I know I said that I wasn't going to talk about the upcoming transmogrification feature at length, but since then something has come up that I would like to draw attention to.
Overall the reaction to this new addition has been overwhelmingly positive from what I've seen. Some people have expressed concerns, which is fair enough, but nobody seems to absolutely hate it. There's been one argument against the addition of cosmetic outfits though that really struck me as interesting: that it's "wasted" development time that could have been focused on "real" content instead.
Personally I think that saying the addition of transmogrification doesn't count as real content is similar to claiming that Lego isn't a real toy because it's just coloured bricks, or in other words: it's completely missing the point. No, the addition of a feature that allows you to change the appearance of your outfit is not the same kind of thing as adding a bunch of daily quests or a new raid. It's the developers handing us a tool and inviting us to engage our own imagination, and I think that's a great thing.
Syl wrote a post a few months ago, talking about how depressing it is that Blizzard seems to view WoW players purely as consumers these days. No wonder that people burn out or get bored so quickly, when all there is to do is to work your way through the pre-made story of the newest quest hub and then you're basically done with the game. That kind of thing is valuable, but it shouldn't be all there is. Even a theme park MMO needs some sandbox elements that allow players to go wild. And I do think that transmogrification might turn out to be just one such feature.
To be honest I'm rather bewildered by the prediction that once this feature comes out, everyone will just change into their favourite old set of gear and then nobody will wear anything else ever again. The WoW community may have many problems, but lack of creativity and passion from the side of the players is certainly not one of them. I think people will enjoy switching between different outfits to spice things up, and coming up with new combinations just to show off.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that regularly changing the look of your armour will be enjoyable to everyone, though I think you'd struggle to find a player who's never wished that they didn't have to display a certain piece of gear for the sake of its stats. (A former guildie of mine supposedly once said that he'd happily wear a turd on his head if it was an upgrade, but I think most people would prefer if they didn't have to.) Few features in the game appeal to absolutely everyone, and that's okay. But claiming that it doesn't add anything tangible to the game just because it doesn't really interest you personally is very narrow-minded.
I think that transmogrification is going to be huge and will literally change the face of Azeroth forever. It will add a whole new dimension of gameplay for people to engage in, trying to create and constantly readjust what they think would be the perfect look for their character. If that isn't a whole lot of new content then I honestly don't know what would be.
What do you think of 2014 in gaming?
26 minutes ago