World of Warcraft only recently released their first pre-patch for the game’s upcoming expansion, Legion. Included were a ton of updates and mechanic reworks, including a new rollover for all of the class mechanics and talents alongside a few number crunches for gear — but more importantly, the game’s new appearance system was officially implemented, and it’s one every MMO should have.
The system was originally referred to as transmogrification when it launched, allowing players to change the appearance of almost any piece of equipment in the game to match items of a similar armor and weapon class. Transmogrification was a huge success, encouraging players to build sets of the best-looking gear from the game to up their fashion game to new heights. Transmogrification gave many folks a reason to dive back into old content, though it was often limited to one or two of their favorite gear sets from previous expansions.
The system’s one fatal flaw? Limited storage. Players essentially had to pay a hefty fee to store their equipment sets for transmogrification. Even then, they only had two tabs of inventory — which limited the prospects of the whole thing. Thankfully, the appearance system has changed that.
Much like Blizzard has done with heirlooms, mounts ,and vanity items, the new appearance tab adds an entire collection of gear from around the whole game to collect. Much like the original transmogrification system, it requires players to go out into the world and pick up a piece of gear. The only difference is that you don’t actually have to hold onto it, meaning that you could go clear an entire raid and get a set of, say, tier 2 gear, but be able to turn around and sell it while keeping the visual appearances for transmogrification. It saves bank space, it saves time, and it further encourages you to collect everything you can.
You’ll still have to go visit a transmogrification vendor in order to apply your visual appearance though, which is fair considering that collecting every visual appearance in the game is free of charge and bank space. The nice thing is that each of the appearances you create also can be saved directly to a specialization for your character — meaning that if you build a sweet look for your tanking specialization, when you swap over, your gear will alter itself instantly to match the appearance you set beforehand. It really allows WoW players to live class fantasies on a whole new level, which is a welcome change of pace.
Honestly, Blizzard’s appearance system should be replicated by every MMO due to the sheer amount of customization it offers players. The concept for visually modifying your gear to anything in the game that you like the look of better is something that could really go a long way for other games (I’m looking at you, Elder Scrolls Online) even with the basic restrictions of class armor and weaponry in place.
Plus, it also offers players a reason to go back and enjoy old content just for the purpose of collecting gear. Even with previous expansions, quests, or raids being obsolete from a character level perspective, the visual appearances you could obtain for older sets of gear still hold tremendous value. Many of the gear sets and weapons are extremely iconic despite being old hat, and a system like WoW’s new one keeps things relevant years after the fact.