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WoW: Transmogrification Basics

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April 10 2012

When you have a choice between a cool-looking item and an ugly item with better stats, most of us will wear the ugly item. Different games have different ways to let players achieve a desired look, and World of Warcraft introduced a new system in version 4.3 called "transmogrification" for this very purpose. For a fee in gold, players can now alter the appearance of their weapons and armor. As you can imagine, this has been well-received by WoW fans, so here's an introduction to how it works.

Transmogrification lets you take an item you have and change its appearance to that of another item you have. Both of the items must be in your possession; you can't use the appearance of an item you don't own. You must be able to equip all items used for transmogrification. That means you must meet the level, class, reputation, and profession skill requirements for both items.

The process itself is quite simple. Start by equipping the item whose appearance you want to change, and put the item you want it look like in your bags. You then need to speak to an Ethereal Transmogrifier NPC in Orgrimmar's Drag for Horde or outside of Stormwind's Cathedral District for Alliance. A window with a preview of your character and the slots of equipment that can be altered will open. Then you can drag and drop the item whose appearance you want to use from your bags into the appropriate equipment slot. The change is reflected in the preview of your character so you can make sure you've got the right look before confirming.

The Transmogrifier charges a fee in gold for their service, which is based on the vendor price of the item whose appearance you are changing. They will also reverse alterations for free. Note that all items used for transmogrification become soulbound and, if purchased from a vendor, non-refundable, so don't use the appearance of an item you want to sell.

There are a number of restrictions to consider before heading off to your local Transmogrifier. For the most part, item types must match. You can't make your plate armor look like leather armor, nor can you make a sword look like a mace. Plate shoulderpads can only take on the appearance of other plate shoulderpads, two-handed axes can only be made to look like other two-handed axes, and so on. One exception to this is that bows, crossbows, and guns do have interchangeable appearances. Another exception is that main and offhand weapons can use the appearance of one-handed weapons, however, the reverse is not allowed. That is, one-handed weapons can only use the appearance of other one-handed weapons, not the appearance of main or offhand weapons. This is because the latter are in some cases specifically designed for the right or left hand.

Not all items can be used for transmogrification. There are quite a few items in WoW which are excluded from the alteration process, including legendary items as well as low-quality grey, white, and green items without significant stats. Also excluded are most of the game's more oddball items such as fishing poles and festive costumes. As much as I lament not being able to make my one-handed mace look like a dead fish, I suppose it's understandable. You can change the appearance of an heirloom, but you can't use the appearance of an heirloom for another item.

I should point out that Void Storage isn't related to transmogrification, and placing an altered item in Void Storage or mailing it will actually revert it back to its original appearance. Void Storage is merely a long-term storage option that helps you keep your standard bank slots from filling up.

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