One thing that I find interesting, though not particularly surprising, is how the character races that are viewed as attractive, or at least cute, are much more popular than those that aren’t. Of course, this is expected to some degree, people want to look at attractive characters, and there’s always some degree of wish fulfillment in terms of making an attractive, cool alter ego. It’s pretty obvious in EQ2 where the trolls, by anyone’s standard the ugliest race overall, are also the least popular race (or certainly right down there.) With the introduction of Neriak it’s really remarkable how much dark elves and arasai dominate the new characters, they are the historic and the new inhabitants of the city, of course, but also both very attractive races.

On the good side of EQ2 there aren’t as many unattractive races, though some might put dwarves and even halflings in that category (not me though, halflings rule!) Wood elves and high elves dominate though, and since fae have come out there are tons of them, the ultimate cute race.

World of Warcraft is the best example of this whole concept at work. For a long time, the Horde side was always heavily outnumbered on most servers by the good guy Alliance. While part of this is just the natural tendency to want to play heroes instead of villains, there was a lot of buzz that the unattractiveness of Horde races was playing a large part in it. You had orcs, trolls, undead, and Tauren, none of which were very attractive, particularly the females. (Though to be honest, I played a female troll character who looked perfectly fine.)

When the Burning Crusade expansion came out, a new race was introduced for each side. Suddenly the Horde had the ultra-beautiful Blood Elves on their side, and the effect was immediate. On a new server I played on there were more Blood Elves than all other races combined, and even on older servers there was quite a large switch to the newer, cuter race.

Personally in EQ2, though I have a fae and a halfling, most of my other characters are trolls, ogres, or iksar. The Iksar are an interesting case, they’re not that cute, but they have a definite cool factor, for whatever reason. I guess I’m just a contrarian at heart.

Of course whatever your race choice, you are welcome to it, everyone should play what they like, it’s a game after all.