Character customization is an important part of an MMORPG such as Neverwinter. The look and skill customizations help add a little personal flare to your character, much like their pen & paper game counterparts. Cryptic is aiming to invoke some of that in Neverwinter.
In the their latest developer blog, Cryptic discusses the detailed character customization system of Neverwinter, which draws from the Dungeons & Dragons ability scores of Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. Each character begins with a base of 10 and a cap of 18 for level 1 before racial bonuses are applied.
Your choice of race also gives your stats some customization. Races give +2 to one primary stat, and +2 to one of two other stats. A Tiefling always gets +2 Charisma, for example, but you can choose whether to get an additional +2 to Constitution or to Intelligence. Build a well-rounded Control Wizard with Constitution, for instance, or specialize by adding it to Intelligence.
Tack that onto a detailed character appearance customization system similar to the likes of Champions Online and you have a robust system to create a unique character.