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News & Features Discussion  » General: Blog Spotlight: Costumes, Names and More

5 posts found

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

OP  10/15/07 9:43:26 AM#1

This week, Community Manager Laura Genender uses her spotlight to talk about user wan7830's blog that takes an interesting look at everything from costumes to names.

“Watching over your shoulder” is an blog by user wan7830, dealing with many MMO topics in a humorous, train-of-thought manner. Starting in late September, wan7830’s blog has covered topics such as character costumes, character naming conventions, what gamers want in our MMOs, and pets in games. In the future, I’m sure we’ll continue to see interesting posts by wan7830!

Character Costumes

“Most players don’t give two cents for costumes.” On a website where forum and blog posters are constantly clamoring for more character customization, this is a bold statement to make. Don’t get up in arms yet, though – wan7830 has a point.

Wan7830 poses the following situation: “At the end of a dungeon, you defeat a dragon and get a reward. You have two choices, both are really rare items: a shiny two handed silver sword with an elegant shape, embedded with red runes that glow when you swing, or a wooden stick. The trick is that the wooden stick can do three times more damage than the shiny sword. Which one would you pick?” Without a moment’s thought, I would say the wooden stick. It’s the kind of gamer I am, and the kind of gamer most MMOers are. We care about our stats more than our looks; sure, we think it’s awesome when our uber powerful weapon looks great, too, but that’s secondary. “[The players] prefer to be a badass instead of look like a badass.”

Read it all here.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


Novice Member

Joined: 10/23/06
Posts: 356

"Those who are willing to forsake their civil liberties for security deserve neither."

10/15/07 10:56:16 AM#2

I think character customization is very important to players, especially in MMORPGs. Most players want their characters to be an individual, not a faceless replica of the other thousands of avatars running around on the server. Sure, players will tend to take a piece of gear with better stats over the "cooler looking item" but that's the exception. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the "slider" system, but I do like diversity in being able to choose how my character appears. It strikes me as odd how many games have intricate slider systems for facial features and other minutiae that REALLY make no difference on your character's ingame appearance.

I think devs should focus less on this and more on giving us a greater breadth of body models. I wanna see buff characters alongside fat characters and waifish, flat-chested women alongside the typical buxom bikini models. Sure, games have to appeal to teenage fantasies so as not to alienate a large chunk of their subscribers, but those of us who are older or simply want to play something other than the idealized avatar should have the option to. Right now for the most part, there's generally one basic body type per race in most games with a tiny bit of height or girth tweaking you can do. Lacking severely, IMHO.

The name thing gets on my nerves too just because it can get so stupid and unimaginative. But we have to face the fact that we're playing MMORPGs at a time when there's an increasing population of players who aren't from an RPG background and are going to name their characters @Uberhealz95@ or <Pwner4Hire> or %SexEdarkElf% rather than trying to stick to game lore for a more immersive experience.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/13/07
Posts: 16

" In Defeat, Malice; In Victory, Revenge! "

10/15/07 5:03:55 PM#3

1. Of course we'd pick the stick, what are we playing, Habbo Hotel?  A weapon should be USEFUL first, pretty is secondary.

2. Sometimes names are already taken, and people get lazy to make up new names. That said, it isn't terribly hard to think up a new one, instead of going the Hero123 or xXNarutoXx route. It just shows how immature or lazy people are. Also, in games that aren't policed properly and contain hackers and botters, you can usually tell that characters with stupid meaningless names are most likely one of those lamers.

3. Uh. Almost everyone I know would like a pet (unless they're purely decoration). Unfortunately many MMO designers fail at making USEFUL pets, and most of the time there are so few choices that it becomes tiring seeing 35672783445921 people with the same pet. Ditto character looks. It's so stupid seeing many games using only ONE character model per race -- designing new 3D models and the skins for them isn't as tedious as having to bitmap individual sprites like back in the good ol' 2D days. I blame designer laziness.

Too many MMORPGs appear to be port of crap Korean games, haven't people caught on to the fact? Most of them are mindless grindfests, even the Open PK concept is shoddy programming. A proper PvP system would have arenas, ranks, duel types, rewards and other cool stuff... whereas open PK = lazy programmers simply allowing players to damage each other. I'm not anti PvP or PK, but it's tiring to see the same old lame slaughterfest model being trucked out in yet ANOTHER game. Only stupid and bored people think open PK is cool. It isn't. Any moron with a room temperature IQ can pk, but it takes skill to win at ranked PvP, where your opponent isn't some newb 50 levels below you. I sneer at all the players who think pk is cool, it just shows how lame you are, to win at ambush killing low level characters. How the hell is that cool? Arena duels aren't just 1v1 either, if the programmers had any skill or imagination there could be MANY options, like party fights, guild seiges, capture the flag, king of the hill etc. But nooo, all these stupid Korean MMORPGs simply include mindless open PK and then boast of having PvP, lol FAIL.

" In Defeat, Malice; In Victory, Revenge! "


Novice Member

Joined: 6/12/06
Posts: 41

10/16/07 8:17:24 AM#4



I think it might be useful to do a slightly different thought experiment when thinking about the importance of customization. 

Suppose a game developer decided that players really didn't really care what their avatars looked like.  That the only part of the game worth spending any time developing was giving players the ability to improve skills, acquire weapons, and defeat monsters.  That is, this developer was going to concentrate on gameplay to the exclusion of all else.  What might such a game look like?

Your avatar is a simple cube (only one polygon!).  Perhaps you can change its color, perhaps not.  You float through a world of simple shapes -- spheres, cones, pyramids, etc. which might represent trees, mountains or buildings or nothing at all.  Your weapon is a thin cylinder about the same length as your avatar.  For every meelee attack -- and there are many different attacks -- it swings in an overhead arc to strike your opponent.  For each ranged attack, whether by magic or archery, it shoots from your center in a straight line to its target.  As for crafting, you can make anything you want, but its always a sphere.

How popular would this game be?  Not very, I think.  It would be nothing more then a three dimensional version of the old Dungeon Game.  For most players this would be way too abstract, despite having a great system of combat and terrific rewards. 

To me, the real question is not would a person choose a wooden stick with excellent stats over a fancy sword (simple economics dictates the stick), but would that reward be enough to make the player want to skip a meal in order to go through the next dungeon?



  User Deleted
10/19/07 3:11:39 PM#5


Originally posted by Lucifrank

I think character customization is very important to players, especially in MMORPGs. Most players want their characters to be an individual, not a faceless replica of the other thousands of avatars running around on the server. Sure, players will tend to take a piece of gear with better stats over the "cooler looking item" but that's the exception. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the "slider" system, but I do like diversity in being able to choose how my character appears. It strikes me as odd how many games have intricate slider systems for facial features and other minutiae that REALLY make no difference on your character's ingame appearance.

I think devs should focus less on this and more on giving us a greater breadth of body models. I wanna see buff characters alongside fat characters and waifish, flat-chested women alongside the typical buxom bikini models. Sure, games have to appeal to teenage fantasies so as not to alienate a large chunk of their subscribers, but those of us who are older or simply want to play something other than the idealized avatar should have the option to. Right now for the most part, there's generally one basic body type per race in most games with a tiny bit of height or girth tweaking you can do. Lacking severely, IMHO.


That is a very good point about character customization.

As far as the face goes the sliders should only be used for basic length and width, often times with these sliders you end up creating a rather hidieous character.  All facial features can be broken up into different types of the same part.  Like the inheritence experiment you did in biology class where you are given two or more choices for every facial feature and flipped coins to determine which one you got for your hypothetical offspring.  Just take out the coins and let the players pick from the list, (flat chin vs cleff chin, round chin vs square chin, etc for every part of the face) then let them use sliders to adjust the size of their square cleff chin.

The body could be like this too, pick the general skeletal structure then use sliders to adjust the ammount of muscle and fat on each area.  For fat you would have some cross over, a person cannot be really fat in one area and devoid of fat in another.  For easier understanding, you could make all the measurements of the character, height and girth, in real world measurements, like customary and/or metric.  This way a player has a good idea how large his character will be if it says 5' 9" tall with a 35" chest and 32" waist and so forth.  I can't count how many times I made a character that I thought looked fine and they turned out to be a giant or a midget.

But they really do need to add more body types, I do not like pop culture perfect, Most of the time I just want to play an average looking character, occasionally a heavy or slight character, I am just sick of the typical characters in MMOGs, the media shoves it down our throat enough why do games have to do the same.  Not to mention more options add the potential for better roleplaying when characters look more distinct.


The problem with weapons and gear is that they are so hierarchal that the player has to pick the one with better stats to remain up to par.  If gear and weapons were much more balanced and didn't boost stats, you could pretty much pick weapons based on appearence, of course you would still have to find the weapon that is balanced the way you want, but you would have many more options.