This is an ongoing series of articles about what I would like to see in an MMO. I’m comparing and contrasting parts of the MMOs I cover. Last week was cash shops and auction houses. This week is vanity items, other than costumes, which I discussed previously.
Accessories, not to be confused with invisible statted items like jewelry, are items that semi-permanently change a character’s physical appearance without paying for a permanent change. This means you can use this item for as long as you like, but once you put it away your character goes back to its original appearance without paying to make the change. In Elder Scrolls Online (ESO), they recently added hundreds of different accessories, including all of the character creation hairstyles, facial accessories, facial hair, jewelry, and tattoos in inexpensive bundles. ESO also has polymorphs, which change the entire look of your character at once (including costume), skins, which change your character’s skin (and usually eyes), and personalities, which change your character’s stance and facial expression.
Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) has moods that change your character’s facial expression, falling under Emotes in game. They don’t stop once you move your character like emotes, though they do tend to disappear when you go through a loading screen.
ESO, Guild Wars 2 (GW2), and Revelation Online all have auras that apply an effect to your character either attached to another item (e.g. weapon) or applied individually. It is possible to overdo it with auras though.
Games usually have one of two options for ground mounts. Either all mounts have the same speed and capabilities dictated by your character’s training or mounts have individual abilities. ESO and SWTOR are of the former variety, while ArcheAge, Black Desert Online (BDO), and WildStar are the latter. GW2 is finally adding a mount system with Path of Fire where the mounts will have special abilities like water skimming and vertical leaps. In ESO, to upgrade your mount you must visit a stable and pay 250 gold to train riding. It takes 180 days and 45,000 gold to level your riding, but you can buy upgrades in the Crown Store to make this go faster. In SWTOR, your mount speed increases at specific levels in the training system, but you can pay Cartel Coins through the legacy panel to upgrade faster.
The first MMO I played was World of Warcraft (WoW). Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I started branching into other games to find flying mounts are the exception, not the norm. In fact, the only game I’ve covered that has a true flying mount system is Revelation Online, which goes even further than WoW with flying combat.
Unlike WoW, which has water mounts that work underwater in certain zones; water mounts in the games I cover are all surface water mounts. This is a rarity with only ArcheAge and BDO (and soon GW2) having specific mounts that can cross water.
Gliders are mounts that can do some light flying by gliding from a height to the ground. This allows your character to travel further and faster while also helping to prevent fall damage. ArcheAge, BDO, and GW2 all have gliders. While Blade and Soul (BnS) doesn’t have any mounts, characters do have the ability to glide without a mount.
Non-combat pets are creatures that follow your character around without providing a combat benefit. BDO is an exception to this in that pets will loot dead enemies and have special skills, e.g. dogs can detect nearby enemy players and cats can detect gatherable resources.
Emote are chat commands that will make your character do a particular action. Emotes can either be of a short duration or be continuous until you do something to force your character to stop. Every game I cover has emotes. Some of the more common include /bow, /dance, /sit, and /sleep.
Toys are items that will apply a temporary graphical effect to your character. For example, The Data Entry toy in SWTOR brings up a computer station. Your character sits down and inputs data while also regenerating.
ESO’s ties mementos to in-game quests instead of being cash shop buys.
MMO Wish List
Vanity items tend to be the province of role players, which is something I don’t get into. I do like having many accessory options and plenty of mounts to match to my outfits. Other than that, I’m not terribly particular about them. My perfect MMO would have:
- ESO’s copious amount of accessories
- SWTOR’s ground mounts where mount speed is tied to character training and WoW’s flying / water mounts (I’m cheating since I don’t cover WoW)
- BDO’s non-combat pets with special abilities, since this is the only reason I would use them
- A minimum of /dance, /sit, and /sleep emotes
- ESO’s mementos instead of cash shop toys
What kinds of vanity items do you like to see in MMOs?
In two weeks: Character re-customization