One of my favourite games is DCUO. Why? Is it because of the story? The gameplay? The opportunity to kick Aquaman’s ass, even as a hero? The answer is yes to those things, but the best part of the game for me is customization.
And by that I mean fashion.
My gaming sessions in DCUO always began with a costume change, and a few moments of strutting. When I stopped playing that, I moved on to City of Heroes, where I could create all sorts of unique characters, each with their own costume change options to go with their fancy powers.
And time spent with the Saints never begins without an all important, reputation building clothing change (and a restock on bullets).
In MMOs in particular, we’re going to be dealing with these characters for a significant amount of time, so why shouldn’t their appearance please us? Call me superficial, but if I’m going to save or destroy the world, I need to look damn good doing it. I appreciate that many games have come to understand this, such as the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition, which will give me Vivienne, a companion after my own heart who will mountain climb in a ball gown and heels because fuck you.
For the games that don’t understand this very important need, creative and talented fans save me in the form of mods.
I may or may not have been inspired to play a certain game specifically because of its mod options. It’s amazing how much mods can improve an otherwise bland character appearances and attire. (Yes, this is part of the reason why I have little to no interest in playing TESO. It’s just not pretty enough.) But when a game lets me look fabulous without having to spend hours searching through Nexus for the perfect outfit to install, I am a very happy gamer.
Don’t look at me like I’m being all girly girl and ruining gaming for boys. I know many males who take just as much pride in the appearance of their characters. Do you honestly believe the consistently lucrative market for dyes and the high cost of armour skins in Guild Wars 2 is controlled only by females?
While I may have played Tera mainly because of those outfits (one of which my Skyrim high elf is sporting, above), I’m not *just* about boob windows and thigh high boots. I do at least consider important things like stats. Thanks to Final Fantasy XI, I have earned my right to complain about bad outfits after a decade of swapping out fancy armour for ugly armour (seriously, that hat looks like a condom) to ensure my debuffs stuck, to fastcast a nuke, or to maximize crits on a weaponskill.
And I usually keep my outfits mostly lore friendly, save for when I’m playing fuck-the-lore characters who do whut they want, such as my insane little City Elf in Dragon Age: Origins and her Legend of the Seeker posse. At least she and Alistair are actually wearing Grey Warden gear, which is ironic since there is no actual Grey Warden gear in the game about Grey Wardens unless you mod it.
Ugly outfits were my bane in SWTOR. I love so many things about this game that I’ve recently returned to, but the armour designs? Not so much. Did Bioware not see how many times Amidala changed her clothes in the movie? Fashion is part of the lore! Fortunately, updates over the past while have dealt with this, proving lots of adaptive armour options that players can play with, along with dyes to ensure everything matches perfectly.
I am blessed with friends who understand this and will virtually walk through fire to help me fashion, as I would do for them. And even though my husband mocked me when I reported the two hours, 750 Cartel Coins and 500k credits I’d spent last night on redesigning and outfitting my Sith Assassin, he did so out of love and irony. Because he knows. He understands. And he totally crafts his own armour so that he can look awesome too.