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Altay's Adventures

Been on the MMO scene since Ultima Online back in '98 and I'm here to share my stories!

Author: lordaltay

Graphics: Cartoony or Realistic

Posted by lordaltay Monday May 26 2008 at 4:18PM
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There are two fundamental graphic styles in most MMORPG games and they are Realistic and Cartoony. Some of the most popular free to play games today are anime inspired and thus fit into the cartoony model. Games like Maple Story and Scions of Fate have millions of players worldwide and one of their most attractive features is their graphic style. Even popular Western pay to play games like World of Warcraft benefit from the cartoony style.

Realistic graphics are generally pursued by Western developers though they are becoming more common in Asia too. Voyage Century is a clear example of Asian developers taking an interest in realistic graphic styles. Published by IGG, Voyage Century has markedly different graphics than other more traditionally Asian IGG games such as Zu Online and Tales of Pirates.

The FPS genre has long been dominated by realistic styled games. Shooters are considered to be on the leading edge in terms of graphical capabilities and it often takes other genres years to catch up. Even in theMMO field, games like War Rock, Soldier Front, and GunZ are all realistic styled. Recently, however, many developers have seen the wisdom of trying something new. A good example is the new game under development by DICE, Battlefield Heroes. Known for their historically themed Battlefield series, DICE has decided to offer a free to play, third person shooter withcartoony graphics that draw inspiration from Team Fortress 2.

As a personal preference, I tend to favor cartoony graphics. These games tend have lower system requirements yet can still look impressive. Most realistic games limit their audience by setting their system requirements too high which I feel is one of the reasons for the general decline of PC gaming in relation to consoles. My preference does change depending on what genre we're talking about. ForRTS games I like realistic graphics over cartoony graphics.

Do you have a preference when it comes to graphic styles? Is it genre specific or game specific? Please share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment below!

Ascension08 writes:

I prefer realistic but when they make models look like plastic action figures (EQ2, and AoC just a little bit) then I think that's not realistic at all. Also, you're right about system reqs, but never assume that just because a game has lower system reqs that its graphics will be cartoony.

Mon May 26 2008 4:54PM Report
Nightbringe1 writes:

While the majority of the games I tend to play have a realistic Style my prefences are centered more around gameplay.

Mon May 26 2008 9:07PM Report
Sepulcher writes:

I tend to think Artistic vs Realistic.

One is the creator's interpretation of an idea (artistic)

The other is the creator's attempt to mimic real life (realistic)

Neither is better, just as a painting is not better than a photograph and vice versa.

Mon May 26 2008 9:24PM Report
rsreston writes:

I like cartoon because the human male and female models are easier to be made good looking than in realistic models. In D&DO, EQ2 and SWG, the human females are horrible - even with no bulky armor or loose robe. That bothers me a lot as I'm a male who usually makes female characters because their forms are more pleasing to the eye during play time. That's why I love City of Heroes/Villains; WoW's models are nice and the Draenei and Blood Elf females are hot! After all, if the models are realistic, what are the odds of having a female warrior with a perfect body, including big breasts and big butt?

Mon May 26 2008 9:39PM Report
JB47394 writes:

If characters treated each other with respect, realism would be just fine.  But if I'm putting a sword through somebody's head or sniping them from a a couple hundred yards away, I don't want a realistic-looking victim.  Case in point, I'll take Far Cry's graphics over Crysis any day of the week.

Mon May 26 2008 11:36PM Report
VampyrHeart writes:

I prefer cartoony characters especially the 2d ones, I just don't know why, but maybe it's because the realistic ones need too much requirements or they become A sort of box like humanoids at low res.

Tue May 27 2008 3:39PM Report
VampyrHeart writes:

I prefer cartoony characters especially the 2d ones, I just don't know why, but maybe it's because the realistic ones need too much requirements or they become A sort of box like humanoids at low res.

Tue May 27 2008 3:39PM Report
Azmaria writes:

I think Sepulcher is on the right track for my opinion on this subject, but instead of it being Artistic Vs Realistic as the overarching discussion, those should instead be viewed as subcategories within cartoony vs realistic. 

There are cartoons that are drawn to be realistic and some that are drawn to be fantastical and artistic.  The same thing goes with realistic artwork/graphics. 

Anyways, on to my opinion, I prefer graphics that are on the realistic spectrum of cartoony vs realistic, but more on the artistic side of that.  I feel that when I buy a game for $50, then pay a monthly, the least they can do is give me graphics that allow easier immersion.

Tue May 27 2008 7:22PM Report
RetroMonster writes:


Nobody today likes cartoony stuff unless your at a young age and very immature. Although some adults may Dig that look, most adults don't. Image EVE ONLINE being cartoony, it would suck. Even though the game isn't just about graphics, it wouldn't be the same. Therfore things should be realistic, at least if they want hits for their game.

I understand it's not all about graphics but in some cases it is. Graphics is a big part of the world today andcartoony is out dated. Realistic will be made fun of in the future, but for now, its the thing.

Fri Mar 06 2009 12:24PM Report writes:
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