The Daily Grind: How obsessively do you plan your MMO characters?

The Daily Grind: How obsessively do you plan your MMO characters?

All right, moment of truth here: I’m still really excited about the potential for playing City of Heroes again. I want the legal version Titan Network is trying to get so badly. But I’m kinda staying away from the up-and-down-and-deleted-and-up-again-nope-down-again test servers right now outside of claiming names, partly because it’s still a shadow server and partly because I don’t see the point of investing in characters that probably aren’t permanent.

What I have been doing, however, is playing around in my spreadsheets and MIDs. Yeah, I’ve dug out all my old builds as well as my roster of characters from 2012 to see what I want to remake and what builds and ideas I want to salvage or reinvent. I’ve popped everything into a list, and I’m still trying to decide what my first line-up of toons will look like. It’s gonna have a lot of Storm, though, that I know.

How obsessively do you plan your MMO characters?

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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George Jensen

1) know the universe. Research a lot before you play. Become an amateur loremaster.
2) Think of some cool things that you’ve done before or that you haven’t and want to try out. Do this by just creating loads of throw away characters until an idea sticks, play other games, research more, whatever.
3) relate it back to the game. Find something in that game which is similar or what you were thinking of.
4) look through the abilities and see what fits.
5) roleplay it in your head for a bit.
6) character customisation. Aesthetics, name etc.
7) find or create a build that fits.
8) enjoy. Or repeat the process until you have spent the next hundred hours finding builds that you don’t like and trying it all again. Just what people do

Mia DeSanzo

I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants, which means that sometimes my builds aren’t great. Sometimes they are weird, but still work. And sometimes I give in and go look at a guide. Mostly, though, I am a pantser, not a planner.


I don’t really obsessively plan ahead too much unless I have to, i.e. in tabletop games or something like HellMOO you have to figure out what you want to specialize in early and then plan around that in the long run since that’s going to define your character/build from the get-go.

If it’s something like WoW or RIFT I usually just look up builds, otherwise I just play around and experiment until I want to get serious. Only when/if my build choices have longterm repercussions do I pre-plan things and obsessively think ahead.

Demon of Razgriz
Demon of Razgriz

I’ve never used Mids for any builds. I always trial and error’ed with all my alts. I just look at the item sets and see if the set bonuses would work for that particular alt( stamina boost for my tank, extra critical damage for blaster, recharge time for emp. etc.). I think it takes the fun out of it when you try to plan out every little step. The only way I see this as a plus for CoH is if you’re going to farm levels for hire and have door sitters and bridges. But that’s just my hot take.


Make sure you spam Gale. Tanks *love* it!

Kickstarter Donor

I don’t number crunch in order to min/max and I don’t use pre-made builds (which although fine lack the personal touch for my tastes).

Beyond that I am fairly obsessed when it comes to character creation, heck if a game has a good character creator I can spend MANY hours in them in order to craft the aesthetic I have in mind (options allowing of course).

I also tend to make noted before creation prior to a games release in order to plan my characters name, race, class, important physical features like basic look im aiming for, markings/tattoos/scars, hair colour, eye color, facial hair if any. I also have a few (3 or 4 usually) key personality traits that will dictate how I play a character and in what way they will end up making quest dialogue choices etc.. and of course the most important thing..the name.

Character creation is one of my three favourite things about MMO’s (the others being story and progression).

The only thing left then is to try and build your perfect aesthetic for them to wear once you’ve crafted the character itself, but that you cannot really do prior to release/play.


I dont do much planning myself, because I dont trust myself to get the math correct. I wait until some builds are posted. I really just want to know how to build myself to do my expected job well.


I still have my CoH build folder with several dozen builds and iterations of builds in there. Including a couple I just whipped up this week. In ye older days, it wasn’t a matter of pick your talents and go. There was some serious theorycrafting going on! I even was building rotations!

Now if only I could remember half of said theorycrafting. XD


So far I’ve not played an MMO that doesn’t allow respeccing in some way or another, so I’ve not needed to plan. I also only join an MMO at launch, so I generally can’t plan out a build because not enough information exists. Additionally, most MMOs go through various balancing passes in the first 6 months or so, so planning out is silly because everything changes.

Best bet is to just choose the class I want and then play it by ear.

Bryan Correll

Well, first there are a couple of questions that have to be answered:

1) Is making changes in the future viable? For CoH, as a an example, your primary/secondary sets are set in stone. And while respecs existed, they were very limited. Planning things out is almost required.

2)How ‘attached’ to this character am I going to be? In PoE respeccing can get pretty expensive (unless they make big changes to to passive tree and force respec everyone.) But as I play almost exclusively in leagues I’m only going to be stuck with a particular character for three months. I plan out the characters, but it isn’t rare for me to depart significantly from the plan.

Edit: Poor Salt Crystals. Great visual, lousy power.