Ready made characters, or player created?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Amy Pond, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. Amy Pond

    Amy Pond Veteran Veteran

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    Which do you prefer for your game characters?

    I suppose it's the main distinction between a jRPG and wRPG.

    Do you like to play a character or characters that are already made and have their own story for you to uncover, as in games such as Final Fantasy? You play as a character in the story and have little impact on that story. Your looks, and usually name are already defined for you and you can do little to shape their actions or appearance.

    Alternatively, do you prefer the Forgotten Realms or Elder Scrolls way, where you play as you, choosing your name, appearance and traits, and then shape the story of the game around yourself?

    The latter is obviously a lot more work in a game, and usually requires paperdoll type systems and character creation scenes, but it creates the opportunity for self-insertion, giving the player much more of a grip on the world.

    In one you are playing as a character as if reading a book. In the other you are playing as yourself, as if you are writing the book. But which do you prefer?
     
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  2. Neka Music

    Neka Music Veteran Veteran

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    I'd choose the Forgotten Realms/ Elder Scrolls way. It's better and this system has better replayability value than the first, because you can choose your own destiny.

    Regarding the Final Fantasy way, as long as the characters are interesting, it's not a bad idea.
     
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  3. Jonforum

    Jonforum Veteran Veteran

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    it's a difficult subject to deal with !
    ex: i prefer have my own custom character in this king game:
    • *Diablo
    • *Skyrim
    • *Mass Effect
    • *Baldur's Gate
    • *Ultimat Online
    • *World of Warcraft
    • *harvest moon
    • *BattleField

    but i prefer Ready made characters in this king of game:
    • *Final Fantasy
    • *super mario RPG
    • *Dragon quests
    • *South Park
    • *heartStone
    • *Kirby || mario

    These are very hard to say, if you have an important story that speaks about the character, better to inflict on the preset build (Ready made).
    But if your game has a global story not centered on the character, better give them the choice to customize it. (player created)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
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  4. SOC

    SOC "God is my Judge" Veteran

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    Looking at my favorite games of all time, they all pretty much are ready made characters that tell a story. The best ones have characters you relate to and want to "be." Through their expression of looks, personality, equipment, fighting styles and progression/growth, you can have ready made characters that you get attached to and that's what creates the most memorable experiences. You know the immersion was great when you feel sad that the game is over after you beat it.

    That being said, I also spend a lot of time in online multiplayer games, and of course in those I prefer to make my own character. A character I make my self and that represents me, my beliefs, my values and all that stuff is where I want that kind of creativity involved.

    So for me, single player experiences: premade characters. Multiplayer experiences: player created. There are great single player experiences of player created characters, but giving Skyrim or Dark Souls as an example, I didn't really feel like my character represented me or anything like that. It was just what I put in and that was the avatar I was playing with. Since I can't express my self in a multiplayer setting, it feels moot and irrelevant. In those games, it often isn't the story that captivates me or anything. It just feels like I'm playing a silent protagonist with less personality and impact as Link or Crono, even if I'm presented with choices or non-linear story progression.

    That's my opinion, anyway. Give me a red haired, green eyed, anime styled male knight-type as your main character in a single player experience game and my attention sky rockets.
     
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  5. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Thus is pretty much the same question as another thread a few down from this one. You might like to read it to get a range of opinion.
     
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  6. The Stranger

    The Stranger The Faceless Friend Veteran

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    I prefer ready made\pre-established characters which I can customise to some degree, including making choices on their behalf. The Witcher 3 did this fairly well. I can't stand how so many RPGs allow you to create characters from scratch, but then have them exist outside of the traditions and rules of the society they exist within, or even the world itself. Your character becomes an all-powerful non-entity in the vast majority of these games.

    I think Skyrim is a good example of your character not mattering. I was discussing this with someone else on here a few days ago, actually. You encounter a lot of racism and xenophobia between various races in Skyrim, but none of it effects the player. In fact, nothing in the world seems to influence the player character. You can go to Windhelm as a Dark Elf or Argonian, and the locals don't really give a toss; you don't get treated unfairly, can still buy the best house in the city, and even become a Thane. I just fiind it immersion breaking.

    For all of the criticisms levelled against it, Fallout 4 at least gives the player character some sort of backstory which helps to ground them within the world itself.

    I can understand why people enjoy playing as a non-entity which poofs into existence the moment you hit "New Game", but I need a little more to get me motivated. I need to feel as if I belong in that world, as if I'm a real part of it; which means experiencing both the positives and negatives of the setting. Maybe I'm weird for actually enjoying being locked out of content based upon the choices I make in a game. xD

    I genuinely don't enjoy it when my character is an exception to the rules. Dragon Age: Origins is another example of your character, and even companions, being unbound from the world they exist within. It's not as bad as in Skyrim, but it's still there. If you play as a mage, or travel with a mage companion, no one bats an eye. No one, not even the dedicated mage hunters (Templars), even asks what you're doing outside of the Circle of Magi. Only two characters (yourself included, should you choose to play as a mage) have legit reasons for not being locked up inside the Circle, but Morrigan is just out and out ignored. Likewise, if you play as a City Elf, you're never really treated differently outside of the opening area. It makes decisions, such as your choice of sex and race, pretty pointless.

    Like I said, though, maybe it's just me. Perhaps I'm in the minority for wanting to genuinely experience a setting from the perspective (sex, race, and class) I have chosen, and not be instantly given a position of authority which exists outside all tradition and law.

    I do enjoy making my own character in MMORPGs. I play those games with a very different mindset; my character will often be something I think looks nice, or which I think is cool. :D My two characters in FFXIV are a Miqo'te and an Au Ra.

    I'm all for customising pre-established characters, or creating new characters which are firmly rooted in the world they exist within. Not a fan of the Bethesda way of doing things at all, though they struck a few of the right chords in Fallout 4.

    This turned into a mini-rant. Sorry. :)
     
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  7. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    for me, it's really a matter of what kind of game you're trying to make. Diablo and Skyrim work really well with the vague generic protagonist that you can make into whatever you want. But for a traditional narrative-based jrpg, it's hard to imagine the game not feeling flat without fleshed out characters.
     
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  8. Soul Tech

    Soul Tech Time Traveler Veteran

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    Depends on the story you want to tell ... generally if it is an open world I would prefer a blank character, on the contrary if it were linear, a pre-generated character ... is my opinion
     
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  9. Frogboy

    Frogboy I'm not weak to fire Veteran

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    I don't know of I have a favorite. I like aspects of both. My favorite games of all time are player created characters as I can replay the game over and over and it's still fun. Most of the really good RPGs of my childhood are ready made because you can tell a much more in-depth story that way.
     
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  10. Minorum Innominandum

    Minorum Innominandum Villager Member

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    I like both in and of itself, but they have their place; You can almost never really break a game by not allowing customization, but I think stories often become very hard to tell when the characters are entirely player-created. When all of those aspects important for the story do not have to belong to the character itself but can be contained in the relations and situations that the character is bound into within a game, then a game with player-created characters can overcome this limitation. The Baldur's Gate series is, in my opinion, the gold standard in that regard (and even there, the player was limited to one customizable character, who ostensibly was the one actually representing the player, while the rest of the party were their own people, working with the player), but for this to work, the story has to be structured in a certain way and I doubt that the BG developers could have done it to any plot. I can imagine, say, Final Fantasy VII, offering some leeway in the regard of creating Cloud, but take a game like Grandia II, or any of the Breath of Fire series - as soon as Ryu(do) changes as much as his "class", the entire plot becomes borked, unless of course you make the effort to encode parallel universes, so to speak, for each possible race/gender/class/whatnot combination that might result in a different plot - but then, you'd be telling not one plot, but many - which does not have to be a bad thing, of course. Not to speak of the mess that would be created by making Elena or Nina a black mage and Millennia, say, a paladin!

    The vast majority of plots that lend themselves to fully customizable characters seem to be the run-of-the-mill tabletop premise of "the adventurers a through f have just met in the local tavern and are hearing about a bounty placed upon the head of local ogre x", or at most games that largely forego social relations (not necessarily social interaction) altogether.

    PS:
    As for a game not being fundamentally breakable by pre-made characters, I think that as long as intra-character customization is possible (for example, by trying out a different build), then this can be done without detrimental effect on gameplay, but if that is not possible, then replay value is lost.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
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  11. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I think that the biggest difference between JRPGs and WRPGs is that the former asks you to experience a story, whereas the latter asks you, at least partially, to create or consistently influence the story.

    For exactly that reason, I tend to think that JRPGs work better when you control a well-(pre)defined character, whereas WRPGs work better when you can create the character that you control. If I'm just experiencing a story, I want to experience a main character that makes a lot of sense for the story she's in. If I'm creating the story, I want to influence it in my own ways, not in the ways that the designer decided was right for a premade character.
     
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