Putting the World back in Warcraft: Transmogrification

The Transmogrification vendor in Wolrd of Warcraft


Where to start with transmogrification. Let’s start by calling it transmog for short.

Transmog is one of the more popular features to be added to WoW in the previous years and on the face of it you can see why. It’s a great way of expressing yourself through your character and also exploring creativity in the community. Some of the transmog sets people put together are really good and almost look tier set worthy. It also gives people a reason for going back into old raids and dungeons to collect appearances.

This is unfortunately where the good parts of transmog end and the bad parts start to show.

So what is wrong with Transmogrification?

As someone that initially loved the idea of transmog I can’t help but feel somewhat responsible for what has happened with the system and what it has done to the game over the years. Let’s try and break it down into two key points.


I always hated sitting in Stormwind looking like a clown because I was missing the boots and gloves from the latest raid. (I never did get that murloc helmet for my hunter in Cataclysm). So when transmog come out I was relieved that I could pick some gloves or a helmet that look way better suited to the gear I was wearing. I looked cool again. But I what I didn’t realise is that now no one else could tell what gear I was wearing and I likewise I could no longer tell what gear they were wearing just by looking at them.

So why is this a problem? It removes the ability to very easily tell without inspecting and reading a very large wall of text or more recently having an add on that reduces a person to a number (fuck you item level) if that person is good or not.

In an MMO half of the desire to do well and progress through content is because you see another player and think for example “Damn that warrior looks fucking awesome. I wish I had that gear”. The best part being in an MMO like WoW is all of that is certainly achievable should you wish to put in the time and effort.

Since the introduction of transmog this has almost entirely gone. One of the best geared people in the game could be running around dressed in a yeti onesie.


There has been a lot of talk over the past couple of expansions about class identity. We saw a big push for this in Legion that maybe over stepped a little by making it more about spec identity but it did a lot of good in the form of order halls and artefact weapons.

In BFA we saw all classes that use a particular armour type e.g. plate get the same raid and dungeon sets which was in theory a cool idea but undone the distinction between classes that was established by a retribution paladin clearly running around with some form of the Ashbringer in Legion.

Transmog doesn’t help here. By allowing players to transmog their gear to nothing or specific transmog sets such as the yeti pjs. It’s becoming harder to distinguish a monk from a rouge or a paladin from a warrior and in some cases even mages from paladins (with the introduction of the wandering gear).

So what can be done?

Well it certainly can’t be removed at this stage and changing it too dramatically would leave a lot of people that currently play WoW a little annoyed when they find out they can no longer run around as a fluffy yeti. But perhaps it could be tweaked.

Imagine instead of visiting a vendor and choosing any sword or axe you’d like your mace to look like in exchange for gold you had to seek out materials and patterns to transmog your weapon.

Lets try and example. I wan’t my Voror, Gleaming Blade of the Stalwart to look like Ashkandi. So instead of just going to a vendor and paying some gold I first have to travel to Black Wing Lair and obtain the weapon. I must then seek out a blacksmith who can create a pattern for the weapon. Then to reforge my weapon in the shape of Ashkandi I must go and get ore and other materials relative to that expansion. Finally after getting the pattern from a blacksmith and getting him to forge my new weapon ready for transmog I would need an enchanter to take the essence from my current weapon so I can put it into my newly formed Ashkandi. It could even have a cool new name like Voror, Vision of Ashkandi.

This could work similarly with other types of armour and other professions. So if you want to look like a fluffy yeti. Get ready to get a whole lot of yeti fur and a real high level tailor.


Ultimately I feel like there wasn’t an issue with introducing transmog in the first place. But even after it’s popularity and success as a feature there’s been very little iteration on the system. Something that could be so rich with content keeping players such as myself entertained for hours is nothing more than a dressing room with an insignificant gold penalty.