Here is a collection of thoughts and grievances. As I wrote I started off very candid but I think my tone got lighter toward the end. IDK by BFF Jill.ARMOR SETS
Armor sets are (presumably) not designed first and foremost with the player's pleasure in mind. Most of the time what we are receiving are the assets that are used on the dungeon mobs with each DLC, and occasionally what is worn by the NPCs in expansions. There are a few outliers, but for the most part these sets follow a very restrictive design formula that results in all of them looking more or less the same.
I want to talk about the chief offenders.
- CHEST PIECE
Every weight class will follow the design cues of the jerkin (the robe is a jerkin with a skirt sewn on). Each set creates a similar silhouette on the PC, one that is closely fitted and grows bulkier as it ranks up in weight class yet still implies the same shape. With few deviations, this will be a leather piece with a metal plate in the center that grows larger and eventually subsumes the surface area as it ranks up in weight. Regardless of weight class or aesthetic, the chest piece will almost always include tassets and/or a loin flap. The tassets will be bulky, which along with the fitted top will create a very bottom-heavy appearance on the toon. There is probably fur somewhere. The waist line will hit very low, creating the illusion that the legs are short and the torso is quite long, especially on the men. Many chest pieces abruptly end at the collarbone.
I'd really like to see some different silhouettes. There are so many practical things that people would wear. Coats, surcoats, doublets and actual jerkins. There could be more stand-up collars, more lapels and visible toggles that make one believe things could be realistically taken off and put back on. There could be asymmetry. It'd be interesting to see a coat thrown over a heavy armor set, or for a dress to make its way into the selection now and then.
These are a part of the chest piece but they bear closer inspection. As I mentioned, they will generally be very bulky. A lot of them have this very odd shape, like a solid chunk of metal that would be quite heavy. They appear chitinous to me and make me think of crab claws. They don't seem very protective, in fact, they feel as though they would be a hinderance. They are, of course, not actually attached to the chest piece, even though they share the same model space. They seem to be affixed to the thighs. They float away from the hips dramatically, especially near the top, and create a gap (in which weapons would surely become lodged). I have a theory that the reason they float away from the hips like that is so that they don't clip into the PC's hips while in a combat stance or mounted. Here's my argument: if it can't be rigged correctly, so that they don't float off the character model while idling, they shouldn't be included. It feels like a stubborn half-measure tbh.
- SHOULDER PIECES
These also have a tendency to float off the character model, presumably to avoid clipping. Pauldrons and arm cops from different sets look virtually identical. They all follow the same basic shape and occupy the same very specific region on the PC's geometry. They will almost always be symmetrical. Most of them are absurdly oversized.
People desperately want the ability to hide shoulders. That should absolutely be an option, though the desire is borne out of the fact that shoulders are the most reviled pieces. More interesting things could be done here. A skin thrown over the shoulders, a capelet, a leather holster, an amulet. These run the risk of clipping with other items, but the onus is on the player to find a combination that doesn't clip. Or, maybe it does clip a little, and that's okay.
Ah, vanity belt buckles. Everyone gets a vanity belt buckle! Everyone is channeling their inner McCree here. These are dreadfully boring and smell like missed opportunities. My suggestion would be to remove items that are normally on the chest piece and shuffle them to the belt model space. So, tassets, pouches, vials, spell tomes, knives, other trinkets. Actual belts could also be modeled, as well as scabbards for those that want to look "more equipped," even if the "weapons" are just fashionable and never drawn.
My criticism here is actually very simple. It has to do with the modeling. All of the boots have a completely flat sole. It'd be great to see more nuanced modeling happening here. A stand-out example are the boots on the Queen's-Eye Spymaster costume, which have a visible heel. I know that's a costume, but it demonstrates that exceptional boot modeling can be done.
Tl;dr summary of criticisms: all of the armor sets follow the same shape cues. They're wanting for variety, and also in believable practicality. I'm wanting for more care given to the character silhouette and the shape language of individual pieces. I want to see coats, doublets, and other varieties of gear.IT'S TIME TO UNLOCK A FOURTH DYE CHANNEL
As armor sets become more graphically and conceptually complex, they have necessitated more than three color channels. I applaud the devs and artists for moving in this direction! That being said, we could really use access to a fourth channel. A lot of the time there's a very distinctly colored portion of a piece that clashes with whatever color scheme we have in mind. It'd be a great boon to character individuality to have access to that channel.COSTUMES/STYLE PAGES/OUTFITS
- Well, releasing a greater variety of costumes could actually go a long way toward addressing some of the dissatisfaction with the armor sets. This would be a great place to give us some coats, surcoats, doublets, jerkins and dresses with interesting shape language. It feels like the costume designers may be in a sort of a rut. They released a couple costumes with backpacks, which were long requested, but that seems to be their area of focus lately. We love the backpacks, but it's time for something new! Sidebar: I think the waist line on costumes, especially on the men, tends to hit very low, too.
- Style pages are amazing. The pro of style pages: they effectively give us a "costume" that is modular. The con, however: they can't be changed at a whim through the collections menu. It'd be interesting to see more categories of adornment so that we could get more modular costume pieces. That way they can be changed from the collections menu, and they can be combined with outfit pieces.
- Now, I don't know if this one can technically be done. It'd be great to be able to link collections to our outfit slots, so that when you change an outfit your favorite hat is automatically included and so forth. Changing your look can get a little tedious when you feel the need to go collection fishing. This could also provide an avenue for different dye presets on collection pieces.
I'm tired now so I'm done. XD
PS4 NA // ♀ ☽