Remembering Warhammer Online's excellent character creator

(Image credit: Future)

What color do you want your hair to be: Graveyard Earth, Skull White, or Bubonic Brown? These are just some of the options from the character creator in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, an MMO from 2008 that survives today thanks to a private server. My goblin character has skin of Snot Green, teeth that are Bleached Bone, and eyes of pure Death Pea.

Most of the color options in Warhammer Online are named after corresponding Citadel-brand paints, the acrylics I used as a young Warhammer player to paint my armies of plastic and metal figurines (the metal ones being partly made of lead back in the days before they changed the recipe). I remember Chaos Black well, like an old friend. My Undead army used up a lot of pots of that.

Witch Elves in Warhammer Online can choose hair that's a rich Liche Purple, a lighter Warlock Purple, or bright Tentacle Pink. Trollslayer hair might be Scab Red, Blood Red, Red Gore, or Vomit Brown. These names are much more evocative than choosing a color from a slider would be, even if that made for more options, and they make creating far too many alts a serious temptation.

(Image credit: Future)

A few other Warhammer games let players treat videogame characters like they were miniatures, including the army painter in the Dawn of War games. It seems like such an obvious part of the tabletop experience to emulate in digital form I'm surprised it isn't more common.

Warhammer Online's servers were closed in 2013, but if you're interested in checking it out today there's a private server alpha going on over at Return of Reckoning. We'll have a more detailed story about the work that's gone into that and the progress that's been made ready for you to read soon.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.