Why is armor so freaking ornate in fantasy?

Kahunaburger

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TheBelgianGuy said:
I always thought King Stennis' armour, and that of some other higher-ups in the Witcher 2's society, had such a great-looking but still believable plate armour! (Too bad the guy's an asshole.)
Yeah, Witcher 2 armor (with the exception of Saskia's cleavage-plate) got props for me for resembling things people would actually wear to a fight. It also flat-out looked better then the whole spike = awesum thing. The funny thing is that this is even true *within* Skyrim - the iconic Dovahkiin armor looks a lot better than the actual higher-level armor in that game.
 

Mylinkay Asdara

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A Weakgeek said:
I don't want to fill this topic with 100% opinion based... OH SHIT I cant! Armor in fantasy is so freaking hideous 70% of the time. I mean in RPGs usually the weaker armor looks alright, and by alright i mean actually functional. But! The better it gets it starts to have more brighter colors , more freaky spikes and some times it just becomes a unbearable eyesore that resembles more some kind of art relief than a suit of armor. I mean for the most time its because the armor is made by elves and stuff and it should look different, but in most games its taken way too far!

Take skyrim for example: The first light armors are hide, studded hide, leather and scaled armor. These to me look good, and also look like LIGHT armor. But as soon as I get glass/elven/dragon armor start to realize that not only are they not visually appealing but there is nothing that looks LIGHT in them. They are just as heavy looking as the heavyarmors. (And i know they are supposed to be made from some special light material but my point still stands) Elderscrolls has had these atleast for 3 games now, so its understandable to a degree. But when most fantasygames are like this it makes me a very sad gamer. Dont know what started this trend but i know for sure that WOW atleast helped to make it mainstream.

So apart form my venting, What do you think? Do you like the "Complex" design of armor, or are you like me who likes them just a tad more simplistic looking?

EDIT: Removed the word realistic, because people grabbing that and calling me a retard.
...it depends.

Mostly on the world - I mean, am I the ONLY person with ridiculously elaborate armor - except the inevitable bad guy who has even more ridiculous spikes and/or embroidery than you can shake a dead cat at? Then it's a problem.

If everyone is running around in designer armor - less bothersome, but it can still go "over the top".

It's the norms of the place you're in as a citizen of the game that set the standard for me - because really what is standard armor in the practical real world would get very boring very quickly.

Personally - as long as they don't tell me my Thong armor is as protective as Mr. Swordguy's full plate mail... I'm pretty willing to go with it.
 

Fbuh

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The key word here is 'fantasy'. Typically, armors that are elven/dragon/mythril/etc. are all supposed to be magically forged, and so are magical in nature. Therefore, you can give more leeway to the aesthetics while maintaining form and function. Also, sprucing things up helps to take away from the dreariness that is the real world.

Personally, I don't mind a bit of flair and design, but it can go overboard. While a lot of teh stuff WoW has to offer is ridiculous in its practicality, it is just a game , and one set in a magical fantasy land at that. I swear I'm not addicted. At all.
 

Lokithrsourcerer

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I do see what you are getting at there are plenty of ways to make light armour look cool and crazy while still staying light looking.

Personally I almost always play in heavy armour anyway so the bigger, chunkier, spikier and more crazy the better.
 

MuzzleFlash

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Some medieval tourney and show armours were pretty flashy and ridiculous looking so it's not too far fetched in some cases. I can't believe anyone would call men wearing metal suits 'boring'. Real history has always been better than fiction in any case I've come across.

In saying that, fantasy doesn't float my boat. I played the whole way through Oblivion dressed in mail with a 'Steel' bow, assassinating those unarmoured mages and their fakery.

(I'm aware it's a bit paradoxical but I can't bring myself to shoot lightning bolts and fireballs at things.)
 

Thyunda

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Honestly, I've not had a problem with it. World of Warcraft left the bounds of realism behind long ago, so I don't care so much about what the armour looks like in that.

I heavily disagree with the argument that 'it's fantasy, therefore realism isn't there'. You're mistaking realism with reality. Assassin's Creed is realistic. Yes, there are gods and currently impossible technology, and poor science, but it's dealt with and executed in a realistic manner. I would say Skyrim is realistic. So there are dragons. That doesn't make it unrealistic. It's executed properly and realistically, rather than having some real spiritual nonsense behind it all, like dragons fly because they're guardians of the world and miraculously have that power.

As for asymmetric armour? Unless you're retarded, you won't be facing your enemy with your body forward. You will have your preferred shoulder towards them. Hence the armoured one. Why weigh you down with two armoured shoulders when only one is necessary?


And ornate? You're complaining about ornate armour?



There may not be any spikes, but that's ridiculously lined and decorated.
 

Tentickles

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Oh yes. I went there.


and here:



Nothing is ever anything important without a Vader version.
 

MetalMagpie

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Llil said:
MetalMagpie said:
Llil said:
And seriously, what's with the shoulderpads. Not just in those three you posted, but in general. Why are they never symmetric?
Simple answer: Because people tend to fight with their sword-arm forward, so that's the bit that needs most protection. For example, I'm a fencer; and the protective under-jacket I wear only covers my right shoulder (that of my sword arm). Likewise, I only wear a glove on my sword hand.

Although this raises the interesting idea that you should be able to tell whether a character is right or left-handed by looking at which side they have more armour. ;)
Here's the realism argument again, but I've never sen a plate or chain armour that doesn't have symmetric shoulder pads. I'm sure it works for fencing, but I think your other arm doesn't really need protection in that. That's not really the case in a battle. I just think it looks silly to have a huge piece of metal on only one shoulder. You'd think it'd make you lose balance.
It depends what sort of fight you're planning to be in. If you're expecting that an arrow could hit you from any side, then you'll want every square inch of flesh covered. (Mounted as they were on horses, armoured knights were in far more danger of getting shot than from being attacked with a sword.) But if you're expecting only one (or a small number) of opponents, it's worth carrying less weight in order to be lighter on your feet. In this case, it makes sense to prioritise according to what is most likely to be hit!

A number of Roman gladiators only had armour down the arm they used to hold a weapon (protecting the other side of their body with a shield). This mosaic is a good example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gladiators_from_the_Zliten_mosaic_3.JPG
 

otakon17

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Soviet Heavy said:
But then I couldn't have my warriors of chaos!
The beauty of that pic though is it looks cool AND functional. At worst, it's a set of over-sized full plate-mail. What always bothered me was how can high level armor on women basically be a bikini and still offer the same protection as the guy in the fancy full plate-mail. I'll be honest though, that decision doesn't bug me that much. You know what armor I like? The stuff in War in the North. I heard a lot of complaints on how "plain" it looks, but you know what? IT LOOKS COMPLETELY FUNCTIONAL TOO!
 

Tentickles

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otakon17 said:
Soviet Heavy said:
But then I couldn't have my warriors of chaos!
The beauty of that pic though is it looks cool AND functional. At worst, it's a set of over-sized full plate-mail. What always bothered me was how can high level armor on women basically be a bikini and still offer the same protection as the guy in the fancy full plate-mail. I'll be honest though, that decision doesn't bug me that much. You know what armor I like? The stuff in War in the North. I heard a lot of complaints on how "plain" it looks, but you know what? IT LOOKS COMPLETELY FUNCTIONAL TOO!
Women are obvious better in battle than men.

If we can survive in two pieces of metal and a strip of cloth without a scratch... I do say we are the superior sex.
 

ryanxm

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I think its like that because if I spend all day looking at some armor, i'd prefer it to be interesting looking.
 

otakon17

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Tentickles said:
otakon17 said:
Soviet Heavy said:
But then I couldn't have my warriors of chaos!
The beauty of that pic though is it looks cool AND functional. At worst, it's a set of over-sized full plate-mail. What always bothered me was how can high level armor on women basically be a bikini and still offer the same protection as the guy in the fancy full plate-mail. I'll be honest though, that decision doesn't bug me that much. You know what armor I like? The stuff in War in the North. I heard a lot of complaints on how "plain" it looks, but you know what? IT LOOKS COMPLETELY FUNCTIONAL TOO!
Women are obvious better in battle than men.

If we can survive in two pieces of metal and a strip of cloth without a scratch... I do say we are the superior sex.
Touché, dear lady. The point goes to you for sure.
 

razuk

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Llil said:
Weslebear said:
Perfect:

I like how that breastplate basically says "shoot me in my heart!"

And seriously, what's with the shoulderpads. Not just in those three you posted, but in general. Why are they never symmetric?
They are not symmetrical to offer more protection in one arm and more mobility in the other.
 

retyopy

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I like over the top crazy armor. Sometimes its just ultra insane, but that's awesome.
 

Llil

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MetalMagpie said:
It depends what sort of fight you're planning to be in. If you're expecting that an arrow could hit you from any side, then you'll want every square inch of flesh covered. (Mounted as they were on horses, armoured knights were in far more danger of getting shot than from being attacked with a sword.) But if you're expecting only one (or a small number) of opponents, it's worth carrying less weight in order to be lighter on your feet. In this case, it makes sense to prioritise according to what is most likely to be hit!

A number of Roman gladiators only had armour down the arm they used to hold a weapon (protecting the other side of their body with a shield). This mosaic is a good example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gladiators_from_the_Zliten_mosaic_3.JPG
Yeah, I guess it makes sense in some situations. And maybe it's a good thing to have less weight on the side you hold your shield on. Still, it's too often too ridiculous. It's the same thing as those half meter long spikes pointing in random directions. It looks silly.
 

Scarim Coral

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Beacuse the word "fantasy" imply it's not real therefore the armour is not real so they can get away making the armour as flashy/over the top/ ugly as they want it to be.
 

zerobudgetgamer

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Well, first off, I don't think WoW made wacky armor "mainstream." Technically, I think that honor goes more to JRPGs which started the trend of giving characters outrageous outfits. WoW's problem, and probably the problem with most serial fantasy games, is that as the games progress and armor sets that looked both fantastic and at least mildly functional become obsolete, you have to make the armor look more and more fantastic, otherwise people begin to complain. As others have said, armor and weapons are some of the clearest identifiers of progression in a game.

Furthermore, video games in general have gotten away with some really outrageous weapon and armor ideas over the years. Many times, this was done out of necessity; graphics could only go so far, and typically failed at portraying realistic human features, so they had to be masked behind brightly-colored, extravagant armor. As this turned into the norm, these extravagant armors had to be converted into better and better graphics, at which point I suppose the Uncanny Valley sort of steps in, as this thread has undoubtedly revealed.

Unfortunately, I don't really see how things like armor and weapons could go back to being simple. Now, granted, I wouldn't mind a game where, instead of gaining spikes and mass, armor simply gained designs, like special runes or spells etched into the armor to increase the effectiveness. But honestly, you're never going to have a game where the final armor isn't some ornamental mess, because if you don't have something pretty to show for all your effort, there will undoubtedly be a LOT of gamers who end up disappointed with the game.
 

teebeeohh

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i don't mind most fantasy armors, i like it when armor that is supposed to be standard issue for something looks it could be produced fast and in high numbers. the things i dislike are a) too many spikes
and b) the way armor for females is so different, Brienne never needed custom girly armor and cleavage is not impervious to damage and why would you build boob-bumps into a breast plate anyway, wouldn't it be more practical to just make the breastplate wider and stuff some more leather in there to make it comfortable? unless of course you are a master armorer and make a suit of armor for a warrior(female) with legendarily big boobs, but the whole "custom-made" things excuses armor being super ornate and having impractical designs, as long as the "off the rack" armor looks functional i am good.
 

BlackStar42

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I'm with Sam Vimes on this one. Armour should look used and worn, it lets you know it does its job well and works.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Tentickles said:

Oh yes. I went there.


and here:



Nothing is ever anything important without a Vader version.
That second one is designed for mounted combat. Usually the armors with more flexible overlapping thigh plates like that are meant for horseback.