Of the countless features in Guild Wars 2, there are those which receive nought but praise, of these there are some that are easily missed until presented in front of the players. Almost everyone thinks about WvW, or Dynamic Events, or the ever branching Personal Story, but what about armor dye? The dye system introduced in Guild Wars 2 has come a long way from the original system in Guild Wars; having been over hauled completely in the first game to the point of being unrecognizable, similarly this new system is constantly being changed with every step towards the game’s final release. Still, the changes to the dye system in Guild Wars 2, hasn’t been the first time players of Guild Wars have seen changes to the way they dye their equipment.
Firstly, each vial of dye is still treated as an individual item, and as such still takes up slots in a player’s inventory. With the addition of three colors, then a fourth later on in the form of pink dye, the total number of base color dyes available in Guild Wars is twelve (luckily additional storage options have had been made available to players in the form of buy-able storage panels). Secondly, and this can be subjective from player to player, most armor sets in Guild Wars tend to limit the way a player can dye their armor set as a whole. While most sets, such as some found on mesmers and rangers, allow for flexibility by having pieces appear to be separate from one another (such as coats, pants, boots, etc.); several sets available to professions such as the warrior, assassin, and dervish tend to appear as if pieces of a set were meant to be one large part. That is to say those players can easily dye these parts differently, but visually they would stand out oddly. This limitation makes dying armor in Guild Wars rather dull in terms of customization options for players. Luckily, with the reboot of the system in Guild Wars 2, players will be able to expand the way they dye their armor in ways that are not possible in Guild Wars.
When a player wishes to dye a piece of their armor they not only have the option of dyeing a single part of it as with Guild Wars, but up to three sections of that piece of armor can be dyed any color that they would like. These dye channels on a piece of armor range between single sections to up to three separate sections on a piece of armor. This means that players have the option of changing the way they dye their armor even more differently than in the Guild Wars. Where once they could only mix four dyes in order to change the appearance of their armor, players can now match different colors on different sections of the armor piece in order to find combinations that they feel would make their set stand out the way they would like. Though with this change there comes the removal of a part of the original dye system in Guild Wars, as mixing dye is no longer part of the system in Guild Wars 2, players now have a much wider assortment from which to choose.
As previously stated, there are around 400 reported colors in the dye system available to players. This may seem surprising to some as the intention of the overhaul of the original dye system in Guild Wars, was to limit the amount of vials of dye taking up space in a player’s inventory. Luckily, this problem of inventory management is solved in Guild Wars 2, in that while dye does come in a vial when obtained by a player, these vials do not stay that way for very long. By simply double clicking on a vial, the dye color inside will become unlocked for the player, and the vial is removed from their inventory. The dye color unlocked is then placed within the dye interface with all the other colors the player has obtained thus far. The player will never have to hunt down the same color that was unlocked again as that color is saved within the player’s dye interface and can be selected and applied to as many armor pieces as the player wants. Originally this was meant as an account-wide feature, with dye colors being available to all a player’s characters when unlocked, but has since been limited to individual characters. Meaning that if a player unlocks violet on their charr ranger, they will have to hunt down that same color for their sylvari mesmer. Luckily, if a player happens to obtain a repeat color, they can simply transfer that vial over to a character (via their bank) that hasn’t unlocked that color as vials of dye are account bound when changed from their unidentified state, though this in itself poses problems to many players wanting to obtain all 400 colors.
If the player only has three characters they play with, it is very likely that the longer they play and more frequently they unlock dyes, that all three characters will eventually end up with the more common colors available in the dye system. Since dye is bound to their account, this means that once all three characters have those colors, all subsequent repeats become garbage. Players do not have the option of selling these dyes in the Trading Post, and the only effective way of ridding themselves of the repeat dye is by placing them all within the Mystic Forge and hope they get something worthwhile. One of the biggest issues brought up so far is the randomness involved with the dye system coupled with the fact that dye is not unlocked account-wide, but per character. It becomes difficult for a player that wants specific colors they found they enjoyed on one character on another, when the only option they have of obtaining dye with the current system is by being lucky enough to get it again. With the constant changes happening with the dye system however, it could be possible that these issues may very well be changed later. Though if history repeats itself, it could be a while before anything drastic is done with the system again as Guild War’s dye system didn’t see a big change until the release its third campaign.
The dye system in Guild Wars 2 is constantly changing, and the finished system may not be set in stone until the day the game is released. Even then it could be that the system may be changed later on in Guild Wars 2’s lifespan just as with the large changes to Guild War’s original dye system. Either way it has a bit of a ways to go, and with the game’s release inching closer and closer as 2012 is halfway through, it’ll be interesting to see how the final product is laid out.
What do all of you think about the current iteration of the dye system? Have the changes been positive or do you think ArenaNet should take the system in a different direction? Will you miss the dye system from the original Guild Wars?
About the author: TriggerSad was introduced to Guild Wars through a close relative, and although he was very casual about playing it, he never could love another video game the same. His admiration to ArenaNet grew tenfold after discovering how passionate and open they were with their fans during the development of their second MMO Guild Wars 2.He’s even gone so far as to pursue a career in the video game industry because of this!