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Carbine
MMORPG | Setting:Sci-Fi | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 06/03/14)  | Pub:NCSoft
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Customize That!

By Gareth Harmer on June 19, 2014 | Columns | Comments

Customize That!

It used to be that everyone looked the same in an MMO. You could tell, just from the armor a character wore, what class they were and how experienced they were. Veterans would even be able to tell if they were a dedicated raider, battleground master, or easy-going casual. All that changed in recent years, with games offering a number of ways you can customize your character’s look.

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WildStar is no exception, catering to the needs of fashion-conscious Nexians and crazed oddballs in equal measure. What makes this MMO unique is the level of customization on offer – flexible costumes (and costume slots), armor dyes, mount flairs – even your trusty Scanbot can sport a pair of Aurin ears or a brain in a jar.

That said, I regularly get asked how the costuming system can be used to look as smart as a Cassian, or as freakish as a Chua. In this week’s WildStar column, I’ll be explaining how to get costume pieces out of your inventory and into dedicated costume slots, how to dye them to get that unique appearance, and just what else you can customize.

Looking Snazzy

This week, I managed to hit several milestones in WildStar. My engineer has now reached level 31, unlocking the final two abilities that he’s able to learn. I also made it to Path level 21 as a scientist, unlocking the final piece of path-specific costume armor. As a roleplaying character in the service of the Dominion, this was all I needed to finish my character’s appearance.

By default, WildStar’s character pane allows you to switch between the mish-mash of armor currently equipped, or several dedicated costume slots. To actually change the costume though, you’ll need to head to a Protostar Appearance Modificator. These handy chaps are dotted around Nexus, and take care of both managing and dying your costumes.

Costume items can be obtained in a number of different ways; dedicated beta testers were given a Highwayman’s outfit of leather and buckles, and the Deluxe Edition came with a green Eldan outfit.  But it doesn’t end there – any armor piece can also be used as a costume, even if it’s not normally wearable by your class. Want to dress in light cloth like a SpellSlinger while wearing heavy Engineer’s armor? Consider it a cinch! Just drag the item from your inventory and drop it into the appropriate slot in the costume, and you’re ready to go. It also means that costumes can be mixed with each other and generic armor pieces, if you’re really particular.

Dye Job

Once your costume pieces are in place, it’s possible to use Protostar Hologramatic Technology to change their color to match your own preference. However, it’s not as simple as Push Button, Get Colored Bacon; the secrets to each individual hue will need to be tracked down. Some can be found on the Protostar Dye Distribution Specialists, while others lurk in the bottom of random Boom Boxes. Most, however, will require searching throughout Nexus and completing challenges to earn. Don’t expect finding all 300-odd to be easy!

WildStar’s armors are fairly complex, with most pieces able to support two or three different colors at a time. The Protostar Appearance Modificator can show how each piece can be tweaked, and results can be previewed beforehand. Make sure to check before you commit though, as the corporation charges for every adjustment made. Rarer dyes also cost more to apply, and will quickly eat through your purse of platinum if you’re not careful.

To speed things up, similar areas on each armor piece are grouped into dye channels. If you want to quickly see how your raid set looks in Pulsar Pink, just select the channel on the left., then pick the color to apply on the right. For finer tweaks, each location can be applied individually.

Yet More Choices

Customization doesn’t end with clothing; almost everything your character touches can be tweaked to suit your own style. Many mounts have slots for additional flairs, meaning that you can strap a stereo to your hoverbike or saddlebags to your space-horse. Some of these additions are bought with Renown (the currency you earn through grouping with others), while others are unlocked in your path’s higher levels.

For Scientists, the Scanbot can be tweaked with the addition of fuzzy Aurin or Chua ears, a brain in a jar, or even a pair of Tesla coils. Again, some of these are available for renown, while others will cost Elder Gems (the elder game currency that’s earned in place of XP). And if you get bored of that, the options in player housing should keep you busy for a good few months, and there’s always addon development if you want to completely change up that UI.

It’s unlikely that customization will end here. Carbine’s already mentioned that further features will appear in the months ahead, as further content drops add more housing, armor and mount options - we already know that Ultra Drop 1 will include Strain-themed hoverboards, clothing and housing props. From the look of things, we’ll be able to tweak and modify our WildStar experience for some time to come.

Gareth Harmer / Gareth “Gazimoff” Harmer has been blasting and fireballing his way through MMOs for over ten years. When he's not exploring an online world, he can usually be found enthusiastically dissecting and debating them. Follow him on Twitter at @Gazimoff.


Read more WildStar coverage:

Gareth Harmer / When he's not blasting or fireballing his way through a virtual world, Gareth "Gazimoff" Harmer can be found dissecting the mechanics of online games. Chua at heart, he's also our resident columnist for all things WildStar.