Appearance slots have been in demand for as long as I can remember. In EverQuest players were generally displeased that all armor was a set color with no option to change. It took several expansions before dyes were implemented and changed our lives completely. No longer could you look at a character and say, “Oh that is a cleric in Ethereal Mist.” Now you had no idea who was what! On the plus side, everyone matched and life was good. Dyes eventually turned into separate slots. In EverQuest II you can take your poor low level alt, clad it in the worst of leather armors and then throw full plate into the appearance slots. Mages run around looking like knights and once more all is good. These days I’m not so sure all is good. I think by demanding appearance slots players have actually done themselves harm.
I fully understand the need to look good as a character. Before EQ2 had appearance slots I would make close gear decisions based on looks for Ferrel. In EQ2 classic her appearance was so impressive and so unique that if I ran through Qeynos people would send me tells asking how they could look like me. It was a good feeling to know that all of the hard work I put in paid off on the form of an awesome look and some pretty stellar statistics. Then appearance slots showed up.
Nobody in EQ2 would ever really stop you to ask how you got your gear anymore. They’d assume it was just some really cool looking low level armor that you reused for appearance. Most everyone looks too pristine and too perfect to be real. You can’t distinguish class easily by a glance and differentiating yourself is down right hard. What makes matters worse is that SOE has bought too heavily into the appearance slots and our desires. This is the real danger.
Now that players have a full set of appearance slots fashion is at an all time high. To answer this demand SOE puts appearance armor on the marketplace to be purchased with real money. This gear isn’t what you’d call cheap either. One suit of armor can easily cost you 2/3rd of your monthly subscription or more! To make matters worse this is now the primary avenue that new textures come into the game. New armor sets that come in via loot never look as impressive as these or use the exact same textures that have been in use for years. It is, to say the least, frustrating. What is more frustrating about it is that it is what we asked for!
It might be a bit of sour grapes but I honestly miss the days where you had to work at having a cool appearance. I never minded having to pick lesser loot to look cool. I also prefer that mages look like mages and knights look like knights! Beyond that, I miss new expansions and dungeons being filled not with just new gear but new looks. It has been a long time since I’ve seen that and I am blaming the appearance slots!