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.

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15 thoughts on “Cosmetic gear – the best rewards of all?

  1. This cloak indeed looks like it has been made for your burglar and the armor she is wearing.

    It also shows that vanity gear and customization options are strong motivators and add another level to the game.

    Do not only play for stats, play for looks. This works forever if new vanity gear gets introduced constantly, some people always go with the fashion of the month. :)

  2. Not to mention the fact that all the basic vendor-sold armour – which is generally useless with respect to stats – suddenly becomes valuable to players again because it’s an easy way to create a splendid looking set of matching armour.

    I have that cloak on my Warden too, and a set of Footman’s crafted armour which it matches most wonderfully.

  3. I agree. I think LotRO has done a wonderful job with the cosmetic options. I think given that most people playing the game have some deep feelings for the setting (being fans of the books, etc.), it makes sense that we want our characters to look the part.

    I’ve been busy so I’ve been a bit slack about the festivals. I might need to go get that cloak myself…

  4. I really like one of the other festival cloaks too which has a big sunburst on it, but if I get that I may need to go ferret out a whole new outfit to show it off nicely :)

    Also you can really see the appeal of a 20 slot wardrobe for cosmetic clothing storage (which is what you’ll get when the game goes F2P and you are a VIP/subscriber)

  5. lets just hope nobody is reading this who knows my realID… äh.. name.

    im playing tiger woods pga tour 11 on my xbox360… yes… im talking about golf. its fun (ah… it feels so good to say this)… but the thing about it is that you can earn xp and buy shiny blingbling with it. yesterday… i bought tennis… yes tennis… and you know what? you can buy shiny blingbling for your char. i love it…

    all this crap you can buy in tiger gives you some stats but who cares about stats as long as i can wear my kilt, my shiny glasses, my awesome shirt, my whatever…

    tennis only offers you new rackets with stats… all the rest is only shiny blingbling… and you know what? i dont give a crap as long as i can wear funky shit!

    i would love to have something like they did in lotr in wow. i could grind hours just to get this shiny hat that does nothing… but looks so damn hot on my head. and those glasses… oh… oh oh… did you see those…

    did i realy say that i play golf and tennis? hope nobody ever finds out about this.

  6. Oh, that sounds marvelous – I love the idea of being able to have a nice looking outfit while still having my “real” clothes underneath. Like you say about WoW – all raiders look the same and it is sooo boring!

    • It has been quite a girly week here, what with the cute slimes, fashion collectibles, and tanks who get upset when people whine at them. Yup. We’re in ur games.

      • It’s not just the girls; I hate when a 65+ WoW character stumbles out of Outlands looking like he’s been trapped in a tumble drier for hours. It’s seriously enough to make me want to flee back to City of Heroes. Or, it seems, LotRO.

  7. I love cosmetic features too. I was only too happy to die my entire gear pink in Warhammer.
    I didnt’ realize this exsisted in LoTR. I will definately be downloading the game now, just for the clothes. :)

  8. I dipped into Lotro again because they gave me a free welcome back week. I must admit it is a gorgeous game now, much improved.

    I made a new character and one of the starter quests gave me 3 pots of dye. I dyed my hat, cloak and coat mauve. I adore the look and really enjoyed playing dress-up.

    I’m not normally interested in gameplay that doesn’t involve shooting, stabbing, blowing things up or spreadsheets so I guess it shows how well Lotro does this that even a fashion philistine like me gets sucked in.

  9. i wonder why ddo doesn’t really do this; currently cant show cloaks and the only real special thing is the hair dyes. I’m waiting for the armor dye :)

  10. I’ve always thought LotRO was the prettiest MMO I’ve ever played. I recently got back into it and started new characters (and am this time actually having fun since I’m not playing with / waiting on people I know) and I still believe this to be a fact.

    Games like Aion can be flashy and have nice graphics, but LotRO is by far the prettiest MMO, IMO. I feel immersed every time I log in whether it be by the towns or the sprawling landscapes. Makes it a very nice getaway where I don’t even mind doing things like fishing. The music is very relaxing too.

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