Size Should Matter

A huge Ogre in Everquest 2

The Ratonga was referring to my height

An enjoyable post over at Tobold’s yesterday got me thinking about size in MMOs. I know I’ve probably said this before but I like being big. I’m big in real life, I’m big in games, it seems like a natural fit and, for the life of me, I just can’t bring myself to play small races. Who would possibly want to be a tiny little Gnome or Goblin when they could be a towering Orc or Ogre? And then there’s the Dwarf fetishists, those bizarre players who are obsessed with playing short and stout races, constantly cracking jokes about hairy women and putting on phony Scottish accents when they talk to you over Ventrilo. Ugh. Obviously there’s a demand and desire for the smaller races but to me it will always remain a mystery.

Maybe this says a lot about my mind and subconscious. Maybe I’ve got a deep, well hidden inferiority complex that makes me want to roleplay a huge, slobbering Ogre that crushes everything in it’s path. Maybe I use virtual size as a way of compensating for some real physical weakness or deformity? Or maybe it’s just because I’m so used to being bigger than everyone else I find the notion of having to look up at someone very alien. Although I’m inclined to go with the latter reason, it’s likely that we’ll never really find out what’s driving these urges inside me.

But if choosing a big race possibly says all of these things about my personality, what does picking a small race mean? Does it mean that the player is more inherently sneaky, lacks the confidence to stand out in a crowd or just likes to the notion of headbutting enemies in the groin?

Whether or not there is a real psychological link to what size of race a player chooses, I always love to see MMOs that explore and utilise the concept. It’s fun when being really big or really small actually makes a difference in the game. As Tobold pointed out, size does matter when it comes to doorways and mouse targeting. Is that a good thing? I think so. I always got a chuckle when my Ogre in Everquest 2 couldn’t fit down a small passage way or when an army of Gnomes assaulted me (how come Gnomes are always so aggressive?!). I also adored the buffs in EQ2 which altered your character size either to increase it and imbue them with more power or shrink them and diminish their stats.

More often than not though size is purely a cosmetic thing and has no long lasting affect on gameplay. I was thinking though that maybe it would be nice if more mechanics in MMOs did affect it. Perhaps larger races did run faster and jump higher but smaller races rode faster on mounts and needed to eat less? Would mechanics like this make a game more interesting or just annoy people by inflicting advantages/drawbacks because of the race they selected? I suppose it’s possible players would get annoyed but then would it be any different from the racial advantages, like night vision or weapon and crafting skills, that most races get in RPGs anyway?

-Gordon

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20 Comments

  1. Longasc says:

    It is mostly about being an annoyingly small target to click or have a small hitbox. And those pvp dwarves are not cute, they annoy me quite a lot.

    Should they be forbidden? Hell no! I made a really big man-sized Valkyrie style Gladiator and hit them with a stick 20x their size! :)

    Racial special abilities and advantages/disadvantages are cool! The problem is as usual pvp balance. People can’t stand the slightest disadvantage there.

    Solution? As PvP is heavily instanced nowadays (for better or worse), just switch off/balance racials in such instances.

  2. Numtini says:

    The problem with racial advantages is that in standard DIKU based games the maximum is the minimum. The same thing really as with hybrid classes. If the advantage is really an advantage and not just some kind of window dressing, then groups and raids are going to require it. If you don’t have it, you’ll be told to reroll.

  3. Werit says:

    It’s pretty simple actually, choosing a Dwarf makes you awesome :)

  4. “And then there’s the Dwarf fetishists, those bizarre players who are obsessed with playing short and stout races, constantly cracking jokes about hairy women and putting on phony Scottish accents when they talk to you over Ventrilo.”

    Gosh, what kind of people do YOU play with? LOL :P

    Anyway, I’d say psychology might have something to do with it. I know someone, for instance, who is a bit of a “manly” man and he refuses to play short characters like gnomes, and will never ever play a female character, not even for fun. Who knows though, could just come down to personal preference.

  5. Salome says:

    A nice EQ2 photo reminded me old days, thanks :)
    I’m tall in RL too. And my husband is a little shorter than me. And we love to play barbarian-human, human-dwarf, elf-dwarf duo’s. His favorite is dwarf and I belive there is an aggressive fun dwarf inside him :) I guess personality we have drive us to choose the character we wanna play

  6. [...] Gordon, I think I see your house. And your pool. And… naked Gordon! Skinny dipping! Must cleanse eyes! [...]

  7. gankatron says:

    Very simple reason, harder to target in PvP; I always scale my body model to the smallest and thinnest possible during character creation. I actually would like it if devs made a universal invisible character size around all races regardless of size, so targetting a gnome at a distance would be as easy as for a troll…

    • Gordon says:

      I usually use tab and shift-tab to target enemies and friendlies in PvP in MMOs… a lot easier than using the mouse :)

      • gankatron says:

        I assume most people make use of tab targeting, but that isn’t always effective for a ranged target versus a melee one. Many times tab targeting will cycle between those most immediately in front of me and neglect those still within range of my spells. It might be a difference in perspective as I play caster classes and put every point I can into range enhancement. I would be the annoying guy you would hear hammering on his keyboard waiting for the target to just hit range if I left my vent open. The first cast often decides the battle…

  8. Shadow War says:

    What if you mix up the size of your races, and don’t particularly care which you use? Does that make you indecissive, pschizophrenic, or just apathetic?

    Off topic: Did you play on Permafrost? I remember prophecy being a guild on that server.

  9. [...] Gordon thinks that size matters.  In MMOs, that is. [...]

  10. John P says:

    haha size does not matter in games like these guys. its about your skill thar counts.

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