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.

Text Game versus Graphics


Text Game Character Description


Kounay's picture
4:47 PM

Way Better

One of the coolest things about text games is you can add details that nobody else would even think about with a graphics engine. One of my older characters wore dreadlocks with porcupine quills woven into them, and a few other characters in other MUDs have had things like missing fingers or massively scarred feet.

Arafinwe's picture
3:52 AM

The feel of a book

Vs a movie books were always better because your imagination is far more engaging than any special effects

Timina's picture
8:25 PM

No limit to imagination

I've always liked the customization features of Lusternia especially, though they are present in other IRE games. I have great fun designing clothing, armour, weapons... whatever I'm feeling! And the ability to have literally -any- type of characters, with any race and any belief, is a great one. Moreover, you can write your own emotes in Lusternia. Admittedly, this would be impossible to implement in a graphical game. But if you don't mind using a bit of imagination, then you can have your character do things that greatly aide the RP atsmosphere.

Ankastra's picture
11:59 AM


At least your Viscanti didn't have perfect breasts and enormous pouty lips.

Eritheyl's picture
6:42 PM

She still might!

She still might!

Alacardael's picture
1:39 PM

Agreed. Text just has so much

Agreed. Text just has so much more possibilities.

Ashilon's picture
9:09 PM

Extensive help files

All the Cons and none of the perks? one thing I definitely need to say is the excessive requirement of reading every help file recommeded through any guild more than compensates for the "patch time" needed for a game with a graphical interface. It's almost like making a legal contract beyond the TOS to play

Vuris's picture
10:36 PM

Help files

I agree with that. Of course reading them answers alot of questions as well, (and times raises more.) In the end its all about how well that help file is put together, and if the guild realllly wants to kill you with them.

Raeri's picture
4:07 AM

I like to answer questions

I like to answer questions with the relevant xHELP scroll whenever possible. I do get some complaints when I do that sometimes though :S

Xyas's picture
5:53 AM


I agree that the customization in text games is much higher than that in virtual games. You can go 500x greater in depth in the text games than you can on other games.

Sarek's picture
11:45 PM

WoW Character

You were an orc? Bah! Elves FTW