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News & Features Discussion  » Star Wars: The Old Republic: Aesthetics vs. Gameplay

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32 posts found
  MikeB Community Manager

Joined: 5/27/09
Posts: 5579

OP  4/04/12 3:48:23 AM#1

Do aesthetics trump gameplay? BioWare has responded to feedback over some of the 'crazy' armorsets coming in 1.2, a topic we discussed in a recent Star Wars: The Old Republic column, and this week we're discussing the situation as it stands now.

Honestly, what more can you ask for? Of course, hindsight is awesome. Wouldn’t it have been great if BioWare figured this out before launch and gave us endgame gear that didn’t look like it came out of the Power Rangers TV series? Sure. But it didn’t play out that way. What’s important is that BioWare didn’t sit up in an ivory tower and simply give us a reason as to why they design endgame armor as they do and leave it at that.

Read more of Michael Bitton's Star Wars: The Old Republic: Aesthetics vs. Gameplay.

Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB


Novice Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 169

4/04/12 8:55:04 AM#2
I think this a great topic. It's a tough issue to deal with and like in a lot of other cases, Bioware chose a solution that's been used for a long time by many previous MMOs. The interesting thing to me is that if you look at the source material for SW, the outfits weren't over the top unless you look specifically at a very few characters. Also, in many fantasy series, the comentary has been specifically about how rediculous nobles' clothing is. In terms of somethig more recent, The Hunger Games really draws out that extreme in both the books and the recent movie.

So, why then do most developers continue to think players want these over the top gear sets for their avatars? Maybe it works for comic books, but in a world building exercise like you might find in a fantasy series, the silliness of the clothing in many MMOs is very apparent and in a lot of cases, detrimental to the experience.

If you don't worry about it, it's not a problem.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/10/12
Posts: 1376

4/04/12 9:02:10 AM#3

Another reason the devs of SWTOR are clueless.

The only way to combat everyone looking the exact same is to have an extra set of equipment slots: 1 for stats and 1 for looks.

As for the looks, they need to create endless amounts of clothing and armor. They haven't done this. Other than a few decent looking sets, which everyone is wearing, you can either choose between puke or vomit.

Instead of going overkill on the marketing spending, they should've hired guys that did nothing but design weapons and armor.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 2596

4/04/12 9:14:36 AM#4

The high end armor has several problems working against them.

1 - they are dealing with a popular franchise so what they create has to fit the Star Wars universe.

2 - since the franchise is so popular the fans have certain expectations about what the characters should look like

3 - what BioWare has to do as MMORPG developer conflicts with the expectations of the players.

The players want simple armor that reminds them of the movies but(as mentioned in the interview) BioWare has to create new high end armor for an MMORPG which is a video game based off The Old Republic story spin off.

Basically, no matter what BioWare does a large portion of the players will complain. If they make raid armor sets highly unique then the Star Wars movie fans will complain but if they make raid armor sets simple and movie like then the MMORPG fans will complain.

Welcome to the popular franchise MMORPG misery party BioWare. Cryptic, Turbine, FunCom and Mythic are already in attendance.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/13/12
Posts: 289

Nemo me impune lacessit.

4/04/12 9:20:14 AM#5

There's really no excuse for the crap armor designs they're pumping out.  That shouldn't have made it out of the design phase unless there is massive groupthink going on or a complete lack of oversight.  If they cared about what their customers thought, they would have asked players about the designs before pumping out more generic, clownish crap.  And let's not pretend this just started with this release.  There are some absolutely awful armor designs that the game launched with like the bug face BH or the ox head force users.

Have flask; will travel.


Advanced Member

Joined: 10/02/04
Posts: 4528

4/04/12 9:23:31 AM#6

Wait there....


SWTOR has not got either of those?

My 3D models


Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3548


4/04/12 9:25:07 AM#7
Originally posted by Caldrin

Wait there....


SWTOR has not got either of those?


That was my first thought when I saw the headline

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3548


4/04/12 9:30:00 AM#8
It's really not hard, for a Jedi, low key robes with a small subtle coloured band by the wrist to denote armour level, that way you aren't stuck with Boffo Wan Clownobi.

Novice Member

Joined: 10/14/11
Posts: 323


4/04/12 9:39:14 AM#9

They have only put in the cheapest that they bought in [censored] and kept the good ones for the cash shop!

Admit it.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3618

4/04/12 9:40:15 AM#10

To be fair, I don't think they are alone in making crappy armor designs.  


Novice Member

Joined: 1/06/07
Posts: 2541

Hype (noun)
1. to trick; gull.
2. exaggerated publicity; hoopla.
3. swindle, deception, or trick.

4/04/12 9:46:08 AM#11

Two questions, who's the jackwagon who approved all of that garbage in the first place and are they in charge of the redesign?

Perhaps designers will finally get a clue that we don't want to be treated like snot-nosed kids...

...or not.

"Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky


Advanced Member

Joined: 12/25/05
Posts: 1123

4/04/12 9:47:31 AM#12

The only armor that looks like it belongs are the BH, Smuggler and Trooper. If you play a Jedi or Sith you are stuck with wearing a quasi WOW / Rift looking set that i'm not sure where it belongs.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/21/04
Posts: 175

4/04/12 9:53:38 AM#13

For the pure aesthetics out there that have seen the 130mm version of the first Star Wars movie.  I would like to see the od green blanket with the black US emblem showing for a jedi cape that Obe Wan was shown wearing on the first cliff top scene where he scared off the sand raiders.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/13/09
Posts: 2370

"A strange game. The only winning move is not to post."

4/04/12 10:14:06 AM#14

After reading the Bioware employees responses, once again I have to ask WTF WERE THEY DOING FOR FIVE YEARS!!??

Great Vader's Ghost! How do you bungle what your fanbase wants so bloody badly SO MANY TIMES!?

Their advertising department sure understands what sells. Look at all the really killer outfits in every one of the blazing cinematics they released since day one. How the hell did those guys get the iconic look so right, yet when it came to actual game art direction everything looks like it was created for a redo of Captain Eo!?

To paraphrase Harrison Ford, "Bioware, you can hype this sh*t, but you sure as hell can't play it."

"Gypsies, tramps, and thieves, we were called by the Admin of the site . . . "


Novice Member

Joined: 10/19/06
Posts: 600

4/04/12 10:16:32 AM#15

150mil and u gave us these crappy art....zzz


Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/19/04
Posts: 765

4/04/12 11:37:05 AM#16

TOR was trying its hardest to be like a certain other game (hamfisting a single player narrative doesn't make their game unique), of course they're going to emulate up the clown suit aspect too


Advanced Member

Joined: 5/28/06
Posts: 1684

4/04/12 12:23:11 PM#17

I have no idea why aesthetics vs gameplay is even a "thing". It's a game, not real life. [Mod edit]

I personally love many of the new armor sets, especially for the sith inquisitor. I'm not a big fan of the Imperial Agent attire, I find it rather boring. Great game, efficient development.



Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/07
Posts: 476

4/04/12 1:45:57 PM#18

I think the fact that this is even an issue suggests that a Star Wars MMO shouldn't have ever been about whoring loot for small binary increases to the two stats that are useful for you; but since copying WoW was about the only chance the clowns at BioWare-Mythic had of coming up with something even halfway enjoyable, this clown armor end game gear is probably the best you can ever really expect.

Obi-Wan wore a plain brown robe because that was all he needed.  If you aren't down with that, you shouldn't be making a Star Wars game. End of story. 


Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/04/05
Posts: 153

4/04/12 2:04:02 PM#19

No matter how the new armor sets look, people will never be happy with their appearance. Never. MMOs players love to complain and armor appearance happens to be one of those subjective issues that people love to nit pick about. Sort of like women and haircuts..or people and food. With that said, I'd say Bioware should focus more on gameplay, but anyone "in the know", knows they most likely have seperate teams dedicated to different aspects of the game. Gameplay and aesthetics (art) are two vastly different areas of development.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/04/12
Posts: 21

4/04/12 4:00:51 PM#20

Interesting that they would actually listen to the fans and attempt to fix this. Cosmetics was on my list of reasons I uninstalled the game. The rest of my list was comprised of team-size, dislike of crafting, character skill progression, starting zones and overall sand-boxy feel of the game. Having played games like City of Heroes and LoTRO where characters are extremely customizable (CoH far more so), SWToR felt like a cop out. It's nice to know this has been addressed. Now, if they would fix at least 50% of the other issues I had with the game, I might consider resub ... but at this point it is highly unlikely.

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