Item Transmogrification and PVP
A few weeks ago Blizzard announced that very shortly, in patch 4.3, players will be able to modify the appearance of their characters gear so that they can look the way they want rather than how the gear looks by default. The new ability is called Transmogrification and is a long talked about feature in the game. Heck, I remember Blizzard talking about players eventually having more control over appearance as far back as the initial launch. Well it is finally almost here.
Overall the system looks to be extremely elegant, requiring you to simply have the item you want your other item to look like. This makes it simple to track what who can change items to look like what for Blizzard, and also ties in well with the other new feature being added: Void Storage. It does however mean that many players are going to be forced to go back and complete some old content again to get some favourite item looks again. Some are not happy about this, but again, it makes the system very simple and elegant.
Regardless of how the system works and how you go about changing items, there are some restrictions that have been announced already such as no legendaries, and any BOE used for Transmogrification becomes bound. However there is a big question that many players have raised.
The question that I am referring to is how and what does all this mean for PvP?
Since it has not been announced yet that PVP gear is being blocked from being Transmogrified, everyone is under the assumption that it is allowed and this creates some big concerns.
Let's assume for the minute that it is going to be allowed in PVP and look at why it is such a big issue.
The PVP Transmogrification Problem
The issue with Transmogrification and PVP is that for the serious PVP player looks are seriously important. And no I dont mean that they are really fashion conscious and should be hosting What not to Wear. What I mean is that they study and memorize what different sets look like so that they can tell at a glance roughly what to expect from an opponent.
This is critical in high-end arena combat where knowing what you are up against and how you should react to it can make a huge difference. Learning the appearance of the available sets and what they mean about a player and their abilities is a skill and something that really separates the great players from the crowd. It allows them to make snap decisions based on knowledge rather than basing choices on blind luck.
It is important as well in battlegrounds for skilled players, and even unskilled players, but those smart enough to watch for certain pieces of gear.
By being able to pick up the appearance of high-end PVP gear help players greatly for two main reasons. Firstly, several of the PVP sets are very distinctive, making them easy to pick up and identify at a distance. Even if a player isnt always aware of what exact set they are, meaning which season it is, most sets give a solid idea as to the character class at first glance. This makes it extremely easy to identify a Warlock at range compared to a Warrior. Sure you could click on the enemy at range and be able to see for sure right away, but right now you can tell by looks alone.
The second big reason is the same as in Arena combat, by seeing the players gear you can know how much of a threat they are. The same as in arenas this is a skill and takes work and memorization, however many players do it here as well. If you are able to look at 5 enemies on your screen and immediately assess roughly how dangerous they are if puts you ahead of those that can not. This is a great skill and ability to have and helps separate the really good battleground players from those that simply participate.
The Benfits of Transmogrification in a PVP Environment
For all those upset about this change, there are even more that are thrilled by it. After all there are always two points of view.
The issue to remember here is that those against this change are the skilled players that make use of a know element to gain benefit. Everyone has equal opportunity and ability to make use of this for benefit if they choose.
The ones that are excited about this change in PVP are those that either are incapable of remembering the appearance of PVP sets, dont try to remember, or are too lazy to remember.
Does a change that benefits any of those types of people sound like a good change?
The Word of the Messiah
Being that there has been no Official word that I have seen on Transmogrification and PVP, I am really hoping that we have nothing to worry about and that you will not be able to Transmogrify PVP Gear.
However since it has been noted already that Legendaries are out of bounds but nothing has been said about PVP, so I doubt they are off limits.
If players are allowed to transmogrify their PVP gear I foresee the end of flashy looking PVP sets being seen in PVP. After all why on earth would I advertise that I have good gear, it would only hurt me. The smart players will all go and find the crappiest / plainest looking gear possible to transmogrify its appearance onto their high end PVP gear so that they will not be identified as an immediate threat.
To be fair, appearance is not everything, nor should it be. There are players with awesome looking gear that simply cannot play. There are those with horrible gear that always seem to have your number. That happens. However, you should be able to have a rough idea of what to expect when you look at someone. Also I like the look of the PVP sets in general, when I earn a new piece I want to equip it and look cool, not hide it.
Because of all the negative aspects that transmogrification brings up if allowed in PVP I am begging Blizzard to please block it on all PVP items. If not it only detracts from the game and allows players that dont take the time and effort to learn the sets to improve, while hurting those that have taken the time to better their pattern recognition abilities.
I would be even more negative about this whole transmogrification and how it affects PVP, however I really am hoping that it is just a Blizzard oversight and they forgot to put it in the initial announcement that PVP is off limits. Steady yourselves for a really nasty view point if this goes live and PVP gear is allowed.