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It’s hard to feel
like an epic warrior of righteousness or
dastardly purveyor of evil when your characters look like dirty hobos
in mismatched gear. At the same time, players typically want at least
some means of expressing originality rather than looking like just
another sardine shoved into the MMOG can. Some titles address both
sides of the issue by incorporating cosmetic items into the mix, while
still others allow you to mix and match dyes to come up with a look
that’s uniquely your own. But it can also lead to disastrous
results when you bank the success of your game on the cosmetic side of
itemization alone. We’ll take a look at current examples of
of these approaches today in Loading…
Kick in the Dye.
your PlayerScore? World of
Warcraft players, find out at playerscore.com.
Loading... Grinding out the
next level to get that mount!
Itemization plays a major role in the long term enjoyment of an MMOG
for a lot of players. Some titles are so sharply focused on progressive
gear grinds that players will run the same content countless times all
for adding a trivial boost to their character’s core stats.
This is certainly the case in World of Warcraft
where, by and large, the entire endgame experience boils down to
gameplay types that offer different paths to obtaining new gear. Be it
raising reputations, running instances and raids, or even PvP game
types, the entire reward structure is based on players’
desire to obtain shiny new things for their characters.
While this approach obviously works for endgame content, over the years
certain developers have banked on allowing players to feel epic from
the start by adding incredibly robust customization tools to the
character creation process. Considering the nature of the settings,
this approach has been a natural fit for games like City of Heroes
and Champions Online
But even in those titles players still crave some form of enhancements
for characters that helps separate the vets from the newly hatched
heroes or villains.
Banking too much of your game’s success on cosmetic
itemization can also prove disastrous which I feel played a major
contributing factor in the recent demise of APB
I’ve gone to enough industry conventions and fan events this
year to take note of the fact that gamers really aren’t the
most fashion conscious people out there. So while the customization
options in APB
were second to none, I still feel that had there been more than
cosmetic options linked to itemization in the game it might have been a
much more successful venture straight out of the gates.
Personally though, I’m all for tools and systems that bridge
the gap between the two extremes and offer more of a “best of
both worlds” scenario. In other words, keep power progression
tied to itemization but then offer players the ability to adjust the
actual look of their character by other means should they so choose.
Sure, wearing the absolute best available gear for your class gives
players certain bragging rights, but no one really enjoys looking like
an MMO hobo on the way there.
and Lord of the Rings Online
have the right idea by letting players equip purely cosmetic items to
attain a specific look for their characters. A good example of this can
be seen in Gunky’s recent roundup of the newest
fall fashions in Middle Earth
The beauty of these items is that they’re just as well
crafted visually as the best dungeon gear, but at the same time since
the cosmetic items aren’t linked to stat progression in any
way they’re entirely optional and have no other direct impact
on your gameplay experience.
The only real downside to cosmetic armors is that it can be nearly
impossible to differentiate between character classes at a glance. This
can really be an annoyance in PvP or even open world PvE scenarios.
Armor profiles can give you all the visual information you need most of
the time when picking primary targets or even being conscious of
staying in close proximity to healers. Removing those visual cues
generally leads to a less fluid combat experience because
you’re spending too much time figuring out what class other
characters are and not enough time diving into the battle.
That’s the primary reason I’ve always liked the
concept of dye systems in MMOGs, at least when you throw PvP into the
mix. The latest official blog post from ArenaNet for Guild Wars 2
goes fairly in depth on how the dye
will work in that game
and I certainly think they’re on the right track. Itemization
still matters to character progression and strong armor profiles can
factor into PvP, yet players still have the ability to add their own
individual touches to how their character looks.
And thus concludes another of my seemingly aimless diatribes on MMOG
design! Be sure to hop your virtual pogo stick on over to the
and share your thoughts on
the cosmetic side
of the character progression coin!
Epic Thread of the Day
From our Ten
Ton Torched Forum
The Daily "It Made Me
From our DC Universe Online General Discussion
Looks tempting, but...
So, there was this thread about DC Universe Online
and new Ten Ton Hammer community member, mega Tsunami, joined just to
post, "SOE. No Thanks." And then bobfish was all, "You registered just
to post that?" And then people were all, "Well, I'm going to play," and
other people were all, "I don't like DC." We're pretty sure that
you have an opinion on DCUO. Here's the perfect thread for expressing it
Quotes from the Epic Thread
am going to play it when it comes out to see how it compares with
Champions. See how things go. I did have fun in EQ 1 and 2. With 6
years of WoW I am a bit burned out on it.
and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer
5 new Ten Ton Hammer
features today! 105 Ten Ton
Hammer features in September! 1060 in 2010!
EverQuest 2 Extended
– Open Borders
EverQuest II Extended was announced, few players were more excited than
our own Jason “Medawky” Bolton who grew up in
always had a
soft spot for the franchise. How did the newly-liberated shattered
lands live up to this prodigal son’s expectations, and is the
server worth your time? Join us this week in Microcosms to find out.
Introduction to Weapons in Guild
will work a little differently in Guild Wars 2 than they do in
traditional MMOGs. While each will still contain various stats that can
enhance your character’s role in combat, they will also grant
access to specific core skills based on their profession and a whole
host of other gameplay variables. Learn all there is to know about
weapons including types, sets, environmental objects as weapons and
even Weapon Master achievements in our introduction to weapons in Guild
The Caracal In EVE Online
Caracal is a fantastic ship for new Caldari players who are expecting
to pursue missiles as their primary weaponry system. Think of it as a
baby drake. Space Junkie explains the ins and outs of this
It On! Guide to New Fall Fashion
Monday's Lord of the Rings Online patch came a new and welcomed treat:
the ability to try on the cosmetic items in the store without having to
buy them first, or have someone else buy them and link them in chat.
This is truly a boon to fashion moguls who care about style
to conserve their precious Turbine Points for substance.
Rogue Talent Guide for Patch 4.0.1
Rogues have been riding a balancing rollercoaster for all of Wrath of
the Lich King and
it's not over yet! Cataclysm is delivering a significant revamp to the
sneaky stealthers. Check out the new talents and get some analysis on
how they will affect your playstyle. Talent information and analysis is
updated for Patch 4.0.1!
Rogue Talent Guide for Patch 4.0.1
- Marvel Super Hero Squad
Online - A Heroes &
Gear and Comparing Scores in World of
to Norrath! An Interview with EverQuest
Introduction to Weapons in Guild Wars 2
the Emperor! Gods and Heroes
- An Interview with Heatwave Interactive
Ton Hammer's All-New Minstrel Class Guide for Lord of the Rings Online
Preliminary Look At The Incursion Expansion For EVE Online
Guide to the Major Changes in WoW
for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!
- Reuben "Sardu" Waters and the Ten Ton Hammer