From Tabletop to Laptop: Putting the “RPG” back in MMORPG

What is your story?” If ever there was a tag-line that encompassed the major difference between Guild Wars 2 and its predecessor, it is this. It is not the new skill bar. It is not the new playable races. It is not even the new combat system. Quite simply: it is the story. All sequels and expansions address game play and add new content. Guild Wars 2 adds a something MMOs have been missing for a long time: Role-Playing.

Several months ago Ree Soesbee, Lore & Continuity Designer for GW2, wrote an article about the personal story of GW2. I recommend giving it a read, if you haven’t already, before you continue reading this article. Ree covers a lot of ground talking about how GW2 will be taking a lot of steps toward making our game play experience something, well, personal. Skipping over the dynamic events system for a moment, I would like to focus on the personal story and what it offers to both hardcore and green role-players alike. Continue reading

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.