No cosmetic gear or overcloaks for Cataclysm


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.


22 thoughts on “No cosmetic gear or overcloaks for Cataclysm

    • Quite possible if they plan to make their players get used to more and more item store and a possible F2P WoW in the middle to long run.

  1. funny enough we were just discussing this last night – I would love to see a second gear ‘layer’ for cosmetic gear in WoW; you got that in EQ2 too or Rappelz for example, and it gives so much more freedom in terms of customization and individuality to players (in wow everyone looks the same, especially since wotlk..).

    I dont understand what’s so hard in implementing this – and why would you even have to design extra items? why not just let people equip existing items for a start (over whatever functional gear they’re wearing underneath)?

    and didnt they also mention something like extra gear set slots / containers for cataclysm some while back – what happened to that?

  2. Unfortunately, it’s more than just battlegrounds – people could abuse this on PVP servers.

    It could also potentially kill of the visual carrot the higher tier gear is for lower levels. That’s one of the big reasons why the old world major cities were kept as somewhat important – encourages vertical interaction even if it’s just a matter of the lower levels drooling over some cool effect some higher level guy’s armor has.

    From another perspective, it could also really screw up the look and feel of the game as people would be running around wearing pretty pink dresses over their T10 gear.

    Cloaks alone? I don’t see an issue there, but complete sets like you’re allowed in EQ2? Meh.

    • @smaken
      to be honest, I don’t see a big risk in people suddenly running around lie circus clowns, after all we had this in vanilla wow pretty much and everybody hated it, hehe…

      if anything, I think we would see a lot more people taking care of distinguished and more evenly balanced gear, instead of everyone looking the same or running around in mismatched pieces.

  3. I call BS. I hadn’t thought about the PvP server angle of it, but still, this is functionality that LOTRO actually uses as a selling point–you can run around in your “RP clothes” and still kick some ass without needing to switch everything out. I guess they want all players of the same class to look alike in their tier sets…I don’t like the fact that Lin, for example, looks pretty much like every other ICC tank on our server in 4/5 sanctified T10 and most of the same non-tier pieces. The only differences you see are tabards and weapons.

  4. By now you should know the difference between a level 30 cloak and a level 80 cloak, just from looking at them. End game cloaks tend to look “cooler” and usually are more aesthetically pleasing.

    With heirlooms, its becoming more and more difficult to tell what level someone is by looking at them. Same weapon, shoulders and chest piece for 80 levels. This is even more pronounced with casters wearing the BoA robes.

    As a lower level, you see higher levels as a “skull” instead of a level, but yet there are ways to tell how high a level they are. Mounts used to be good, but you practically start out on one these days. Cloaks and belts are about the only way to distinguish them apart.

    I’m not saying I agree with this, this is just what it seems like to me. You can tell a level 80 from a level 78 from a level 50 just by looking at the gear.

  5. This is very disappointing news. I’m surprised how averse they are to even this very minor ability to customize the look of an individual character. It strikes me as a rather dated and backwards perspective to have especially considering how much customization exists in most other mmo’s.

  6. I think this is more of an issue in PVP – especially ranked BGs. If I roll up into a big fight at Farm, I’m going to target the fella wearing PVE gear first. If I can’t tell what’s what I have to wait and see who hits hardest.

    True you can shapeshift but most of the items that allow such functionality are on long cooldowns or require consumable materials thus limiting their use to special scenarios. It’s not that the cloak would be a big deal in and of itself, but it starts the tilt toward a slippery slope with additional gear that would work in the same way.

  7. And if it’s so important that gear should be identifiable by sight, why doesn’t hard mode gear look different from normal mode?

    My guess:

    The real reason is that there is indeed a U turn at Blizzard. The sudden stagnation (decrease?) of sub numbers with WotLK and some other things allowed the ‘virtual world’ guys to regain influence while the ‘gameplay’ guys lost influence.

    Blizzard stated some time ago that they liked that players could identify Askandi from afar in Vanilla and they would like to reintroduce this effect. Basically they said that they liked items and their looks to have meaning. In this philosophy an item should be more than part of an aribtrary T-set number.

    I like RP myself, and this is why I agree with this decision.

  8. I personally think that cosmetic items are a mistake.

    I think that having your character, which is the central element on your screen, constantly change helps a lot with keeping the game fresh, especially for a game where you play for so long.

    As you gain gear, your character organically shifts in look, transitioning from one look to another. The first thing everyone does when a new piece of gear drops, is equip it or look at it in the wardrobe. We commiserate with people when the gear looks bad, we congratulate them when the gear looks good.

    When you get a new piece of gear, it’s not just a reward in stats, it’s a visual reward. Your character on-screen changes, and that is tangible.

    When new tier sets come out, the look is a far greater topic of discussion than the stats. (There are massive debates on the paladin forums on plate skirts/cassocks.)

    In my opinion, having your character’s look undergo slight changes constantly is good for the longevity of the game, and full cosmetic gear cuts against that.

    • > When you get a new piece of gear, it’s not just a reward
      > in stats, it’s a visual reward.

      Unless your BiS item looks like shit. Then it’s no longer a visual reward but a sacrifice you bring for the greater good.

      The heroic Sanguine Silk Robe does not look very warlockish…

  9. WoW cloaks don’t look like actual cloaks, they look elongated bottom of the tabard hanging behind you not really hiding much of your gear at all. so I’ll go with “technical issues they don’t wish to admit” crowd. in a game where so many people turn off cloak/helm display because of sheer ugliness, I really don’t see how overcloaks could not be any more gamebreaking then tabards. Plus the only truly distinctive at a glance gear is shoulders and weapons. cloaks woudln’t change or disguise it in any way, so what exactly is the “breaking balance” they are blabbering about?

  10. You left out the followup response:

    We’ve been tossing around some other ideas with regard to gear customization, but we still want to make sure there are appropriate limitations on a system like this. The limited buff timer on the overcloak just wasn’t enough considering it would mask any cloak of any level. We’ll continue to explore ideas for fun aesthetic gear customization, but we didn’t feel this was the proper introduction of this kind of system.

    So while these overcloaks are out for now, cosmetic customisation options in general are not.

  11. Cloaks and helms can be “switched off” so others can’t see them, and a tabard does a pretty good job of hiding chest armour already. Plus I can now spend a large proportion of my time dressed in the Gnomeregan “spacesuit”! Dartol’s Rod allows me to run around looking like a Furbolg, and my Savory Deviate Delight allows me to look like a ninja or pirate. So Blizzard already allows me to effectively hide my gear from the casual glance in PvP and in general.

    Now Blizzard have said “we don’t want to start implementing aesthetic items in the game which allow players to look however they want”. However, this overcloak doesn’t do that. The overcloak is entirely of Blizzard’s design. There’s already an item which allows players much more aesthetic control: the guild tabard.

    So I have to agree that the reason Blizzard gave for not allowing this overcloak is rubbish. As to what the real reason is, perhaps it is a technical issue, but I rather think that Kring called it correctly: this will be an RMT item some day in the future, along with armour dyes and who knows whatnot else (perhaps dance studio can be monetized)?

  12. For what it’s worth, dyes are different from model swapping. An appearance tab like LOTRO would be relatively easy to implement, but dyes would mean changing a lot of textures as well as code. GW got away with it by having dyes in the game from the start. Layering dyes on top of WoW’s clothing really would be a lot of work.

    That tangent aside, I’m all for appearance tabs. If it’s really a PvP issue (which I tend to disagree with, but whatever), indeed, just turn the appearance gear off when the PvP flag is on. In my book, the options this would give players make it well worth the implementation.

    I’d even call it a bit of karmic balance, since they are taking away the bulk of our ability to tinker with multiple talent trees.

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