World of Warcraft’s Transmog 2.0 is a great step forward — but it has a ways to go


It seems as though the World of Warcraft community was far more excited about all of the changes to transmog with the 7.0 update that the class overhauls — and I can understand that. Transmog is one of the few areas in the game where players can exercise any measure of creativity and visual agency. Plus, we just wanted to free up all of that bank space.

I actually did not do a lick of transmogging before this week. I knew that the update was coming, so I was patient and waited for the new system before trying it out. Plus, I figured that hunting down new pieces would give me something to do in August before the expansion (I’m sure I’m not alone in that).

First things first: Transmog 2.0 is well-done in general. It’s certainly nice to be able to save all of your visual options and especially do so across your entire account. I think it was a master-stroke for Blizzard to tell you where you can find each piece in case you want to hunt it down. And the addition of illusions to add more flair to your weapons is a wonderful touch as well. Oh! And saving multiple outfits, great move.

It’s certainly made getting loot more exciting, since now you’ll see notices that such-and-such has been added to your transmog library. Cosmetics are insanely compelling as rewards and I hope that the studio continues to pursue this.

But for those endlessly gushing over how Transmog 2.0 has brought in the Age of Aquarius and such, I have to say that while it’s a great step forward for World of Warcraft, it still is a sub-par cosmetic system compared to the industry standard.

For starters, I cannot believe you have to visit a specific vendor just to work on your outfits. We hated this in WildStar in the beginning and that was quickly changed so that you could do wardrobe stuff anywhere — which is how most MMO systems operate. But in WoW? I have to cram myself into a house with a few hundred other people to try to talk to a specific NPC every.. single… time that I want to work on or change an outfit. That’s just silly, especially now that the collections screen shows you your transmog stuff. Just let us do it wherever, Blizzard, or at the very least let us call up saved outfits so that we can switch between them.

Another quibble I have is with the lack of dyes, although I think this isn’t really a possibility for WoW considering how the armor was designed. Still, it’s a shame, especially when you have to pieces that would go well together if it wasn’t for clashing colors.

Finally, I’m not overly fond of the armor restrictions on transmog. Different MMOs handle this in different ways, but generally I am of the opinion that if you have a wardrobe in a game, you should let your players dress up their characters the way they want. Why not? Why can’t my mail-wearing Shaman put on a cowboy hat? And do not pull out the immersion argument, because this game has ridiculous visuals all over the place.

Hopefully the current system won’t be seen as the end of transmog development, but part of an effort to continually make it better.

7 thoughts on “World of Warcraft’s Transmog 2.0 is a great step forward — but it has a ways to go

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus July 25, 2016 / 9:31 am

    One of the first things I noticed about the new transmog was that Blizz gave us a tab in the collections interface where we could look at all the looks we had collected where and when ever we wanted to open it up, but that we still had to go find the damn vendor to actually change a look. Seems a bit silly.

  2. bhagpuss July 25, 2016 / 10:10 am

    Why don’t MMOs all have a “default appearance” toggle that allows you to specify whether you see other players in their full, unimmersive finery or wearing the same gear an NPC of their class and level would wear? Is there some technical reason this can’t be done?

    I’d have it set so that i was the only peacock in a world of sparrows.

  3. Dobablo July 25, 2016 / 10:52 am

    Something about taking control of others’ avatars and forcing them look how you think they should dress somethingsomething.

  4. Dobablo July 25, 2016 / 10:55 am

    I do pity the artists that design fantastic items for games that let players define a set look that automatically ignores whatever item is equipped.

  5. Tyler F.M. Edwards July 25, 2016 / 12:52 pm

    “…or at the very least let us call up saved outfits so that we can switch between them.”

    You can do this, sort of. You can set an outfit to only apply to a specific specialization (there’s a little drop-down at the bottom of the transmog pane — kind of easy to miss), so that you when you switch specs, you also change outfits.

  6. Wilhelm Arcturus July 25, 2016 / 1:03 pm

    @Bhagpuss – Because I don’t want to give other players veto power over my outfit choices. In my view, if you want to play in a world with other people, you get to put up with their dress, mount, and behavior choices.

    Besides which, I am not sure that cosmetic choices are necessarily immersion breaking by default, as you seem to imply, though they certainly can be.

    When I use the option, it is generally to give my armor some sort of unified feel as opposed to a bunch of random stuff chosen based on stats which makes me look like I haphazardly grabbed a bunch of armor from a medieval thrift shop.

    @Dobablo – Since the same artists probably made the stuff that I am choosing to display, I am not sure pity is actually appropriate. People often use it to display a coherent set of armor pieces that were often designed specifically to be worn together. Seems like a potential win for an artist who designed a particularly good looking set.

  7. Shandren July 25, 2016 / 1:39 pm

    Personally I like the lack of dyes. It incentivizes gathering items that fits. I actually like missing that one “green” item to fit my green transmog set. That means I have a goal 🙂

    It is true that some of the design decisions that went into this can be questioned, but they are just that though. Design decisions. Personally I am more “annoyed” (as in not even really but I think its silly), about what seems to be glaring flaws or clearly bad sideeffects of some of those decisions.

    Example: The game flags items you have not yet collected to your appearence tab with a “you have not yet collected this appearence” line. But because you can only add BoE items of your own armor/weapon type to your appearence tab, the game only tracks which of THOSE items you have allready added. So if my warrior finds a BoE cloth item I actually have to send it to my mage in order to SEE if I allready have that items appearence unlocked. This adds an extra layer of mailing around between alts, and is wholly unnecessary.

    As an aside. Get the “Grand Expedition Yak” from Mists of Pandaria (108-120k depending) to have your very own portable accountwide transmog vendor. No more changing clothes with the masses 🙂

    Question: You say blizzard tells you where you can find the items you are missing… I read beforehand that they did that the appearence tab would do that, and was actually really dissapointed in basically only being told whether its a drop or from a vendor and no more info…. am I missing something?

    Shandren Out

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