Caped Crusaders

July 20, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 11 Comments
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User Interface for cape selection

I haven’t been very lucky with cape design in my Guild Wars history. Cape after cape after cape designed by 14 year old boys with no idea what looks good and what looks like your mom picked out for you.

It kind of sucks because GW does actually provide a fairly good cape selection system. Talk to a Guild Emblemer NPC and pick through the user interface, pictured left, and you’re provided with loads of options. You’re given about 9 basic cape shapes to work with. 31 cape patterns/details that can be added. 173 designed emblems, some of which are cool, some of which are designed by contest participants (including adorable child artwork) and some of which don’t appear to be anything other than random shapes.

Check out this Wiki page for a closer look at all of that.

If your guild name is 3 legged dog, you're in luck, there's a pattern for that


One thing Guild Wars could have easily done to cut down on bad capes in my opinion, would be to remove the patterns being applied to capes with emblems. I’m sure the lightning bolt over the death’s head skull adds extra emphasis but lets face facts. A death’s head skull speaks for itself. Not all pattern and emblem combinations turn out badly but in my opinion most do.

One of the first long term guilds I joined in Guild Wars had a horrific cape. I can’t remember the exact color scheme but I did try to recreate it so we could all bask in its glory. I disliked white flamed pattern on the blue background, but even more I hated that it was all combined with a red dragon. I don’t mind the dragon itself, but the rest seems loud and ugly. Very clashing. I’m reminded suddenly of Kristen Perry’s Arenanet Blog post. One of the rules in that guild? Always wear your cape. I’m a rebel with a cause though, specifically, not wearing ugly capes.

My ideal cape goes a little something like this. A bold distinctive emblem, hopefully an iconic symbol or figure. Colors that work well together, a bright color contrasted with a more muted background perhaps. It doesn’t have to be complicated with bells and whistles and all kinds of detail. A little relevance to your guild name is always nice. If you are the Minions of Llolth, a spider related cape might have some meaning.

My current guild has changed their cape since the last time I was a member and although I can’t remember what it used to be, I’m sure it would be an improvement. The cape I avoid wearing now looks to have golden bone dragon wings oustretched over a racing stripe. That racing stripe appears to have a 5 dot pattern running up it. I really think its the worst pattern/emblem combo possible.

Which all leads me to Guild Wars 2. As I said when I predicted there would be housing in the game (and was proven kinda sorta correct with home instances) “When creating a sequel you don’t remove features, you add them” so I believe there will be capes.

It’s a sequel so I also believe that those capes will be even more customizable, perhaps even with many of the same traditional (after 250 years they’d have to be) designs we had in Guild Wars. In fact, I’m sure they’d want that so that guilds could carry on a sense of history from Guild Wars Original (in yo face Ryan “Guild Wars Classic” Singleton) I’m sure they’ll have better physics, the option to display them, perhaps even denotation of officership? Who can say?

All I know is, you creative types should get working on your design for the next cape contest before its too late.

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11 Comments

  1. «Cape after cape after cape designed by 14 year old boys with no idea what looks good and what looks like your mom picked out for you.»

    Huh, what do you think it feels like, if you are a graphic designer and you have to face the same stuff? Worst was in my current guild which had a germany cape during the World Cup. I’m swiss. Oh. My. Gosh. It was horrible.

    While your flavour seems to be more classical and minimalistic (which is allways good 😀 ) my credo was «allways stand out and be eyecatching». Course it should be aesthetic too. There are so many more colors apart from blue, red, black and white, why not use them? I allways dreamed of a pastel colored cape and din’t get one. Even when I was leader, I allways listened to the male members of my Guild 😀

    And I really hope, that capes will return in Guild Wars 2. Till now, we have never seen Chars with capes. I hope this is not a sign. Guild houses would be great too… oooh, it would be so funny to have a customable guild house.
    A trim or something to designate officers and leaders would be also great. Man, I don’t know where you get those ideas, but they are magnificent.

    I’m serious.
    They’re cool.

    • classical and minimalistic, yeah thats more my style I admit.

      I keep waiting for them to put out information on guilds, the name of the game is guild wars. but we don’t get anything.

  2. but-but… I actually really like that last one >_>

    I’m a bit obsessive over the emblem. Since it’s shiny I want it to be some kind of metal-color. Either gold, silver, copper, what have you.

    I should go make my ideal cape now 🙂

    • enh? you like that hot mess? the racing stripe messes with how visible the bone wings are, and the pattern itself is horrible. the emblem is okay but a more simplistic wing design could have been a simple addition to the cape designs without people having to pause and squint and figure out what these bone wings are. i could go on and on about some of the emblems.

  3. Guild Wars Original. Lol.
    It sounds like something Colonel Sanders has the recipe for.

    Also, you didn’t diss our cape. Missed opportunity?

    • Hell yes. KFC for the win. Also i dont’ remember what RoO’s cape looks like, tigerfeet always hides hers so I didn’t get a glimpse when I was thinking over the post.

      at least we know she’s ashamed of it.

      • Truth be told I can’t remember what it looks like either! I’m such a bad representative!

  4. lol well played

    • also use of “reply” fail

  5. Perhaps it is foolish but I actually have high hopes for capes in Guildwars 2. Personaly I am not a fan of the capes in Guildwars 1. To me they have always looked cheap like they are the kind of cape that would come with a halloween costume, really short, too thin, and I dont like the way they clasp around the neck.
    As far as patterns and emblems go, well to each thier own I suppose. Of course there should be plenty of options for people and guilds to choose from and try to create a cape that distinguishes their guild. Pretty sure no matter what we are going to have to suffer some eye sores.
    My hopes lay more in the overall design of capes. I would like to see some more classic adventurer style cloaks with hoods, and longer length options say down to mid-calf. Wishful thinking I am sure but I would also love to see different features on armors that capes fasten to, like for instance rings on plate armor that the cape is pinned through etc.
    I knock the Guildwars capes pretty hard but they are by no means the worst I have seen, atleast they kind of act like cloth. Regardless of if I get what I am hoping for in design, I am pretty confident that they will be better in animation. Considering they are using the Havok Engine I assume they are also useing Havok Cloth which looks pretty impressive.

    On a side note just read this interview with Kristen Perry one of the character artists at Arenanet, where she talks about some of the design philosophies they have taken in regards to armor and a little bit about the dye system.
    http://geek-woman.com/wordpress/2010/07/09/exclusive-interview-with-guild-wars-2-character-artist-kristen-perry/

    • as its supposedly a highly guild based game I’m hoping for much more emphasis on guild benefits, like better capes, guild halls, guild UI, etc.

      its not really a stretch to expect most of it either.


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