Cosmetics and vanity slots.
I am so hopeful about this feature that I’m often worried about what get’s discussed, when our illustrious devs discuss a feature. Do they talk about the technical side of it, or the feasibility side of it? Or both? Well. Only Funcom can talk about the technical side of it, but when it comes to the feasibility side of it, I believe we can help.
This subject is something I hold close to heart, and I want this subject to be discussed and explored thoroughly. I’ll add pros and cons to this post, as we discuss it. What I don’t want is the feature to be cut, just because it wasn’t explored enough, or given the attention that it deserves. So I’d like to temper the subject through the harsh fires and ice of the forums, so that the devs don’t have to collect pros and cons from scratch. I hope this can serve as a springboard for the discussion, if used at all.
I’ll set out a table with pros and cons, then add a reference pointer to the details, linked to paragraphs.
|Removes pet peeves like ugly helmets||E|
|Fits the Conan setting via lore||F|
|Facial hair DLC|
|Optional to use||G|
|Obfuscates specific stat loadouts in PvP||B|
|Trivializes the inherent character of armors||C|
|Takes time away from other features|
- A. Augments DLC’s
If one can overlay DLC assets on any vanilla armor and vice versa it inherently increases the value of such DLCs because it becomes more accessible to being experienced or…well… Used, independent of how niche a favored stat is (i.e. agility, or grit), or wether heat insulation vs cold. Or Encumberance VS. Str. People can mix and match both style and substance within an armor class.
- B. Obfuscates loadouts in PvP
When shooting at someone wearing Lemurian Royal Armor, expecting easy pickings, then realize they are wearing heavy armor; it isn’t very conducive to fairness in PvP…. Which is why cosmetics should only be retricted to being overlaid over armor of the same weight class only. But doesn’t restriction kind of trivialize vanity slots to begin with? Well. Survival games always had to take PvP into consideration, like that one child in the canteen with nut allergies.
This is nothing that hasn’t been done in many many other games that feature PvP. Even Ark and Rust feature skins. Funcom has one of the best vanity systems in place in Age of Conan, or Anarchy Online. In some MMORPG’s (Blade & Soul) the enemies cosmetics are temporarily disabled in PvP encounters, whereas the player’s gear still remains unaffected, which brings me to point C and D.
C. Trivialization of the inherent character of armors
In a survival game, what you craft needs to maintain its identity (or be congruent) as a palpable entity in it’s own right, so as to not challenge the suspension of disbelief.
You have crafted a piece of armor with a very specific set of ingrediencies that are suppose to represent the item’s substance, which affect it’s appearance. It’s appearance should be it’s substance. WYSYWYG principle. What you see is what you get. Wouldn’t vanity slots undermine this relationship between appearance and substance?
No less than putting 50 thralls in a small box would. But why exacerbate a compromise, right?
Conan Exiles does take a lot of influence from EverQuest. When you see someone wearing Silent Legion, you kind of know it’s a player who’s done some research on the game. There is this aire of superiority. Like “that person’s a badass and he knows it.” I think even the appearance and the entire idea of the silent legion armor is to convey a sense of intimidation, so far as to have a chilling effect quite literally, that would be lost to cosmetics.
In EverQuest, a legendary weapon, which practically augments your character to godhood, has a very specific and iconic look. People instantly respect you (or pity you) for the amount of challenges you had to go through for that privilege. … Now imagine 2 expansions later, you are to forgo this status symbol for better stats. Well… With vanity slots your legacy is preserved.
All armors have item descriptions which justifies the character each armor has. Wouldn’t cosmetics undermine this?
I believe that as long as the substance of the armor is honored, an overlay is just a cosmetic choice, because this is what really matters to a player. How often do you read item descriptions… Really? Compared to the sighs that a horned pi$$pot helmet on a lady induces; not that often.
It feels more real if your actions are driven by what you wear.
Carl Rogers introduced the concept of incongruence to psychology in the 1950s. Although general use of the word has come to mean inconsistent or incompatible, Rogers had a more specific definition in mind. He defined congruence as the matching of experience and awareness. Incongruence was therefore lacking congruence, or having feelings not aligned with your actions.
There’s a certain charm about seeing someone looking like a thrall, because they are wearing flawless epic vanilla metal armor, not because they want to, but because they have to. Their encumbrance build depends on it.
It created many a situation where people laughed cuz they thought I was the thrall guarding that specific Maproom, when wearing metal armor. The irony was not lost on me, and I have to grin about it a little.
You want people to WYSIWYG, or be congruent with whatever they are wearing.
E.Removing Pet Peeves like Ugly Helmets
In a game where you spend a great deal of time seeing your character from behind, a helmet does receive one’s undivided attention, occupying a relatively sizeable screen real estate closest to the center of the screen. Imagine the game experience when you hate that helmet, and have to wear it for congruences sake.
This becomes most noticeable on female characters, who’s long hairstyles are usually mesmerising to behold as it sways during movement during long travels. (especially the lara-croft braid). Male players who play female characters don’t (usually) project/relate themselves upon the character, but more for visual enjoyment which enhances the gaming experience (visually).
It’s substantial enough, that ARK, which is a rather first-person-centric game, includes a “hide hat” function within the emotes radial menu! They are rather proud of their work on the hair-growth system.
Players are used to protagonists missing helmets, due to movies and such. There is no spec of incongruence to be felt, doing this.
F. Fits the Conan Exiles Lore
“Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.” - Conan, in “Queen of the Black Coast” (1934)
The Ymir Trainer even questions the reality of the exiled lands to begin with. He does ask us if we remember our lives as the character before we arrived on the exiled lands.
G. Optional to Use
Now…this one is interesting. Choices vs choices.
Everyone has their own choices.
If people want the game to remain congruent, have them turn overlays off on their client. They see the world without cosmetics.
If people want to use cosmetics, then one would assume they’d be ok with others using cosmetics too.
Otherwise, client only cosmetics?
Much is possible to accommodate choices. The real question lies in the technicalities. This, only Funcom can decide.
I do hope vanity slots get implemented.