Final Fantasy XIV’s Glamour System has a Fundamental Flaw
Veteran players of Final Fantasy XIV often say that glamour is the real endgame content. Despite being said in a joking manner, it’s not actually far from the truth. Glamour has a variety of participants, from the casual to the very serious. Some of the more glamour inclined free companies (player run guilds) will hold competitions where they set a theme and players can compete for a prize. As well as that, FFXIV has its own version of Vogue in the website the Eorzea collection. The website showcases player submitted glamours that they have created, from the simple, to the elaborate.
So, what exactly is a glamour? In the Eorzean universe a glamour is an illusion magick that allows an item to take on the appearance of another. It’s a fancy way of saying it allows a character to change their look while retaining all the stats of the best gear. WOW players would recognise this as transmog. Glamours work differently in that the player must have the physical item and use a glamour prism on that item. Glamour prisms are unlocked in Mor Dhona after completing the associated quest. A glamour prism will allow one item to take on the form of another, provided both items are in the armoury/inventory. But what if you want an item to be able to be glamoured without carrying it around in the already small inventory? That’s where glamour chests come in! Head to an inn in one of the three main city states and there will be a glamour chest in the room as well as an armoire. Armoires are the cousin of the glamour chest, allowing players to only store special items inside them. The glamour chest will allow players to not only store items, but allow them to overtake the appearance of any other gear provided they meet the criteria. Same gear slot and same class, respectively. The glamour chest only has 800 slots though, so don’t go shoving in every item.
The glamour chest also enables players to set up glamour plates which are a combination of glamours to create a pre-made outfit. The benefits of the glamour plate are that it applies the whole outfit and can be used outside of the inn. There are 20 plates so players often make one for each disciple of war and disciple of magic, class. Each of these plates can be linked to a specific class, so whenever a player changes class, it’ll apply the glamour plate automatically. Convenient is it not?
Gear sets are the head, chest, gloves, legs and feet that match, thus making a set. Players will endlessly grind or pay their way to get sets or items that they are after. Certain sets can only be obtained from raids or dungeons and cannot be sold. This means if players want an item from that dungeon, they must run that dungeon until the specific item they want, for the class they want, drops. A dungeon can drop any item of gear for any disciple of war or disciple of magic, class. Dungeons will give players gear after the bosses and all other non-boss chests will have matching accessories. In ARR dungeons, players will obtain a random piece of gear from that dungeon, for their class direct to their inventory on top of the rewards from the boss-chests.
Aside from dungeons and raids, some gear can only be bought with actual money from the FFXIV online store, the Mogstation. This gear is either gear the main characters wear or from other Final fantasy games or from previous special events.
Also available on the Mogstation for money is special dyes. These dyes allow players to change the colour of their gear but the dye is consumed in the process. Dyeing clothes is a massive part of glamours, but it is one that is fundamentally flawed. Normal dyes can be crafted. Rarer colours are traded with the tribes. Special dyes, such as metallic, pastel or dark, are a random chance from Bozjan lockboxes or fete presents. Or available to purchase as previously mentioned. The three dyes that can be purchased from players islands and the Firmament is pearl white, gunmetal black and bronze.
Dyeing is so important that people will use websites like Garland tools to find gear that shares the same mesh but with the ability to be dyed. Not all gear can be dyed and that often can throw a spanner into the works for players glamour ideas.
Dyeing is great, but it’s where the flaw in the system lies. Dyes can only be applied to part of the gear. A great example is the moonward tank gear set. The chest piece and leg gear are a combination of silver and deep blue with gold highlights. The gloves have a grey matte material as well as the silver base, gold highlights and a blue accent piece. The headgear is mostly silver with a bit of gold and for some reason, pink/purple accents.
Annoyingly, If I decide I want to dye the chest piece red, it only changes the colour of the silver, as this is what I’ll call the base colour. The blue would be considered secondary colour and the gold, highlights. Same with the gloves, only the silver can be dyed. This becomes an endeavour in frustration as it means often the part you want to dye, won’t be affected.
This issue isn’t exclusive to the Moonward set either, but rather an issue that almost all dyeable sets have. The colour that presents as the base is the only part that can be dyed, or all details are washed out due to them all being the same colour. An example of the latter is that when dyeing the hailstorm coat of casting, the gradient to lilac on the inner coat tails disappears, instead becoming one solid colour. A lot of the time, it’s usually the neutral colours that are the ones changed. Usually, I want to change the secondary colour, or the highlights. It’s only possible to do it by mixing and matching items from different gear sets. However, it can be a lot of effort only to be disappointed that no other dyeable variation of that armour exists. Often that will mean scrapping a glamour idea and starting again. Another thing which can be irritating is that no two gear sets seem to dye the same colour: there is some colour variation. A lot of the time this is barely noticeable unless someone is really looking for it, or if you’re like me and can’t unsee it now.
If dyeing is such a big flaw, why has nothing been done? Well, it doesn’t really affect how the game plays and most people will generally find work around or other gear they like instead. This doesn’t mean that a fix shouldn’t be implemented and I already have an idea of how it could work.
When using a special dye, there’s two slots in the dye menu. One for the in-game dye and one for the Mogstation ones. A similar premise could be used to split the main colours of a piece into two, three or four, depending on the set and how many colours it has. Most gear sets post ARR have at least three colours while earlier gear, especially of a low rank, only has two colours.
This would enable players to pick to not only pick the colour of the dye, but also which section of the gear that dye affects. A side effect of this is that players will now require four pots of dye per head, chest, hands, legs and feet piece. Greater freedom of choice, greater consumption of dyes, a win for both players and the devs! The only downside is that it may affect the Gold Saucer fashion report minigame which has an easy 80 with dyes category. It would be possible to get around this by checking if any of the slots of that piece have the appropriate dye and accepting it like that.
The ability to be able to dye certain sections of clothes and even weapons, would be a game changer for the world of glamours and those who use them. I know that it would change things for me, personally, as I have pretty much given up on glamours due to the limitations of the dye system. It hasn’t been changed since the creation of FFXIV’s ARR so I think it’s about time it could do with an upgrade. An update that would allow me, and others, to create the glamours of our dreams.