Blizzard announced stuff about new 5 mans, a new raid, and cross-realm raiding. Is anyone talking about that? No. Why? Because they also announced a thing that changes very little, and yet somehow changes *everything*.
I remember getting an armor dye drop back in DAoC. It was black, and for metal. It sold for about 100g. A veritable fortune at the time in that game. My healer wore a rather lovely mix of dark green armor, so it was worthless to me, but amazing for someone else. When I later started playing WoW, on my very first character, I got some hideous brown robe and immediately asked my friend “Oh god, where do I get dye? This thing looks like baby poop.”
“You don’t.” He said, then explained that everything in WoW was set. I was exceedingly happy a level or so later to get a green robe to replace the other. Now, I am aware that many people think this is a girl thing, but it’s not. I even know a rather masculine man (he was a football player, so huge) who refused to wear any “of the Whale” items, because that implied he was fat. But regardless, for many of the same reasons people chose certain races or sexes in the game, we wish we could chose gear.
Guild tabards are hotly debated among officers to “look good.” People will match their pets to their mounts. (My hunter was furious when they took away her pet while mounted.) Everyone who went from Vanilla, with lovely armor sets, to the rainbow barf that was leveling in Burning Crusade had some moment of thought along the lines of, “Ugh, my character looks ridiculous.” Our characters are an extension of ourselves. We wouldn’t go out into public looking like that, why would our characters?
So why did Blizzard insist on limiting the armor colors and styles? Why didn’t they have an appearance tab like LotR Online and other MMOs? Why didn’t they add armor dyes? Why didn’t they give the community what was begged for?
They claimed the reason was dedication to the art. They wanted things to look correct. No pink hello kitty Darth Vaders here. And the Silhouette theory. This is best explained by looking at just the outlines of characters. Can you tell what kind of character it is by the outline? Then the Silhouette theory is working. The idea being that you could just glance at someone and tell, are they friend or foe. Are they Horde or Alliance? Heavy or Medic? This is why the shoulders in all the armor sets are so distinctive and large. So that player can not only tell at a glance who is who, but also how well geared they are.
It was a good argument… With a few gaping holes.
1. What about Noggenfogger? It changes everyone’s silhouette! As does Deviate Delight. Arrr!
2. What about Orb of the Sin’dorei? I love my orb. I used to be a Blood Elf. But then I faction changed to play with friends. I miss being a blood elf. So I use my orb with shocking regularity. I love using it in Tol Barad. Has it ever saved my life? Not even once.
3. Rated Battlegrounds. For those who don’t run them, every so occasionally your team will get matched up against a team of the same faction. So it just slaps a buff on you that says “Horde” or “Alliance”. That’s it.
The other comment made was that with the armor sets being static, you could tell someone’s “epicness” just by looking at them. Which was great, back in Vanilla. But ever since Wrath, and the great design shift to allowing everyone to see raids, this has created a huge problem. Yes, those shoulders DO look cool. And everyone else and their BROTHER is wearing them. It was the sparkle pony all over again. Everyone looked the same. (I think this is also the time that “town gear” also rose to wide spread popularity, where you carried a set of gear just for wearing about town.)
Apparently though, Blizzard re-thought their stance and came up with an amazing compromise. No, we still can’t dye our armor. BUT we can make it look like another piece of armor in the same armor class. And the masses rejoiced.
I have never been so glad or my hoarder mentality of tier sets. I have never been so glad I have my bank stuffed to the gills with old and interesting armor. There is literally NOTHING in my bank that isn’t soul bound. Everything else sits on my bank alt. Joyia has all 24 slot bags, and not a single space to spare. But she also has all the warlock sets. I will have these ugly tier 11 shoulders looking like tier 5 so fast it will make Joyia’s head spin!
Ah Corruptor Raiment, I have missed you. I cannot wait to have my shoulders bedecked with skulls once more. My hunter is gonna wear this one. And I will no longer have to deal with the fact that my dps is lower because I refuse to use one of those noisy guns! I may even try to raid with her now! I have all the starter DK gear sitting in my DK’s bank. My priest will be looking all angelic in this set. I am already excited about wearing these armor pieces again. I am already thinking of running old instances to get nifty looking gear.
But that just changes me right? That doesn’t change the whole of WoW. But it does. I already have friends who are planning on re-subbing when the patch hits. They are already planning THEIR ARMOR SETS. The invites for old school raids have already started. People are already compiling lists of nifty items and where to get them. Oh and the Destiny sword I have been listing for a month that hasn’t been selling? Gone for 500g. So I listed a Brain Hacker. I couldn’t sell it for 100g 3 months ago. Today, it went, in 15 minutes, for 500g. Lovely Dresses (despite not having stats so possibly not being eligible for the transmogrification) all sold for 100g each. This feature isn’t even in yet and people are already creating ripple effects in the game.
The best part about this change? It sets a precedent. Blizzard said no and gave reasons. Then later came back and said, okay, we found a compromise. No Pandaren? No dual faction races? There could be more compromises. Breaking the armor silhouette sets them up to break the race silhouette. This could be the beginning of a whole new World of Warcraft.
Now, I have to go stare lovingly at my t5 warlock set, sighing over the thought of wearing such lovely gear again.