Text Game vs Graphic Game: All About Customization
By Tony Celentano
When it comes to online RPGs, epic gameplay is important. However, many argue that customization is equally important. Sadly, Graphical game developers have been ignoring this key asset to an enjoyable online gaming experience. Videogame developers today focus on how fast they can release sequels, instead of maintaining a product over a period of time. Consider it this way; Unreal Tournament 2004 came out 7 years ago, and still has a playerbase in the thousands. How is this possible? It's because players regularly contribute to "mod" sites, websites where you can download fan-made levels, weapons, even entirely new gameplay modes. Modern graphical game companies don't offer their development kits anymore; they're afraid players won't purchase a sequel if they're having too much fun with the first. So instead they tell you, "not satisfied with the content? Too buggy? Here, buy some DLC while we rush out the sequel, we promise we fixed everything!". Well guess what? I'm not buying it, and text gamers aren't either.
There's a reason online text games are still popular. Text games offer players the opportunity to customize everything about your character, the options are literally infinite! If your brain can imagine it, you can add it to your text game character. Maybe you think I'm exaggerating, which is why I've decided to compare the character editors of two online roleplaying games. How do they stack up against eachother? Read on to find out!
Graphical Game: World of Warcraft
Critically acclaimed and with more than 10 million subscribers, I figured I'd put this Goliath of an MMORPG to the test. I downloaded and installed the client, which then proceeded to download a couple hours worth of patches. Awesome, just the way I like my roleplaying games. Ready to play right out of the box. When I was able to finally launch the game, I was presented with a total of 8 races to pick from. Each race has various preset skin colors, facial features and hairstyles you can change. Nothing beyond that, though. Each race was automatically a member of a predetermined faction. So much for character development and determining his or her own beliefs. I was also irked that each race was limited to a number of classes. Geesh, talk about dice-rolling your character.
Text Game: Lusternia
With no required monthly subscription and a loyal playerbase, Lusternia has established itself as one of the most successful online text game. I was able to connect to Lusternia straight from their website, no downloading or waiting for patches. 20 races were presented to me, and I could choose any of the available 7 classes. Furthermore, I could pick any one of six cities or communes to live in, or go completely rogue. Where the text character customization really shined is when I was able to write a complete description of my text game character. Instead of piecing together my character, I was in complete control. I could add every little scar and pockmark if I wanted. Not only that, but once I got into the game, I found out I'm able to design my own text game clothes, and even buy a custom pet to use in battle. Yes, custom pets. "What about a fire-breathing llama or a zombie penguin?". Yeah, it's all possible in text games, because your imagination (and good taste) is the limit!
Oh, here's what my characters ended up looking like.