Friday, March 25, 2011

Rift vs. The Impractical Armor

by Laurie K

Rift, the new MMORPG by Trion Worlds, is the hot new kid on the block as far as massively multiplayer games go. The world of Telara is being torn apart as the peace between the two main factions - Defiant and Guardian - has crumbled.  As if a civil war weren't enough, tears in the fabric of reality keep opening up and creatures from other planes stage constant incursions.  Telara is a dangerous place, and it's important to be prepared to fight for your life at moment's notice.  All you can trust in this world is your sword and your armor.  

Well, if you're a guy you can trust your armor.  Women?  Er, not so much.
Favashi: Wearer of impractical armor
I started out in beta with a rogue of the Defiant faction.  The Defiant believe that technology is the ultimate solution to the world's problems.  Using sourcestone to power their steampunk-ish inventions, they're basically technomancers with an extremely down-to-earth, practical bent. So, I was a little surprised to see that my rogue had skin showing everywhere.

Favashi:  Right breast of fury
I figured, hey, it'll get better as she levels up.  Maybe this is like the 'ragged leather' phase and she's going to get smarter about her armor choices.  You know, kind of like when you're a kid and you hate wearing that bulky heavy winter coat, but as you get older you'd rather look silly than freeze your ass off so you just wear the damn thing.  Except no.

I've been playing MMORPGs for a long time.  At the risk of outing myself as the ancient relic of a bygone era that I totally am, I started with EverQuest in 1999.  Most EverQuest armor was actually pretty role-appropriate, but I think that's only because there weren't enough polygons back then to make convincing breasts.  I've currently got three MMO accounts open: Everquest 2, World of Warcraft, and Rift.

Let's check out how my girls fare in the other two games.

Cerranis:  Properly attired for ass-kicking
Cerranis, my EverQuest 2 Shadow Knight, is a dark warrior who would rather eat your heart than look at you. She controls the powers of death and decay and has a really big polearm that she'll gladly smash your face with.  She's a tank class and she looks it.  She's an evil tank class and she looks it.  You will see no bared boobies on her.  I took her helm off for this picture so you can see her face, otherwise, she'd be covered head to toe in armor.  I think she looks awesome, like the badass she is.

Auvry: Cartoony yet functional
My other character is Auvry, a paladin in World of Warcraft.  She looks a little more cartoony than either of the other girls, but she's undeniably clothed.  Some of the stuff she had on early in her career was a little revealing, but it was because it was raggedy crap armor not slutty come-get-me-big-boy armor.

Sulaco: Chainmail ain't what it used to be
Now, one of the things I noticed is that maybe it wasn't fair of me to compare two tank classes to a rogue in terms of armor design. After all, plate mail is going to be more comprehensive than leather, right?  Right. My current character on Rift is a cleric tank named Sulaco. She wears chainmail and she's actually pretty tough. She runs headlong into danger, takes the hits meant for the rest of her group and... nope, still impractical.

So, yeah, I'm resigned to being all tarted up in Rift.  I think the armor designs are actually beautiful and the toons themselves look great. It'd just be nice if the females of the species got practical-looking armor the way the males do.

I leave you with this comparison of male vs. female armor in Rift.
Male Defiant: Avaunt, villain!

Female Defiant: Little chilly out today, no?

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  1. Might be slightly off topic, but Steven just wrote an article about the ingrained chauvinism in the MMORPG (and gaming in general) industry.


    High end armor. To compare your high end armor in WoW and EQ2 to.

    I think respectability goes up as you level ;)

  3. @Agrippa: Huh, what a maroon that guy is. I may have to write on that. I did kind of rip Bioware for the romances being lame in DA2, but you have to admit that few games would have allowed me to have a casual lesbian relationship followed by a serious heterosexual relationship - then have my lesbian lover offer to join in as a third with my man and I.

    @Kanth: Wow, those are ugly. I mean, uh, at least they cover all the necessary parts, but damn. I guess I should be careful what I wish for?

  4. I like the system LOTRO has. You have two "cosmetic armour" ragdolls that let you display a set you like, and still wear the purple/yellow/green set that gives the best stats.

    Is it odd that I'll spend more time dressing an avatar in a game than I'd ever spend on myself? :P

  5. EverQuest 2 has the cosmetic slots, too. You can pretty much make your toon look like anything you want, which is awesome. I even have a super classy (*cough*trampy*cough*) dress I can wear if the situation arises, and still have all the stats of my armor.