Alright, we’ve had a bit of time to adjust to the giant pile of changes introduced in WoW’s pre-expansion patch, time to figure out how to feel about it. I’m finally ready to look past the strange newness and shocking lack of buttons on my bars. Time to share some thoughts!
This was the first order of business for me when the patch launched. I spent essentially 2 full days of my normal playtime just going through all my characters and unlocking appearances. For some folks this would be a simple matter of logging in to each alt and then getting on with life, but some of us with fashion mania had bags and banks and entire guild banks full of greens and various salvaged items that needed to be equipped to learn each appearance. I am very very happy that this is over now. I’ve gone through and made new outfits for about half of my characters now, and looking forward to working my way through the rest of them.
Unlocking transmog across all characters, and clearing out all that bank space has been amazing. I still have major complaints about this system, though. The requirement that you have to be able to equip the item and it has to be the highest armor your class can wear is infuriating. I have a very small amount of sympathy for folks who think a mage wearing plate is immersion breaking, but in a game with so much nonsense and so many silly pop culture references I don’t really think that argument holds much water. Let me wear whatever I want. At a minimum let me learn any appearances I find, no matter what armor class, so I don’t have to rerun old dungeons and raids on 11 different classes every week. Finally, having the transmog window available any time is pretty nice, but it feels useless and annoying since I still have to go find the ethereals to actually change anything.
Options and Addons
Speaking of tracking down the ethereals, let me tell you how much I hate that they moved the option to hide helm and cloak from your interface options to the transmog vendor. I hate it a lot. It seems like such a small thing, but it directly affects how I relate to my character. Also, under the old system I could just set that option and forget it. Under the new system, every time I get a new hat or cloak I have to go transmog it again. On the flip side, I do love that you can hide shoulders now too. Just please let me set this as an option, or let me change my transmog from the collections window instead of having to track down a vendor or buy a silly expensive mount.
There are of course other changes that don’t relate to fashion. The new graphics look nice overall. The longer draw distance is pretty sweet. I am, however, firmly in the camp that is unhappy about the changes to max camera distance, but since I am not worried about hardcore raiding anymore and it doesn’t make me feel nauseous I’m trying not to get too worked up. This seems in line with the overall design approach of this patch, which seems to be all about removing choices and streamlining everything into a perfectly smooth, featureless shape that still vaguely resembles World of Warcraft. Sometimes the effect is pleasing, but sometimes I end up in a frothy rage because things like bag sorting options have been removed from the interface and relegated to the dominion of addons. I am having trouble wrapping my head around how you can remove features and call something an upgrade.
Bottom line: the shiny new stuff is pretty great, but the annoyances are still annoying after a few weeks. Here’s hoping I eventually adjust. I want to go into Legion excited about the new story and content, not still sore over things broken and taken away.