MMO Character Creation Report Card

We grade five of the best MMOs on their character creation. How did your favorites do?

Character creation is one of the most rewarding aspects of an RPG. The satisfaction is ratcheted up a few levels in an MMORPG because your character is not only relevant to you but is your face to the rest of the hundreds of other players in a living, breathing world. Your dwarf's Mohawk is not only cool to you but to everyone.

We've gathered five of our favorite MMOs and graded them on an A through F scale. It's our Character Creation Report Card. Today we're evaluating World of Warcraft, Champions Online, Guild Wars, Age of Conan and Wizard 101. How did your favorites do?


Champions Online

Champions Online's character creation has more options than you could ever need. It gives you the ability to design the hero that you always doodled on your high school notebooks and it also has things you could never even dream to consider. We saw kabanas, cybernetic arms, pirate hats, Spartan helmets, Abraham Lincoln beards, acoustic guitars and antlers. Antlers?

What's even more amazing is that you can start out with an idea of who you want your hero to be, but as you see all the options you have, your idea may start to change. Matching the skull face with angelic wings will give you a very different idea of who your hero is than matching the skull face with a tank top and prison tattoos. The number and combination of options can really get your imagination going. We'd even wager that Champions Online would probably help comic book writers come up with new ideas.

And the number of classes is just as impressive. There are about 20 different power sets to choose from, and you can create your own if you somehow don't find one that matches your imagination. We only wish the almost limitless options were organized a little better. With so many choices, many of them, and maybe the one you're looking for can get buried under those 20 different variations of facial fins.

Grade: A


Age of Conan

Age of Conan is a strange creature. The Conan mythos, and Sword and Sorcery fiction in general, is over the top. It's strong jaw lines, bulging muscles and bikini-clad jungle babes. It's the pulpy version of Lord of the Rings that you don't tell your parents about. Why is it then that Age of Conan makes it so hard to make a muscled Barbarian or a super hot jungle babe?

We were surprised with how thin many of the male faces were and how absolutely miserable looking the female faces were. And yes, we know you start on a slave ship, not in a beauty pageant but these barbarian's jaws should be able to crack marble and their muscles should be the WWE equivalent, not the jogging-3-times a week equivalent. It's almost as if the dark, grittiness snuffed out the pulpy-exaggerated side of Conan. It takes itself too seriously.

There are also some strange choices when it comes to tattoos. Many appear as light robin egg blue, which may have some relevance to the game world but won't be making your barbarian look any tougher. But Age of Conan gets the job done. You'll be able to make a decent looking barbarian, and we've got to admit, our jungle babe came out smokin'. Once you level up you'll get more loot that is worthy of a pulp magazine cover, but we just wish you could start with some in the beginning.

Grade: C

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# Apr 24 2010 at 8:34 PM Rating: Good
1,015 posts
Really? WoW gets a B on character creation?

# Apr 24 2010 at 11:36 PM Rating: Decent
Cosmetic character creation has nothing to do with "picking your class" imo. I think they were just afraid to grade below a B.

Guild Wars is an safer target to bash though, who plays it anymore? If having detailed class descriptions on the character creation page brings up a grade two notches, it might be worth mentioning the vast array of armor sets in GW that let you look one of the various shades of Badass.

An interesting topic for a write-up though.

Edited, Apr 25th 2010 12:42am by Sorlac
# Apr 26 2010 at 11:53 AM Rating: Excellent
32 posts
I think the limited number of options is what buries Guild Wars. What do you mean by cosmetic character creation has nothing to do with picking your class?
# Apr 24 2010 at 12:35 PM Rating: Decent
Dude give it a go at Allods online, its character creation is very good, every race is unique and very distinct
# Apr 26 2010 at 11:51 AM Rating: Excellent
32 posts
I definitely plan to.
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