[Rift] The wonders of cosmetic clothing

“People always ask me how long it takes to do my hair. I don’t know, I’m never there.”

- Dolly Parton

riftloki

I thought I’d show off today a couple of my sets of cosmetic clothing on my mage in Rift. These are all made up of a mixture of drops which I thought looked cool, crafted gear, and PvP gear.

One thing you will also notice is how big a difference it makes to have access to dye because (da-da-DAH) you can make things match.

I like how the set with the red dress makes her look quite sweet and innocent, and the green set with the Loki-esque helm (yes that’s why it is all green) is rather more demonic. What a difference a hat makes!

I’m glad I decided to stick around with Rift after hitting 50. I know I’m not straight into expert dungeons like a more hardcore player would be, but I have hit rank 2 in PvP which gave access to some nicer gear, and been working on reps and the crafting (the horned hat is an epic one which I made myself.

PvP in this game is rather hit and miss, and there is a widespread belief that clerics are overpowered. I’ve been in warfronts where people explicitly said, “They have 5 clerics, we’re going to lose.” Valor, the PvP stat (think resiliance in WoW) seems to make a big difference to survivability as does going up in ranks which gives you access to more abilities from your PvP soul.

I find with my mage that I’m tending to pure CC in PvP because the healing just isn’t snappy enough, plus mages don’t have the inbuilt defences that clerics do. Although now I’m rank 2, I have better defences against being interrupted (interrupts are probably the most effective CC for mages because you can’t really do anything if you can’t cast, other classes have some melee soul options.)

But the main thing is that as long as I don’t try to run end to end warfronts, I quite enjoy them. I also like the general  level 50 channel which is very civilised and on which people do actively make groups for world content like rift raids as well as expert dungeons (of which I did one, since I somehow seem to have gathered enough focus on my gear from somewhere, but we didn’t finish it.)

My main reservation on raids and T2 instances is that I have no intention of switching my souls around, now that I have found a combination that I like. I actually don’t care if it’s way off the max dps, I don’t even know if it is anyway, and I don’t intend to run any content where that would ever be an issue. I’d experiment with better rotations on what I have but I’m not ditching the build completely.

And this in a nutshell is one place where hard tuned raids fail. If there is really only a small numbers of acceptable ways to play a character in them, what happens when a player says, “OK, I don’t fancy that, can I have some endgame content for MY build please?”

[Rift] Trion was able to build this in a cave … with a box of scraps!

Another day, another set of Rift patch notes. Trion have been adding stuff to their game at a fairly spectacular pace, and the next patch promises a slew of new types of rift, cosmetic clothing, and a massive amount of tweaks to classes, zones, quests, and instances.

Further in the future will be the Rift random dungeon finder, of which screenshots are here. Yes, it’s looking remarkably like the WoW version although you’ll note there’s the option of a support role in addition to tank/heal/dps. (Wonder who would use that, maybe off-healers and buffing souls such as Bard and Archon.)

Whilst all this activity is deeply impressive and makes you wonder what else they have planned, it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed by changes to the game. I don’t know how exactly they will be able to introduce all this new stuff to players in future, but it feels right that their main priority right now is throwing in more stuff for the first wave of players, be it endgame or fluff. Later in the game’s life, they may have to choose between maintaining this level of new mechanics and supporting newer players.

Still, the release rate is astounding compared to other MMOs I have played. They knocked up a whole cosmetic clothing system very quickly there, something which WoW still hasn’t done (and there was a suggestion at one point that Blizzard would do something along those lines for Cataclysm, so it isn’t purely on game design issues that it doesn’t exist.)

The one reservation I do have is on trying to figure out which way the game is going. If LFG going to be good for Rift in the long term? I suspect the answer to this really comes down to the player base and the instance tuning more than the random group maker itself. If players build a social expectation that LFG groups will be friendly and co-operative then it could work fine.

However, what we can’t see from the screenie is whether there will be gear requirements for the higher tier dungeons. Or whether people will queue for the best rewards possible regardless of whether or not they’re able to contribute …

But what do I know, I’m still just level 34 on my main and trucking along happily. May have to ease off a bit due to upcoming exams, sadly, which means that Trion will probably have introduced at least 17 brand new dynamic game mechanics by the time I reach max level.

A birthday party and cosmetic clothing in WoW

My guild in WoW had it’s sixth birthday last weekend – that takes it back to approximately the EU opening day on a day 1 server. (A day 1 server means one of the original WoW servers that was opened when the game was launched.)

Sounds like a good excuse for a party!

party1

So we headed up to Gallywix’s pleasure palace in Azshara, and the fireworks/ dancing/ cakes/ feasts commenced. You can just about see the cake (it’s pink) and the fish feast in the screenshot above.

For all people have asked for cosmetic clothing to be included in WoW, there is actually plenty of RP-type dressing up equipment and toys to amuse players already in the game.  The idea of cosmetic clothing (ie. what is being requested) is that the clothing you wear doesn’t need to match the drops you are wearing for stats so if you want to go into battle dressed in your smartest tuxedo and dress trousers, you can.

Even better would be a LOTRO-style wardrobe so that we could store cosmetic gear without it taking room in our bags.

But for a party or RP event, you won’t need your battle gear anyway, and it’s a great excuse for people to raid their bank vaults and see what they can find. Most of the festivals now offer cosmetic clothing rewards, many vendors in the main cities do too, and even some of the old crafted gear or drops can add a good ‘look’ to an outfit.

As well as this, there are the various Xmas gifts such as the mini tanks and zeppelins to play with, not to mention the inevitable train set, train destroyer and that dratted flute that makes everyone dance.

And that’s barely the tip of the iceberg. We have toy rideable tigers, spotlights from the heavens, items that change your appearance to look like a dark iron dwarf, darkspear troll, or player from a different faction, and more!

party2

So actually, if we just had more excuses to hang out socially in game, there are plenty of interesting things in WoW to do or wear. Which begs the question, if they can stick a cool pleasure palace in Azhara, what about a funky meeting place in Orgrimmar or Stormwind, where people are more likely to hang out?

Or in fact, how could they support people spreading out a bit more in the world when they’re mostly just waiting around anyway? Mostly the reason I stick to Orgrimmar is for the chat and possible AH/ bank access. being able to portal to the new zones is fine but unless I’m on a herbing/ mining run I’m not going to spend time there, plus via guild perks I now have a fairly frequent port back to Org anyway. Extending trade and general chat to be worldwide would be one possibility to spread people out, or at least add extra hubs around potential world hangouts. Adding more auction houses and banks or easier access via minions or guild perks is another.

And the basic one? Just put a player finder tool in that can return how many players (above a base number, say 6 so that it’s more than one group) are present in any hangout. Roleplayers would enjoy this, especially if you could mark yourself for RP and the tool could pick it up too.

But we were too busy partying like it’s 2019 to bother with all that. Instead, bored of Aszhara, we went for a collective skinny dip in the Sunwell.

party3

No cosmetic gear or overcloaks for Cataclysm

via rpg.net

Anyone had a chance yet to reclaim Gnomeregan or the Echo Isles in the Cataclysm pre-quests which were patched in this week? I’ve tried both (yay for level 80s on both factions), and thought they were good fun. Short but fun. I’d say Echo Isles had the better story but I laughed aloud at Gnomeregan. Gnomes are brilliant.

When you do the questlines, you will notice that the final quest reward is .. a cloak with no stats. “How useful,” you think, “NOT.” I’ll grant it has some RP potential, and am sure the active troll RP guilds on my server are thrilled.

But what happened to the promised overcloaks? Originally these quests were touted as offering a new type of item that would allow you to overlay the cool cosmetic overcloak over the dull but stat-laden frost badge cloak that every darned raider is wearing these days.

A U-Turn is what happened, as reported in this thread on the official forum:

“It is true that the cloak rewards had overcloak functionality when these events were up on the public test realms some months back. In the end we decided that implementing the cloaks in such a way that players could aesthetically change the cloak they’re wearing could set a bad precedent. We like customization and flavor items, but we don’t want to start implementing aesthetic items in the game which allow players to look however they want while keeping all the stats they want. We felt the overcloaks were breaking that barrier a little too much.”

I call technical issue shenanigans. There are already items in the game which let players shapeshift into completely different races, complete with full disguise. And if it’s so important that gear should be identifiable by sight, why doesn’t hard mode gear look different from normal mode? It also surely couldn’t be impossible to turn off cosmetic options in battlegrounds or arenas if that was seen as an issue.

It’s a shame. I never thought of myself as one for dress up but I have loved the cosmetic clothing in LOTRO, and I know it’s been a popular option in other games too.

Still. Enjoy your pointless cloak, everyone.