Hey people! DDdreamer back again! This time I’m gonna rant a little about one aspect of game design that keeps nagging me: the outright stupid armour designs that seems to plague every game with even the slightest hint of fantasy in it. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, feast your eyes on this:

Armour made to unprotect. How counterintuitive is that?

That picture pretty much sums up all bad things about armour design in gaming these days. Anyway, we can all agree that armour exists for one, single purpose: to protect your squishies from harm. Now, one has to wonder what purpose this kind of  armour would serve? (besides looking “sexy”.)

Let me break down the ways this armour fails:

*Unprotected belly.

The belly is one of the most vulnerable parts of the body, not being protected by any bone at all. It’s also where most of our intestines are located. That’s why it makes sense to keep this area well covered. After all, who’d want to get a sword shoved through their gall bladder? Most women in fantasy games, it seems. I’ve lost count of how many female-styled armour sets incorporate a bared midriff solely for the purpose of…er…”sexiness”(I guess). In any case, if you’re, say, a fighter that spends most of her time in close combat, slicing enemies in half, the last thing you want is to expose your weak points like that. Now, now, I know, “It’s fantasy, it isn’t supposed to be realistic” you say. True, I say. In fact, I like stylish armour…as long as it makes sense. Armour that BARES a vulnerable art of your body does NOT make sense.

Men are victims of this as well. Rest assured that dumbass armour is a unisex problem.

*Exposed spine

This is even worse. While the belly might not strike everyone as vulnerable at first glance, the spine certainly strikes people as a “no-harm” zone. After all, it’s the main neural conduit in the body. If your spine goes squish, your body suffers…greatly. That’s why I have to ask why one designs armour that blatantly EXPOSES the spine for all to see. In fact, I’m beginning to think the lass in the picture might be suicidal (or just really masochistic), what with her wearing armour that exposes all of the most vulnerable parts of her body. Belly, spine, thighs (which have a major bloodvessel running through them.), groin, butt… Fighting it that getup’s gotta be a life-threatening affair.

The human spine. Yes, it IS important.

*Breast-cups

Aah, yes. One of the standard tropes within female armour design. At first glance, it might seem to make sense to add some extra space for the breasts to ensure a good fit. However, let me tell you why breast-cups are a terrible and pointless idea.

1. Armour isn’t skin-tight. It sits a few centimeters away from the body, even when it’s strapped on tightly. Because of this, armour does not need extra space to accomodate any mammarian bumps on the warrior’s body.

2. Breasts are not rock-solid. Breasts actually flatten when pressure is put on them. As such, a normal cuirass works perfectly well, since it’ll push the breasts in slightly. Add to this that most big-breasted warrior women would probably bind their breasts with something before battle to make sure they won’t flop about as much. Basically, breasts aren’t big or solid enough to warrant specifically molded armour to house them.

3. This is the most major strike against breast-cups: they are dangerous. You see, the heart is usually located in the area between the breasts (albeit covered by the ribs). Imagine that a swordsman makes an attack, aiming for your heart. What makes his job easier?: A convex plate that deflects his blow or a plate with two bumps that help guide his blow towards the heart-region? Basically, breast-plates are dangerous in that they make your enemies job that much easier.

Joan

Joan of Arc. She could kick your ass, because she's actually wearing something sensible.

That’ll be it for this time. I seriously wish that game developers would stop making armours that are inherently counterintuitive. I want warriors to look capable, not sexy. What’s even more surprising is that stupid armour seems to be most common among women, as if being a woman means you have to wear armour that covers less. Anyway, I’ll leave you with some concept art from Elder Scrolls: Oblivion that proves this point. See you some other time!

Right is the male version, left is the female version. Exposed midriff and breast-cups galore.