Today I want to share my thoughts on the new armor and steed cosmetics we have gotten with the launch of Riders of Rohan. I'll address the people-armor first and discuss my views on the quality and cost of the new warsteeds' tack & barding.
Outfits for the Free Peoples
The first thing that springs to my mind when considering the new outfits for our LotRO avatars is that the variety of new stuff is about half of what we got with Isengard. Rohan gives us six crafted sets and three distinctly different quest reward sets; no, I don't really consider the interchangeable regional decals on the quest/rep armor to be "distinctly different." Compare this to Isengard, where we got three different-looking crafted sets and approximately nine different quest/rep reward sets AND three outfits from the epic quest AND three raid outfits. See Devonna's excellent recap of RoI rewards here. I'm not even touching on cloak comparison either, just chest, head, shoulders (knees & toes!), etc.
This disparity can be reasonably explained by pointing at all the Warsteed cosmetics added to the game. Art resources were surely devoted to producing those.
Despite the relative (to RoI) lack of variety in new things for our characters to wear, I acknowledge that what we did get was quality stuff. I find the crafted pieces in particular to be excellent additions to my toolbox as a LotRO outfitter. You can see from some of my previous posts how much I like them. I contend that the bronze trimming of the quest gear opens up new possibilities in creating outfits; metallic colors are hard to design outfits around so more options is excellent in my book. While I can't say I like the chest and leggings of the quest armor, the smooth plate of the boots and gauntlets fit my m.o. nicely. Overall I am pleased with the looks of the crafted and purple quest gear with RoR launch, and underwhelmed but not put-off with the quanity of new looks.
Now having said that, the Hytbold armor is a sore subject with me. My negative reaction to the Hytbold armor having the same damned look as the quest gear is surely irrational; after all I just admitted that art devs probably spent more of their time on horse gear than people gear. I got hung up on the pre-release Rohan screenshots, though. Just take another look at some of these:
For the longest time I'd hoped and believed that these two sets were a taste of what the Hytbold armors would look like. We see that Warden armor not once, not twice, but three times in the rohan.lotro.com images gallery. Seems I was wrong on what sets they represented, so I was let down at RoR launch. I'm now resigned to seeing these sets with the Rohan instance cluster.
Seems the word on everyone's lips regarding Turbine's famed Warsteeds is expensive. I can't help but agree: to kit out a single toon in multiple Warsteed outfits can easily cost more than the expansion pack itself.
Personally, I grumble and moan, but not too much... for I've already plunked some money down to make Argendauss stand out. Joining a price crusade would ratchet my hypocritometer up a bit too much. The cosmetics are pricey and I'd even say unfair. But, given the choice between a generic steed and custom steed I can look at to gain extra enjoyment from, I chose the latter. I won't lie, I felt a little buyer's remorse; to combat that I started conjuring justifications for the price I paid. For example:
- LotRO is the only MMO I play.
- I have a handful of readers to please.
- My dad, my sister, and I ate a steak dinner the other night, my treat; the tab was comparable to the money I had spent so far on Argendauss's horse (and then I went and bought more, tipping the scale).
- I'd been too lazy to go to the store for beer the past couple weeks, so therefore horse money = beer money.
- I don't have kids to feed and I live cheaply to begin with (though I expect my idyllic college lifestyle will be crushed into little pieces in a few months, when I graduate).
Various defensive little thoughts like that arose. The price ain't right, but as for me, what's done is done.
I do truly enjoy the two custom steeds I've made so far for Argendauss, and I hope to share them with you all soon. Please, share your own insight on Rohan cosmetics in the comments, and thanks for reading!