- Select Race
- Select Gender
- Select Profession
- Select Appearance
- Select Background: Profession-specific question (no impact on personal story; determines non-ranger's starting equipment or ranger's pet)
- Select Background: Personality-related question (no impact on personal story; determines starting personality)
- Select Background: 1st race-specific background question (determines Chapter I - level 10 of personal story)
- Select Background: 2nd race-specific background question (determines Chapter II - level 20 of personal story for non-charr; determines the NPC story partner for charr)
- Select Background: 3rd race-specific background question (determines Chapter II - level 20 of personal story for charr; no impact on personal story for non-charr)
- Character Name
- Primary article: Playable races
There are five playable races that you can choose for your character in step one. That choice determines your starting location, personal story, and racial skills, as well as differences in appearance and lore. The races are designed to be balanced, such that no one race possesses an unfair advantage over other races.
- They may be short in stature, but these magical inventors are intellectual giants. Incredibly intelligent beings, the asura use their knowledge and skill with magic and crafting to assert their natural dominance. In the world of the asura, it is not the strong who survive, but the clever. Other races believe they should rule by virtue of their power and strength, but they delude themselves. All will serve the asura—in due time…
- The charr race was forged in the merciless crucible of war. It is all they know. War defines them, and their quest for dominion drives them ever onward. The weakling and the fool have no place among the charr. Victory is all that matters, and it must be achieved by any means and at any cost.
- Humans have lost their homeland, their security, and their former glory. Even their gods have withdrawn. And yet, the human spirit remains unshaken. These brave defenders of Kryta continue to fight with every ounce of their strength.
- This race of towering hunters experienced a great defeat when the Ice Dragon drove them from their glacial homeland. Nevertheless, they won't let one lost battle - however punishing - dampen their enthusiasm for life and the hunt. They know that only the ultimate victor achieves legendary rewards.
- Sylvari are not born. They awaken beneath the Pale Tree with knowledge gleaned in their pre-life Dream. These noble beings travel, seeking adventure and discovery. They struggle to balance curiosity with duty, eagerness with chivalry, and warfare with honor. Magic and mystery entwine to shape the future of this race that has so recently appeared.
Every race has the same options for gender in step two: male or female. Aside from physical appearance and some dialogue, there are no gameplay differences between them.
- Primary article: Profession
Step three allows you to choose one of nine professions, unrestricted by race or gender.
- Guardians specialize in protective and defensive magic. A deep sense of loyalty to their allies fuels their passion and power. They're also skilled with a variety of weapons which they put to use against their enemies.
- Revenants manipulate energy from the Mists to invoke the power of legends from the past, unleashing immense attacks that dominate foes and unleash chaos on the battlefield.
- Warriors are masters of martial skills. They rely on speed, strength, toughness and heavy armor to survive. They're versatile in combat and benefit from offensive and defensive abilities. Warriors inspire allies and demoralize enemies.
- Engineers are technological and alchemical masterminds. They employ turrets, grenades, elixirs, and a variety of other impressive devices and concoctions to overcome their enemies.
- Rangers are proficient with the bow. They rely on a keen eye, a steady hand, and the power of nature to slay their targets. Their loyal pets, which rangers tame and train, distract enemies while the rangers strike safely from a distance.
- Thieves are adept at the art of stealth. They utilize surprise and shadow to get close to their enemies, and they're deadly in one-on-one combat. They have an affinity for setting traps and going where they were never meant to go.
- Elementalists have harnessed Tyria's natural forces. Their powers of destruction are drawn from an affinity with the four elements that make up the world. They conjure air, fire, earth, or water to assault their enemies.
- Mesmers are maestros of mirage. They weave mental magic that confounds, controls, or evokes emotion in their enemies. With a wave of the hand, they can shatter their own illusions to produce even greater special effects.
- Necromancers are masters of dark arts. They summon the dead to fight for them, channel blood energy, and rend their enemies' souls. Necromancers draw life force and use it to strengthen or heal themselves and others.
- Primary article: Physical appearance
In step four, you can customize four different aspects of your character's physical characteristics and appearance.
- Body Features
- Head Options
- Face Details
- Armor Dyes
- Primary article: Biography
Steps five to nine involve answering five separate multiple-choice questions that influence the biography or background of your character.
- The first question determines a profession-dependent aesthetic aspect of your character, the choice and the appearance of one piece of your armor; the options are the same for all races, except for Rangers, whose pet choice-set is affected by race.
- The second question determines the character's initial personality, which affects how NPCs react to the character (typically as differences among dialogue choices).
- The final three questions determine the personal story of the character; questions relating to the character's background, motivations, and experiences. These questions are determined by race.
You can choose to "Skip to End" at each of these steps, in which case the game will randomly answer the questions for you and take you to the last step.
The last step is to choose a name for your character, which can include from 3 to 19 characters. Names must be composed entirely of letters and (optional) spaces; names always use title case (i.e. the first letter of each word is capitalized) and must begin with a letter.
For non-space characters, the English versions of the game allow the standard 26 letters of the alphabet along with accented letters such as à and è. All client versions on all servers also allow ÄÖÜ Umlauts in name.
If you intend to role-play or otherwise desire to have names consistent with lore, note that some races have naming customs:
- Charr usually have Roman (or Grecian) first names. The last name is comprised of two parts: the warband name (such as "Fierce") and a particular descriptive word (i.e., "shot"). Examples of Charr names.
- Most Norn have Northern European or Viking-style first names. Their last names generally fall into two categories. The first of these are based in the Norn's concept of ancestor veneration, and include patronymic, matronymic, or other kin-centric names, such as Stegalkin (kin of Stegal, presumably). The second category of Norn last names is a nickname or description, such as "Cliffstrider" or "the Hunter". These names might also use Scandinavian-inspired words as well. Examples of Norn names.
- Humans have a huge variety of names, but those in Kryta mostly have European first and last names, with many names being ones that might easily exist any English-speaking country. Humans from other Tyrian nations (or their descendants) may have other names, such as East Asian names among Canthans and African names among Elonians. General fantasy names can work as well. Examples of human names.
- Asura usually have very short names (one or two syllables) which often feature a set of double letters. Female names tend to end in vowels; male names in consonants. If a supplementary name is used, it normally precedes the individual name, and is their job title, their krewe name, or an honorific. Examples of Asura names.
- Sylvari have a number of Celtic, Irish or Welsh names, mostly without last names. However, many players also choose to add their character's cycle as a second name (e.g. "Of Dusk"), especially if their chosen name is already taken. General elven fantasy names sometimes work as Sylvari names. In addition, some Sylvari follow a schema similar to that of Asura, where the name consists of a job title (i.e., "Crusader") and then a personal name. Examples of Sylvari names.
- Primary article: Starting area
As soon as you confirm the character's name, you will be transported to a race-dependent mission demonstrating basic game mechanics. After completing the tutorial, your character will end up in the starting area for their race.
- Primary article: Starting equipment
Characters begin play with the following list of equipment:
- A Starter Backpack with 20 inventory slots.
- A main-hand or two-handed weapon
- Chest, leggings, and boots armor pieces.
- All profession except ranger receive one additional piece of armor (either helm, shoulders or nothing at all) from the profession-specific Biography question.
- For rangers, this question instead determines your starting pet.
- Each step in the character-creation process creates a permanent part of the character's biography, with the following exceptions:
- The profession-specific question determines a piece of your armor or, for rangers, your pet. Both can be changed throughout the game.
- Although your biography determines your initial personality, choices made by your character throughout the game will have a bigger impact.
- Physical appearance can be changed after character creation with a Self-Style Hair Kit and Total Makeover Kit.
- Character name can be changed after character creation with a Name Change Contract.
- Character names will be reserved for reuse for 24 hours after deleting a character.
- There is a hidden time limit (possibly identical to idle limit) when creating a character. Failing to complete the character within this time limit will return you to the main login screen and all of your modifications will be lost.