Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 3, 2017
There’s something about character generation in an unfamiliar computer RPG. Even if you technically know how the rules work and you know how the options will affect things, you have no idea how they will play out in the adventure that lies before you. A powerful situational ability may never have its situation occur, or it may be constantly useful.
To many, that’s a problem, and something to be avoided. Many modern CRPGs have eliminated this up-front character creation stage in favor of organic character development as the game progresses. That’s definitely a reasonable option (Frayed Knights does this too, but for a different reason), and for many players (especially those new to RPGs), a far less stressful version.
I mean, who wants to spend the first hour of a game in some character creation screens?!?!?!
Sheepishly, I raise my hand. Yeah, I do. Oh, not always. But yeah. I do geek out on this. In a lot of ways, it’s my glimpse into the game world and game system… the safe first foray. After all, except for a Traveller-based game, you can’t die in character creation! I’m a geek who likes playing with numbers, checking out options. Checking out the races and classes available.
And, in a way, it’s kind of a teaser to set my expectations for what I might see in the game. Yes, we know, in most RPGs our initial encounters are with common pests (sometimes giant-sized) that won’t really demand our full abilities (our characters or our own), but character generation may give us a peek into what we can expect 8, 10, 12 hours from now as the game finally picks up. It gives us some anticipation. Energy Weapons? Daemons? Defense against psionic attacks?
Let’s not forget the ability to customize the game to how you want to play it. Sure, you can do that with organic character development over time, too, but being able to pick out some special attributes right from the get go gives you an investment in your character(s) from the get-go.
Anyway, I recognize that there are many players (most?) who really don’t care for this part of the game, and for them, a “quick-start” party or organic character creation may be just the thing. And there are some games (even my own…) for which that really is the better approach. But I’m glad to see some games – particularly indies – are keeping the tradition alive.
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