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Dev Discussion #34 - Character Creation

VaknarVaknar Moderator, Member, Staff
edited September 20 in General Discussion

Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!

Dev Discussion #34 - Character Creation
How much time do you typically spend on character creation, and what are the tools you like to have available when you’re building your character? Do you focus on race/class synergy, looking good, or something else entirely?

Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding level progression!

UPDATE: Greetings friends - thank you all again for taking the time to join in on this discussion! After putting together a recap for our team, check out some of the top notes you shared with us below:

Customization Tools
  • Many players want to see a plethora of customizable options, and don’t want to feel limited when making their character.
  • Ex. Head-hair, eyebrows, facial hair, nose, eye, cheek, ear shape, makeup, and tattoos including unique race-specific options.
  • Ex. Ability to change parting, length, adornments and fullness for beards and hair, as well as color customization for hair, eyes, and skin.
  • Players agreed they want to customize or have many options for their character’s age, posture, body proportions and mass, height, muscle mass, and voices.
  • Many players expressed the desire for “defining marks” - things that make their character unique and stand out.
  • Ex. Battle scars (missing ears, burns, missing eyes), tattoos, piercings, and baubles.
  • There were a number of players who expressed that they want sliders for character creation options.
  • Others shared that they do not believe sliders are necessary if there are enough preset options to choose from.
Time Spent
  • The majority of players felt that the time they invest into the character creation process depends on how robust the character creator is.
Race/Class Synergy
  • Some players expressed that race/class synergy dictates what they choose - for some, it is adhering to traditional fantasy roles and for others, it is maximizing statistical advantage and potential.
  • A few players expressed that their own personal character fantasy comes before race/class synergy.

While many people shared many wonderful ideas, there was one that stood out in particular:
Skb wrote: »
all i want is a true mage beard


  • ShadonSolShadonSol Moderator, Member, Alpha One
    edited September 9
    Way too much \o/
    I generally try to create a distinct-looking char, something that you don't see left and right.
    A wide range of haircuts, eyebrows, face / nose, and eye shapes, and some make-up and tattoo options are pretty important to me.
    Being able to select different voices adds a lot to make the char feel unique.
    Adjusting the height and muscle percentage are also neat to have.
    I personally don't need fancy sliders as long as there are plenty of options to choose from in each category.
    At the end of the day, I'm happy when my char feels somewhat unique and fits into the world design :)
  • zedthoughzedthough Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    Character customization is the single most important thing in an MMORPG it's how you connect with the world. There is never to many options, because there will always be someone wanting more.
    Give the RP community the tools they need and you'll have a game that can be carried by the dedicated casuals who'll fall in love with world of Verra.
  • Anduin KayvaanAnduin Kayvaan Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Alpha One
    edited September 10
    The top things I think that can be added to make AoC have a unique and amazing character creator would be as follows.

    1: A wide variety of hairstyles but also giving players the ability to change how long the hair is, where the hair parts, and which side of the head the hair sets to with hairstyles that are set to the sides.
    2: Beards: we need to not only be able to change length and fullness but maybe add random adornments to it like beads or gems.
    3: Scars: Don't have them just be painted on, they should look realistic and have depth to them. ESO had a frw scars like burn marks that really did well with this.
    4: Body hair: Sometimes men and women just want to be a bit more natural so having a slider for body hair for arms, legs, even chest would be great.
    5: Sliders for individual sections such as legs and torse is great and even sliders for muscles is awesome as well.
    6: Eyes: Diverse eye color is important but keeping it in lore. One thing BDO misses out on is the eyes, they look dead and not alive. When you look at a character. You want to have a biy of liveliness in their eyes.
    7: Age: Not everyone is a young 20 year old so why not give us the ability to make our characters go from late teens all the way to ancient and decrepid. These can really bring out a variety of characters.
    8: Orc Facial structures: Orcs might have tusks or a stubbed nose, give players the ability to choose between a variety of tusks and noses as well as being able to change tusk lengths or even remove them all together, sometimes people do not choose to be an orc because they cannoy be made pretty or handsome so allow enough sliders to give the player the ability to make a more attactive orc.
    9: Ears: Give the ability to change ears, even remove an ear like it was cut off or put knivks into them if they were sliced at. This would be something unique that many games skip over to really make a character have more ways to come to life. Earrings are also major to bring more personality.
  • NiraadaNiraada Member
    edited September 9
    How long I spend on character creation really depends on the tools made available. The more there is to customise, the longer I tend to spend, and the more attached I tend to feel to the overall result. When there's a lot to fiddle with, I could spend hours getting things to my liking. :D
    Things I would like to see, which may or may not be practical:
    1. Posture selection. Being able to select from a range of postures can have a huge impact on the perception of your character, whether they be a valiant knight standing tall or a skulking rogue. Non-verbal communication is hugely important, and being able to adjust the way in which our characters carry themselves (even from a limited list of presets) can feel very impactful and immersive.
    2. Defining marks. Scars, tattoos, piercings and baubles! Small tidbits like these can add life and depth to a character, and serve to differentiate and make them unique. I want my warrior covered in the scars of battle, my cleric adorned in the symbols of their faith, and my mage marked by the arcane energies they've bent to their will! Options like these really force me to delve into who my character is and is going to be, and adds a wonderful and unique spice to the process.
    3. Proportions and age. Asmongold will tell you all about the boob slider, but more than that, being able to have your character more accurately represent either yourself or your idealised image can really build attachment. In addition to adjusting body proportions, being able to make your character either older or younger can help them to better match the narratives we create for ourselves.
    4. Voices and personality. Much like posture, being able to choose the way in which your character speaks, and the voice with which they do so is something I absolutely love having the freedom to do. This isn't going to change the way I play my character, but just by investing the time to choose these things, I'm becoming more attached to the character as a whole. This one I'd put as a 'nice-to-have', more than anything else.
  • Depending on the game's character creation depth, I spend between 20-30 mins to 1 and a half hours. I focus on everything depending on the type of character (and name!) that I am wanting to create.
    And the tools available are "everything has a slider". Unless the base model looks good, I want to be able to change everything or almost everything.
    However, I do appreciate a lot when character creators "make sense". For example PSO2 character system where you drag the points of the diamond (?) and adjusts things accordingly, I thought it was inventive enough but simple to use.
    On the other hand, assuming most people would agree that BDO character creation is the best, it's so in depth it's insane. However, it's also insane that the X Y and Z axis don't always go in the way that you would think when you think about XYZ so it makes it super tricky and confusing. As well as eyes are really hard to get right since they're so in depth, same for the mouth. And last but not least, the lighting. If the lighting in CC does't match the in-game one, then there's no point. And if it does but the in-game light is weird, then it's also kinda bad. Continuing with BDO, depending on the lighting, sometimes your skin is SUPER MEGA ULTRA HYPER BLACK and other times, you're lightskinned. If you want caucasian, you're SUPER MEGA ULTRA TANNED HOLLYWOOD tan, and other times you're a ghost. I don't know why this happens and I know is a bit off track from the creator itself, but it's something that matters to me as you spend 2 hours perfecting your character only to look like Mr Popo when you're in the world, lol.
    Last but not least, while "super in depth" is cool to have, I'd much rather have presets if it makes it easier for the devs, but have say 20 of them, well done. Same with hairs. Give us straight long, medium, short hair. Good curls, good afros, or afro buns for black girls. Good braided designs, etc. SWTOR character creator was ok enough. Could've been better, but it was good enough to not look all the same.
  • Please figure out how BDO does theirs and model it after that.
  • The amount of time I spend planning, before actually starting the game, really depends on the hype of the game. If I'm looking forward to the game and digging through the website for more info, I'll probably start planning then. But only to get an idea of what options there are and what I'm leaning towards.

    When I actually start the client for the first time is when I make character creation decisions. And that process only takes about 30 minutes. I've learned not to fret too much about how a character should look (I won't see most of it from behind anyways, and armor will determine the silhouette). Class and race decision is pretty important if it can't be changed later, so I'll probably spend more time on that for AoC.

    In any case, I can always make a new character if the first isn't working out, so there is reason to spend hours planning everything ahead of time. (Or at least there shouldn't be, see below.) I think you can tell, but I don't usually stress much about the character creation.

    I would stress WAY more if there's a critical decision I have to make early, but which doesn't impact me until much later. (Class selection?) Because then I could end up wasting dozens of hours on a character before realizing I won't enjoy it in the long run.

    Rerolling a new character after 2 hours of testing is fine. Remaking a character after 20+ hours investment is horrible. So please make it clear what I'm getting into when I pick a primary class, or make sure the core-gameplay of the class can be tested from the very start.

    Being locked into a secondary class could be even worse, because if I choose wrong, I'm potentially throwing away a perfectly fine character and however many hours of progress I already put in it. Thankfully, I've heard you can switch secondary classes (with a little effort).

    Basically, to pull this rant together: I don't want to (and won't) spend hours planning out my whole character/build/identity before even starting the game. So don't frontload too many character decisions, and don't make those decision unclear. Or ideally, let us change those decisions later.
  • I like to spend a lot of time creating my characters. Most of the time, I will look through every option/combination until I find something that I like/want. Occasionally I'll have a look in mind that I already want, and go for that, but it's rare.

    That said, I feel the character creator needs to be as in depth as possible. If it takes me 2+ hours to go through all the options, so be it. As a roleplayer, the more options, the better I am able to express the character I am roleplaying as without having to rely on outside sources to convey that expression.

    New options should be added periodically through the game, and there should be an in game way to change at least the cosmetic features of your characters such as hair and face paint.

    Also, if there are scar options, please figure out a way to have multiple scars.

    I mean, if I got this scar a few years ago, and then recently got a new scar, but can't have my old scar because I got the new scar, doesn't really make a lot of sense. Old scars don't just disappear because you got a new scar.
  • HelicHelic Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I make a near-default character in about 10 seconds.
    My wife won't even play a game if she can't customize the details of the character for an hour(s) before she feels it looks good enough.
  • Zurgo DrakuthZurgo Drakuth Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    A few things I really enjoy seeing in games for customization are;

    1: A full range of colors to pick from on a RGB color wheel so you can get the perfect hue for your skin, hair, and eyes.

    2: Plenty of choice for hair/beard/body hair, as well as being able to customize every aspect of the appearance from facial structure to body structure.

    3: Height scaling so you can get your character to how you envision them to be.
  • RyanTheSirenRyanTheSiren Member
    edited September 9
    Makeup! Wayyy too many MMO's don't flesh out this aspect of character creation (ESO gets tons of flack for it on the forums, WoW players request it all the time, etc.). It's such a small seeming detail but it's actually very important to lots of players from what I've observed throughout the years playing various MMOs.

    BDO does makeup amazingly. There are tons of styles and colors, and you can change:
    - The Opacity (this is the most important as it allows most colors to work on all different skin tones)
    - The Hue
    - The Shine Level
    And even the width/area of each options

    Makeup styles could include:
    * Eyeliner styles
    * Eyeshadow styles
    * Blush styles
    * Lipstick styles
    * Eyelash styles and length and color (some races may look cool with white eyelashes, or some may want red/brown lashes instead of black)

    I think that many makeup options should be added in, for female and male characters, as they offer a more detailed level of character creation that greatly appeals to lots of RPers. I'd also like to see many different tattoos/warpaints for both genders as well in this same vein, and it'd be super cool if we could move the area/body placement of these as well.

    I personally spend much of my time in character creation, and I know that many players do as well. It can often feel frustrating when a character creator is limited in options of flexibility. This has been one of the biggest complaints in WoW for years and they have received much praise for adding in ample more options during this most recent expansion.

    I think that racial identity is important aesthetically, but I also think that it shouldn't be used to gatekeep different hair or eye colors from players in character creation, but rather instead be focused on influencing the different hairstyles and body markings that are available. Or create a wide set of color parameters available to each race.

    Speaking of hairstyles, they are arguably the most important part of character creation. Offering a large variety of hairstyles, especially longer hairs for males and females, is a big request I see lots of people wanting!

    Something that ESO does that's REALLY cool is have different "personalities" you can equip. They change their way your character stands still in default, some change your walk and run animations, and they give you new idle animations or emotes as well.

    For example, the Duchess personality has you stand very prim and proper with an upturned nose, and you can fan yourself in idle or look in a handheld mirror.

    The Rogue and Pirate personalities let you stand more dastardly, with your hand on your hips or your dagger, and let you play with a knife when idle.

    Adding in personalities like this that we can choose from to have different idle animations and stances would go a LONG way to making us stand out from one another!

    Thank you guys for always listening to our feedback!
  • clone63clone63 Member
    edited September 9
    Probably going against a common stance but I don't think super deep features (eyelashes, facial sliders galore, etc..) are very important. After creation, and especially if geared heavily, I'm not going to see my hard work making the character perfect 99% of my playtime.

    I don't want a porcelain waifu /ken doll maker that gives me modelesque character I can't differentiate from other characters except for skin colour or hair... I want broad, uniquely defining options because we're not all attractive 20-something's.. Like, the option to be clearly OLD, or maybe younger, heavy set, thin.. Dishevelled, regal, flawed (crooked nose, missing tooth..?). Maybe I want an unkempt, grubby bush man, or courtly queen.
    Race should be very distinct. Elves are tricky, but otherwise it should be extremely obvious what race you are by posture, body shape and features (horns, w/e..).

    The time I spend making a character will vary on the tools available and how much I find the features prominent or noticeable...
    Racial stats are kind of meaningless to me because I just want something that feels fun (hard to be descriptive here, every game plays differently, and this one doesn't exist). The idea of minmaxing seems pointless to me.

  • I think it's REALLY important to offer a wide variety of distinguishing features. Face paints, makeup styles, scars, tattoos, freckles, moles, ect. These might seem like little details, but there's two important reasons to include them.

    1. It helps make a character more unique.

    2. But more importantly it allows people to really make their Character look like them. To be highly realistic.

    I'm also a BIG fan of color wheels for choosing things like eyes, skin, lips, and hair (as well as gear!). Present color pallets limit options and restrict creativity.

    And finally I think body sliders are really important. We don't all want to play slim, big breasted women or tall, super muscular men. Especially us Roleplayers. We want to be able to have realistic body types. Thick thighs save lives.✌️

    Other things I think are important:

    Wide variety of Hair options
    Ear shapes
    Facial Hair options
    Body Hair options
    Nails, fingers, and toes. (Nothing is worse than brick feet and nails that are barely distinguished from the fingers.)
  • i spend ages when making my first character, going through each option of hair style etc :)

    il likely spend even longer when making tulnar

    having a option to presave character looks would help a lot
  • XerheartXerheart Member
    edited September 9
    Can i make my character look like a frog?


    On a more serious note:

    Wide variety of hair options, and it is always a nice touch to be able to have some sub-options on hair. Such as: Different options for bangs, different lengths for parts of the hair, hair highlights, secondary hair highlights.

    Alot of the time players tend to gravitate to 2-3 popular hairstyles (ponytails, pig tails, short spiky men's hair or long spiky men's hair). Sub options allow for some variety, while still allowing people to gravitate to their preferred hairstyle.

    Other quickfire:
    1.) Character height
    2.) Muscle tone slider (obv for both M/F, as with everything)
    3.) Facial features (not just scars and makeup, but stuff like freckles too, birthmarks, blemishes too)
    4.) Idle poses
  • Kaladin StormblessedKaladin Stormblessed Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    In my mind, Character Creation is the ONE time where you can truly make your avatar represent you, so for me I spend time when the tools are present, to make my character how I want him to represent me.
  • ZelasaurusZelasaurus Member, Founder
    I spend ages in character creation. Sometimes I'll even spend time getting to know the creator, then go away and sleep on it really get the creative juices flowing. As such, the ability to save an appearance so i can come back to it and perform edits later is invaluable.

    I usually rage against the expected when it comes to race/class synergy, if only because I'm a D&D/WoW veteran (wow, that's a wanky term!), and I've already done all the obvious stuff!

    I like more intense or monstrous characters. When a character creator caters only to pretty or pristine features it's an immediate turn off. That doesn't necessarily mean access to horns/tails/fangs etc (though yes I will be playing a Tulnar). Some race-independent features I like are: Large expressive eyes, unusual skin tones, savage expressions, tribal facepaint/tattoos/bone jewelry. If i can make my character look Undead/Dark Fey/Goblinoid/Cultist/Witch-of-the-Wilds I'm in my happy place.

    To add to that, the one feature I'd LOVE to see is the ability to choose my vocal tone, and to have some voice options that reflect something other than 5 different versions of "standard youthful person".

    I suppose at the end of the day, if you give us weird and wonderful options, I'll want to play with them. Be creative!
    - RAAAAR!
  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 9
    Hair and face shape are the things that take the longest in a good character creator (cc) for me.
    BDO's point articulation model was great and should be imitated to an extent. Below are the flaws that you could improve upon and make AoC's cc the best cc in today's market.

    BDO's hair system was great but lacked sensible articulation points for certain hair styles and lacked good style variety relative to the hard limits they placed on these points. I like having the ability to lengthen and shorten articulation points without restrictions. A good base hair style is easily fitted for many uses if you allow a large range on their articulation vectors and size of those points.

    The dye system for BDO hair was also great but needed the ability to dye hemispheres of the head separately. A lack of this limited the use and flexibility of perfectly good hair styles

    If the cc has a bad skin tone palette it can add a lot of unnecessary time to hair styling. Test skin tone presets on all models, especially african and asian skin palletes. Make the skin tones straightforward to find and select. BDO struggled with the ui for this.

    Seeing the same style and dyeing option for beards as you do hair would make dwarf races in particular feel really great for customisation as their beard styles should have the most variety and vectors for styling.

    Face shape is another point BDO did well but had some flaws in. They were a race and gender locked class system and it had a huge impact on face shape. Some classes you couldn't get a strong or square jaw line or browline no matter how hard you tried and others lacked soft rounded options for browline and jawline. The reason for this was linked to their approach to their skeletons for the models. I strongly urge your base model skeletons take into account the inflexibility of a base model and make sure you have alternative base models that can make up the gap for 'soft' and 'hard' face types with some leeway given for racial aesthetic.

    I love a good hair modeling system. I love digital styling. Copy BDO's beauty share system if possible so others can download digital hair artists work. Also I would love an in game currency or free way to change hair style as I love doing so often. Especially if I can share my styles with others.
  • edited September 9
    I usually focus alot on things like race base stats and race/class synergy on character creation rather than "looking good", but depending on how much chararacter appearence customization is avaliable and if the character creation is avaliable before game launch i would probably spend quite a lot of time on character creation. :D
  • For character creation, I want to be able to customize as much as possible - fine facial feature changes, body mass and musculature (built vs skinny vs robust options/sliders). I love lots of hairstyle options and full range of skin tones and hair colorings. Tattoos, make-up, and scarification combinations are also a great way to feel like I've made a unique person instead of just got a stock cut-out to run around the world in.

    Most games I see also default to a Caucasian starting form, so presets that put you at a base for other ethnicities would be much appreciated as well. If there are any voice-acting choices, decoupling those to be a universal choice instead of tied to a gender preset would be phenomenal. Ditto for facial hair options on races that have facial hair. Really, just complete freedom to start from preset bases but build the character to whatever the player wants options-wise would be wonderful, allowing players to really express themselves freely.

    If I had a perfect wish list, I would also ask for a system that people can mod - creating new hairstyles to add in specifically. That's one area that always seems lackluster in MMO's that the modding community usually covers beautifully in single-player games. I don't know if that's feasible, but it would be awesome!
  • I mostly agree with people above. I really focus on good looking of my character so, I want very precise creator but also i want to see preview of class related similar armor to see how your character looks in armor.
    And also i dont have time to spent on leveling character only to test class and then to test secondaries, i want to know what secondaries i can expect on this class and how gameplay feels, so maybe some kind of playtest arena when u have primary and secondary and u can test gameplay vs some basic enemies (like in Lost ark i guess)
  • I tend to spend a LOT of time in the Character creator. The last time I made a character I felt like my laptop was getting too hot and had to save and shut the game off to work on more the next day. And that wasn't the first time I had to save and quit while producing my first character either. And these were in a creator that only allowed you to customize appearance no less.
    I'm not really sure what you mean by "tools" but I really liked getting to manipulate the bone structure itself in EVE Online and Spore. Spore was a lot of fun in the creature creator actually, tons for drag-and-drop parts with additional manipulation available. I also spent a lot of time in Neverwinter Nights (Note: not referring to the MMO "Neverwinter", though same world) messing with different combinations of stat points, ability scores, feats, spell selection(where applicable), etc... The D&D character creation process is suuuper deep on the functional side, but I don't really see that in non-D&D-specific games, which is unfortunate because I find it to be a lot of fun (Note: aside from Neverwinter Nights, I only played with the 1st-2nd gen rules (tabletop) in case you were only familiar with 5th-edition as many people are these days). So I guess I like having as many tools as can conceivably be given, where possible.
    As far as "race/class synergy" goes, I'd say I only bother with the functional part if I have multiple races/classes I'm interested in about equally and can't make up my mind on the matter. In generally I choose race based on what's the least human-like, but I make exceptions for those with behaviors, personalities, cultures, histories, or beliefs that I just can't agree with/don't approve of. What kind of class I pick varies depending on my mood, what anime I've been watching recently, and sometimes other things as well. Sometimes race and/or class choice may depend on the useable weapon(s) or utility abilities or other factors.
    Hmm... Now that I think of it, if I had the ability to customize feats and abilities in addition to appearance, well now I might be at it for a few days, depending on how much consideration I give to the intricacies and how much I go back to check alternative options in order to get everything right on my first go.
  • AeriusAerius Member
    edited September 9
    I should first stress how helpful it would be for character creation to be in some way available a while before full launch if that is possible. If it is not, people will be creating their characters as quickly as possible, putting absolutely no time into creation, as they would need to prioritize speed in order to capture their desired names.

    Say I want three characters with three names. I can reserve one name in advance, hoping I get the right server, but on launch I would need to very quickly reserve 2 names on un-customized characters, then likely wait some days, delete them in the middle of the night, and re-create them before the names are taken by somebody else. One solution is to allow beta players to save templates that they can quickly apply to new characters.

    More on-point, easily visible changes that allow for some level of mid-distance discernibility are wonderful. Things like very distinct hair styles, beard options, height/width, etc. Where most of the time in creation is applied, of course, is on the fine detail. The more options the better. Some may argue that an overwhelming amount of options can be a problem, but that is not so if the interface is reasonable and not a basic drop-down or long scroll.

    Personally, I hope to be able to choose from a fair selection of beard/moustache combinations, not being stuck without a moustache because the only good-looking bear option senselessly lacks the ability to have a moustache.

    I want to be able to select from more than 4 basic skin colours — give a good number of options if not a slider. I want to be able to create a character that can look more old and weathered, as opposed to either hideous or youthful and beautiful. I hope for some basic nose and brow options that aren't limited to either straight, normal, and pug-like. I want a variety of hair options, ranging from short to long or thin to thick, preferably not horribly clipping into shoulder pads.

    Prefer sliders over set options. More over less. Significant over minor. Let the player feel like they created who they wanted to create and who they envisioned, within reason.

    How much time do I spend on creation? With a good system, if I'm not rushed to get a head start or reserve a name? I could spend a comfortable half hour unless I'm working with some advanced mesh-dragging, in which case it can be longer. What is my focus? It would be to match the appearance with my mental image of what it should look like. I prefer aesthetics and accuracy over perfect min-maxing. I would not choose a race or class I did not like simply to conform with a meta offering a negligible benefit.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    I pick a race that at least somewhat goes well mechanically with the class I am playing - though I am not too particular with it.

    Then I spend a minute or two going through prebuilds/random looks, pick one I like, spend about 2 or 3 minutes making adjustments to it and get going.

    I dont much care what tools are available, I work with what ever there is to make something acceptable.
  • I do like to try and synergize races/classes, however, I don't like it when (x) race is the designated "tank" race or something like that. It restricts players, even if it's a 1% difference per-say. Regardless, my plan is to go Ren'kai. With that being said, things I would like to see in character creation is enough options to separate a race. Things like builds (short, beefy, big) etc. For elves- tall ears, short ears, wide ears. Orcs- One tusk, two tusks, no tusks, short.. etc. I like variations for many different things, hairstyles, misc. and so forth. How much time I spend on character creation usually depends on what type of character creation. WoW? Little to none. BDO? Hour+ easily. I like to be able to different types of a race apart. I don't like when all of (x) race look the same. Or even when all of (x) race of (x) class look the same. Important things to add are variations. This goes for colors of things, physical attributes of things- or even better, just full customization of those things instead of variation.
  • I always use a lot of thoughts when creating a character, thinking of it as something I'll be stuck with for life, kinda like getting a tattoo. For character creation I always makes decision in two different situations.

    First, when Im at the character creation screen, that's where I think about and decide the looks of the character, that usually maybe takes 8-15 minutes realistically. I don't want my character to look derpy, weird or straight up looking like a clown. You could say I want it to look normal or good looking. But to be more precise I could say I want the looks to fit the race, something which makes sense, saying in my head "yeah this is how an Elf Hunter should look like for example, that's the kind of looks Im aiming for. It doesn't have to look like a handsome young man or a beautiful woman, if it's a dwarf, then of course he/she's gotta be dwarf like, looking a bit older with callous like hands and a real dwarf beard.

    Second, long before I create my character, I think a lot about what Class I wanna play. When I make a character the core element I will create the rest of the character around is the class. I ALWAYS pick the class before anything else, regardless of race etc.
    When I've picked the class I wanna play, that's when I decide which race to pick. I decide with 2 things in mind. How much the race fits this class and the looks of the race and also the looks of the race combined with the class in mind. At times I also take a rough look at all the races hairstyle, colors, facial expressions etc, to get a rough idea of the different races looks beforehand also.
    There could be a race which doesn't have a single hairstyle which fits my female mage to make an example. Skimming through the looks of the character creation beforehand lets me know if that's the case for example, so I already know that "X" race is out of the question already.

    After I've picked the class and race, that's usually when I think about the name. I can begin this progress weeks before creating the characters, tho it can also be a few hours before the character is created. When creating a name I NEVER use my online name, because Im not seeing the character as me, but an individual which I control and is unique.
    When making up a name I tend to try getting inspiration first, usually a name I like myself, something which sounds good in my ears when saying it out loud, something which also kinda fits the class, but also especially the race. The race at times can have a big impact, but mostly depending on the race. If I create the name on the same day as I create the character, I spend between 30 min to 2 hours or so at most, but usually I've had a general idea along beforehand.
  • Endless options. Sometimes I want to be cool... sometimes I want to look absurd. Many hair styles with adjustable length, Adjustible weight and muscle mass, adjustable height things like that
  • Oh man, in an MMO like this I could easily spend 20-30 minutes making sure I'm happy with my character customization.
    Obvious customization options:
    1. Gender
    2. Race
    3. Hair (style/color)
    4. Complexion
    5. Face
    6. Facial features (hair/piercing)

    Less obvious customizations options:
    1. Age
    2. Height
    3. Build
    4. Body Markings (scars/tattoos)
    5. Posture
    6. Voice
    7. Full Facial Customization (including eyes)
    8. Character Origin Story
    9. Personality/Demeaner (could use this to specify posture and voice)
    10. Starting Region/Location

    When I make a character I typically already have a class in mind and customize in a way that synergizes well with that class. The more options I have the more I can really craft a character that suits how I want to play.

    Depending on the game and what it lets me get away with I like to focus on the "who" of my character, with each adjustment I am writing a story in my head about their life, who they are, their personality, their upbringing, did they have family, what led them to be here etc... Naturally this includes the class, but that's just one of many aspects of my character.
    Oh and I always aim to make my character look good, usually super ninja mode!
  • George BlackGeorge Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    Tons of hairstyles + sliders
  • VhaeyneVhaeyne Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    "How much time do you typically spend on character creation, and what are the tools you like to have available when you’re building your character? Do you focus on race/class synergy, looking good, or something else entirely?"

    How much time? Literally hours. Days in the case of "City of Heros".

    Character creation is significant to me. The reason I love MMORPGs over just flat out playing match-based games like MOBAs is the persistence and customization available in many MMORPGs. Gameplay is important too, but that persistence combined with good gameplay is where I like to spend my time.

    A major part of persistence and customization is being able to make your own unique character that speaks to you in some way. Sure, I could load up a MOBA or single player RPG and play the generic characters the developers of those game made, but they never feel as good as a character I made.

    Character creation is so important to me that I made a thread to explore every MMORPG character creator I could get my hands on and some non-mmorpg character creators:

    When it comes to class and race synergy, the old-school D&D player in me tells me that is important and adds flavor to the game. The problem is that when some races are better picks for some, it restricts freedom in character creation. Reluctantly, I must admit that I would rather not have class/race synergy in the game than be restricted by it.

    People always say that BDO is the best, but I don't see it. I always point people in the direction of City of Heros for an example of perfect character creations. I don't even like the superhero genre/aesthetic and the graphics are awful by today's standards, but I still think it is the best Character creator and MMORPG has ever seen.

    What does City of Heros do right? It just has the most options and does try to restrict you too much with them.
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