Don’t go adventuring without your makeup bag

This is a post I half wrote ages ago but put aside because I thought it was kind of petty. But I was playing with the character generation on the Rift beta and suddenly it took me right back.  One of the options you get on female characters is to select one of about 10 different styles of makeup. Rift is by no means the only game that assumes you would want to dress up your (female) character with dramatic makeup, it’s just the latest that caught my eye.


They’ve put a lot of graphical effort into the makeup design in this game. I noticed that it’s race specific (the Eth for example, have egyptian style heavy kohl on the eyes) and quite artfully done. Maybe they have a would-be makeup artist on staff. (My major beef, for what it’s worth, is that on one of the races there seemed to be a permanent pout with lipgloss that I couldn’t get rid of. I really dislike lipgloss.)


I can understand why characters in a game might be given the option to wear make-up, even though I think it’s silly for a fighting adventurer to have access to a full makeup kit and use it like a film star. It’s part of daily life for a lot of people, and I know women who don’t consider themselves properly dressed without a layer of slap. I can understand why city dwellers or nobles in other settings might have the option to wear make-up too, it’s been a part of human interaction for thousands of years.


I even get that we’re all bombarded with images of pretty women with expertly applied make-up in TV, films, adverts, and so on so it’s natural that a lot of players want that look for their character. In a game world where you can go into battle in a platemail bikini and high heels (hi Aion), it doesn’t seem smart to quibble about a bit of face paint.

I’m also impressed by the amount of effort the Rift artists put into all the different makeup combinations on the different races. These screenshots don’t really do the face paint justice.

Even though it feels like a lot of effort for something that no one else will ever really see in game, including the player – I mean how often do you stare another character in the face from close enough range to see their makeup?


But it does my head in to imagine makeup as being a fixed thing that you have to decide on at character generation and can never actually change afterwards. And please please please give me the option to turn off the lip gloss.

10 thoughts on “Don’t go adventuring without your makeup bag

  1. Pingback: Hot Chick Free Zone! « The Noisy Rogue

  2. “I mean how often do you stare another character in the face from close enough range to see their makeup?”
    -I completely agree with you.

    I’ve read studies of what players want in their 3rd person avatars, and hair is really crucial.
    It makes sense, hair is something the player looks at themselves (from behind, unlike make up) and it’s also a visually prominent identifier.

    I’d rather have amazing hair myself, than amazing make up, it’s too much of a tiny detail that no one will notice anyways.

  3. So much effort to go under a helmet.

    Ironyca has a great point: while we focus on other-facing appearance bits, we need lots of cosmetic attention on hair, cloaks, and other things on the backs of our characters.

  4. It does make me wonder a bit how important it is that a player’s character in game looks exactly like it did in chargen (character generation). Maybe, just maybe, the most important thing about chargen is that it lets the player get a mental image of their own character.

    • I think that’s right. It’s your own view of your own character. I know I look at my character’s face in the game. It’s who she is. Hopefully there will be chances to change hair and makeup in Rift.

      I haven’t played Rift yet but I assume it’s the same as other games in that the other place you see your character in detail from the front is when you enter the world. Where you say “this is who I will play”.

  5. I have to say, I like Rift’s chargen but I also have some issues with it. (Touching on it in my own blog as i’m writing up impressions so far.)

    For me, I size up all chargen to Aion and CO; which, I admit, is pretty unfair(I could make my Perfect MMO Dude in Aion. :p) Those generators were SO stupidly involved, it would be like comparing a garage band’s first demo with Iron Maiden in terms of everything, including production value(the demo might be damn good but yeah.) For me, Rift’s chargen offers just enough options to NOT be enough. Like, I can change the face-but only so much, where in Aion/CO I could play *anything* from my Giant Taloned Alucard to a midget Ali G. The Bahmi males could REALLY use some more hair designs(as could all the people-yes, hair is a big thing I think for many). I wish you could adjust body types a bit as well(the height thing is cool though, offers a bit of adjustment there.) You can adjust the nose and mouth enough for it to NOT really change the character’s appearance by much.

    I managed to make a cool looking Kelari warrior dude, which I’m happy about(they are nicely muscular, like a gymnast), but I think(and left feedback :p) that the generator could actually use some more variety.

    YMMV, of course.

  6. “But it does my head in to imagine makeup as being a fixed thing that you have to decide on at character generation and can never actually change afterwards. And please please please give me the option to turn off the lip gloss.”

    This is how you know it’s a cosmetic tattoo.

    Honestly, I check out character faces every so often, especially in the WoW AH. I think they do more (eyes moving, etc) than they did during vanilla. ??

  7. I like the makeup and the rest of the character generation. If I had my way, I would add even more options, but I’m also very weird.

    I think having so many options really lets people customize their characters more fully without feeling like they are just cookie cuttered. (it’s a word…I swear!). Even if you won’t see your character from the front often, it’s still nice to know the make up is there.

    Because of the makeup, I actually decided to make a strict…role play character. Pale skin, dark hair, and dark makeup. She’s my little emo girl and her speciality is lock/necro/pyro.

    Sure, going into battle with full makeup on is not realistic, but really, neither are extraplanar rifts of pure evil.

    I’m happy with my little whimsy =)

  8. I was quite impressed with the Rift chargen, the aesthetic to me is very important for characters I choose to play. Hence why, after spending a lot of time with the chargen, all my toons are now Eth despite my initial inclination towards Bahmi and Kelari. But, I have to agree with Azaael there is not quite enough of it, OK, I’m happy we don’t have a boob slider but just a few more customisation options (that I may not use but at least you get a choice) and I’d be very happy.

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