July 29, 2012

[GW2] Character Creation: The Long Term Aesthetic Attachment

Since the preview function was added in the final beta weekend client, the main thing I look for when choosing character race and profession for an MMO can now be explored: namely, how cool can I make them look?

As an altoholic, I strive to ensure that each character I create has the perfect potential look and theme. I’ve thus been scouring the various GW2 fansites for the last week, trying to match up armour types, professions, and races.

Into this mix I’ve also had to throw in the concept of race-specific armour. This isn’t a new thing for me, however, as Final Fantasy XI also had race-specific equipment — or RSE — but I imagine the WoW crowd won’t have had to take that into consideration before.

My Main Character

Up until BWE3, my main character was going to be a female norn necromancer. That has changed. Not because I no longer like the norn, since that is patently false, but because the sylvari — as it turns out — are aesthetically awesome.

It’s strange: looking back at the various “plans” I’ve made for race/character combos over the last six months, the sylvari have never featured very strongly. They just weren’t on my radar as anything other than “well, I need to see the personal stories of all five races”…

Of course, I learned a couple of days before BWE3 that Jennifer Hale is voicing the sylvari female — that’s Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect trilogy (don’t give me any of that “Commander Shepard was a man…” bs!), Mazzy Fentan in Baldur’s Gate II, Fall-From-Grace/Deionarra from Planescape: Torment… She’s played characters in a lot of my favourite games and ranks highly on my list of favourite voice actors.

So naturally for BWE3 I rolled a sylvari. I was planning to anyways,  just as I planned to play an asura engineer, but I had the extra incentive of wanting to make sure the voicework was as good as I’ve come to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find Hale wasn’t just using the same voice she did for Shepard/Republic Trooper (in SWTOR) and is using the more British inflection she used for Fall-From-Grace (in Torment). That cemented my choice.

Voice acting aside, the sylvari aesthetic is very interesting: for better or worse, my initial character options ended up making me look a lot like the asari from Mass Effect — not an issue for me as the asari are easily my favourite race in the Mass Effect universe — but I expect for my final version of the character I’ll go for something more “planty”. I’m especially fond of the luminescence effect and bark patterning that you can choose for the race, and naturally I’ll be choosing something that is thematically appropriate to the necromancer profession — probably a pale, cold green.

So with a sylvari necromancer as my “main” character, that leaves four more races to cover.

Primary Alt

My primary alt character is going to be a guardian. I really like the guardian’s playstyle — sometimes more than I like the necromancer’s, if I’m honest — and may well level them partially in tandem.

I thus need to ensure that I choose a race that looks awesome in the Soldier archetype’s heavy armour. has a really cool gallery of all the armour previews from BWE3, so I’ve been using that for my musings, and something unusual struck me about the armour designs: the male characters actually look really cool.

For a time I considered playing as a male guardian, as I enjoyed doing so in the first BWE: there was something very fun about the aesthetic of a massive slab of greatsword-wielding, mail armour-wearing badassery, but I have since decided against it and will be playing a stocky female norn guardian instead. I will, however, go for a male norn warrior to keep hold of some of that badass feeling!

The Other Races

I’ve already mentioned my plan to play an asura engineer, so that’s asura sorted easily, but as I came to write this blog, I did a breakdown of the professions and who looks best in what armour, and came to the conclusion that of all the races, the humans and charr were the ones I was least interested in: a far cry from my plan three or four months ago when my intention was to create three human female characters — one for each of the scholar classes — and make them “sisters”.

If it wasn’t for the fact that female humans get some of the best race-specific armours, I’d have really struggled to fit them into my selection. As it is, the T3 light and medium armours have just the right kind and quantity of Sexy Badassness™ for my aesthetic preference.

So here’s my current list for the eight professions, as well as a picture of the armour/RSE that cemented (I use the term very loosely —everything is still subject to change on the day) that choice! As you can see, there’s an unusual balance of female and male characters here: highly strange for me to have any male characters on a list like this, but there we go!

The eight professions are, arguably, in order of my intent to play, so as you can see it might take me a while to get round to the charr personal story. That’s fine though. I hope to be playing Guild Wars 2 for quite some time!

What about y’all? Have you planned out all eight professions? All five races? Or have just barely even decided on one combination? Let me know in the comments below!


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Written by: demajen
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About the Author

Jon Burrage, aka Demajen. Urban Sci-Fantasy writer, digital artist, supply teacher, evil genius. One of these things is not like the others...



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One Comment

  1. […] Demajen — Character Creation: The Long Term Aesthetic Attachment. “Since the preview function was added in the final beta weekend client, the main thing I look for when choosing character race and profession for an MMO can now be explored: namely, how cool can I make them look?” […]

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