Crafting your avatar is that wonderful and exciting entry into just about any online game. It’s that near magical art of creating your in-game persona, infusing your character with a bit of whatever parts of you that you want to send forth into the game world to find adventure and victory, with pink pigtails or a lime-green mohawk or a great big scar down your cheek.
Believe it or not, I used to HATE character creation. It always irked me because I’m a furry orange monster and there just aren’t any games where I could make an avatar that looks even remotely like I do. The closest I could usually come was orange hair, and even then is was never the right shade of that fiery orange that I’m so proud of. Game after game, I just crafted some generic looking toon or, even worse, hit ‘random’ a few times in character select and took what was handed to me, since no combination of noses, hairstyles, and body shape could ever come close to making a character that looked like me.
Then one day I decided that this was very silly, and I’ve loved character creation ever since.
Come as you aren’t…
[singlepic id=3320 w=320 h=240 float=left]The best part about creating our character, you see, is that it doesn’t ever have to look like you (and in some games simply can’t look like you, unless you happen look like a Minotaur or a hobbit, and if that’s the case I want to hang out with you at a convention!) – It’s a way to go totally wild and create your ultimate persona, from dashing and heroic to creepy, from flowing blond hair to ebony spikes to that cool thing where you’re bald but then you have that little braid on the back of your head… you know, I think they call it a braidy-thing.
Of course people can, and do, create avatars that are the spitting image of their real-world selves, and that’s fine too, that’s the beauty of avatar creation! It’s usually the only part of online games that doesn’t have any hard and fast rules – if you can dream it (and, obviously, the game allows it) you can be it! And it makes sense to take your time and really craft your avatar since for many games, the ones you really love to play, you are probably going to be spending a lot of time together!
Who are you?
Class selection is a big part of your appearance in many games, obviously. What do you prefer? Do you choose a class because of it’s capabilities or, like me, do you choose a class because of how it looks? Do you go for the realistic hair, a classic style in auburn or jet black, or do you go for shocking colors and extreme styles? Bright pink anime hair or a shock of blue spikes to make a statement. Of course maybe you have bright pink anime hair in real life, in which case choosing that in a game would be part of the whole ‘making a character that looks like me’ strategy, and that’s cool too. Do you make your avatar as large as possible, big and muscled, or small and lithe? Then there’s the classic choices like scars and tattoos! Being furry I can’t really ‘do’ tattoos for real, but in an online game I’ll add whatever kinds of body art they offer, like a big Hungarian horntail on my chest. It just looks macho.[singlepic id=3321 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Clothes make the Elf
Many MMO games out there today have pretty elaborate clothing and armor systems that work for both improving your game stats and abilities as well as helping to tell the story of your character, not to mention making you look really cool. I know some people that actually make armor or outfit selection a major part of their gaming experience, and with all the options out there it’s pretty obvious why, as in most games there is no greater means of making your character uniquely ‘yours’. Are flowing capes and spiked shoulders your thing, or do you like ninja outfits or glowing mage robes? Something formal and regal, or ragged and adventure-worn? I like the more ragged and road-worn look myself, and I definitely have a thing for ragged or tattered cloaks. They just look really neat, don’t you think?
Hey buddy, nice sword…
Sure, weapon selection is largely dependent on your class, but it can still make a statement about your character. Do you like the subtle menace of dual wielded daggers, the classic sword and shield pairing, or are you more of a ‘giant crazy sword the size of a telephone pole’ person? Do you like subtle realism or flashy and glowy effects? I have a thing for stuff that glows blue, personally (it’s a monster thing, hard to explain), and I have definitely chosen to equip a statistically inferior weapon because it glowed blue. What can I say – it matched my eyebrows.[singlepic id=3322 w=320 h=240 float=right]
This time it’s personal
No matter what you choose to look like in a game, always remember that there’s nothing right or wrong about it, it’s your personal choice and whatever it is, it’s great! Never let others in-game tell you differently, either – that’s what this article is about, because games are supposed to be about having fun and enjoying yourself! Sure there are people in games who seem to take pleasure in teasing people about their look – it happens in every game and sadly, there are probably always going to be people who do this. Thankfully there’s a feature in most games that is a fast and easy remedy for this particular kind of player…
The ‘Ignore’ button.