Virtual Worlds and Action Movies

MMOs are supposed to be virtual worlds. But just because it’s virtual, doesn’t mean it’s a simulation. In the real world, we have ugly people. Sure, we try to make ourselves look better via nice clothing, diet, or by using make-up and photoshop, but none of that is necessary in an MMO. You can make yourself look however you want, and everyone wants to look good.

For all the multitude of options you have in the Star Trek Online character creator, you can’t make a big fat “Scotty” character. Few MMOs actually let you be ugly or unattractive. People want their MMO to have a simulated economy, or simulate the process of building a star-ship, or simulate the weather. But MMOs are not simulations, they’re more like action movies.

In an action movie, everyone is beautiful. Something interesting is always on the verge of happening. There are no bathrooms or tax-collectors. The entire world in an action movie exists for the sole purpose of being an interesting setting for the main characters. The boring, ugly, and annoying aspects of life are minimized or ignored. The real question is, do players actually want a virtual world or do they really want the action movie they’ve been getting?

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Suzina is a 27 year old who usally plays the same MMOs as her husband. Games played: UO, EQ2, FFXI, SWG, LOTRO.

8 thoughts on “Virtual Worlds and Action Movies”

  1. You have never seen my dwarven tanks in WoW or WAR.

    In WoW my girlfriend forced my warrior to wear his helmet.. he’s just too ugly ,)

    Many people though don’t want to play ugly chars..but there are some.

  2. At first I immediately assumed that everyone wants to be beautiful and heroic in their gaming entertainment but then I remeberd how hugely successful the Sims is. That is a game in which characters perform such mundane tasks as commuting to work and going to the bathroom.

  3. You can’t make a disturbingly obese star fleet officer but you can give them one heck of a beer gut.

  4. One thing I liked about the SWG character creator was that you absolutely could make an ugly character of any height and weight. Well, almost any. I had a fat, droopy-eyed character who had a combover. He certainly stood out amongst the rest of the wasp-waisted, muscle-bound, square-jawed clones that populated the server – or would have done if he wasn’t so short.

  5. Hmm, interesting comparison, though most people don’t want uglyness and stuff it should still be optional. You just need to find the balance between Action Movie and Simulation

  6. I think most people just don’t care. I however would like a better simulation but maybe I’m in the extreme minority with you Suzina.

  7. a buddy of mine who we talked into joining us on SWG back in the day did just exactly this. Made a character that very closely resembled him. Short, large beer gut, blonde mullet, and the handlebar mustache. It was awesome. When he came walking up to us in a bar on Tattoine, we immediately knew it was him. He is NOT pretty by anyone’s measure, and I’ll never forget that second I saw his toon come around the corner. I nearly died laughing. It was a great time.

  8. I have an analogy for you. It may or may not work.

    A lot of action movies will only have one token female character, or none. A lot of games with no character creator will have only one token female character, or none.

    What’s wrong with giving people options? I sure as hell don’t care if every other character but me is ugly, or male, or whatever option I don’t want to play. Sure, you shouldn’t make all the options ugly, or female. But I do get tired of having to pick whether I want to be the white man, the black man, the old man, or the scantily clad woman. Even the game Battleships on my phone does this; can’t imagine why.

    Surely the technology used to make characters have a beer gut could have been expanded (oops) to make really fat characters?

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