Tobold's Blog
Monday, July 05, 2010
Tall or small?

My druid in World of Warcraft, who is a tauren, is an engineer. And it turns out that the helicopter mount he can build doesn't scale with character size, thus he looks extremely funny, a big cow in a tiny cockpit. Other items in the game scale, so if you see a gnome and a tauren wielding the same weapon, the weapon will be in the appropriate size for the character. For reasons of game balance the run speed and jump height of every character in the game is exactly the same, but as we instinctively judge speed and height in comparison to our height, we often get the impression that smaller characters run faster and jump higher.

Besides the optical differences, there are a few real minor advantages to playing a small character. In PvP small characters are less visible, and less likely to be targeted by somebody using the mouse to target. Although of course tab targeting and the use of name plates can remove that advantage. Character size also makes a difference with doorways and such, a gnome can get through doors even when mounted, while a tauren needs to dismount his kodo before entering.

But as these advantages are tiny, players are free to choose their race and thus height by personal preference. I have a general preference for small races, and am looking forward to playing a goblin, as small races were a bit lacking on the Horde side. So what about you? Do you prefer playing a tall character or does your heart beat for the vertically challenged?
I've been thinking about character size lately. My troll got the frostscythe of Ahune on her first kill of the boss. It doesn't fit on her model... the scythe part sticks right through her head. It has made me intensely jealous of all the humans and blood elves and undead who have a nice looking weapon. I have a headskewer.

Aside from my irrational love of trolls, I prefer small characters as well, and am looking forward to goblins too!
Another funny thing about character size: It determines the depth of water you can walk through before your character starts swimming.

There was a good amount of crying by gnome warrior tanks back in the Black Morass, when they had to swim from portal to portal (and mounts despawned on entering deep water) - so much, in fact, that the swamp was dried up a bit a few patches later.
There are some downsides to playing a small character. I remember gnomes complaining because they had to swim through the water at the Black Portal CoT instance where everyone else just ran through.
Line of sight makes a difference as well, going up a stairwell as a healer I can't see a gnome tank as easily as a human or DK or such. This problem could be double for short healers dealing with short tanks. Overall probably not a huge problem, but it is something I notice when healing with my dwarf priest instead of my shaman.
I've never been a fan of "big", but I do kinda like "long" races. So I don't like tauren, but I do like trolls. Gnomes are too cutesy by my taste, and I suspect goblins will be the same way.
I really like gnomes, so I have three; 2 locks and one tank (with pink pigtails!)
As small as possible. I love being lost in the undergrowth and not being able to see what's going on.
I always prefer smaller races. My main was a taru in FFXI, gnome in Wow, gnome in EQ2, dwarf in Warhammer, and hobbit/dwarf in LOTRO. In general I've always felt larger models obstruct my view especially in cramped dungeons. On the other hand I have always felt that short character models in some games when fighting oversized boss mobs. I have had difficulty seeing oversized mob health bars on shorter toons in some dungeons (can't pan the camera out far enough).
I prefer big, but not bulky. I tend to play taller characters, but not with hyper-uber-muscles. So female tauren, female orc, male/female trolls, female draenei.

For the average height races, I don't mind what I play, so Humans, Forsaken, Night elves (I see them as average height, though I really don't like playing as them), and Blood elves.

For gnomes and dwarves, I don't mind what I play either, but I simply don't enjoy playing a gnome at all, while a dwarf is tolerable.

To me this means that Goblins will be tolerable, and the Worgen will be no problem.
Small characters are also easier on your graphics card.
Small is beautiful, precisely for the reasons you mentioned.

It was the opposite in FFXI, IIRC. There was nothing in the game you could fit through (even if it looked like you could) that were unique to you, and on an airship I remember not being able to get a good camera angle to look over the side because I was a tarutaru.
I'm a fan of Tauren in WoW, but that's largely because of lore and the appeal of Tauren Druids. I like the idea of an anthropomorphic cow shapeshifting into other animals. A lithe Night Elf Druid just doesn't sell the "shift into a bear" nearly as well.

That's entirely flavor, though, and not much of a preference for size. On another hand, I like the Gibberlings in Allods because they are unique and silly. Size plays into the appeal of Tauren and Gibberlings, but I don't have a clear preference for one size in all situations.

...then again, I don't really play these games for my character, I play them to look around at the world. Most of my screenshots don't even have characters in them. *shrug*
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