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Epic Slant Press LLC is a small publishing company based in North Carolina that currently focuses on books and games. Positivity is the driving force that guides each and every project that the company takes on. The team strongly believes that with a positive outlook anyone can achieve great things. Epic Slant Press LLC strives to support small and local businesses, aid fellow entrepreneurs, and donate a portion of all profits to charities and good causes.

Why Positivity?

Think of a time when you went back to a store or restaurant and an employee there remembered your name. That simple act probably gave you warm feelings (and might help retain your business!). How about a day when all of your customers were angry or just apathetic, and then you had that one customer that was cheerful and grateful for your help? Positive encounters like these make lasting impressions and it is our mission to better serve the community by creating as many of them as possible.

Apperance slots are dangerous

Snappy SmurfAppearance 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!

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6 Responses to Apperance slots are dangerous

  1. spinks says:

    That is a shame. And I don’t know if it really is what we asked for. I don’t know about you but if I asked for appearance slots, it’s because I had some cool raid gear that I loved the look of and I didn’t want to have to swap it out. I never asked for appearance slots to feed the cash cow.

  2. Stubborn says:

    I agree with Spinks. Though I’ve never played EQ, the appearance slots were available in Lord of the Rings Online, and I remember taking time to make sure my character looked good. However, that doesn’t mean the companies were required to monetize this avenue of our game play. Of course, we were, perhaps, fools not to expect them to. In a subculture that’s more and more appealing to the masses instead of the groups of players that made these MMOs successful at first, I don’t know that we should be surprised by this development. LotR, like DDO, experienced its highest year of profits after the core game became free and they started charging for all the little perks (like appearance slots). Most games have followed the trend in one way or another, be it companion pets or mounts in WoW, special dungeons in DDO, or appearance slots in EQ or LotRO.

    It’s sad that we’re solely avenues of revenue, but that’s the face of corporations at work, and any MMO we support long enough and in large enough numbers will take on that face.

  3. Stabs says:

    I have almost never touched the appearance slots. I wear the numerically best gear available to me and for better or for worse I look like however that turns out.

    I suspect a lot of players do the same.

  4. Telke says:

    Don’t some games (LoTRO?) only allow armor you can actually equip to be put in appearance slots, so no mages in plate?
    if EQ doesn’t have that restriction, ouch :| that sounds kinda nasty.

  5. I actually have been asked in my blog comments how I got the outfit my character is wearing in screenshots. Yes, generally the gear in question is low level stuff from quests where all the potential rewards were vendor trash if not for the appearance slots. There’s plenty of options in game that don’t cost real money, and I don’t see a problem with this if the player is willing to obtain and store the items in question.

    Now yes, SOE has made a decision that they’re going to hold more and more material back from the base game while charging the same price for a smaller and smaller package. This is in no way limited to armor textures – what other game has ever released a $40 expansion that does NOT include the new race with lore ties (well, kinda sorta) to the new content? The appearance slots pre-date this trend by a fair amount of time, and we were still getting decent looking stuff added to the game right up until TSF. Your blame in this case is misplaced; we’re getting less new appearances because SOE has chosen to invest less money in the game.

  6. Shadow-war says:

    That is one of my biggest gripes about EQ2, and I quasi-saw it coming when they FIRST released the “ceremonial” armor on the vendors. The stuff that was classified as cloth, had virtually zero stats, but LOOKED like bright-shiney, mirrored vanguard armor. The arrival of the appearance sealed the deal on creating interesting, individual looks. When everything is permissable, nothing is unique.