KTR and Massively put up a series of reports. I particularly liked Jef Reahard's piece but the piece that most caught my attention was the one on character creation.
The visual side of the process looks perfectly fine but I goggled a bit at the multiple choice section. I've seen this kind of thing quite often in single-player RPGs, where it kinda-sorta makes sense but to use it in an MMO seems peculiar. Unlike single-player games, MMOs these days generally don't come with a manual the size of a paperback novel to give sufficient context for the questions to be meaningful.
The potential implications of some, like the Streets/Common Folk/Nobility one might reasonably be guessed at, but what are we meant to make of a choice between "A spangenhelm, A cap helm, No helm at all". What is a "spanglehelm" and what does it says about my character that he chooses to wear one? Is wearing one into battle outrageously camp? Indescribably foolhardy? Redolent of deep religious devotion? Maybe I'll know when I've played the game but I'm being asked the question in the pause between installing and starting to play.
The one that really stunned me was Part 8 " "One of my biggest regrets is that _____." (I never searched for my true
parents, I never found my sister's body, I passed up an opportunity to
perform in the circus) ". What? What?? Is that a placeholder question? Did a dev slip it in to win a bet? I know that if that's still there when I get to choose I'm definitely taking the clown option.
A more obvious example of why I don't think this approach works is Part 9 " "Everyone said I was blessed by _____ when I was young." (Dwayna, Grenth, Balthazar, Melandru, Lyssa, Kormir) ". I play Guild Wars so I recognize that as a list of gods but despite having played on and off for many years, that's as much as I can tell you. Picking a Deity in a roleplaying game, or even an MMO, often has significant gameplay consequences. I'd like to have a chance to visit a few temples and talk with a few priests before I make a decision of such importance.
Indeed I'd much rather learn who my character is by playing him, not through a multiple choice quiz. Couldn't the game observe the actions I take within it and tailor my personal story accordingly, rather than pre-build it at this incredibly early stage? And wouldn't it be better for me at least to have met Maverick, Euryale, Clawspur, Dinky and Reeva before I make up my mind which of them I'd die for?
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