Cosmetic gear – the best rewards of all?

burcosmetic I am very proud of my new cloak in LOTRO. It has no stats at all, and cosmetic gear allows me to wear it and have my ‘real’ cloak hidden at the same time. But more importantly, it matches the rest of my gear perfectly. I even have a smokey black horse to go with it, another reputation/daily quest grind reward.

The designers have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into cosmetic rewards and into creating hundreds or even thousands of pretty pieces to let players play dress-up. They appear as rewards for just about anything that isn’t raid related – they can be bought with skirmish marks, or from reputation grinds, or from holiday festivals (which is where this cloak came from).

Because there are so many, and they turn up from so many different and diverse sources, putting together a really good cosmetic outfit can be a challenge. Especially when you can mix in crafted and raid gear which actually does have good stats but also matches your look.

In fact, cosmetic dressing is part of an interesting endgame which mixes collection with fashion. And in which, even if you ignore the pieces which would require you to do content that you hate, there are plenty of other options available.

It also gets people talking. Because I’m relatively inexperienced with LOTRO, I often see really cool looking gear that I don’t recognise at all. Every player is happy to talk about where they got their nice cosmetic item from, bar none. All you have to say is, “That XXX looks great, where did you get it.”

lotro_cloak

I liked this cloak a lot, for example.

And by having cool gear from lots of different places, there’s not a huge amount of min/maxing involved in the gameplay.

Yes, some raid gear can look amazing, especially if you set it off with the right cosmetic accessories. But people also appreciate well put together lowbie costumes.

From being somewhat dubious (do I really want to play burglar dress-up?) I’m becoming a fan. Even if I’m lazy with collections, it’s so much more fun to people-watch in LOTRO where people put some effort into their costumes than in WoW where raiders all tend to look the same.