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Thread: Character Faces

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Character Faces

    I came to LOTRO from "Dragon Age," where you had a huge range of tools to manipulate your character's appearance, plus lots of mods that gave even more options. I don't understand why LOTRO can't give our characters faces like Corudan's and Horn's. Why are we all basically stuck with the same faces? Is there no way for Turbine to improve the looks/details of our characters? We can't even mod them, so we depend on Turbine.

    Is there any plan to upgrade this feature? I'd even be willing to use TP or mithril coins to upgrade faces.
    Kazren Altaholic Extrodinaire
    10 Level 100 Characters, : 20 Westement Level Crafters/Guild Masters, Colonies on Elendilmir, Landroval, Crickhollow and Brandywine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Forod orchall
    To be honest, I gave Dragon Age a try a few years ago before discovering Lotro.
    On the character customization screen, I was confronted by so many options to detail the smallest microscopic facial features, and they were all so specific and focused, that after playing around with them for a bit I was unable to generate a character face that I could agree on.
    It was far too specific, and it failed miserably at generating the character facial archetype that I had in mind. Being unable to satisfactorily generate it, and having to settle for a lackluster option of my toon looking not the way I hoped that it would, any desire to play this game faded and I haven't touched it since.

    I, for one, am glad that Lotro character customization is not so obsessed with tiniest bits and variations. What I'm after is an archetype, a character face that is recognizable for the type of character that it is. Once it gets too fancy and specific, it enters the uncanny valley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley) and I'm stuck thinking, "who is this random person and why am I controlling its movements." Too fancy and lifelike = too specific = no longer "my" character. Feels like a random stranger. But an archetype is something basic and universal enough for everyone to find their own meaning in, if they tweak it a bit to suit themselves more. Imagination fills the blanks. But when all the blanks are pre-filled by excruciatingly thorough myriad of options, paradoxically it's more limiting somehow.
    I was actually able to match my own resemblance via the Lotro system, while the Dragon Age system failed. Same way as the caricatures work: you recognize someone drawn in broad strokes far more likely than if they're painted in oil but their faces are a bit off.

    I understand the concerns of players with dozens of toons who may be running out of customizable ways to really tell them apart. Expanding the already-available options (more faces, more hairstyles etc) is reasonable, but I would strongly oppose an overhaul.

    Btw, NPC faces are more detailed because they are static immobile masks. Player characters have facial expressions and emotes that demand fluctuation and animation potential. Because they are not featured in cut scenes, and are entirely situated in main game environment, we are really unlikely to see our characters with faces of those NPC models.
    Éala Éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum sended / and sodfasta sunnan leoma, / tohrt ofer tunglas þu tida gehvane / of sylfum þe symle inlihtes.

  3. #3
    I can see what you're saying, although I also agree with the other poster's comment about too much detail leaving little room for the imagination to fill in the blanks ('projection,' in psychological terms). I also spent some time with Bioware's games back in the day (and I seem to recall that there was some merging of companies at some point). I know you're talking about the 3D character who moves in the gameworld, but I always thought that the Bioware folks made a very bad choice when they started making the character portait more "cartoonish," a progression that was very noticeable as the company moved from Baldur's Gate to Neverwinter Nights to Dragon Age. The early portraits were cool, realistic, believable... the later ones? silly cartoons that ripped me out of the immersive experience. Bad choice, imo.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Here is my 2 cents.... put a helm on then you don't ever have to look at your characters face again. Honesty i spend more time looking at the ugly orc faces as I mow them down than i do looking at my characters face. but MMO'S generally do not go into very high detail on characters as your running in 3rd person view or first person view and its not a real big deal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Bucks County PA
    I guess I am a middle-of-the-road player regarding how much customization is 'just right'. I agree that LotRO could use a bit more features that can be customized, but having too many options can be overwhelming. If they modified the existing controls to be sliders for height/width of nose, height/width of face, and distance between the eyes along with the existing facial choices and 'marks' I think it would be a good compromise.

  6. #6
    I think it's not so much the lack of customization, but rather the quality of it. You end up seeing the same faces time and again because 90% of the customization features are too ugly for any sane person to use them. They do not need to alter the current system, they simply need to bring it up to today's standards. They were fine 6-7 years ago, but today they are well below basic even.



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