The Daily Grind: Do you check out other characters in MMORPGs?

    
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The other week on the podcast, Bree and I were arguing over the importance of cosmetic looks — not just in how you present yourself, but also in how others see you. She said that it didn’t matter to others, since most people never take the time to really look at other characters, while I differed and said that I do this all of the time.

I’ll admit that not every player character gets the close eyeball treatment from me, but if I spot a figure sporting a dashing outfit, riding a weird mount, or otherwise being engaging, I’ll take the time to saunter up and inspect them at point-blank range. I even have been known to take screenshots of such characters for my creepy and nefarious purposes.

Do you actually check out other players, or are they so much background art in a game that’s really all about you? Alternatively, what makes you sit up and take notice of how another character looks?

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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camelotcrusade

Certainly. If they look interesting, I look at them; I appreciate effort put into cultivating a persona and appearance. But if they are engaged in annoying behavior, I don’t look again.

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Suikoden

Not sure if I’m one of those rare people or not, but yes I always notice other players. It’s one of the things I like about being in a virtual world. It’s part of that world.

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Cory Enns

one of the many things I miss about City Of Heroes is that there was a huge portion of the game’s players that would do exactly that. I remember constant costume contests, and I was stopped many time by other players to compliment me on my character’s design. You never see anything like that in today’s games.

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Bryan Correll

Costume contests were always fun, especially if there were themes. And it wasn’t uncommon to receive a whisper asking for the name of one of my costume pieces.

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Schmidt.Capela

I almost never inspect other characters.

I put stats above appearance nearly always, so in a game without cosmetic gear I absolutely don’t care what the other characters are wearing; no use in peeking, then.

In a game with cosmetic gear I do care about my appearance and often try to find new pieces to use, but I would need to be able to determine which cosmetic gear the other character is using in order for inspecting to be worthwhile; the issue is that inspecting other characters usually only reveals the stat gear, not the cosmetic gear, so again no use in peeking.

As for things that grab my attention: well coordinated outfits that don’t look like a crazy armorer’s idea of a Christmas tree. One of the reasons I dearly love cosmetic gear is because I tend to find the high end gear simply too ugly to use, so I typically change my appearance to something more akin to a full set of low to intermediary level color-coordinated gear.

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Bryan Correll

well coordinated outfits that don’t look like a crazy armorer’s idea of a Christmas tree.

I hate looking like a Goodwill store barfed on me.

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Robert Mann

Depends on the game. Most MMOs are all about going out and doing this, that, or the other thing rather than being social. So if I am playing them, that’s my focus (and the reason I’m there at that time, which is usually limited.)

On the other hand, if the game allows decent customization and has social interactions beyond grouping for content, AH, and guilds where there’s really no point beyond passives or the guild bank, I will likely be taking time for social gatherings… and THEN I look.

The second being, honestly, more my kind of game. Sadly it is rather rare.

*P.S. I do notice outfits which are very immersion breaking, but that’s a negative to me.*

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TomTurtle

Indeed I do. Of course other players have to make it difficult for me to get a close-up due to them moving around going about their business. Stay still, dammit! Let me creep.

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François Verret

I do when they catch my eye, which happens often in GW2.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I check people out! I really miss being able to snoop people in games like GW2 to figure out what they have on, usually because I want it myself. But I don’t think most gamers can see out of their own little bubble far enough to notice what people have on. Unless that stranger you just met has on a feathered tiara and a garbage bag, you’re probably not going to notice or remember the details.

I also don’t think people who post on blogs and forums are in bubbles like that, though. :D

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Greaterdivinity

Sometimes, especially when it’s folks creating their own unique “looks” rather than just having high-end gear. Usually I breeze right by folks for the most part, but every now and then someones character really pops out and I’ll have to take a look at what they’ve done with it.