I was thinking about skins in games and wanted to talk about one of the things that annoys me.
Fast forward to the modern age and the explosion of skins as a key revenue stream for online games and the one thing that annoys me about skins: skins obfuscate a characters role in the game. For example I will use my current game of choice, New World, and how it uses skins.
Skins are available and can then be applied to any equipment slot for a player. The problem is skins are not visually tied to armor weights so a heavy armor user can apply a skin that looks like light armor and vice versa a light armor user can dress up in heavy plate armor skins. Most annoying is shield skins where players can use the skin for a small round shield while using a big ole' tower shield.
This means I lose out visually on clues about my opponent. A character running around with a small round shield should be indicative of a light armor load. If I jump in to attack them thinking that and end up hitting a wall because the player is actually a heavy armor tank with a tower shield (more damage reduction) it is a "feel bad" moment. And I will admit I've used to this my benefit by being that heavy tank with a round shield skin baiting in attackers thinking I was a light weight.
Even though I've benefited from this skins situation it still annoys me. Skins in games should not change the visual distinction needed for the game to give good feedback to the user. In New World's case it is as simple as making skins require specific armor weight to apply (i.e. can't apply a round shield skin to a tower shield, can't apply a light armor skin to a heavy armor piece).
So I plead with game developers: please don't sacrifice visual feedback to players during game play in the favor of giving more skins to players. Please make skins as minimally impacting on playing the game as possible.
Thank you for listening to my rant. Agree? Disagree? Leave some comments.