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Reader Comments (101)

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:09AM Jef Reahard said

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@j1083

My design would definitely not please everyone. It'd be pretty niche because before I even got to armor/clothing, I'd redo how MMO combat works altogether (which would in turn make gear stats pretty unnecessary and lead to people wearing whatever they like).

Thanks for asking though.

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Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:28AM j1083 said

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@Jef Reahard, (Unverified)

Picking on WoW is fine, I do it ten times before I've opened my eyes for the day and the armor models are certainly an easy target for ridicule. Still, I'm just noting I take offense to the idea that "Appearance tabs in MMOs are a funny thing. When you think about it, the implementation of an appearance tab is a signal that, on some level, the initial game design has failed to deliver. It's an admission that the best gear often looks like crap -- or is too prevalent -- and many players wouldn't be caught dead wearing it if there were any alternative."

That's really just not correct. The design failure was failure to include an appearance tab in the first place.

Including an appearance tab represents a designer accepting that it's insane to give a person a Barbie doll and then tell them that they aren't allowed to dress it. RPGs are about characters, defining them is important. Avatars are your physical represntation in the game world, customizing them is important. Refusing to let a player decide how their character looks, especially on a level as fundamental as the clothing they wear ad nauseum (and, in WoW's case, is supposed to represent a reward) will always be doomed to failure.

Trying to combat human nature is not in the best interests of an MMORPG.
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Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 10:12AM gn33101 said

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@Dunraven

"Hey you just reached level 60 and have successfully obtained you Teir set... congratulations here is the Chiquita outfit from pride day."

lol! Perfect! Could not have said it better myself.
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Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 8:37AM j1083 said

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Different people ahve different opinions, what an incrdible surprise. Given this unavoidable fact, the approach of "here's your gear, wear it or die" is naturally going to displease some.

Appearance tabs are absolutely essential, without customization options, each is one size fits none.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 8:47AM Issmir said

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There's a short answer and a long answer.

The short answer is, "yes."

The long answer is, "yes, appearance tabs are essential."

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 8:59AM alimantando said

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definitely.

I stopped playing on my Hunter and tried out other games because I had a mishmash of gear in BC that looked like a rainbow.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 8:59AM koehler83 said

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I'm not sure I'd call appearance tabs 'essential'. I do totally agree with the quote: "It's an admission that the best gear often looks like crap." What is with that?

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:02AM chauncy said

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i don't think appearance tabs are essential, no. I do think that being able to customize your character to look how you want them to look is essential, but I certainly don't think that the only way to do that is via an appearance tab. It was novel back in LotRO, but I just think there are better ways of doing it.

I quite enjoyed WARs trophy system where you could pimp up your outfit with skulls or whatever, and I also liked the way that Guild Wars handled it with gear being mainly cosmetic in the first place. I also really like what SWTOR's doing but I'm not sure if it's actually been announced yet so I won't say too much for fear of NDA reprisals (and I'm not talking about the colour match up though I suppose that helps too).

I think that Blizzard's decision to simply go with the same old appearance tab system was a bit lazy, I almost get the impression that they were just giving into demand and didn't want to think about - or put their own spin - on this kind of customization feature.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:11AM chauncy said

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@chauncy Actually, I just looked into it as I'd only heard about WoWs implementation from (apparently jaded) friends, who said "yeah it's just an appearance tab" (I don't play anymore or follow it). My fault for taking that at face value, but to be fair this article also backed up that assumption by also inferring that the transmogrification as an "appearance tab".

Either way, I spoke too soon. Seems that Blizzard haven't just slapped an extra tab on the character sheet afterall.
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Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:17AM Irem said

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@chauncy
It's sort of started to become shorthand for customizable/cosmetic armor across the board, I've noticed--one of those terminology holdovers from an early implementation of a mechanic that just sticks, maybe, like "dungeons" for any sort of instanced content (dungeonish or otherwise).

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Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 10:10AM Lenn said

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@chauncy If you're talking about moddable armour, that's been known for a long time now.
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Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:03AM Mikkhail said

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Essential; I am not sure that they are 100% essential for me personally ... if the game is really good ... but it sure adds to the depth and enjoyment for me if I am able to customize.

This is a feature I have been crying about for years at Blizz ... but I kept playing .... sooooo ... maybe they had at least a bit of a point in holding out; that being said, I am just glad they are finally doing it ... and just sad that I ran out of storage and deleted some of my old grear (no longer obtainable gear) long, long ago.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:42AM Quarlo said

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Long overdue Blizz. Shame I kicked your game to the curb long ago.

One of my toons had a farmers outfit: straw hat, overalls & Pitchfork. I would have loved to have taken this oufit into a max level raid for laughs.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:43AM Dumac said

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I don't think so. I think they're clumsy to use and are a "fake"/lazy customization feature. I much prefer dyes.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:45AM real65rcncom said

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It does signal design fail, but not necessarily game fail.

FFXIV and RIFT are two great examples.

FFXIV was horrible at launch, didn't work properly and drove many people away. Yet their armors/weapons design is the best you will ever see when it comes to detail and variety.

RIFT is the best polished game around in the last few years yet the armors/gear in it are even worse than FTP games from 10 years ago. From level 10 all the way to max (and even epics) you will have the same repeating crap over and over again. There literally was no difference between the Cuirass of Holy Contemplation at level 10 and the Lord's Mighty Cuirass of Magnificient Buffage at level 50 from a dungeon. Both were the same exact piece visually and I mean exactly.

Tabs were put in and that helped with the looks which tended to make people care about them a little more because now they've got the toons to look like they want, not like Generic Player #2,456.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:49AM Carolina said

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Yes, and I disagree that appearance tabs show a "failure" from the art team. Like many here have commented, the failure is to not let us pick between the many pieces made.

As for Blizz's addition just now, it comes late to me, and it comes just half made, since they'll let only gear with stats be part of the outfits, while they do have very beautiful pieces that do not have stats, in which you gain during festivals and such.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:56AM Ogged said

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"Essential to me" - no.
"Nice to have" - yes.

If I get basic options like "show/hide helmet", "show/hide cloak" and "show cloak with or without hood" AND a dye system like DAoC has, that's usually enough for me.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:57AM Misterlee said

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Essential? No obviously not, you can play the game perfectly well without it.

A signal that, on some level, the initial game design has failed to deliver? Nonsense. It's a signal, as if we didn't already know, that different people have different tastes especially when it comes to outfits.

An admission that the best gear often looks like crap?
In some cases (WoW I'm looking at you pretty much for every tier armor set in the last couple of years). But again, it's down to personal preference.

Or is too prevalent?
Yes, for sure. Especially in WoW where you pretty much have to go for the same gear as everyone else because that's all there is to do.

I don't care in the case of WoW though since I stopped playing shortly after the release of the Lolpopculturepunaclysm expansion.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 10:04AM willflynne said

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Count me in the "essential" category.

One of the best outlets for player creativity in most of the games out there is how your character looks. An appearance tab gives the player more options to express themselves without having to sacrifice the protection and stat bonuses they want to keep.

It's also a great way to pass the time. If things are slow during a given play session I'll still find myself playing around with armor/clothing combinations, trying to find the right combo that fits the theme I'm going for.

Also, as others have said, sometimes there are outfits that you just can't stand and would wear in full. Best example for me is the Padded armor style in SWG. It's armor that looks like it could be clothing as well, and overall it's great. Except for the helmet. Kind of hard to look tough and intimidating when your helmet makes it look like you're wearing a swim cap with a frisbee disc glued to the top. LOL

It may not be 100% essential for some, but I can't see myself staying with a game for very long if the appearance options are limited.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 10:13AM eLdritchZ said

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well I wouldn't necessarily say they are mandatory... I can play and enjoy a game that doesn't have them...

That being said, I DO absolutely prefer having appearance tabs or some such... especially in games with art direction as strange as WoW I always wished I could equip my paladin with Judgement Armor again instead of the ugly excuses for armor that followed... the fact that blizzard is only adding this now, shows how aweful they really are in terms of content and developement.... Just compare the amount of content that has been added to Rift since it's launch with what Blizzard has come up with in the last year... For all that ridiculous money they make, they are not even close to giving the game enough attention... but as long as their millions of zombies are too thick to realize that - all power to them ;)

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