Introducing…the ladies of RIFT

If you’re not following RIFT, here’s your quick rundown of the game.  It’s a promising new subscription-based fantasy MMORPG by Trion World Network, set in an original world, borrowing heavily from titles like World of Warcraft and Warhammer but doing so in a way that feels fresh and new.  It’s releasing on March 1st, which is great for those who are looking for a new MMO to play. It’s also now available for pre-order on Steam.   I wanted to do a quick post just to run through the races and showing some of the character creation options for those who are interested.

A few general things to note: This is the beta, so things could change.  Each race has a different color palette to choose from.  There is not a weight/physique slider, nor is there is a breast slider.  These characters are very detailed, but there isn’t a ton of room to customize them to fit your desired look aside from height, hair style/color, eyes, skin color, facial markings, mouth size, and eyebrows.  Yes, I realize I should have turned antialiasing on before taking screenshots.


On the left, the darkest female Mathosian Rogue I could make (she is barely dark at all) Her hair is reddish-brown, she wears a leather corset top over a white blouse with her waist exposed. On the right, the same character except with the lightest skin option (very fair) with bright red hair.

As you can see, the Mathosian women do not come in many color variations.  My choices were either “mousey-tan” female avatar, or extremely pale female avatar.  I could not make my character look black or Asian.  While one could argue that the character on the left could be of mixed race, this avatar is no doubt Caucasian-based.  The breast size is surprisingly not gigantic and there isn’t much cleavage showing (at least not in the Rogue costume).


On the left, a female Dwarf Cleric in a white cloth skirt and a cutoff blouse showing her waist. She is thicker than any of the other female avatars. Her hair is red, her eyes blue, and her skin is a pale white. On the right, the same Dwarf character is shown as a black female with dark curly hair and dark eyes.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Dwarves.  I was able to make a character that isn’t super thin like the others (in fact, I can’t really be a super thin Dwarf if I wanted to since there is not a weight slider).  I was able to make my avatar look like a black female without much difficulty at all – there even appears to be at least one hairstyle made for black avatars.  I think the Dwarves are actually super cute in RIFT, unlike a lot of other games where they are meant to be the ‘uglier’ race.


On the left, a tan brunette slender elf with long ears wears a grey-blue plate-mail bikini top. On the right, a very white elf with blonde hair.

The Elf women have very angelic faces, and very little in terms of customization racially. On the left is the darkest elf that I could make (not dark at all) and on the right is the lightest elf.  These characters are very slender with slight abdominal muscles showing, especially on the more tanned avatars.  Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with the elf race.  They’re pretty much standard elven fare.


Three female avatars, all various shades of darker skin tones. On the left, a Warrior in a plate mail bikini with caramel colored hair and skin. In the center, a dark black woman with dark eyes and hair. On the right, a lighter woman (but still not Elf-white) with blonde hair and blue eyes.

The Ethian seemed to be the most racially diverse group.  I could make a wide variety of colors and the hairstyles were also appropriate.  The women are similar in body type to the Mathosians.  They seemed the most “human” out of the races in RIFT.


On the left, a lighter purple skinned elf with a purple mohawk and the Cleric white cloth outfit. On the right, a darker purple elf with light pink punkish hair.

The punk in me loves the Kelari.  They only come in various shades of purple, have breasts that aren’t constantly in your face, look stronger than their Elf counterparts, and have a badass feel to them.  They’re like WoW Night Elves without the annoying bouncing.   I gotta respect the ‘hawk.


On the left, a short red haired Rogue with light purple skin, toned abs, and a thicker stature. On the right, a darker purple skinned avatar with dark cornrows on her head.

Alright ladies, I’m saving the best for last.  Can you say, hawt?  Now, this is all personal preference…but the Bahmi look like sexy strong women who I wouldn’t kick out of, uh, Telara.  Like seriously, if I made a character that looked like the woman on the left I’d have a hard time actually playing the game and not just taking screenshots of her.  Anyway….their expression is fierce, they are muscled and larger in stature, and I love them.  They are the ‘tribal’ race, and it appears Trion are trying to buck any criticisms of racial stereotypes by making them purple instead of normal human skin tones.   Granted, they’re still an idealized body type and I’d love a weight slider, but this is my kind of character direction.

So what do you think?  Which race is your favorite?  Do you see any glaring problems with the character race choices?  Are you going to pick up RIFT in March?

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
This entry was posted in MMORPGs and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Introducing…the ladies of RIFT

  1. Denis Farr says:

    I’ve been hearing more about Rift of late, and while I’m interested in an MMO, I need to check out its pricing model. The pay-to-play model is something to which I am now allergic as it tends to have nasty repercussions on my play habits (to which you alluded in your own resolutions post).

    Looking at these characters, I have to say my favorite would be the Bahmi as well. Particularly the one you created on the right. Her skin tone contrasts much better with the starting outfit–though I suppose I would have to see what later armor models and colors are offered.

    Something I noticed fairly quickly is that even the thicker set dwarf women have hourglass figures. It’s curious that it is such a standard, given that many different shapes do actually exist (and on the Ethian it looks like a badly Photoshopped image on a magazine cover, to be quite honest).

  2. inCobalt says:

    How are the male models? I imagine, racially, they are as diverse as these female models are, but I’m curious about the overall look of them. I usually play female characters because I usually can’t stand the male models in MMOs. MMOs tend to take the approach that female models need to be sexy and attractive, while male models need to be tough and weathered. The female models also seem to be better worked on, most of the time, looking better technically than male models. If I’m going to be honest, then I’d have to say that I’d rather embody something I find attractive (a self-confidence issue I suppose) or interesting (I would love to make an older woman in an MMO some day. And by older, I don’t mean an ugly crone. Fin Raziel in Willow was a powerful figure, she was old, and had a certain beauty to her, enhanced by her knowledge of the world and experience).

    Of these, I find the racial diversity of the Ethian to be stunning. I’m really impressed by how different the three look and yet are still considered the same race (it mimics humans in this way). It’s too bad there wasn’t more effort put into the other races to acheive this effect.

  3. Melanie says:

    I love the gaming concept behind RIFT- but still unsure if I will play it because I don’t like the character customization (not enough options) and I know they could have done a better job on the graphics. It’s 2011- users expect a pretty intense graphical experience and this one just doesn’t seem to deliver. Of course it’s better than FFXIV, who had the graphics down perfectly but game play ended up being such complete crap that it’s free to play until the new dev team totally revamps the game….

    • Lake Desire says:

      I’ve heard FF14 was bad… but it’s so bad that it’s free? Damn, I wish I had a computer that could play it, because I am such an FF fangirl I’ll play even a sub-par FF MMO. (Plus I miss FF11, which I spent a few years of my life dedicated to.)

      • Melanie says:

        I still have my FFXI account. I can’t bear to get rid of it.

        • Lake Desire says:

          What server do you play on? I was on Midgardsormr, and played with the same people I met in beta. I stopped playing probably in 2004 because I lost my leaping lizzy boots and emperor’s hairpin and was a useless thief without them. If I go back I’m sure I’ll have to make a new character (I always wanted to be a taru tank).

  4. Deviija says:

    I have been hearing much ado about Rift lately, too. It has me somewhat interested. This post was helpful in showing me what kind of character creation options (or lack thereof) are present within the game right now, and how diverse the appearances are between the races/within the races.

    I have to say that, while the Bahmi and Ethians are super neat, the entire selection leaves me a little sad. In this new decade, I expect my MMOs (and customizable protagonist single-player games) to have more selection and customization than some hairs, skin tones, and eyebrows. :( While not completely exaggerated in their bodies (compared to many other games out there), I still think some of the ladies are a tad too… busty for my tastes (except the Dwarf and Ethians). And it also makes me worry about attire, if this is the ‘sexy undergarment/default rags’ that come with the toons. If that’s a default look that I’d have to stick with for an entire paid-for career in Rift, then I’d be unhappy. So this was helpful, thank you.

  5. Lizz says:

    Ooh, I was hoping y’all would cover Rift one day :) And if ya don’t mind what will probably turn into a fairly lengthy post, I can add quite a bit of information about the races, gender, and customization options. I’ve been in the beta since day 1 and making/keeping this game inclusive/feministic has been my main goal in feedback to Trion, so I have spent a lot of time analyzing the avatars.

    First and foremost, a breakdown of the races:

    Mathosian and Eth are two factions of the same race (which is why they tend to have the same base model and animations). The Mathosian’s are the main Guardian race (a holyier-than-thou lot that have been chosen by the Gods to save Telara) and live farther north than the Eth which is the lore justification for their fairer skin tones. The Eth are, while not evil, diametrically opposed to the Mathosian ideals. They beleive in carving out their own destiny and use techomagics to do so. They are historically desert dwellers which is why they have a much larger and darker skin tone palette. The facial customization (because like the post said there is barely any body sliders) tends to reflect this for the men, you can actually acheive many different ethnic facial features with the facial slider, but for women you’re mostly stuck with baby faced slightly multi-ethnic features. Also, for the Eth I did not find too many hair styles that looked like they belong on anything other than white women or harem girls, but that may be imo.

    The High Elves and Kelari are again two splits of basically the same species just ‘evolved’ a bit differently. The Kelari were High Elves at one point and then started do weird stuff with magic and disavowing their racial diety, and are now blue and kinda badass for it. The Kelari men are the only male model that has the ability to look as young as the females (mostly cause there are no lined facial options and they have an airbrushed look to them like the females). The post was right that there if very little ability to change the facial structure of the elven women, they’re mostly stuck with a very triangular face and tilted eyes. The High Elves have a naturey vibe to them, although the women also have a distinict ‘high fashion’ kind of air to them too with some of the hair options. For the Kelari its much more Asian inspired (think jrpg and jpop hair) with the women having a couple hair styles that really smack you over the head with Asian flair and don’t match the rest of their coloring theme.

    The Dwarves and Bahmi (which are humans with air elemental ancestors) are the two ‘unique’ races for each faction, but they share some of the same problems with sexual dimorphism. The men are BIG compared to the women. The Bahmi men are almost trolls in their comparatively exaggerated muscularity and stature, and that’s saying something cause Bahmi women are by no means waifs. The Dwarf men are twice as thick as the women, have a completely different morphology (thick arms and hands, stubby legs, barrel chests, small head) and look to be about five centuries their senior. They look like pedophiles when you have them standing next to Dwarf women :S.

    Overall, in customization, the men are able to get very distinct facial structures (triangular, round, square) but the women are stuck with triangular if they’re elven and round if they’re anything else. The men (minus Kelari) have actual skin texture and feature that give off a sense of age and wisdom (to the point that its almost impossible to create a male avatar that looks younger than a midlife crisis). The women are airbrushed to hell and back (although the humans have adorable freckles… if you get close enough and squint) and there is a complete and total lack of aged and lined features, or even features that allow for a hardened visage (protruding cheekbones, sunken cheeks, etc). Oh and one thing that irks me a great deal is that the females all have an open mouth. The humans have something just shy of a sexy o face, and the rest their mouths are parted just slightly enough you can see them breathe and see inside the mouth. Not the case with the males, its all grim set faces for them. As far as bodies go, I find the women to be amazingly realistic, especially in the boob department (elves have a small B, the rest some variations of C), with slightly different morphologies and thickness depending on the race. The men, however, got the short end of that stick and look half undo if you ask me. The humans have tiny heads, the Bahmi and Dwarf are too muscular for their female counterparts, and they overall just seem to share the same scaled, paunchy torso. But I can’t stress enough how much I love the female avatar bodies… I feel like I can actually lift my sword and run around a countryside with this body.

    Now, that’s the character customization screen… in game there is a lot of the same problem you see in the pictures above… bikini armor :| I *hate* that my warrior is in a platemail bikini for all but one of her first 20 levels, that my chainmail wearing priest tends to be forced into chainmail miniskirts with no pants to hide my flashing asscheecks, and that my rogue keeps putting on pants that really are just leg warmers and a bikini bottom (oddly enough my mage was in a full robe for half of her twenty levels, and in a really nice tunic for the other half, though she did have the same pants problem as the rogue occasionally). Don’t be fooled by the armors you see on the site, they are not what you will see for at least your first twenty levels and probably wont till you get to end game :(

    I’ve spent most of my feedback and beta forum posts calling for better armor and pointing out a lot of the silly things in the customization. A lot of other people have been too, although for probably different reasons: they want more armor models (we keep cycling through the same 3 or 4 armor models in the first 20 levels) and more customization options so we can have more unique looking characters. Hopefully Trion is listening and implementing some of the suggested changes (they have been really good listening and acting on feedback so far, like amazingly good, which is a big selling point to me). Sorry this post got so long, but I’m rather passionate about the game (go read the site, I’m fairly sure one of their lead lore dev’s had inclusivity in mind when they wrote the class lore) and I like to talk about it, probably too much :) It’s a good game with great lore, gameplay, and visuals. I’ll probably end up buying it, even if they don’t add in better armors or customization before launch, but it sure would be nice to see those changes.

  6. Alex says:

    Oh man, I love the Kelari. The Bahmi are pretty rad, too, though. There should be more purple people in games, in general. Although I have to wonder why MMO designers are obsessed with cropped tops…

  7. Lake Desire says:

    If my MacBook Pro can handle RIFT on its Windows parallel (it can’t handle FF14, sadly). If the game doesn’t cost too much, I’d like to play a dwarf. When I briefly played WoW many many years ago I always was a dwarf or tauren because I find strong full figured women to be sexy avatars. (I’m not a furry but I had an aesthetic appreciation for the tauren.)

    • Melanie says:

      Wait, what kind of macbook pro do you have? Mine totally handles FFXIV.

      • Lake Desire says:

        Hmm mine is the uniBody MacBook Pro from right after Mac discontinued the regular unibody MacBooks. From Summer 2009 I believe.

        I tried to play beta and couldn’t even get it to install, so I gave up and never bought the game. If I thought it would run, though, I’d go out and buy it today!

  8. Jamie says:

    Would you be able to do something like this for Guild Wars 2? This is really interesting, but I’m looking for ward to GW2 simply on the basis that it’s free to play after purchase, and from what I can tell, is basically a single-player game in a huge world, (correct me if I’m wrong) which is what I like about MMOs, call me boring.

    On the other hand RIFT looks interesting if nothing else, and it’s nice to see more choice in race options than Elves, Dwarves and Humans. Pity the female characters don’t have as many customisation options, may look into it.

    • Denis Farr says:

      I know I plan on picking up Guild Wars 2 (and applying to participate in any open betas if there are any), so that’s certainly something I could look into.

  9. Ultraviolet says:

    Looks great, but different body types would be a definite plus. And thank gods i am not male and don’t have a motive to play with the standard fantasy male setup which i’d find impossibly boring And it’s not like it’s me, i have a male friend who got lured over to darkside (heh playing female chars) by that.
    Ethians and technomagic sound like right down my alley, Kelari too but truly depends on how ‘weird’ their stuff is and i wish they were a slightly less sexified version of punk – but body-wise my Grand Seal of Appreciation of course goes to Bahmi and Dwarves. If i decide to play this i’m likely to choose looks over content and go for Bahmi.

Comments are closed.