Some People’s Closets

Posted: September 7, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2

Well, game developer Greg “Rothgar” Spence has stated that any restrictions upon what you can wear with the upcoming Appearance Tab have been removed:

Even though I know how much people love reading 50-page threads, I thought I’d start a new one anyway. 

A change should be going out to the Test server later today that removes the previous restrictions on appearance items.

You’ll now be able to equip anything in an appearance slot that is usable by your class.

Now, I’m all for more options to improve the way my character is presented to the world, but just as I wasn’t a big fan of armor dyes, I’m not a big fan of a no-restriction, wear-whatever-you-want appearance tab design, either.  I feel that, just as with the appearance tab, you’re going to see a selection of players who play within the unspoken rules, who just try to make for a nice outfit, but I’ll venture to state that the majority of players will either look MORE alike (not less) and that a certain selection of players will go out of their way to look as ridiculous as possible just to stand out. 

And really, why shouldn’t they?

In a system like the one being proposed, players immediately (and naturally) think of how the system benefits themselves personally.  I’ll be honest and admit that I’ve certainly spent some time shopping this week specifically looking for new outfits to wear when the changes go live, but the thought occured to me that without any restrictions at all, what’s to stop every other player from wearing an Antonia Bayle or Lucan d’lere mask ALL THE TIME.  What’s to stop players from wearing masks which show arrows or hatcets piercing their skulls.  What’s to stop players from wearing Frostfell outfits all year round?

The answer is nothing.  There’s nothing preventing users from doing any of these things, and so the age old adage of software design comes into play:  “if it can be done by a user, it will be done by a user.”

We all like to think with fondness upon the days of yore when armor dyes were introduced to old Everquest.  Of course, with those armor dyes came some pretty snazzy outfits.  Of course, we also saw every other rogue or shadowknight in head to toe all-black armor.  And of course, we saw hot pink ogres and neon green trolls. 

Does anyone really think things will be different with this system in Everquest 2?  Is history magically not going to repeat itself? 

Sure, we’ll see some pretty nice outfits.  But for those of you who care about the appearance of the armors around you, you’ll also see some ridiculous outfits – far more ridiculous than the mismatched armors you’ve seen up till now.  You’ll see black cats and gigglegibbers and pumpkin headed adventurers.  You’ll see pastel pink and green and bright purple and electric blue clad barbarians.  You’ll see outfits of every possible and conceivable concoction of extreme taste.

Why? 

Because it’s online.  Because there’s no penalty for doing it.  Because it can be done and therefore will be done. 

Certainly I’m as unhappy as the next person with mismatching armors.  I’m the first to admit that something should be done.  I’m just not particularly convinced that this will be THE fix that comes to save the day.  In many ways, I have a feeling this will create more issues than it fixes. 

I hope I’m wrong.  I really do.  Perhaps SOE will do much better this time around trusting their playerbase than they did with the release of Legacy of Ykesha. 

Of course, if I am wrong, at least I’m in good company with my “incorrect” opinion:

“But all that pales in comparison to the worst, most intollerable part of the Ykesha expansion: armor dyes.

It didn’t take long for places like the Plane of Knowledge and the Bazaar to be filled with garish monstrosities of blindingly bright colors as people try to outdo each other’s bad taste. What you end up with is ridiculous nightmares like this one:

*Picture Link Lost*
I cannot emphasize enough what a massive mistake this armor dye system was. SOE just managed to cheapen its own game–something it had been pretty good at avoiding for the last several years. I explained before how they could have implemented a dye system that makes sense, but they chose to go with a method that allowed this kind of garbage. For the benefit of the EQ2 team–as well as developers of competing MMORPGs–let me explain again how armor dyes should work.

Player-made armors should be dyable within realistic ranges. Leathers should be browns, blacks, dark greens, greys, and possibly dark blues. Metallic armors should be limited to metallic shades–black, silver, gold, bronze, copper, etc. All of these kinds of armors should only be tintable at creation, just like Ultima Online originally did it. Robes that casters use should have greater freedom of color choice, as should visible cloaks if you implement them. It makes sense for cloth to have a wide range of colors, though some limitations still make sense.

Armor that drops from mobs should not be tintable. Period. End of discussion. This would allow developers to use unique colors for boss drops or quest items. If you see someone in crimson plate, you should be able to tell that they have obtained something rare and unique, not that they were simply able to find the dye vendor.

It’s probably too late to fix this in EQ, since the genie was unfortunately let out of the bottle. But look at that picture above one more time. It’s stupid. Stupid. You can say how nifty it is to dye armor and make your character unique, but the fun of screwing around with colors doesn’t change the fact that seeing characters run around in gear like this weakens the game for a lot of players. EQ may be winding down a bit as its own sequel and numerous competitors draw near, but there’s no reason to nudge it faster into the grave. Moves like this do so, at least for a lot of us.”

-Moorgard Mobhunter, February 2003 (yes, THAT Moorgard)

Of course, as I’ve stated, there’s no reason players can’t dress up however they’d like.  After all, if it’s in the game, shouldn’t players be able to use it to customize themselves as garishly as they want to? 

After all, they pay the same amount of money the rest of us do to play the same game, right?  And it’s not as if the players created the armors and items they’re using to dress up with, right – the developers created those items, after all.

Of course, when the developers created those items, they didn’t necessarily expect them to be used for everyday use, right?  They designed some items with poor stats entirely intentionally, knowing that it then became a choice players had to weigh in order to achieve the “look” they wanted.  Would they have put some of the items into the game if they had known that eventually everything could be worn all of the time without penalty?  I know what I think, but who can really know, right?

So, I’ve come to accept that I have a minority view on this concept.  I’ve already started to see screenshots and descriptions from players who can’t wait to start raiding with goblin heads and seafoam green/electric blue mixed leather and plate outfits; who can’t wait to start grouping up wearing formal gowns and Lucan’s head; who can’t wait to show off 6 colored outfits. 

So I guess if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?  Oh well, I’ll be the Templar in the newbie areas offering to help out new players while wearing 5 different mismatched items and a giant Antonia Bayle head.  That outta give ’em the right first impression, right?

Right!?

*sigh*
 
 

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Comments
  1. Gdub says:

    I feel this feature is a waste of the devs’ time. They could have implemented something else, or just spent more time developing/testing the new expansion. Personally, I don’t care that some toons are mismatched. That’s a choice each person makes when moving away from a set of armor for more favorable stats. Just a part of the game, and this ability to change that is just fluff, and pointless really.

  2. Taevin says:

    I liked the old dyes, I liked having a black and crimson set (like my old darkforge). Yes, the garish colors were incredibly annoying though, but I was generally able to avoid those people.

    Personally, I think there should be an option where you can set the overlay to match your BP, so whatever BP you have, your armor looks like that. Right now, I’m horridly mismatched, and looking forward to the switch.

  3. ogrebears says:

    I kinda like this feature, I really want to wear a full set of armor (my KOS relic). And i think you’ll see a lot of raider, at least wearing a set of raid gear, and looking less patchy. Which in a way is good for raider you can look at one person and say o he a tank, or she an assassin very easily.

    For casual players though i don’t see as much of a benefit. Most of them don’t have access to full sets. You might see them wearing there old mastercrafted set, or one of the dress clothing they added, or one of the guild writ sets.

    I don’t think everyone going to be wearing the same thing, because right now almost everyone is mixmatch they all kinda blend in together.

  4. kendricke says:

    I’m a big believer in cliches. Though they may be tired old expressions, there’s a reason many of them existed long enough to become cliches.

    One of my favorites, as I mentioned in the article, is the idea that “if it can be done it will be done”. Another favorite cliche is the old adage that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    What I mean here is this:

    If you don’t restrict a system, you’re accepting that actions will occur within that system that you may not necessarily like – but which have no restrictions in place to control. In February 2003, there were no real restrictions placed on the Legacy of Ykesha armor dye system. What occured was a ridiculous combination of a minority of players using the system to create matching sets of unique coordinated outfits, but a majority of players either creating identical outfits or horendously mismatching outfits put together with extreme color combinations.

    Every other dark elf, rogue, necromancer, or shadowknight was decked out in full black, producing a virtual emoscape of black clad of gothic adventurers as far as the eyes could see. There were so many trolls, ogres, elves, and halflings running around in combinations of clashing hot pink, mint green, electric blue, and grape purple that I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn’t really 1988.

    Of course, those were merely armor dyes. What happens when you allow for special holiday outfits and masks? What happens when you have the ability to have the protective value of a plate helm and still have the head of a giant Antonia Bayle or a black cat or a gigglegibber goblin? How many rangers will we see with an arrow through the head? How many woodworkers will we see with hatchets in their skull?

    Will these things happen? Absolutely they will. You’ll see some great outfits…and you’ll see some absolutely ridiculous outfits. And though mismatching outfits aren’t exactly immersive to begin with, I daresay this isn’t exactly the best solution to the issue. Unfortunately, like Pandora’s Box, once the door is opened on this concept, it can’t really be closed again.

    Where you’ll hear the most outcry up front will, of course, come from the roleplay servers first. Secondly, you’ll hear about it from the PVP servers (honestly, if I were on PVP, I’d have my entire group/guild dress identically to prevent anyone from realizing who the healers were – social camoflague, really).

    While modern MMO’s are discussing ways to visually distinguish classes more and more (see Warhammer Online for their discussions of “sillouetting”), Everquest II’s developers are putting resources into reproducing the same feature they introduced nearly 5 years ago – an idea that was far from universallly loved.

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