Once it became apparent that I could test shizzle on the World of Warcraft PTR this week, there was only one thing I was interested in doing. Forget going to the Broken Isles and taking screenshots, or having a mess around in the pre-Expansion event. I had only one focus, and that’s Warcraft’s wonderful wardrobe feature: except, it’s no longer known as that, which is probably the saddest I’ve felt about a name change in over a decade. Instead, your Transmog has morphed into the ‘Appearances’ tab and lives in the same place as both your Mount and Pet collections. Having spent some time fielding questions on what has changed since the last time I wrote about this feature, I think everybody would benefit from an update of what’s changed since those halcyon early days of Alpha, and what we might expect from the system going forward.
Preparation is Everything
I’ve been making real effort in the last few weeks to prepare my main for the Expansion by collecting items relevant to her interests which will allow her to earn the ‘Fabulous’ title on the commencement of Legion hostilities, which will begin sometime in July (that’s the pre-Expansion patch to those of you not indulging in at least some form of roleplay). When I logged into the PTR late last week, I was pleased to see that all of my hard work had indeed been rewarded. The title will be mine, and all I have to do is ensure I’ve got the relevant additional tabards and shirts in my bags to register for the overall achievement itself. However, in case you’re wondering how I can have that amount of gear in storage in order to complete the meta achievement, this is not just about the items you kept in storage all those years and which now threaten to overtake every free bag space you possess.
Blizzard made what some might have considered a rather extravagant claim back in the day, that all the quest items earned over the years would be included in your Appearances tab. It would now appear as if they’ve made good on that promise, looking at the number of axes I appear to own and know were never kept. What I can’t yet do, mostly due to the complete instability of the PTR realms right now, is check how this ‘reward system’ pans out across all my characters. There have been concerns raised by certain commentators over whether every item you own will actually be incorporated automatically, but I am reliably informed that if your item is BoE, it won’t automatically get absorbed into the pile. That will make the bank-alts I have with vanity bank tabs full of them happy, as I can send items over in stages whilst checking what is needed to unlock an appearance. The rest of course will be earmarked as duplicates and summarily prepared for sale.
Then there are some unannounced restrictions that make perfect sense in context, but may make certain people upset. As I mentioned in my article earlier in the year, an important change has been introduced to level one characters, mostly (I firmly believe) as a means to allow new players to grasp the importance of wearing the right armor type for their class. Hunters can now wear mail from the get go, as can Shamans, whilst Paladins and Warriors will no longer have to wait 40 levels to stick on some Plate. However, what this does mean is that those of us who have roleplay outfits in armor types that aren’t our own won’t be able to use these as mogging items. So, if you have an ultra rare cloth dress on a Druid, you won’t be able to ‘borrow’ this to give your Priest a new look. World of Warcraft’s wonderful wardrobe has some restrictions, but it also welcomes some much-needed changes to proceedings.
There is another very important level restriction placed on Transmog items, which is also both logical and welcome. It means that you won’t see Level 1 bank-alts in Molten Core gear, or level 60’s wearing Pandarian outfits: you need to be at the right level for an item to be able to mog with it. More importantly, the iconic class-only sets maintain their restrictions, thus preventing Banana Shouldered Death Knights or Shamans wearing Hunter tier (and quite right too!) Of course, there will be those who cry foul at this but I’d quietly remind them there are plenty of items that you can use to imitate the look of another class. You don’t need tier to be awesome, just a little imagination and a lot of items as a basis. On that front, there is one key change from Alpha that’s worth noting here, and it has to do with how you realise your looks.
Back in Alpha, you were able to look at your outfit in a separate window in the Transmog UI. That ability appears to have vanished on the PTR however, as I cannot actually use the UI at all at present, there is always the chance that this could be only a setback. I am crossing everything that the small Appearances character window does make a return, however, even if it does, it certainly won’t be big enough to accommodate the level of detail someone like me will demand in order to create outfits of awesome in Warcraft’s wonderful wardrobe. Therefore, I’d strongly suggest that if you don’t own a copy of Mog It in your addon folder, you absolutely should. It will make the process of constructing outfits 1,000 times easier and, in my opinion, is the best mogging addon there is. If you know differently, feel free to suggest an alternative in the comments!
There’s also a pang of regret from previous iterations of this feature in testing. It appears that seasonal items have vanished from the database, which means they’ll continue to clog up bank space for years to come. This is particularly frustrating considering the number of them I possess, over many of my alts, and one can only hope that if enough time elapses this is remedied, with perhaps all the relevant items being converted into a special ‘seasonal’ item database. I understand the change however, as being able to mog these onto existing items would create a false outlook for all characters and if Blizzard wish to maintain a particular aesthetic on the characters we play, allowing them to dress in Pilgrim’s Attire is not the way forward.
What this does do is make me consider what the options might be for Transmogging going forward. There are already a massive four sets of gear to be collected from the pre-Expansion event, and if this becomes de rigeur in the months that follow then perhaps those seasonal outfits will be re-purposed into similar packages, thus encouraging people like me to redo every Festival again to earn them. It makes sense in the wider scope of what is changing in Azeroth, that the cosmetic has attained a larger level of importance than it ever held in the past. This is the beginning of a very interesting time for those of us who love playing dolly dress up, and undoubtedly the popularity/success of the feature will influence design decisions going forward.
What is less certain, and we’ll need a couple of months of Legion on the live servers to confirm, is how the gold-makers will use Transmog and Appearances to cover the (significant) shortfall that losing Garrison missions will create. I already know, even on my low rent PvE server, that certain items are commanding silly money because you won’t find their unique looks anywhere else. What is needed is an understanding of the marketplace and some luck too, unless you happen to be the kind of person who keeps three copies of the same rare item on your person. Fortunately for me I have a guildy who did just that with a Hibernal Robe, and I swapped a ton of vanity pets for that one to make sure I’ve got that look for my cloth wearers on when Warcraft’s wonderful wardrobe goes live.
Then, the only limit for someone like me is time and imagination. Warcraft’s wonderful wardrobe has the potential to utterly transform my huge alt family, if I can decide what it is I want to be dressed in to begin with. For people like me, with little or no time to either raid or engage in organized content, the Appearance feature’s a bit of a marvel because it provides a chance to at least use the past as a constructive means of moving forward. I am unlikely again to have the chance to wear tier when current, and if the only opportunity presented is to recycle the past and make it my future? I’m going to grab it with both hands and hold on tightly. In essence, this is virtual cosplay for a group of players, and the potential it presents for the future of the game is significant indeed. If the ‘carrot’ of unique looks still fails to encourage players into end game group content then perhaps Transmog can change that situation going forward.
My job this week in game is simple: make the shirts and collect the Tabards I need on my main to ensure that when I log on in the day of the pre-Expansion patch, the ‘Fabulous’ title is mine from the word go, because if there were ever something in game that typified the way I play and the person I have become thanks to Warcraft? This is it. I sense that there is a fundamental shift in interests coming with the next expansion, and Transmog is not only here to stay, but could become an extremely significant part of proceedings in the years to come.Related: Beta, Blizzard Entertainment, Column, Event (In Game), MMORPG, World of Warcraft, WoW Wednesday