On Equipment Models

I was going to write a post on crafting systems, but something else has caught my attention since then. Yesterday, the new models for the Rogue Tier 10 armor was discovered and I have to say this:

It is 100% dog ugly.

I don't know why Blizzard has been using the apparent theme they have for Rogues; i.e. instead of making armor look deadly, we'll try to make it stealthy by making it look like the Rogue took one of his dead enemies, sliced it open like a Taun Taun, and is now wearing it as a skin in the hopes that the other enemies won't notice. This isn't really a valid theme for Wrath since the main enemy force is the Scourge, who are all telepathically bound to the Lich King. Even if the enemy Scourge were fooled by the sight of the Rogue, the Lich King would not be as he would not have any telepathic contact and would then give the attack order.

It got me thinking about something that has gotten many on the Rogue forums clamoring for again: Having a second set of armor that players can wear which determines the character appearance.

Is this a good idea? Yes, it does allow for characters to have a greater amount of customization, but on the other hand you know that every single Rogue in the game is going to just wear the Tier 2 Bloodfang armor (with the exception of myself, as I'll be wearing the armor you see there in my user picture), especially since they revamped the helm to be level appropriate. On the surface, it looks like greater customization options, but in reality it just leads to every Rogue looking exactly identical.

I'd had the idea for my game that mobs that drop loot would only drop equipment if they themselves were wearing it, meaning you could only get gear by fighting humanoid or sentient mobs who use the same equipment types you prefer. Players can craft gear, but it will only be of white quality and stats are then added through enchanting, alchemy, tempering, carving, etc. Would it be better to do things that way and let players build their own custom armor sets, or would it be better to just have the second equipment set for appearances? My instincts tell me that the first option would be better as it makes more sense in a real world sense.

What about all the work that the graphics artists do? They spend a great deal of time and effort designing the items which are shown graphically, only to have players use the one they think is best looking (this goes along with stats on gear sets as well, with players not deigning to wear anything which is not Best in Slot, but that's another topic for another day).

Players really won't be happy no matter what you do to appease them. What if they had the graphic artists create sketches of several different kinds of armor, and then the players could vote on them, and the top 3 or 4 get made into armor sets with the same stats, and players can choose which set appearance they want. If they get the armor from a vendor, they just buy the model they want. If they drop from an enemy, they could trade it to an NPC for a different model.

The basic idea is that you don't want all of the players to look the same, but you still want all the different armor types to fit into the theme of the game world (and for the different classes, you'd want the armor to feel like it belonged to those classes as well). You also don't really want players wearing armor that they think is terrible and ugly. Players who remain happy remain paying customers.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 10/08/2009 03:14:00 PM


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