The Daily Grind: Which MMO’s art style is offputting to you?

    
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We all like to think that we’re not shallow and that we do appreciate solid gameplay over looks but… yeah, it’s about the looks, too. When a game rubs you the wrong way visually, it’s much harder to get past that to immerse yourself into the virtual world.

I’m not talking about creaky old graphics, although that could be a factor. Rather, today I want to discuss MMOs that have a certain art style that doesn’t do it for you. I can think of a few games that push me away in that department, such as Warframe’s alien-looking tech and much of FFXIV’s character design.

What art style is a big drawback when you’re looking at a particular title?

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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Aldristavan
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Aldristavan

FFXIV. I just can’t get into that style, though I will say that it’s executed very, very well. Runner up: anything gross and overtly sexualized like TERA.

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Dankey Kang

For me it’s WoW. I know it’s a great game yada yada but holy cow is it ugly. Most of the weapons look ridiculous and impractical, the shoulder pads are way too stupid and the races just look ugly as well. As far as I’m concerned, fashion is one of the most important aspects of an MMO and if I can’t get a look which I’m happy with then I won’t bother.

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Stormwaltz

Many have beaten on Warframe’s character models… but I agree. I’ve gone to their website multiple times to download, and each time I’ve looked at the character art and left metaphorically empty-handed. I don’t need to be a sparkle-elf, but I definitely don’t want to play a Giger biomechanical horror.

I’ll also say that it took me at least a month to get used to SWTOR’s color scheme, which initially stuck me as hideously distasteful. Lurid, clashing colored lights, sulfur-yellow and battleship-grey planets… I’d never had such a strong negative reaction to colors before.

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Dankey Kang

Idd a lot of the Warframes look ugly; but you have to understand as per the games lore, they’re meant to be metal machines of destruction (hence the term Warframes) as opposed to a guy or gal in a suit.

That said it is hard finding a good look in Warframe. I had to drop Wukong because I couldn’t stand the look of him, Nezha though has a nice plat skin so I was happy with that.

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Vunak

ESO. Games character models look reaaaaally bad. Environments look alright. But character models look horrible.

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Dankey Kang

I feel like ESO has that SW:TOR problem where the models aren’t cartoony or realistic, but just end up looking weird.

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Vunak

Yeah i would say swtor has the same issue. For whatever reason though it didnt bother me as much in swtor as it did in ESO. Might be because of the environments as well. SWTOR characters feel like they fit the environments in the game. ESO the characters just dont fit imo, they have a lot of really nice environments especially if you do some color correction. But ESO models look so out of place.

creationguru
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creationguru

Easy I tried Wow late like frist try was 3 years ago and the character models just put me off epically the glowing eyes. And I feel the same with ESO I just don’t like the character models as I need an avatar that I cannlike to look at when playing an mmorpg in 3rd person

MasterOfPuppets
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MasterOfPuppets

Not offputting, but any game which goes down the route of “Lacy Japanese Panties” almost always devolves into Horny Weebcraft Online and becomes more about dressing up Waifus than actual gameplay or lore.

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Rndomuser

more about dressing up Waifus than actual gameplay

What’s the difference? Or you’re one of those people who thinks “actual gameplay” in MMORPGs means when you are forced to use some other person as a disposable tool to get some virtual item from a dungeon which will become obsolete the next expansion due to max level increase and no one is allowed to enjoy MMORPGs in any other way except grinding dungeons for those items with higher stats or doing instanced PvP battlegrounds?

T h e n o n y m o u s
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T h e n o n y m o u s

WoW.

Whether it’s in term of quality or actual aesthetics, WoW is just visually offensive from top to bottom.

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Bruno Brito

WoW is just visually offensive

wat

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Loopy

Offensive? Jeez.. i’m curious, what is a more appealing style to you?

T h e n o n y m o u s
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T h e n o n y m o u s

I mean…pick something lol. GW, FF, ESO, etc.

People have been criticizing ESO’s lack of color palate but WoW is the other extreme, they just barfed a rainbow over everything lol. The ridiculously oversized linebacker armors, the disproportional weapons, the ugly races, the complete lack of any fine detail, the cartoony aesthetic without just making the full commitment to it, etc.

There are some places in the game world that I’ve seen that aren’t too bad, but taken as a whole product I just detest the game visually (it’s literally the number one reason I’ve never been able to get into it).

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Aldristavan

On the subject of WoW shoulders (wait for it):

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Rndomuser

Forgot to add to previous post so I am adding it here. Since a picture is worth a 1000 words, I’m gonna attach some pictures. The ESO one is the kind of art style which is off-putting to me and the second one from FFXIV is which I am perfectly fine with. That’s just my personal opinion, of course, so everyone are always free to disagree with it. None of those were edited with any kind of Reshade addons.

Trey.png
Final_Fantasy_XIV_A_Realm_Reborn_Screenshot_2021.04.04_-_23.44.28.01.png
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Hurbster

I am the opposite way around. That top character looks great!

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Rndomuser

ESO has heavily desaturated colors which make the whole game feel depressing and made me to never care about any cosmetic outfits. The Khajit in it also look way too animal like – I am not into this kind of characters, I prefer something with more humanoid looks like Miqo’te or Viera in FFXIV. Also the cartooney art style in WoW and similar games – it also makes me never care about how character looks like or how cosmetics look like. Same way I never liked SWTOR for same cartooney art style.

I’d much rather play Asian MMORPGs than most Western MMOs for this reason – Japanese/Korean developers know how to make the world and characters attractive without going with depressing color palette or with low detail cartooney art style. Too bad all of them are still flawed in other ways (too much grinding in some, too much p2w in others or being forced to group up in FFXIV just to progress the main story and visit new areas).

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Johnny Quantum

Agree that ESO looks so dull. Compare that to the wonderful graphics of Guild Wars 2. Unfortunately, in terms of gameplay, I prefer ESO over GW2!

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Hurbster

You would have hated the Khajiit back in the day with the retrograde legs then.

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Rndomuser

I never liked Khajit in the first place. I’m ok with humanoids having cat ears and tail, I’m not ok with face looking like it’s an actual animal but with a size of a human. Same way I prefer the way Au’ra done in FFXIV, they don’t look like actual lizards except horns and tail.

I guess I’m just not into furry fandom, though I don’t mind if anyone is into that.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

When you complete in-game story arcs and other achievements ESO unlocks increasingly vibrant color choices for crafted gear and/or appearance changes. Early choices are deliberately drab. Color unlocks are account-wide so future characters have access right away.

ESO example.png
EmberStar
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EmberStar

Re: The header image.
Awww. The techno-organic designs are one of the things I *like* about Warframe. :(

As far as the question in the title: Anything that tries too hard for “photo realism.” It doesn’t seem to age well at all, and it usually slams hard into the Uncanny Valley. Especially since it makes any slight flaws or jankiness in animations that much more obvious and harder to deal with.

I’m not a fan of Brown Military Shooters in general. Most of them try to be photorealistic *and* stylized, and end up with a result that is very off-putting to me. What I mean is that character and weapon models will often be as “realistic” as the devs can bully the GPU into dealing with. But then the color pallets are drab deliberately drab, dull and uninteresting. I’ve never been to the Middle East, or experienced World War 2. But I think the world there probably has *slightly* more color variation than “50 shades of Brown.”

I don’t mind anime as an art style, but some of the Eastern style games are a bit much when they throw in childlike characters. TERA tried to split the difference for a very short time, redesigning a lot of the costumes for Elin to make them less revealing and something that didn’t look as pervy on characters that (let’s be real) have proportions that make them look about twelve. (I’m aware, they’re “supposed to be” hundreds of years old… they look twelve.)

That went away pretty quick, and the last time I checked Elin were getting the same kind of “fishnet and thong” bodysuits as the not-quite-succubus Castanics, whose whole *thing* is being pervy fetish fuel. Final Fantasy 14 gets a nod here too for having a race that’s comparable to the Elin. (IE, looks like kids regardless of how many millions of years old they’re allegedly supposed to be in the lore.)