The Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns beta a few months back reminded me exactly why rolling new characters in a game, especially in an RPG is hard for me.
I have never been able to just roll a generic character, pick a weird name and go. Character creation is an ordeal for me. First they have to look right. My first characters always looked a bit like me. Hair color, eye color etc, because that was what I could relate to. As I have played more RPGs, the character now has to look right to go with the story I am crafting in my head as to where they came from.
With games like Guild Wars and the Elder scrolls series it is hard not to get sucked into the character creators. They give you so many little things you can tweak, from eyebrow height and shape to how much the characters nose curves up at the end. Plus when you have a non-human character its worse, since you have to learn what features make that race unique.
Take my Asura in Guild Wars 2 for example. I spent at least 2 hours creating her, just to be sure she didn’t look too much like Dobby from Harry Potter! I wanted her to have an approachable and relate-able look, since in the past I have had difficulty relating to non-humanoid characters before and I didn’t want her to just fill a character slot and never get played. She is a thief too, so I decided to play that up and I have kept her in a sort of assassin’s creed style set of armor, complete with a hood :p
Naming is the worst part for me though. I have never been able to name a character with a joke name. I can not be ok with a name that has numbers, or symbols or weird things to make it so it isn’t a name that is already taken. A character’s name has to fit them. I have been known to spend over an hour on a character’s appearance to just sit at the naming screen for just as long trying different names until one works.
I don’t know why I care so much. I think part of it is how I play games. I really enjoy the PvE experience. I like being in the game world, so I guess names that don’t fit are too jarring for me. When I played WoW (before Cataclysm launched) I found that I had a hard time getting into certain aspects of the game where there was a lot of interaction with other players, since so many of them had names that were completely not related to the world.
I often wonder if I should have played WoW on a RP server rather than a PvP one, but the problem there was that everyone I knew who played was on the that PvP server. I think that is why I have been so sucked in to Guild Wars 2 though. The game certainly still has the people who don’t RP and such, but the world around you is so full of PvE experiences that you don’t interact with that unless you choose too.
So I guess rolling a character is sort of placing myself in the world, and since I intend to spend a lot of time in most of these worlds (not that every game is good enough to keep me there) I always want to put the right foot forward.