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Reader Comments (34)

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 8:30AM remeran said

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Uniqueness to me is extremely important in MMO's even though I don't want it to be. I can't help but want to look different and as much as I hate to admit it my heart sinks when I see someone with the same shiny new armor that I just got. Then again I don't want to be that person who farms a million years for that epic piece of loot...or do I? I have mixed feelings. =D

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 8:50AM Greyhame said

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Not overly important to be honest. While there are some times too limited selections,. as long as I'm happy with the way my character looks, I don't overly care how many more there are out there like him.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 8:52AM truthlesshero said

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When it comes to play style/build, not at all important. Appearance, very important. It's why I almost can't believe every MMO doesnt have a 'cosmetic slot'.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:04AM redsolar said

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Very important.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:06AM Lobotomist said

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Its incredibly important to me.

One of the reasons to play MMO - instead of just playing multiplayer game , is the uniqueness.

To have different build, to be able to do things others can not, and to look differently.

Unfortunately some new MMOs - like Rift , forgot this.
And everyone looks the same.


Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:06AM nomoredroids said

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"a piece of loot that's so extraordinarily rare that you're most likely the only one possessing it."

When does this happen?

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:14AM nomoredroids said

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@nomoredroids

And I suppose I should answer the question, rather than harangue the poor author.

It depends on how the uniqueness is achieved. I felt the only thing CO and APB did right was making the player feel unique, but there was no fun in-game with either, so why bother? The game has to be fun, or I'm not playing. A fun game will make me not care if my character model is 'unique' or not.

I usually make my characters unique through my builds. I like to take overlooked or under-used builds and make them awesome (or at least playable).
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:44AM kjhasdfjkhk said

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@nomoredroids

It used to happen back in the day with a lot of MMOs. Hell, it even happened in WoW believe it or not, with weapons like Thunderfury where only one person would have it on the server for months at a time. Now they hand everybody anything they want in WoW and it's turned into the shitfest you see today.

Giving people everything they want essentially makes them miserable. Having to work for something that's hard to get is the only way to feel any sort of sense of accomplishment by actually getting it.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:28AM Jade Effect said

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Uniqueness doesn't matter to me. I just go my way. I aim to find the character appearance customization or skill point allocation or whatever that I'm happy with. I don't care what everyone else do.

Sometimes, certain character appearance option are simply popular, such as the female monk's double-bun hairstyle in Guild Wars, and everyone (including me) end up choosing it. Or sometimes certain skill trees are simply better due to poor balancing by the developers, and everyone (including me) end up choosing it. It doesn't bother me.

I've met some players who purposely choose a different skill tree just for the sake of being different. Basically they gimp themselves for the sake of being different, then complain non-stop how that character suck.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:35AM j1083 said

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Extremely important. I really wish WoW has an appearance tab so players could customize a little more.

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/981899278?page=1

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:39AM kjhasdfjkhk said

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It's very important. My main issue with a lot of MMOs is that there are too few armor sets to choose from. Most high level people all just have "the best one". Every game should have more than just one set in an armor "tier". And I don't just mean one with various stats but the same look. Look is more important to MMO players than developers think, and has a huge impact on how long people subscribe to a game. There was a good article from Ten Ton Hammer last week that discussed that very thing:

http://www.tentonhammer.com/editorials/sharp-dressed-toon

(Sorry, not usually one to pimp other websites but it's a good read)

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 11:12AM nomoredroids said

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It doesn't happen anymore, that is my point. Or maybe it does, which was my half-rhetorical question.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:52AM Beau Hindman said

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'm not sure that 99% of players I meet, in any type of game from sandbox PvP to "themepark" games, want to be unique at all.

They follow some build guide, watch dungeon videos before going into the dungeon, read up on guildmates rules to playing their class, or just generally follow a template to perfection. Yes, even in games where you can almost have a perfect, wonderfully unique character, players seem to value power over being one-of-a-kind. Right now I am touring around Anarchy Online, a fantastic 10-year old scif-i MMO. It offers the chance to make up a character out of scores of skills. Even then, I have already been "instructed" on how to play correctly; where to go, what to do to get training points, etc.

I have always preferred being different, at *least* in look (if the game forces classes or templates) and would much rather be weak than just another warrior with perfect DPS. This is why I prefer games that allow a player to build whatever kind of character they want, from the ground up -- or at least close to it.

This is not to say that players who prefer limited class-based play are bad or wrong or not doing it right...as long as they're having fun it doesn't matter! :)

Beau

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 2:24PM Kaemin said

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@Beau Hindman /agreed
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 10:45AM Bottleskup said

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I think physical uniqueness is unfortunately skewed, with respect to the relationship between the importance of it to the customer, and the possibility of it within the game. I don't think I have ever met or heard about anyone who is fine looking exactly the same as everyone else of the same class (obviously cross-class differences are far easier to handle), in fact imagine if you will a game with the normal statistical gear progression and power increase, but everything from creation to max level is the same skin or even nearly the same skin. Who would like that? Only, i believe, very detatched gamers.

Compare this however with the prevalence within MMOs of gear which is deemed as the best for each slot, at every tier. This means if you want to have stats x,y,z you need gear a,b,c, or if you dont have access to the number one for each slot, here is a nice list of the second best item for every slot, and so on. This system by design tends to result in characters wearing the same gear as eachother, and striving for the same upgrades as eachother.

But while people are going for the same stats, same upgrades, same caps as other players of the same class (and playstyle obviously) they do not by any means want to look identical. Many games overcome this with the cosmetic or appearance slot system, one which i am quite fond of, and i believe most people like having, but yet i am still shocked to find games that DON'T have any system like this, there is literally no downside that i can see.

GW2 takes this to a higher level with item transmogrification (or whatever) which binds two items of the same slot into one, taking the appearance off one and the stats off another and creating an entirely new piece of gear, technically. There is also an extremely robust and versatile dye system "the likes of which we have never seen" to further customise your looks. This is better than the appearance slots, because two players with exactly the same appearance slot gear can still be individual from eachother. I realise LOTRO has a dye system too, but it is not as free as the GW2 system is claiming to be. Only time will tell of course.

Anyway i think i've lost my train of thought (this frequently happens when i mention GW2, my eyes glaze over and i start dribbling and whispering something about Zhaitan and traits) so i'll leave this here and hope it makes some degree of sense.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:24PM Turbana said

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@Bottleskup

"GW2 takes this to a higher level with item transmogrification (or whatever) ..."

Really excited for GW2, but unfortunately transmutation is a large step backwards from, say, the cosmetic system of Lotro.

In Lotro, you find a piece of gear you like the look of and equip it into a cosmetic slot. Done. Now you get to look like you're wearing that piece of armor til you slot something else in it's place.

In GW2, you find a piece of gear you like the look of and transmute it with the equivalent piece of armor you like the stats of (probably what you're wearing currently). Now you have to do this each time you want to upgrade the stats on your armor. If you found the cosmetic armor at a low level you might have to transmute it many times before getting to cap and settling on one set of stats.

So far it's roughly equivalent to having one cosmetic tab in Lotro, just more of a hassle. Where it gets significantly worse is the fact that transmuting requires transmutation stones which are only going to be sold in the in-game store.

It's unclear to me whether they will be sold for real or in-game money, but either way there will be a cost associated with it. This, I see, as a step backwards for cosmetic nuts such as me.

As an aside, I just saw a video on the dye system and I think I crapped my pants.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 5:48PM Bottleskup said

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@Turbana

ah yeah i see your point here, and you're right it didnt occur to me. Probably because to me, the gw2 artwork is absolutely fantastic and i believe them when they say it isnt going to be necessary to transmogrify (i prefer it to transmute now, but thanks for reminding me lol) to get good looks.

That doesnt make your point any less valid though, obviously. Yes it would seem if we want to keep changing appearance (or keeping an appearance and changing stats) we are going to have to keep buying stones for it. IIRC it was also mentioned that the trans stones may be implemented ingame, or attainable in some way other than the in game store, but there are no further details on that as far as i know. Hopefully its not as hard, or costly as it *could* be if they wanted it to be, or it just won't be necessary because they're incredible?

Still, good point.

As an aside, i just watched the manifesto video for the 700th time and I think I crapped my pants.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 9:43PM Turbana said

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@Bottleskup

Right there with you on the amazing looks. Everything I've seen about GW2 is absolutely gorgeous. Same with GW1. Just this last week or so I've gotten into GW1, and holy crap, some of the armor is just amazing looking. Yeah, it could use a few more polygons, but man, it looks sweet. Can't wait til I can get a set of prestige armor either. The areas are awesome looking as well. Sure wish I could get a zone that is completely s-curves, but at least they look gorgeous.

Yeah, really hoping we can get transmogryfing stones without paying out real cash every time. "In-game store" isn't very precise. *Crosses fingers*

And I guess to actually answer the question: WTB 10 more cosmetic slots in Lotro.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 10:56AM Drannos said

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In terms of build or appearance, I don't find it particularly important. With games driven by itemization (which is most MMOs these days...), it's hard to find so many toons that look identical that it really bothers me...

What's more important to me as a player is that I like the look of my toon and my equipment. If I'm happy with how my gear looks, I can't be much bothered with how close I am in appearance to others.

This is why I love cosmetic systems - we can take advantage of gear sets that maybe every other player of our class also uses, but we can design our look to something *we* like, without fear of nerfing ourselves.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 1:41PM kjhasdfjkhk said

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Well, the article doesn't say anything about the items being "good". Even nowadays, I still wear some level 1 junk item that may have a cool look but no one ever bothered wearing it or keeping it, so they don't even know what it is. Getting a rare low level drop even with a unique look and wearing it at a high level simply because of the look sometimes gets people asking what item it is and where it comes from. Some junk item no one else ever bothered to keep or equip and therefore is rare and no one else has it.
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