One must wonder why developers overlook the most simplest way to keep the players happy. I have never met another gamer, who at least, doesn’t consider swapping a highly buffed piece of equipment with something of lesser quality but with more pizazz.
“Oh Shineys!!” is the call from our group of friends when we see a sparkling flash on the ground or even more so when we find something of inferior magical quality but with a cool graphic. For those that don’t play Everqest 2 they recently added a inventory tab called Appearance that allows you to put items in mirrored slots to the main inventory that allows you to use the appearance of the item but not the statistics. Thus, you could wear a purple robe with glowing stars on it that has no statistical bonus, and also wear a robe that is drab and dreary but has a ton of stat and ability bonuses — you would look like you were wearing the purple robe, but gain the advantages of the drab robe that is in your real inventory slots.
In Everquest I, a player can tint his armor to a wide variety of colors. Of all the stories I hear from old players, that is one of the top suggestions they always seem to wish upon. Everyone loved to tint armor and clothing to different color. I know, some often complained that huge ogres in pink armor was a distraction, but overall it was a fun experience — one that always brings a scowl or a smile to a player’s face. I wasn’t one of the players that had pink armor; I had a green suit for my druid, a jet black set of plate for my ogre warrior, and a deep blood red for my beast master. It was so cool, and I often wonder why today no developer, such as Everquest 2 or Vanguard, haven’t added that feature — its an instant success. Vanguard is reaching for straws now to build a community, and here is a solid gold feature they could add which can only value the game more.
Another aspect of equipment that seems to be overlooked by the developers is that they think that having a ton of different type of equipment using the same model is better than having a wide variety of model types but having less statistical and abilities attached to it. I know for myself, beyond Everquest 2 which utitlizes the Appearance tab, that I would prefer cool looking equipment than blah, plain jane gray gear that may have better bonuses.
There are a number of ways to jazz up the equipment: color, art of models, duotone or tritone (2 or 3 colors) equipment, atmospheric effects (sparkles, glow, animations), and to some lesser extent interesting names or history behind the gear.
I am constantly amazed at the shlock that developers create when it comes to the visual appearance of gear. When they can score a victory if they just make it interesting. Shiney’s go a long way to pleasing a player — don’t overlook the most simplistic ways to appease the base.
Give me Shineys!!