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Words to ban #2: Vanity items

By on April 25, 2019

When creating items for players to purchase, developers sometimes refer to vanity items. These are typically cosmetic changes to the player’s character or personal space in the game that have no impact on gameplay. Team Fortress 2’s hats are the iconic example.

Vanity is not a positive word. Nobody likes to be thought of as vain. The developers are belittling the players who purchase these items by the use of words.

Pick another term. Many people use cosmetics. I prefer self-expression items because the purpose of the variety of items that you offer is to allow your players to express themselves in your game.

Stop calling your players vain.

This is an extract from Nicholas’s new book, The Pyramid of Game Design – get your copy here!

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: