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  1. #1
    Pandaren Monk Lemposs's Avatar
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    MMO's lacking variation in character models

    The last couple of years I have spend a lot of time trying out all sorts of MMORPGs, and I noticed one thing that most of them did really bad: variation character models.
    Often you can pick from humans, dwarf and elf (elf and human having pretty much have the same skeleton model), and every other model beyond that is often just another color of skin and a few accessories build over the basic human skeleton model, so it isn't the exact same thing. SWTOR is by far the best example, you essentially had three character types (slim, muscular and fat) for every single race, and then a few different accessories and another color skin, but everybody with full armor set on, was impossible to tell which race they where.
    But when I look at WoW there is so much variation between each single race. If you look away from human, Blood elf and nightelf and goblin/gnome, pretty much every single race has a unique skeleton model a, different stances, different movement and even the colors are often varied from race to race.
    And I haven't really seen that in that many other MMO's. Guild wars 2 had the Charr which was actually quite far from just a reskinned bipedal in different colors. TERA with the Aman, baraka and popori is the one I found the most variation in.
    What I really want to ask you guys is: do you feel that there is much more variation than what I have seen (I haven't played every single MMO) or do you feel that it is lacking? And do you think it is the producer being afraid people find them stupid/ugly or they are just not that experimental?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Lemposs View Post
    And do you think it is the producer being afraid people find them stupid/ugly or they are just not that experimental?
    Usually it's a case of wanting to save time/space/resources by keeping the animated skeletons relatively similar. You can often share animations this way, even if the proportions are different, as long as they're roughly equivalent. Production does not have infinite time/money to produce content, so keeping the character variety slim is one way to reduce overhead.

  3. #3
    The Lightbringer Valarius's Avatar
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    I think GW2 has a good variation.

    2 of the races are essentially "human"; Human and Norn. The Sylvari arguably can be made to *look* very human, depending on the options you choose, but they also have the customisation there to look very much "plant-like":



    Asura and Charr are both fairly different to humans. Again you can make a cutesy Asura that looks like a child, but it will still have pointy/droopy ears, sharp teeth, big eyes and a big head.

    Tyria has some other fairly interesting races that could be the subject of a future expansion:



    SW:TOR did the worst job imo of any MMO I've played with character variation. All that rich lore and crazy species choice and they go and use the most humanoid characters possible, the different basically being "this is a red human" "this is a green human" "this is a blue human".

  4. #4
    there's a reason for that. they are Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO), not Handful Of Rich Kids With Super Computers Multiplayer Online (HoRKwSCMO). they are supposed to be accessible to a lot of people. many MMO fail at that, trying to shoot for better graphics than it's competitors, segregating loads of interested players with not-so-good PCs.

    not every country has good computers at an accessible price. a crude example: in my country (brazil) an ipad coasts around 1250,00 USD, while that same ipad coasts 800,00 USD in the USA. brazil overtaxes electronics, and pretty much most of the other things lol

    the more variables you put into the game models to be interpreted and displayed as graphics, the worse for those people's computers, especially when you go with 5 raid groups to kill ondaasta or something.
    Last edited by checking facts; 2013-05-07 at 06:52 PM.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Valarius View Post
    I think GW2 has a good variation.

    2 of the races are essentially "human"; Human and Norn. The Sylvari arguably can be made to *look* very human, depending on the options you choose, but they also have the customisation there to look very much "plant-like":



    Asura and Charr are both fairly different to humans. Again you can make a cutesy Asura that looks like a child, but it will still have pointy/droopy ears, sharp teeth, big eyes and a big head.

    Tyria has some other fairly interesting races that could be the subject of a future expansion:



    SW:TOR did the worst job imo of any MMO I've played with character variation. All that rich lore and crazy species choice and they go and use the most humanoid characters possible, the different basically being "this is a red human" "this is a green human" "this is a blue human".
    He's talking skeleton in developer terms, the flesh is a reskin on the skeletons and anything else (even to be made plantlike) is still on the the same skeleton. So in example they have the same kind've animations because the skeleton is the same.
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  6. #6
    The Lightbringer Valarius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by checking facts View Post
    there's a reason for that. they are Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO), not Handful Of Rich Kids With Super Computers Multiplayer Online (HoRKwSCMO). they are supposed to be accessible to a lot of people. many MMO fail at that, trying to shoot for better graphics than it's competitors, segregating loads of interested players with not-so-good PCs.
    You can have variations in models without super graphics. The two are unrelated.

  7. #7
    Pandaren Monk Lemposs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Golden Yak View Post
    Usually it's a case of wanting to save time/space/resources by keeping the animated skeletons relatively similar. You can often share animations this way, even if the proportions are different, as long as they're roughly equivalent. Production does not have infinite time/money to produce content, so keeping the character variety slim is one way to reduce overhead.
    Yeah that is a fair point, it is just a little sad because I personally feel that different models gives the game a hold lot of more flavour to the players

  8. #8
    The Lightbringer Valarius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingriku View Post
    He's talking skeleton in developer terms, the flesh is a reskin on the skeletons and anything else (even to be made plantlike) is still on the the same skeleton. So in example they have the same kind've animations because the skeleton is the same.
    Even so, Asura and Charr don't share their skeletons and have completely different animations. 3 different "sets" across 5 races is fairly good. There's also a *lot* more character in the way an Asura moves than any race in any other game I've played.

    The OP did mention variation in looks aswell, which is as important IMO as the base. You can have a bunch of different humanoid races with cool animations, but if they all look like humans, it's boring.

  9. #9
    Pandaren Monk Lemposs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valarius View Post
    Even so, Asura and Charr don't share their skeletons and have completely different animations. 3 different "sets" across 5 races is fairly good. There's also a *lot* more character in the way an Asura moves than any race in any other game I've played.

    The OP did mention variation in looks aswell, which is as important IMO as the base. You can have a bunch of different humanoid races with cool animations, but if they all look like humans, it's boring.
    Okay I admit I didn't really give GW2 enough credit for the Asura (I still feel the Sylvari could have been different, especially males could have been bigger and look more like a tree, instead of a human with leaf armor. But I will give that their hair have some nice customization) . It is just the Charr that shined through since they weren't upstraight bipedals all the time, reminded me of worgen or tauren. Asura is a bit more chubby and have different heads, so yeah I didn't really realise it
    But hey that is what I asked you guys after

  10. #10
    well bipedal humanoids are going to have that skeletal structure. so unless a game has something like a playable centaur or an amoeba then yeah, it will be lacking that base variation.

  11. #11
    Pandaren Monk Lemposs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doozerjun View Post
    well bipedal humanoids are going to have that skeletal structure. so unless a game has something like a playable centaur or an amoeba then yeah, it will be lacking that base variation.
    Yes they will have the same very basic skeleton structure. But I'm thinking about size and where some parts are different from each other. Gonna use WoW as the example.
    Human vs. Tauren. Tauren is sizeable quite bigger, they are much more focused in upper body size then humans, their legs have hoofs and are more bend then that of the human.
    human vs. Troll. Troll is much higher, but is bend over, giving a different view on them. They have different hand and feet then the human model and tusks.
    Human vs. Orc. Orc is just far more muscle and is much broader then the human model, and again tusks. They also have focus on the upper body compared to the human.
    Human vs. Worgen is kinda easy to see.
    Human vs. Dranai. Dranai focused on the upper body, and the legs are completly different being from a fabel and having hoofs. Also the face tentacles.

    You can do this with most of the races, and I just haven't seen this difference in another MMO.

  12. #12
    Well in those examples, you can find the minute differences you see there in a lot of other games as well. SWTOR is bad at variation (as there is no variation), so I agree with you there. But GW2 has as much variation in their models as you stated wow has in theirs. I'm sure we can go game by game to list similar variations as well.

  13. #13
    Pandaren Monk Lemposs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doozerjun View Post
    Well in those examples, you can find the minute differences you see there in a lot of other games as well. SWTOR is bad at variation (as there is no variation), so I agree with you there. But GW2 has as much variation in their models as you stated wow has in theirs. I'm sure we can go game by game to list similar variations as well.
    You sure about that? Because I haven't seen a MMO that has done difference in size, stance, actual limbs being different and colors the way wow does.
    Hell I will even challenge you to find an MMO with two races where the feet are something else then human feet

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Lemposs View Post
    You sure about that? Because I haven't seen a MMO that has done difference in size, stance, actual limbs being different and colors the way wow does.
    Hell I will even challenge you to find an MMO with two races where the feet are something else then human feet
    Does lotro's monster play, playing as a spider count?
    It needs to be 20% cooler.

  15. #15
    Pandaren Monk Lemposs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerra View Post
    Does lotro's monster play, playing as a spider count?
    Is it a permanent character? Sorry did not play LOTRO, since it did not agree with my PC, so abandon it pretty damn fast.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Lemposs View Post
    You sure about that? Because I haven't seen a MMO that has done difference in size, stance, actual limbs being different and colors the way wow does.
    Hell I will even challenge you to find an MMO with two races where the feet are something else then human feet
    I'm just going by your post stating WoW as the baseline. I mean there is more variation between a Male Norn - Male Human in GW2 than there is between a male orc - male human in wow.

  17. #17
    Pandaren Monk Lemposs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doozerjun View Post
    I'm just going by your post stating WoW as the baseline. I mean there is more variation between a Male Norn - Male Human in GW2 than there is between a male orc - male human in wow.
    But they look almost similar in skin and face. But I will give you that one

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Lemposs View Post
    But they look almost similar in skin and face. But I will give you that one
    As an example, imagine Vrykul and Human.

    Both still look human, but the Vrykul is big, hairy and fierce.

    Vrykuls are not playable though..

  19. #19
    wish the orc's and the goblins in Wow were more like the orc's and goblins in the game of orcs and men

  20. #20
    The Lightbringer shise's Avatar
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    Most of people prefer humans or at least humanoids. That's probably why they focus harder on those models.

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