MEAD: The RIFT Wardrobe Debate
By Shannon Doyle (Leliah), OnRPG Journalist
Earlier today I had a…lets call it a debate with some of my fellow level 50 channel folks about wardrobe slots. In particular was the desire to have a weapon wardrobe slot. After all, how many times have you been bummed out because you out leveled an awesome looking weapon for a really crappy plain one to replace it? Its happened to me more times than I can count. If you had seen the “debate” today you may have thought I was completely against the idea of a weapon wardrobe slot, but I will admit there is a small part of me that would love have it. But the negatives to having them are enough to make me speak out against having the feature.
So, before I get too into the specifics of the pros and cons I should really explain the issue. Wardrobe slots were introduced with 1.2 in May of 2011. They allow players to choose what armor they appear to be wearing while still getting the stats desired from the less appealing looking armor. This is really a wonderful thing because some of the best stats come from some really ugly armor. But now you can wear anything you want within reason. So what does Trion think is reasonable? Sticking to your own armor type. Plate armor no matter what level looks like plate armor, cloth always looks like cloth. Then there are costume pieces which anyone can wear no matter what class you are. But the wardrobe slot was by some accounts incomplete. There was no spot for weapons or shields or even wands.
The lack of a weapon wardrobe slot becomes especially obvious when you can purchase weapons like the shovel of progress from the artifact vendor. It has a few stats but is effectively useless in combat. But what warrior wouldn’t love beating planar creatures with a shovel? Or maybe you bought a broken bottle or pitchfork during the last event like I did. Again, they have such poor stats that they never get use. I got the complete collection and they just sit in my bank taking up space because in a fight I need to be able to hold my ground. Though I would pay to see a warfront where everyone is carrying broken bottles. In addition most of the world events have had weapons which you could buy but if you didn’t buy the higher level weapons you quickly outgrew our awesome looking weapons. Having a weapon wardrobe slot would give those things a new life.
Lets say Trion does give us the slot. How would it work? Should I be able to be a warrior but carry a staff around? Or maybe a book? Nevermind the animations issues that would cause (could you imagine trying to use Bull Rush while carrying a bow?) think of what that would do to pvp. It would invite baiting. You wouldn’t be able to tell what you were about to go up against until it was really too late. The argument was made in the 50 channel that you could just look at what they’re wearing. After all the wardrobe slot you still have to wear your own type of armor…or costumes. If its so obvious though then tell me, while I wear this full set of Sandcovered armor…what class am I? Am I a healer?
I look like….like I could be anyone! You could end up with it being all but a requirement in pvp that people wear costume pieces and carry a staff. The potentials for abuse there are huge.
Ok, so being able to equip any weapon isn’t really an option. So how about going the way of the regular wardrobe slots and allow you to only slot weapons usable by your class. Again, ignoring potential animation issues, consider what that would do. Each class has a variety of weapons to pick from. All of them defining what range you stand at and what souls you’re using. Again in pvp you wouldn’t know what you’re going up against. Should you expect to be blasted from afar by death energies or expect to get stabbed in the back with a dagger?
The final option would be to limit people to equipping only the type of weapon they’re carrying. And you know, I’m kind of ok with that. Until you remember those bottles and shovels from before which effectively act as costume pieces.
So, PvP and animations are the biggest issues with having weapon wardrobe slots. And I’ve thought of a great way to get around the problem. People won’t like it, especially people on pvp shards. Have wardrobes deactivate when you get flagged. That way you know exactly who and what you’re going up against. It will be an ugly fight though, and it will discourage people from pvping. Equally though bringing in the weapon slot will discourage the less hardcore pvpers like myself.
Customization in an MMO means a lot to me, and I’m not alone in that. Trion knows how important customization is and most importantly they’re listening. On the forums there are pages upon pages upon pages of people discussing and debating weapon wardrobe slots. During the first RP Town Hall back in December the cries for this feature were heard. And while generally it seems right now that Trion won’t be doing it they have been known to surprise us all and think of something we never would have thought of in a million years. For now though, the debate goes on.