Last week Rixx Javix put up a post over at his blog about hats.
Specifically his post was about EVE Online avatars that he has adorned with hats over the years, including his own and others.
You should go look at that post. He has done a lot of hats. EVE Online avatars with hats on them appear to be quite a thing. Even my own avatar on the blog is my EVE avatar with a horned helm applied to it. (I used that avatar at work as well.)
That lead me to joke that if CCP had given us hats instead of monocles with the Incarna expansion, things might have gone a bit differently.
I was, of course, being silly, and doubly so because monocles were never the main issue with Incarna.
But still, I felt in my gut that there was something to this. Hats are fun. Putting on a hat is almost the simplest form of costume. Hats lend a sense of style, silliness, or personality when put on. I love hats.
In fact, in-game if I cannot have a good hat I won’t wear any hat at all. But I will go out of my way for a hat that fits my mood or forms the basis of a look. One of the things I miss about Rift is that it had both a varied selection of hats available and a cosmetic system that allow players to easily wear what they liked.
I realize that Blizzard wanted to use transmorg to get gold out of the economy, but the restrictions on what can be transmog’d into something else are too restrictive in my book. I want to make my plate helm look like Whitemane’s chapeau or the Hydromancer’s Headwrap! Is that too much to ask? (Also, the stuff you sell in the Blizz Store… the hats… they look awful.)
And in Lord of the Rings Online as well, I always had to find the right hat.
Hats may be the only item I have eagerly spent money on in cash shops.
And there is Team Fortress 2 which apparently finances itself entirely through the sale of hats. That seems to indicate that it isn’t just me with the whole hats thing. Hats make the character.
Hats seem to be a thing worth monetizing. Here is an opportunity for CCP to add something to their in-game cash shop that people might buy.
I hear somebody from the back of the hall saying, “But you can buy hats in EVE Online. And they are bringing more in with the Hyperion expansion.”
And I would have to admit that those are true statements. But the options currently available do not thrill me, and the options they are adding with Hyperion are even less palatable.
That was clearly the problem with the NEX Store, or whatever they are calling it these days; not enough color choices in the hosiery section.
Anyway, those headgear options barely qualify as hats and certainly do not represent anything I would want to display on my avatar.
What CCP needs to do here is get off the whole dark brooding dystopian future… after all, this is the future where anything should go, so if you can name yourself DoomBunny or HVAC Repairman (or even Dabigredboat) in-game and be taken seriously… and at least one of those people is… then fix things so you can find a decent hat in New Eden. Dystopias tend to have pretty decent hat selections. Look at Blade Runner or that snappy model Alan Arkin wore in Gattaca. And lets not forget the Mad Max series. Or the Soviet Union. Police states and dictatorships practically rise and fall on their haberdashery selections.
So here is what I want.
I want to have a wide selection of hats, from subdued to zany, that I can buy from the in-game cash shop and apply directly to my in-game avatar so when anybody sees it come up in an info screen… or if they are one of those horrible people that leave icons on in chat… there is my damn hat in full view making exactly the statement I want… which is that I think hats are cool. In a year I want Rixx Javix to look at the store in EVE Online and say something like, “I can’t keep up with that.”
But that is not all I want.
No, I want an entire hat subsystem in the game. I want to be able to buy a hat from the store and apply it to my avatar right away, easy-peasy, no questions asked. I want a hat inventory window where I can view and select from my ever growing collection of hats so I am always wearing the hat appropriate to my mood and the occasion. I want the method by which I acquire in-game currency… Aurum, isn’t it? I want that simplified. I don’t want to have to buy a PLEX and then convert it to Aurum. That commits me to a nearly $20 transaction. Just sell me a stack of Aurum, small to large, starting at $5.
Which leads me to the last, and most essential bit. Make the hats cheap.
We have a luxury item with a non-insignificant amount of overhead to create, but which has almost zero incremental cost per unit sold. You make it once and sell it a zillion times and your costs don’t change all that much.
Because here is something that Jester got totally right on the similar topic of ship skins, which are too expensive (and too inconvenient) for most people to buy for ships they are going to lose.
Price the hats so that you will sell many. I want them to be cheap enough that an FC can call for a specific hat style and get decent turn out on that front. I want them to be cheap enough to feel okay calling anybody who refuses to “hat up” a cheap-ass scrub. I want to see GSOL running around in yellow construction hats and Theta Squad in fezzes and Triumvirate in very serious fedoras and a halo for The Mittani and a selection of pirate hats and horned Viking helms for every low sec pirate corp to feel included.
What hat would you and your corp or alliance want?
I know, I know, technical details, 3D modeling, limited resources, everything is too hard. Make the hats freakin’ stickies to apply to your avatar ala that horrible system in Google Hangouts. You can add in fright wigs, red ball noses, and bow ties while you’re at it them.
All I know is that I want some decent, affordable hats dammit.
Which CSM member will take up this cause? Who will lead the campaign for more hats in New Eden?
I would, but I’m trying to get this Soviet Naval officer’s cap on my avatar. It just isn’t quite right.
A work in progress.