Guild Wars 2 Dye-atribe

The puns abound in the latest ArenaNet blog post. I love Kristen Perry’s enthusiasm though. I just can’t help but smile and be excited as well, even if the information is small or tangential. In blog post we get a pretty thorough review of the dye system along with a lot of new and confirmed information.

The biggest advancement, in my mind, is that dyes will no longer be physical items that are crafted or dropped by mobs and then sold on the auction block. Instead, each account gets an unlockable palette of colors. Automatically from the start of the game, when centaurs are attacking and you are supposed to be saving villagers and killing big earth elementals, you can stand there for ten minutes playing around with your unlocked starter area colors. There is a great video from GuildMag of some player “wasting” gamescom demo time doing just that (more colors, etc. were unlocked for demo purposes).

Ten minutes might seem a lot to Barbie your avatar just so, but when each armor piece has up to four dyable channels, it can take a bit of time. Channels roughly correspond to a particular cut or material on the armor piece. Yet if the piece is dyed one color, the channel might illustrate the dye in a different way to reflect the polish of metal or the softness of leather. So even though there are currently 254 available dyes (possibly more at launch), there are many more colors when broken down in to hue, saturation, lightness, brightness, and contrast.

My favorite part is that they take the mind crushing hundreds of dyes and classify them by name and designer categories. For example, the midnight set consists of the rare black dyes while the racial set will have the immediately unlocked primary colors atoned for that race. Charr red has to look like blood after all; while asura red should look smart. All the dyes will be hot sortable based on quite a few variables.

Finally, I would expect parts of the dye system to become microtransaction-able. Kristen bluntly states that the dyes can be unlocked in-game and out. I believe that later on we will see magazines with dye unlock codes, but it would make sense to have buyable dye packs as well for fashionistas that want a full artist’s palette right away on their level 1 clothes. I think it’s a great idea for a mictrotransaction anyway as long as the dyes aren’t exclusive to the store.  Now, let’s see what Kristen has in store for the Guild Wars Halloween costumes!

–Ravious
in the wool

19 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2 Dye-atribe”

  1. “Ten minutes might seem a lot to Barbie your avatar”

    Are you sure? I know some people who have spent the time equivalent of several careers doing exactly that.

    1. Yeah I have to agree. If I’m going to be “investing” myself into a character, 10 minutes is peanuts. Probably adds to my attachment of the game.

  2. I don’t know anything about Kristen Perry, but every blog and interview I read by her exudes peppy cute. She un-ironically says “neato mosquito” in the Massively interview.

  3. I would buy dyes from a cash shop…especially when the game is free like Guild Wars and offers a top notch experience.
    I was VERY disappointed (as was the wife who said “I cant collect stacks of dyes to sell now? Boo”) to hear about the new system…but, now I know it is an achievement style of unlock and maybe can be purchased..
    I am on board.

  4. Oddly, this was actually a very exciting article for me – one of the most exciting in recent memory. I still hold out hope that we’ll hear something more directly gameplay related soon, but this dye article was exciting in a way that even some of the recent profession reveals haven’t been.

    It’s hard to really explain why, but trying to keep it short:

    It’s great to see them let one of the devs go completely bonkers, and delve deeply into the technical and philosophical details of a system that they’re obviously passionate about. Compared to the vague statements we’re used to, Kristen’s meticulous descriptions of how the system works were really a breath of fresh air, as well as really fascinating.

    Seeing the NPC characters, how evocative and carefully thought out their costumes were, really makes me excited to just explore the world. In many MMORPGs a fisherman NPC is just indicated by giving this normal looking guy a hat and fishing rod – but here we have a Charr covered in netting, with numerous hooks, harpoons, and other tools hanging off him. It just oozes flavor and detail. And then the two NPCs next to him are each completely different and unique, on top of it…

    Similarly, the simply idea that each race should have its own color palette – so that when you travel to a different capital city, you really feel like this alien visitor who is even wearing clothes that use different styles of dye. This is world design on a level that’s fitting for a novel, and something I’ve never seen in any RPG, much less an MMO where such detail is often lost.

    Lastly as Ravious mentions, the idea that this is a perfect feature to offer in the cash shop, given the way it’s set up – that is, if it’s a one-time unlock, which I assume it would be. It’s completely aesthetic, and just seems like a system that’s set up correctly conceptually for the cash shop model.

    You unlock a color palette, and it’s unlocked for all characters. Just fair and smart. No repetitive need to unlock the colors you want for every character on your account, no one-time fee each time you want to change a color, no punishment if you accidentally apply a color you don’t like or change your mind later. It’s just a clear, easy system all around, and that’s refreshing to see in a genre that is so often crippled by bad design choices, driven by the need to either keep people playing (and subscribing) or keep them paying (in a cash shop).

  5. Half the point of getting gear in an MMO so I have more options for the barbie game. Now I can earn dye unlocks as well? That sounds like something that would really suck me in. I especially like the idea of themed palette sets that can be earned from different activities.

  6. Yeah, the first thing that I thought of when reading about them was microtransactions as well. However, that kind of cosmetic MT is going to put a lie to the whole “buy the box only” thing, because usually MTs like that are going to take a lot of effort in-game to unlock, on purpose.

    1. Except that it’s entirely optional and doesn’t affect actually *playing* the game at all. It’s just a fun option for those who like the Barbie aspects. That’s perfect MT fodder. Hardcore players can ignore it and never miss a step.

      1. I don’t like the “making optional” aspect of things to earn money on them, and I’m not crazy about gimping a character creator at launch. Champions Online did that, considering how many of the game’s costume pieces are unavailable without long grinds or paying at a cash shop.

        I mean heck, why not make ambient music optional too? It doesn’t affect playing the game that much in this age of MP3s, and it’s just a fun option for those who enjoy the game’s sound aspects.

  7. I was happy to see at least one person showing off the dye system. Every other video showed the same two battles, which grew boring over time.

    Kristen is so passionate about this stuff. She wrote a great article and those armors make me very happy about recreating my Darcy for GW2.

  8. I know a buddy of mine and me spent a good while last night barbie-ing his LotRO elf just because the dressing room now works with the store bought cosmetics. Hee! Always fun, this customization. Like Loralai said it goes a long way towards investing yourself in the character, and by extension the game world and the game itself.

  9. Dye and microtransactions? GW1 has mechanics like this already.

    (1) Equipment and skills can either be unlocked in game or via “unlock packs”. There’s actually a mechanical benefit to unlocking as it makes them available in PvP, but the process of unlocking in game is easy, and can be done either in PvE or as a PvP reward.

    (2) Similarly, GW pets can be unlocked in the same way. This is more cosmetic, as the mechanical differences between any two level 20 pets (with the same “evolution”) are very minor.

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