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World of Warcraft cosmetics are finally delivering on the style front

Butterfly wings, magical girl outfits, and other couture

A female dwarf with blonde hair and gorgeous blue and purple gear capers in a snowy field with a baby goat in World of Warcraft. Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Fashion is serious business in World of Warcraft; players march off to delve into dungeons and kill bosses wearing the most fantastic fits possible. The game has a transmogrify system, which allows players to wear whatever they’d like. All you have to do is visit an Ethereal in a capital city, and they’ll allow you to overwrite a boring piece of gear with a much prettier piece. Recent additions to World of Warcraft seem to be aimed at the transmogrify crowd, with data miners discovering even more goodies on the way, and fashion fans are excited to see what dolly dress-up gear they’ll be receiving next.

In World of Warcraft, players can get new gear by doing basically anything. Raiding, questing, raising your reputation with factions, achievement hunting, and PvP all have the chance to award new pieces of gear. Even if the stats on a piece don’t work for you, you might fancy the appearance, which is added to your transmogrification library. This is why players will run through old raids, soloing bosses that are years out of date — they want to indulge in collecting old tier sets and fancy weapons.

A set of elaborately nature-themed gear in World of Warcraft, relying on the shape of leaves and antlers to establish the set’s power. Image: Blizzard Entertainment

The problem is that most pieces of gear in World of Warcraft are designed to look cool and powerful. At first, this seems to be the correct choice, because of course players want to look badass. We take the role of heroes who regularly wade into world-ending crises and even other realms. It makes sense to find elaborately carved pieces, often with some kind of unearthly glow or dreadful visage. But after nearly two decades, those paths are well worn. The people want something new, something stylish. That’s why some new pieces are so dang exciting: They look nothing like what we’ve seen before.

The good folks at Wowhead have data mined some of the new items coming to the game: Floral weapons and lavender dresses, beautiful butterfly wings, and a stylish magical girl outfit are some of the things that they’ve discovered. For possibly the first time, it feels as though Blizzard is making a concerted effort to make gear for the girls, gays, and theys. Not every gear set needs to be designed for a warfront or epic conflict; some players just want to look gorgeous, and that’s great.

Of course, there are still flaws to the transmog system. For instance, some great outfits are locked in the cash shop, which is unfortunate for a game that both sells expansions at full retail price and maintains a monthly subscription fee. The Trader’s Post, which was lauded by fans as a new way to engage with World of Warcraft and earn rewards, has been sneakily raising its prices over the past months. You can purchase the Post’s currency, Trader’s Tender, with certain bundles in the Blizzard store.

It’s a shame that these new threads aren’t more widely available. Transmogrification is the endgame for many World of Warcraft players, who dedicate hours toward having the best fit possible for their characters. While the new variety in designs is fantastic, it’s not always easy to get your hands on the new threads. On the other hand, it’s nice to finally have an influx of practical or cute clothing. Saving Azeroth is cool or whatever, but that’s a secondary objective to my main quest of looking sweet as hell in the prettiest gown possible.

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