The Clothes (Should) Make The Man

(Or: Nice suit, everyone.)

Stylistically speaking, clothes in WoW are completely unimportant. Now sure, they have to fit in with the rest of the game (though, that’s a pretty low bar) and you’ll always have people talking about how kickass Set A looks on Race 2, or how Set B’s helmet looks better than Set A’s does… But given the choice, nearly all players choose the same gear; that with higher stats. Players make logical choices based on what they’ll need and simple numbers dictate the outcome. If a MMO’s world is ever going to be important, then player involvement in world status matters, and a large part of that is the visual style. I think one way to encourage players to get a sense of style, and self, is to handle gear closer to how Oblivion does it, than WoW.

In Oblivion the amount of damage a weapon does or defense armor provides is given a rating, from one to ~twenty. That’s it. I think encouraging players to go after gear that goes closer to their personal taste makes the players care about their avatars because of their representation of self rather than the amount of time put into creation (though that could certainly still apply.) Oblivion has enchantments and weapons can be made stronger with them, but that’s largely negligible (or should be toned down in a shared world.)

Essentially, I’d like to shift the onus on gear-fixation from statistical to personal preference. Why? Why not? If you’re a player, you get to exhibit personal taste and stay competitive. If you’re a developer, you get to see what your users prefer.

Bonus points: Allow players to create their own gear and submit it for anonymous peer review before passing it on to developers for the final thumbs up.

Next up? Why this isn’t such a bad idea.

FYI, this is part of a series of posts. You’ll be able to read more lame opinions on MMOs here.