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The (New) Lack Of Character Appearance Customization

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Makes me wonder what people really look at. The depth of customization that you can make an ugly face -or- the super cool scream looking mask. It's like the dress thing but for the mmo community.

Diffrent flavors for diffrent people.

 

But I think we can all agree that superior gameplay features > customization

 

If the game is super cool people will settle for less in terms of customization

But is the game lacks substantial content all the customization in the world won't make a difference. I believe Wildstar have fallen into that trap: all show and no go.


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I'll believe the doll story. People want unique character faces for what? You're going to have a helmet on for most of the campaign. You want your character to comb his/her hair after every battle? Look cool while sipping some hot chocolate by the camp fire? No, more than likely you want it to look original while /dancing in some bloodstone backer's EK. Giant waste of time and money.

 

 

 

This, I like customization just as much as the next guy. Making my character looking special, or whatever. And even when I know it's a waste of time.

Because it's rather pointless if you don't see it 98% of the time.

In EVE the customization actually mattered, as those faces were very well presented and usually the most you'd see of people (because looking at the ships was rather pointless). 

 

I can only see one real use of it, and that's being recognizable. But standard gear variation and customization of that and your nameplate should be sufficient.

Edited by Osegrim

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Customization is always going to be important in ANY RPG type game but my opinion is that it's for that initial 'Lets Play' part of the game as 20/30 levels in your not so much worried about 'That player has the same nose, chin or head as me' as you are the where did they get that ******* HUGE shiny sword!

Edited by Jinks

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I admit that I can spend an obscene amount of time playing with a detailed character generator, but the truth is.. most people don't give a custard and never look at your character's overly detailed face as they smash your brains in. If we have enough hair styles and faces for the sake of variety, that should realistically be enough for personal vanity for a game like this. 


Also... I didn't realize there was a profanity filter on the forums. ".. don't give a custard" lulz

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It is not anywhere on my priority list for people to remember my hair or eye color, but I will make sure they remember my name, that is all the customization I need.

 

Valar Morghulis my friend


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They should add some body customization, like height.  So everyone of the same archetype doesn't look exactly the same.

 

There's a dev post around here somewhere about this. It's likely going to be tied to stats, mostly for balance reasons.


 

 

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IMHO appearance customization is only important at the start, everyone wants as much choice as possible and to play around and make their character unique to them.

However  as soon as you start playing it is almost completely gone from your mind.

 

Apart from hair when people select not to display helmets, you see nothing of your char.

I spent longer than I would care to admit in Aion getting my gladi looking as badass as i could only to never see his face again because I wasn't going to pan the camera to look at him, I was too busy fighting. In game you are looking at the back of their heads the entire time.

 

The only customization that really matters is the armor/weapons and after a while everyone begins to look the same as more people get the higher quality gear.

It is my hope that as well as the dyes and heraldry there will be some sort of function like being able to transmog gear. As has been said it is more important to make sure the server isn't effected but to me as far as customization goes ,its more how my armor looks than how the stuff it covers looks. I really liked Rifts cosmetic sets and ArtCraft could do something similar. I would gladly pay a couple pounds to get a nice set or one i could mix and match to create my look but apart from hairstyles the character bodies are pretty irrelevant.

Edited by Samael

'facta non verba'

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So would you guys want them wasting development time to make the char customization like eve or focus on PvP aspect of the game.  They are a small dev team and have stated publicly that Char customazion is not a good place to waste resources.

 

Give us a few options and the ability to make our armor unique to us and I will be happy.  I want to be able to create my own style.  That's all...

Edited by nakawe

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We've seen already that the plan is to lock races against archetypes. The reasons for doing so are completely valid, not only is it cost efficient for now but it is cost efficient well into the future when they add more races/archetypes. I've gotten over any initial issues I had with that, and now that I see the benefits of it I'm pretty excited for the sort of resources saved that can be used in other areas. I understand that we won't have any body slider options or even a height slider, but I think there is a lot that can be done with just face and hair options. 

 

I think the best option would be to allow for several different eye, nose, mouth and jaw selections in addition to the hairstyles. I know that there are games that get away with preset face options such as WoW, but I think the important thing to remember is just how restricted we will be.

 

For example if you were to select a Knight, if there are even just 10 preset face options you're always going to run into someone else with the same face and hairstyle as you have. Whereas if there are 10 different eyes, noses, mouths and jaws the chances of seeing another player's character who looks like your's are greatly reduced (as long as there is artistic variety at least, and I'm confident there will be.)

 

With a game like WoW there are the basic preset faces, but they apply to a whole host of different classes with their own kinds of possible armour and spells and everything else that stacks on top as an identifying feature. Using the example of the Knight above, everyone you run into with your same face and hair is also going to be the same archetype as you are with all of the same basic skills (disciplines not withstanding) and the same kinds of armouring for the most part.

 

I think this is especially important with the "cartoony" art style of the game, because these things will be more prominent than with the more "realistic" faces that other games have aimed for. Things like jaw shape might change the entire look and shape of a head.

 

I know many people may not care what their character looks like, but from my own experience a feeling of identity and customisation in the character I'm playing is very important for keeping me interested in logging in and putting effort into that character. Even with games where you have no say over the way you look, such as League of Legends, your initial interest comes from the aesthetic of a character which is as much about their abilities as their look of course. 

 

I don't think character customisation is just an initial thing and forgotten later, however. It's also important to remember that this is a buy-to-play game, and a large share of the money they will make will come from cosmetic options that will be sold in a cash store in all likelihood. The first thing a player will see when they log in will be the character creation, and if the foundation is minimal or looks to be an afterthought then why would anyone pay money to build on it?

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We've seen already that the plan is to lock races against archetypes. The reasons for doing so are completely valid, not only is it cost efficient for now but it is cost efficient well into the future when they add more races/archetypes. I've gotten over any initial issues I had with that, and now that I see the benefits of it I'm pretty excited for the sort of resources saved that can be used in other areas. I understand that we won't have any body slider options or even a height slider, but I think there is a lot that can be done with just face and hair options. 
 
I think the best option would be to allow for several different eye, nose, mouth and jaw selections in addition to the hairstyles. I know that there are games that get away with preset face options such as WoW, but I think the important thing to remember is just how restricted we will be.
 
For example if you were to select a Knight, if there are even just 10 preset face options you're always going to run into someone else with the same face and hairstyle as you have. Whereas if there are 10 different eyes, noses, mouths and jaws the chances of seeing another player's character who looks like your's are greatly reduced (as long as there is artistic variety at least, and I'm confident there will be.)
 
With a game like WoW there are the basic preset faces, but they apply to a whole host of different classes with their own kinds of possible armour and spells and everything else that stacks on top as an identifying feature. Using the example of the Knight above, everyone you run into with your same face and hair is also going to be the same archetype as you are with all of the same basic skills (disciplines not withstanding) and the same kinds of armouring for the most part.
 
I think this is especially important with the "cartoony" art style of the game, because these things will be more prominent than with the more "realistic" faces that other games have aimed for. Things like jaw shape might change the entire look and shape of a head.
 
I know many people may not care what their character looks like, but from my own experience a feeling of identity and customisation in the character I'm playing is very important for keeping me interested in logging in and putting effort into that character. Even with games where you have no say over the way you look, such as League of Legends, your initial interest comes from the aesthetic of a character which is as much about their abilities as their look of course. 
 
I don't think character customisation is just an initial thing and forgotten later, however. It's also important to remember that this is a buy-to-play game, and a large share of the money they will make will come from cosmetic options that will be sold in a cash store in all likelihood. The first thing a player will see when they log in will be the character creation, and if the foundation is minimal or looks to be an afterthought then why would anyone pay money to build on it?

 

 

JTodd has explained in several threads the combined Archetype system and simple character customization comes from budgetary concerns, not a lack of interest in providing character customization. For each option you allow in character customization, the possible combinations multiply exponentially. Each of these combinations are Artist time that could be spent on polishing the core module.

 

So no. We're unlikely to see additional character customization in the initial module. However, as an expansion content goal? Yes, I could see additional customization coming into play. But right now, being a unique snowflake is not important. Crowfall needs to absolutely NAIL it's combat and PVP mechanics to have any hope of success in the market. So I'd rather see artist/designer time be spent on that than providing superfluous customization options.

Edited by Makeshyft

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JTodd has explained in several threads the combined Archetype system and simple character customization comes from budgetary concerns, not a lack of interest in providing character customization. For each option you allow in character customization, the possible combinations multiply exponentially. Each of these combinations are Artist time that could be spent on polishing the core module.

 

So no. We're unlikely to see additional character customization in the initial module. However, as an expansion content goal? Yes, I could see additional customization coming into play. But right now, being a unique snowflake is not important. Crowfall needs to absolutely NAIL it's combat and PVP mechanics to have any hope of success in the market. So I'd rather see artist/designer time be spent on that than providing superfluous customization options.

 
Well, at no point in my post did I suggest there's a lack of interest in providing character customisation. I think I pointed out pretty well that I understand the sort of resources and cost cutting benefits that limiting character customisation in the way of races and archetypes gives us.
 
With that said, I think it would be folly to make character customisation as a whole an after thought. It's actually a very important issue given that a HUGE share of their money will come from cosmetic/vanity items in the cash store. They've said there will be no pay to win items, which would of course probably bring them tons of cash but make the game suck. They are already eating into a huge chunk of initial sales to get the game up and running given that the backer bonuses come with a free copy of the game.
 
Of course it's important that they nail their combat and PvP mechanics as top priority, but I don't see why the two should be mutually exclusive. They are already saving a whole bunch by limiting class and race as a single decision, cutting down on art costs by a lot. They are also saving on art costs in making their world randomly generated from pre-prepared pieces so that all of their environments don't have to be hand crafted. That doesn't mean they need to skimp on character customisation completely, particularly when it's going to be a major part of funding on-going development and at the end of the day, one of the only constants aside from the EK that the game will have. Identity is very important for retaining players, I'd have thought.
Edited by PsionCCC

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Well, at no point in my post did I suggest there's a lack of interest in providing character customisation. I think I pointed out pretty well that I understand the sort of resources and cost cutting benefits that limiting character customisation in the way of races and archetypes gives us.
 
With that said, I think it would be folly to make character customisation as a whole an after thought. It's actually a very important issue given that a HUGE share of their money will come from cosmetic/vanity items in the cash store. They've said there will be no pay to win items, which would of course probably bring them tons of cash but make the game suck. They are already eating into a huge chunk of initial sales to get the game up and running given that the backer bonuses come with a free copy of the game.
 
Of course it's important that they nail their combat and PvP mechanics as top priority, but I don't see why the two should be mutually exclusive. They are already saving a whole bunch by limiting class and race as a single decision, cutting down on art costs by a lot. They are also saving on art costs in making their world randomly generated from pre-prepared pieces so that all of their environments don't have to be hand crafted. That doesn't mean they need to skimp on character customisation completely, particularly when it's going to be a major part of funding on-going development and at the end of the day, one of the only constants aside from the EK that the game will have. Identity is very important for retaining players, I'd have thought.

 

 

Firstly, I think you misunderstand the majority of the audience. Many of the players now frequenting these forums are direct transplants from Shadowbane or SWG, both of which were games that pre-dated the WoW-clone era of MMOs. Both had a heavy focus on gameplay mechanics and created a lasting impression on it's fanbase. I can't speak for everyone here, but character customization isn't a necessity for me. If that made or broke the deal for me I'd be swooning at Black Desert along with all the starry-eyed graphics fiends right now.

 

The fact of the matter is character customization (to the level your'e speaking of) is not a necessary core part of the game. It won't impact my long-term play decisions. It is purely aesthetic.

 

To which I'm having trouble following your logic of character customization being a part of ongoing funding. Isn't selling aesthetics on a store one of the primary sources of revenue post launch? Then wouldn't it make MORE sense to expand customization options as a post-core store option?

 

 

If I take your route and advocate additional options, I'd actually opt for more armor varieties than facial options. THAT would be a worthy art investment in my humble opinion. Armor silhouette does SO much more to define a character than 3 types of noses.

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As someone particularly mindful of balancing. I think of body types. How hit boxes change with enough adjustments. Enough that "That didn't look like it hit me!" would be the phrase of someone who customized their particularly gaunt (like i do most of the time) or "That totally hit him!" when a target's body type is more.... filling. I doubt customization would get this far, but I have many conversations with my friend who gets annoyed that he can't have a fat character (that isn't a pandaren) in WoW. Even though it doesn't apply with WoW's very simply approach to hit boxes, for a game like this, the designer side of me says "inconsistencies are made" between the model and code. And feel it is justified to limit stuff.

 

When it comes to faces and details like that, I take the "I will work with these limits as a challenge oppose to feeling constricted" approach to character generation. Assets are expensive, not worth my time to cry about it. "I have a game to play!" (not that you all are necessarily, it is just my view of how I deal with character creators.)

 

Also I think of the "Too many options" scenario in psychology. Having to do with an individual being locked down with too many things to choose from. I think it is called the Shopper's Dilemma or something similar. Yes there are artistic people who soar with having the full range of 255 bits for color, while others prefer having 3-5 tints/shades per major color to pick from.

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Firstly, I think you misunderstand the majority of the audience. Many of the players now frequenting these forums are direct transplants from Shadowbane or SWG, both of which were games that pre-dated the WoW-clone era of MMOs. Both had a heavy focus on gameplay mechanics and created a lasting impression on it's fanbase. I can't speak for everyone here, but character customization isn't a necessity for me. If that made or broke the deal for me I'd be swooning at Black Desert along with all the starry-eyed graphics fiends right now.

 

The fact of the matter is character customization (to the level your'e speaking of) is not a necessary core part of the game. It won't impact my long-term play decisions. It is purely aesthetic.

 

To which I'm having trouble following your logic of character customization being a part of ongoing funding. Isn't selling aesthetics on a store one of the primary sources of revenue post launch? Then wouldn't it make MORE sense to expand customization options as a post-core store option?

 

 

If I take your route and advocate additional options, I'd actually opt for more armor varieties than facial options. THAT would be a worthy art investment in my humble opinion. Armor silhouette does SO much more to define a character than 3 types of noses.

While I understand that people here may be from Shadowbane or SWG, are they here because they want Crowfall to succeed or because they want to play Shadowbane or SWG v.2? I'm from neither of those games, but I'd like for this game to be everything it can be and I'd like to think my opinion counts just as much. I'm not saying character customisation is a deal breaker, I'm saying it's a long term money maker.. or at least I hope it would be, otherwise all the amazing mechanics and community goodwill in the world isn't going to conjure money up. Though I'm certain cosmetic items won't be the only thing bringing in cash, no doubt there will be minor boosts and the like too.

 

I'm having a hard time following your logic, in fairness. I don't understand why making character customisation the best it can be would affect the mechanics of the game? I'm certain with the wealth of experience the team of this game has, that they're not throwing around cash willy nilly. I assume they have a budget and a portion of that is attributed to art and another portion attributed to programming in different areas.

 

Regardless, I don't see why someone would want to pay to improve customisation if at it's base it's very limited anyway. Things like changing individual options on the face would have to be implemented in the beginning, they wouldn't be cash shop options. Like I said before, I don't understand why they have to be mutually exclusive. I don't understand why the game has to lack a good foundation for customisation options in the beginning so that the combat will be interesting and engaging.

 

I get that you want them to nail combat and I do too, but I don't think they can afford to ignore character customisation in order to do it because like I've said a lot of their cash will be coming from just that. They must believe that identity is an important thing too, if they plan to make a lot of money on cosmetic items. I'm just saying I hope that they don't ignore the foundation of the base character model that people will want to buy the angel wings, firey armour and whatever else for.

 

I think it's a higher priority than things such as Oculus Rift support and a pet battle system, which were kickstarter stretch goals.

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Believe me, even with a "limited" customization, creative people find a way to stand out if they put the effort into it. Combinatorial customization gives you that. It just makes them work for it, and I love to work for it.

 

As long as I can have short hair, and at least 5 colors to choose for eyes and hair for my female warrior...I'm okay. And a toggle helmet feature. I want people to look me in the face as they die, not behind some coward's helmet. "COME. LOOK INTO MY EYES AND GAZE UPON DEATH ITSELF."

 

 

Funny enough, there were a lot of things about Crowfall that I didn't like at first until I heard the developers reasoning behind asset creation and I never considered this from MMOs. No other developers would tell you this. At first, I was mislead to think that gender was locked to an archetype and I didn't like that. Then I realized there were budget challenges, and that not all classes would be gender locked as the pledge drive went on. I didn't like that races were archetype specific, I thought it meant taking away more freedom. In some ways, sure but then I saw the developers reasoning and intent and I started to understand so I compromised and put it in a more positive manner. "If archetypes are race specific, that'll definitely stand out in a pvp enviroment, which is important for tactics and strategy."

 

So here comes character customization, and I'm definitely one of those people who have an OCD about how I want to present my avatar for my own personal satisfaction. I really don't give a custard what people think of my avatar, it's mine and I want it to look cool in my own light. Probably why I'm working my way to being a character designer. The amount of assets you would have to develop for different body size would be crazy because then you would have to develop more assets for gear to fit and not clip onto your avatar is one of the reasons why I realized the issues of developing an AAA MMO when it comes to cost and I compromised for this.

 

It's not an insult when I say most people aren't the type to think outside the box, so most of these assets would only appeal to a niche group of people who like extreme variations to stand out.

 

Basically, MMOs of late when it comes to avatars, is playing dress up dolls which feels kind of empty. If Crowfall manages to kill that dress up doll vibe and bring in the action figure feel to it, I'm all for less superfluous customization that most people will never take advantage of.

 

To the SJWs~, there is nothing wrong with dress up dolls. I used to play with Barbies as a kid and I'm not ashamed of it. Had girl friends and I would bring my batman action figures and they would play with it. I just think fundamentally if you're going to play dress up doll with your avatar, that should be reserved for a Second Life kind of MMO.

 

From a design standpoint for PvP oriented games, action figure oriented avatars make the cut. I can't dress my Batman action figure and there's no way to dress him because he already has the batsuit melded onto him so I use his pointy bat ears to poke out my enemies eyes. I could paint him a little if I wanted to make it pop from every other 9 year old who had the same batman figure (which is the customization feature in crowfall.) Plus he's equipped with that batgun even though he's against guns but I'm sure as hell am going to use it for my next playdate (campaign world), and it's gonna be SO much FUN~ He is serving his function for the PVP environment.

Edited by Lastboy

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Basically, MMOs of late when it comes to avatars, is playing dress up dolls which feels kind of empty. If Crowfall manages to kill that dress up doll vibe and bring in the action figure feel to it, I'm all for less superfluous customization that most people will never take advantage of.

 

To the SJWs~, there is nothing wrong with dress up dolls. I used to play with Barbies as a kid and I'm not ashamed of it. Had girl friends and I would bring my batman action figures and they would play with it. I just think fundamentally if you're going to play dress up doll with your avatar, that should be reserved for a Second Life kind of MMO.

I agree, this isn't the game to be going crazy with character customisation to INSANE levels. I just think that face and hair should be very customisable, since it's the only customisation that we are really going to have. The hairstyles in particularly I'd hope would be really varied, because if there isn't a large selection or the small selection that there is has mildly varying options.. well, everyone just picks the same one.

 

They've already spoke about archetypes and races being locked as a design option not only because of the costs but because they want for people to be able to tell just by looking at an opponent what they may be capable of. This also is likely to mean that any DRAMATIC alterations of the armour silhouettes are pretty unlikely. 

 

I also agree that the development team have been really open about what their plans are, what their limitations are and well.. with pretty much everything else. I hope they continue to be that way, because it will cut down on a lot of "the sky is falling!" now and later.

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3. Our archetypes approach means that we don't have to create a combinatory set of art. If you have 10 races and 10 classes, and each one can be combined, and you want to create 10 custom looks for each, that's (10x10x10=1000) custom characters that you have to make. The ongoing cost is even worse because it's effectively exponential -- every time you add a new race or class, the problem gets exponentially worse. With handcrafted archetypes, we've kept that cost linear  -- which also means that we can still have a high degree of customization for each archetype, and we can spend MORE time making each one look unique (and fantastic!) We can still achieve customization for each archetype. We can't stress enough how important this was to keeping our costs in check. Other MMOs spend TENS of millions of dollars on combinatory avatar systems.  

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Aww this kinda does suck. I hate when i bump into someone who lookes exactly like me.

 

Just gives you reason to hate and kill them...and then of course burn all their sh it down.

 

DOPPLEGANGER! DIE DEMON BACK TO THE PITS OF WHATEVER HELL YOU CAME FROM.

 

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Edited by dubanka

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