The Daily Grind: Does mid-game character customization matter in MMOs?


This morning’s Daily Grind question is brought to us by Kickstarter donor Tracergeek, who wants to talk about customization in MMOs — specifically, the type that happens in the middle of the game, after you’ve rolled your toon up and played for a bit, like race- and class-swaps.

How important is it for you to be able to change your character’s race, gender and class in an MMO, and which MMO do you feel is best at offering these features to players?

Coincidentally, I have been giving Trove an extended spin. Trove famously allows players to swap classes from cornerstones and hubs, and although you’ve got to unlock the classes and level them separately, it actually works pretty well in that type of sandpark. It’s the same sort of system that Marvel Heroes uses, and it’s not a huge leap from there to great sub-class-swapping games like Guild Wars and RIFT.

Race- and gender-changes are usually a simple matter of a cash shop purchase, but personally, I’d give the nod to classic Star Wars Galaxies on the matter of swapping classes; I always love skill-based MMORPGs that allow you to unlearn skills to learn new ones, meaning your character can grow and become an expert in a new skill given enough time. Plus it had an entire Image Design skill tree, putting the burden of changing you to look like Neo on players, not on an NPC barber. Runner-up: City of Heroes, since there you could literally swap from being a catgirl with a flame halo and glowing daggers to being a femmebot with a fluorescent machine gun and a top hat at the click of a costume button. Click.

So I’d say it’s important to me since those are my favorite two MMOs ever. I don’t think it’s an accident they rank so highly!

What do you folks think? Does it matter whether you can swap out your race, gender, or class in the middle of your character’s lifespan in an MMO? Which games do it the very best?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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