Transmog Takes All the Fun Out of Looking Good

Why Monster Hunter XX Is Promising Everything I Want... and even worse, Giving It To Me.

It has been quite the twelve months. Brexit and Trump, a slew of high-profile deaths and humanity’s continued march towards rendering the planet Earth uninhabitable within our lifetimes. Now the worst news of all, and its met with thunderous applause: Monster Hunter Double Cross will feature equipment Transmog.

What this means is, at G Rank and at a hefty cost, armour with certain skills can be transformed to have the visual appearance of another piece of gear. Say you really like the defence and the buffs of one set of armour, but it looks crap: now you can keep all the gameplay benefits but swap the visuals for a different set.

This is great news for players who like to mix and match armour sets but don’t want to look like Frankenstein’s monsters, or players who find their aesthetic early on but that set doesn’t hold up in terms of stats. But it isn’t good news, it’s terrible and it will ruin everything.

Now before I go on, I will say that I’m well aware that all the problems here are entirely inside my ow head, that this is a stupid thing to worry about and that I can just ignore it if I want. It still rubs me up the wrong way.

The whole deal with a Monster Hunter game is that progression loop of meeting a new monster, struggling to beat it but then learning to understand and respect it until finally you can master it and develop its armour and weapons. A suit of armour reflects the monster’s personality and the struggle you had to beat it, both in terms of looks and stats. When I turn up in my fly Glavenus gear, I don’t just look like the dinosaur, my skills reflect his aggressive swords first, questions never style.

The other part of this equation is what the internet dubs “fashion souls”, the habit of choosing a set of armour for its looks instead of its stats. It's the reason I always take my helmet off to face Gwyn, and I fought Ganon in just the hero's tunic. I want to look good in the final cutscene!

All through the Dark Souls series and the Monster Hunter games, I made the conscious decision to have slightly weaker defence than I might have so my character could look good. This element of dressing up is one part of why I choose to play as the generally more interesting female characters in games (I’m choosing not to look too deeply into reasons beyond that.)

The earliest and most obvious example, one which I'm sure bothered players who are much less bothered by this stuff than me, is the Plesioth armour. As a reasonably early-game armour set with decent defence, it's a sensible one to go for. Unfortunately, it looks like a dumb wetsuit made of fish scales. Unlocking the Plesioth armour gave me the stats, but also the impetus, to pick a cooler monster and put in the hunts to get a sick set of threads.

At first glance, the option to keep a fly outfit while also having dope skills seems like a blessing, but it misses the point for me. When I show up in a funny, or pretty, or just a cool set at the expense of making my fight slightly more awkward, people look at me and know I’m too cool for school. Just as in real life I make drinking a cup of tea an awkward lip-soaking experience so my beard can look good, so too do I show my true talent by wearing a nice dress and still killing the monster.

Soon, everyone will look good without even making any sacrifices. Fashion souls will be just like dinosaurs: something everyone’s into, but I liked when they were still underground.