We Want More Beards!
With Turbines announcements of armour reaching the Store, and the whole ants nest that ensued on the forums, it got me thinking of what I actually use the store for, and what I would willingly pay hard earned cash for to enhance my game play.
I have bought a few cosmetics in there, when they are on sale. I have bought shared storage and wardrobe space, and a couple of character slots. I’ve bought relic removal scrolls, skirmish mark reset scrolls and enhaced Reputation. Think I may have got a few jewellers recipes on there when I wanted to make a Sabretooth Cat, when we first made our Loremasters.
The thing which sets Lord of thhe Rings Online apart from many of the other MMOs out there is its elaborate cosmetic system. Especially now after several updates, you can wear pretty much anything that comes your way and dye it in a myriad of colours. Your characters can start to be really unique. And cosmetics sell.
Festivals are essentially a way of gaining new outfits and maybe a matching mount, and they are always busy. Cosmetic items always seem to do well on the auction, the store has some nice exclusive cosmetics, and there are a number of great blogs out there dedicated to making some awesome outfits with everything available. People like cosmetics. How many players paid top whack for the Isengard expansion preorder, just for the extra outfits and horses? I know I did.
And yet, there is still room for Turbine to make a boat load of cash from the store and make alot of altoholics and fashionistas really happy, and still not upset the players who are convinced its only a matter of time until you can pay to win.
Adam recently decided to create a new Man of Rohan, (getting excited with the expansion announcement) and something of a solo project. Baby Dwarf was asleep so I went and had a look at the character creation process, which always interests me. He was struggling to find a hairstyle that wasn’t ridiculous or reminiscent of a boy band, and a beard he could live with, something between Lemmy and Gandalf. And there wasn’t that many. I have the same problem with my legion of Dwarves. I seem to use the same few beards and hairstyles. Some of the Dwarf hair again looks like a boy band haircut, and one that makes me think of a LEGO brick, but generally they are okay, although many of them end up different shades of colour with the beards and don’t look right. As for the beards, the ones without a moustache put me in mind of Planet of the Apes, and are to be avoided at all costs, and some are almost there, but look blurred, and some only work with the hair if they are black, and just don’t look right in the other colours. Other players must feel the same about some of the choices, because after four years of playing this game I have never seen some of the combinations used.
And that’s it right there – I would buy new hair and beards in the store.
If anyone has checked out the free to play MMO Champions Online, they will know that they have a system like this. For those of you who don’t know this game, it’s a cartoon/comic book superhero game. You make a superhero, and fight crime with super powers. It’s that simple and immense fun. Granted, Superheroes are not lore restricted, and can pretty much look like and wear anything, have wings or snake skin or whatever. But in the character creation panel you are faced with a whole lot of options that you can use, but some of them are either unlocked in the store or by competing deeds. I really liked that, and its something which could work in LoTRO.
In Star Wars the Old Republic, there is a fairly detailed character creation panel (although there is no cosmetic
system available), but the thing that I liked most about it was that all the NPC’s are made using combinations of all characteristics available to players. In LoTRO, many of the NPC’s have beards or hairstyles that are not available to the player. Grimbold has a nice simple no frills stubbly beard that players cannot replicate, and Frodo has curls which does not look like he has a small cloud attached to his head. This could be utilised by Turbine. Account hair packs – even if they were sold separately by race and gender. This is all fluff, and no different from buying a cloak or a helmet in there. It won’t give anyone an advantage, but it could make a lot of people very happy, and keep the money rolling in to Turbine’s coffers, funding the game we all love.