If you’re reading this blog for a while, you may have grasped the idea that I have three major lures in World of Warcraft.
One, is obviously lore and the world as a whole that I’ve been a fan of and felt at home since 90s franchise installments. So be it good or bad, I’m seeing this through from the first person perspective until the end of the final expansion. Also, the world itself is probably the richest, the vastest and allows limitless options for exploration and inventing your own stories outside of the current lore.
Two, gaming is my major hobby in general. As proved by the 9.0. content hiatus, I do not take pauses of no-gaming too well, and WoW (normally) provides enough content and long term goals to keep me going between expansions – which is great. Besides, being a pretty casual player, I’m least bothered about farming anything to maximize my characters’ power, and I’m happy when it’s just enough to keep me going. It’s easy for me to try a new system or game activity and dismiss it forever if I don’t feel like doing it. I’m playing the game for fun, not challenge, relax, not stress, and WoW allows that too.
Three, it is collections of different sorts. There are achievements, map exploration and what not, but my main focus and interest for the game, at least since Draenor, has switched to transmog and, to a lesser extent, mounts. The reason, beyond the completionist’s guilty pleasure of getting a collection wrapped up and there for enjoying, without missing gaps, is simple. My World of Warcraft experience is centered around characters and their paths in the world – around personal storymaking and shaping not a DPS machine, not a technical toon, but – first and foremost – Character with a capital C.
As every good MMO that understands this sort of thing, WoW delivers its character customization big time, succesfully sating this urge. Surely the choice of faction, race, class and spec already defines what your character wants to be, but the real game happens in barbershop and transmog interface. It’s more than just some tuning or cool looks.
For example, if we get a gnome subtlety rogue – there’s no way it ends here. Yes, if you picked that, you’re playing the sneaky type with at least some love for kawaii, quirkiness and fun, but there’s an endless number of paths your character might go. The very same gnome subtlety rogue might be played and percepted as a ninja, a sellsword or ranked SI:7 spy, a royally clad assassin that dwells in high society, a member of a street gang (you don’t want to know about Stormwind mafia, really), a village bandit from a cave hideout, a smuggler – name it.
For example, my own rogue Pins is wearing rich clothes, ’cause she’s always aiming for high ranks and high society – feeling at home among Alliance nobles, and naturally she picked venthyr in Shadowlands where her outfit and character also fits:
Moreover, your path and story is not carved in stone and is a subject for change according to circumstances. For example, in an ice-and-snow expansion like Northrend you don’t want to walk in your underwear and would pick a full outfit, maybe with fur elements. Or during Alliance-Horde war you may want to fly the faction colors even in your clothes to emphasize your allegiance, or – when in Rome – accept the dressing style of the locals, for example, in Pandaria or Draenor – even if you’re not a panda, an orc or a draenei.
So, when we go for the next expansion, who knows – maybe it’s a hot and damp place, like seaside or jungle, and she would undress to sandals? :)
Faces, scars and haircuts always matter too. Not only you pick an outfit to shape your character’s personality, but you also want to synchronize with it in barbershop. I found that hair color is one of the biggest influences on the character perception.
For example, more brutal and rash characters of mine like DK, DH, warrior, warlock would sport dark and black hair, a calm and down-to-earth goblin shaman Schlitzchen is dyed in serene and down-to-earth chestnut, there are some rave options (orange, turqouise) for characters that like to stand out. But most of all I like white:
It’s not an old-man (-woman) gray-white, but an indicator of a rational and calm character, always ready for reasoning and empathy. All of these toons naturally have different backgrounds, age, personality, readiness for laughs, but this is the character trait that binds them. Mind you, this trait comes from different backgrounds: a draenei hunter and an elf druid wear white because their serenity hails from walking in starlit woods, paladin and priest owe their white due to holyness and sacrifice, and my main is a scholar type ice mage, so.
But let’s get back from barbershop to collections. Barbershop has every option available since character creation screen and at any moment in game. Transmog collections – are not.
The thing is, as described, my characters are fluid and adapt to circumstances. Even in the course of the same patch, save expansion and surrounding in-game culture influences, they may want to change their attitude – and thus outfit – drastically. You can never, ever learn beforehand what would come in handy, because expansion styles change, characters change (sometimes to an extent of a race change), and their attitude changes. Sometimes I would scroll through hundreds of my collected daggers, or staves, or chest pieces, or boots to find out that only one option fits – and lol, it’s from vanilla leveling, or has to be farmed in previous raids or dungeons. Even recolor matters – a lot.
This is why I put enormous effort here, and making it my core goal to collect all the outfits I could lay my hands on. Because that one ugly set from Bastion or Twilight or a weird, crude Ahn’Kiraj insect ensemble maybe the only option to fit how your character feels today. And being in-sync with my characters, shaping their stories and attitude to the world is what makes me roll in WoW and other games.