Archive for December 5th, 2008

Dyeing for Choices

Apparently, the question of whether or not World of Warcraft will allow for armor color customization has been around for a while.  Guild Wars allows for coloring via their dye systemClothing customization is a large part of Puzzle Pirates, and a significant element of demand that fuels their dual currency microtransaction business strategy.  (Though, to be fair, PP doesn’t allow customization after purchase, you determine the look before you buy.  GW and WoW clothing is often crafted for stats, or earned from quests or loot drops, so the coloring takes place after the fact.)

I’ve long argued that customization for MMO avatars is vital to a sense of ownership for players.  It’s something that lets people get more involved, increasing enjoyment and loyalty.  It’s a currency sink that keeps an in-game economy from exploding into hyperinflation.  The emotional connection a player has for their avatar can be enhanced by allowing the player to control aspects of their appearance.  (Would that it were that easy altering ourselves sometimes…)  It’s even possible to monetize an MMO largely through such options, assuming you have sufficiently interesting gameplay to keep people playing, and sufficient customization options to make it important to players.

My company’s A Kingdom for Keflings taps into the new avatar customization that Microsoft installed in the XBox system.  Our game is fun on its own, but giving players the option to put their own avatars in the game is another layer that increases the appeal. (more…)

Read Full Post »