Quantcast

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

General: The Westernization of Eastern Art in MMOs

StraddenStradden Managing EditorMember CommonPosts: 6,696

MMORPG.com's Garrett Fuller fills in for columnist Jon Wood this week, talking about the trend toward Eastern and Western art styles in our MMOs.

When looking at an MMO, what is the first thing that strikes you? Is it the game play, the genre, the world and characters? For me it is the artwork and concepts. Although I do look very closely at the game play and make my final decision on whether or not to play in the end, it's always the visuals the strike me first. Lately with more MMOs being designed in Asia we have seen a trend toward Eastern style or Anime style artwork. Aion is the perfect example of this style, yet TERA which is coming out soon and is made by the old Lineage team seems to be trending back to a more Western style of artwork to appeal to an overall audience. It's not that I am against Eastern style art in MMOs; it is that many times I miss the Western style of design in games. We'll go through some examples and try to explain why art and design can have such a huge influence on a gamer's decision.

Read The Westernization of Eastern Art in MMOs.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

«134

Comments

  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,406

    Art style is always important to me. It is what inspires me to play. Doesn't matter if it's old or new. The art design in DAoC is fine even though it's based on older graphics.

    I didn't get into mmo's until Lineage 2 because the art design to these games just didn't do it for me. It was the art design of the newly released Lineage 2 which really called to me.

    And it doesn't have to be complex or "realistic" or even highly stylized. Just so long as it tickles that part in my brain that says "yes"!

    the one thing that I never was able to warm up to in he eastern games is the cutsey style. Take that away and the highly stylized art with huge swords and practically science fiction armor is very appealing to me.

  • immodiumimmodium Member RarePosts: 2,603

    Don't like eastern art style. Just looks way to clean for me.

    image
  • GreyedGreyed Member UncommonPosts: 137

    When it comes to an MMO's art eastern or western doesn't matter to me.  Realistic or stylized also aren't as important though I tend towards stylized more than anything else.  The overall world is the backdrop.  What makes or breaks a game in the art department, for me, is how unique and individual I can make my character(s).

    Let's choose an example that is getting some attention these days because of its upcoming sequel, Guild Wars.  The style was very nice.  It was eye-popping when first released and still holds up well today.  But I just couldn't get into it because my character was a cookie-cutter copy of every other character out there.

    Compare that to City of Heroes.  CoH's world and overall art style isn't as amazing as GW's, not by a long shot.  Part of that has to do with the fact that Cryptic went stylized, which is fine given the IP.  But what made the art style of the game for me was the fact that I made, literally, dozens of characters.  Most of those characters had 2-3 costumes each.  Each variation of each character was identifiable in a crowd becase no other character made by any other player looked like any of my characters or their costumes.

    When it comes to art style, that is king for me.  East/West, realistic/stylized, expansive world or a narrow focus...  give me the characters and they better have character.

    Not just another pretty color.

  • DracondisDracondis Member UncommonPosts: 177

    Record of Lodoss War...  Hehe.  Proof that D&D could be made into an anime series.  And now evidence that good anime can be the source for a decent MMO.  I'd play a RoLW MMO.  In a heartbeat.

     

    As for art styles...  Really, so long as it looks good, I don't really care.  I've played F2P 2-D Sprite games, and I've played 3-D AAA's.  Really, I prefer the way the game plays to how it looks.  A lot of people will forgive bad mechanics if the game looks good while failing.  Not me.  It's like watching a fashion model trip on the runway and bust her nose.  I laugh and then change the channel and don't bother flipping back.  Just got done uninstalling a bunch of failgames from my computer to reclaim some of the HDD space.  Art?  Sure, mix the styles, do whatever, but make sure your underlying game is solid.

  • NytakitoNytakito Member Posts: 381

    To me gameplay and looks are pretty much on equal footing.  It takes hella awesome gameplay to overcome poor graphics for me, and downright phenominal visuals to overcome horrible play.

    I've said it before and will say it again, I can't stand crap graphics in MMO's.  It just boils down to lazy programming IMO.  DX10 has been out for a couple years, DX11 is in Vista, 7 and Server 2008.  Companies who spit out DX9 garbage with low polygon counts make me want to stroll into their office and kick someone square in the balls.

    If I wanted to expand on visuals with my imagination, I'd still be playing pen and paper games, or LARPS.

    I play video games for the full immersion experience.  That includes at the very minimum good gameplay, good graphics and good sound. 

    "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." - Henry Ford

  • LiltawenLiltawen Member UncommonPosts: 245

    Seeing the vqarious art styles come to life is my primary interest as long as it's well done. Like Aion, don't like WOW-primarily because of the art style.

  • AlberelAlberel Member Posts: 1,121

    Personally I've always preferred the eastern art styles... it's just a shame that they are most often attached to very cheap and poor quality MMOs. I just think the eastern style is usually much more vibrant and offers a lot more possibilities for spectacular scenery. I can understand why others don't like it though and I agree that there is a bit too much of it flooding the genre at the moment.

    I don't see how TERA is moving to a more western style though... it still looks very distinctly eastern to me.

  • astoriaastoria Member UncommonPosts: 1,677

    I wouldn’t say I have a strong opinion in general about the East v. West style. To me the devil is in the details. I find GW more eastern in style than I typically like, but the art is not, as another noted, “cutsey,” and I have never been put off by it.

    This was really only an issue for me in Aion. The art, musical score, and voiceovers were cute to bizarre. (and I don’t know if you meant only visual art) the battle cries of some of the characters sounded like p0rn – which made me die a few times from laughing. That wasn’t the only reason I didn’t last long, but a major one.

    Deal-breakers aside, great art design has keep me subbed when I might have been more reluctant to wait on improvements, fixes, Xpacs for new games. Fallen Earth, CoX, and AoC’s attention to detail has garnered them quite a few of my $15/mos. Just pausing to check out the scenery made looking for PUGs, traveling, grinding for items, etc. enjoyable.

    "Never met a pack of humans that were any different. Look at the idiots that get elected every couple of years. You really consider those guys more mature than us? The only difference between us and them is, when they gank some noobs and take their stuff, the noobs actually die." - Madimorga

  • AldersAlders Member RarePosts: 2,185

    I want an eastern art style game with western game mechanics. By that i mean eliminating the huge money sinks that make eastern games an RMT'ers dream come true. Why is this so difficult?

  • KorithianKorithian Member Posts: 243

    I agree completely, I can't get behind Aion. The graphics and the stupidly large swords are as much to blame as the grind culture that is horribly apparent in the game. We are talking 160k Xp for 12th to 13th level. There is not really any reason for such massive figures that I can tell. Couple this with most attacks being single target so you have to really grind those 40 kills its an eastern bundle that for my tastes is best avoided.

     

    While Age of Conan and by the looks of things Guild War 2 and World of Darkness appear to have things dead on. Very realistic graphics that even watching a fatality is on some level enjoyable. Sometimes in AoC I zoon in to watch the fight, often I'm too busy fighting for my life. (personally I think its the difficulty of the game that gets people quiting more than some bugs) And I really think as we come into 2011 with Guild Wars 2 and other games like Warhammer 40K and The Secret World gamers are going to have an even greater experience with visually amazing games. And before anyone feels graphics are that important just look at Avatar, biggest film ever sold almost completely on how good it looks. Might have had a plot as well but wouldn't know it from the reviews.

  • astoriaastoria Member UncommonPosts: 1,677

    wait wait?! Avatar had a plot? Oh yeah i forgot - http://failblog.org/2010/01/10/avatar-plot-fail/

    "Never met a pack of humans that were any different. Look at the idiots that get elected every couple of years. You really consider those guys more mature than us? The only difference between us and them is, when they gank some noobs and take their stuff, the noobs actually die." - Madimorga

  • HokieHokie Member UncommonPosts: 1,063

    I couldnt agree more. My biggest problem with eastern-style MMO's isnt that the characters or art work looks asian. But that they tend to effeminatize the male toons.

     

    A good example is this http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/253/view/screens/display/18281

    That stance is classic Christie Brinkley "S" curve pose, and it has tits. Seriously his toon has tits.

     

    Even is this http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/setView/videos/gameID/253/videoId/1735 new video, which was funny, at about 2:53 when we see that toon put his (her?) hands on their hips, lol, that is such a girlie pose.

    "I understand that if I hear any more words come pouring out of your **** mouth, Ill have to eat every fucking chicken in this room."

  • OyjordOyjord Member UncommonPosts: 552

    More cutesy anime where men look like women and women look like children?  No thanks.  I've long been over Mario, Link, and Princess Peach.

     

    The MMORPG industry is in desperate need of an innovative Western game, one which doesn't have elves carrying large glowing phalluses (aka swords) and men who don't all look like women.

     

    I outgrew the Asian penchant for PEW BANG BASH WOAH! animations when I hit puberty.  You can't hide a lack of substance with an overabundance of style.

  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,406

    Originally posted by Oyjord

    More cutesy anime where men look like women and women look like children?  No thanks.  I've long been over Mario, Link, and Princess Peach.

     

    The MMORPG industry is in desperate need of an innovative Western game, one which doesn't have elves carrying large glowing phalluses (aka swords) and men who don't all look like women.

     

    I outgrew the Asian penchant for PEW BANG BASH WOAH! animations when I hit puberty.  You can't hide a lack of substance with an overabundance of style.

    And yet you didn't outgrow video games wiht puberty?

    It's very hard to eschew somethng because of what you construe to be related to young people and yet embrace the very thing that is also attributed to being something for young people.

    If you are going to damn something that you feel is for kids how do you explain video game culture which for people who don't follow or care for video games is for kids.

    As a coworker of mine once said "you mean adults actually play those things?"

  • BloodaxesBloodaxes Member EpicPosts: 4,268

    People need to get in their minds that not everyone loves having their characters look like a viking, why should every friggin western game have the characters all so bulked? not everyone is like that more are into the medium muscularity not like someone who took steroids.

    People sometimes complain because in mmos specially eastern the characters have few/no body hair and these same people need to look at real life and will notice that the trends change! yes in the medieval people didn't remove hair and were almost all muscles bigger then their heads but now style has changed.

    Nowadays people remove hair and except for being a body builder and going for some tournaments few people raise the muscles as big as vikings.

    So just like trends change in real they also change in games.


  • OrthelianOrthelian Member UncommonPosts: 1,030

    Originally posted by bloodaxes

    People need to get in their minds that not everyone loves having their characters look like a viking, why should every friggin western game have the characters all so bulked?

    Insecurity. It's especially clear when they say things like 'the men look like women.' Interesting glance into their psyche.

    Favorites: EQEVETOR | Playing: No MMOs since 2014. Mostly VR and strategy | Anticipating: CUPantheon
  • NesrieNesrie Member Posts: 648

    It's a package for me. In the right setting, I don't mind "anime" type games. Final Fantasy used to be a favorite of mine. On the other hand, i don't like that there is one body-type, one age really in Monster Hunter Tri. I wouldn't rule out western or eastern styles automatically. There are some shading artistic styles I can't stand (Borderlands) or the comic bookish style CO and STO have that I don't care for.

    parrotpholk-Because we all know the miracle patch fairy shows up the night before release and sprinkles magic dust on the server to make it allllll better.

  • haratuharatu Member UncommonPosts: 409

    The recent expansion to Age of Conan has really made a strong effort to blend Eastern art with Western Gameplay. Well worth at least a look, even if you don't intend on staying.

  • djazzydjazzy Member Posts: 3,578

    Originally posted by haratu

    The recent expansion to Age of Conan has really made a strong effort to blend Eastern art with Western Gameplay. Well worth at least a look, even if you don't intend on staying.

     The xpac there has a historical look to it, I don't think that is what the author meant by it. There is no way you could confuse the asian theme of the Godslayer xpac to the Eastern art style in games and mmos.

  • CecropiaCecropia Member RarePosts: 3,972

    Originally posted by arenasb

    Originally posted by haratu

    The recent expansion to Age of Conan has really made a strong effort to blend Eastern art with Western Gameplay. Well worth at least a look, even if you don't intend on staying.

     The xpac there has a historical look to it, I don't think that is what the author meant by it. There is no way you could confuse the asian theme of the Godslayer xpac to the Eastern art style in games and mmos.

    Perhaps we could use a decent historically styled Asian MMORPG. Has that ever been attempted by a big studio?

    "Mr. Rothstein, your people never will understand... the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you something, partner. You ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the governor." - Pat Webb

  • kb4blukb4blu Member UncommonPosts: 717

    I cannot stand anything that looks remotely anime.  I have no problem with people who like that style, but its not for me.

    Every time I see those anime characters I want to grab a pair of shears and give them a haircut.

    I also dont like a character with a sword so big that no human could really use it.  I see some of this in WOW.

    Those that like that style are welcome to it.

  • gordunkgordunk Member CommonPosts: 114

    I think that the MMO community has developed a stigma against the eastern art style because there are SOOOO many eastern games when compared to western games.  To me every time I see an eastern game I do a double take.  "Have I played that game before?" I say to myself, just because the art style is so similar.

    TERA certainly has some western influences, but so do most MMO's from across the sea now a days.  Even Aion has plenty of Western influences, with the Asmodian names being based off of Germanic and Norse names, to many of the area designs feeling straight out of a tolkein setting.

    The main problem I have with art styles is that often times it feels like too big of a jump from concept art to game model.  The character models in WAR don't do justice to the character designs.  However, in WoW, the character models look just like the concept art often times.

  • SenadinaSenadina Member UncommonPosts: 896

    Art style is hugely important to me in the end. The games I have ending up playing the longest had both gameplay AND art that appealed to me. The MMO that appealed to me the most visually was LoTRO. Say what you will about the animations, I thought the environments were breathtaking and I found myself just wanting to BE in that world.

    On the other hand, I also thought Aion was the most artistically beautiful game I have ever played. The details in buildings, armor, etc... were superb. I don't really consider Aion anime. Pokemon is Anime. Aion is definitely Eastern though. The only thing I did NOT like was the male wizard's robe looking like a dress. The feminine male, and harlot-like female models were very detailed but style-wise, not my first choice.

    image
  • MagterMagter Member Posts: 289

    Originally posted by Oyjord

    More cutesy anime where men look like women and women look like children?  No thanks.  I've long been over Mario, Link, and Princess Peach.

     

    Exactly spot on.

     

    I personally like playing Western MMO's because they just have a more epic world and design. I don't want to travel in a place where mushrooms fart rainbows, i want to travel inside an erupting volcano while bashing on skulls.

    Purpose in life is not to gain things, but experience. - Rover64dd

  • frogifrogi Member Posts: 18

    I don't mind anime style characters, as long as they're not too ridiculous.  What turns me off the eastern style are the monsters.  I want monsters to look like monsters, not some adorable little fat piggy with pink celery sprouting out of it's head. 

    I remember trying Perfect World.  Spent an amazing amount of time making the character (customization was awesome) then got in game and started laughing at the sword fodder.

Sign In or Register to comment.