I’ve never really been one to pick the Human as my choice of race in any of the role playing games that I’ve played. Unless Human is the only choice available to players, or there’s some other necessity for doing so, I’ve usually chosen a more exotic race. (Digression: It’s actually species, but everyone seems to want to use race for some reason. I blame you Star Trek!)
That doesn’t mean I haven’t chosen the Humans from time to time. I’ve even created a Human male character in WoW, but I really can’t stand the character model. (It looks like he runs with a wand stuck up his bum!) But I always tend to gravitate back to the non-Human.
Lately I’ve noticed that I’m going even further away from the gold standard of anthro-centric gaming. I’ve been playing Everquest 2, and as usual, I’m working on a stable of alts. (I’m really getting into crafting as an adventurer support, and need a few crafters to do this.) But when I’m choosing what I want to be, Human doesn’t even get considered, Elves are just Humans with pointy ears, and Dwarves and Gnomes are just short-people.
And that doesn’t leave much on the Good side of Norrath to choose from. The good-guys there only really have the Froglok, Kerran, and Fae species left to choose from (and Fae really are only short-guys with butterfly wings.) And, Kerran can be played as evil too.
The more bestial choices are on the Evil side. Trolls, Ogres, Sarnak, Ratonga, Iksar and Arasai (evil Fae guys with butterfly wings.) A far more excellent selection. And coupled with the brilliant starter areas of Darklight Wood and Timorous Deep, I’ve been starting most of my guys with a more naughty outlook on life.
Still it’s a little disappointing that game developers still seem to think of ugly as evil. There’s a lot of pretty people in the world willing to do bad. It would be nice to reflect that in our games. There’s a lot of badness in the world simply because folks forgot the rule: You can’t always judge a book by its cover.
There’s another thing. And I’m not really sure why this is, but even the more bestial selections are humanised. Kerran for instance are simply anthropomorphised cats. Aside from feline features, cat faces, fur, and tails, they stand bipedal and move and fight, not like cats, but like people.
And this brings me to another thing I’d like to see. (Forgive the stream-of-consciousness style of this post.)
Completely non-human attributes. World of Warcraft for example has NPC Centaurs (as has EQ2 and many other games.) Is this sort of creature too hard to make playable? And here’s an idea from the blackest parts of my own imagination. Spider people: Spiders with evolved forelimbs and humanoid heads and faces, or with bulbous bodies, eight legs, and human torsos. With the movement abilities that spiders have. (Imagine PvP where you hang on the ceiling above your opponent and drop on him/her DFA! )
How about an insect race? Full insect features, six legs, mandibles and the like. But intelligent and capable of forging and using weapons and magic (for a fantasy game.) There are plenty of other shapes in the world to work form, why just human?
In some ways I’m a little surprised game developers haven’t at least looked into this before, or experimented with it. It’s not a WoW idea. Perhaps that’s the problem.