Massively OP’s 2020 Awards: Best MMO Character Customization

    
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MassivelyOP’s end-of-the-year awards for 2020 continue today with… what’s this? A brand-new award? Yep! This year we’re debuting a new formal award for Best MMO Character Customization. After all, making toons is one of the few things pretty much every MMO and every MMO player truly has in common. Will this award be around next year? We have no idea! Let’s see how it goes over. So don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

And the MassivelyOP staff pick for the Best MMO Character Customization of 2020 is…

BLACK DESERT

Andy McAdams: Elder Scrolls Online or Guild Wars 2 are my two favorites. I still maintain the BDO is only a good character customization if you subscribe to the maxim of “You can have any color you want as long it’s black.” I’ve found BDO’s character creator to be incredibly limiting. My vote for GW2 is largely because of the Sylvari, my favorite fantasy race ever.

Brianna Royce: City of Heroes, Black Desert, Guild Wars 2. I don’t really think anything tops City of Heroes for character customization, not even the other superhero titles, so it’ll be lovely when it’s official again (ahem) so we can give it awards. In the meantime, I can get behind Black Desert. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s detailed as heck.

Carlo Lacsina: Black Desert.

Chris Neal: City of Heroes, Black Desert. CoH continues to provide evidence that sometimes the good old days were indeed better than today. This, of course, is helped out with some new options added by the folks handling the Homecoming rogue servers, but the fact remains that, as far as complete customization goes, from looks to powers, City of Heroes is still the undefeated champion.

Eliot Lefebvre: Star Trek Online.

Justin Olivetti: City of Heroes, Guild Wars 2, Champions Online.

Mia DeSanzo: Black Desert Online.

MJ Guthrie: Yipes! Here’s a category you’d think was made for me, right? That doesn’t make it an obvious or easy choice. It all depends on what you define as customization. Is it just character creation? Because there are games with a generous character creation, including styles, colors, even sliders for every possible feature. There are games that let you dress however you want regardless of gear with appearance slots and such. And there are games that allow you to freely customize your skills and build, even changing on the go. And different games top the lists in each of these. But I am giving the tip top slot to Secret World Legends for nailing two out of three of these categories. I wish more games would allow characters to dress freely without it affecting stats (all “gear” is accessories, not clothing) and let you buildup your personal skill build while allowing for freedom to readily swap. SWL does these both very well.

Tyler Edwards: I still don’t think anything quite tops Aion, though City of Heroes is a pretty solid choice as well. As much as I love Black Desert character creator, it has too many weird arbitrary restrictions (like gender locks) for me to say it’s the best.

Black Desert took our award for Best MMO Character Creation in 2020. What’s your pick?

Reader poll: Which MMO offered the best character customization in 2020?

  • Black Desert (24%, 119 Votes)
  • Elder Scrolls Online (12%, 59 Votes)
  • Guild Wars 2 (13%, 64 Votes)
  • City of Heroes (13%, 65 Votes)
  • Star Trek Online (5%, 23 Votes)
  • Champions Online (4%, 18 Votes)
  • Secret World Legends (3%, 16 Votes)
  • Aion (2%, 10 Votes)
  • World of Warcraft (4%, 18 Votes)
  • Final Fantasy XIV (9%, 43 Votes)
  • ArcheAge (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Neverwinter (0%, 1 Votes)
  • LOTRO (1%, 6 Votes)
  • DC Universe Online (1%, 5 Votes)
  • TERA (0%, 2 Votes)
  • Dungeons and Dragons Online (1%, 5 Votes)
  • EverQuest II (1%, 5 Votes)
  • SWTOR (3%, 15 Votes)
  • Something else (tell us in the comments!) (4%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 410

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How does MassivelyOP choose the winner?
Our team gathers together to nominate and discuss candidates and hopefully settle on a consensus winner. We don’t have a hard vote, but we do include written commentary from every writer who submitted it on time so that you can see where some of us differed, what our secondary picks were, and why we personally nominated what we did (or didn’t). The site’s award goes to the staff selection, but we’ll include both it and the community’s top nomination in our debrief in January.
How does MassivelyOP populate this poll?
Poll options include all MMOs nominated plus a few others we thought should be included.
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agemyth 😩
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agemyth 😩

Was Phantasy Star Online 2 left out unintentionally? I know there’s always game X or game Y that gets forgotten here and there, but in this case PSO2 is very much competing for the top spot in this category. Also, it is new (to our region) and that gets bonus points on end-of-year lists imo.

People voted for ESO? As a fan since Morrowind, Elder Scrolls games kinda get more and more disappointing with character creation over the years as the unique race models are slowly all compromised to make it easier to fit armor and animations on all the characters. With ESO being a MMO and being console compatible I feel like character models lost almost all distinguishing racial features or proportions. Now Argonians and Khajiit have tails and otherwise all races are have essentially identical silhouettes.

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Dean Greenhoe

I can’t believe how long I spend creating my best character just to see a helmeted shrunken toons backside for the vast majority of the game. :)

In my head though I know my toon looks great.

Celestia
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Celestia

You can’t make this in Black Desert. My new Homecoming dark/energy blaster named “Major Award”.

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Bruno Brito

I consider customization to also be outfits and equipment, so i’m going for Champions Online. It’s just a improved CoH.

GW2 doesn’t allow you to customize body type besides some presets, ESO does but it’s lacking on the hairstyle department and also it’s limited.

CO pretty much allows you to create whatever the hell you’re feeling. Too bad the game itself doesn’t hold a candle to the customization.

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Sorenthaz

Nothing’s really going to beat City of Heroes in terms of what you can actually put together. BDO’s only really good in terms of what you can do while working with a high quality character model, but if we’re going by Asian MMOs then I’m pretty sure Blade and Soul beats BDO by a good amount, especially since you don’t have to deal with gender locking.

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Bruno Brito

Nothing’s really going to beat City of Heroes in terms of what you can actually put together.

Champions Online.

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Sorenthaz

Kind of but not really. Unless F2P players are woefully limited.

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Bruno Brito

Yes, but i’m talking on a scope of the entire character creation. Remember that CoH also had F2P restrictions when it was live.

You can’t for instance, put dresses or skirts on men, which is bothering me greatly because i was trying to make a Warrior Priest and a Plague Doctor. You can do those on CO.

CO biggest issue is the game itself.

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PanagiotisLial1

I even made an amphibius alien cat-hulk

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Rndomuser

Where is VRChat option? It’s kind of an “MMO”, I’ve seen more people in some areas in VRChat than in any large city in some games on this poll ;-)

I do agree that BDO is a good choice, though. While it has some flaws like genderlocking which should not exist in multiplayer games – no character customization in any game is perfect and at least in BDO you can create a character that is visually attractive and not just a mess of heavily desaturated colors with low-res textures (hello Bethesda and Blizzard!). Some other Asian MMORPGs on this list would also be good choices because of how attractive you can make your character. That’s just my personal opinion, and different people will obviously have different concept of attractiveness.

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Box

I’ve been a longtime player of BDO and also a pretty active player with multiple characters on Homecoming, definitely agreed with BDO winning just because of how many character presets I’ve come up with and shared in the character gallery just for others to play with them.

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squid

Can really only justify BDO if the only thing you’re customizing is the appearance of your character’s face (and even then, customization is minimal since it’s all built off of tweaks to existing templates).

Really not sure how you pick a game with race/gender-locked classes as having the “best character customization.”

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Box

Simply put it’s because of the depth you can put into making a character. Between all the little specific edits and sliders you can make some wild characters. Heck if you’re not good at making characters there’s an gallery of sorts that let’s you load up and use characters made by other players. Sure the game has gender locked classes but to be fair they’ve been adding more female variants of the same classes with enough differences to feel like they’re more then just a variant.

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Utakata

…I would argue WoW has the most improved CC for this year. Still it’s got a long way to go before it’s even remotely in CoH territory though.

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styopa

BDO I think sure, but nearly every character seems to end up looking essentially like an asian girl.