This is the third post in the blog post series “Guild Wars 2 vs. Rift vs. Trove”. The title may suggest that at the end of this series, I will tell you which games is the best of the best, … But I will not do that! While the purpose of this series is to compare those games to a certain degree, my goal is to give you a thorough overview to help you figure out which game is the best for what you want from a game. Or maybe just to figure out whether those three games are interesting for you at all, independently of each other.
In this part, we will look at the character creation. I previously already covered it in the “Basic information” post, but I felt it deserves more space than that. I know that some people just hit “randomize” and they are done. If you are one of those, you may want to skip this part. ;) Others, like me, can easily spend hours in the character creation screen.
I will also cover the dreaded “how much does it cost?” question when you want to make changes with your character later on. A topic that I had quickly mentioned in Part 1: Basic information where I covered the payment models of those games. Remember: Trove and Rift are “free to play”, Guild Wars 2 is “buy to play” and all three feature in-game shops which mostly offer cosmetic items. Both Rift and Guild Wars 2 also offer you ways to spend in-game currency in order to get credits/gems (the games’ currencies you usually buy for real money). So, whenever I say that something is only available for “real money”, there are ways to circumvent this, but they usually require quite a lot of in-game currency to do so.
Trove’s character creation is both very short and also, 100 % free. So far, there is nothing in the shop at all that would make your basic character look different from others. “Basic” because clothes, weapons, mounts and so on don’t count.
The initial character creation is very simple: You choose a name and off you go. Be careful here: You cannot change your character’s name afterwards! If you are unhappy with it, then you will have to create a new account or live with your choice.
There is no character customization at first, but in the tutorial, you can already find the barbershop. The first one is right behind where you spawn in the tutorial area. My first thought was: Which genius’s idea was that? But then I saw that there is another barbershop right before you exit the tutorial area. And even if you manage to miss both of them, you can easily access them later. In short: You will be able to change the look of your character whenever you want.
Anyway, the character creation is, as I said, rather simple. You can choose to be a lady or a guy, undead, robot, dragon or ghost pirate. When you go with lady or guy, you can choose between a few different skin colour tones. Additionally, there are hair styles, hair colours and eye colours to choose. Changing your appearance does not cost anything, neither in-game currency nor real money.
Once you are out of the tutorial, you can find the barbershop in the main hub (accessed by pressing “H” for a long time) and you can even craft barbershops and put them in your cornerstone and your club world.
Rift is a traditional MMORPG, so it lets you make a lot more choices than Trove. Character creation in Rift consists of the following steps: Choose a server, a faction, a race and a gender, a calling, a purpose and finally, your look and your name.
Choose a server
Yes, unfortunately, Rift is one of those games where your character belongs to one server (called “shard” in Rift). However, good news is that you can play on a friend’s server with just one click and you can even transfer servers for free (yes, seriously!) with only a cooldown period that you’ve got to wait before you can transfer that character again (I think it’s 7 days). US and EU servers are separated. However, in the game’s launcher, you can choose if you want to play on EU or US servers. They are distinct servers (and data centers, I assume), so you cannot transfer a EU character to a US server. But at least, you can play on all servers if you want to! Just go and create a new character on that US server – and don’t forget that you switch between EU and US servers in the launcher (which is also where you can choose the public test realm, by the way, if you want to have a look at the upcoming features of the game)!
On the EU servers, you can choose a German, a French or English PvE servers. There is also one PvP server for EU players, Bloodiron. “Trübkopf” used to be a German PvP server but they were merged with Bloodiron some time ago.
In the US setting, you can choose between PvE servers, one PvE-RP server (Faeblight) and two PvP servers. One of the PvP servers is marked as “Trial Only Server”, no idea what that means… The others are all regular PvE servers with one, Laethys, marked as “Oceanic”.
Choose a faction
The next step is choosing a faction: “Guardians” or “Defiants”. The two factions, Guardians and Defiants, both have their own starting area, but there are no different starting areas between the three different races per faction. I explained a bit about the background story and the two factions in the Lore post. If you want to play a race that does not belong to your favourite faction, here’s good news: You can later change your character’s race (for a fee of 2400 credits) and can thus play any race in either of the factions. Also, on PvE servers, both factions can be in one guild together and play together perfectly. Only the enemy faction’s NPCs react hostile towards you.
Choose a race
On Guardian side, you can choose between three different races: Mathosians, High Elf and dwarf. On Defiant side, you can choose between Eth, Kelari and Bahmi. I will give you a very quick overview over the different races: The Mathosians are humans, as are the Eth. If you like humans, both factions give you that choice. From the Lore post, you may remember King Jostir and his two sons who, while fighting over the throne, caused the Shade War (yes, that’s a very short version of that story). Those were Mathosians. The Eth originally come from the south and are more like nomads nowadays. The Eth and the Mathosians are a bit different in their looks with the Eth giving you some slightly darker skin choices. There are also differences in the hair colours and the hair styles. But honestly, at the end of the day, both races really are just that: humans.
The same can probably be said about the elves. The High Elves are the lighter skinned ones and the Kelari are the… well in this case, the weird ones, I would say. You can’t just choose darker skin colours like you can with the humans on the other faction: The Kelari are actually purple-skinned with mostly pink hair colours. The description of the High Elves sounds like every other fantasy game out there (sorry, just being honest here and “not a fan” of elves as usual): “The oldest of the races of Telara, the High Elves are the protectors of the land. Wise and skilled, their tranquil nature masks a ruthless dedication to the gods.” Then we get the description of the Kelari of which I only quote the first sentence: “The elves of the lost Kelari isles have been tainted by generations of exposure to raw planar magic”. At some point, High Elves and Kelari were one tribe (or whatever you call elves here). That has been long ago and the Kelari split from the High Elves and left. Obviously, because I assume High Elves would never do that. ;) Kelari changed in looks since then, probably because of the planar magic mentioned above.
The two remaining races are nothing alike: Bahmi and Dwarves. Dwarves are just standard dwarves, except that you can give the male ones cool grey and white bushy hair and beards while the female dwarves look much younger, no matter what you choose. The Bahmi are the largest race in the game. If you ask me, the heads of the male Bahmi are a tiny bit too small. They look weird! Just like the Kelari, they mostly have purple skin colours to choose from. Their beards are also much less impressive than those of the dwarves!
So, in short, the Defiants are humans and two purplish races with pointy ears while the Guardians are the typical fantasy races: humans, elves and dwarves.
Choose a class/calling/profession
Next up is choosing a calling (the basic “class” in Rift from which you can still specialize further down). Since I wrote about the available classes in the first part of this blog post series already, I will not get into it again now. However, you do not just choose your calling (just a quick recap: warrior, cleric, mage and rogue are the callings), but you also choose your “purpose”. This is a fancy term to say “the build you will start the game with”. :p For example, as a warrior you get the choices of “Righteous Defender” (a tank build), “Lord of War”, “Overlord” and “Fury” (DPS builds), “Auramancer” (healer build) and “Beastlord” (support build). As you can see, the calling can serve any purpose in the “holy trinity + support”. The same goes for the other four callings. You always get to choose at least one build for every role that is available, e.g., tank. This is a choice to get you started. You will not have to stick with it and you can easily change it later on, so don’t worry about making a “wrong” choice here!
Personalizing the look of your character
The character creation process itself lets you change quite a few things of your character’s look including the standard options of hair style, hair, skin and eye colour, nose, mouth and ear shapes (the latter is especially important for our poiny-eared elvish friends). You cannot change the body type, only the height of your character. You can see the options in the screenshot gallery above.
Then all you need to do is enter a name (one word only, no spaces allowed) and off you go.
How many character slots do I get?
This depends on the “version” of your game. The base game only gives you two character slots per server, but if you want to try out all four callings, you certainly can: Just choose two different servers to do so. The first boxed expansion gave you more character slots. I don’t think they are easily available anymore. But of course, you can also buy more character slots in the game’s shop for 720 credits each (which equals 3,69 € with the smallest credit pack and 2,99 € with the most expensive credit pack you can buy). Each character slot unlocks one extra slot on every available server.
Character creation in Guild Wars 2 differs a bit, as the game features a “personal story” that accompanies your character from level 1 to 80 (max level in the game). It is basically a quest chain giving you one quest at a time. At certain points up until level 30, the storyline branches depending on which choices you made at the character creation. Altogether, character creation consists of the following steps: You choose a server and a region (US or EU), a race, a gender, a profession, your look, your personal story steps, your starter pet if you chose to play as a ranger (you can get the others easily later on!) and your name.
Choose a region and a server
In Guild Wars 2, you have to decide for one region in which you will be able to play: EU or US servers. You cannot switch between regions like you can in Rift. You can, of course, buy a second GW2 game and use that to play in the other region, but those two accounts will be independent from each other.
Just like Rift, Guild Wars 2 is separated into servers. A couple of months ago, ArenaNet introduced megaservers (before that, there was the guesting system allowing you to play on another server with your character). This means that when you enter a map (for example, the Asuran city Rata Sum), you will be placed there together with players from all EU servers until the map is full. If more players want to enter Rata Sum, another map will open. When maps have free spaces, different rules apply to determine where you will be placed. For example, the language of your server (in Europe, GW2 has English, French, German and Spanish servers) increases your chances of being put on Rata Sum with others whose home server shares the same language. Guild members are also placed on the same map primarily. There are ways to join your friends on the same map even without having to rely on the automated system.
There is really just one thing where the chosen home server really matters: “world vs. world” (WvW). We will talk about what WvW in the PvP blog post for this series. In short: WvW consists of four maps where players from your home server play against players from two other servers. Megaservers are not in place here! So, if PvP is your thing, choose very wisely (and ask your friends which server they are on if you want to play WvW with them).
Transferring servers is possible, but it costs money. The cost of a server transfer is either 500, 1000 or 1800 gems depending on where the goal server is placed on the WvW ranking. You can also transfer for free if you delete every single character on your account. But we do not want to delete characters, we want to create one!
Choose a race
The next step is choosing a race. There is a much bigger variety here than in Rift, even though there are only five different races to choose from (and 6 in Rift). Also, every race has its own starting zone.
If you prefer humans, then “human” is your top choice (obviously…), followed by Norn who are basically “tall humans” (look-wise). Humans are easy enough to explain: They have the biggest background lore, as back in Guild Wars 1 (the first game ArenaNet made), you could not play any other race but humans. They were put on Tyria by the Gods and consequently fought against the Charr as they were settling on Charr lands. Long and bitter years of war followed. By now, they are at a truce, but it’s not an easy one. The Charr reclaimed their home and are now living in Ascalon again trying to fight against the remaining human ghosts there (longer story…). They’re a “humanoid cat race” that run on all four legs.
Norn are originally from the Shiverpeak Mountains, a snowy and icy region of Tyria. They are about 9 foot tall, very tough and the biggest honor for them is to die in a glorious battle with their legend told about afterwards. The role of the “tiny race” is filled by the Asura (there used to be dwarves in Tyria, but that is also a longer story that you will get to learn about when you play the game). As tiny as they are, as big is their mental brain power and also their ego. They used to live below the ground but were made to flee by one of the Elder Dragon’s champions.
Last but not least, we’ve got the Sylvari: A race that on first glance may fill the “elf role”. Their characters and their culture are nothing like elves, though. In short: Sylvari are born from the “Pale Tree” and are basically this tree’s interpretation of what a human looks like: Sylvari are plants that simply look like humans. The oldest ones have not even reached 30 years of age as they did not bloom from the Pale Tree before that. In other words: They are a very young race that is currently more than ever trying to find out where they belong in this world. I cannot say more about this here as it would contain spoilers. Look for more information on the official wiki if you are curious and don’t mind spoilers before setting foot into the game.
Choose a class/calling/profession
After choosing your race, you get to choose from the professions. Just as the other games, every race and every gender can be every profession. I will not go into the detail of every single profession at this point. There are currently two heavy armor professions (warrior and guardian), three with medium armor (thief, engineer and ranger) and three with light armor (necromancer, mesmer and elementalist). If you’re asking yourself which profession you should choose, I can recommend these posts on Reddit. The author did a great job summarizing the professions!
Personalizing the look of your character
Just like Rift, you get a lot of different options for choosing hair styles, hair colours, skin colours and so on. Of course, sliders for noses, eyebrows etc. are available as well. You can also change the height of your character – within reason. You cannot make an asura taller than a norn or vice versa. ;) Additionally, you can also choose different body types. Charr can choose different fur patterns as well as different horns. Asura can choose between different skin patterns and different ear shapes (and adjust the size of their ears). Tattoos are available for norn and sylvari get skin patterns and different “glow in the dark” colours. Humans are… humans. They don’t get anything special. You can see a few more options than just the nose slider in the gallery above.
Choose your personal story
Once you are happy with the look of your character, you have to fill in a few “gaps” in statements spoken by your character. I will take the norn guardian as an example.
1. “As a symbol of my dedication, I wear __________” – You can choose between two different kinds of pauldrons or a helmet. These will also unlock the chosen item’s look for your wardrobe for future use, but it has no other effect than that. The items you can choose from are based on which profession you are creating.
2. The second statement is about your character’s personality. You can choose between charm, dignity and ferocity. This is the same for every character you create. Even at launch, this “personality” stat did not mean much and ArenaNet has hidden the display of those stats in one of the last patches. As far as I know, we did not get an explanation on why it was essentially taken out.
3. Now there are three more statements which vary based on the race you have chosen. Your chosen answers will influence the beginning of your personal storyline (until level 30). Don’t worry about what you choose here! Your story will be different from people who chose other answers, but you will not, for example, find out that as a warrior or an elementalist, you should have chosen X over Y to be stronger later on. The personal storyline has no influence on your character’s stats or anything like that. It is purely for entertainment.
Last but not least, you get to choose a character name. Guild Wars 2 lets you add spaces, so you can give your character a surname if you want to. If you want to choose a name that fits to the game’s lore, I can recommend this article for more information.
How many character slots do I get?
After buying the game, you will have five character slots. Since you can only choose one server, there is no switching to different servers to create more characters like you can do in Rift. If you want to play all professions (there are eight), then you need to either delete one of your existing characters and free up that slot or buy another character slot. One character slot costs 800 gems. This is either 10 €/$ or 144 gold (the gem-to-gold ratio is constantly changing, so the price may differ when you’re reading this).
This is it for the basic character creation process in all three games. But sometimes, you change your mind or a game even offers some exclusive looks that were not available during the initial character creation. So, let’s have a look at what you can do here in the three games.
Can I change my character’s look after creating it?
“Yes!” is the answer for all three games here! Trove lets you change your look for free, but it also has the least options to begin with anyway. Since the game’s first “launch” (Alpha, then closed and now open beta), a few new hair styles, skins etc. were introduced, but they are always available in the game’s barbershop for free.
Rift gives you the basic functions (as seen in the paragraph “Personalizing the look of your character” above) for free. Your calling, race, gender, faction and name stay. If you want to change those features, then Rift asks for money. For example, changing your race costs 2400 credits (which is between 10 and 12 € depending on which credit pack you buy). This payment is for one character and one change only. But this is how you can play a race not available for your faction on initial character creation.
You can also pay a one-time fee for features that were not available during initial character creation. There are three bundles with which you unlock the ability to choose every race’s skin colours or hair colours in the game’s barbershop or 4 additional hair styles for every race/gender combination. As those are unlocks, paying for either of those bundles once means you can use that feature as often as you like with every character on your account following the initial purchase.
Guild Wars 2 doesn’t give you any of those functions for free. You need to buy either a self-style hair kit for 250 gems (which is 3,13 € – or 2,50 € per piece if you buy 5 at once) or a total makeover kit for 350 gems (which is 4,38 € – or 3,50 € per piece if you buy 5 at once). The first one only lets you change the hair colour, the hair style and some extra features for some of the races like the horns for charr and the ears for asura. The total makeover kit lets you change everything that you were able to set during the initial character creation. With both kits, you also get access to exclusive choices like new hair styles, hair colours and eye colours (eye colours only with the total makeover kit). Once you have changed your look, the kit disappears and if you want to change something again, you need to buy another one. ArenaNet also sometimes adds new hair styles, colours and eye colours. Unfortunately, access to those new styles is not available during the initial character creation process. Changing your race is not possible in Guild Wars 2. This is also because of your personal storyline being tied to your race choice which would make a change complicated as those quests would have to be changed as well then.
Conclusion so far
Trove is a class of its own, I think. With the blocky graphics, it is just not possible to have detailed faces and hair styles. But at least, they let you switch the look for free whenever you like.
In case you haven’t been able to tell from my writing, I am not a great fan of parts of the character creation in Rift. Most of all, the races are a bit bland and boring (with the exception of the dwarves, obviously!). Still, it is a solid character creation process with everything necessary available. Guild Wars 2, however, wins when it comes to that part: Several interesting and distinctive races with some solid choices to make and faces that look greatly different from one another.
But as soon as you have created your character and want to make choices later on or access exclusive features, Rift wins again. It lets you make changes for free (or at least, for a one-time fee to unlock the exclusive features) while Guild Wars 2 asks for money every single time. Both the basic and the exclusive options are behind a pay wall, and not a one-time fee either, but a fee you have to pay whenever you want to use one of those features with any of your characters.
If you’re lucky, however, you get the perfect look from the start and then all of this doesn’t matter anyway (or you get a kit out of the RNG boxes with a key that dropped for free – it’s incredibly rare, but it can happen).
Now you probably want to know now what you can actually do in those games with your character, right? We will take a look at the PvE side of the games in the next part of this blog post series.