Guild Wars 2 Character Creation: How far is too far?

We’ve come a long way in video game RPG character customization, thanks to technology’s relentless pursuit to take over the world.
Once upon a time your character was a completely pre-set compilation of pixels. Eventually you got fully rendered characters, albeit set in stone in regards to looks and gender.

Now, you have a whole slew of creative freedoms that perhaps nobody dreamt possible even five years ago.

Guild Wars 2 is set to have a similar character creation process as AIONs. In and old interview from Guild Wars 2 Guru, Eric Flanmum had the following to say about it:

GW2Guru: Can you tell us anything about character creation options? What tools will we have available to personalize our character?

Eric Flannum –Lead Game Designer: We’re still finalizing details on character creation but you can expect to see a ton of physical options such as body type, height, and advanced facial customization. In addition to these physical options you will be able to customize your characters background and personality by filling out a biography. One of our designers, Ree Soesbee will be talking in more depth about the character biography in an upcoming post on our website.

Whether or not GW2’s system will be as detailed as Aion’s remains to be seen.  I’m still very excited at the prospect of being able to personalize my character to fine-detail. In Guild Wars Classic, we had very limited options other than height that was scale-able. I’m hoping we get to mess with facial features and body features as much as we can though I wouldn’t be opposed to some limits.

Aion’s character creation is probably one of the best known out there, and arguably the best thing about the game.
You’re given a standard starting point from body types, hair styles, and faces. After that, you can use their crazy bar system to nip-tuck your character to absolute perfection (or perhaps, imperfection) as desired.  You can easily spend hours upon hours fine-tuning your character to be exactly how you want him or her to be.

The downside is its’ easy to go overboard and create some really funky looking people, and I remember reading a lot of complaints about it. At first I couldn’t really fathom what the deal was but once you encounter some of these “unique” characters in-game, I can see why for some it might make the experience a little jarring.

Anti-lurk QnA:
Do you think Guild Wars and future MMO/RPGs should allow for this level of customization? How far can creative freedom go before it starts to infringe on immersion? Do you think having limits to character creation, even with this level of tweaking options, is justified or counter-intuitive?

Here are some examples of how far the creation can go!

For more, check out this thread over at MMOsite.

Further reading:

  • As much customization as possible, within reasonable limits. It’s important to maintain a tangible reality.

    The example you have of the guy with massively long legs is, to me, clearly too far.

    • Yeah, I agree. As much as I love creative freedom, I think it’s very possible for it to be taken too far and that does kind of ruin it…
      One of the things with Aion that bothered me the most was the heignt differences. You could have giants and little people that would come up to your knees.

      it just felt annoying and unrealistic.

  • customization adds so much replay value to the game, because you can play through the game many different ways.

    of course some people may abuse the customization to create parodies or offensive characters, but in an mmo I feel like it makes sense, since their characters are a reflection of society. for every nice, normal person, there is a jerk mocking obama for being muslim in his basement.

    variety is the spice of life i guess.

    • I really love the idea of not looking like everybody else. It makes me happy.
      I feel the bright side, though, is that offensive characters are usually restricted to joke-alts and bankers. And trolls at times.

      But generally people will actually try to make a visually appealing character as their main that they level and stick with for hours of game-play.

      So outside of trade districts and newbie areas, it feels a lot less circus-like, haha.

  • i don’t care if someone makes their character look exactly like the lich king. how little imagination do you have if you look at someone and always think of something else?

    freakish heads and body shapes are out though.

    • haha, yeah, though the thought of a charr with severely off-setting proportions is kinda funny.

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