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Reader Comments (19)

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 4:44PM djodars said

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Totally disagree with you. Take for example a small company that just started off, with some ugly studios and low-level equipment ( lets say pentium 2 .. ). As they grow up, they will gain in experience ( LEVEL UP

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 4:46PM djodars said

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and they will acquire new equipment, new studios etc.. Now let's say a small company starts off with some Quad-Core and a huge building. They haven't work for it so I think it's not valuable.
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Posted: Apr 24th 2009 4:47PM djodars said

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Imho, looking like a clown for the first few weeks is totally awesome cause at least when you reach end-game you can actually be satisfied with what you've achieved and be rewarded with some kick-ass gear to show off a little bit.

/End thread. Thanks for listening :-)
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Posted: Apr 24th 2009 5:27PM (Unverified) said

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Well, first one factual error. City of Heroes/Villains still doesn't have 'gear' in the traditional sense. You don't get a cape that adds +5 to your energy blast. Instead the 'gear' they added was in the form of invention power enhancements. So you can get the drops and buy the power ups, but it has absolutely no effect on how your character looks.

That said, I wish more games would go for this, or at the least allow cosmetic outfits like LOTRO does. There you can wear the gear that gives you the stats you want, but if you don't like the look, you can 'wear' the appearance of another set of armor or cosmetic items like hauberks, crafting outfits, backpacks or quivers instead. The best of both worlds, in my opinion.

Pat of the 'start off with scruffy gear, slowly gain power and cool looking gear' is part of the game, and not a bad part. But the bad part comes in when either everybody looks the same because they all want the best gear they can get, so everyone is wearing the same thing. Or you wind up with things that wildly clash because they have the good stats, like the mentioned Matrix outfits, or the 'Just got into Hellfire Penninsula' look.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 8:12PM Seraphina Brennan said

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Then, I apologize for misleading those about CoH. I'm an old school player of CoH, have only recently gotten back into the game to check out Architect and browse all of the changes. My opinion was mislead by the appearance of the Auction House and looking over the things inside, as I thought inventions created optional gear that could be worn to improve stats similar to enhancements, but now I just see they are simply enhancements.

As for eeeeeeeveryone who has said "LotRO," I agree and simultaneously disagree. LotRO is a step forward, however it provides a fundamental error in letting everyone wear anything. Perhaps I shouldn't list that as a disagreement, but more of a personal preference.

I like having the ability to easily identify a person's class via what they wear. This was one of my favorite aspects of PSO, as the classes had their own style of gear while still looking unique. It was easy to pinpoint the force, or hunter, or ranger very quickly.

However it is, assuredly, a step forward. As for people who spoke of items that could be reconfigured with stats from a better weapon, I would introduce you to Runes of Magic, as they have that exact system. Keep the appearance of your old item while applying the powerful stats of the new item.

And, lastly, there was a reason I strayed from mentioning weapons and focusing entirely on clothing. Weapons look the way weapons want to look, but I don't see that as a pressing issue you against fashion. It's nice to be able to customize the weapons to look the way you want them to, but honestly weapons always look good when the armor looks right. :)
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Posted: Apr 24th 2009 9:59PM (Unverified) said

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Colin, LotRO doesn't let "everyone wear anything" in the cosmetic equipment slots. You can only cosmetically equip something that you could normally equip in your "real" equipment slots. While this can result in Guardians walking around in robes or leather armor, you won't see any Lore-masters wandering around in suits of full plate.
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Posted: Apr 24th 2009 5:29PM toychristopher said

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This problem is so easy to fix. Separate stats from appearance.

I don't think appearance should be completely devoid of "the leveling game" and you should still be able to obtain a rare looking weapon or awesome cape. You just shouldn't be forced to wear something you don't like because of it's stats.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 6:05PM (Unverified) said

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You forgot to mention games that do it right. Like Everquest 2 with their appearance slots. So no matter how crappy your upgraded armor looks you can always have a nice looking set. This is one feature I would love to see other mmos utilize.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 6:42PM (Unverified) said

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Champions FTW!! You can choose to not 'show' the gear but still equip it:}

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 6:42PM mysecretid said

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A welcome article, but I must agree with NekoAli on a couple of key points.

Someone has indeed misled you, as City of Heroes/Villians doesn't have the kind of "stat gear" you suggest, and never has.

Also, as NekoAli mentioned, Lord of the Rings Online has already solved this problem with "costume tabs".

A few levels after first level, you gain a pair of costume tabs to go along with your "gear I'm equipping" tab.

You can copy pieces of your gear to one or both of the costume tabs, or you can fill the costume tabs with buff-less cosmetic clothing, or you can mix and match buff and non-buff pieces, as you prefer.

Then you decide which appearance tab will be the look you show in-game.

Your basic equipment (i.e. your buff stuff) will still affect you, regardless, but you can choose to show one of you costume-tab looks to the game-world instead.

Primary weapons will always show, as they're integral to gameplay, but you can dress however you choose.

You can even keep the look of a low-level buff item you no longer use in one of your costume slots -- even if you no longer own the item!

I had a beautiful first-level cloak that I wore as a "costume tab" cloak. Even after I removed the item from my inventory, it remained in my costume tab slot, and visible in-game, until I finally "overwrote" it with a different item's appearance.

On this issue, it's LotRO FTW

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 6:58PM (Unverified) said

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djodars, did you even read the article? It's not about looking scruffy to start and awesome at the end, it's about looking like a clown because you've got a mis-matched set of equipment with the best stats. This happens frequently in games like WoW -- statistically you're powerful, but you look like a moron. That's what the author is talking about, not noobies wearing scruffy clothes instead of glittering plate armor.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 8:55PM wonderwyrm said

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What are some of the better free MMOs on the market? They pretty much all seem to be one big grind fest.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 7:47PM (Unverified) said

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I would prefer a system like this:

You find Beautifull Breastplate of the Noob (crap stats, awesome looks).
You find Ugly Breastplate of Awesomeness (crap looks, awesome stats)
You combine them to create Beautifull Breastplate of Awesomeness! (awesome looks, awesome stats)

With this system you can still show the lvl of the characters while adding a massive amount of ways people look without them losing out on stats. They still have to find both items and ofc the resulting item binds to the character.

Problem solved.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 10:24PM Brendan Drain said

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I like that idea. If players were able to transfer the magic properties of one item into another of the same type, that would be pretty awesome in any fantasy MMO.

That said, I liked EQ2's appearance slot option. It's a simpler solution and it works but it doesn't really make sense.
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Posted: Apr 26th 2009 5:44PM organiclockwork said

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Aion has this.
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Posted: Apr 24th 2009 7:55PM organiclockwork said

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Yeah, djodars obviously didn't RTFArticle.

I agree with you entirely, Sera. That's why I'm so looking forward to The Secret World. Stats are determined by your skills, your weapon(s) and special items like relics. Your clothing is up to you, so you can dress however you want without sacrificing stats.

Some games do, in fact, do it -quasi- properly. Costume slots are -nice- but requiring people to buy an extra set of equipment just to look decent is still too much.

One thing that should be in every game is the ability to dye armor. It's amazing how much of a difference it can make if your armor just color-coordinates a little bit.

In my humble opinion, though, TSW is getting it right. Your stats should not be determined by your armor. What should they be determined by? I leave that up to the developer. TSW is going with weapons, relics, and the skills you take. Some games such as Champions and CoX just let you dress how you want and let your powers and enhancements do the talking. Chronicles of Spellborn makes it so that instead of picking up armor drops, you essentially pick up items that can be used to enchant your clothing with stat bonuses.

All of the above work just fine. But stop making us look like clowns so that we can have the best stats possible. I mean, really, when your playerbase actually puts together a set of optimal stat items that looks so awful that they call it the clown suit (http://www.wowwiki.com/Clown_Suit_vs_Nightslayer) that's when you know there's an issue.

Posted: Apr 25th 2009 1:51AM Jesspiper said

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The outfit sustem is just one more reason why LOTRO is such an awesome MMORPG. A: My outfit looks awesome and is "well-dressed" and B: I have yet to see a "clone" of myself ever since the outfit system was released.

Posted: Apr 26th 2009 9:13AM Gemi said

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You have all forgotten about Guild Wars, which already does separate stats and looks of armor and weapons. Through the insignia and rune system you can buy any armor you want to and have it use any stats available by putting in the insignias and runes you want to. There is no game play difference in two different looking armor sets with the same insignias and runes. With items you also have the same system where you can put inscriptions and mods to items freely, and yet again two different looking swords with the same inscriptions and mods are exactly the same gameplay wise.

Why don't more games do this? It's probably the best solution out there if you want to have players choose what ever stats they want and still leave the player the opportunity to decide on their looks. The only downside to this could be if in a PvP setting you actually want to have the enemy to be able to see what your stats are by looking at your armor, since in the mix and match -system you wont be able to do that.

Posted: Apr 27th 2009 2:59AM (Unverified) said

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On an interesting side note, Guild Wars didn't start out with the rune/insignia system. The equipment buffs used to be tied to specific armor types in much the same way as they are in many other games. For the very reasons mentioned, Guild Wars players used to all run around looking like an armor shop exploded on them.

The introduction of the rune/insignia system decoupled the stats from the armor type while still allowing the equipment to carry buffs. Essentially each armor piece is "socketed" to carry two buffs. If you decide to get new armor, you simply salvage the attributes off the old armor and plug them into the new armor pieces. All in all, it's a very slick solution to the problem. The players keep their favorite buffs, and even assemble special armor sets for specific situations. But now the armor reflect the players' tastes, not their technical requirements.

There's no reason other games couldn't expand on the same idea. Level one gear might have no sockets, whereas high level gear might have five sockets. High level buffs could still be made very rare/expensive in such a system. But attach the buffs to the runes/gems/insignia etc. that have been socketed in the gear, rather than attaching them to the gear itself.

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