Leaderboard: What’s the most important part of MMORPG character customization?

Valiance Online has a dev thread up this week asking backers and devs to propose hairstyles for the game’s characters, something that immediately yoinked my attention since I am notoriously picky about hair. As I’ve written before, I’m not against mohawks. Mohawks are cool. But when we open up a character creator and see 50 different types of mohawks and little else? Drives me bonkers. I’m exaggerating a little, but the variety in most MMOs isn’t so hot, and that’s partly down to clipping issues, I realize. Still, hair specifically is super important to me when I’m rolling a character. It’s definitely in my top three, probably right after gender.

How about you? What’s the most important part of MMORPG character customization to you? You can pick three!

What's the most important part of MMORPG character customization? (Choose three.)

  • Name (12%, 67 Votes)
  • Gender (18%, 98 Votes)
  • Species or faction (11%, 61 Votes)
  • Height (2%, 10 Votes)
  • Body type or weight (10%, 55 Votes)
  • Facial features (9%, 52 Votes)
  • Hair (11%, 63 Votes)
  • Age (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Skin color (2%, 12 Votes)
  • Clothes, armor, or accessories (14%, 78 Votes)
  • Extras like tats and piercings (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Body sliders for genitalia (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Character biographies (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments) (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Elf butts of course / just want to see the answers (3%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 227

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44 Comments on "Leaderboard: What’s the most important part of MMORPG character customization?"

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Brett
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Brett

Species, Age, Skin Colour for me.

Honestly though, I wish more games would have customisation that was less appearance-based. I love the idea of getting more into the mindset of creating a complex and unique person rather than a pretty doll (although sure, that’s fun too!)

How brilliant would it be to pick little flavour quirks, personality traits, former life events, fears, hopes, likes, dislikes and so on? Especially if they shape your gameplay in unexpected ways!

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Malcolm Swoboda

*Name, Gender, Clothes.*

Pretty common stuff, but I’ll describe the reasons.

Name – I have a nice naming convention I’m really stuck to now, so being given some preset or somehow anon identity would suck.

Gender – HATE GENDERLOCK. Unless its a particular kind of game. For example, I was kinda okay with preset characters in Dragon Age: Inquisition multiplayer. However, this doesn’t work in MMORPGs for me. Maybe some game can convince me, but until then, I MUST be able to choose gender for my class, or at least I gotta be able to pick Male for the class I want.

Clothes – This isn’t the biggest deal to me, but among all the other options, its obvious that clothing ‘makes the man’ and can really show customization more than other things.

Three runners up: Species or faction (can be problematic and minimized as game continues whereas I’d prefer it expand, but I appreciate option), Facial features, Hair.

Notable next three: Character biographies (especially the few games with some effects within these bios; the more casual passive RP the better), Height (I like reflecting my above-avg height), Skin color (I like picking my very white skin on my main; see Height, Gender).

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kidwithknife

I demand the power to customize my elf butts.

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Duane Does not check email

Matt, gloss or reflective ?

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kidwithknife

What does Matt have to do with anything? I’m not interested in customizing his elf butts.

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imayb1

Pretty sure he meant “matte”.

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kidwithknife

Whatever, I don’t care about Matte’s elf butts either.

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MolleaFauss

Appearance separated from gear used?

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mcsleaz

Everything that’s Visual.

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kgptzac

boob slider of course

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Denice J. Cook

Yeah! … It immediately goes all the way DOWN every time I roll a female in any MMORPG, lol. The default settings in these games are stupidly huge.

Although I remember one toon in City of Heroes that ran around Virtue server; clearly that setting was all the way up during character creation. Her name? “I’m up here.” I had to think about it a minute, but then I saw what she did there. ;)

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Utakata

These puppies! /wiggles pigtails

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Dean Dean

All of those things (and more) are what allow your character to reflect the role you’re trying to play. If I want to role play as a Death Knight, then I should have the ability to make my character look like one, complete with magic auras, menacing armor and wicked weapons.

Making your parts a different size can create and individual, but character is a projection of the person you’re trying to represent. Most MMOs don’t even come close to allowing this, mainly because of how generic things like class selection are.

So, per usual, the biggest problem is a lack of content. Programming is hard, but genderlocking is easy.

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

It is the armor, the cloth, everything else is too small to notice, the armor is what makes characters different from each other.

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Robert Mann

Name, or it isn’t my character but rather the character the developers put in. Background/story, because if we don’t have one then it is just ‘skin deep.’
Choice. Because that background/story is nice, but if it is just static then my character, for all they might change clothes, armor, or weapons, is static.

The other aspects are important, but those are my top three.

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Tobasco da Gama

Games should be more interesting with their gender implementations. It’s been a decade since Saint’s Row 2’s “gender slider”, and the trans and non-binary communities have only gotten more visible since then. Let’s give them some better options, yeah?

threeknee
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threeknee

Species is kind of important, but is it weird that I would not consider species as part of customization? Like, you pick that before, and then you customize. Just picking a species is not customization. Is that weird?

Anyway, it’s the body type, including height, because generally most other details are hidden when you equip armor.

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Modrain

Facial features, hair, body type. That’s the base customization I need. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as advanced as BDO. I’d even be tempted to say that it shouldn’t be as advanced to prevent me from losing days in the character creator ;_;. Something along the lines of Aion is enough for me.

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imayb1

BDO was oddly short-sighted in the way that you couldn’t escape the cookie cutter of your class. :( I would love it if more games had the robustness of Aion’s character creation; you could always make an individual there.

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Schlag Sweetleaf
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Schmidt.Capela

Funniest thing is, I was watching Star Trek on my second monitor when I saw your post :p

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Doubleplusgood

I had to put a vote in for name.
A mmo that has flexible naming with a high character count that let’s you use spaces and no restrictions on titles allows you to get very creative and unique with character names.

ESO is one of those games and I’m having a great time. I’ve got characters that are captains, queens, princesses and professors. I’ve got a bunch with tounge twister themed names 24 characters long. I’ve had fun being creative with my character names.

On the other hand WoW is less flexible and very limited with character names. It’s been a challenge to not have generic and boring one word fantasy names.

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MesaSage

Everything on the list until you get to genitalia. And it’s not just because I’m a Hobbit.

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Melissa McDonald

“it’s actually not that small” – Tyrian Lannister

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Van

I love being able to dye armor and clothing. See ESO.

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Giannis Papadopoulos

I voted Clothes, armor, or accessories but generally I just want my character to look pretty / beautiful. I dont care how unique it will be… even if they put 5 options in there, if I like them all I am fine.

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thickenergy

Well, first of all the character models themselves have to not look like blow-up dolls dressed up for a cosplay session. There are a lot of cringe inducing character models in MMO land.

I only voted for one option, Name. There are games I’ve uninstalled without playing because after 30 minutes I still couldn’t find a name that was not taken and acceptable to both myself and the game’s name parser.

This is one thing that I’ve always appreciated ESO for getting right. The ability to include spaces so you can have multipart names and not blocking a longer name because it happens to have a potential naughty word somewhere in the middle.

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Melissa McDonald

Many, many sliders. BDO has a variation of that which allows you to twist/pull and that’s not too bad also. A selection of skins/complexions. I don’t want FACES. I want Skins. And I want to tweak every part of that body.

I still believe the gold standard for number of sliders and tweaks is Second Life, a game that is intensely avatar-centric, not only in shape making, but also cosmetics to an exponential degree. You can make anything from a giant to a midget. If you hit “random” you can even create a misshapen freak that would scare John Merrick. And I’m calling that good.

Please take a look at this graphic I prepared that show all the available sliders you can tweak in Second Life. I think you’ll be impressed by the number of options. I’ve tried to eliminate some of the naughty bits for those offended by cartoon nudity. (SL avatars are anatomically correct…)

SL.jpg
Loyheta
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Loyheta

Oh no! Digital nipples! I’ve been ruined. /s

This has a great amount of sliders. If only most mmos had this type of diversity.

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Melissa McDonald

I counted 158 unique sliders for various body parts. That’s hard to beat.

Loyheta
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Loyheta

I voted for species, facial features (facial hair), and armor/clothing. I think the most important stuff is the stuff you can actually see. Hair is nice but it usually goes away the moment you put a helm on.

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Jadefox

Hair is the biggest single thing for me. Other body shape and weight. Hair is one of the first thing I notice. I really wish a game would/could do long hair. I want to see waist length loose and braided styles.

In fact it would be nice if a character creator would allow you to pick 2-3 styles at start-up that you could freely swap between.

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Denice J. Cook

Google the movie Brave. Now google how many thousands of gigantic supercomputer clusters it took just to make the girl’s hair. Now realize why there is no long, swooshing hair in MMOs, which also have to track 5,000+ players’ movements, spells, attacks, actions and effects simultaneously.

My daughter does 3D modeling for an MMO company. She is freakishly, scarily good at creating hair. Five minutes of staring at those Blender meshes is enough to put me into a coma, but she…she has the patience to work for 10-12 hours a day perfecting a single head of hair, strand by strand, then adding Alpha and all that rendering crap none of the rest of us ever thinks about. And that is within the limitations of shorter styles (to prevent clipping), “helmet hair” so that it doesn’t crash the freaking servers, etc.

Just give up on your dreams of long, flowing, realistic hair in MMOs, sorry.

miol
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miol

Now realize why there is no long, swooshing hair in MMOs, which also have to track 5,000+ players’ movements, spells, attacks, actions and effects simultaneously.

Hair physics are of course on the client side of things! No need to get servers involved with that! ;P

Physics makes the work easier, as clipping is way less of a problem too! And no need for getting bald, when wearing certain helmets, anymore!

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Melissa McDonald

That’s the wrong attitude. Intel just came out with their Core i9 CPU with 18 cores. Nvidia and AMD are in a perpetual arms race. Our dreams are merely delayed a little while. Animated hair is common in Second Life, by the way.

miol
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miol

If only more MMOs would use hair physics! ;P

ezgif-1-94eec3374d.gif
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Pandalulz

I went with body sizes/shapes. When you see a crowd of people together, everybody has helmets/hats and whatnot, faces aren’t necessarily discernible, but when everybody is exactly the same cookie cutter size and shape, that’s boring and kills interest. I love looking over a crowd and seeing differences.

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BalsBigBrother

Age, we need more age options that just younger or slightly young and for the rest of creation process to reflect the age you decide on.

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Paragon Lost

All of it. I was hoping for a “all of the above” option.

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TheDonDude

Yeah there’s no way I can limit myself to just 3.

hurbster
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hurbster

3d beards and moustaches​, none of this painted on crap.

Loyheta
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Loyheta

Mass Effect Andromeda really bummed me out because the most intense beard looks like he hasn’t shaved for a week :(

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Zen Dadaist

I ticked Gender because locking stuff off (be it a whole class or just a pair of trousers) based on character gender is such a huge buzzkill for me.

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NeoWolf

The most important part of Character Customisation for me is CHOICE. 4 hairs, 4 faces, 6 colours and 3 heights just isn’t going to do it. I want my Avatars to be unique and have my personal style and flair to them if I log in and see three dozen people who all look more or less the same your game better be spectacular otherwise im logging straight back out.

Also a few other absolute no no’s for me with customisation are Gender locking classes, No long hair styles, giving me skin tone choice but then only european faces, not including age as an option not every hero has to be a teenager.

An annoyance but not a no no would be the reliance on the the two standard nonsense body types i.e the lithe, long legged body and the hulking brute. I mean really are we still pretending people don’t come in all shapes and sizes still? thankfully more games are including sliders for all, but it still disappoints me just how many games fall back on these two body types only.

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