Mmmm… fluffernutter, how long has it been? Daddy’s missed you. Yeeees, now where’s that naughty peanut butte-

Oh… hello. I didn’t see you there. Heh… moving on, we go.

It’s been known for a while now that Mythic isn’t planning on implementing any fluff into the game. Fluff, in this case, does not mean sweet marshmallow deliciousness that you wish you could roast over the burner on your stove. No, in this case, it means things such as vanity pets or tradeskills such as fishing. Mark Jacobs (Mythic VP) even stated on his blog, in response to a commenter’s question, that they have no intention of having things like this be associated with WAR.

I have to wonder, why not? I can see how having a cute little kitten following your greenskin around may not be exactly fitting but that line of thinking is, shall we say, “inside the box”. They could itemize pets so that they’d work with the IP, they just seem to not want to. At this point in the game’s development, I can see that developer time is probably better spent elsewhere. But what about down the line? Right now, the door is closed. Sorry bub, if you want a penguin, go play that other game.

Even though I’ve focused on pets so far, there’s more to it than just that. Tradeskills and novelty items could also be considered fluff. Even though the core of the game (RvR) has innate sustainable longevity, adversity to these diversions troubles me.

In essence, diversions could take away from the war effort, I suppose. However, if you’re taking that viewpoint, then the Tome is no better. If you’re out scouring for story unlocks and Tome rewards, RvR is probably going to float by the wayside for a bit. That is, however, unless you’re pursuing RvR achievements. These achievements serve a different purpose than the others though. RvR is well and good but the PvE achievements serve as another avenue of play instead of open-world battles and scenarios. In my opinion, diversifying achievements and playstyles is fine.

Fluff in games also serves a couple of important purposes.

First, as somewhat discussed above, it lets you go places other than where the game wants you to go. I can’t find the link but I believe it was either Paul Barnett or Josh Drescher (maybe Josh quoting Paul) that said that possibility is the mark of a good game. If you’re bored with RvR, maybe you’ll go and fish for a while and let off some stress. Let’s face it, you can’t do one thing forever without getting a little burnt out. At 40th rank, it’d be nice to have something to do other than RvR and dungeons. It’s not the end all be all but choice in MMOs is always a good thing. So, yeah, maybe instead of playing that scenario or running that dungeon you’ve already run, maybe you want to go and find a cool vanity item.

Which brings me to the second important purpose that fluff serves in games: it lets you customize your character more. Not everyone will have the same pet you have. Not everyone will have the blood diamond that lets you call a chaos storm above your head. That’s the power of innovative fluff and people would pursue it if things such as that were available. I don’t know about you, but I’d go out of my way to get a pet hellhound for my Dark Elf. Maybe a pet human “servant” (slave must have been too harsh of a word for the “Teen” rating). The same thing goes for the neat little items that make other people stop and take notice. I thought it was exceptionally awesome the first time I saw someone call down a pillar of light in WoW. Why not include fun things like this?

I don’t see the logic in not allowing them. It’s just restrictive and gives the competition one more, albeit small, thing over WAR. At the end game, no matter how engaging RvR and dungeons are, people will still look for something more other than the Tome. Do I demand fishing? No, but it would be nice if the door was open for possibilities instead of just saying “Sorry folks, it’s not going to happen.” Right now, it just seems like someone on the development teams didn’t like the idea of fluff and stopped the idea from being moved forward.

Cliché cutsie bunny rabbits and fishing for smiling sunfish (Mr. Sparkle… fish bulb)? No thanks.

Death serpent that breathes fire floating behind your shoulder and loosing poisonous dread snakes from the sea? Yes.

Make it yours, Mythic. Then, make it ours.