Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Free Character Recustomisation is a Necessity

With the next expansion we are finally getting new character models. And while we are getting them, Blizzard is trying really hard to convince us, they are making the new models because we wanted them, not because the game is already ten years old and dictates some firm upgrades regarding the player's characters.

Let me set things straight. We, the players want for many things. We want them to nerf mages, buff paladins, I want them to allow me to wield my greatsword in my left hand, and I want new blood elf models available at release. Guess how many of those wishes and wants is Blizzard going to adhere to? None. Why not? Because they do not have the resources. We will leave the blood elves for some other time, it is not like the next expansion will be out by the end of the next month.

It should not come as surprise that what Blizzard does, it does for its own good, and what the playerbase wants rarely plays any role in this. That would be a lie. What playerbase wants does play a significant role, but only when it coincides with the interests of the company. If they were certain they would gain million new players just by giving us option to be left handed, then they would suddenly find the resources to do it. Until something like that is not a guarantee, or it does not at least slow down the perpetual leak of burnt out and disappointed, they will not do it.

Now that we established how Blizzard does business, we can focus at the question at hand. Why do we need a free character recustomisation? Why is it a necessity? And why do we feel entitled to one? Those are all valid questions that demand an honest and valid answer, and I plan to provide one.

Some people might disagree with me. They might even say that we do not need a free character recustomisation because we are already getting the new models. This is circular reasoning. A logical fallacy, and simply because of that already invalid argument, but let us go on. Let us show why this reasoning does not work. I do not want a free character recustomisation because I am not happy with the current look of my character. I want a free character recustomisation because it became obvious that the new models will not be the same as the old. They might fit, but they will not be the same. And because of that, the new face that will come with the new models will never be the same as the one I chose myself.

Some people will still disagree, and say that if we do not like the new models, we can still stick to the old ones. That, I can say is a low blow, and a shortcut for Blizzard we as the community should not be endorsing. After all this is not Blizzard's practise when all other changes to the game were concerned. Good couple of examples would be Talent changes and Cataclysm. Every time they made an overhaul of our talent trees, we never got the option to stick with the old because we do not like the new. It was in the best interest of the game that we all embrace the new talent trees. To cope with change, we got a free talent reset. We did not have to spend any gold for something Blizzard themselves decided to change. And they did this in each expansion as far as my memory goes.

Same with Cataclysm. No matter how much more we loved the old world, how much we wanted for Cataclysm to just go away, we are stuck with it. We do not get to choose, because in Blizzard's opinion once again, this is the best for the game. And I am not going to applaud them for being noble, and finally letting us choose, when there is no real choice. You have three options. Suck it up, pay for character recustomisation because you do not like the new look Blizzard forced upon you, or suffer through and continue to play with the old models. Choices come down to live with it, or pay for it. That is no choice, that is bullying.

Imagine the scenario where instead of character creation when you started to play the game, the game decided instead of you what your character should look like. And the only options you would have was to accept the look, or not play at all. That is not a choice, and Blizzard needs to realise that while it is their game, it is us who play our characters. If they can give a regular face-lift to all their beloved characters on our account, we should at least get the same treatment for our characters.

This is not the case of giving an inch and taking a mile. I am not asking for impossible here. I am asking for what should be, and is in my book rightfully ours to begin with. It is shameful of Blizzard that we must even discuss this after they continue their silent treatment of the topic. This should be openly stated, even other games that updated their models had the same policy, providing the free character recustomisation to their players.

Free character recustomisation is a necessity because no matter how much they try, the characters affected with it will end up being different characters. And if anything can really drive people away from the game, it is the loss of your character, when you start feeling that your character is not yours any more. Not what you played all those years. Not what you created all those years ago. I understand there are people that merrily use the service of character recustomisation because they do not like the look of their characters anymore. And I understand why Blizzard is charging them. After all, it is not Blizzard who is fickle in that scenario, all the blame lies on the player, thus it is sensible to charge the player for the service provided.

This is not the luxury we have with the new models. We are not fickle and indecisive. We actually like the current look of our characters. Yes, we would want the new models, but not at the cost of sacrificing what we came to recognise as our own. And keeping the old models is just a cop-out for Blizzard.

The latest showing of troll models is a perfect example of what I am preaching here. The differences between the old and new models might appear slight, but when expected up close they are enormous. The old troll face had a goofy feeling to it. The new face is simply vicious, predatory, and savage. While this might be more in tune with what the developers always wished for trolls, this might not be what the players who chose that old face wanted from their troll.

I will be the first to agree that even if free character recustomisation is a necessity, it also needs to be limited. It needs to be limiting in order to serve its true purpose, and avoid the chance of it being abused by the players. After all, we are arguing in favour of one free character recustomisation per character, on the basis it would change our original look without our consent. Our aim is not to change race, gender, or name. Just to update the look of our character to reflect our decisions, and not those arbitrarily made by the game itself.

#NewModels #FreeCharacterRecustomisation #WoW


  1. I agree it will be needed, but I would take it one step further. Even if limited like you said, there should also be a free sex or even race change. Some models are just so far from the original feel I would not even want to be that race or sex any longer. The trolls, whom I love, are the worst of the worst in my opinion.

    1. I share your sentiment about the trolls. They lost a bit of their original "playfulness" with the new models. After thinking about it, I have to agree with you. I gather that percentage of people that would actually abuse the system is abysmally small in comparison to those that would actually use it to find "their" look once again in their characters. And that should be realised, not squandered.


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