The Dye Is Cast

June 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 26 Comments
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Being that I have criticized the dye system over the past couple months as being kind of a grind, I should probably mention that dyes have changed yet again. Dyes are now character based and are instantly usable when they drop. A big change from the 24 hour wait after turning a colourful seed into the dye manufacturer NPC in your home instance.

One of my main criticisms was the 24 hour wait. With some 400 potential dyes to unlock the more aesthetically inclined would have had quite a bit of work to do. Couple that grind with cash shop items designed to lessen that grind, and we were getting into downright unethical territory.

Fortunately the new dyes, when obtained, only need be double clicked to be unlocked. And that solves some problems, but it doesn’t please everyone. For good reason.

We had been promised account based dyes. Dyes that unlocked for each character so that one might not have to unlock hundreds of dye colours on every single character. And it seems that isn’t happening.

Overall it’s not a big deal. I mean its dyes right? We get a fair selection to begin with anyway. I’m just not sure why this had to be so broken to begin with or why it ended up being different from what players obviously wanted.

Maybe they’ll fix this, maybe they won’t. I am happy they got rid of the dye manufacturer, so credit where it’s due.

EDIT: A commenter on reddit quotes Crystin Cox as sayingthe following.

We are working on a a way for you to make the exact color of dye you want using the Mystic Forge. You will need to get a specific crafting material for each color but you will get the exact color you want.

We really don’t want dyes to be a Gem Store only feature, we understand that some people would be willing to pay more to get exact dyes or all the dyes but we want to keep some aspects of the dyes system in the game.

Research damn it!



  1. The new system is a net win for sure–I never even figured out where the dye manufacturer was let alone how to use it. Actual dye vial drops is great.

    My only gripe is as an altaholic, if I get a dye there’s no way for me to see what it looks like before I bind it to a character. With this system I will often end up in the position of “I don’t really like this dye for this character” or “ah shucks, this would have looked really good on this other character.”

    So either I’ll have to guess from the name of the color what it will look like (with 400 colors this is laughable,) look at the wiki (again with 400 colors it will take a long time for them all to be exhaustively documented for all races and armor materials,) or use the mystic forge to get a duplicate of the dye for my other character. None of these is the end of the world, they just seem like extra steps I’d rather not have to take.

    • Yeah, extra steps are definitely not necessary when it comes to dyes. It should just be a very straight forward account based thing.

  2. One thing: there’s no patch notes for me to reference but when I bought a dye pack on Sunday evening of the beta all of the dyes were account-based (but still soulbound). The description in the store had also changed to reflect that they were unlocked account wide. I also didn’t snag a screenshot to back it up either :/

    • If you get doubles of a color you already have, you can put it in the shared bank for your alt to pick up. So unlocked colors are character-based, but dyes themselves are still account-wide.

    • I guess I’m still finding the whole thing a little confusing.

      • I’m more than a little confused by thiw whole ordeal as well.

        • Unless things changed in the last part of the beta, the confusion might be between account-bound items (the identified vials of dye in your inventory that can be traded among your characters through the shared bank) and character-unlocked colors (once you use the dye from inventory, it unlocks only for the character who used it).

          All this may be changed by the next beta anyway, of course.

      • It does seem a little more convoluted than it needs to be (even some of the names are a bit OTT and not terribly informative). The seed thing was an improvement. I’ll have to see how the mystic forge thing pans out but it seems like an extra unnecessary hoop. Then again, I’ve been pretty lucky in terms of getting the colors I want in just the last beta event so I’m not too concerned.

        • Yeah I thought some of the names were a bit misleading but whatever.

  3. “We had been promised account based dyes. Dyes that unlocked for each character so that one might not have to unlock hundreds of dye colours on every single character. And it seems that isn’t happening.”

    I certainly don’t mind that people express their dissatisfaction with the system the way it is now (I think it still needs work, too, but ArenaNet does seem to be doing that work, so I’ll provide feedback for them and see where we end up), but I do wish people would stop saying we were “promised” anything. The account-based dye system was mentioned in a blog post back in 2010 and, I think, had not really come up since.

    What ArenaNet *has* talked about since then is their iterative development process. We should expect things to change all the time up to launch and probably after. Yes, they probably waited until things were fairly well set with certain systems before putting up posts about them, but if everything had to be 100% set in stone, they’d have released no information and we would not have had these years of great dialogue with the developers or great discussions on these blogs.

    When a change is made that we don’t like, we were promised something else. When a change is made that we do like, it was a necessary fix to a broken system. Where are the people complaining that we were “promised” energy potions? 🙂

    • Agree to this.

      My irritation at the BWE1 dye system was really not the account vs character thing, but that it looked like something of a grind to get even a decent selection on any character. Just a moderate 50-odd variations, allowing for a good spread of hues even if some would turn out to be different shades of grey, was a 2 month project, per character. If the time had to be of that magnitude, I wanted it to be a once-per-account project.

      ANet chose the other solution, which was to do away with the time restriction, and let you unlock as many as you can find right away. I’m still not really pleased with the random aspect of it when it comes to those you buy with Gems (I would have liked that the benefit of buying them was to remove the random factor), but in the light of the options they talk about with the Mystic Forge, even if it remains just a way to try to recycle duplicates into something useful, I’m overall pleased with the system as it stands in BW2.

      • Its still quite a grind even if they had an account based system. 400 dyes. I really doubt many will ever finish collecting dyes. So to have it as character based is a little nuts.

        • I suspect the intention of character based dyes is to keep the dye system current throughout the life time of the game. They don’t want everyone to get all dyes on all characters in the first few months or so. Remember that in a game that can not reward you with better gear, cosmetic rewards take on a much larger role. Otherwise what is it that we will be trying to optimize once we reach the level cap?

          It’s not a grind either, since you get dye rewards just by playing the game normally – it’s not as if you’ll have to repeat the same content 100s of times to find particular dyes, since they will likely drop equally pretty much everywhere. So not sure what you meant by that.

          • The problem with this thinking is that there are 400 dyes, so you don’t have to worry about how long it will take people by artificially messing with results. There are 400, it’s going to take a while no matter what.

            • Unless you are just collecting dyes, you don’t need all 400 dyes on any character, so dye acquisition becomes irrelevant to you, on a particular character, immediately you have acquired the dyes you do want for that character. Whilst I can understand that some of those with total completion syndrome might be a bit miffed, others will see acquiring all the dyes as something of a challenge, not that different from titles such as “Sweet tooth” in GW1.

        • It takes time and some luck to get them all sure, but when it is not a system that only starts functioning once you get all 400, this doesn’t bother me in the least, and on some level I think I will enjoy always having that thing on most characters that can become more developed.

          My issue was with getting a decent selection to start messing about with the system (which to me means a bit more than the starter colours, but not much more), and this system allows that.

          In BWE2, just doing rounds in Queensdale I had 3-4 drop on each character I took up to level 8-ish. Small sample and not statistically significant I know, but enough of an indicator for me that, while the 400 goal may be a ways of, I stand a pretty good chance of getting a few steps closer pretty much every time I play for an evening.

          Then there is of course also the question of whether something can be considered a grind, when there is no way to really grind for it. From what I could tell, dyes can drop from anything, so in order to grind dyes, you’d have to go out and do whatever you were going to do anyway (sPvP being the exception). Is making progress, in immidiately beneficial and useful ways, on a side goal as an incidental and automatic consequence of playing the game a grind? I would say that is stretching the definition of that word beyond what is reasonable.

          • I think you do get a relatively decent selection to start, but if you want anything past that you’re going to be collecting dyes for a long time. To say that since dyes drop from everything you can’t grind for them is a little misleading if you ask me. I would say that grinding as a definition isn’t limited to grinding a specific type of mob. To me its more a matter of work to reward ratio, and if its high work to low reward its a grind.

            • I think saying it isn’t a grind comes from the fact that dyes drop as you are doing anything else. Yes, if you are killing things *just* to get dyes and for no other purpose, you have succeeded in making it a grind. It just doesn’t have to be. 🙂

    • If they say we’re going to have account based dyes, and then change their minds, that’s fine and all, but I don’t think anyone is out of line for saying we were promised something and didn’t get it.

      • It’s the rather pathetic, aggrieved tone of such complaints that is annoying as if ANet are trying to deprive everyone of something to which they are entitled. When ANet make a statement that is just what they are intending at the time, but it certainly should not be taken as any kind of “promise”. Companions, account wide dyes, etc. didn’t work out well – so they changed them. Iteration is what they said they would do and they’re doing it.

        • I don’t think noting that something that everyone was looking forward to and now has changed into something that nobody is looking forward to is at all “pathetic”.

          • It isn’t the noting it. That, as I say above is fine. Give feedback. That is what ArenaNet wants. My only objection is to the word “promise”. They did not promise us anything. Two years ago they told us what the system looked like as it was in development. Now we see what it is like closer to launch.

            Are some people disappointed with the change? Sure. But ANet broke no promise because there was no promise to break. Again, I much prefer the way they have communicated with us over the years to the alternative of silence until beta or launch.

            Also, I think saying nobody is looking forward to the dye system now is a bit extreme. I am looking forward to it and I know a few others who are as well. I don’t presume to speak for anyone outside that circle, but I would be surprised if we were the only ones.

  4. I think ArenaNet wants to come up with something that makes collecting dyes both fun and not something that everyone, or at least those willing to grind and grind for dyes, can accomplish right away. That is good, but their attempts so far just aren’t very satisfactory IMO. Dyes should be unlocked for the entire account, especially if they want to sell lots of additional character slots to people.
    Perhaps they could use some type of tier system? That would fit in with the way skills and traits are done. You’d have to collect a certain number of dyes via drops for each tier before unlocking the next. Dyes from higher tiers could still drop but you couldn’t use them until you reach that tier. You could still buy a dye from someone else, but couldn’t use it until you’ve unlocked the next higher tier, so players couldn’t buy their way to higher tiers, purchased dyes still being useful to fill out a tier after you’ve unlocked the next. The dye tier system would be account wide, so all of your characters would be at the same level and you’d just unlock dyes on whichever one got the dye drop if it was the proper tier, otherwise save it for later or sell it.
    Make each tier of dyes less likely to drop and/or only drop in higher level areas and you can spread dye collecting over a good portion of the game without making it seem like a grind. ArenaNet could still sell some dye changing item in the cash shop for those willing to spend actual money, but players would have to get the drop of the right level through playing, but duplicate drops could be used with the CS item to speed things up for impatient players.

    • This matter of it being “right away” or not, I don’t think anyone is asking for that to be so. That said, 400 dyes would take a while anyway, so why they’d add in an extra step or more grind or whatever is a little confusing. It just doesn’t seem necessary.

  5. […] Hunter’s Insight — The Dye Is Cast. “Being that I have criticized the dye system over the past couple months as being kind of a grind, I should probably mention that dyes have changed yet again. Dyes are now character based and are instantly usable when they drop. A big change from the 24 hour wait after turning a colourful seed into the dye manufacturer NPC in your home instance.” […]

  6. […] Discussion on Dyes being bound to account. […]

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