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The outfit problem, and it's peculiarly simple solution

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion > Suggestion Box
The outfit problem, and it's peculiarly simple solution

Journeyer's Avatar


Journeyer
10.10.2012 , 08:44 AM | #1
We need a way to quickly store, organize, and equip custom outfits. If players are to collect, customize, and generally get "into" outfitting their characters, then the UI must promote it, rather than relying on the player to find a way. And if this is not Bioware's intention with this game, then I'm afraid it's too late now--these are the rewards they are offering, so it's time to embrace this.

Why is is a "problem?" Well, the design of the inventory and UI have created a scenario where it is inherently difficult to pursue one of the core activities to keep players involved with the game beyond the basic "more missions to complete" level.

And why prioritize this?
Well, primarily because this is the foundation for building out one of the major aspects of personalization--a key to keeping players involved--and it requires a bare minimum of newly-created features. As a side note, it appears that custom outfits are going to be one of the ways that BW tries to pull more users into the cash shop, so this is needed rather soon.

The (proposed) solution:
A little change can go a long way here. Essentially, all that we need is another inventory tab, with 14 slots for gear and the guild tab system for organization. It's dead simple, and I went ahead and mashed up what it looks like already. Have a look at the image linked below:

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/14325048/gearGUI.jpg

How it works:
You drop gear from your inventory into the Outfits tab (You would likely want to have a separate "inventory" tab open up, like it does when you interact with a cargo hold or vendor, for convenience).

The Outfits UI has a number of "tabs" like the guild bank, allowing you to store up to 14 gear items per tab (gear items only). If a player wants to use this "creatively" to store 14 helmets in one tab, just let them.

The Equip All button will equip each item on the tab, and if someone has put 2 of something, only the last item gets equipped. Extra tabs can be purchased with Cartel Tokens.

If you want to get super-fancy with this, then you might allow players to place a virtual duplicate item as well--esentially, to place one piece of gear onto 2 or more outfit tabs (You might not have 2 different sabers for PvE and PvP, for example). An icon would denote that the item is from another tab. This last component is the only part of the Outfits system that is not already an existing mechanic in SWTOR.

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For what it's worth, here's the thinking that led me to believe that this is a problem--the root of it lies with game design, rather than with a personal compulsion for more outfits. And this feature request isn't some arbitrary thing that I decided I want to see. It's a feature that I arrived at by thinking about what's in the game, how it works, and what's lacking.

What makes a game endure? What keeps players "in" the game, after they inevitably complete all of the missions and are waiting for the next little bit to play through? A look through the worlds of other games would suggest immersion, personalization, ownership, achievements, and role play.

In Swtor these themes might convert to "careers/ extended world dialogue/ Pazaak/ swoop racing"; "customized outfits and ships with baubles and trinkets tacked on"; "Guild ships/player housing/more interactive or customizeable ships"; "trophies/ leaderboards/ displayable trinkets"; "chat bubbles, functioning cantinas (serving droids, sitting at tables to initiate group conversation, etc), emotion (implemented-gj, BW)"

I have many, many thoughts on each of these areas, as do all of you, but I would like to take a moment to focus on the problem of custom outfits for a moment, as I haven't seen the root cause addressed in this forum yet.

One of the ways that BW has been offering us rewards for continued participation is with social gear. Presumably, we are all going out there and getting sets that we like for our characters, as well as sets for "being there." Which means that by now, we're all got a Containment Officer suit, Sandpeople Bloodguard suit, Collector's Edition suit, Dancer suit, Slaveperson suit, War Hero PvP suit, Campaign PvE suit, Balmorran Vomit-looking suit, etc and so on.

So...surely I'm not the only one who is both running out of inventory room and also finding this to be a pretty darned silly way to store outfits. I mean, these things have 4-14 pieces each; I literally do not have enough room in 3 cargo bays and an inventory for all of the game's "outfits." Heck, I'm running out of room just collecting several along with crafting mats.

But space to keep them all is a secondary issue. The entire "point," as it were, of many of these suits is basically to show them off. But in order to do that, we're either keeping a set of geared PvE, geared PvP, and one or several "show off" sets in our inventory at all times, or we're running back to the cargo hold every time we want to switch, or--and this is what I fear is really going on--a majority just stop giving a dang about outfits. I think most of us try to get one or two customized looks and then just give up on wearing anything else because it's too much of a hassle to carry around last world event's outfit just for looks.

So, a simple change for a simple motivation. If it's easy to collect and show off gear, then maybe, just possibly, the players will start to get into their characters just a bit more.

(And a word of warning to Bioware--if the F2P cash shop is hoping to capitalize on player interest in customization and special gear, rather than on pay-to-win, you really need to take a step like this, to re-emphasize social gear in a meaningful way, or you will quickly find players ignoring the new direction)
I make useful, game-expanding suggestions.
Holorancor | Food! | Outfit Storage | My Career | Ultimate PvE Solution

psandak's Avatar


psandak
10.10.2012 , 09:20 AM | #2
While I agree with your overall analysis and your proposed solution, the flaw in it is that EVERY slot in every window that involves inventory (character sheet, personal inventory, cargo hold, and guild bank) is a database field. To add that many fields may not be as easy as you profess.

It took Blizzard YEARS to create a functional (albeit not very good) outfitter. The advantage WoW players had (and still have) is the add-on community had created one. BioWare has prohibited add-ons to SWTOR so it is all on them to add the features players want.

In short, your idea has merit, but it may be more difficult to implement than you think.

Alec_Fortescue's Avatar


Alec_Fortescue
10.10.2012 , 09:27 AM | #3
This doesn't fit lack of hood down heavy robes. So what if I get your proposed solution if I won't be able to apply a robe that is not hooded to my character? ;/
*Best Dressed Jedi of 2014* http://mmo-fashion.com/tor-fashion-contest-results/

http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=720547 - Cool compilation of Jedi outfits worn by NPCs.

http://www.swtor.com/community/showt...=788459&page=2 - Bioware, please let us know if we're ever going to see iconic Jedi robes in the game... Or why not?

Journeyer's Avatar


Journeyer
10.10.2012 , 09:53 AM | #4
@psandak: Interesting--I'm not familiar with WoW, so I don't have its systems for comparison, and I'm not sure which other features it may have that might make this more challenging. I'm basing my assumption of the "relative" ease of implementing on the existing ability to add extra slots and tabs to inventories and cargoes, and the fairly quick, painless, and bug-free implementation of the guild banks. As a programmer, I know that it's always easier to add features that use mostly existing code than to add new features that require a functionality not previously considered, even if that feature change looks small. Which doesn't mean adding Outfits is easy, certainly! Just...more bang for the buck. I'm glad you find some merit in it!

@Alec_Fortescue I think you confused Outfit problem with Robe problem
There are a whole lot of places that BW can go with customized appearances and gear--and they will be going there as the game goes forward. But my point is that if there's no way to organize your carefully coordinated appearances, then they'll be adding features to a portion of the game that is rapidly becoming impractical.

As for the robe issue, see above; that happens to be one of those tiny changes that has a lot more going on under the hood. Besides, you don't need to see my proposal for a solution on that. The solution is to add it, and BW is working on it, as a low-priority fix. It's already confirmed that it *will* come to the game; no further solution needed :P
I make useful, game-expanding suggestions.
Holorancor | Food! | Outfit Storage | My Career | Ultimate PvE Solution

psandak's Avatar


psandak
10.10.2012 , 04:43 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by Journeyer View Post
@psandak: Interesting--I'm not familiar with WoW, so I don't have its systems for comparison, and I'm not sure which other features it may have that might make this more challenging. I'm basing my assumption of the "relative" ease of implementing on the existing ability to add extra slots and tabs to inventories and cargoes, and the fairly quick, painless, and bug-free implementation of the guild banks. As a programmer, I know that it's always easier to add features that use mostly existing code than to add new features that require a functionality not previously considered, even if that feature change looks small. Which doesn't mean adding Outfits is easy, certainly! Just...more bang for the buck. I'm glad you find some merit in it!
I can tell you right that ALL the inventory and cargo space that becomes available when you pay credits for it are already there they are just hidden.

I guess it really all depends on where this (effectively) new inventory space would go in the interface and by association the database. However, even if it is simply added on to say the character inventory interface window, it still may be difficult to add.

With regard to WoW - first of all inventory space in that game is based on "backpacks". Each character starts out with a single 16-slot pack and can add up to five more backpacks. the character bank also has a fixed number of slots and the ability to purchase additional slots for backpacks. now here is where it gets a little confusing. generic backpacks had an original maximum of 14 slots (I'm talking about when WoW launched now current). However, there are also item type specific backpacks. Loosely translating to SWTOR parlance - they had a backpack for Bioanalysis materials, and a pack for scavenging materials, and a pack for archeology, and for UT, etc. These packs had a larger maximum capacity but they could only hold a specific set of items - if you tried to put a piece of gear into one of these the system would tell you that it won't fit. I believe the maximum for these bags was 20.

As to its "outfitter," the add-on (created by players), allows you to save the outfit you are wearing. You can save multiple outfits and when you select one in the add-on's interface it swaps what you are wearing for what the outfit has saved. Additionally an "outfit" does not HAVE to be a full set of gear and you can have multiple sets of gear on at once so long as none conflict; if there is a conflict the last outfit chosen takes precedence.

After many years of having this add-on and a LOT of players using it, Blizzard developed their own "equipment manager". It had some problems - 1) an outfit was a full set of gear and you could only have one "outfit" on at a time 2) in order to load an outfit you had to drag an outfit icon to a hotbar slot. Even in WoW WITH a macro system to effectively stack abilities into one slot, hot bar slots are at a premium. Eventually they added a button to the character sheet that opened a menu for outfits.

However, the outfit system did NOT include extra inventory space, which is why there are a lot of threads on the WoW forums consistently asking for more capacity.

Maviarab's Avatar


Maviarab
10.18.2012 , 04:34 AM | #6
All unnecessary..

Just look to how it is done in Lotro for the perfect cosmetic system.

Either drag an outfit piece to a 'cosmetic' slot (which in that case you must be of the correct class/level to use as a cosmetic), or vip (or if you buy wardrobe spaces if f2p), drag the clothing item into the wardrobe (it creates a duplicate) and then you can drag this duplicate to your cosmetic slot with no level, class requirements whatsoever.

it works fine.

This game has so many issues that if they bothered to take the time to look at other 'very successful' MMO's systems instead of trying to be clever and different, would transform this game.

Baptes's Avatar


Baptes
10.18.2012 , 05:10 AM | #7
My favorite outfit system is DCUO's. Once you get a piece of gear, it is always available to display (I think you can delete them. not sure been a long time since I played DCUO).

Thylbanus's Avatar


Thylbanus
10.18.2012 , 09:08 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Baptes View Post
My favorite outfit system is DCUO's. Once you get a piece of gear, it is always available to display (I think you can delete them. not sure been a long time since I played DCUO).
Agreed, DCUO and LotRO both have systems that could function here.

DCUO has a screen that keeps all gear slots under expandable tabs that cycle through every gear item look you posses or once possesed.

-or-

LotRO has an appearance tab and a tab called "Wardrobe" with a certain amount of space. This is also availible account wide.
It's amazing how loud a dollar can be.
"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Kristin Wilson

SovereignConvict's Avatar


SovereignConvict
10.18.2012 , 03:38 PM | #9
I love the OP's idea!

Quote: Originally Posted by psandak View Post
While I agree with your overall analysis and your proposed solution, the flaw in it is that EVERY slot in every window that involves inventory... is a database field. To add that many fields may not be as easy as you profess...
It's always important to keep in mind that unless you're working on a PARTICULAR product, it's never 100% possible to guess just how long a specific task would take.

That being said (and believe this or not), I was an MMO developer for several years before becoming a usability designer and trainer. Adding fields, columns, or rows into a database is perhaps the absolutely most simple thing that can be done in an MMO other than just changing information in already created fields. If you can add a row into Microsoft Excel, you can pretty much do the same thing for any database in an MMO.

But, this would also require new art, new UI elements, and QA testing, as everything in an MMO does. So, if they decided to put 5 Devs on this right now, there's still no way you would see this inside of a couple of months.

Journeyer's Avatar


Journeyer
12.14.2012 , 11:07 AM | #10
=D Thanks for the support! We saw, with the introduction of the Cartel Market, just how quickly a 4th Cargo Bay slot became obtainable, so I think I agree with you that it's tough to call just how long a feature like this would take to develop but it's certainly doable

I'm revisiting this suggestion because it's becoming, as predicted, rather important. I now have a war hero PvP set, a Dread Master PvE set, several bonus gear sets (world events, bell hat, sabers with rare color crystals), Revan's set, and the Life Day gear--I like the looks of each of these things, and I'm definitely running out of space fast!

Adding a way to manage outfits (and to take them out of inventory) is only going to become a bigger and bigger deal if BW succeeds at making me want more cartel stuff! And...this system would make the transition from PvP to PvE to dual-spec much simpler~

(Imagine if each speeder we unlocked went into inventory to use...it's a good thing there's a separate tab for it, and it's basically the same idea for outfits)
I make useful, game-expanding suggestions.
Holorancor | Food! | Outfit Storage | My Career | Ultimate PvE Solution