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Many Video Games offer a wide range of customization options for character heads and faces, such as a palette of pre-made faces, or, like many newer games, being able to change single elements of the face with sliders, thereby making it theoretically possible to create thousands of different faces. However, this can be rendered useless the first time the player finds a helmet, as it will cover the character's face entirely. Of course, you can choose to ditch the helmet, but depending on the difficulty of the game and the usefulness of the helmet, this may be a bad idea.

Averting this is one of the Acceptable Breaks from Reality (because not wearing a helm in real combat is pretty dumb); see Helmets Are Hardly Heroic.

Note that this does not apply if there is no Character Customization. This is solely about wasted customization (because we can't see it). Also applies to hairstyle or anything else that's immediately covered by armor.

Many games allow you to toggle your helmet showing up, so you can still gain the benefit, without obscuring your character.


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  • Guild Wars suffered from this, but it was since changed so that displaying the headgear could be turned off, without losing its benefits.
    • Guild Wars 2 goes further, allowing players to selectively hide armor in the head, shoulder, hand and back slots.
  • World of Warcraft (almost only vanilla), although the player can choose not to display it or transmogrify it into a different helmet of the same armor class.
  • MapleStory has several face-obscuring helmets, but, graciously, they're limited to the lower levels. And there are still more helmets than there are faces. The most obvious example was an animal head mask in previous versions that you got at an early level and had great stats, but completely hid the character's face, making all characters of a certain class look alike. In later versions, the use of this helmet has become less widespread, though. One would believe this is done to encourage players to purchase more aesthetically pleasing premium NX equipment (including a set of invisible armor) that allows you to wear no helmet or a better looking helmet while still gaining the bonus stats of said equipment.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online has a fairly wide selection of helmets, and most of them don't even cover your face. Sadly, all of them cover your hair, which comes in a variety of styles and colors, some of which are only available at the in-game store. Fortunately, there is a Slash Command that turns a character's helmet invisible.
  • Global Agenda, though there's something like 20 helmets per class per gender, and then colors you can layer on, but you undoubtedly spent a long time making your first character's face, and there are vastly more face-customizing options than helmets. Once you get your first helmet, you often never see your face again.
  • Some MMOs manage to get around this trope by allowing you to equip two different outfits: one that actually affects your stats, and one that shows on your character no matter what you have equipped in the other slot, allowing you to get the benefits of that huge suit of heavy armor while not having all that time you spent in the character creator go to waste. DC Universe Online is one example.
  • Optionally averted in Star Wars: The Old Republic, where face-concealing helmets are common, but one of the appearance options removes the head slot item from your character's appearance while still giving you the mechanical benefits.
  • Final Fantasy XIV allows you to toggle the appearance of the helmet on your character without losing the stat increases that the item gives. Certain helmets also act as a visor and using the /visor command lets you flip the visor up or down to reveal part of your face. Accessories like rings, bracelets, and necklaces can be hidden by your armor unless said armor doesn't cover up specific body parts.
  • Warframe offers a few armor pieces to wear on top of their own armored skin of sorts, though they're purely cosmetic. There are a few color palettes being sold as well to dye sections of their own armor, for a little bit of customization.

     Role Playing Games  

  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Morrowind: All helmets erase the hair and most helmets cover the face as well. Especially glaring because your armor bonus depends on wearing armor over all parts of your body, so skipping the helmet because you want to show show your character's face means you're going to take a hit on your entire defense.
    • Oblivion: Pretty much the same, although there are more helmets that leave at least parts of the head visible.
    • Skyrim manages to make it worse since a lot of perks in the armor skill trees require wearing a full set: skip the helmet and you not only lose the helmet's protection you miss out on an additional 50% armor boost and some miscellaneous bonuses as well. However, there are several mods offering open-face helmets, circlets or crowns that offer all benefits of a helmet and none of the facelessness. Others split the difference and display helmets only during combat, leaving them equipped but invisible the rest of the time.
  • Fallout franchise:
    • Power Armor helmets and some additional headgear (ski masks, welding masks, raider wastehound helmets) in Fallout 3 cover the entire face. Some outfits, such as Radiation Suits or the Chinese Stealth Armor, cover the entire body including the head.
    • Zig-Zagged in Fallout 4. Power Armor helmets still cover the head, and both powered and non-powered armor still covers the body, but since the armor itself is also customizable, your character can still look unique.
  • Not even an hour into Dragon Age: Origins will pass before you procure your first helmet, wasting your hard-spent moments creating the perfect nose for your human noble. At least the game automatically removes helmets during conversations. A popular mod for the PC version allows helmets to appear unequipped only to be automatically equipped for combat and when you open the menu. Fortunately, Dragon Age II and Inquisition include a feature that allows the player to hide characters' helmets entirely while keeping their stats.
  • In the Siege of Avalon Anthology, you don't get much to customize—just hair color, hairstyle, and whether you have a beard, but every one of the three dozen or so hats, hoods, and helmets covers at least the hair, and usually the face (and beard) as well. However, the non-magical ones are practically useless anyway (giving only 1-2% damage reduction), so going without is perfectly plausible.
  • Hellgate: London has Only Six Faces, but out of the nine different helmets (18 if counting gender-specific models for each) all of the Templar and Hunter helms conceal some nicely modeled facial features. Going bareheaded isn't recommended, and the stat bonuses are too good to pass up.
  • In Mass Effect 2, you can procure several different types of headgear for Shepard to wear, all of which provide some sort of stat bonus, and almost all of which cover most (if not all) of the face you spent ages getting just right. note  Luckily, the stat bonuses, while useful, aren't that big, and going helmet-less isn't a huge risk. However, during certain missions (unless Shepard is already wearing a full armor set), the game will force Shepard to wear the N7 Breather Helmet, which covers everything except his/her eyes.
    • Speaking of the full armor sets: the number one complaint about them is that they all have non-removable helmets which cover Shepard's face entirely. Since most of the game's cutscenes occur while (s)he's in his/her armor, you can spend a significant portion of the game's important plot events with your Shepard's face obscured.
  • Monster Hunter has a wide variety of customization options for faces, but helmets cover up all of that. You can slightly change the color of the helmets, but it is typically a small change.
  • The Temple of Elemental Evil; luckily, helms have no in-game effect, except for the magic ones (and most of them are headbands).
  • Played straight in Demon's Souls. The game features quite a robust face-customization, but helmets very often obscure them when you do get it. Thankfully, early helmets aren't all-obscuring, and later helmets are made of cool, so everybody wins.
    • In the case of Dark Souls however, the trope is turned on its head. While there are helmets to obscure your carefully crafted face, during the beginning of the game, your starting state is that of an Undead. Wrinkly and really ugly, you cannot wait to reach for that helmet as soon as you get one. Just to throw more insult, none of the starting class headgears fully conceal your Undead face (except for male Thief mask). The only way to see the face properly? Reverse the Hollow state and become Human. Which carries the risk of being invaded by another player if you choose to do so, not to mention lacking headgears hurts your defense. Fortunately, There is a half of a dozen nice hats to choose from, that usually are rather light. Most players feel that style is more important then effect, so you will be seeing a lot of these, especially since helmets have the least effect on stats compared to other gear slots.
  • Dragon's Dogma plays this mostly straight - you can spend forever making a good face for yourself and your main pawn, then put on a helmet and you can't see any of it, but only when you're out in the wild parts of the world; the vast majority of masks, hoods and helmets have the visor flip up so your face isn't covered when you're in a town.
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth has plastic surgery in town which allows you to change how your character physically looks. One of the options is to have your entire face look like David Hasslehoff. Having the 'hoff head is hilarious in its own right, but it overrides any customization and headgear that are applied to the head.
  • Divinity: Original Sin Has an interesting variation where along with showing or hiding the helmet, you may choose to have the helmet only show up in combat, implying the characters hastily don the extra armor as combat joins.
  • Dragon Quest IX: At one point during the game, the dragon Greygnarl tells you to equip a set of face-concealing legendary armor and leave all your companions behind so the kickass animated sequence featuring the hero riding the dragon can play without accounting for the hundreds of possible variations in hairstyle, skin color and equipment.


  • Terraria allows you to choose a hairstyle and hair color (sometimes with facial hair) for your character. It even lets you use the entire 24-bit color spectrum to do so. But, once you get that first helmet, kiss that hair goodbye (barring certain social helmets worn on top of it), including the facial hair, as there's only one sprite for each equipped helmet, and that sprite has no hair. Downplayed in that there's a "social" slot for each armor slot that overrides the sprite of what you have in that slot; you gain no stats from the item in the social slot, but there are a number of items that have no stats anyway specifically for this use.
  • Minecraft gives you the ability to create a player skin in which every pixel is custom designed. While the helmets aren't full-face, a full suit of armor means your face and hands are the only part of that skin you worked so hard on that can be seen, and for many texture packs, not even that. And even when not fully covered (either because you don't have a full set or because the texture pack you're using drew the armor to cover less), the armor often clashes with the player skin, and it's entirely possible to have your character's eyes completely covered by the helmet if you don't take it into consideration when making it. It's inadvisable to fight monsters without armor, and certain resources can only be gained by killing monsters.
  • Mount & Blade offers lots of character customization, including sex, race, hair styles, age, and all manner of facial sliders. Many of the helmets will cover facial features, the ones with the best defenses are all-encompassing, and every hat in the game hides the player's hair. Compounding the problem is the fact that going without some kind of head protection is extremely unsafe, because the game averts Annoying Arrows to a hideously lethal degree.
  • Saints Row: The Third offers a fantastic character customization screen where you can adjust every detail of your character's face...and then you can promptly cover it up with unlockable bobblehead masks.
  • Retro City Rampage parodies this by giving you a large number of customization options such as barbers for different hairstyles, tattoo parlors for tattoos as well as different types of eyewear you can buy, but the only place they'll ever be visible in is in dialogue portraits because of the 8-bit aesthetic that lacks the necessary amount of detail to show any of it on the main character sprite during actual gameplay.

Alternative Title(s): Only Six Helmets