Quote from Khrull777
Jay Wilson mentioned that at first they did have character customization, but took it out because:
#1. The customization wasn't very visible when wearing armor, so it was a waste of time.
#2. It became a time barrier to hitting "Start" and start playing.
I believe both of those explanations, and they seem quite reasonable. I have a friend who is a game designer at a different company, and I can imagine that #2 is, in fact, actually a huge deal to them.
I get the whole "I need to change how I look" but how often are you going to stare all teenage girl like at your character in the face?
Well, we will be playing with these characters for ungodly numbers of hours, so, on average... a lot...?
I don't know much about the "witch doctor culture" but I've never heard of a white one.
You've also never heard of someone summoning Meteors or firing beams of energy from their hands, launching anything that can be called a "rain of arrows" (or of vengeance) with a single bow twang, or escaping their enemies by summoning a wall of zombies or swarm of locusts. As I said before, this is about appealing to deeply-ingrained cultural stereotypes, a common practice among movie directors and every other branch of the entertainment industry.
Quote from karsen88
Playing D&D years ago we got to pick our race/class/gender/ etc. Is that not the norm? When a player starts D&D are they told they will play a 57 year-old middle eastern female cleric named "Verellia"?
Say you wanted to be an bard and you pick an Orc... well you get the picture it just doesn't quite work.
I've never played D&D being given a pre-constructed character, but, esp with a limited degree of background, that might be a fun way to play. Nor have a made an orcish bard, but I tend to be a min/maxer. Some of my friends would definitely appreciate playing in this way.