Sunday, November 15, 2009

Character customisation: Stupid!

I've noticed in a few reviews of mmorpgs or dragon age, etc, around, that there's an emphasis on character customisation and how good it is.

Character customisation is stupid. It's the ultimate reflection of the shallow "It's what's on the outside that counts".

How your guy looks, does not matter. I'll admit, I've fiddled with face, etc. But it's fiddling - it's nothing significant at all. I know it was a waste of time. But not everyone does - other people seem to go in thinking it deeply important.

Substance, not style! Deeds, not looks!

But no, we get a display animal/peacock culture. Perhaps even stemming way back to table top roleplaying, where the players had some incredibly railroaded gameplay, so they just focused on making pretty characters because that's all they got to choose. And what do you get in video games - take the rat killing quest or...stand around doing nothing. So pretty much again, railroaded.

I remember that WOW's presentation at a blizzcon of the wrath of the lich king expansion included a barber shop, and there being cheers from the crowd apparently. Of all the things, of all the events, self preening was the most epic!?

Character customisation is stupid! Indiana Jones is not Indiana Jones because of his hat! Spiderman is not spiderman because of his suit!

Now, thinking your cool looking after completing some sort of deed or event, fair enough. But just fidling around with looks, just for their own sake? It's being a poser.


  1. Sometimes, character appearance customization allows me to play a character with my racial attributes. Sometimes, character appearance customization allows me to play a character with my gender. Rarely, I get to do both.

    I don't spend much time on clothing choices, but character appearance customization lets me play a game that stars someone other than a white male with short brown hair.


  2. Well, I would agree that your game session(s) star someone other than the white male etc. But the game itself stars no one in particular, when it has that option. There's a difference between the game and individual, customised game sessions.

    Apart from that, I dunno. I was aimed at people who fiddle with the cheekbones slider or such, as if it really matters. And let's face it, does the game actually engage what skin colour you are?

    I'll grant it breaks away from what often seems a continuing message in games that seems to be 'Only a white guy with short brown hair can be a hero'. But apart from that I'd still call that pretty pointless.

  3. I think the cheeckbone slider may be a bit crazy, but character customization is an important way to stand out. It shows you're status as an advanced player (especially if you have to earn customization options). A different shirt can definitely help you stand out from the crowd.