Jeff Grubb has published a new article over on the official blog with Jeff and Ree Soesbee talking about the connection between players and their avatars:
Jeff: "The question of emotional connection in a game is a tough one to answer, I think. How do we keep people from saying, like in Alice in Wonderland, “You’re nothing but a pack of cards” and dismissing the game entirely? How do we engage the players and make them care?"
Ree: "I think one of the first things any game has to do is to encourage the player to connect with their avatar in the game. In order to get the player to invest in the game world and think of the NPCs as compelling characters, the player has to think their own character is interesting and worth spending time with."
You can read the rest of the dialogue here.