I'm planning to develop (as a hobby project) an isometric 2D single player RPG, and I'm willing to partner with an artist. The game is going to involve very little in terms of monster variety (it's pretty much all human characters) but I would like enough variety in terms of equipment, armors and weaponry.
Since it's going to be a small project, I want to keep the artistic work down to a bare minimum. And this brings me to my question: When it comes to a 3D game it's easy to work on armor pieces in a modular way. However, what I have no idea about is how to handle armour pieces and equipment when developing for a 2D isometric game. Think Diablo 2, or a better example: Wakfu.
Here's a wakfu trailer:
And a picture with some gear choices:
All characters are animated the same way, regardless of the gear they wear, and new animations are being added to the game constantly (like new skills or emotes), so I'm wondering, how do they manage to retroactively make it work with all of their sprites? Do they draw their gear pieces in different orientations and then stick them over the character in the way that fits best? Or do they draw them for every animation frame? (unlikely).
I honestly have no idea, any guidance is welcome!