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What's the point of new hairstyles?

One of the trumpeted features of Wrath of the Lich King are new dances and hairstyles. The new dances, I can understand. They're visually distinctive, fun at parties, and you can never dance enough on top of the mailbox. On the other hand, is there really a point to new hairstyles? I know Daniel has big plans for his characters, and my wife is excited at the prospect of finally being able to change what she disdainfully calls her 80's look. Personally, I've got half a mind to get one hairstyle change on one of my toons, but does anyone actually remember how your character's hair looks?

I keep my helmet graphic off for PvP purposes, but most of the time, a lot characters have their heads all covered up. Even if they weren't, do you really remember if your Tauren buddy's horns are curved or straight? Or if your Troll guildie has green or orange hair? I'm willing to wager none of your friends remember what kind of haircut your Human Priest has, or what color it is. With few exceptions, even if players choose wacky, colorful hairstyles, most of us won't notice. I don't even really remember if my Rogue Arena teammate has a lower jaw. We simply don't pay enough attention to other people's characters for it to matter.

On the other hand, new hairstyles will probably make us happier with our toons. My wife's looking forward to playing her Priest again, after regretting a hair choice she'd made ages ago while Daniel is excited to get royal purple samurai hair. Even if other players won't really remember how you look, the important thing is being happy with the character you play. The paid name change, for example, is one character customization feature I'm still happy about, even though I have yet to take advantage of it (my customization budget tops off at $10). So while the dances will be something everyone can appreciate the next time someone plays a piccolo at the Auction House, new hairstyles will be something more personal. Even if you cover it up with a helmet, at least you know no one can mess with your new 'do.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

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