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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.




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#1 Arava

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:51 PM

Really nice read - and it's true. I've been planning my characters for a while now and I do feel connected ^^
I care about them and the world. So I would say: Yes, they did a great job in creating the base for the emotional connection. Or I am just a bit over-invested ;D

#2 dss_live

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 07:11 PM

I love blog posts like this. Personally i always get attached to my characters and actually feel SO sad if i happen to have to delete one. I already have more characters planned than character slots available and am attached to most of them as they all have a story ready to be put into the world of Tyria.

#3 shanaeri rynale

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 07:27 PM

Interesting stuff.. Looking forward to the blog articles on Guilds, server lists and guesting next

#4 Maarius

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 07:55 PM

I'm not happy that they seem happy with their character creation... just too few options to look unique as a human male imho. Asked them on reddit, on twitter, in the official forums if the options we have seen in the character creation from the BWEs are final but never got an answer. Probably this is the answer and it makes me sad :(

#5 dss_live

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:02 PM

View PostMaarius, on 31 July 2012 - 07:55 PM, said:

I'm not happy that they seem happy with their character creation... just too few options to look unique as a human male imho. Asked them on reddit, on twitter, in the official forums if the options we have seen in the character creation from the BWEs are final but never got an answer. Probably this is the answer and it makes me sad :(

I'm confused, how does this post say anything about the state of character creation? They talk about story and how your character fits into that story to create the emotional connection needed.

#6 Maarius

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:09 PM

View Postdss_live, on 31 July 2012 - 08:02 PM, said:

I'm confused, how does this post say anything about the state of character creation? They talk about story and how your character fits into that story to create the emotional connection needed.

hm It seems I misread a part:

Quote

Most of all, what were we going to do to make a plant race visually familiar enough to feel attachment, but distinct enough to be their own unique race? Our artists are amazing, but I’ll admit—ArenaNet went through a lot of trial and error on faces, costumes, details, and silhouettes in order to create the races we have today.
I missed the first (underlined) part when I read it... hmm

so still nothing official :mellow:

#7 asbasb

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:10 PM

Jeff said:

Identification with your avatar is a key to emotional investment. To create that bond, a player has to evolve from “this is my character” to “this is me.”

Just no. I never ever think the character I'm creating are ME. I don't want that. I control them, I'll live vicariously through them, but I'll never be as delusional to feel the need of inserting my own self into a fictional universe. Ugh.
Thankfully, you have full control over how your character looks and acts, so you're free to make one doesn't represent you in any way or form.

#8 el hefe

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:16 PM

the cutscene is no longer a work in progress.... :)

#9 Krynn

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:17 PM

I get involved with my characters quite a bit, also love these types of articles. The player creation is fine with me, any more addition to it and we have the terrible cartoon crap WoW offers, really not my bag of stuff there.

#10 Massive Jawbone

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:17 PM

Problem is that most people will chose their character attributes based on the items that come with it, not the actual description.

You can see that in every Guardian video, 90% of the people choose the shoulder pads with the Ankh because it looks better than the silly helmet. 90% choose the Thief cowl over the headband and 90% choose the Engineer backpack over the goggles.
Same goes for the Mesmer's sad mask that most players don't like to wear and many other examples like these.

That bugged me from the first moment I saw videos of character creation, people valued design over actual story.
Does that work as intended?

#11 Maarius

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:23 PM

View PostMassive Jawbone, on 31 July 2012 - 08:17 PM, said:

Problem is that most people will chose their character attributes based on the items that come with it, not the actual description.

You can see that in every Guardian video, 90% of the people choose the shoulder pads with the Ankh because it looks better than the silly helmet. 90% choose the Thief cowl over the headband and 90% choose the Engineer backpack over the goggles.
Same goes for the Mesmer's sad mask that most players don't like to wear and many other examples like these.

That bugged me from the first moment I saw videos of character creation, people valued design over actual story.
Does that work as intended?

there isn't really a story-decision linked with the cosmetic gadget decision...

#12 Massive Jawbone

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:25 PM

View Postasbasb, on 31 July 2012 - 08:10 PM, said:

Just no. I never ever think the character I'm creating are ME. I don't want that. I control them, I'll live vicariously through them, but I'll never be as delusional to feel the need of inserting my own self into a fictional universe. Ugh.
Thankfully, you have full control over how your character looks and acts, so you're free to make one doesn't represent you in any way or form.
Yeah I basically feel the same. Among others I want to make a female Norn Elementalist because she would look awesome, not because I want to feel like a huge beautiful nordic redhead.

Many people I know have avatars that represent action heros whos fate they can control and not themselves as CG clones.
Otherwise how would one explain the success of game where you can't change your avatar's look or character.
If that would be such a big deal African-American kids would never buy 99% of all released computer games, because to this day most heros are white male caucasians...

View PostMaarius, on 31 July 2012 - 08:23 PM, said:

there isn't really a story-decision linked with the cosmetic gadget decision...
Then what's the point?

#13 Maarius

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:29 PM

View PostMassive Jawbone, on 31 July 2012 - 08:25 PM, said:

Then what's the point?
Fun. Ever heard of it?

#14 Red J

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:33 PM

View Postasbasb, on 31 July 2012 - 08:10 PM, said:

Just no. I never ever think the character I'm creating are ME. I don't want that. I control them, I'll live vicariously through them, but I'll never be as delusional to feel the need of inserting my own self into a fictional universe. Ugh.
Thankfully, you have full control over how your character looks and acts, so you're free to make one doesn't represent you in any way or form.

Agreed. During my first attempts to role play subconsciously projected my personality into my characters and I noticed all of them were more or less the same person. This is not a good way to play Role Playing Games. I am not role playing myself. I merely control totally different person with totally different morals, ethics and personality quirks.

#15 Ramei Arashi

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:39 PM

What is that asura holding, is that a bow?

I'm choosing guardian helmet, I don't like the shoulder pads. And my engineer will go with the monocle.

#16 Mocha

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 08:58 PM

This was an interesting blog.

My characters are not me in the game, but rather, they are characters I create and guide through their existence.
Perhaps, somewhat like a diety, or a stage director in a play.

And with those characters, there can evolve an emotional bond, perhaps more with some than others.

During the last day of the 3rd beta event, I decided to try the Engineer profession, and made a female human character.  Somehow, for whatever reason, I began to feel a strong attachment to this character, and it was not based on build potential, or theorycrafting, but rather, a genuine liking for this character.  

I managed to take a screen shot, and will recreate this character at headstart, and most likely will play her through the game.

Of course, there will be other characters, and I will also, likely form a "bond" with them.

Whatever ANet did to try to make us like our characters seemed to work, at least for me.

Edit:  minor typos, etc.

#17 nick the man

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 09:32 PM

View Postel hefe, on 31 July 2012 - 08:16 PM, said:

the cutscene is no longer a work in progress.... :)

Oh crap you're right, I guess we are stuck with those sucky back and forths between the characters, I wanted a better more cinematic experience, oh well I guess thats what you get for sixty bucks.

#18 CharrGirl

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 09:32 PM

That's all well sewn together and I like how they talked about immersing yourself with your character, however if character creation doesn't improve till the release, I won't be able to immerse myself with any human or norn characters for example, because they're forcing a certain aesthetic on you, rather then letting you create what you want.

#19 el hefe

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 09:36 PM

View Postnick the man, on 31 July 2012 - 09:32 PM, said:

Oh crap you're right, I guess we are stuck with those sucky back and forths between the characters, I wanted a better more cinematic experience, oh well I guess thats what you get for sixty bucks.

i think they're fine.  they serve their purpose.  the majority most likely skips them,  so that's money/time better spent somewhere else.

#20 MisterB

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 09:38 PM

I disagree with both of them on character identification. My avatars are puppets I control, not characters I identify with.