The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best fashion design?

Don’t pretend you’re all about the stats and are above venal preening over your looks in games. You secretly spend hours grinding dungeons, scouting through outfit blogs, and loitering over paint samples in the hardware store to assemble the best possible outfit for your MMO character.

But as we all know, not every MMO is created the same or has the same sense of fashion. Some games’ armor and cosmetic design are lacking while others only frustrate by giving you so many great options that you don’t know which to choose first.

Which MMO has the best fashion design? Which is easiest to reach that point where your character looks less like a hobo rooting through thrift store castoffs and more like he or she is ready to star in an action movie alongside Dwayne Johnson or Charlize Theron?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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75 Comments on "The Daily Grind: Which MMO has the best fashion design?"

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Siri

FFXI for the cool looking designs of the outfits, SWTOR for the share amount of options and having different outfit slots to change up on the fly for role playing, and last but not least LOTRO, love the simplicity the mechanics of the entire wardrobe system.

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Tithian

If we’re talking about typical combat-focused MMOs, then SWL. Probably. It has a good variety of both normal clothes and WTF-stuff/Nightmare fuel.

For non-combat, more sim-like MMOs, I’d say Second Life. The fact that people can market their own stuff is huge.

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Melissa McDonald

Obviously Second Life, where there is a huge cosmetics economy. Endless malls, upgrades for your avatar including all body parts from eyeballs to sculpted/mesh feet and hands, all made by the player community, shoes, accessories, jewelry, skins made from photographs of people, an endless arms race to create an ever-more-realistic avatar.

I mean, it’s not even close. There are literally well over a million clothing options, probably much more than that.

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McGuffn

Scarlet Blade.

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Castagere Shaikura

1. Rift
2. Wildstar
3 GW2
4. Just about every Asian mmo.

ernost
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ernost

The problem with Asian MMO’s is that most of the best options are fixed ‘outfits’ so if you say, like only the top of one or the bottom of another, you cannot mix and match.

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starbuck1771

Conan Exiles because I can go commando if I so choose.

veldara
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veldara

I’m actually fond of Secret World Legends’ fashion system, I like that the clothing in the game is grounded in modern world styling and isn’t too far out there. (Most of the time.)

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Toy Clown

The games that have been the easiest, and least expensive, to hop into fashion have been Rift, GW2 and ESO. What I love about GW2 is everything is account-wide, so I don’t have to buy armor / outfits for different characters, nor dyes. Rift has a great system due to the ability to create outfit tabs. I loved that feature! Rift’s fashion is also account-wide I believe.

ESO is getting a transmorg system in the near future, which will put that game up near the top with easily accessible fashion. I also like that everything is account-wide (at least region-wide). Most cash shop outfits are inexpensive.

After playing BDO for over a year and spending 20-34$ on cash shop outfits, every game feels inexpensive after that. :3

semugh
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semugh

probably Black desert.

Cadaver
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Cadaver

ESO is easily my favourite. It’s the only game where I’ve trawled through Dulfy’s pages looking for inspiration. My only really criticism was that I couldn’t combine costume elements with crafted pieces.

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Toy Clown

Devs just announced last week they’re working on a transmog system, so that will give even more fashion choices!

cambruin
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cambruin

Where did you hear/read that? That’d be awesome.

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Bryan Turner

I really should fire that up again.

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Sajiri

Maybe…PSO2? I think a lot of the sets from that are just great, and since they started doing layered costumes mixing and matching is really fun. They have a really wide mix of styles too which..I guess is a bit jarring when you see someone in a futuristic space armor beside a little girl dressed in gothic lolita fashion next to a guy in a rappy suit, but hey, I personally enjoy that it caters to a lot of tastes.

FFXI had some really cool armor designs, and it’s vanity system was pretty simple (just a text command) but easy to use. I dont really like FFXIV and it’s restrictive system though. It has some nice armors but for the most part they are either weirdly bulky or have random flaps or shoulderpads or something that ruin it for me, they have terrible physics that make it look silly, or they just look terrible on my character. Then again I play a female au ra, and Im pretty sure the majority of their armors are just ported directly from miqo’te which are bulkier than au ra anyway so everything looks oversized on her.

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John Mynard

I always had a soft spot for Warhammer Online’s armor and kit.

But the champion for features & aesthetic has to go to Wildstar. I don’t play it as much as I should and it could use a few more, shall we say, stripperific, options for dress, especially given it’s supposed “I don’t give a fuuuu…..” attitude. But between systems, options and design, it’s really hard to beat.

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steve

I’d say Second Life, no contest.

You could argue that Second Life had no overarching style guide, but I think that’s what allowed the best designers to do the best work.

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Utakata

GW2, B&S, TERA, TSW, FF XIV, WIldStar and the obligatory mention to City of Heroes.

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Toy Clown

I wouldn’t call FFXIV’s system the easiest to get into. You have to be level 50 to use glamours.

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Utakata

I believe there are a lot of fabulous designs on the way to The Colosseum?

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

I was going to write something up, but this pretty much covers it. Only thing I’d add would be the LOTRO wardrobe system, which is still solid.

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Utakata

I have to admit I am not a fan of LoTRO, so this list is somewhat based on my bias. However, I will agree for the aesthetic of IP from what I’ve seen, costumes where well designed and consistent with the feel of the story.

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Rees Racer

There are quite a few good ones listed below, but I’m gonna have to throw in for TERA. So many outfits (almost all dyeable). From practical to roguish to zany, there is a costume for every occasion. Never was a game too shy to embrace the crazy more than this one.

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Sashaa

I’ve been enjoying late ESO cosmetics since Morrowind came out, in a kind of Uncle Owen way.

And I don’t understand the critics I’ve read when it comes to colors that would be “dull”, considering that if ESO cosmetics system does one thing right, it is the clothes dying system where you can unlock dozens (hundreds?) of different shades…

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Rumm

WoW is up there by simple nature of all of the possible gear that you can transmog now thanks to 15 years of content.

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Grimmtooth

Yeah, but 50% of the WoW items are just recolors of each other. And a good portion of the remaining choices are … unattractive at best.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

LOTRO. Here’s why:

1. You can equip anything you can put in your wardrobe as cosmetic. My minstrel, a light armor wearer, runs around in heavy armor; my level 30 guy runs around in level 100 gear cosmetics.

2. You can dye your cosmetics. You can dye the same cosmetic many colors and keep them all; just choose from a drop down list.

3. You can use a cosmetic on your weapon.

4. You can turn on/off any part of your cosmetics (like your cape when there’s too much lag).

5. Since players can define anything they want as cosmetic (not just what the devs define), the parade of unique combinations and colors is endless.

6. Other than wardrobe space (because yes) and additional cosmetic slots, changing costumes costs nothing.

7. You can change your costume on the fly, no need to visit your vault. If you have it equipped in a costume slot, you just click the slot you want.

8. You can dye your warhorse. You can change your warhorse’s gear and dye it. (Horse cosmetics, gear, dye colors, coats, all cost points in the store.)

9. If you don’t have a warhorse, you can still get a large number of steeds with great cosmetics.

Cosmetics is one of the first things I look at in a game. Games that charge you to change your cos (like SWTOR) are just annoying after playing the free for all that is LOTRO’s superior cosmetics.

Of all the game’s I’ve played, I enjoy LOTRO’s cosmetics the most. Is it the best looking? Maybe not by some standards. But it is the most fun to play with.

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Paragon Lost

Great list of why LotRO rules them all when it comes to fashion customization. Bonus for me is that all the gear isn’t so over the top large, Anime or just out of genre for the game world. Which actually is why I do think it’s the best looking over all as well. :)

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Sashaa

I agree. As you say, not the best looking cosmetics, but definitely the best system I know of.

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Oleg Chebeneev

-input name- asian MMO. They are miles above western MMOs in fashion department

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imayb1

If only they were further along on the gender equality scale… sigh. I love several asion MMOs for offering tons of cosmetic options but let’s face it, they haven’t really gotten past the ‘all females wear skirts and high heels’ bit.

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Maggie May

Maybe I’m wrong, been a long time since I played but I swear I remember Dwarves in dresses … dang it it was LOTRO, but then again in FfXIV I do recall a male LALAfel guildmate running one of the climatic dungeons in a dress and flowered hat. I think a lot of the clothes were frilly, and silly like the weird horse heads.

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Kawaii Five-O

FFXIV for sure. Whether or not the designs are the best may be subjective, but I don’t think the other ‘big’ MMOs are even comparable in terms of quantity (as in actual number of different meshes, not just retextures) and variety.

Runner-up goes to Mabinogi. So, so many clothing options with plenty of great designs.

Xijit
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Xijit

FF online … Both of them.

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TheDonDude

SWTOR, for the sheer variety of armor options.

Siphaed
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Siphaed

GW2 for sure

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Loopy

FFXIV in my opinion. The armor sets are amazing looking, fashionable, and relatively easy to obtain too.

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CthulhuDawg

I don’t know if it’s the best but I have put more time and currency (both in game and cashy spendy money) into the outfits of my SWTOR characters than any other game I have played in almost 20 years.

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John Mynard

I spent quite a bit to. Though I think that was more to try and solve the case of the hideous art design and trash engine. Watching a twilek in a bikini swing a lightsaber is about the only ting that makes it even vaguely interesting to look at.

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Tulerezzer

RIFT by a mile. GW2 is a distant second.

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Bullwraith

Rift covers all the bases and with the versatility of the wardrobe system, you can mix, match, dye and be as conservative (realistic -sic-) or fashion model as your heart desires.

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Hirku

Secret World Legends, for letting players go commando (via a years-old bug, of course).

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wratts

I had no idea!

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Hirku

Use the hoverboard’s stealth mode while wearing a single-piece uniform, when it’s over you reappear but your clothes don’t. TSW at least gave you some tighty-blackies to retain some dignity, but I guess SWL didn’t have the budget for underwear.

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agemyth đŸ˜©

That bug caught me off guard returning to the game with SWL from a long time away. I see it more as a feature than a bug though :)

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Hirku

When viewed from the front, it’s not a feature at all. Funcom’s famous slider is set to a negative value. ; )

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Owen Horton

Unrelated, but: what’s the game in the screenshot? I’d love it if Daily Grind would start captioning their screenshots with the name of the game it’s from.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

That’s Artio and her bear from SMITE.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

do you guys still do the old school embedded text that requires a plugin?

or did that die with endgadget?

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Featured pics just don’t have a spot for displaying text, mainly. I have alt text disabled in a lot of places so the writers aren’t wasting time filling it in (or worse, displaying gibberish by accident). But more often than not, you can right-click and look at the pic’s name, and the game name will be in there somewhere.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

Fair enough :)

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BalsBigBrother

The other way is to right click and then click search google for image. Nine times out of ten it will get it for you or at least point you in the right direction to find it.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

I have the worst luck with google reverse image search tbh :P lol. Tho i usually recognize the games myself so not bothered.

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hugmonster

GW2

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Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Fabulous! I have to admit, I’d be curious to see the grey on the shirt changed to a dark purple to match the hair, and maybe lighten the pink, or make it a little more vibrant like the bottom of the staff. However, sneaking in some light blue to match the crest of the staff could be nice as well.

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Schmidt.Capela

I have to agree about TSW; not everything is great, of course, but there are enough cool items and sets that I’m often at a loss for what I want to wear out of having too many choices. And better yet, many of the best sets of clothing are in-game rewards.

But then, of course, I’m a Grand Master since launch and spent almost all of my free store cash on clothing items…

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Lauren Cupcake

I’ve always been partial to Guild Wars 1+2. I’m sure a large part of that preference is that GW1 was my first MMO. Some of its armors are functional and practical, others not. I love that their colors have always been extremely expressive, though lately they’ve been trending into cartoon-y territory which I’m not crazy about, and how intricate all the designs are. Whether they are true to life or not, every set is so detailed and gorgeous.

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BalsBigBrother

I might be an outlier when it comes to mmo fashion but I always prefer to have practical looking armour / clothes on my characters rather than the usual “sexy” option that most seem to offer. So with that in mind I always appreciated the fashion options offered in Lord of the Rings Online,.

The armour / clothes in that game won’t win aesthetic awards but I love that the fashion options offered are something that fit in totally with the world that is presented. I don’t recall anything outlandish though I imagine that there might be a few bits here and there but for the most part it just all works. I have never really had any problems finding an outfit or several outfits that all look practical and are not just lots of skin with the occasional bit of cloth in strategic places.

While I play games like Tera and Guild Wars 2 the armour is absolutely appalling on some of the classes and I really have to fight my instincts to just turn the game off when I play them.

Cadaver
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Cadaver

I couldn’t agree more, although my vote would go to ESO for the same reason you chose LoTRO. And I’m with you on GW2. Some of the light armour designs in that game are just laughable. I’d be embarrassed to dress my characters in those outfits.

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Thomas

LotRO would have my vote as well. Some of the armors in GW2 are also nice (depending on the class).

WoW has one of the worst collections of armor in MMO-dom, imo.

Unlike many players, I usually prefer simple armors to the “uber” crap that you acquire later in the game or through raiding and whatnot. Most upper-tier armors look thoroughly ridiculous and impractical.

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John Mynard

To be fair, that’s always been Warcraft’s & Starcraft’s style though. Since they are basically a far more family friendly version of Warhammer & Warhammer 40k.

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Schmidt.Capela

LotRO would be my pick for fantasy wardrobe, too. Both because the armor sets look functional, and because they are far more subdued than on other fantasy MMOs. I mean, if WoW had its Transmogrify system from launch I would never have ever used a tier set with its original appearance, those things look more like the demonic spawn of a Magic Girl outfit and a Christmas tree.

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Lauren Cupcake

Elder Scrolls Online is another good one for armors that actually appear functional. My only complaint is how washed-out the colors are. It fits with the aesthetic of the rest of the game, but I always feel so meh about coloring my armor because the dyes almost don’t matter.

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Sashaa

I agree with the fact that for once armors actually don’t look too cartoonish and rather authentic. However, I can’t disagree more with dyes, I mean, have you really unlocked them all, or most of ’em at least? There are so many, I can spend tremendous time finding just the right one.

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Thomas

Agreed. ESO armors seem reasonably authentic but are dull and drab (much like the game, but that’s another story).

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

wildstar

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Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

Secret World Legends first thing came to my mind, it’s modern fashion collecting simulator, with combat and lore on the side, it have weird items, some of them makes me go “ewww” and some “wow i want that” :-)

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Schmidt.Capela

I’ll say.

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Utakata

Any tighter, it might make him sing and an octave higher. o.O

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jettisonedintospace

the Mankinigate.. many left TSW because of that little piece of clothe but perhaps not as much as those that left because of the Gangnam dance. TSW/SWL is very exclusive and Funcom not at all about making money :p

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mistressbrazen

Mankinigate certainly did stir up the bee hive, didn’t it? I never did understand why the suits pulled it given some of the “outfits ” for female avatars. Oh the memories of a more vibrant time for TSW.

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BalsBigBrother

Wait how did you take those photos of me?

*panics*

Have you put cameras in my room?

OH GOD! *runs out of the house in my mankini in a blind panic*

Minimalistway
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Minimalistway

OH MY GOD … MY EYES! is this even legal?! or allowed in this website?!

Yep, that one of the “eww” items, a dark spot in the history of all MMOs.

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Eliandal

The BEST part, is games that let you go into battle like that, fully protected ;P FWIW, it’s no worse than the “chainmail bikinis” that games use to sell to (hmm…how to say this without sounding ‘ageist’) the less…mature…among us :D

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Schmidt.Capela

Well, this site (as well as the Massively-that-was) used to cover Scarlet Blade, so…

(For those that don’t know of that MMO, imagine a MMO where all characters are female and the typical outfit covers about as much as the Mankini in the picture above. I always wondered why people still went to the trouble of making a nude patch for it, as I didn’t feel like one was needed at all.)

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