21/04/2015

Why I'm not Thrilled by the Outfit Designer

Patch 3.2 will bring us the outfit designer, and after people have had time to test it on the PTS for a while, most of the reactions I've seen seem to be positive overall. They may criticise certain limitations of the system, but I don't think I've seen anyone suggest that it's a bad idea as a whole. Me? Once again I seem to be going against popular opinion by not being particularly thrilled by the idea.

It's not that I don't see any advantages at all: there is definitely something to be said for making it easier to separate looks from stats. I remember when the Thermal Retention set first came out - I thought that my character would look great wearing that while riding her tauntaun around Hoth or Ilum! But would I want to wear it the rest of the time (especially on Tatooine...)? No. So I wasn't going to move all my mods into it, and wearing a full set of gear with no stats was pretty much out of the question as well, at least if I wanted to do anything but strike a quick pose for a screenshot.


Like this.

With the outfit designer, silly ideas like this - costumes that you may only want to wear temporarily - will be able to thrive, and my inner roleplayer definitely appreciates it.

There will also finally be a purpose to all those green, blue and purple non-moddable pieces of gear again that you find out in the world or get from crafting. They had become pretty worthless except to gear levelling characters or companions about whose looks you weren't too concerned.

But at the same time I can't fight the feeling of how utterly redundant this whole thing is. The whole point of moddable gear has always been that you'd be able to keep a certain look while upgrading your stats. This is why my Jedi and Sith characters still own the lightsabers they received early on during their class story. If we now have another system that allows you to separate your stats from your looks, is there really a point in having mods anymore (aside from the fact that the outfit designer currently doesn't work for weapons and companions)? I mean, I suppose that mods will continue to exist as long as Bioware continues to release high-level gear in the form of moddable pieces, but if Bioware decided to make all gear unmoddable with 3.3, I wouldn't think that anybody would mind very much except some min-maxers who couldn't pick and choose every single part of their gear anymore. In the meantime we'll be left with a system that will make gear management even more cluttered than it already is. I still remember being confused by the concept of mods when I was a new player myself; I can hardly imagine how confusing this new mish-mash of systems is going to be to newbies. This is not good game design.

Also, while I'm generally very annoyed by people who criticise parts of the game simply for not being what they hoped they were going to be, I'll allow myself a bit of hypocrisy in this case and express annoyance that a feature called "outfit designer" will not actually allow you to switch between different (statted) outfits. Now there's something that would have been genuinely useful! As someone who does both PvE and PvP, switching between my two gear sets is always a nuisance (especially with the implants and relics, since you have to drag them into exactly the right place), and the amount of blunders I've made while swapping gear sets is much too high to count by now. Making that easier would have been something I would have appreciated with no reservations.

6 comments :

  1. The Guilty Party21 April 2015 at 23:00

    It is technically redundant, but the existing system is cumbersome and expensive, so it's not that redundant.

    But you're right that the existing mod system is kind of an awkward fit now. I think in a perfect world, it would be reborn as a 'Refine/improve' system, like Lotro legendary items but not so terrible.

    For example, I tend to hang on to my first lightsaber. If I could essentially throw money and comms at it to 'focus the lens' or 'replace the grip' thereby boosting one stat or another, it would increase my attachment to my gear (by letting it play into the story in my head) and also maybe let me steer it in a stat direction that I'd find useful.

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    1. I'll admit that the mod system can be cumbersome, but at the same time I kind of like how immersive it feels. It just makes sense to actually change something about your gear to adjust its properties. As opposed to e.g. the "dress your paperdoll in one of 100 outfits from your unlimited invisible wardrobe" type systems that seem to be en vogue now simply because it's more convenient.

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  2. The new system does allow for green gear to have a purpose. Right now, any "cosmetic" gear must be at least artifact level.

    I make most of my money in the massive augment market, and there's been some speculation that demand could drop. If true, I might be forced actually zone into Yavin, and who wants that! :)

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    1. I would expect the demand for augments to stay about the same, but augment kits will probably drop quite a bit if people can simply slot new looks into the outfit designer instead of having to move their stats around.

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    2. My goal was not necessarily to hit the credit cap, but to make "daily money" in very little time. I want to spend my time as a lowbie alt, because SWTOR class stories are where the fun is.

      With that goal in mind, the augmentation kits were the best. Many people were selling them, yet it required no purple mats to make. I could gather the materials and list them with little effort and get on with saving some random planet from imminent destruction. :)

      If the market shrinks, the first thing that goes is the need to buy mats off the open market. You'll pick them off of Yavin, or run missions and only turn to me when you get desperate.

      Sure, there are other ways to make money, but most of them require that you put Gevlon style effort into the deal. I'd hate to have all those planets explode while I tend my army of lockbox running slicers.

      Thanks to competition from the Cartel Market and now this, crafters are running out of things every player needs. Crafters having something that every player needs in abundance is a key to having a healthy economy. Not only for the crafters, but also for the gatherer toons.

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  3. I really don't care either way, so long as my gear doesn't look like traditional BC clown gear.

    Yeah, a really low bar, there, but that's the extent of my fashion sense.

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