A Ward sacrifices the financial and social support system which comes with a family, in exchange for additional character customization and more flexibility. Wards are able to select any Gender and have a point distribution system they can use to set their starting skill values and character attributes. Beyond that, Wards begin at age 12 rather than age 15 and so have an additional twelve days of adolescence in which they can further customize their character's skills and abilities.
In exchange for the increased flexibility they lose more than just the social and financial support of their families. Wards have no right of inheritance, no ties to help bind them to the world if they Spirit Walk, and lack any close, telepathic bonds that would allow them to communicate with a family member remotely. In truth, Wards lead a lonelier and more isolated life in the beginning. Of course, they can always earn fame, recognition, and noble titles for themselves and begin their own dynasty!
The choice of Ward isn't for everyone and fortunately it isn’t the only way to avoid starting the game as a fifteen year old. We have a little saying, "every NPC has the potential to become a player". If you select a starting age over 18 years old on the Birth Date selection screen you have the opportunity to start the game as a "non-traditional character". Think of these as the opposite of Wards. You have significantly less control over your character, as their look, name, skills, and abilities are all pre-determined based on the life the NPC has lived up until them, however you can begin the game with an established business, as a reputable adventurer, or even as an existing nobleman. Note that you can change your name through legal means once you enter the game.