As the dust around the announcement of World of Warcraft's next major content patch, 4.3, begins to settle, its time to take stock and look deeper as we ask the question: Is it enough?
Because no live-blogging was allowed during the press conference, it was a little while before the precise details about 4.3 made it onto the internet. The words Transmogrification and Void Storage, however, did and that set a lot of people wondering if you would be able to dye your gear and transfer items between accounts using a Dropbox-style in-game account.
That excitement petered a little when it became apparent that customization extended to sets of gear and not the ability to add a little more individuality to the game. The same went for Void Storage, a costly vault for leaving all that crap that you just cant get rid of and those old armor sets and weapons that are outdated but still look cool. Yes, its essentially a Transmogrification wardrobe. Wait, what? Oh yeah, you can shove your Pet Biscuits and Path of Cenarius tokens in there but its primarily somewhere to stash your old armour. Great. Look, Blizzard, I know I have five bags full of rubbish, random mats and a groaning bank vault but Id rather have a bigger backpack over another place to store all that stuff I just dont need but cant get rid of.
While it is indeed awesome that Blizzard are continuing to adopt other ideas that every other MMO seemed to figure out three years ago, the new features in 4.3 do feel half-baked, even if they're a free (unlike in titles like Guild Wars 2 where the equivalent of Transmogrification will be a paid service). I actually liked them when all was rumour and guesswork but sadly our expectations are never going to make it to reality.
Neither Transmogrification nor Void Storage were quite what players had expected - or hoped for.
As a female Night Elf Druid, I totally heart my T9 gear - aka Malfurions Regalia. I love the look - especially the helm - and it breaks my heart that I have to wear an uglier Cataclysm or T10 hood. Not a problem when Transmogrification comes in but its just not enough. I want to be able to dye my clothes, to change the shade of armor and really tweak colour of those sparks that shoot from my staff. I love being able to change my hair style, colour and those groovy elf tattoos but I would much prefer to make my clothing stand out more. After all, individuality is so hard to find in MMOs and WoW is no exception.
Lets face it, Blizzard are never going to be able to keep up with the trends, never implement all the changes players want when they want them (aka Now) but going half-way can be equally frustrating or annoying. There will always be restrictions and technical limitations but both Void Storage and Transmogrification feel like they could have - and should have - been so much more. Hopefully its a start and Blizzard will listen to the comments - and numerous complaint - threads currently littering both the EU and US forums. Heck, even the role-players are up in arms, which is never a good sign.
It wont be long now, especially as Blizzard is keen to get the patch out before the year ends, until we see the PTR go up. Its still early days but heres hoping both features offer more than they currently appear to.
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