Ophelia's Gaze: Iris Explores MMO Fashion, Starting With Nexon's Vindictus
Exclusive to NWN, Iris Ophelia's ongoing showcase of all things stylish in SL and beyond!
For years now, Ophelia's Gaze has been a column about style in Second Life, but I've decided to try something a little different this week, branching out to talk about fashion in MMOs. I'm a virtual fashionista first and foremost, but I'm an avid online gamer second. Fortunately, fashion is starting to play a larger role in gaming, from broader customization options to cash shop gear (a big business for free-to-play MMOs!) And while I use MMORPGs as a way to unwind from school, work, and even Second Life stress, I've noticed that I'm far less likely to stick with a game if I don't like the look of my avatar. Given the recent trends towards more avatar variety, I suspect I'm not the only one.
My current favorite is the graphically stunning Vindictus, which had my interest since its Korean beta stages, and with the North American addition of the sweet and stylish mage character, Evie, Vindictus is my new MMORPG addiction. Keep reading to find out more about Nexon's most stylish mage!
When I started playing Nexon's Vindictus (previously released in Korea as Mabinogi Heroes) as a swordswoman, I was a little disappointed. I'd been waiting for this game to come out for nearly two years, and the graphics and characters are both very pretty, but the equipment for the first 24 levels seemed very drab and realistic. Realistic when we're talking about armor and battle gear means bulky, bland, and uninspiring. Then, shortly before Halloween, Nexon released a new character class, a mage named Evie with skills as impressive as her outfits are adorable.
Unlike the other classes in the game, she has a magical shield that absorbs damage to a certain point, so there is more flexibility to wear what you like aesthetically rather than upgrading blindly just to keep your defense high. Evie wears primarily cloth armor, and generally her clothes involve charming dresses with very feminine accents. Even her early equipment is adorable, like the Scarlet Witch set which has an adorable ruffled skirt accented with ribbons and a lacy mantle.
Another interesting feature in this game in terms of fashion is equipment deterioration. As your clothing absorbs damage, it degrades and may break, leaving it hanging off of you in shreds. Every piece of equipment breaks in a unique way that's left me trying to get hit to see what my new gear would look like broken. I've had the toe of a shoe flapping as I ran, ruffles of a skirt twisting behind me like a tail, even delicate lace trim torn and dangling around my shoulders.
If you take avatar customization as seriously as I do, there are cash items available to upgrade your look. More hair styles, hair colors, makeup, scars, and underarmor are available, though most of your equipment is crafted in-game and not purchased. They also seem to be very aware of the importance of a chic avatar, since after Evie's release they awarded vouchers for new hair styles from the shop to every Evie who had reached level 15.
Nexon is localizing and adding content from the Korean release bit by bit, and they recently released new hairstyles and underarmor sets for all the classes, not just Evie. For now, my own Evie's in her top tier of equipment, but I won't have to wait long before I can upgrade again -- Nexon will be releasing the next major update on December 1st, complete with new areas, a higher level cap, new powers and, most importantly, new equipment!