What kind of characters have you made in your MMORPG adventures? Do they cling to you and your memories like a loved one or cherished pet? Are there stories told 'round camp fires about your infamous ganking days or ballads that reference "that Orc with the funny, white mohawk"?
At the core of the MMO genre is the ability to customize our very own creation to take as either a represenation of ourselves into a make-believe world or just a really cool iconoclast looking to break the mold while we adventure. Now then, what if there were no given, defined races to choose from? What if, you were to make your own character completely from scratch? Courtesy of MMO veteran developer NcSoft, here are the first exclusive images of the incredibly deep character and class customization.
Equipped with the deep Stigma skill system (full details after the cut) and the aforementioned Character Creator which features 25 sliders to just modify the face and head alone, you can make a pretty safe bet you'll end up with something you'll be happy to venture off with. Aion is set for the PC later this year.
"Customization in Aion
Customization is an extremely important feature for the MMO audience, and Aion delivers in spades. From the Character Creator to Class Customization and the Stigma system, Aion is the most customizable MMO ever created.
The Character Creator in Aion is unparalleled in the depth of customization you can get into. In fact, many players spend huge amounts of time just playing around with the creator before launching into the game. With 25 sliders to modify the head and face alone, you can all but guarantee that your character will be truly unique in the world of Aion. And with another 16 sliders to modify the body, the world of Aion is going to be a very diverse world indeed.
Sliders in the Character Creator include such nuances as face shape, lip shape, brow angle, eye size, smile, hand size, arm thickness, foot size and, of course, height, among many, many others. In addition, each player can see what his new character will look like wearing various sorts of armor, including types of high-level armor, only achievable after hours of questing through Aion. This way, players will have a glimpse of their future selves and decide if that look suits them in the long run.
Aion is different from other MMOs in that it doesn’t have the typical race archetypes that other games have, like elves and dwarves. What Aion does is provide you with all the tools you need to make a character that really looks like whatever you want. You can be a very short, stocky, axe-wielding, bearded character, or a tall, slender, graceful character (with pointed ears). Or anything in-between, for that matter. Some players have used the tools to create characters that look like real-life people, and not just themselves. Here’s a link to one of our favorite fan-created videos, with President Obama in the world of Aion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-2BzE4fqsU.
Deep customization is an integral part of Aion, and the Stigma System is a key part of the overall class customization system. As you know, when players first create a character, they pick from one of four class archetypes: Warrior, Scout, Mage or Priest. These are familiar classes so most people will know what they are getting off the bat. Aion doesn’t try to reinvent what doesn’t need to be reinvented. Because players don’t know much about the game or how it plays at that point, we don’t want them to make big, permanent choices that are uninformed, hence the four basic archetypes. At level 10 the player has been able to experience the game and get an idea about how he or she likes to play; at that point they will pick from one of the two classes for each archetype (there are eight total classes). A much more informed decision on class.
Later at level 20, the Stigma System takes class customization even further. At that point, players will be able to find and equip Stigma Stones, each of which gives the player a specific Stigma Skill. Players will find Stigma Stones like any other item, through quest rewards, loot drops, etc.; some will very powerful and thus rare drops---equivalent to a top weapon or piece of armor--others are more common. And like other loot, some Stigma Stones can be traded or sold, and some will bind to the character.
While a character can carry any number of Stigma Stones, he or she can only equip up to five at a time. Equipping a Stone can only be done in a city and costs a small amount of Stigma Shard. Stigma Shard itself is collected in drops and quests, similar to gold or the Stones themselves.
Each class has its own pool of unique Stigma Stones to choose from, and some Stones are available to multiple classes. Players will find it necessary to pick and choose their skills carefully. For example, there’s an excellent snare skill for the gladiator but it’s not as effective when soloing. There are definitely certain skills that players will probably lean towards using all the time, and others that are situational.
Overall the Stigma System is designed to provide an extra level of class customization to make sure that every character is unique and a reflection of that player’s preferences and playing style."