Fandom and Identity (or, what happens when your favorite company sells their IP)

It is all too easy to wrap up your personal identity in a Fandom. Whether it’s Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or some other fantasy setting, or a specific game or hobby, all too often we hear each other say “I am a thing.” The thing here could be anything. I am a gamer. I am a Warhammer player.

The trouble with this is that we get our identity tangled with the things we enjoy. I am a person, first. I would be like to be considered as a person. Not as a consumer of a particular product. I would like to be thought of as more than the hobby I sometimes enjoy. Does watching Star Wars or Star Trek, and enjoying the movie or TV show make me different? If the show changes or disappears, does that make me less of the person that I am?

Certainly not.

We are not the things we do, rather we do the things we do because of who we are. I enjoy playing games because I am a person who enjoys solving challenging puzzles in a light competitive environment. I paint models and design terrain because I am a creative person who needs an artistic outlet. I watch sci-fi TV because I seek optimistic escape.

If an IP changes hands, as it has recently with the Iron Kingdoms via Privateer Press and Steamforged Games, it doesn’t change who I am, or lessen my capability of enjoying the game. If the game company flounders, and eventually shuts off the game, then I will eventually stop playing because there won’t be people to play with. If I have unpainted models, I would still continue to modify and paint them because they’re fun to paint.

The trick to enjoying life is to avoid getting bogged down by the money handling and ownership of product that you consume. Disconnect your identity to those products, and find your own identity internally.

how do you do that? Well, there are plenty of psychology books and self help garbage resources online that discuss your role as a person, how to find a sense of self and how to set your own definition of you. I’m not going to cover that in depth. But I will say that I like the Franklin-Covey approach. You are a person who has roles that require action from you. And from fulfillment of the demands of these roles, you can build a reserve of self satisfaction and self worth.

Where that leaves me is here. I am a person who enjoys gaming with friends and making friends through gaming. I enjoy showing off the results of my hobby time. If Warmachine and that product line ceases to be popular in my area, then I will look for another outlet to fill those needs. As a person in the role of a community supporter, I will strive to dedicate time and resources to engage in fun play with other members of my community. And that’s pretty much it.

This is why the Privateer Press sale of the Iron Kingdoms IP changes little for me. At the end of the day, I will play the games that I enjoy, with people I like.

Hopefully this will help you remain positive on this ever present state of change that we find ourselves in. Have a good time out there. And aay your dice roll high.