RIFT shows MMOs how cosmetic wardrobes are done

wardroberightYesterday RIFT launched Update 3.2, making it the first of three MMOs that are recently revamping their wardrobe systems (the other two being WildStar and SWTOR). I hate to call it before the other two get to show off their stuff, but I have to say that RIFT did it right. Seriously, I can hardly think of a way that this new system can be improved.

It’s not as though the old wardrobe was horrible, just a little inconvenient in that you had to handle actual pieces of gear. But there was plenty of room for costume slots and it served its purpose well. However, I’m not complaining at this new wardrobe, because it’s a giant step up from what we used to have.

It seems that RIFT took a look at other popular systems and combined them to make the most accessible, painless wardrobe possible. The biggest change is that the new wardrobe no longer requires any physical gear; cosmetic variants are saved the second a player loots a new art template (much like Guild Wars 2’s newer wardrobe). Once obtained, a player can go into the wardrobe interface and simply click on the gear slot to choose a piece to wear.

Oh, did I mention that characters can use any type of gear — cloth, leather, chain, or plate — as cosmetics? I love that there are no restrictions on this, so if you wanted to make a heavily armored mage, you can make that happen.

The new wardrobe also allows you to dye pieces (in two tones per piece) on the go, which is something that LOTRO doesn’t do. You have a selection of unlocked dyes and can add more that you either acquire or purchase from the store.

It’s better than Guild Wars 2’s system by far: RIFT lets you save multiple outfits and doesn’t limit you with a microtransactiony token cost. Really, the only downside is that I am not a fan of 80% of RIFT’s armor art style, but at least now I have a lot more from which to choose.

It will be neat going forward in the game, since any piece of loot has the potential now to expand the wardrobe selection automatically. Good job, RIFT. The ball’s in your court now, other MMOs. I dare you to do better.

(Don’t miss Belghast’s take on the 3.2 wardrobe as well!)

12 thoughts on “RIFT shows MMOs how cosmetic wardrobes are done

  1. You kind of put your finger on the problem right at the end there. I’d take a clunky, unintuitive, annoying wardrobe system for clothes that look amazing over a slick, smart, pleasure-to-use interface full of clothes I wouldn’t be seen dead in any day.

    Also I’m not a fan of “anyone can wear anything”. Once you go down that road, why bother having the different armor types at all? You might as well do away with material categories altogether, which, ironically, I would be fine with.

    They should just issue all our characters with 1960s style Mao suits. Then we wouldn’t have to think about it.

  2. ‘The biggest change is that the new wardrobe no longer requires any physical gear; cosmetic variants are saved the second a player loots a new art template’
    DOES this set up a got to get em all mechanic…

    I never did see a problem with equipping a mage in plate armour in any game…as long as they can hardly move…or are the cosmetic outfits truly that, fake… a costume…an imitation of the real thing?

  3. Well, I can certainly say that so far this looks better than what we’re hearing about in TOR. In that game you’re going to have to pay to unlock to wardrobe slots.

  4. I’m a bit on the fence of removing armour restrictions for cosmetics myself. I do think there’s something to be said for keeping an iconic image for a class, and I don’t really like the idea of warriors running around in robes.

    On the other hand, I’m someone who tends to play light armour classes but prefer heavy armour aesthetics, and there are worse things in the world than opening the potential for some players to make themselves look a little silly. For every absurd clownsuit, there’d be another brilliantly designed costume pulling pieces from all over.

    In a perfect world, I think it’d probably be better to just not have armour type restrictions in the first place, like ESO. Having restrictions with stats armour but not cosmetic armour is a bit odd.

  5. I don’t play RIft but the changes sound pretty awesome. I’m currently playing SWTOR and I know they lifted the class restrictions for their upcoming wardrobe system during testing but, they will still charge you for every slot you fill in the costume tab.

  6. @tsuhelm – the reason behind not allowing it generally is the carping of PvP players, who feel there is an unfair advantage in not being able to tell, at a glance, what class their opponent is playing. Of course, if everyone has access to the same advantage, I’m not sure why its a problem. And RIFT can get around it because their classes are so wide open in roles.

    I like the look of this. I’m not keen on SWTOR’s upcoming micro-transaction mess that requires a ton of clicking.

  7. Ironically, I thought GW2’s wardrobe system was basically perfect.. and then they slapped a real money price on each costume which was high enough that I would never, ever use it.

    I have enjoyed working on the achievements for collecting weapon and armour skins, though. I can enjoy the achievement ticking over even if I’m never going to change my character’s appearance. 🙂

  8. Oh I really like GW2’s wardrobe, I just wish that you could save several outfits, especially if you were going to be paying for them.

  9. I -would- like GW2’s wardrobe if you wouldn’t have to pay every time you want to adjust something. Granted, for higher tier play you get enough of those charges which you need to modify the appearance of an item, so as long as you stick to one appearance you are perfectly fine. But as soon as you’d like to have several appearances available, things would get very costy extremely fast.

    Considering that my outfit manager addon in TSW by now is approaching 100 saved outfits i consider GW2 a little limiting here.

    And a sidenote on using different armour classes for visualisation than your character uses, i really don’t see a problem. I’ve seen many nicely crafted combinations of different armour types in several games, also in Rift. I mean, why should a warrior not choose to be in leather armour, so he’s more comfortable and move faster, instead of relying on being wrapped in metal? Why should the mage not wear plate if the metal in this game doesn’t have the “disrupts spellcasting” property which many RPGs use to explain why mages wear light armour?

    And finally on the PvP aspects: i completely call bulls on the whole “need the appearance to know what you are facing” stuff. The first time i heard all that stuff was in old time Anarchy Online, when they implemented the outfit system there. PvPers throughout the game announced the sky to fall, PvP dying and everything going to hell. Then the patch came, people realized that even before the change they mostly relied on other information than the armour (much of which is shared over the professions anyway) and were not negatively affected at all.

    For Rift for example the “highly secret trick” is to target a player and look at the class symbol.

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