I like to think of myself as the kind of person who doesn’t care all that much about aesthetics as long as a game is awesome, and some of my MMORPG choices back that up. I still play Ultima Online, for example, and I will put up with a lot of awkward 2003 graphics to get my Star Wars Galaxies emu on. But when it comes to my characters? I just have to ensure they are super awesome-looking, as awesome as I can get them in the game. How they look literally affects how I feel about playing them, and I don’t necessarily mean how pretty they are — I have been known to play Ithorians, Gnomes, and Sylvari, after all — just whether they perfectly match my vision for them.
For example, I have abandoned more Guild Wars 2 Charr characters than I care to admit because I couldn’t find just the right armor for them. The druid armor my Charr Ranger is wearing now, however, is perfection, and it literally saved the character for me. On the flipside, my main character is a Sylvari Warrior, and to this day I’ve never found an armor set for her that I liked, which makes me want to play her less. I just don’t go in for giant shoulders, boob windows, butt capes, and foliage.
How about you? Does your characters’ appearance and gear change how you feel about playing them? How much does your MMORPG character’s appearance matter to your gameplay?