To age your characters

So I was just reading Ritchie Procopio review of The Elder Scrolls Online, when the following phrase hit me:

I appreciated the age slider that allowed me to instantly transform Vir’chuk into the elderly curmudgeon I imagined him to be.

It’s weird that I really find this interesting: Most MMORPGs do not let you chose your character age; either you do this by changing his/her appearance or telling everybody you met his/her age. But I really can’t remember any where you directly say how old your character is.

And the first thing I thought was (you know, because that’s what I’m playing right now): “You know, Guild Wars 2 could use something like that”.

And then it hit me that maybe ArenaNet should do something like that, but not in the character creation screen; it should be done when a new expansion launches.

Thake, for example, what happened in Guild Wars 1: Each expansion isn’t something that happened exactly after the previous one; it’s not like “hey, congratulations, you saved Tyria from the Lich Lord” and then, a week after, you started your quest to stop Shiro (and let’s not mention the time it takes till you unravel the story behind the Afflicted).

But, in the end, your character does not appear a single day older than he/she was in the pre-searing events — and from that till you defeat the destroyers you have a spawn of 12 years. Your character appear as young and with the same physique forever.

What if in the next expansion, your previous characters appear with an option like “Did your character suffer the effects of time?” What if you select it and it slightly changes your physique to not be as “model like” like it was before? What if it changes your hair to some slightly gray tone? What if you suddenly get a scar that wasn’t there before? What if you suddenly start looking more and more like the old Solid Snake in the recent Metal Gear games?