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Words: Ruth Cassidy
The customisability and constant evolution of MMOs makes them ripe for self-expression, and Bungie's free-to-play shooter Destiny 2 is no exception. For marketing and communications specialist Blake Dove, the version of themselves they control in the game is a hunter named Kris - and this 'other me' is quite different to how they are in real life.
"She's a blend of southern charm with a healthy portion of lovable troublemaker," they tell me. "Cliché, but it's one that ties back to my Texas roots and I love it, sue me."
As a masculine-presenting non-binary person, Kris is modelled after how Dove would hope to look if they felt allowed to fully embrace femininity. "I like the wild hair, the over-emphasised eye makeup - shoutout to Batman for the heavy eyeliner inspiration - and the goofy emotes used to express that lovable sarcasm."
According to Dove, one particular favourite is a "ridiculous" trombone emote, which they once fatally used in a raid after asking the famous last words: "I wonder if they can hear this?"
Dove has been playing Destiny since the beginning of the first game, back in 2014, and has changed Kris's looks according to story developments right up to this current season of Destiny 2. "She started out as a shining knight doing her best, but fell from grace when (fan-favourite non-playable character) Cayde died," they explain. "After a period of grief, and rage, she's found herself drawn to the nomadic Eliksni (Fallen) camp and considers herself a leading member of House Light with Misraaks."
Using Destiny's ornaments system, they've modified Kris's armour appropriately, combining expressive gear with that which best suits their loadouts, and keeping the whole thing low-profile for a lightly armoured look.
Related: Destiny 2: The Witch Queen releases on February 22, 2022
Cayde's death is a turning point in Destiny's lore, with even new players surrounded by visual and spoken reminders of his significance. This also extends to armour, like the Memory of Cayde cloak, and weapons.
"The exotic that I hold most special and never leaves my inventory is [Cayde's hand cannon] Ace of Spades... Cayde has always represented the home of wayward souls for me," Dove explains. "The type to take in the people that had no tribe and taught them that home could be anywhere. Also, I've gotten really good with it, and the Firefly perk is very useful."
Cayde is significant in the way Dove has portrayed Kris, but the mentor figure is important to both them and Kris for different reasons. "For Kris, as a guardian, you don't really have a home and processing that in an immortal body is a lot - Cayde's approach to the Hunter Vanguard would have made that a lot easier," they say. "For me personally I like to be that person, reliable and caring but not overbearing - Cayde's M.O. is that if you can handle it, you will. It's not laziness, it's confidence in your friends and family to live well. I've always liked that."
This piece is the second in a series exploring how people choose to play games their own way, via customisation, character choices, or other forms of inspiration. How they present their 'other me'. The first, on 2018's God of War, is here. Find more feature content on GAMINGbible here, and follow the author on Twitter at @velcrocyborg.
This editorial content is supported by Philips OneBlade. Philips is committed to providing products that fit into every individual's life, to suit every personality's idea of style. Every one of us is unique, and every one of us feels comfortable and confident in different ways - and the flexibility of Philips OneBlade ensures that anyone can express themselves in a way that's all about them. Find more information here.
Featured Image Credit: Bungie
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