“Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit.” – George Santayana
Now, I’m not a Jagex basher in the least bit. I have been a supporter of their additions of the Squeal of Fortune and Solomon’s from the beginning. I’m all for a company making money by any means that a consumer is willing to put forth cash for. But… Jagex – COME ON. We don’t need new useless cosmetic items every week, especially when no one is buying what already exists. No matter how many outfits you dream up, the fact remains that we only have one body in Runescape, and we can’t wear all of these outfits at once. In looking for a quote to accompany my article, I feel Mr. Santayana’s above speaks exactly of the current situation regard cosmetic fashion in game: lots of new clothing that does nothing that looks cool but is ultimately undesirable.
When it comes to bank space, I’m a pretty light packer compared to most. Anything that I don’t use on a regular basis gets tossed in most cases. In the past two months, however, thanks to Yelps, I have amassed over twenty pieces of cosmetic wieldable crap! Archon and Warlord sets, Luchador masks, weapons that are anything but “exquisite” except by name – why? I mean, sure they are cool, but these items would be great if they had any story to go along with them and not just tossed away for free. The model designers do so much work just for the chance that a player might get one or two of these items? It’s a waste. If they gave these a little more time, and put some back story behind them in game, that would be far more enriching to the game. The Luchador masks, for example. I didn’t know this until looking them up, but each of them represents a god faction in RS. Wrestling masks themed after the gods? That sounds like it’d be a great little piece of content to enrich all the gods storyline – possibly as a final gift from the God Emissaries released a few weeks ago. But no, they were raffled away wily nilly. Now, I know they were Cinco de Mayo themed rewards, but the premise of a good thought out series of items were wasted on being just cosmetic freebies.
(Cue Old Man Rickles) Back in MY day, we had to WORK for our cosmetic costumes. Remember the Mourner gear, eh? I remember back when the land that East Ardougne sits on was all farmland! How about the bear hat? We had to walk to the Mountain Camp uphill both ways for that, and we were glad to get that in the end! Ahem – my point is there’s plenty of older cosmetic stuff that I actually kept in my bank because it actually meant something to have. It meant you had done a great quest or achieved something. All of this cosmetic junk, while a lot is pretty awesome, it is meaningless. Keep the clothes and outfits that can be used for lore and quest reasons enough alone and make content around them! You’re throwing away good ideas otherwise.
But, if Jagex stops with the cosmetic items, then what would people spend money on? Well, there’s plenty better cosmetic things to make money off. Probably the best selling things in Solomon’s store are the skilling animation overrides and alternate teleport animations. Things like that are what people like and are willing to buy. And just as the useless cosmetic items from Squeal should be quest rewards, there’s other pointless overrides that people might actually pay for. A prime example of this are the cannon skins that were released some time ago as a reward from the Artisan’s Workshop. For somewhere in the range of 3m-99m and countless grinding hours, a useless cannon skin can be yours! When the cosmetic override is the prime objective, this just isn’t worth the effort. However, I feel people with Runecoins to spend would potentially buy this. Gilded pickaxes, again, are cool looking, but spending the time just to get a little shine on your pick just isn’t much of an objective. There are plenty more examples like this, where items are altered just for looks as some sort of reward, but ultimately just leads a player to go ‘meh’.
The formula is quite simple. We have but one body to display our favorite outfit. Even myself, who as a 25 year old man likes playing dress up in a virtual world a little more than he should, thinks having closets and closets worth of clothes are just a waste of time. However, there are thousands of items out there, items like picks and hatchets and cannons, that are important tools we use every once in a while but don’t necessarily parade around in, that can do with a little dressing up. I feel those are the things that people would buy. There’s a definite difference between stylish fashion and costume cosmetics. Having style is to make something useful that serves a purpose to look better, like putting a handkerchief in a blazer’s pocket to match a tie. Costumes are to make us look important when we play a role of something we really aren’t. It’s important for Jagex to take notice of this because it all points to where money is going to be spent. Don’t spend your efforts on more pointless junk clothes that we can’t possibly store in our banks let alone wear. Enhance dutiful items that are both amazing to look at and are productive instead!