Flameseeker Chronicles: Does Guild Wars 2 release more paid outfits than armor skins?

Nope. But there's a lot at stake in this 'fashion war.'

    
9
I’ve noticed a common complaint bouncing around the Guild Wars 2 community, one that I believe to be a myth. Today, I’d like to address that myth. I speak of the idea that ArenaNet has, since the launch of the game – and specifically since the introduction of the outfit system in 2014 – gone from releasing cosmetics as armor skins that can be earned in-game to almost exclusively releasing outfits in the cash shop.

A fashionable history lesson

First, let’s start with a little history lesson on how things got to the state they are in, for those who may have missed the early days of the game. At launch, transmutation stones were an item that took the skin of one item and gave it the stats of another. If you liked the look of a piece of gear you found, you couldn’t just salvage it for the skin as you can now; you had to keep it in your bank until you wanted to transmute it. It was essentially the same as World of Warcraft’s old transmog system.

Then there was the town clothes system. This set of cosmetic clothing could be activated at the push of a button, but reverted to your armor when you entered combat. The idea of town clothes was, as the name implies, that your character doesn’t run around in heavy, uncomfortable armor all the time and in fact sometimes changes into a more normal, casual outfit during downtime. By default, players got a generic set of race-appropriate clothes, with the gem store offering a variety of unique options, such as shirts, hoodies, cargo shorts, fuzzy quaggan hats, and various types of glasses. You will recognize several of them as skins or outfits that cycle through the cash shop today, but sadly some of the pieces are no longer obtainable.

Town clothes differed from outfits in that pieces could be mixed and matched, so you could wear your Silk Brocade Vest and Shirt with your Bunny Ears if you wanted to. They could not, however, be mixed with armor; town clothes and armor went in separate slots and could not be transmuted.

ArenaNet, however, felt that the town clothes system was underutilized (and let’s be honest, it was probably not performing as well in the cash shop as the studio wanted). Players pointed to the fact that town clothes toggled off when going into combat or switching maps, and they couldn’t be bothered to toggle them on just to show off their (generally relatively plain looking) town outfits. So, for better or worse, we got the outfit system and a streamlined transmutation system. At the same time, town clothes were converted to gear skins, tonics, and outfits.

The biggest advantage that outfits have over skins is that they cover all of your gear, so not only can players wear whatever mismatched skins they acquire while leveling, the developers and artists don’t have to worry about how they might interact with every existing skin in the game, meaning they can be developed and released more quickly and easily. Also, it opens up possibilities that normal gear skins lack because of potential clipping issues, such as full-length dresses and coats.

I believe that a lot of the frustration directed toward the outfit system began as resistance to change away from town clothes. Players are frustrated that outfits give them less creative freedom, less opportunity to make their character look unique. With the benefit of hindsight, though, I think outfits are more appealing. It would have been great to have both, but realistically, I think this has given us a wider variety of better quality choices.

Outfits and skins, by the numbers

Now that that history lesson is over, let’s get back to the original thesis: dispelling the myth that ArenaNet releases almost exclusively outfits and little to no armor skins. There are currently 90 outfits in the game (including the various town clothes outfits, which are no longer available), and the Guild Wars 2 Official Wiki currently lists 462 pages in its “armor skins” category.

Reddit user Skyy-High posted some detailed research into the skins released during each expansion and living world season (thanks to our commenter Yangers for bringing this post to my attention!). Skyy-High counted 17 full armor sets that include all six skins for all three weights, as well as 15 individual gear skins. I can understand that this may not be as many skins as you want, but it’s difficult to argue that it’s nothing.

Granted, these numbers may look weak next to the number of new skins that, say, World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls Online release in the same period of time. But I also appreciate that Guild Wars 2’s cosmetics feature substantial unique geometry and are rarely if ever just bodypainted on to your character’s mesh (or retextures of old sets).

The eye of the beholder

When this topic comes up, I often hear cries of, “but all of the outfits in the cash shop look way better than the skins you can get in-game!” That’s wholly a matter of opinion. When the subject of Guild Wars 2 outfits came up the other day in Massively OP’s work chat, our own Carlo Lacsina said that, while he has bought a handful of outfits, he has a lot of buyer’s remorse because none of them really stand out from normal armor skins in his mind. Similarly, Sam Kash chimed in that the only outfit he owns is one he got for free because he simply isn’t tempted by them.

I obviously think a lot of outfits are better looking than armor skins, otherwise I wouldn’t have paid money for so many outfits (all of the characters you see in these screenshots are mine and/or my wife’s, and several are in outfits). But there are some skins that I think are really cool, and some outfits that I think are really not. Fashion is subjective. I have days when I flip through all of my outfits like a corny movie montage and end up building a custom outfit from skins to get the exact look I want. Then there are other days when I’m happy I can just throw on an outfit and not worry about customizing every single slot. I’m happy that ArenaNet gives me options.

I know some people are really bothered by the pervasive buttcapes, which seem to plague outfits much more than armor skins. I get it, ArenaNet seems to have a weird obsession with “modesty flaps.” I sometimes wonder whether 3-D artists just get so tired of staring at characters’ pelvic regions or asking each other “Does this texture make my butt look big?” that they just don’t want to deal with it sometimes. More realistically, it might be the Charr’s fault, since tails tend to make armor design difficult. If buttcapes aren’t for you, there are outfit options out there, but they are admittedly few and far between.

Whatever your opinion on outfits is, it is valid because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But if you prefer armor skins, I don’t really think it is fair to criticize ArenaNet for neglecting non-outfit cosmetics. I think it’s interesting that when doing some digging for this post, I ran across this video from Flameseeker Chronicles on Old Massively, wherein our own Richie Procopio was making a very similar argument in 2013, less than a year after the game launched, against the idea that all of the new armor and weapon skins were being delivered in lockboxes. It just goes to show you that while the details have changed a little, this conversation – and the misperception itself – is not new.

Flameseeker Chronicles is one of Massively OP’s longest-running columns, covering the Guild Wars franchise since before there was a Guild Wars 2. Now penned by Tina Lauro and Colin Henry, it arrives on Tuesdays to report everything from GW2 guides and news to opinion pieces and dev diary breakdowns. If there’s a GW2 topic you’d love to see explored, drop ’em a comment!

9
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Bruno Brito

The biggest advantage that outfits have over skins is that they cover all of your gear, so not only can players wear whatever mismatched skins they acquire while leveling, the developers and artists don’t have to worry about how they might interact with every existing skin in the game, meaning they can be developed and released more quickly and easily. Also, it opens up possibilities that normal gear skins lack because of potential clipping issues, such as full-length dresses and coats.

NONE of these are advantages. This is pure lazy work. Outfits were put in place because Anet didn’t want to create armor that wouldn’t clip because “it was just too much work”.

Trust Anet to spin bullshit like it’s OUR fault ( the taxi idiocy by Colin is something i’ll never forget ).

Here’s the point: GW2 is already full of clipping issues. Charr and Asura are completely batshit with how much their toes, limbs, ears and whatever clip through armor. Several pieces of armor clip through other armor. They should simply embrace this filth they created and just stop worrying about it so much and make more armor sets.

They make really good stuff, but they keep blowing problems out of proportion, and lazying about stuff they shouldn’t.

And for the love of god, be done with the Heavy/Medium/Cloth system already. It’s irrelevant for game purposes and just locks us into limited fashion. Let us mix everything.

Edit: WHERE ARE THE DAMN CAPES?

Mordyjuice
Reader
Mordyjuice

Speaking of Outfits and Gem Store Skins Holla from Tyria!

gw274.jpg
gw275.jpg
gw276.jpg
gw277.jpg
gw278.jpg
sirradoria
Reader
sirradoria

yes

Reader
McGuffn

It’s still stupid that they have 2 different systems. All armor they add is useless to me because I just use outfits on most of my characters. It’s less hassle and time wasted.

Alyn
Reader
Alyn

well of course style IS the end game!

Reader
Arktouros

Personally speaking I’ve found most of the armor sets available in game since Path of Fire to be completely and wholly unappealing an entirely unusable. That last bit is the most important, as in a game like GW2 where individual armor sets can be mixed and matched to create your own cosmetic appeal the art direction they’ve gone has just been useless to me personally. In fact I struggle to think of a single cosmetic upgrade I’ve made since Path of Fire came out outside of a few Gliders.

However the bulk of my complaint with the armor/outfit issue is the number of outfits they release rather than armor sets via the cash shop. While they have certainly released a few pieces of various sets (IE: boots, gloves, helmet, maybe shoulders) they seem to largely avoid anything body related. This is presumably because of body differences of Charr and Asura and the infamous clipping issues many armor pieces are known for. Many of these pieces are extremely over priced by comparison to old armor sets that came in individual armor pieces. That would be understandable if they were more difficult to design for, such as the body armor, but again they specifically avoid that slot more often than not.

Reader
Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

When GW2 launched they had the region karma vendor sets for maps. Also there were the dungeon sets and we were all under the impression for at least a few years that dungeons would keep coming out which would also bring with them new armor sets. Not only did they stop releasing dungeons, but they didn’t add new karma vendor sets when they released new maps. Most of the medium sets were just some new duster and the light sets all had butt capes as Bree so lovingly refers to them.

Reader
Matt R

“Does Guild Wars 2 release more paid outfits than armor skins?”

“There are currently 90 outfits in the game…” Outfits were added (4/15/14)

From the link posted, there has been 13-14 (my count) armor sets added since HoT (10/23/15).

Looks clear to me.

I really wish ArenaNet would adopt a DLC purchase option, because I’ve quickly grown tired of all the microtranactions.

Even the new Build Templates system is littered with initial limited slots that many will want to purchase more slots to take better advantage of.

“At least you don’t have to pay $15 a month to play it…” yeah I think I’d rather pay $15 a month than have to spend money to buy extra bank slots, extra bag slots, extra character slots, extra build template slots, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Oh and don’t get Reddit started on the topic of Backpacks if you don’t like this article’s discussion.

Mordyjuice
Reader
Mordyjuice

Unfortunately they won’t because of people like me that buy tons of Outfits on the Gem Store, mainly because in my Head Canon Reapers are Death Knights so naturally I expect my Reaper to look like it’s wearing Plate Armor so I buy a lot of outfits.