Thursday, January 21, 2010

Please, Let Me Say "Cheese"!

I've never been the kind of player who cares a lot about her looks. Most of my online time utility is all what matters, and when I'm raiding I'm so focused on the encounter that my own char could as well have the shape of a blue cube - I wouldn't notice.

The exception is of course the pink pigtails, the sources of my spirit, stamina and power. I wouldn't even let Larísa get close to the in-game hairdresser. Who knows, she might become victim of an outburst of accidental scissor activity

As a matter of fact - apart from the hair - I never knew quite how my character looked. Or to be more correct: I know her back very well, but not her face. Normally I only flip the camera for certain encounters such as XT, to keep an eye on the adds from behind. And then I've been to occupied doing this to pay any attention to my appearance.

For those reasons it was a bit of a shock for me to check out the new Armory feature where you can decide what your toon should look like. The basic idle pose was familiar, since I meet it on the logon screen. But the rest of it not very much.

Take the pose "yes" for instance. Or "no". How often do you make that in game? I didn't even know those emotes existed! And what bothers me is that they are far from flattering, especially the yes-saying one. It's something with the eyes that bothers me. They are crazy, not to say outspoken evil. I just don't recognize the cute little doll I always thought I was playing. And the same goes with the laughter. This is a huge crying-out-loud laugh, not at all resembling to the cute little gnome giggle I'm used to hear.

Actually I had to look quite closely before I could find a pose that I thought carried some sort of resemblance to the picture of Larísa I have in my head. After some playing around I finally settled for the "flex" pose in a close-up version. The twisting body makes her somehow come alive compared to the default portrait.

I must admit though that there are some poses I miss in Armory. For instance, where is the one for "shy" or "flirt"? I've always loved it - I always want to hug whoever makes it - even the boldest warrior. I would definitely rather be able to expose a shy Larísa than the current versions of "chicken" or "train", which are plain ugly and annoying.

However there's one emote that I'd like to see more than anything else. It's an emote which currently doesn't even exist in game - don't ask me why. Can it really be that complicated to program it? Are there too many muscles involved?

All I want to see is a simple "smile". Larísa smiles quite a lot in the game but it never shows anywhere but in the chat window and my imagination.

Now that Armory looks like a photo album, I don't think it's to ask too much that our characters should be able to say: "Cheese"!


HP said...

A smile would be great! My belf pally always winds up frowning or scowling like she's too cool for school.

Tesh said...

Smiles are difficult with WoW models. They are relatively low poly, and would require either more polys or a texture swap to really nail down the subtleties of a good smile.

So... not impossible, just not a high priority, I'd suspect.

Klepsacovic said...

My belfs all look angry and that's how I like them. It's a good look for being in combat. Or for out of combat. Anger fits in anywhere, it's a universal look.

Hirvox said...

I loved the sitting-in-a-chair idle animation for my female troll. The only gripe that I had about it was that the asymmetric pose made it painfully obvious that the shoulderpads are not attached to anything at all.

Anea said...

When I rolled Anea, her appearance was very important to me - I actually rolled and deleted six versions of her before I got her "right" - back in the stone ages before barber shops and recustomizations. I wanted to make very sure that I was happy with the pixels that I would be playing to 70 and beyond.

In fact, I was so vain that I would flip the camera and watch her fight a lot, I would take screenshots of her in pretty places - I was very aware of how she looked "in front" as well as the back (since that's what I saw the majority of the time!)

There is one character (I'm not entirely sure which one, sadly) that at one point, I thought... "What DO I look like?" and I had to flip the camera and study the character, because I hadn't really cared as much about that one's particular appearance. It was odd, since I was used to knowing what Anea looked like - why wouldn't I know what other characters look like?

One thing I am curious about though... Pigtails are clearly a part of the Larisa persona. They are the name of your blog and even your favicon features a pigtail. Would trying out the "other" pigtail available to gnomes be too much of a change? I rather think the "new" style is quite cute :)

Sephrenia said...

/smile does exist in game. I use it a fair bit :) I love the saying "if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours". Keeps me sane.

Tam said...

Good grief, that's what Tam looks like?!! Look at him casting - what a pillock!


Actually the Amory totally freaks me out - it is too much like Facebook.

Larísa said...

@HP: yeah, Larísa looks pretty serious too. To be honest I wouldn't pick a smiling gnome face if that was available. Most of the time Larísa IS involved in not-so-funny activities such as killing creatures. But it would be nice if she could crack up when I want her to.

@Tesh: aha... I figured it could be something like that.

: yeah, most of the time it feels appropriate. But sometimes not quite so much.

@Hirvox: sitting-in-the-chair? Hm. I've missed something.

@Anea: is there another pigtail available? I know there's one wher eyou have only ONE tail, but strictly speaking, isn't that a ponytail? Or you're referring to the one with three little tails, of which one on top of the head? TBH it's a little bit too much even to me. But maybe I should pay the hairdresser a visit to check out the hairstyles more closely, I might have missed something there.

And yeah, you're pretty much right: I really can't let go of the pink pigtails now. They're my trademark and logo! Not that I'd want to lose them anyway...

: yeah, you can do /smile, but the only effect it has is in the chat text, the face of your toon won't change. Or did I miss something there? In that case I appologize for an unusually stupid post of me.

Larísa said...

@Tam: yeah, some of those poses ARE embarrassing. I'm really glad I mostly just see the back of Larísa.

Okrane S. said...

what you picture as the personality of your character are just poor designs forced by the lack of quality in the character models.

I have my little green pigtailed doll as I like her just the way she is, because I place more value on what I imagine that what is actually on screen.

Rem said...

Fully agree, Larísa, a smile would be so important and awesome. It keeps amazing me that MMORPGs leave the gates without this most basic and central emote. Seriously, if one sat down with a group of people and asked them to list emotes, would a smile not be the first thing on everyone's mind?

Back in LotRO we used to often wonder why there's no /smile among the plethora of emotes. Not even a plain-text one. We had an animated /bio and a /slap with sound (and animation - imagine a hobbit walking up to a female elf from behind and...), but no /smile at all. Maybe they added one by now, who knows. Last year, /whippitydo was apparently a more important one to implement! Weird, weird.

Hirvox said...

@Larisa: This was before the new Armory, so I just used WoW Model Viewer to pose my character and used the resulting animation as a forum avatar.