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Okay, so this is the big thing I hear MMO guys talking about. No character creation = no MMO. I hope we've had enough real discussions to throw out the old "it's not a real MMO" vague (and by definition incorrect) criticism. Let's get down to the issue:
Issue: Character creation is a beloved aspect of any vanilla MMO that allows for player investment in advancement, identity and creativity. As such, if we play as Marvel characters, we will A) see lots of clones/lose our identity in the community, not advance or grow and C) not express our creativity.
Is that a fair and agreeable analysis? If so, one might naturally ask are there any successful games that do otherwise, and that leads us to the Superhero Squad Online game, made by the same company for the same IP which also, incidentally, lets you play as Iconic Heroes. How does it handle these concerns?
A) Clones are visible in the hub areas, but on missions, the game forces clones to choose a different character
Instead of gaining and leveling up abilities on a single character, players advance by gaining and leveling up new characters.
C) Players express minimal creativity.
So, just based on a two year old MMO, we can see how they handle the 1000 Wolverines problem -> only allowing one wolvie per instance and making Wolvie a character that is hard to unlock. In this way, you're less likely to see Wolverine clones in MH as you are in COH. And while certainly we can draw the parallel between new abilites and new characters, so that each player is still as diverse and unique as before, we still have two issues left unaddressed: visual creativity (ala costumes) and Player Expectations (ie it's different, so it can't be good).
Now, I'm not sure player expectations are solveable, or all that important anyway. There's always going to be people who say "It's not a real MMO cuz it's not like WoW in this or that way." I do wonder though, will there be visual distinction available? Obviously players can get new costumes ala SHSO or even MUA, perhaps customize powers, but even though there might be as many choices in distinction available, will it be able, or should it be able to capture the 'making something from scratch' feeling of other MMOs.
Is that a loss worth caring about, with the immense lack of creativity out there and the success of SHSO and it's lack of visual distinction?
What are your thoughts?
The Illusion of Choice