The GW2 news of late is, of course, all about how ArenaNet plans on implementing armor customization through the use of Transmutation stones you will be able to buy from a cash shop. After reading over Rubi's coverage, I felt that GW2 was heading in a very similar direction to the one taken by RoM. I find this to be very cool! So for anyone who didn't know this flexible system was in the game or that it was so flexible, I present a guide on customizing your RoM character any way you see fit. I've also included a short video tutorial to help illustrate how customizing works.
Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. You can purchase consumable items called aggregators from the cash shop; these allow you to transfer the stats from one weapon (or piece of armor) onto another similar item. This grants you the look you want and lets you keep those precious stats. If you have level 60 Beast Man Plate Armor but don't care for the look of it, you can find any other same-slot item to aggregate. Let's say you really love the look of the level 25 Redemption Breastplate. Buy an aggregator, place both pieces of armor in the interface window, hit confirm, and BAM! The result is what appears to be the lower-level armor with all the attributes and stats of the higher-level armor.
It's an incredibly versatile system that gives you the freedom to use any existing item in the game to customize your character exactly the way you want. Keep in mind that aggregators work for any weapon or armor piece in RoM. I've seen more than a few posts in the RoM forums in which players either ask for clarification or express dislike that a payment is needed for the aggregators and the costumes. While the costumes are nice special sets that you can buy, you aren't limited to using them to change the look of your character.
There are two different aggregators. The standard one lets you transfer the stats from the same type of item, that is, you can only transfer the stats of a cloth item to the appearance of a cloth item. You have to stick to the same type. The slightly more expensive advanced aggregators will let you break this mold and transfer between armor types. I've also learned through trial and error that it matters whether the weapon is 1-H or 2-H. While you can put your 1-H staff's attributes onto a hammer skin, the hammer has to also be 1-H. You also have to stick to the same slot items. You can't do something like transfer the attributes from your gloves onto upper-body armor. That would just be silly.
When you start exploring all the different possibilities, you'll find this customizing system adds incentive for you to own certain sets in RoM that seemed to previously have but meager incentives based solely on attributes. The Lyk set that takes a long time to acquire would be a perfect example of this. The time and resources required to craft it may not seem worth it, based on its attributes alone. But when you realize no other set looks the way it does and you could have that look without losing whatever stats you may have, suddenly there's more incentive to obtain it.
So you have all your armor aggregated and are raiding in style, but some of your armor colors clash. You can rectify this by clicking on the styling-shop button next to the minimap. This will open up a window showing all the armor you're wearing that can be colored. While I usually just say any piece of armor can be colored, this technically isn't true. The Windmill epics cannot be colored. If there are any others you know of, feel free to list them in the comments.
Each piece of armor has two locations that can be colored using a color wheel and RGB values. I love finding a favorite color and writing down the RGB values. When I return to coloring armor, I can simply type the numbers back in to get the exact color I need. A brightness slider adds another level of depth to the colors you want to use.
I tracked down some info about selling customized items and found out that aggregated and/or colored items that are sold retain the changes for whoever buys them. This makes me hope that Runewaker will someday add labels or stamps to altered items, because right now there's no way to distinguish them from un-altered items in the auction house.
I remember the first time I discovered armor customizing and coloring in RoM and thought, "Why isn't anyone else doing this?" If GW2's system really is like RoM's, Rubi is going to have a ton of fun. I'd love to see more MMOs offer this degree of flexibility in the future. I love World of Warcraft as much as anyone else, but 12 million players means a lot of clones. A dozen (or more) players looking exactly the same all jumping and running around Stormwind is just not as cool as if all those players were totally unique.
As a side-note: I think this type of system works very well under a micro-transaction umbrella. It allows you to pay for only what you customize. It's also outside of the pay-to-win debate, as it's only a cosmetic feature. Then again, if it ever proved to make some armor more valuable to sell than un-altered items, we might see a whole new debate in which crafters claim cosmetic items are just as much pay-to-win as items with stats. I doubt it will happen, but it'd be very interesting if the value of such cosmetic items dwarfed the current value placed on stats.
Each Monday, Jeremy Stratton delivers Lost Pages of Taborea, a column filled with guides, news, and opinions for Runes of Magic. Whether it's a community roundup for new players or an in-depth look at the rogue/priest combo, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.