Take notes, MMOs
So I’ve been diving back into Assassin’s Creed Odyssey after a lengthy hiatus (work got in the way) and man does it rock. Am I jazzed about the picturesque, idyllic landscapes? Sure. What about the tight combat and enjoyable locales that are conducive to stealth? Maybe.
What do I really dig? Odyssey‘s stylish transmog system.
Just in case you grimaced in fear at reading that phrase, I’m here to help you out.
Many games, particularly MMOs, have some sort of cosmetic customization system in place: typically it’s called “transmogrification” or “glamour,” which are real words that have been co-opted by all sorts of works of fiction. While a lot of people could care less about cosmetics, both players and publishers know they can be the source of a lot of gameplay.
MMO publishers like Blizzard and Square Enix in particular have leaned into transmogs in recent years to squeeze extra playtime (and thus, subscription fees) out of their userbase and re-invigorate old content. If there’s a really cool fiery flying bird mount that can drop in an old dungeon, it’s a win-win if players go back and play something they may have missed or that the developers spent a lot of time working on. You also get to look cool doing it.
Okay so you get the gist, how does it apply to Odyssey? Well given that I’m playing the bulk of it after the mid-November “Visual Customization” update, I get to experience it in all its glory as I’m leveling. Ubisoft went above and beyond for this system, allowing players to unlock full cosmetic options for every single piece of gear retroactively and beyond. That means that anything you pick up, ever, is now nicely part of a personal database that you can use to swap your appearance.
As in, there aren’t really any strings. There’s no annoying reagents that you need to purchase or grind for, or exorbitant gold fees to create a money sink. I mean it is a single player game first and foremost, so a lot of the bigger picture economy stuff doesn’t apply, but it’s nice to see that I can constantly be in control of how my character looks.
Now to say that old established MMOs should implement this process is oversimplifying things a bit, but I would absolutely request the feature in future projects. As we’ve seen time and time again from developers like Blizzard and Square Enix, MMO frameworks can be finicky, and adding in comprehensive cosmetic options that basically put every single piece of loot in the game on file is a tall order.
Still, Ubisoft pulled it off for the relatively massive Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which is a win. I’m not only looking forward to it in future Assassin’s Creed games, but open world RPGs in general.