Tuesday, December 25, 2012

trends come and go, and your friends wanna know why you aren't just happy making crappy little gizmos

A while back--before City of Heroes closed--I started looking for another MMO. Unsatisfied with the limitations of Champions, I discovered the same company, Perfect World, had a typical Asian fantasy grinder called Perfect World International. Based--loosely--on Chinese mythology and fantasy-tilted Chinese style, it looked worthy of deeper exploration.

(from the games album; the floating castle in Thousand Streams)

The artwork from the game looked stunning, and--disregarding some of the sexist flash on the main page, at least--the costuming looked reasonably decent:

(from the games album; the archer, or at least an archer, from PWI)

I thought, okay, fine, let's do this. What's the worst that could happen? I was soon to find out that was a question with more than one answer.

(Oh, and if you want to see the two wallpapers linked here larger, go to the game's wallpaper site.)

From Jadelynx' Perfect World Guide:
In Perfect World, there are five races. They are the Humans, Wing Elves, Tideborn, Earthguard and the Untamed. (formerly called Beastkind) Each race has two classes and each class plays differently. You can personalize and customize your character to an amazingly exacting degree. You can change anything and everything about your character's appearance.....eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrowns, skin color, hair style and color, lip color, eyeshadow color, body shape, the list goes on and on. You can make your character look extremely beautiful, extremely ugly, or make it look exactly like you.
To say this is a stunning confabulation of facts and wish fulfillment really doesn't go far enough--that's rather like saying napalm causes mild skin irritation. (And I didn't correct the spelling, by the way--yes, she typed out "eyebrowns" and never looked back.)

To get access to all the races available, one must be a paid account. For free-to-play participants, only three races are available: Humans, Winged Elves, and the Untamed. I didn't fancy having bunny ears, and humans seemed dull, so I went with the only option left--the winged elves. Who, by the way, at least starting out, don't have wings.

Then I spent two days I won't get back downloading the game. And this on my new (2011) computer. But I was still telling myself that it was worth it.

Then I opened up the character creator.

(from the games album; the basic options for a female winged elf)

This is the "conservative" option for out-of-the-box female winged elf clerics. I must have stared at this screen for five minutes, trying to figure out what made it "conservative". It certainly wasn't the outfit. Or the breast size. Or the hair. What the hell?

(from the games album; the basic options for a female winged elf)

It gets worse. This is the "cute" preset. No change in the outfit; strangely pink hair; pouty little almost-not-there mouth; and the weirdest little caged-bun thing I'd ever seen. I mean, yes, sure, it's not buffalo horns, but it still looked odd. Even worse, I wasn't able to track down the hairstyle within a reasonable amount of time spent on Google. (This doesn't mean it doesn't exist, just that double-bun styles show up with far more ease than single-bun styles.)

(from the games album; the basic options for a female winged elf)

Then there was the "elegant" preset. What, precisely, makes this "elegant"? The (slightly) darker skin? The gold hair pins? The fact that she has brunette hair? What?

(from the games album; the basic options for a female winged elf)

And then there was the "exotic" preset. Apparently, two-tone hair pinned back with silver bobby-pins is an "exotic look". Suuuure.

This is all going to end in tears, isn't it?

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