Recently, Jagex updated the basic clothes that our characters wear when they’ve no other armour or clothes equipped. The basic clothes have always been rather, well, basic. While they were never particularly brilliant looking, there was just enough to give your character a bit of a personality.
But having a nice t-shirt and pair of pants isn’t enough for many players. When we’re not wearing specific armour or equipment for our activities – we want to make ourselves look good. If you’re going to be taking your avatar around for hours at a time then you at least want it to look aesthetically pleasing.
Compared to many other MMO’s in the market, Runescape does not have exceptional graphics; this means that the things you can wear are not often ‘good looking’. While they’re nice enough, they don’t have great fine detail or much panache. This, however, is starting to become a thing of the past.
First, we had Dungeoneering. ‘Great looking outfits’ isn’t going to be the first thing you think of when you think of Dungeoneering, but the armours available down there certainly do look good. Compare the melee armour of Daemonheim to the rest of Gielinor: Primal armour knocks the standard metal armours, and Dragon armour, out of the park. Mage armour too. While the bold and bright colours of Infinity may not be beaten by the robes of Dungeoneering, when you compare Mystic to the Mage armour then it’s rather obvious which one looks better. It’s the same with Range leathers, most of the time there’s just no comparison.
Of course, most of us were too distracted by the actual skill, quite rightly, to notice the armour’s good looks straight away. The introduction of the photo booth in the Construction spot at the Home room in a dungeon, however, shows that some people out there noticed how great looking these armours were.
Another update that brought about a graphical change to armour was the Castle Wars update which gave a completely new remodelling of the reward armours available for purchase with Castle Wars Tickets. The previously plain looking armour was given a great graphical enhancement with detail similar to the new standard brought in with Dungeoneering. It was clear that Jagex no longer wanted to have the plain Platebodies of old.
Then Jagex introduced the new Elite Treasure Trails. I think it’s fair to say that the rewards were a bit underwhelming for a lot of people. There was nothing really ‘new’ and ‘exciting’ in them which might have brought about a Fashion trend.
But of course, Jagex had been working on something else while they were thinking about nice looking clothes. I think it’s fair to say that the new basic clothes are just brilliant. They’re detailed, good looking and give characters just that bit more personality and sense of individuality. And, although they may tend to be a bit skimpy on the female side of things, the clothes give a great variety of options. They particularly cater well to people who like certain skills or like to classify themselves by their favourite skill. If you’re a Miner, you might choose the mining outfit. If you’re a Mage you might choose from the Mage clothes available. Or maybe, of course, you just pick what you think what looks nice and go with that.
However, there is a negative side to this update. Before these lovely looking new clothes, players sought other ways of looking good. Elegant clothes from Treasure Trails and Royal clothes from Kingly Implings were a good example of this. But now there’s no reason you need to spend to beautify yourself! The basic clothes look great as it is, so what use do these clothes have for you now? It seems that the market for these is starting to fall, particularly the female elegant sets. There will always be people who like clothes other than the basic attire, but have Jagex inadvertently taken a swing at items that exist only to look good?
There’s a chance this will only last a short while as everyone gets used to the new basic clothes. Eventually they’ll become part of the norm and we will go back to our pretty elegant sets, but there’s always the possibility that there will be long term damage to the market. Updates inevitably lead to old content becoming defunct, no matter how much Jagex tries to avoid this. And maybe it’s for the best. While what people regard as the best looking clothes and items will always cost a lot of money, if you’re after just good looks then it will no longer cost so much; you can have a great looking outfit for free. And while we may focus on ‘actual’ content and skills, Fashion in Runescape will always exist and be a part of the game in many different ways.