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gigazelle

The fundamental flaws with accessories

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As a result of a recent conversation held with iamisom, I will be doing a multi-part analysis on the biggest issues DD2 currently has that significantly detracts from the player experience. Today's 6th and concluding part focuses on accessories. I may write more in the future, but for now these six threads contain the highest priority issues I see in the game and I don't want to dilute this content with things I perceive as being a bit more menial. If these six issues were fully resolved, I would most definitely begin recommending this game to my friends again.

Part 1: Hero Combat
Part 2: Hero Deck
Part 3: End game gear
Part 4: Difficulty and nightmare
Part 5: Skill spheres and passives
Part 6: This one

Separating costumes severely and overly restricts player freedom.

We have a choice between a vastly customizeable base hero, or costumes that have no customization at all. Can I just tell you how incredibly frustrating that is? I absolutely LOVE the dragonfall costumes, but there are one or two components on each hero I'd like to swap out that would make them look perfect to me. With the current system, it's either all or nothing, and I really don't like that.

Here's a photoshopped example of what I truly want my apprentice to look like:

oFO5kWC.png

The fedora, my defense councilor cape, the dragonfall tunic, and fancy trousers. Unfortunately at this point, it is impossible.

Many costume upgrades are not actually upgrades.

Most costume "upgrades" are really alternate styles. Here are a few examples:

0gqMKau.png

Both the hat slot and chest slot have nothing to do with "upgrades", yet they still must be unlocked in order. Why are these upgrades and not alternate styles as part of the costume?

gIziGr1.png

These are the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier eternity markings. Again, no clear upgrade path. These would look much better as alternate styles.

cXldsW3.png

The thing is, I like the waist cape a LOT more than the jetpack, but upgrades mean that the jetpack is defined by Trendy as inherently better than the waist cape. Why are they considered upgrades when many of these are up to personal choice? Minor embellishments on accessories are fantastic upgrades, but fundamental changes to the piece itself? Let me choose without having to grind XP!

When I say minor upgrades, stuff like the apprentice's volcano hat, or items such as this:

YrI9Pb4.png

Fancier trim, an extra strap, awesome... this is a perfect example of a good upgrade path. Hang on a second... OH WAIT EXCEPT THESE ARE TWO SEPARATE ITEMS. There is no consistency as to what is considered an upgrade and what would be equal but alternate styles.

"Exclusive" items are merely retextures and it's painfully obvious.

Most survivor costumes are combinations of existing accessories and had the contrast turned way down. The exclusive reroll accessories are brown retextures of existing hats with bloom turned way up.

Nuplv8F.png

VAL3J7N.png

If I was going to wear a silly tall pointed hat like that, I'd at least want to wear the one that matched the rest of my apprentice's outfit. The apprentice doesn't have a brownish-maroon outfit I can wear it with, so I currently own a bunch of worthless hats that I'll never wear.

The reason why I bring this up is because I think following this pattern of retextures is going to bite you guys in the butt in the long run. The ability to customize color palettes would be an excellent improvement to this system, and if you're retexturing something and calling it a new item, once again you're removing player freedom on how they look.

Rarity tier puts me off on certain cosmetics, despite them looking good.

Who would want to wear an accessory that's merely sturdy tier? It really undervalues cosmetics, especially ones that really look awesome (arguably better than many mythical accessories!). The rarity tier on cosmetics really has to go. Here's a monk that is wearing nothing but sturdy accessories:

XrgMEhQ.png

When I scrolled through these accessories for the first time, I passed over all of them without batting an eye because they weren't mythical. Assigning low tiers to accessories downplays how good they can actually look, and I really don't like that.

Another point - what's the difference between a sturdy cosmetic, a powerful cosmetic, and an epic cosmetic? I know that mythicals have upgrade paths, but outside that there's really no difference. Rarity on accessories is a shoehorned mechanic and has no place influencing how my character should look.

Weapons are also a huge factor of how characters look, but they are tied to stats.

So I like the survivor Squire's outfit for his chestpiece, and can tolerate the other facets. Not a huge fan of his toes poking out of his shoes, but overall I like the costume the best. Here I have this nice low-contrast costume, than all of a sudden:

 

JNBEFIu.png

A BRIGHT BLUE SHIELD AND BRIGHT RED SWORD. They don't match each other, they don't match my costume, they... look so tacky and it irritates me every time I see it. But, since they are tied to the best stats I have right now, I'm using them. It sucks. On the bright side at least my best shield isn't the seashell one with the tentacle...

This same concept goes for my steampunktress wearing a rose bow - gadgets and metal all over, and then this bow centered around nature... it just looks terrible. It is truly ironic that we can't mix and match costume pieces, yet mismatching weapons make the hero look arguably worse.

What do I do with accessories I know I'll never use?

Say I use a lockbox key and get an accessory I absolutely despise. Well that sucks, guess I'm out 9 wyvern tokens or 150 gems. That's a 100% loss on my end, and there's no way to sell or trade it. That's an extremely negative player experience right there, and one I do not feel comfortable letting the public experience.

If we were able to trade accessories and sell them on the community market, that would create the start of a solid economy and allow users to make some of their money back. Plus, this would be an incentive to log in each day - unlock a lockbox every few days using wyvern tokens, sell the cosmetic on the community market, and make a few extra Steam funbucks while playing the game. This is one of the reasons why I stuck around Team Fortress 2 so long - playing the game and trading was profitable.

My personal recommendations

  • Combine all costumes into accessories for the base hero. Allow us to mix and match any component from any costume.
  • Create color presets consisting of a primary (main color, like huntress green), secondary (more muted, like huntress brown leather), and a tertiary colors (small embellishments, like gold trim or steel grey). These color palettes would be pre-defined by Trendy and specific to each hero. Each costume would come with its own color palette, such as purple/black/gold for ninja monk or light green/grey/gold for dryad apprentice. These color presets can apply to any and all costumes. In DD1, this was achieved using something called merge maps - I would not complain to see them make a return!
  • You can sell color presets, and buying an entire costume set would come with its associated preset for free. Buying the full ninja monk set would unlock the purple/black/gold palette for all accessories.
  • Remove rarity tier from all cosmetics.
  • Separate all upgrades that change the inherent nature of the accessory into their own items. Things like the steampunkress jetpack/waist cape or sleepy mobile/sleepy cap. If I like one style over the other, let me choose them as separate items.
  • Create more costume upgrades that provide minor but direct improvements, such as more intricate patterns on clothing or fancier trim. I really like the upgrade system on accessories, as long as it is simple progressive enhancements. The volcano apprentice's hat is a perfect example on a good upgrade path. To give a comparative example, think about the difference between a suit tie and tuxedo tie - those are separate items. But a plain black suit tie and a fancy black tie with silver trim is an upgrade. Apply that same logic to DD2 accessories. If you're touching the 3D mesh more than adding minor embellishments, it's probably better off as a separate item.
  • If a player is wearing all components to a costume (such as the ninja monk), they get the special animations/particle effects tied to it. If they're not wearing all the pieces, they don't get the "set bonus".
  • Replace weapons with weapon skins. All weapons found as drops would be generic to their item quality (for example, all epic bows would look the same). Let us customize how our weapon looks, and don't tie stats to our skin. This allows us to upgrade weapons without changing how we look.
  • Make all individual accessories, including exclusive ones, available for trade via the steam community market. Everyone, especially collectors, would be absolutely enthralled to see this.

An invitation to create your dream costume.

Time to put my money where my mouth is. Give me a head, chest, legs, feet, and color palette from any costume on any single hero, and I will photoshop them together and present you with the result. You choose the items and color palette (from an existing costume), and if you like the result, hopefully I can earn your upvote to increase the popularity of the thread.

Edited by gigazelle
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I'll pop in and say that I don't much like the current costume system mainly because it lacks true customization instead we are stuck with presets were you'll often bump into other people looking the exact same as you simply because they bought the same skin.

For that reason I strongly agree with the following points, (threw the rarity point in there cause I never understood why it was a part of the costume system to begin with)

@gigazelle quote:

My personal recommendations

  • Combine all costumes into accessories for the base hero. Allow us to mix and match any component from any costume.
  • Remove rarity tier from all cosmetics.
  • If a player is wearing all components to a costume (such as the ninja monk), they get the special animations/particle effects tied to it. If they're not wearing all the pieces, they don't get the "set bonus".

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I have to say that I am not in favor of all the presets.  If everyone is wearing the same preset, then no one is different. I also don't see the point in rarity for the accessories either.  What's the real point if they don't add any real value to my character other than how I'll look?  Also have to agree with [[31834,users]] with the weapon skins and the example he posted with the red sword and blue shield is perfect.  

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I agree with this. I just started playing the game a few days ago, and I purchased a costume expecting to be able to mix and match it with other pieces from the normal set. Imagine my disappointment when I couldn't. I would also love weapon skins too, I have plenty of weapons that are good for me at the moment, but I hate how they look and would love to swap out their look for another weapon look.

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Messing around with mixing and matching costumes. I'll just leave this here.

Zhq8Uix.png

If you have costumes you'd like to see combined, let me know and I'd be happy to post them!

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WTB tower accessories.  I'm unlikely to buy a costume for a character I only ever take out during the build phase, but I sure would like to make that character's towers prettier.  

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Like Rhinobane I expected full costumes to be a set of individual items that I could mix and match.  I felt kind of ripped off.  Because you can't mix and match costume items, costumes are just an $8-$12 to look exactly like lots of other people.

I'd really like to like the apology hats we just got, but it's either wear that hat or the $8 costume.  So the hat is entirely worthless to me.

I've bought a couple of items with serenity chests for my monk.  Which means I'll never put any money towards monk costumes.  And vice versa for costumed characters - there's no reason to pay to open their chests.  Given that appearance modification is a big part of your monetization plan, those are pretty serious fails.

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This is what I expect them to do on the near future. I sincerely hope that their initial idea of making awesome hair styles for the default skin isn't restricted just for that. Hell, you can match just about any type of hair of the huntress to any of her costumes and it should look decent at worst.

I was deeply disappointed when I found that I couldn't mix and match accessories, much less recolor them. This is the type of thing I wanna waste all my gems on and pay actual money for it, honestly.

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During this last devstream this topic was brought up, and it highly concerned me that there were conflicting statements that the possibility of customizable costumes was even on the table right now. Here's the relevant transcript:

Question: "Will it ever be possible to use unlocked regular costume pieces in combination with the costumes that we buy?"
Blacksmith: "No. That one is a no."
Brad: "That one is a no-ish. Because we talked about trying to find a way to do it - it's complicated because of the way our skins are created."
Butter: "I don't think the artists would really want to do that."
Brad: "We've had those conversations and we're trying to see if maybe there's a way we can do it without breaking the style of everything, but it's complicated. So probably not, but maybe.

Relevant location on the stream here.

Thank you Brad for not completely dismissing it as a possibility, because personalization is a concept that is extremely important to me. I implore the devs to invest the time to explore this deeper, because I feel this is a lot bigger deal than they realize. Players are going to want a way to feel unique, and that feeling of uniqueness is impossible in the current system. Say we decide to drop $12 on the steampunktress costume - even though we have a costume, we still look identical to all the other steampunktresses in the game without any way to customize our look beyond that. Because of this, I am holding my gems much tighter because I'm not going to invest in a costume that I can't truly call my own. There are components to each costume that I like, but if I can't customize them, I'm not going to spend the gems on any of them.

I am reminded of the Snowflake Factory at the beginning of Goat Simulator's "MMO". It claims that "you are one of a kind" while spitting out a bunch of goats that look exactly like you, making a statement that embodies the exact concept of the shortcomings of our current costume system. "We are one of a kind"... except for everyone that has the exact same costume.

I understand it would be a lot of work, but I would really like to see costumes rolled into the base hero, and giving cosmetic "set bonuses" such as additional particle effects or animations for those who equip all items in the set. The time investment it would take to allow each player to truly feel unique is going to be well worth it, and with color palettes it wouldn't have to break the art style either.

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With the different animations some skins have I wouldn't hold my breath with a any skin you want change.

Re ugly weapons - what could happen? Stat rolls / transfers ? I'd be against that



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@gigazelle quote:

During this last devstream this topic was brought up, and it highly concerned me that there were conflicting statements that the possibility of customizable costumes was even on the table right now. Here's the relevant transcript:

Question: "Will it ever be possible to use unlocked regular costume pieces in combination with the costumes that we buy?"
Blacksmith: "No. That one is a no."
Brad: "That one is a no-ish. Because we talked about trying to find a way to do it - it's complicated because of the way our skins are created."
Butter: "I don't think the artists would really want to do that."
Brad: "We've had those conversations and we're trying to see if maybe there's a way we can do it without breaking the style of everything, but it's complicated. So probably not, but maybe.

Relevant location on the stream here.

Thank you Brad for not completely dismissing it as a possibility, because personalization is a concept that is extremely important to me. I implore the devs to invest the time to explore this deeper, because I feel this is a lot bigger deal than they realize. Players are going to want a way to feel unique, and that feeling of uniqueness is impossible in the current system. Say we decide to drop $12 on the steampunktress costume - even though we have a costume, we still look identical to all the other steampunktresses in the game without any way to customize our look beyond that. Because of this, I am holding my gems much tighter because I'm not going to invest in a costume that I can't truly call my own. There are components to each costume that I like, but if I can't customize them. I'm not going to spend the gems on any of them.

I am reminded of the Snowflake Factory at the beginning of Goat Simulator's "MMO". It claims that "you are one of a kind" while spitting out a bunch of goats that look exactly like you, making a statement that embodies the exact concept of the shortcomings of our current costume system. "We are one of a kind"... except for everyone that has the exact same costume.

I understand it would be a lot of work, but I would really like to see costumes rolled into the base hero, and giving cosmetic "set bonuses" such as additional particle effects or animations for those who equip all items in the set. The time investment it would take to allow each player to truly feel unique is going to be well worth it, and with color palettes it wouldn't have to break the art style either.

That question was mine, I also asked about transmog for weapons, both answers I got were extremely iffy Lol

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I do not want transmogrify weapons or cosmetic looking weapons in the game, it ruins the value of walking by some one and knowing slightly how good their gear is... What set or thing they might be built for is also cool at first glance. 



With age and stuff there will be more and more verity with skins. Sure no two will look extremely different, but that is their goal with the design ideal, you will still want class identity


They need to fix the premium pet system. I will not buy pets, not till they fix the system.


I do agree however they should make more mix and match pieces. 

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Thank you for this epic thread. This actually covers all of my concerns regarding the heroes' looks and non-existing customizations.

@gigazelle quote:

During this last devstream this topic was brought up, and it highly concerned me that there were conflicting statements that the possibility of customizable costumes was even on the table right now. Here's the relevant transcript:

Question: "Will it ever be possible to use unlocked regular costume pieces in combination with the costumes that we buy?"
Blacksmith: "No. That one is a no."
Brad: "That one is a no-ish. Because we talked about trying to find a way to do it - it's complicated because of the way our skins are created."
Butter: "I don't think the artists would really want to do that."
Brad: "We've had those conversations and we're trying to see if maybe there's a way we can do it without breaking the style of everything, but it's complicated. So probably not, but maybe.

Relevant location on the stream here.

Thank you Brad for not completely dismissing it as a possibility, because personalization is a concept that is extremely important to me. I implore the devs to invest the time to explore this deeper, because I feel this is a lot bigger deal than they realize. Players are going to want a way to feel unique, and that feeling of uniqueness is impossible in the current system. Say we decide to drop $12 on the steampunktress costume - even though we have a costume, we still look identical to all the other steampunktresses in the game without any way to customize our look beyond that. Because of this, I am holding my gems much tighter because I'm not going to invest in a costume that I can't truly call my own. There are components to each costume that I like, but if I can't customize them, I'm not going to spend the gems on any of them.

Make it so that the players can only buy the full costume set (as it is now) so they have to buy 2 costume sets if they want to mix them. This would be a win-win situation:

The player obtains additional freedom through an additional purchase and Trendy sells a costume they probably wouldn't have sold otherwise.

If I liket he game, then I would definitely buy a full costume if there is one piece on it I want to combine. At the current state I will buy one costume for each hero and stick to them. Why should I buy more than one costume if there is no way to mix them anyway?

What's about breaking the style? Technically or optically? Maybe I do want to break the style so my hero looks weird and awful. ...if I'm ready to pay for an non-fitting mix of costumes (which are basically cool) then why not?

I really(!) appreciate the artist's work because all of this looks great. But... preventing us from combining is actually preventing us from buying more costumes. I already have a cool looking hero. I can live with not having more than 2 or 3 costumes at all. Still I'm pretty sure Trendy themselves would like me to purchase more costumes. Sadly I have no reason to do so as long as I cannot make cool combinations.


On another game I play this possibilities enouraged me to buy costumes I otherwise wouldn't have bought. I spent way too much money on that free to play game.

Examples of what I have done:

7637B93D0A15FB47F85AAFC6B1B2F6829EB32DF3


5C65BBA7CAD94D1D37E8B1E31B0778899B0DB3EF


The Veteran's biscuit, for example, can only be obtained from treasure balls (similar to the DD2 treasure chests), so this is an additional motivation to open those. Ok, they are also VERY rare random drops.

For me this is the perfect example of how I want to be able to costumize my character's outfit.

The uniform pieces are also steam inventory items so the treasure balls can give me the same stuff multiple times. My goal for this game was to collector everything and only trade what I already own twice. (sadly this game is nearly dead because of horrible matchmaking)


Weapon skins:

I like it when there is a variety laying on the floor so I have an idea thatcould probably meet gigazelle's suggestion and also provide a little bit of income to Trendy as well:

The Blacksmith int he Tavern gains the ability to reskin your weapons. As this is a hard piece of work he only accepts gems for this. Everytime you collect a weapon that weapon's skin is 'unlocked' and the Blacksmith will change your current weapon's skin into the one you like.


  • Additional source of income
  • Happy Player becausethe weapon's look is customizable
  • No additional skinsneed to be created
  • Lore-friendlybecause you need to own/collect the skin you want and the Blacksmithsuits this task perfectly

Make it cheap so people won't hesitate to do this more often. I'm more willing to change a weapons look 10 - 15 times for 100 gems then to do it once for 1000 gems. Even a few hundred players changing their weapon for 100 gems every few days already are a good start.


About the cool photoshop offer gigazelle

I have two ideas and it would be really cool if you could make them real:

  • The huntress with the Dragonfall head, the Red Riding hood corset and the Goblin Infiltrator leggings
  • The monk with the Kasa of Balance hat, Pirate's Eyepatch and the rest Dragonfall


In my case I was really looking forward to some cool looking costumes and the costumes ARE cool looking... sadly it seems as if I will never be able fulfill my expectations. I dream of the skeleton skins combined with some hats from the standard costumes.


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@Dreizehn quote:

About the cool photoshop offer gigazelle

I have two ideas and it would be really cool if you could make them real:

  • The huntress with the Dragonfall head, the Red Riding hood corset and the Goblin Infiltrator leggings
  • The monk with the Kasa of Balance hat, Pirate's Eyepatch and the rest Dragonfall

dEpDV0G.png

I don't know if the following one would be feasible, as the eyepatch and hat both use the head slot. But here it is anyway:

L0UvTSk.png

His hat and harness match perfectly. That's awesome.

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Thanks for the preview.



@gigazelle quote:

I don't know if the following one would be feasible, as the eyepatch and hat both use the head slot.

That's one of the problems I have with the current costume system: Things like eyepatches or badges could be used as accessoires, similar to the Super MNC-screenshot I have shown in my previous post. There should be place for 1 accessoire slot for each part of the body.

This would actually mean that we have more stuff to spend our money on. Not only eyepatches but also beards. Those possibilities... :-D

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