, Coreth became Corethor.
Finally, I recreated the character on City of Heroes. In this setting, a man named “Coreth” just wouldn’t really fit, as a heroic name or as a real name; and it was a safe bet that many “Ranger” names would be taken already. So in a spin off the SWG character’s title, I created the “Old Ranger” (Elder might’ve been too obvious), and spun the character further by making him a U. S. Army Ranger.
The differences between Coreth Landwalker and the Old Ranger are as profound as their similarities, and I may go into that in another blog post sometime. But the key point here is that in every MMO I’ve done, my primary character has been powerfully influenced by the character of Coreth Landwalker.
Some types of characters are just too good to just let go, sometimes.
2015 edit: And, obviously, this post more or less cemented the transition from being simply “Coreth’s Blog” to “Faces of the Ranger”.