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Firstly I must admit I´m probably one of the most character oriented players around. I simply love to have characters that can look and dress like I want them to do. For me, immersion stops when my character looks horrible and animations look embarrassing.
Thus there´s not a lot of games to choose from if that was my only criterion (fortunately it´s not):
WAR actually looked nice, I love the warhammer outfits and characters and outfits actually looked good from the start. Too bad the end game is all about an endless PvP grind and that at any given moment there was only 1 best oufit you could wear. What a waste of a very stylish game! My score: 6/10 (for stylishness)
WoW looked reasonable, initially I played humans as I hated the night elves look but I was very happy with blood elves and dranei. Gear looks weren't all that impressive; all the mixed (undyable) gears, you basically looked like a mess. The huge shoulderpads weren't my thing either. The tabards were ok though. My score: 5/10 (including a +1 for the barbershop)
Frankly LOTRO is horrible, customisaton options are very limited and they run very strange. If I were a develeoper I'd be too embarassed to release a game with animations like that! It' s the one reason I quit playing, I really couldn' t stand looking at it anymore. My score: 2/10
EVE has no characters that can interact or see each other, you' re basically a spaceship with a 2D picture as avatar. My score: 1/10
AoC doesn't have nice looking characters and the ridiculous big weapons really look a bit out of proportion imo. My score: 4/10
GW did an ok job in my opinion. Especially after a few expansions and the unique possibility to mix all the faces and hairstyles and armor sets because stats and looks were not connected, you had quite a choice of decent and unique looking characters. "Toggle off" headgear and capes was another good thing. The possible styles were still a bit limited though, in my opinion most sets for one class (profession) still looked too much alike. My score: 7.5/10
Rift has very stale looking characters and you can only pick one face per race/gender, which is really very, very poor. The clothes are ok but don’t look very spectacular either. My score: 4.5/10
Why can't game designers start to lay some more emphasis on the character their players can make? GW has learned us that a lot of people even want to grind for vanity gear and special looks. I think asian game developers generally do a lot better job and their characters generally looks a lot better, although the options aren't always that extensive either.
Cast your vote: The importance of character customisation