Posted by : Jameson Durall Monday, March 27, 2006

I had a discussion with Steve many months ago when he had just started playing DAOC with me.

He was telling someone about running around with his lvl 5 character, and I showed up in my glimmering plate armor and it made him feel that I was like big brother and way out of his reach.

The truth was, that character was only about 15 levels above him, and still needed 30 additional levels to hit the cap.

But, it got me thinking about Avatar Perception in a game. Him seeing my character, in what his past experiences have taught him is a nice set of armor, gave him the impression of stature and greatness.

MMOs haven't fully developed this concept yet. In DAOC and some other MMOS, a character can obtain weapons and armor that have a look to them that tells the player what they are up against. A certain Staff with a Red Glowing tip lets the enemy know that this guy has a special spell that he can cast, and I may want to avoid him when I'm alone.

But even this indicator only gives a small hint if the player's overall abilities, and doesn't truly let you know what you're up against.

I read a preview of Warhammer Online this weekend, and I really think they are heading in the right direction in this area. Dwarves that have leveled a lot and have become battle hardened, will begin to grow long beards. Orcs will physically grow larger as they level, becoming massive tank like beasts at their max level. They can even place skulls of enemies they defeat on their armor to show battle victories.

This is an excellent indicator of what you are up against before you approach an enemy. It's a quick visual indicator of how powerful an enemy is, and you can quickly judge your status in the situation.

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