Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wednesday Weigh In - Character Creation

I think it's safe to say we will not have a substantive Wildstar Wednesday this week, probably next week too. As is the thing, there are plenty of streams going on across the internet among the community if you need your fix of information. I am going to take the opportunity to talk about something I haven't had a chance to in a long while. I had not seen a really good look at the character creator since PAX East, fortunately Richie Procopio aka Bogotter has put up a series of videos on his YouTube Channel covering every race.

The art style of Wildstar is distinct. There is a certain thin limbs and big hands/feet thing going on that is a part of that. There are no body sliders in the Wildstar creation tool, something the team has discussed in panels and interviews as part of the design. They want there to be racial silhouettes. The size of the female boobies is striking in the character creator, but it's not something I had noticed in gameplay footage. Perhaps it's a (un)flattering camera angle or the starting outfit that creates this massive boobage. Still, if I were to seek a single slider, a boob slider would be top priority with the current level as the top.

Most of your individuality comes in your face, and I'm cool with that. Height sliders ect can have negative effects on armor design and negatively impact performance. The effect on diversity is minimal at best. A slightly shorter Aurin is still an Aurin. As a trade off I think having the majority of options in the head and skin to be good.

Alright, how to rein this in...

I could probably go on about each race for quite some time, so I think I am going to sum up my positives in a lump. For most of the races there is a great variety in the faces, humans are really the only exception here, everyone just looks so darn human. On many of the faces certain sliders have a dramatic effect on appearance. The eyes and mouth options seem to be where you can make the most difference, but you can also create some pretty impressive chins. With the eyes the vast range between small and large allows for the ability to keep most races in the human face paradigm, or blow it way out and look truly alien. Hair and aux options for the most part are good, but there are some odd options where i can't tell if they are just weird or buggy. (Chua eye beards?)

That is not to say that everything is perfect. Since we are still in beta I am sure some things can and will be addressed. The blue light shining on your character messes with color perception. It's very sci-fi, but you can really see the impact it has when you look at the previews of skin color compared to how it looks on the character. For the Chua it would be very nice if their hair color could be selected separately from their fur color.

Other things are unlikely to be changed. It would be fantastic to have fine control over Mechari coloring. A skeleton, paint 1, paint 2 would be awesome, but given the design of the creation tool it seems more likely to just include lots of skin color options.

Finally there are things that will not be changed either because they are part of the core design or the resource cost to making the change would be catastrophic. The design of the Draken And Granok females irk me. The Draken males are feral, bestial, draconic. Their faces have a spread of lizard, demonic, and monstrous options. Their body is hunched and savage. Meanwhile the female Draken are basically hot chicks with tails and horns. They stand upright, 6 of 7 of the face choices have lush lips and are basically human looking. Over on the Granok side it's a similar story. I was expecting the Female Granok to have more of an abstract cut to them, more bulky and sturdy, but they have the same twig arms and legs as other races.

For the most part I think the Wildstar character creator is strong but by no means a revolution. It plays it safe by keeping to the head customization, something that has served other games well in the past. It is difficult to say just how much value a game like Guild Wars 2 gets out of its more robust character creation tool. I would most like to compare Wildstar's tool to what Everquest Landmark/Next is going to bring to the table.

I am at 221.6 pounds today. Thanks to mom's cookies. Merry Christmas!

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