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Reader Comments (19)

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 8:15AM Scotland Tom said

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Honestly, I'll take any level of realism as long as the quality of the art direction makes the avatars worth looking at. I'm more interested in having a ton of customization options and an avatar with some style than whether or not the avatars are too realistic or too cartoony; those are just artistic choices the developers made based on the desired style and feel of the game.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 11:10AM Integral said

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@Scotland Tom

I totally agree man. The art style and especially customization are important. I hate it when a game gives you like 5 faces and 10 hairstyles and 4 eye colors to choose from lol. It sucks when all of the thousands of players in am MMO look the same.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 2:58PM Zyrusticae said

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@Scotland Tom
You stated almost word-for-word just how I feel.

Realism doesn't matter; what matters is the execution and the level of customization. If I can build my character to look however I want it to in the confines of their art style, I am perfectly happy - hence I was very, very satisfied with the level of customization available in Aion, Champions Online, APB, and Phantasy Star Universe.

I'm hoping to see more MMOs raise the bar on customization in the future along with the graphics. Rift, in my eyes, is a major step back for this reason.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 8:50AM Bartlebe said

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I pay attention to options much more than realism. I want the freedom to slide, push and pull my character into any shape I can imagine.

With that being said, that sort of thing tends to be on the more realistic side of the spectrum.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 9:31AM Thorqemada said

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I do not prefer realism that much if the style/art is fitting my taste and the quality is good for what it is.
So either Age of Conan or Daoc or Ryzom or Perfect World or Ultima (good isometric graphic never ages compared to the ugly beginnings of 3D) offer good ones.

I hate the low quality Avatars of Alganon, Istaria, Anarchy Online etc.
I really do not like the Style of WoW and alikes.

I dont think i would be happy with the "LOVE" style bcs my eyes get weird if i look at that.

Photorelism isnt necessary!

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 9:35AM mystique said

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I don't need to be a human, but I don't want to look like a cartoon either.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 10:06AM Renko said

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I've always found that the more developers try to make avatars look realistic, the less they actually end up looking real.

As long as it's clear some effort has gone into it's design I'm happy with an avatar anywhere on the spectrum. It's lazy design that turns me off.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 7:23AM Noteamini said

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@Renko
that's what is called the "Uncanny valley". when something approach realism, it will reach a point where it actually become less "real"(and likable) than before this point. once the realism pass this point, it will return to looking more real(and likable), as the realism increases.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 10:37AM Dunraven said

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I like realism.

My flipping Kingdom for a realistic low magic fantasy MMO that isn't raid or die or has Steampunk or pop culture reference's.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 12:59PM nevin said

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As long as it provides a lot of choice and flexibility so I can attempt to do something unique I am happy. Fixed heads where everyone looks like 10% of the rest of the server, doesn't work for me. Mind you, I'm playing WAR which contradicts all that :/

I spend ages in character creation...If I played Eve, I'd probably never actually play the game but be in perpetual character creation! It looks awesome.

Then again, if the character animations suck I struggle to carry on even if the toon looks amazing standing still. I tried LotR ages and ages ago on trial and my elf looked like Kryten running. Stopped playing right then.

I'm obviously shallow.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 2:37PM Pingles said

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I prefer cartoony and stylistic over realistic.

Artist rather than simulator.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 2:55PM Dumac said

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If i had to choose between the two in the image, i'd pick the Love avatar. I generally lean more towards stylized than realistic, but either is good if they are pleasing to look at.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 3:43PM BigAndShiny said

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Since age of conan, mmo graphics have not advanced. It will be 3 YEARS this June since AOC and no once has come close in the mmorpg space.

I get the feeling Rift's graphics are from 2007, and no amount of awesome lighting or water will change the ugly textures or hollow characters.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 3:47PM Tristik said

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I always liked my SWG characters the best. I think it was the 'ahead of it's time' animations maybe, but they just FELT right. So would that be realistic I guess?

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 3:52PM Randomessa said

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Middle-of-the-road like Guild Wars or Rift, moreso if there are lots of options for customization like hair, skin color, etc. (I'm perfectly okay with 20 faces to choose from, sliders are not necessary for me). Barring that, I trend more toward realism like Age of Conan rather than hyper-stylized/cartoony like WoW. I simply can't connect enough to my avatar to get invested in a game if I feel like she's only got one of three quasi-attractive faces just like everyone else.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 4:32PM Bezza said

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Realism all the way, though i do very very much agree with the comments about the need for as much customization as possible. The art work and attention to detail needs to be good, but the higher the level of realisim the better.

The old it's art vs low level game specs doesn't wash with me. Low level "arty" graphics in a MMO are just a way tom justify keeping the system specs low so MMO's can reach wider subscriber bases. I don't like the practice. I remember loading up the wow demo disk and patching and waiting in anticipation to see what this whole wow phenomena was about, finally the game was loaded and patched, i zoned in and created a toon. I was utterly appalled at the low end graphics and the cartoon style of the environments.

My wow playing friends who were not hard core gamers, called it art, I honestly had to wonder at that claim. Clearly they did not have the kind of PC's needed to run high end graphics games and accordingly they enjoyed wow. Myself, i don't spend x number of dollars to play games that look crappy. Perhaps that's why i like AoC so much above some other MMO's Ive played. it's one of the few MMO's that rewards players for investing in PC's that can run the higher end graphics.

I play MMO's for the immersion, the fantasy of being in another universe/world and that immersion of not helped by lousy looking worlds and low spec character art. Nor is it enhanced when the art is good but there are too few options to ensure a high level of unique creativity is permitted in the character creator.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 12:38AM JonBuck said

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I really go with "depending on the art style" as well. The avatars in DCUO are great from top to bottom. Champions Online, though, I'm not too happy with the humans. I end up making nonhuman heroes because the human faces sit in the uncanny valley.

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 1:04PM mszv said

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I love the look of Guild Wars, including the avatars. Even more so, I like how gear is not that important, so you have some choices in the game, not at many as I would like, but choices. I think Guild Wars is beautiful.

WoW is interesting. I always liked the look of the game -- some might say cartoony, I say, not exactly, unless you thing graphic novel -- very distinctive style, lower pixals, but a very strong sense of graphic design, and the color pop, and you can reall see.

But, I did not like the avatars that much, but now I've gotten used to them.

Posted: Feb 22nd 2011 7:06PM Valdamar said

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Middle of the road all the way - thinking of City of Heroes, Rift and Guild Wars in particular (well, they are the 3 games I currently play). I like the flavour of realism, but when Devs strive too hard for realism you end up with EQ2 at launch with terrible art direction and so much brown everywhere I thought I was back in the Quake games.

Cartoony games like WoW, CO, etc. are ok in short bursts til the novelty wears off but then I become blatantly aware that I'm playing in a sanitised, candy-coloured, child-friendly amusement park and my sense of immersion just falls down dead and never gets up again - I'd rather my MMORPGs didn't look like a Nintendo Wii game.

Give me enough realism to ground the world of the game and make me believe it was created for more than just teenagers, but then give me enough fantastical elements so that my jaw can drop on a regular basis. But you need that grounding of realism, to contrast the fantastical against, so that it actually feels fantastical and awe-inspiring.

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