I know this can be a sensitive subject for a lot of gamers, since we're very picky about what we look like. I love having a cool looking avatar, just like everyone else. How do you guys feel about appearance slots vs. non-combat outfits?
I see the appeal in appearance slots, I like the concept, but I don't like the implementation. It feels thin, fake, and cheap. Maybe its because I can be a bit proud. I like being able to visually look at a character and see a bit of player history. I like to look in awe at the neat things I don't have yet, and inquire or wonder about how I get them. This was a huge thing for me in EQ, and really drove me toward the end-game. "Wow, look at that sparkly wand! Where did you get it?" the answer was never "its an appearance item from the in-game item mall for $3" or "the appearance item vendor over there". It was always from some sort of group or raid encounter that I hadn't done yet, or even heard of. And of course the gear in question not only looked good, it WAS good. Months later, I was there myself -- running casually to the bank in PoK to get some mats, I noticed several newbie players turning their avatars to get a 2nd look as I ran by. One even followed me into the bank and asked where I got my weapon. The sense of pride I had for my character and accomplishments after going through everything I went through to get my gear was incredible.
There was a sense of pride in walking through Nexus or PoK with your hard-earned cool looking gear on. The game did a great job of distinguishing normal gear (mostly weapons in EQ's case) from the above normal, and it drove players to achieve.
Maybe its what I call my "anti-now" viewpoint on modern MMOs. "Me me me now now now". I cant stand it. Ive done it both ways. Ive made my level 20 LOTRO character look like a seasoned raid geared toon. While the process of dressing him up was fun, it ultimately ended in disappointment. It took a bit of the wind out of my sails to keep playing. The solo game was insanely easy, and didn't require you to keep your gear up *at all* to be viable, so there was little driving me to seek out and upgrade gear. I had no drive, no determination, and my subscription fizzled.
As much as I hated the gear style in WoW, they at least understood (maybe accidentally) some of the psychology of the MMO player. High level raid geared players LOOKED like they were raid geared players. I remember looking at myself as a level 40 Tauren warrior with an ugly dinner plate style wooden shield and generic sword made me want to obtain that gear even more. That old feeling from EQ came right back to me. It made me determined, willing, and driven, which in turn spawned dedication, hard work, and achievement. It helped fuel the fire to keep me wading through the never-ending kill and collection quests that were boring me to tears. There was no "shortcut to cool" as seen in LOTRO. Ultimately in the end, I got my prize. Although in WoW, the victory wasn't quite as sweet as in EQ, since everyone and I mean EVERYONE had their own shiny raid gear too. The feeling of being something special - an overachiever of sorts - was gone, and so was my subscription.
I love having a cool looking avatar for reasons other than simply looking cool. Its almost a status symbol, like wearing your military decorations on your uniform. Its something I take pride in. People see you, and they know at a glance, where you stand. Maybe I'm shallow, I don't know.
This isn't a plea to the devs to make the game hard, or to have such a long road to end-game that seeing a high level raid geared player is rare, nor is it a request to take away appearance options for casual or RP players. I don't have a good solution to the trending attack-of-sorts on this segment of MMO psychology. Can anyone else relate to what I am saying, or am I simply diseased?