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Star Wars: The Old Republic: Aesthetics vs. Gameplay

MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community ManagerQueens, NYPosts: 5,716Administrator Uncommon

Do aesthetics trump gameplay? BioWare has responded to feedback over some of the 'crazy' armorsets coming in 1.2, a topic we discussed in a recent Star Wars: The Old Republic column, and this week we're discussing the situation as it stands now.

Honestly, what more can you ask for? Of course, hindsight is awesome. Wouldn’t it have been great if BioWare figured this out before launch and gave us endgame gear that didn’t look like it came out of the Power Rangers TV series? Sure. But it didn’t play out that way. What’s important is that BioWare didn’t sit up in an ivory tower and simply give us a reason as to why they design endgame armor as they do and leave it at that.

Read more of Michael Bitton's Star Wars: The Old Republic: Aesthetics vs. Gameplay.

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Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

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Comments

  • HurricanePipHurricanePip Sommerille, MAPosts: 167Member
    I think this a great topic. It's a tough issue to deal with and like in a lot of other cases, Bioware chose a solution that's been used for a long time by many previous MMOs. The interesting thing to me is that if you look at the source material for SW, the outfits weren't over the top unless you look specifically at a very few characters. Also, in many fantasy series, the comentary has been specifically about how rediculous nobles' clothing is. In terms of somethig more recent, The Hunger Games really draws out that extreme in both the books and the recent movie.

    So, why then do most developers continue to think players want these over the top gear sets for their avatars? Maybe it works for comic books, but in a world building exercise like you might find in a fantasy series, the silliness of the clothing in many MMOs is very apparent and in a lot of cases, detrimental to the experience.

    If you don't worry about it, it's not a problem.

  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,401Member Uncommon

    Another reason the devs of SWTOR are clueless.

    The only way to combat everyone looking the exact same is to have an extra set of equipment slots: 1 for stats and 1 for looks.

    As for the looks, they need to create endless amounts of clothing and armor. They haven't done this. Other than a few decent looking sets, which everyone is wearing, you can either choose between puke or vomit.

    Instead of going overkill on the marketing spending, they should've hired guys that did nothing but design weapons and armor.

  • XiaokiXiaoki White Pigeon, MIPosts: 2,601Member Uncommon

    The high end armor has several problems working against them.

    1 - they are dealing with a popular franchise so what they create has to fit the Star Wars universe.


    2 - since the franchise is so popular the fans have certain expectations about what the characters should look like


    3 - what BioWare has to do as MMORPG developer conflicts with the expectations of the players.


    The players want simple armor that reminds them of the movies but(as mentioned in the interview) BioWare has to create new high end armor for an MMORPG which is a video game based off The Old Republic story spin off.

    Basically, no matter what BioWare does a large portion of the players will complain. If they make raid armor sets highly unique then the Star Wars movie fans will complain but if they make raid armor sets simple and movie like then the MMORPG fans will complain.

    Welcome to the popular franchise MMORPG misery party BioWare. Cryptic, Turbine, FunCom and Mythic are already in attendance.

  • Whiskey_SamWhiskey_Sam Lynchburg, VAPosts: 294Member Uncommon

    There's really no excuse for the crap armor designs they're pumping out.  That shouldn't have made it out of the design phase unless there is massive groupthink going on or a complete lack of oversight.  If they cared about what their customers thought, they would have asked players about the designs before pumping out more generic, clownish crap.  And let's not pretend this just started with this release.  There are some absolutely awful armor designs that the game launched with like the bug face BH or the ox head force users.

    ___________________________
    Have flask; will travel.

  • CaldrinCaldrin CwmbranPosts: 4,533Member Uncommon

    Wait there....

     

    SWTOR has not got either of those?

  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    Originally posted by Caldrin

    Wait there....
     
    SWTOR has not got either of those?

     

    That was my first thought when I saw the headline
  • RefMinorRefMinor MyTownPosts: 3,452Member
    It's really not hard, for a Jedi, low key robes with a small subtle coloured band by the wrist to denote armour level, that way you aren't stuck with Boffo Wan Clownobi.
  • dronfwardronfwar Shitty, DEPosts: 316Member

    They have only put in the cheapest that they bought in [censored] and kept the good ones for the cash shop!

    Admit it.



  • TerranahTerranah Stockton, CAPosts: 3,605Member

    To be fair, I don't think they are alone in making crappy armor designs.  

  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member

    Two questions, who's the jackwagon who approved all of that garbage in the first place and are they in charge of the redesign?

    Perhaps designers will finally get a clue that we don't want to be treated like snot-nosed kids...

    ...or not.

    "Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky

  • musicmannmusicmann port allen, LAPosts: 1,107Member

    The only armor that looks like it belongs are the BH, Smuggler and Trooper. If you play a Jedi or Sith you are stuck with wearing a quasi WOW / Rift looking set that i'm not sure where it belongs.

  • AcorniaAcornia Spring Lake, RIPosts: 176Member

    For the pure aesthetics out there that have seen the 130mm version of the first Star Wars movie.  I would like to see the od green blanket with the black US emblem showing for a jedi cape that Obe Wan was shown wearing on the first cliff top scene where he scared off the sand raiders.

  • TardcoreTardcore MinskPosts: 2,325Member

    After reading the Bioware employees responses, once again I have to ask WTF WERE THEY DOING FOR FIVE YEARS!!??

    Great Vader's Ghost! How do you bungle what your fanbase wants so bloody badly SO MANY TIMES!?

    Their advertising department sure understands what sells. Look at all the really killer outfits in every one of the blazing cinematics they released since day one. How the hell did those guys get the iconic look so right, yet when it came to actual game art direction everything looks like it was created for a redo of Captain Eo!?

    To paraphrase Harrison Ford, "Bioware, you can hype this sh*t, but you sure as hell can't play it."

    image

    "Gypsies, tramps, and thieves, we were called by the Admin of the site . . . "

  • channel84channel84 CyberjayaPosts: 584Member Uncommon

    150mil and u gave us these crappy art....zzz

  • AsamofAsamof La Canada, CAPosts: 738Member Uncommon

    TOR was trying its hardest to be like a certain other game (hamfisting a single player narrative doesn't make their game unique), of course they're going to emulate up the clown suit aspect too

  • ValentinaValentina Los Angeles, CAPosts: 1,675Member Uncommon

    I have no idea why aesthetics vs gameplay is even a "thing". It's a game, not real life. [Mod edit]




    I personally love many of the new armor sets, especially for the sith inquisitor. I'm not a big fan of the Imperial Agent attire, I find it rather boring. Great game, efficient development.





     



  • red_cruiserred_cruiser Milwaukee, WIPosts: 472Member Uncommon

    I think the fact that this is even an issue suggests that a Star Wars MMO shouldn't have ever been about whoring loot for small binary increases to the two stats that are useful for you; but since copying WoW was about the only chance the clowns at BioWare-Mythic had of coming up with something even halfway enjoyable, this clown armor end game gear is probably the best you can ever really expect.

    Obi-Wan wore a plain brown robe because that was all he needed.  If you aren't down with that, you shouldn't be making a Star Wars game. End of story. 

  • ace80kace80k Lorton, VAPosts: 151Member Uncommon

    No matter how the new armor sets look, people will never be happy with their appearance. Never. MMOs players love to complain and armor appearance happens to be one of those subjective issues that people love to nit pick about. Sort of like women and haircuts..or people and food. With that said, I'd say Bioware should focus more on gameplay, but anyone "in the know", knows they most likely have seperate teams dedicated to different aspects of the game. Gameplay and aesthetics (art) are two vastly different areas of development.

  • ValmarillValmarill Citrus Heights, CAPosts: 21Member

    Interesting that they would actually listen to the fans and attempt to fix this. Cosmetics was on my list of reasons I uninstalled the game. The rest of my list was comprised of team-size, dislike of crafting, character skill progression, starting zones and overall sand-boxy feel of the game. Having played games like City of Heroes and LoTRO where characters are extremely customizable (CoH far more so), SWToR felt like a cop out. It's nice to know this has been addressed. Now, if they would fix at least 50% of the other issues I had with the game, I might consider resub ... but at this point it is highly unlikely.

  • David_LopanDavid_Lopan Madison, WIPosts: 808Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Valentina

    I have no idea why aesthetics vs gameplay is even a "thing". It's a game, not real life. [Mod Edit]





    I personally love many of the new armor sets, especially for the sith inquisitor. I'm not a big fan of the Imperial Agent attire, I find it rather boring.   Great game, efficient development






     

       Agreed, nothing will make these folks happy, best not to respond to them

  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member



    Originally posted by Valentina

    I have no idea why aesthetics vs gameplay is even a "thing". It's a game, not real life. [Mod Edit]





    I personally love many of the new armor sets, especially for the sith inquisitor. I'm not a big fan of the Imperial Agent attire, I find it rather boring.   Great game, efficient development














     










     

    Do you think it's ok for you to express your opinions of the artwork? If so, why is it not ok for those who disagree with you to post theirs?


    "Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky

  • AldersAlders Jack Burton'sPosts: 1,857Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Valentina

    I have no idea why aesthetics vs gameplay is even a "thing". It's a game, not real life. [Mod Edit]





    I personally love many of the new armor sets, especially for the sith inquisitor. I'm not a big fan of the Imperial Agent attire, I find it rather boring.   Great game, efficient development






     

     

    Except that it's not baseless.  We're Star Wars fans for fuck sake.  We want Star Wars aesthetics.  What we don't want is Yoda weilding a lightsaber doing backflips and shit.  If you can't understand what that means then i can't help you.

    102 page thread on the official forums also disagrees with you.

  • ValmarillValmarill Citrus Heights, CAPosts: 21Member

    Originally posted by Valentina

    I have no idea why aesthetics vs gameplay is even a "thing". It's a game, not real life. [Mod Edit]





    I personally love many of the new armor sets, especially for the sith inquisitor. I'm not a big fan of the Imperial Agent attire, I find it rather boring.   Great game, efficient development






     

    I suppose if we were all blind and aesthetics weren't a component of the game, this argument might be valid. However, it is not the case. Why hire an art team at all? Or add texture to surfaces? Heck, why not just play in a wire frame environment? Aesthetics and cosmetics are what gives a game that extra flavor. 

    Here's an analogy: back when we played table top games. Some people would draw out what their characters looked like. Some would come up with elaborate back-stories and then some would only have a sheet of numbers and stats and just roll dice every time they did something. Going by your response, I would believe that you probably fit into that last group. So, I have to agree with the response above mine when they  wonder why it's okay for you to express your opinion but not tolerance for  those who don't agree with your line of thinking. 

    In short:

    Games by their nature have an aesthetic equivalent, like it or not. Don't get so defensive that the obvious is overlooked.

  • Sabic133Sabic133 Louisville, KYPosts: 46Member

    Having a 50 marauder and 50 troooper the armor sets in this game were a major reason I quit.  Since they removed the match to chestpiece option I spent 90% of the game as a trooper looking like a bag of skittles and 90% of the game as a marauder running around in a dress which just changed colors as I leveled up.  It just seemed too half assed for a game of this budget, then you get to end game and your presented with spiked emo skin tight suits and rocket launchers on your shoulder when you have no abilities which allow you fire a ******* rocket.  

     

    The art team of this game are clueless, along with the pvp team and.. well pretty much everyone.  In a game where the major selling point is its based on the star wars IP, you expect a certain simplistic complexity when it comes to force users and functionality for your other classes.  The current and new armor provides neither, its just a copy of world of warcraft huge shoulder pads and ridiculous looking armor.  I think the SWTOR team is afraid of doing ANYTHING original.  

  • SamhaelSamhael Huntsville, ALPosts: 696Member Uncommon

    Yeah, some of the gear is just plain hideous. If *any* of their artists actually thought the subscribers woiuld be pleased with it then those folks should be sacked. I haven't heard a single person say "oh, the jedi consular gear looks nice."  I did hear quite a few snickers from people who don't play the class when they saw how bad the 1.2 stuff is.  I see no reason to renew my sub. It will time out in another 2 weeks anyway.

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