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Reader Comments (101)

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 7:37PM FrostPaw said

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I think the problem with GM interaction or uniquely created items by GM's is the perception of favouritism. There are always "those" gamers that work hard to become on a first name basis with anybody with a GM tag and by extension milk as much "cool stuff" out of them as possible. GM's are, after all only human so you can't expect them not to draw friendships and favourites among a community so by keeping them as hands off as possible you prevent any accusations or perceptions from getting out of hand.

I remember playing in beta for Wish and after one of the test RP events led by GM's the GM decided to reward some people with a flaming sword (the only glowy in the game at that point) well everyone formed an orderly queue in front of the GM which looked ridiculous but being a bit slow I ended up at the back of the queue, after 10 minutes of handing out flaming swords half the queue was gone and he decided he had to go leaving the rest of us with nothing.

Now you can argue, "shoulda been faster in the queue" or you could argue it was beta so didn't really matter but it still bothered me I did the same as everyone else and was left out...and I'm an experienced tester so I can see how people don't like GM's getting too involved or the potential aggro it can cause in a community of "special snowflakes"
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Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 12:42PM Tom in VA said

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Here's the fundamental problem with most armors in most games:

The higher level the armor, the more ridiculous and comical it looks. Upper-tier armors are festooned with swirly bits, sparkly spikes, and stupendously idiotic gewgaws of various kinds. For the most part, I loathe them all. No one could possibly actually FIGHT in such bizarre, freakish costumes. And if you prefer to RP (as I do), your RP experience is greatly diminished by having to RP in a clown's getup.

WoW is one of the worst offenders in this regard, but they are by no means alone. Even Guild Wars -- a game I love and that does have some good armors -- has absolutely butt-ugly or stupendously silly armors for certain classes (Monk, Dervish, Paragon, Mesmer, and Necromancer, in particular).

I generally prefer simple basic, armors and, in games without appearance tabs (or some other appearance workaround), you are pretty much forced to look progressively more outlandish the higher level you get.

I have lately been playing a Paragon in Guild Wars, and all I can say is, thank goodness for the Shining Blade costume feature option now implemented in that game. Paragon is a great class that, previously, I just wouldn't play on account of the associated (male) armors.

So, yeah. Control of my character's armor appearance is very important to me. Kudos to WoW for finally addressing this issue.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 6:33PM Irem said

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@Tom in VA
Me and that Shining Blade costume are best friends. I have never regretted buying that for one second, because it always does to hold me over until I can find my poor alts something else I can stand to look at, and some characters I've never taken it off of.
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Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 12:46PM theinternetman said

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I don't for one second think just because I don't like the style of an armor, that the developers have failed in making an appealing set of armor. That said due to everyone's varied tastes, an appearance tab is a huge bonus for an MMO's population. It breeds creativity and unique personas, things that are essential to the value of gameplay in an MMO.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 1:17PM Greyhame said

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Necessary? No. I'll play a game whether it has them or not.

Nice to have? Certainly. But not really a major feature in my opinion. It's a minor nice to have that can give something to allow people to look the way they want. This would probably not be necessary if armors didn't vary much in look, and things like colours matched to a set piece (or armour dyes to allow the same thing).

WoW's probably is that generally the gear changes massively between different areas as well as different raids so people end up looking like they are mismatched. If you remove this, then it's not much of a problem. Also, more modest armour (and weapons that actually look like the weapon type they are suppose to be) help as well.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 1:47PM ChongShin said

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Absolutely yes. 'Nuff said.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 2:00PM kyrv said

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"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."

Love you Jef but this is something you might conclude if you did NOT think about it. It's just not true. It's a signal that players, who are people, actually want to decide what they wear and what they look like. You know, like real life.

Big titles imo should have appearance tabs. Blizzard's dogmatic view works for them, but won't suffice for games that don't have the bully pulpit. Maybe not "essential", but games should have them today imo. For sure. :)

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 3:47PM Ardra Diva said

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Cosmetics and socials are a huge thing to me. Otherwise I might as well be playing an offline 1 player game...

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 4:55PM shirtntie said

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I argue that yes they are essential. Appearance tab or Cosmetic tabs are at their core ways to customize your avatar and nothing else. They are the same as the ability to choose what you call your character, what race it will be, what skin tone, face, sex, hair/hair color it will have.
Those who argue against appearance tabs argue against character customization. Therefore they unattentionally support no character customization, all games should have one race, one sex and one name separated by numbers ("0001", "0002", "0012").

I believe those who argue against appearance tabs do so in ignorance. (mainly because they only play WoW and if WoW does not have it there must be a reason). Well to you I invite you to download lotro for free, log in for free and start using the appearance tab at level one as soon as you log in. You will find that it is no more threatening or scary to your way of life as choosing a name for your character. I dare say you may find it as fun as making up a lore based or silly name.

For you WoW players I ask one more thing. Look at the barbershop. Ask yourself:
1. Have I ever had a bad experience using it?
2. Has it's implementation into the game made WoW worse?
3. How many players do I know never used the barber shop?

Posted: Aug 24th 2011 4:22AM GW2waiting said

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@shirtntie

I would love to download lotro and have a go, but the download size, plus their inclusion of malware (pando) means it's unlikely. Shame really... Looks like a real MMORPG.
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Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 5:37PM OutThere said

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Absolutely essential. I spend more time in LOTRO getting all my characters to look exactly right than I do actually playing some days. It is more than eye candy. When a major title launches without it (I'm looking at you, Rift) it is a let down. But when they do put it in (I'm looking at you 1.3 Rift), it significantly changes your engagement with your characters.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 8:11PM hansh0tfirst said

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ABSOLUTELY!!!111

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 8:51PM Yukon Sam said

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I've enjoyed Wurm Online, which has zero character customization beyond male/female. Everybody looks the same.

But that's an exception, and I'm willing to cut them slack because they're a shoestring operation with big ideas.

If you've got a AAA budget and an actual art staff, I see no excuse not to have cosmetic options. It's not that the best gear always looks like crap -- I've seen some awesome graphics work on top-tier gear and I applaud it.. It's just that when EVERYBODY has the same gear, every game starts to look like Revenge of the Clones.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:10PM Squidsnthings said

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I just wanted some cohesion with my armor in those types of games. Sometimes you just really like the way something looks and upgrading to new armor will mess that up. I don't see it as a failure of the company, I see it as different tastes.

Posted: Aug 23rd 2011 9:18PM (Unverified) said

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Not essential, but any game that has one gains a little more of my interest for sure.

Posted: Aug 24th 2011 10:41PM Lumin said

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I don't consider armor reskinning essential, but it has definitely been the trend over the last several years. For a while f2p games have been taking advantage of the desire for unique/prettier armor and using it to fuel microtransaction setups (cash shop costumes, etc) - more recently, reskinning was a toted feature of Aion, and GW2 will have similar options (transmutation stones.)

As for me.. being able to reskin armor definitely increases the amount of customization available to you. However one of the reasons I love customizing characters in games is trying to make a unique and appealing character while limited by the available options. The presence/lack of reskinning doesn't change this. If anything, it makes "being pretty" a little too easy.

Posted: Aug 25th 2011 1:28PM heerobya said

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Appearance tabs = new standard for all MMO games.

No reason not to have it IMO

Posted: Aug 26th 2011 1:44AM Space Cobra said

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Yes!

But as said earlier, it's a bit too little, too late. Been ages since I played and this is one of the reasons I left among others (small reason). I still don't feel any great tug to return, even if I do have a good friend or two that still plays it.

Needs to offer more besides this money sink.

Posted: Aug 26th 2011 10:22AM bghost26 said

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I am honestly always more concerned with the stats attached to an item than with the aesthetics of the item itself.

I have honestly never used this feature in any game I have played, and I wont use it in Wow either... I understand that most people do care how their character looks, but honestly I just want better gear than everyone else stat-wise.

Posted: Aug 27th 2011 12:40AM Questins said

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I think appearance is important but with WoW especially, I had a Paladin that just looked like a freakin clown. It was one of the reasons I quit. I couldn't help but imagine my guy walking into a real King's court where they're all dressed in, say, silver armor with matching tabards and here I come with purple gloves, blood soaked red spikey pauldrons, a belt with an orange skull on it, purple boots (but not the purple from the gloves, it's a clashing purple that hurts your eyes when on the screen at the same time as the other purple), etc. The King's court all groan and put their hands over their eyes and squint at the total obnoxiousness that is my armor. But yeah, also too little too late for me :(
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