One of the things that was shown off during gamescom last week was the character creator for Guild Wars 2. Well, I suppose “shown off” isn’t precisely the right way of putting it, but it was the first time that people were able to really give it a go. If you go on youtube, you’ll find a ton of videos showing how it works. This particular video by the lovely people of Wartower goes through and shows just about every option currently available in this demo.
The key there, though, is that it shows what is currently available. It’s very clear that the creator is not finished yet. It was also stated by ArenaNet that the creator that was part of the gamescom demo was a very stripped down version so that people wouldn’t spend their entire allotted demo time just playing with that. Which is understandable – I know that when I get the game, I’ll spend far too long just making my characters and getting them looking as I want.
It’s also pretty obvious in looking at the videos that some races are further along than others. Humans had most of their options available, while sylvari had almost none. Asura and norn had a decent number of options, while charr had fewer. Only humans had any sliders available at all, and those were only a small number of what we’ll have available at launch. And that’s fine. It’s just part of a demo; intended to just give a little taste of what you’ll be able to do when it’s complete.
Of course, this fact hasn’t stopped the detractors. There’s a fairly long and heated threat on Guild Wars 2 Guru about this very subject. Some of the complaints I can definitely see as valid. The faces for female humans and norn for example – they’re all very typically pretty and tend to have way too much makeup. This is not a bad thing in itself, but they all look extremely similar. A bit more variety would be nice. Yes, I can definitely understand wanting a certain artistic aesthetic, but there’s more than one type of beauty. Look at the real world – Emma Stone and Cate Blanchett look very different, but both are very beautiful women. Allow us more variety in the faces we have. Don’t tie makeup/scars/etc. to face selection – make that separate, if possible (for that matter, extend scars to the body as well – we can pick body tattoos for norn, why not scars as well?). I’m quite sure that in the final version we’ll have far more options than are available in the demos right now, and the presence of sliders to customize the presets will also help, but I can understand people being a bit disheartened by the fact that all of the faces we’ve seen as of yet are standard model beauty.
But that doesn’t mean that all of the complaints I’ve seen really have any steam to them. Female norn, again, are something that are being debated fiercely. They just look like tall women, people say. Okay, this is true to some extent. However, we haven’t seen the physique options available for them yet. And even without that…the typical female norn we’ve seen has not had the same proportions as the human women in-game. See the image of the norn woman above – no, she’s not the hulked out being that a male norn is, but she’s still clearly quite muscled, and doesn’t have the small waist that is standard in human beauty. The proportions are different than a human’s. And a Thief, or a casting profession? It wouldn’t make sense for them to be as muscled as, say, a warrior, anyway. That’s an area that I’d like to see all of the options we’ll actually have in-game before I start complaining.
The other big complaint I’ve seen is the fact that eye colors are linked to face selections. An ArenaNet employee did pop up in the thread and say that it was due to technical limitations, though later clarified that it might not be as impossible as she had thought, though still could make no promises about being able to select eye colors independently. The fact that there’s some technological reason that makes separating the two doesn’t surprise me – we all remember the fact that in GW1, you cannot dye a blindfold because it passes through the hair. I’ve seen the fact that GW2’s creation engine is based on Aion’s as reasons why this should be possible…but as I recall from my time playing the Aion beta, eye color selection was not initially available. It was something added in later. Add in the fact that GW2 runs on a different game engine than Aion could also raise difficulties. Sure, it’d be great to be able to pick what color eyes my characters all have, but in the long run, it’s not a huge deal.
Is the current character creator for GW2 perfect? No. But is it finished? Also no. We haven’t seen all of it yet (we’ve seen VERY little, in fact), and probably won’t until the game is ready. We already know that ANet continues to work on and polish things constantly. Personally, I think that in the end, it will turn out great, as I’m already pretty damn pleased with what I’ve seen so far, even if there’s still plenty to be worked on. I’m sure they’re working just as hard on that as they are everything else.
What do you think of what we’ve seen of character creation so far? What would you like to see available?