Friday, March 7, 2014

The Esoteric Esper: Perception

“Dance, puppets! Dance!” -Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire

Fawn: Esper (Art by Sushi)
THE ESPER: Featuring guest commentary from Fawn (OC for Ender, co-creater of WSRP and talented artist)

“Mind over Matter” is a phrase you may have heard many times before. It was originally used as a means to explain the evolution of the minds of mankind and some animals over Earth’s history, the concept of higher thought processes leading to growth and success even where genetics might fail. However it has become a strong link to psychokinesis as well, which is the psychic ability of a person to influence a physical system without actual physical interaction. We’ve seen it in tricks and illusions, of individuals moving objects with their minds, but there is another relation that we commonly spread. We talk about the influence of strong willpower on our own physical well-being. People who are positive and confident in their strength have seemingly pulled themselves from terrible injuries while those caught in depression and madness only sink deeper into sickness. The concept of the powers of our mysterious minds has led to a romanticising of one’s personal power on the perception of our reality and we have both loved it and feared it for what it could represent.

Fawn: "It really isn’t all that mysterious when you get down to it you know, but of course, we don’t need to mention that to anyone, do we?"

Espers can bring terror to their enemies through the sheer power of their will.

The Esper is the figure who can see beyond the veil of reality and truly perceive the world around them. The stereotype that they represent is one of “True Sight”, one who can see the hopes and fears and dreams of those around them, who can see the things that live beyond our naked eye, and who have learned how to harness the power of their perception into a powerful tool. Sometimes they suffer with madness and the fear and distrust of those around them, an example of our fear of such capabilities. But we revere their ability to mold and shape their will power, their ability to see the truth in all things. We write them as products of experiments, super soldiers, religious figures and even as simple every-day people who find themselves alone in a struggle with forces beyond their imagining. Though we romanticize them as beings coming into their own power, learning their strengths and using the power of their will to overcome all obstacles, it is truly the wonderment and awe of their perceptions of the world that draw us in to their stories.

Fawn: "Oh, yes, you can’t imagine just how much better a story gets with just a little “visual” aid. Many of the Exiles do seem to prefer stories when they have pictures in them, haha."

WildStar has aptly captured this stereotype in the Esper as a powerful psychic combatant, able to harness the powers of their minds to cripple their enemies and soothe their allies. They can pull manifestations of horror from beyond the veil or even transform themselves into spiritual entities through sheer strength of will. They operate on a level beyond the understanding of many, inspiring respect and fear in friend and foe alike.

The Esper has an amazing arsenal of tools and abilities at their disposal, providing some fantastic visual effects to their powerful psychic projections. The roleplaying potential is as rich as their combative prowess, but before we delve into that, let’s take a look at this eccentric class!

Fawn: “Eccentric”, well, aren’t you being polite? It certainly beats “freak”.

First of all, if you haven’t seen the official esper class video, check it out here! As well as this link to the official class page.

And a quick breakdown:

Weapon- Psy-Blade
Resource- Psi-Point and Focus
Innate Ability- Spectral Form
Armor Class- Light
Roles- Healer/DPS
Tools- Illusions

The Esper is one of the two light armor classes who runs on a resource of psi-points which are generated by casting “builder” abilities and consumed by “finisher” abilities, while focus is consumed with healing abilities and regenerates slowly in combat and swiftly out of combat. There are different ranks of power for your finisher abilities based on how many Psi-Points you have available. The more you have, the more hurt or healing you can dish out.

With your trusty Psi-Blade at your back, you can use your formidable weapon as a foci for your mental prowess, manifesting hyper-sharp spectral projections that can cut mind and matter with the deadliest of ease.

But why hamper your creative and psychotic mind with such a mundane concept of a weapon? Use your keen perception to find your enemies deepest and most darkest fears, bringing them to their knees with horrifying malignant illusions that will leave them shivering with terror or stop their hearts cold.

Or harness your powers of perception to soothe your allies, giving them peaceful daydreams of serene paper lanterns and shiny little fishies that will ease their pain. Or give them visions of grandeur, inspiring them to acts of heroism and bolstering their courage on the battlefield.

Fawn: "While the latter is more my scene, I have to admit, there is a certain something about a bandit cornering your poor, defenseless little self, all smug about his inevitable payday. And then watch his expressions as five swords raise behind up you."

And harness these same powers for your own personal benefit, shifting into a spectral form to aid yourself in the middle of combat and generate Psi-Points quickly for a strong comeback or shift your form into a spirit beast, leaping through the veil of reality as easily as the air around you.

Use these abilities to send your foes fleeing in terror or empower your forces. Prep yourself with dangerous psychic tools that can cut down your foes to whimpering fools as a DPS or use your powers to calm the mind and restore the body as a HEALER and watch your friends grow in number. And always, you can mix and match as you like, healing and hurting with wanton abandon as much as you could ever want.

Remember, you are the Esper. All of reality is your playground. YOU are in control. Everyone else is just a fine-tuned instrument, waiting to be played.

Examples of some Esper-like RP personalities: The Mesmer: Guild Wars 2, Mysterio: Spider Man, The Shaman: World of Warcraft

So now that we have an idea of what the esper is in terms of gameplay, let’s explore what the esper means in terms of roleplaying. To start, I’ll share a couple of stereotypical personalities that I have found through my years of reading and roleplaying, talk about some ideas for character building specific to the WildStar universe and share some food for thought, for some more unusual personality/background ideas.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be 120% unique in order to have a good character. Stereotypes are there for a reason and sometimes that can be a good thing! What is truly unique is the way you play your character. There can be hundreds of people playing the psychic prodigy type but no one out there will play them quite like you will. So choose what is fun, take a little time to explore and round out your character and maybe even do a little research to add some more plausibility to the mix and you will be the most beloved of the battlefield in no time!

In my opinion, there are six main stereotypes to the personality of the Esper: The (Psychic) Prodigy, The (Psychic) Super Soldier, The Illusionist, The Trickster, The Shaman and The Mad One. Keep in mind that these are not exclusively all there is and can certainly be mixed and matched. They’re simply the most common stereotypes that I can think of.

The (Psychic) Prodigy- The Prodigy trope is a character who has found in themselves a rare and powerful talent that they never knew they had. Typically they begin as an average person, going about their daily lives until their powers suddenly materialize or some fantastical event happens to them that brings them into their new strengths. Sometimes they find themselves applying to a school or learning or an experimental facility and discover that they learn at an accelerated rate that puts their peers to shame. Much of their story might be spent on their adjustment to such powers, which can bring feelings of elation, terror, self-importance or even madness. Some of them adapt well and do their best to make use of their abilities for the power of good while others find their egos inflated, looking down on their fellow peers as common chattel to their newfound brilliance. Still others are plagued by nightmares and visions, sometimes barely hanging on to their own sanity while they just try to get by. Much depends on the reaction of others around them, whether their unique gifts are accepted with respect and concern or with fear and mistrust. While the Prodigy is usually quite gifted with their psychic prowess, they may take some time to truly develop their formidable powers.

Examples- The Mutant, Jean Grey

The (Psychic) Super Soldier- There are two facets to this trope, one being the super soldier bolstered by genetic engineering, augmentation and other means to bolster their physical or tech related abilities. The Psychic Super Soldier, however, operates on a more mystical level. Usually tampered with genetically, through experimental bioaugmentation or through specialized training programs, this Super Soldier was built as a Psy Ops specialist, using the powers of their mind to augment their military know-how and turn them into a fierce opponent. Sometimes they are proud of their abilities, sometimes they resent them and still others barely give them a second thought. Typically they are already adjusted to their roles and their story revolves more about utilizing their skills then learning how to cope with them. Psychic Super Soldiers are often mistrusted but valued for their unique skillsets and sometimes they are even envied by their fellow “normal” soldiers even if the job description comes with a daily migraine.

Examples- Psy Ops, The Psyker, The Psychic Warrior, River Tam from Firefly

The Illusionist- The Illusionist is a master of manifestations of the mind. They are essentially a mage who specializes in mental magic, using their own will power and their strengths to influence others to use their abilities rather than calling on the powers of the arcane or the elements. Some may scoff at the other schools of magic, finding the reliance on powers other than the Self as a sign of weakness, while others may respect their fellow casters or have no opinion on them at all. The Illusionist dedicates most of their time and energy to their practice, delving into studies of the mind to further their understanding and strength of this mystical art. They are often quite willing to share their knowledge...or at least talk about it, as they typically believe that no other can quite comprehend the intricacies of their particular talents.

Examples- The Mesmer, The Psionic, The Adept

The Trickster- While the Illusionist focuses on the understanding and application of mental magics, the Trickster uses these abilities for their own personal gain, usually by manipulating others. Their ideas of personal gain, however, are not necessarily only about money. Often times they may consider being made exempt from the consequences of their actions, getting someone else to perform their responsibilities or even just their own personal amusement reward enough to continue their actions. Their antics maybe be relatively harmless or malignant and can cause amusement, irritation or even the downfall of their unfortunate subjects. The Trickster enjoys an inherent skill at their psychic powers and rarely spends that much time practicing. They are satisfied so long as they remain with the upper hand on those at their mercy. Some Tricksters can be friendly and silly, often received with good-humored tolerance by others, while others can be devious and thoughtless, inviting scorn and even hatred or fear from others. Typically the Trickster possess a clever mind that allows them to come up with new, exciting and creative ways to torment friend and foe alike.

Examples- The “Loki”, The Prankster, The Lazy Psychic

The Shaman- While the Illusionist uses their magics to further knowledge and power and the Trickster uses their powers for their self gain, the Shaman uses their psychic skills to satisfy a religious need for themselves and/or their community. With their ability to see the truth of the universe around them and to peel back the veil of reality, these psychics can’t help but find faith in their beliefs and use these powers to communicate with otherworldly forces for both themselves and for those around them. The Shaman might be a loner by nature, content to keep the company of the spirits over the living or they may tie themselves to a group or collective, offering support and spiritually healing to those in need. Perhaps your Shaman uses their minds to communicate with the animal totem spirits of Nexus, adapting to the beneficial entities of a new world and spreading their peace and aspects to others, or perhaps your Shaman uses tricks of illusion to bring wonderment and faith to the people, much like the Bodhisattvas. The Shaman typically uses their powers to benefit themselves and others, though they may also be in the contact of darker forces, using their abilities to hold others in their sway with fear and awe.

Examples- The Spirit Guide, The Medium, Spiritwalker

The Mad One- While the Wise One is a meditative figure of peace and self-reflection, the Mad One is an individual who has been pushed over the brink of sanity, embracing the madness of their powers entirely. They may be an eccentric hermit, who is visited only when others have need of their skills and is often viewed with mistrust and nervousness for their crazy countenance. And there are those that delves into the mental magics like a mad scientist, experimenting on both themselves as well as others to test the limits in the capabilities of the mind. Otherwise may be a loose cannon, a powerful but feared unit on the battlefield who is merely a convenient weapon to point in the direction of the enemy and hope that they don’t forget who’s on their side. Sometimes the Mad One may be a crazy but cunning fool, similar to the Trickster, while others might be quite sane so long as they are not exercising their mental powers.

Examples- The Ice King from Adventure Time, Asura from Soul Eater, Kefka from Final Fantasy 6

These are just a couple ideas that could be used with the esper class, but they are not the only ones! WildStar alone has an incredible pool of lore to pull from. Instead of something more generic, why not try something straight from the world of Wildstar?

  • -Your Exile Esper uses their hatred of the Dominion and their desire to set their people free as a driving force to help them hone their psychic skills. The catch? They can only use them while angry!
  • -Perhaps Chua Esper is another experimental prototype amongst their kind, only recently accepted as another useful tool of war, and is constantly trying out new serums, injections and foci to hone their mental magics into a super weapon. So long as they don’t go mad first.
  • -Maybe Aurin Esper draws upon the spirits of The Weave to call upon for help or vengeance on others.
  • -Your Cassian Esper is enjoying the newfound prestige that has grown along with their mental prowess, using the respect and awe they inspire in others to get them anything they want.

And how about some additional food for thought that breaks the mold a bit?

  • -Your Esper isn’t necessarily brilliant, in fact some might find them quite simple, but they seem to have a knack for calling on their psychic talents without really knowing how. Perhaps a certain emotion gets them rolling or maybe only when their friends are in danger.
  • -Perhaps your Esper is a complete and total klutz in everything they do. They just can’t seem to get anything right. Maybe they are just inherently clumsy or perhaps their manifestations occasionally trip them up or distract them. However, put them in the heat of battle and your character is transformed into a deadly and graceful weapon who can slip into “the zone” with the greatest of ease. Just don’t ask them to pass the butter!

The Esper is as versatile and moldable as they are powerful, lending a wide variety of personality types and career paths to consider when building your very own character. However, as with all classes, remember that your class choice does not have to strictly influence every single part of your character. If you just plain enjoy the Esper, but you rather focus on your character’s path, or even something else entirely, that’s okay!

Otherwise get out there, have fun and show all those non believers that those dreams might just be real after all...


  1. Love you blog. Could you tell me where you got the six main stereotypes from?

    1. Thanks much, I hope it was helpful! As for the stereotypes, these were actually pulled straight from my own head for all six classes with a few suggestions from friends as well.