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It’s all about image

February 20, 2009

I have created a baby warrior for an alt that I will play as part of the trio that I will level using Recruit-a-Friend.  (Yes, I did decide to do it!)  However, as I created her, I was copying her physical image from a screenshot I had seen of someone else’s character.  She looked so cute that I wanted one too.  However, she didn’t look fierce.  She didn’t look like a warrior – she didn’t look like she would smash faces in.  Not because her face didn’t have expression, but because she looked so darn cute!

cuteface Is this the face of someone who would bash your head in?

Of course, the easy answer would be to just change her face to the fierce one (which really was my original choice) but that other image stayed in my head and spoke to me.  There’s no reason why someone who doesn’t look as if they’d just as soon rip your face off as look at you can’t be a tough warrior or any other melee class that will kick your butt.  But, usually image is a contributing factor for me.

The very first time I gave enough thought to this that I remembered is when I was running Mana Tombs on my priest.  It was a pugged run and we got some warrior tank last minute and summoned.  And who appeared at the summoning stone?  A gnome warrior.  With green hair.  Immediately I was put off and I felt a little, “Uh oh” about it all.  He’s a gnome.  He’s little.  Minuscule!  How is he going to be able to tank these huge bosses?

Which is completely unfair and we all know that looks are irrelevant in this game.  It makes no difference what race you are.  It depends on the skill of the person playing the character.   And he did end up being one of the most quick and efficient tanks that I have ever run with – greased lightning.  Another example is an Undead warrior – they’re bones.  How can they take more than a few hits?

In my mind, I see tanks as being big and heavy and able to take a hit.  Tauren are an obvious example, and Orcs as well, on the Horde side.  For Alliance, of course my first choice would be to make a Draenei tank.  Not only because I am partial to Draenei in the first place!  They are the largest, heftiest race on the Alliance side and were I personally in the game, not knowing that all tanks are equal, I would choose these three races to be in the boss’ face defending me.

To elaborate on this further, I did give thought to how my priest would look and the image she would convey.  In many cultures, white is considered to be a holy and pure color – so, my priest’s skin (who I wanted to be a healer from the start) is the whitest skin that Draenei can have.  I gave her a face that I thought would be a comforting face were you ever in need of aid, and her hair is demure.  I even chose her professions to keep to the “healing/helping” image – she is an alchemist, able to make potions to heal and enhance other players.  Taking things into consideration like this is all a part of the experience for me.

Do you think about the image your character presents?  Was it a factor in creating them?  Or do aesthetics play any sort of role at all in your game experience?

28 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2009 6:44 AM

    I concur, and a lot of that kind of thinking went into what I made Rimyth like, but it also had to be tempered with changes made to fit her backstory – hence her girlish pigtails instead of something more formal and Priestly. But ditto on the professions matching the character. :)

  2. February 20, 2009 6:50 AM

    I definitely thought about the image my characters presented as I first created them. With Grim, I wanted a Tauren that was, even naked, very clearly a Death Knight. He utilizes the white skins/hair coloring that are only available to DKs. The end result is that he looks almost devoid of his past, no longer the Tauren he once grew up being, which is very apt in his case.A guildmate once mentioned that he’d selected the ugliest combo he could find for his rogue – his thought being that he wanted that ugly face to be the last thing his enemies saw before he gutted them.

  3. February 20, 2009 6:57 AM

    I 100% agree that looks are important to your toon. As dumb as it sounds, I don’t ‘roll a toon,’ I ‘create a character.’ Even my alts all have some sort of personality, if not a back story to go along with it. Professions matching too; much agreed.For Cadistra, her original hairstyle was actually those God-awful ‘cowtails’ as I called them (the pigtails). It made her look…stupid. Vapid. Followers of the teachings of Cenarius don’t have pigtails! So obviously I was stoked when the barbershop came out. ^_~ I only wish I could add feathers and/or beads to her hair…

  4. February 20, 2009 7:28 AM

    hey! ease up on the ‘cow-tails’ ;)You know – I think it was an appearance issue that brought me to the horde in the first place. The alliance toons are beautiful – particularly the night elf models.Me – IRL – I’m not.It seemed weird after a while trying to fit myself into that kind of skin and it also really kinda affected how I felt around others. So to the Horde I went.I’m with Cadychan though – I want to be able to bangle things up a bit. Feathers, beads, tattoos – those are all cosmetic changes to the default models that I would love to see in the game.

  5. February 20, 2009 7:39 AM

    Now, Cadychan, I wouldn’t say they make someone look stupid. They certainly have an effect of making people seem younger, and that’s exactly why Rimyth has them – she’s young. Rilgon may be a pretty young Hunter himself, but Rimyth is even younger than he is, and is still pretty childish and girly at heart, even though she can carry herself with some pretty level discipline thanks to her Priestly training.

  6. February 20, 2009 8:09 AM

    When I rolled Kadomi, I picked an orc lady for a reason. Of all horde races, female orcs are the butchiest and they’re built like Greek god(desses). It just felt right. They’re not as square as male orcs, and not as tall as tauren, but I really enjoy their battle animations.I can’t take gnome warriors or DKs seriously.

  7. February 20, 2009 10:40 AM

    I deleted a lvl 49 shaman because i did not like the way he looked, the same with a 39 hunter, this was before you could change there names and looks Bah.My misses has a dranie warrior and she looks great as well not like a mean brute hahaha.

  8. February 20, 2009 12:47 PM

    In a way, I try and go for “odd” looks for my characters.On my main, it’s not really noticible – just that, despite being a male draenei, I don’t have those massiv chinticles that every other Draenei does.With my Shaman, I consider her to be “glamourous” – she’s got a pretty face, and the long hair that’s swept accross one side of her face. She cares greatly for her appearance… but that doesn’t stop her from tinkering with explosives or smashing an orcs face in with an axe!

  9. February 20, 2009 2:29 PM

    When I made ol’ Dueg here, I knew I wanted to go with long hair to match the image I had of a fantasy stil spellcaster. I know he’s a priest, but priests in WoW have more of a spellcaster feel to them than most fantasy genre healers. I did darken his hair when barbershops came out, but thats the extent of the changes I did… ok, I tried the feathered hair look for like a week, but I’m not an anime char, dammit!

  10. February 20, 2009 2:39 PM

    Tarsus was the first character I rolled when I got the game because I loved the Tauren in Warcraft III and I had a dream of an all Tauren PvP guild named the “Hell Bovines.” I wanted someone that was going to look pretty crazy comming over the hill spamming /moo so I went for the all black bull look. I wanted him to look mean.I put him down for like… 3 years though after I confronted certain problems. Like the fact that “Hell Bovines” in all incarnations I could think of was taken on my server and the fact that the war-totem-tree things are NPC weapon only. Between that and barely living through the Barrens, I wouldn’t pick him up again until much later.

  11. February 20, 2009 3:44 PM

    Ambrosine was always meant to look sweet and innocent-the farmgirl with the golden heart. An unlikely candidate for plate, but that was alright since she was always in the back healing anyway. It was very strange while she was a tank, because damn it, she doesn’t look or ‘feel’ like a tank.My warrior is a night elf-and if you read her RP description, more muscular than the avatars suggest. She doesn’t have a…fierce face, but neither is it too serene. She looks serious, which suits.Looks are definitely important-I don’t happen to like the looks of my druid anymore (blah) but count myself lucky that she’s a cat most of the time.

  12. soltaker permalink
    February 20, 2009 4:29 PM

    I go with what I can stand to look at repeatedly at the login screen. Being on a PvE realm makes that easier as usually those sorts of questions don’t come to mind, since I’m not exactly role-playing the character. Also, once they get a helm, their face is usually covered anyway.

  13. February 20, 2009 5:30 PM

    I’m with Cadychan on this one: I create characters, I don’t roll toons.But, since my warrior’s face is exactly the same as this one (Admit it! You stole it from ME!!!), my thought was that this character was very unassuming. She wears the armor, carries the giant axe… but it’s the Rage that makes her a warrior. Piss her off, and she’s going to bring the pain; you won’t like it. ;)

  14. Jack permalink
    February 20, 2009 5:52 PM

    Oh absolutely, image has been important. On all the characters I play regularlyTyrk (Dentarg) is a projection of me (an older player), so he’s got white hair in a long tail and some scruffy facial hair. He doesn’t look exactly like me . . . but maybe an idealized, more rugged me.Oomshakalaka (Exodar) is a my try at a boomkin, so he got the wild, scraggly look of someone who lives in a cave and throws around hurricanes. Or will, anyway. Eventually.Kryonix (Exodar) was going to be my new Tauren tank (and I do have a Tauren Warrior I don’t really play anymore), ’cause you’re right . . . nothing is more bad*** than a hulkin’ wall o’ steel in your face with a flaming hammer. And horns. But, as I sat down to make him a DK tank and visualized the concept, he wasn’t the wall of steel that a prot warrior or pally is. DK tanks fly into battle on a cold wind, wracking their opponents to their knees with diseases and pain. After an absurdly long time playing with various looks, I found myself real pleased with how a certain Undead look (bald, pale, whole and “taught”, like about to snap) complimented the DK “feel”.Probably the one I’ve had the most fun with, though, started as a joke on a buddy of mine. I was making the healer for a group that would play together regularly and went with a totally girly girl princess. I made up the most little girlish Night Elf druid I could, Pssladybug (Dentarg), from no tatoo to a cute little pony tail to enchanting and picking flowers for professions. And the first place I took her after the starting area was the Exodar . . . to get a pet butterfly. As I put the time into crafting an “image” and really got into all the little extras Blizzard included in the game that let you do so, she has honestly been the most enjoyable character I’ve played.

  15. February 20, 2009 6:03 PM

    Jack made me realize that I do have one quirk when making a melee char: They all have short hair and close cropped or no facial hair. I do this because of the romans, who were the first to have their military crop their hair short in order to prevent the enemy from grabbing at it and restricting their movements.

  16. Skar and Co. permalink
    February 20, 2009 7:11 PM

    Well my 1st toon back in Vanilla WoW (and “main” still today) Skarlarth was your typical (sterotypical) Dwarf, red hair, with ponytail, full beard w/ braids, craggy face. took engineering for bullets and the ability to blow things up (goblin of course) To this day refuse to use bows. Accepted crossbows only begrudgingly in BC. So yes, while I do not RP per se, I do have a theme or feel for my characters even at creation.My priest, Valenkyrie is a female Dwarf made at the time when ONLY dwarf priests had fear ward (wow am I dating myself). I picked the long ponytail braids because I thought they fit with the matronly image I had in mind only when creating the character. Only when I started playing did I realize that they fly and swirl when casting. THAT was an unexpected bonus and has become her trademark ever since :)Great Blog, so happy I got referred here from SES!Skar and Co.Medivh

  17. willel permalink
    February 20, 2009 8:15 PM

    I worry a lot about the way my characters look, but not necessarily how they will look to other people. I guess I have my own idea of what is “right” for each of them and to others it is probably pretty weird. For example, my Gnome mage had to have white hair/beard when he was spec’d frost, and red hair/beard when spec’d fire. Yeah, it’s silly. But I just couldn’t help it :)

  18. February 20, 2009 8:17 PM

    To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what look I was going for when I created Brajana. Then again, the choices with female Trolls aren’t really very appealing or extensive. I didn’t want an ugly old hag troll, and I wanted as close to no tusks as possible. She used to have the ponytail hairstyle, but I’ve since changed to one of the new ones from the barbershop – I feel like she’s matured and her new look reflects that.I spend a lot of time picking out the look of my character, and trying to match it with the personality/class I want to play.My Fire Mage has bright red hair and eyes. My undead warrior has the 3 ponytail look because I felt it was most appropriate for a 17-year old ungirl like her.Sometimes when I’m bored I just play around with the character creation screen and come up with new combinations that interest me, like my Dwarf Paladin “Palaclaus”… I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what he looks like :)

  19. Anea permalink
    February 20, 2009 8:23 PM

    @ Cadychan – that’s a great way of putting it. It’s hard to me to explain to the pally why it matters to me exactly what she looks and feels like. Unless I’m roleplaying her, why would I care? I think is almost what he thinks. But he’s learned to just let me ask my questions about what he thinks and go on with his playing, haha.@ PixelatedExecutioner – yes. I stole her from you. Right out of your login screen!@ Jack – /wave – Hi! *secret Exodar handshake* I’m glad you brought pets up! I had forgotten that too. Even though I’ve taken to collecting the pets on Anea, since I want her to get the skunk, the one that I have out often reflects what I think a priest (or a Draenei, if I want a broader selection) might have out. It all counts towards the image.@ Dueg – Ah, I did forget the short hair thing too! While I don’t have any close-cropped females, whenever I play someone that will be tanking, I put her hair in a bun. I have a Human and Blood Elf pally, and their hair is both up in buns. Out of the way – a tank isn’t going to want to deal with hair in their face, right? I played with the idea of giving this warrior the little buns, to continue with the “out of the way” hair thing I have going, but the ponytail will suffice. I tell myself it’s short enough if she has to whip around in battle, it won’t get in her eyes. *cough*@ Skar and Co. – Welcome! Glad you’re enjoying the blog :)

  20. February 20, 2009 8:30 PM

    And I just noticed she has the ponytail, too… which is strangely disconcerting. The only thing we have different going is the horns (Lelissa’s sweep back instead of curl under).Along the lines of Dueg’s thinking, though… I’m kind of an anime fiend; always been fond of the sword-swinging girls that you find in the genre, and Lelissa’s hairstyle ended up being modified to fit that image. I always have this picture in my mind of a backhanded sweep, ponytail trailing along behind the movement… it’s very compelling. :)

  21. February 20, 2009 8:31 PM

    (Oh, and…)I KNEW IT! *shakes fist*But it’s okay. I don’t mind. :P

  22. Anea permalink
    February 20, 2009 10:02 PM

    @ PixelatedExecutioner Well, firstly I hope you haven’t ruined her ponytail for me. (I’m not fan of anime) :x And hopefully it won’t take away from your goatrage, but I copied her entirely from a screenshot that had these horns :P

  23. February 20, 2009 10:11 PM

    Most people aren’t fans. I like it because it’s a lot easier to work in superhuman skills without spending millions on CGI.The ponytail works well for the Draenei, though, so I don’t think I’ll have wrecked anything for you. ;)

  24. February 20, 2009 11:58 PM

    Well, when I roll a character I usually pick the class I want to play first. I look at tables of starting stats and compare their racials until I find the best race (within reason). I have this issue with rolling Dwarves and Blood Elves in that I will never do it.After I have my race and class I make myself as gorgeous as possible. I’ve found that beauty is the most dangerous of appearances. Now I’ll admit Tauren are limited on beauty but it just takes another perspective to see them as such.As for professions, I select them based on what I think I will be able to accomplish with the character. If I want it to be a main character, I pick things that make me awesome and still provide necessary gold.:P So in the end I’m strict about my appearance but only after taking the technical bits into consideration.P.S. I suck at comments <3

  25. February 21, 2009 2:07 PM

    image is very important. it’s seriuos business! i spent a lot of time on char creation screen designing the best possible feature to match the toon i’m creating, and to think of a good name to go with the toon.

  26. February 22, 2009 6:27 PM

    I spend a lot of time on creating the image I envision for any new character. I may not have a full story in my head right away, but as I am working away at the creation screen, you can bet I have SOME sort of personality brewing in my mind and I want them to portray this… at least a bit.I also put a lot of thought and consideration into the names of all my characters.

  27. February 24, 2009 12:02 PM

    […] Aemma, the little warrior that I wrote about here, has reached her 20th season tonight, so I feel that I can truly write about her as an alt. This […]

  28. October 27, 2009 6:13 PM

    […] in February I posted It’s all about image, which is one of the posts with the most discussion so […]

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