Around 2pm EST, the Guild Wars 2 servers opened for their first “open” beta weekend event. I hopped on to the Isle of Janthir server and built my Norn Ranger, Luna Nordseth, taking my time to really enjoy one of the best MMO character builders I’ve ever seen. The screens, though very easy to use and understand, provide a lot of choices for the physical and mental builds of your character:
When first entering the character creator, the player comes upon a screen looking like this. Only the Char, Norn and Human races were available to try this weekend, but all classes were open for selection.
Players next chose their profession. This is the default for a female Norn ranger.
As you can see, there are a few references for size on the right side, as well as the slider for players to decide their own height. Included in the Body Features section are height, physique and tattoo markings. Head options include things like hair color, shape of the face, underbite or over bite, etc.
Face details include eye color, eye spacing, size of the iris, and other things that make the character stand out. Players start with a base facial frame, but it can be modified to their liking. From what I’ve seen, though, it’s pretty near impossible to make a truly ugly character in this game.
Players are asked a series of questions to help develop a mental “look” for their characters as well – a role playing idea, if you will. Your race and background as you progress will prompt the next question. The series is short, taking just a few minutes to complete. It’s a nice feature to have, because it has already allowed me to get inside the heads of the two characters I made on day one.
When the character is complete, players arrive at a screen that summarizes their selections for the personality of their character. Where the signature goes is when the character becomes named.
A short cut scene opens the game, describing in brief the characters cultural background and how they came to be where they are now. The images shown during the scenes are beautiful. Characters are voiced more in this game than in the original Guild Wars games, and this is slightly distracting to me. Mostly, that is because the voice for my human thief doesn’t sound in my head the way it sounds in the game. This argument can be made, though, for any game with voice over acting.
All in all, the character creation process is easy, and actually quite fun. There are a lot of choices to feel like a character doesn’t look the same as all the others, but not so many as to feel overwhelmed by the process (and believe me, I have been overwhelmed by character creation in the past). Most anyone, previous Guild Wars experience or not, could accomplish using this easily, because it is nothing like the character creation for Guild Wars. As Paladin put it – it’s prepping for “an action based MMO with hints of Guild Wars.”