by Ryan "Tens" Bednar
Book 12: The Ashen Wastes will go down in history as introducing The Month of Avatar Customization.
Now, you might be asking yourself: "Why on Middle-earth would the devs be focusing on avatar customization when they've still got Mordor to build?!"
Well, anecdotally speaking, I can't recall a single Dev Chat (and as everyone who's had to wait while I typed up an answer knows, I've done a lot of them) where someone hasn't asked for additional character customization options. In fact, the request for just an option to toggle your shoulder armour off and on has come up in every one of our last 5 European Dev Chats (big shout-out to our Codemasters players here!).
We can take a hint, so we got to work.
But, we're not just giving you the option to toggle your shoulder (and glove) armour in Book 12 - no, we're giving you more. Much more!
Book 12 introduces two brand new Avatar Customization features to LOTRO: The Outfit System, and Barbershops.
Here are the details:
The Outfit System
The goal of The Outfit System is fairly simple: Give players complete control over how they look in the game, without impacting the gameplay benefits they gain from their currently equipped items.
With that stated, let's start off with the image below - the "flash."
What you're seeing above is a single character showing off their three Outfits.
Now, as of Book 11 you already have your first Outfit. The Outfit System refers to that set of items you currently have equipped. That won't be changing at all.
What we're unveiling in Book 12 is the ability for you to define two additional cosmetic appearances, called Outfits, for your character. These Outfits will override the visual appearance of your base Equipment.
Now, it's important to emphasize that these additional inventories are only cosmetic, and that your Equipment will continue to be the only items affecting your stats. With that said, once Book 12 goes live it's really up to you as to how you want yourself to look in Middle-earth.
As long as you can wear it in your Equipment, you can wear it in an Outfit.
But How Does It Work?
That's another great question! Take a look at the screenshot below:
(Please note, the UI pictured here and below is still a work in progress.)
Once you've reached level 20, you'll have access to a few new tabs in your Character Journal which allow you to toggle between your base Equipment and both Outfits. In the screenshot you can see that the player is on their 1st Outfit. Any item they drag on the corresponding Outfit Slot will be equipped cosmetically, overriding the appearance of the item in their base Equipment slot, as you can see in the following screenshot:
A few other things are also worth noting:
- You must reach level 20 before you can use the Outfit System
- This is to prevent new players from accidentally equipping their armour cosmetically since, well, that would get ugly...
- You must meet all of the Usage Restrictions of the items you are trying to equip cosmetically.
- For example, a Lore-master that can't wear Heavy Armour won't be able to equip Heavy Armour as an Outfit.
- The Outfit System will be disabled in the Ettenmoors - and in all PvMP zones moving forward.
- This is to prevent Guardians from masquerading as Light Armour wearers, since a player's silhouette is an important indicator, at range, of which class they are.
- Equipping an item to an Outfit slot will still leave the item in your inventory.
- This will allow you to trade those items to other players, store them in your bank, etc., although items that bind will need to be bound to you before you can equip them into Outfit slots.
- Book 12 is also introducing a large variety of cosmetic items including, but not limited to, backpacks, quivers, hauberks, and social clothes (dresses, tunics, shirts, pants, etc.).
Barbershops are the other major feature we're adding for The Month of Avatar Customization. Code-named "Floon's Baby," this feature will allow you change a subset of your avatar's hair and facial options for a small fee.
You can find your local Barber at the major social center nearest to you. Talking to one will allow you to change a variety of cosmetic settings for your avatar, as you can see in the following image.
As the screenshot suggests, you'll be able to change the following options:
- Hair Style
- We are also adding new hair styles for all races and genders
- These will be available at Character Creation as well
- Floon went out of his way to get these in.
- Hair Color
- Facial Hair
- Facial Detail 1
- Facial Detail 2
- This is new for Book 12, and will allow you to pick a second Facial Detail for your character
- More props to Floon here!
Floon would like to point out that having both of these systems in place opens the door for us to make even more customization options for you in the future.
So there you have it - The Month of Avatar Customization, coming soon to a Book near you!