Transmogrification, the hottest new game of dress-up

If you're anywhere near as addicted to transmogrification as I am, you've likely been collecting gear and creating multiple sets ever since the feature was introduced. Likely, your bank is full of sets, and your void storage may very well be full of sets too. In the last post of the Cataclysm post-mortem series, Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer Greg Street) talked about what worked with the expansion as well as what didn't -- and transmogrification was firmly on the amazing feature list. According to Ghostcrawler, it opened an entirely new avenue of gameplay, and more and more players are jumping into old dungeons and raids looking for the perfect look for their characters.

But what transmogrification has really accomplished is that it's given us a way to customize our characters in a unique and profound way. Let's face it -- the character creation screen in WoW doesn't exactly have a ton of options to choose from. No matter how unique you think your character looks, in a game with millions of people playing, there are likely millions of players out there with exactly the same hairstyle and face choices. And with tier sets becoming so prevalent, particularly in Cataclysm, all the characters had started looking like carbon copies of each other.

Transmogrification allows players to get that thing that they've been after since the early days of WoW -- a distinct and unique look for their characters.

If you're looking to show off your transmogrifying skills, you should check out Effraeti's RP, Amateur Azerothian, and Tome of the Ancient. These three blogs have teamed up together to create an event called Mog Madness. Much like the NCAA college basketball March Madness, this competition will be a series of rounds in which players can submit their best transmog looks. The best looks will move forward into the next round of transmog, until there's one champion left.

Just to keep things interesting, they're also including criteria for each round of tranmogrification entries, à la that pesky mystery basket of ingredients on Chopped. The first round is already open for submissions and requires a cloth outfit. The competition is open to anyone who wants to enter, and you can either submit your entry via email or just post the outfit you've created on any of the Mog Madness posts on the three blogs.

And that's the other cool factor in transmogrification -- it's brought together the WoW community in a weird sort of way. Countless blogs have popped up with transmogrification ideas, plenty of people are putting in their two cents on set pieces, and people are busily working together to get the pieces needed to make them stand out in style. In an odd way, transmogrification has brought friends and players a lot closer together simply by allowing us to express our individuality.

Now that Blizzard has this lovely little feature that players are ultimately enchanted by, the only thing I hope to see in the future is more variety in gear and pieces. Starting with Wrath of the Lich King, leveling gear received an almost uniform appearance. This was a fantastic way to avoid the whole issue of leveling clown suits that we saw pop up in The Burning Crusade. But here's the thing -- we don't have to worry about the clown suits anymore. We can mix and match to our hearts content and make our gear look great without having to worry about drops we might view as visually unappealing.

So what I'm really hoping to see in Mists, oddly enough, is a return to the Burning Crusade clown suits. Why? Because it's more variety in choice for our transmogging selves. We don't really need gear to match precisely anymore; we can make it look as good or as bad as we'd like it to. And if we have more variety in different colors and styles, that's more potential combinations to make some really cool looks.

I hope this gives the art team an excuse to go wild, too, because there's no longer a real restriction on making everything look matchy-matchy. It's gone. Between giving us an excuse to go back to old places, opening up opportunity to share our styles with others and allowing us to give our characters that unique look we've been craving for years, transmogrification is one of the biggest game changers we've seen this expansion, hands down.

Patch 4.3 lets you transmogrify your gear to look like any other gear your class can wear -- but you have to collect it first. Check out our coverage of transmogrification and start running those old dungeons!