This might come as a shock to some of you but I am actually a guy in real life. I know I keep that on the down low with the whole releasing of my real name and all the pictures… but it is true, I am male. Ferrel, on the other hand, is female. Which might be confusing! A guy, playing a female character? Who would do such a thing! That is an excellent question and, to be quite honest, at this point I’m not totally sure what my motivations were but it is fun to look back and discuss it.
The time before time
Long ago in a time before high speed internet and computer graphics there were chat rooms, MUDs, and Bulletin Board Systems. The internet and I were young and foolish. I had a few different characters but mostly I played a female elf. There seemed to be benefits to being female. People talked to you more and treated you different! I did not actively take advantage of this fact but I also didn’t correct the assumptions that people made. Now my buddy, who shall remain nameless, would go out and take advantage of these poor, sex-starved men. You know who you are!
Ferrel is born
My first run at EverQuest was not an exceptional one. Dresden, Khallid and another friend of ours picked the best group combination you could: Warrior, Warrior, Paladin, Paladin. We were a terror to behold. Two paladins could surely heal as well as a cleric, right? My poor paladin Telbain never stood a chance. Eventually, we got the memo: our group sucked. Going back to the drawing board, we did something a bit more reasonable. We picked Warrior, Monk, Enchanter, Cleric. I was to be our cleric and we were going to min/max the heck out of the game. That meant, without a shadow of a doubt, playing a high elf. Now at this time high elf males were not super awesome looking. They wore dresses and looked pretty feminine so I said to hell with it, I’ll be a female this time. In addition to that, as sexist as this sounds, it just sort of made sense that the healer would be female. Thus Ferrel was born. That was back in early 2000.
Ferrel as an institution
Over the years I’ve been Ferrel in EQ, EQ2, Eve Online, WoW, Warhammer Online, Age of Conan, Rift and who knows how many other random MMOs. I have occasionally brought Mr. Telbain back to play a knight type class but beyond that it is Ferrel. Not only is Ferrel my character name but she also exists in my fantasy intellectual property and has become my online alias. I would venture to say that more human beings (and some sexy sentient computers) know me as Ferrel than as Adam. Changing my alias seems weird and counter to what is best for my brand. More importantly, I identify mentally as Ferrel. Not Ferrel the elf, mind you, but Ferrel nonetheless. You may have noticed but all my online icons have been changed to a dashing image of me! Well, at least me as drawn by Amanda. The reason being is that I’m actually pretty sick of playing a girl.
Gender Reassignment Surgery
At this point I’m certain you’re just saying, “Roll a male character and name it Ferrel.” I just can’t bring myself to do that. Ferrel is a female and the sheer notion of seeing her running around as a him is most unappealing to me. She doesn’t have body dysmorphic disorder and is comfortable being a female elf (and I am in no way making light of people who might have that disorder or feel they should be different than they are). I wouldn’t want her to be anything other than herself. It would just feel wrong. Sort of like taking Aragorn and deciding he is a girl in my version of the Lord of the Rings. There shall be no male Ferrel. So I am stuck with playing a female character into perpetuity. At least as long as I want to be Ferrel and I do want to be Ferrel. It is kind of an odd situation.
Am I being crazy here? Does anyone else have this sort of thought?