[GW2] Diversity Solipsism

A post for GuildMag’s Third Blog Carnival.

There is so much character diversity in Guild Wars 2. Just a while ago one of the ArenaNet devs, Leif Chappelle, was discussing that there are a staggering 30 choices for the first story arc (levels 1-10). I know these aren’t all-roads-lead-to-Rome choices either. A person dies in one player’s story and exists forever in another player’s home instance. Tack on five trait lines per profession, a billion dye combinations for town clothes, anti-clothes, and a million armor combinations and character diversity goes to infinity and beyond.

And it’s all there for you. Just you.

One of the biggest time wasters players will be hit with right away is their character’s appearance. There are so many sliders and options all over the place (which norn Mohawk did you want?) that I can easily see some players spending a nice chunk of an hour simply answering the first question of character creation: what does your character look like? You will see your character all over the place. They will dominate the “H”ero menu, and will dance in the limelight of your cut scenes. You will be the only one that can pin point all of the nuances of your trouty-mouthed elementalist.

The same goes for your personal story in Guild Wars 2. With all the story paths and choices you are going to be one unique button when it comes time for the curtain call. You’ll also be the only one that knows it. With professions and traits, people are going to pigeon-hole archetypes as soon as possible. The only dye schemes that are going to be noticed by other players are the ones that a garish.

Diversity isn’t for them; it’s for you. All those little nuances that everybody else will miss are for you. The character will grow and evolve in your image. The character will become special in your eyes, and that’s what is most important about all this diversity. Can the game make you feel like a unique snowflake?

All the other players are just going to see “blonde, brunette, engineer, sylvari, guardian, guardian, guardian” in the code. What is truly unique about each character is a personal treasure. All the diversity in Guild Wars 2 simply gives a clear-cut way to separate you from them.

–Ravious
written according to proper meta

8 thoughts on “[GW2] Diversity Solipsism”

  1. Yet I’ve known many players whose characters, not unlike their real life counterparts, love to show off their own fashionable dress and share in the enjoyment of their peers appearances. If we are simply snowflakes in game, the same could be said of rl, yet I think many would take exception to thinking of themselves that way.

  2. It really is all about you, isn’t it Ravious?

    :-)

    You hit the nail on the head. The ridiculous breadth and depth of customization options truly are for the eyes of the person behind the monitor. I have taken occasion to complement people in game on their character’s armor or appearance, but a lot of it comes down to function over form. When you “need a healer” you don’t care if that particular character is cute or ugly, you care if they can make your bar stay green.

    Perhaps this is one of the reasons I try to share my character stories. I write about my character on my blog and make up stories about him, but in GW2, I can actually share my story from the game on my blog word for word. The game keeps a journal for me.

    There is admittedly some narcissism to it, but there is also a glimpse into the person who is behind the monitor. The person playing the character. I’ve done some research on the topic and I link to some in my own carnival blog post (http://tinyurl.com/cl7zw79) about how much of ourselves and our personality, etc. goes into making a character. It really is fascinating.

    But so much of that is something only you get to enjoy. You decide if you like your ears up or down. You decide if you have a mohawk or go bald. You decide if the character you make is just like you, nothing like you, or something out of your wildest fantasy. The other 99% of the people you play with (outside of guildies, friends, and RP groups) only really care if you can join in the zerg and kill the baddie.

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