I was struck with inexplicable inspiration in a bank parking lot the other day – mage hats. Mage hats would be my next design challenge.
I like the games that I do these challenges for, and I mostly like the appearances of characters and the world. It's more for the challenge of designing for a world I had nothing to do with.
Why mage hats? I think the mage hats have become a bit of a running joke with not only the fans, but the Dragon Age team as well. I remember listening to a podcast where some of the creators joked about making the hats better for DA2 since they had apparently received a lot of comments on the hat designs!
I started with research. I typed in “Dragon Age” and “mage hats” and was instantly rewarded with results like “Are there any mage hats that don’t look like total crap?” with entire forums devoted to how people get around the mage hats – some posters said that their mages always ended up in plate to avoid the hats, while others suggested using a very specific hat to be found from the circle or to use studded light helmets ... or nothing. The seriousness and outright helpful attitudes with which this concern was addressed was entertaining and in a weird way heart-warming. Such intense passion for helping other players’ mages not look silly! These hats are serious business.
Below is an image I found on tumblr, but the original poster seems to have deleted the initial post. However, it's still being reblogged. It has over a thousand notes on it!
So what is it about the mage hats? Though I do think they improved a lot in Dragon Age 2 (well ... mostly), fans are still having a bit of a field day. I think part of it is that mages are traditionally seen with the witch hat or some kind of hood. The concept artists apparently decided against that and have been explored other options.
So it'll be fun. Like the these designs, I will try to avoid, for the most part, the often-seen wizard, witch, mage, or magic hats. I suspect I'll find it is rather difficult, but that is the point!
Step one will be the same as with the Fenris armors design challenge. I’ll draw several items, then release them on my social media for voting and critique. After that I’ll take the winning designs and ideate some more designs.
I leave you with this not-very-impressed Morrigan, from Dragon Age: Origins, wearing the Apprentice cowl. (Source: dragonage wikia)