Top 6 Player Looks
by Tyler Edwards, January 3, 2014
An MMO player will likely spend hundreds of hours playing their character - or characters - so it's important that everything about their avatar be just right. Part of the feeling of "rightness" comes from game mechanics, like class choice, but a lot of it is down to how a character looks. With character and gear customization options growing ever more advanced, players are putting more effort than ever into creating their ideal virtual avatar. But while everyone wants to be unique, most characters end up falling into a few common archetypes. The details might very, but the overall impression remains the same across every player using that "look."
6: The Freak Show:
Plenty of players are seeking the perfect style, but some prefer to boldly defy style. They want the most ugly, mismatched, surreal, and visually offensive character possible. They'll run roughshod over character creation screens, turning ordinary presets into grotesque walking terrors with bubblegum pink afros, indigo lips, eyes that take up their entire face, arms as thick as tree trunks, and stick figure legs.
They'll apply the same flagrant disregard for aesthetics when it comes to their fashion choices. They'll find all the most hideous gear sets imaginable, and stick them together in the most haphazard way possible to create an unholy collage of clashing colors and mismatched materials.
Even the most dastardly of raid bosses will recoil in horror when they charge forth in their fur short shorts, lime green helm, pink breastplate, and skull-encrusted pauldrons.
Fans of the Freak look can be broadly divided into two categories. The first are fairly harmless folk who simply have quirky senses of humor. Their outfits amuse them, and they don't particularly care what other people think.
The other half are trolls who dress like lunatics purely for the purpose of offending as many people as possible. These are usually the same sorts of people who dry hump roleplayers while they try to carry out a story event. Such griefers are a plague on MMO communities.
5: The Badass:
This look is similar to the Freak Show in that the goal is make a character that is as ugly as possible, but there's a key difference. Whereas the oddballs mentioned above are trying to be as ridiculous as possible, fans of the Badass look are going for the intimidation factor.
Fans of this look will often go for the meanest, toughest, ugliest races: Orcs, Ogres, Demons, and anything else that might give a little kid nightmares. They'll then crank up the nastiness by choosing the most brutal facial features, as well as things like scars, piercings, and tattoos. The goal is to protect an image of savagery and feral power.
When it comes to gear choices, Badasses can be surprisingly fashionable, in their way. They might go to great lengths to collect all the pieces of a rare outfit, so long as said outfit is covered in spikes, skulls, and unholy runes painted in liquid Hellfire. Whatever pieces they choose, the goal will be to create an outfit that sends foes running for their moms.
While not traditionally fashionable, Badasses can nonetheless be among the most stylish players around. They're not beautiful, but a well designed Badass look can be spectacularly impressive to behold.
4: The Cutesy:
For some players, the goal is to make their character as cute as can be. Not beautiful or sexy, but cute. They want an adorable, cuddly character who is constantly greeted by gleeful squeals of, "D'AAAWWWWW!"
Such characters are almost invariably female, and one would imagine that most of the players behind them are, too, but sometimes these stereotypes don't prove as accurate as you'd expect.
Often, such players will gravitate towards races that lend themselves well to this: Gnomes, Faeries, or the more cuddly anthropomorphic races. But it's just as common for them to pick more generic races like humans or Elves and simply design them towards the cute end of things, with big eyes, girlish features, and perky hairstyles.
When it comes to fashion choices, there can be a fair bit of variety in what Cutesy players favor, depending on their individual tastes. They might go the elegant and effeminate route, styling themselves like a fairytale princess, or they might make themselves into a more mature fashionista and simply pick an outfit that looks good. They might also lean towards the flirty side of cute, choosing revealing garb and potentially crossing over with another entry farther down this list.
3: The Professional:
Players who subscribe to the Professional school of fashion like to look good, but they're a little more reserved about it. They're not going to go out of their way to get the most bizarre, over the top, or eye catching outfit. Theirs is a less flamboyant, more practical style, and it tends to be the most common choice for role-players.
Professionals are the antithesis of the Freaks. They'll tend to design balanced characters who are neither hideously ugly nor spectacularly beautiful. They will usually favor realistic armor and weapons, or at least armor and weapons that pass for realistic by fantasy standards. Assassins will wear dark, slim fitting armor, whereas warriors will choose basic but solid plate.
Those choosing the Professional look will often tailor their appearance to fit within the lore of the game's setting, as well as to reflect their race and class. A Professional in World of Warcraft, for instance, might still choose a relatively flamboyant look because that's the style of the universe.
The main goal of the Professional - aside from looking good - is to fit in with the game world. They seek to promote immersion - both their own and that of others - by becoming part of the fantasy. Even if they stand out compared to other players, they're likely to blend in with the NPCs.
2: The "This Isn't Barbie:"
Certain people just aren't interested in putting much effort into their online appearance. Some have an active dislike for the idea of "playing dress up" with their characters. They view it as girly or childish, and they'll vehemently oppose any development time that goes into giving players more customization options. Others are just indifferent to the whole idea. They're more interested in the meat of gameplay than cosmetics.
Whatever their motivation, they'll simply pick a decent preset on the character creation screen and maybe make one or two tweaks. When it comes to gear, they'll just equip whatever has the best stats and put no effort into picking cosmetic gear or customizing their outfits.
This lackadaisical attitude towards style can lead to some… interesting results. In the best case scenario, they'll acquire a matching set of gear from the current raid tier or PvP season, and they'll manage to look pretty good.
But it doesn't always work out so well. Choosing gear based purely on its stats can lead to players glad in motley medleys, the dreaded clown suits. From their blue boots, to their steel gray leggings, to a golden helm and flaming purple shoulders, their outfits are cobbled together from disparate parts like Frankenstein's monster.
1: The Pin-Up:
If there's one stereotypical image of the MMO player, it's that of the gorgeous Elf charging into battle wearing a few tiny pieces of metal that would be more at home in a medieval themed gentlemen's club than on the battlefield. And MMO players don't do much to dispel this stereotype.
There always seems to be plenty of players churning out avatars with perfect faces and hair, alluring figures, and "chest" sliders turned up to eleven. These are then clothed in as little as possible, resulting in armies of fighters who look more like PlayBoy covers than mighty adventurers.
Stereotypes tell us that these characters are made by desperate teenagers or sad, lonely men, but even if it's a woman behind the keyboard, it's hard not to wonder what their personal life must be like if they put so much effort into sexing up their virtual appearance. Video games are usually a method to let us experience things we never could in reality, after all.
The really funny thing about Pin-Up players is that by simply showing as much skin as possible, they achieve nothing but an utterly generic and somewhat ridiculous look. They're like the MMO universe's answer to Miley Cyrus, shamelessly flaunting their assets without ever realizing that true sex appeal requires a certain degree of subtlety.