The Daily Grind: Do you find it hard to connect with pre-established MMO characters?


One of the hallmarks of MMORPGs is the freedom for players to create the kind of character that they want, from race to looks to class. It’s a large separation from most of mainline video gaming, where characters are established by the developers and inhabited by players. In Legend of Zelda, I was always Link, but in World of Warcraft, I’m PajamaPantz the Orc Rogue and proud of it.

However, not all MMOs allow this degree of freedom; several eastern games, like Closers and Vindictus, create fixed character/class roles and ask players to select from among them. These characters have defined looks and backgrounds, which not only limits choice on the player’s behalf but results in a landscape full of clones.

How do you feel about that? Is it hard to connect with pre-established MMO characters? Or do you like slipping into a role that’s already been fleshed out and prepared for you?

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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Most likely if the game you are playing has pre made, fixed characters it isnt an MMORPG.

People often mistake MMOs for MMORPGs, but they just are not, regardless how much effort is put in to try and redefine the genre.


I don’t have any a problem connecting to pre-made characters, but the kind of connection is different; it’s more akin to connecting with the protagonist in a book series. As in, someone that is clearly not me, not made for me specifically, but that I can (usually) get to care about a lot. It’s not necessarily worse, but it sure feels different.

(Exceptions, where I can’t connect with a pre-made character, do exist. Certain behavior on the part of the character I control can make me stop playing a game altogether. Behaving like a jerk, in particular, can send me packing unless the game is some kind of self-aware mockery like Dungeon Keeper or Evil Genius.)

Of note, though, good devs can use pre-established characters to allow for a kind of variety that is far harder to provide when you can fully customize the character. Things like letting the character’s personality show through its animation, stance, gear choice, body shape, etc. When that happens, and there is at least one of the pre-made characters that fits my preferences, it might even result in a more enjoyable experience for me than a fully customizable character could bring.

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It’s not much of an RPG if there’s no character customisation to speak of, I’ve played games that have fixed characters (e.g. Vindictus), but I really dislike this aspect of them.

Nick Smith

Absolutely. Most of the time it is hard for me to connect with a pre-established character. I can only connect to the character if it meets a good race/class/gender combo I really like. For instance. Take City of Heroes. I was able to design my own character any way I like right from the beginning. This seems more of an obstacle to try and do in current superhero MMO’s. Looking forward to the newly designed superhero MMO’s coming out.


Yes. Character customization (the deeper, the better) will always make a huge difference to me.


Not at all. I just ignore the character’s story, as I do most of the rest of any story in games. I’ll make my own damned story :-)

Hikari Kenzaki

Character customization is always going to tip the scale for me.

It’s not that I don’t play some games with pre-made characters (like Overwatch), but if I’m on the fence about a new game, the CC is likely to sway my attention towards it.

Breach is a perfect example of a game that I went back and forth on if I was going to play it or not. The one question I kept asking (and had a problem getting a straight answer on) was how much customization is allowed? When I found out I could make my own character and swap out classes, I put my money down.

Same with Ring of Elysium. I like that I can make my own character but this stage of the game, there is not quite enough options to make a character I’m happy with yet. I’ll play it, but I’m not putting money on it.

It’s also a factor of how immersive the game is trying to be. If it’s a single player game, I’m fine with playing a stock character. If it’s a lobby shooter, maybe I’ll look for that perfect skin. If it’s a story-driven RPG, I need some way to make the character mine. I’m certainly not going to try and RP with a hoard of clones.

Vanilla SWTOR proved you can provide deep, branching storylines and still offer deep CC, even if the execution in later years is not there.

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Dean Greenhoe

I do not play games where there are pre-established characters. I also do not like pre-made character appearances. To me developing a new character and their looks is part of the adventure. A big part.

flamethekid .

I don’t think you are suppose to connect with them in the sense you are playing your own role in the world.

instead you are just a viewer playing someone else’s role in a world where there are thousands of that same someone else.


I’m forgiving of Closers because it’s about experiencing the story of those specific people. It’s not “our” story but theirs, and each different character experiences different quest text and story.

Closers is heavily story based, and each character you play it through has a completely different story than the other. No two characters get the same quest text, they’re all on their own unique story paths even though you are basically playing through the same levels in between times.

There are groups whos story doesn’t vary quite as much if you’re on the same team, though each character is still very unique. If you change teams you get a wildly different story however.

Because of this stuff, you’re playing their story, not your own, and I can deal with that. I found characters I connect to in the bunch because of how different and unique each story is, I just had to test out a bunch of different ones to find the ones I connected to more. Still I’m mostly playing through their story and not my own, and then I play a different character to see the story line from a different perspective.

Because of the way Closers does it, I forgive them for mostly locking us with our initial choices for our characters (you can change up their looks but that is tied to either the Cash Shop or earning random costumes while playing).

The translation was done very well, overall it’s a pretty decent experience if you enjoy the combat as well.

Actually one of the characters in Closers I feel closer to than a great many other games because of just how well the story is done there. It is very interesting and different than the same old same old I’m used to in the majority of games.

So yeah, you’re playing through their stories and not your own there, which is a different way to do a game and it works for them. I don’t feel like it ends up being “me” like I do in games where I create my character and have some choices in the story line, but I care about them and get close to them just as much because of how well the story is done. I guess that ends up being one of the most important parts of if I connect or not.