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Void Storage and Transmogrification, or: I Feel Pretty! Oh So Pretty!

August 23, 2011

Last week Blizzard announced some huge changes that are due to arrive with Patch 4.3.  Unless you’ve been living under a virtual rock, you have probably heard people excitedly discussing two of those changes: Void Storage and Transmogrification.

Void Storage

No, this is not where Warlocks store their blueberries when not in use.  Which is like, all the time.  I mean, when was the last time you saw a lock with a blueberry running around?  Seriously, of all the demon minions the blueberry has the cushiest job.  They must just sit around in the Void watching reruns of old sitcoms while all the other demons have to go to work all day.  Sure, maybe they do a little bit of tanking for low level locks fighting against Kobolds or something, but they definitely don’t have to risk life and limb against the major baddies.  Void Walkers are like, “What’s that?  Ragnaros is back?  Oh, that’s ok Mr. Imp, you go have fun.  I’ll, uh, just hold the fort here.  Tell Rag I say hi.”

Wait, what was I talking about?  Oh, yeah, Void Storage…

Bag space is always at such a premium.  My main has some of the largest bags available and they are almost full to bursting.  I have shipped anything that isn’t soulbound off to alts, and that still leaves me with dozens of soulbound holiday items, fun archeology items, quest items, items I plan to turn in for rep someday, sentimental items and – of course – old gear.  I admit it, I have a thing for old gear.  Those battered weapons and tarnished tier sets have been through a lot with me.  I worked hard to get them and they bring back old memories.  I may not even like the look of some of them, (Druid tier 10 I’m looking at you!), but I don’t want to get rid of them.  So I’m happy that Blizzard is introducing a new Void Storage system!

I was not a fan of the overgrown cactus look of Druid Tier 10,
however it does have sentimental value to me.

Void Storage is a little like an additional bank that you can buy.  Each of your toons can have it’s own Void Storage vault, and each vault will hold up to 80 items. Void Storage is intended for long term storage, so there are some restrictions on its use.  All stored items must be soulbound to your character, a deposited item will be stripped of all gems or enchantments, and you will be charged a fee for depositing or withdrawing any items.  In Blizzard’s official preview the fee was 100 gold per item, plus 1000 gold just to unlock the feature, but that price isn’t necessarily final.

Now, it’s pretty easy to understand why Blizzard wants restrictions on Void Storage.  They don’t want it to be just another bank that you use constantly, but rather they intend it to be a way to keep items that you don’t intend to use but which have sentimental value to you.  In other words, they heard our cries demanding a way to store old tier sets.  Blizzard also wants to minimize demands on its servers, which is why they are making it expensive to use and why they are stripping the items of any modifications.  (It’s much easier to store just the item ID in a database than it is to store an item ID plus modification information.)

So, all right, fine, I see where Blizzard is coming from.  Personally, I’d prefer to be able to keep the gems and enchants on my old gear, because quite honestly that’s part of the sentimental value for me.  I used those items.  Those are the gems and enchantments that were the best available for my character at that time.  To me it’s a record of what one aspect of raiding used to be like.  It also shows that I took pride in my gear and kept it in good repair.  But ok, ok, fine.  I need the bag space.  Losing the modifications makes me a little sad, but I suppose it’s a small price to pay.

However, the cost of the service bothers me.  I know they are trying to discourage people from making hundreds of deposits and withdrawals a day, but with 80 slots at 100 g per deposit, plus 1000 g to even access Void Storage in the first place, that’s 9000 g we will pay to (eventually) fill up the bank.  And that’s without making any withdrawals at all.  However, because of  Transmogrification, one of the other features being introduced, using Void Storage has the potential to be very expensive indeed.  (More on this below.)

Transmogrification

CALVIN AND HOBBES © (1991) Watterson.

Transmogrification is the most exciting change in ages!  Blizzard is finally giving us the opportunity to customize the look of our gear.  As of Patch 4.3 we will be able to change the look of any piece of gear into the look of another piece of gear of the same armor class and type.  For example, you can change your mail helmet to look like another mail helmet, but you can’t make it look like a cloth helm, and you can’t make it look like you’re wearing pants on your head.  (Sorry to burst your bubble.)  There are a few other restrictions too: The piece you want your gear to look like must have stats on it, (no using white or grey items), and you can’t make weapons look like Legendaries.  Also, you must actually have both pieces of gear in your possession.  (So, you can see why they’re introducing Void Storage at the same time!)

Needless to say, everyone is very excited.  Suddenly we can choose what our characters will look like! I have friends that are already going out to farm old content for their dream outfit.  “My first thought was, Hooray!  I can keep my feathery blue shoulders forever and ever!”

This is a huge conceptual change for Blizzard.  Up until now Blizzard has insisted on preserving recognizable silhouettes for each race and class.  Partially this is accomplished through the character models – you can tell at a glance the difference between an Undead and a Human just by posture, for example – but gear has also played a very important part.  Shoulders and helms in particular change the look of a character’s silhouette.  (So, you see, there’s a reason why tier tokens buy helms and shoulders instead of pants and gloves.)  In game right now you can tell what level of progression someone has just by taking a quick look at their gear.  Once Patch 4.3 hits, that will no longer be the case.

Losing the distinctive silhouettes may not be a big deal for PvE players.  Sure, we’ll have to inspect players or look them up on the Armory to see if their gear is really any good, but we usually do that anyway.  (However, I really hope Blizzard fixes their inspection errors.  I’m getting sick of errors popping up every time I inspect someone, and Transmogrification will only make the problem worse.)  The change will have more impact on PvPers.

Now, I haven’t spent much time PvPing, but I remember running a bunch of battlegrounds with an old guild, and I was amazed by how they could single out weak players to take out.  They were constantly saying things like, “Get the priest, he has low resilience.”  How could they tell?  Well, they knew what all the PvP gear looked like and could tell at a glance who the weakest links were.  In a post-transmog world, that will no longer be reliable.  Players that appear to be low resilience could have top of the line gear, and it’s even possible that people will change their PvE gear to look like high quality PvP gear to make themselves less appealing targets.  (For example, a healer might use this strategy so that they can buff their healing stats while still appearing to be high resilience.)

Transmogrification might also impact WoW’s economy.  I expect the greens market will become a bit better as people try to find gear that looks cool.  Low level BoE blues and purples will also be more in demand, especially set peices.  However, because of the combined cost of Transmogrification and Void Storage, I think people will be less likely to transform their gear on a whim than they currently realize.  I mean, pulling 5 pieces out of Void Storage – helm, shoulders, chest, legs and hands – could cost 500 gold.  Then, once the gear is ‘mogged it would cost another 500 g to put the 5 items back in storage again.  That’s 1000 g to change the look of your gear set once!  (Not counting the 500 g it cost you to put the pieces into storage in the first place.)

Personally, I think that Blizzard should only charge people to put gear into Void Storage, not to take it out.  I understand that it’s a gold sink, and they want to discourage people from using it too much, but charging for both deposits and withdrawals seems a bit excessive.  If the prices don’t drop before it goes live I’m probably going to use Void Storage for the stuff I don’t plan to use and then keep the pretty stuff in my normal bank for ‘mogging at will.

Also, it seems pretty stupid that you can’t make weapons look like Legendary items.  I think that if someone has earned a Legendary then they should be able to make other weapons look like that Legendary.  The restriction seems unfair and pointless to me, but I bet they’ll end up allowing it in future.

Whoa, Shaking Things Up – Literally

So, I think I had more things to say, but they were driven out of my head by the earthquake that just happened here!  About half an hour ago an earthquake of about magnitude 5.9 hit Virginia and I felt it where I am.  It’s the first time I’ve ever experienced an earthquake, and it was pretty freaky.  The whole house was shaking for a few minutes.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2011 2:34 pm

    Hello from California, enjoy your quake! 😉

    Very well written post 🙂

    As a warlock I can say that the few warlocks you will see with blueberries are usually aff locks who aren’t decked out in raiding gear. Until I reached the level I currently am I had my blueberry out all the time, now I just run with my puppy. Made me giggle though.

    I actually have my new outfit. I was originally going to go with the 10 man Tier 8 chest piece and the Tier 5 shoulders but I ended up getting the T5 head, shoulders and chest so I decided to stick with it. Now I need the staff from BT (felpuppy one) and I will be set until I finish my legendary staff.

    • August 23, 2011 3:49 pm

      I really love the Druid Tier 11, so I feel like I lucked out and already have my outfit ready to go! I’m thinking about maybe farming up the Druid Tier 6 set. Hmm… Maybe I should do a whole post on the sets I’m thinking of for each of my toons.

      Part of the reason I don’t want to live in California is that I don’t want to fall into the sea when the “Big One” hits. LOL No more earthquakes for me, thanks!

      • August 23, 2011 3:52 pm

        You mean the high cost of living and overcroweded cities isn’t reason enough?

  2. August 23, 2011 4:09 pm

    —————————————————————
    I mean, pulling 5 pieces out of Void Storage – helm, shoulders, chest, legs and hands – could cost 500 gold. Then, once the gear is ‘mogged it would cost another 500 g to put the 5 items back in storage again. That’s 1000 g to change the look of your gear set once!
    —————————————————————-

    My hope is that you don’t have to have the gear in your actual inventory to use it for transmogs…having it in your bank or in void storage will be sufficient. That would still allow them to charge the massive transaction fees currently displayed to discourage much putting in and taking out, yet allow people to make use of transmog more freely (transmogging, of course, having its own fees).

    I guess it will ultimately come down to how much new gold sinkage Blizzard feels is necessary. If they think inflation has gotten way, way out of hand, the fees to use things may be quite draconic. But I assume that if that were the case, they’d levy the gold sinks in “non-optional” ways, like raising repair costs a lot.

    • September 1, 2011 4:11 pm

      This reply is quite belated. Oh, well.

      I hadn’t thought of that possibility… I’m not very optimistic though. I mean, they don’t allow you to use items that are in your normal bank. You have to run to the bank and pull them out first. So I wouldn’t be surprised if you have to pull your items out of void storage in order to use them as a ‘mog base.

      • September 1, 2011 4:29 pm

        The reason I’m hopeful is because they’re rolling out void storage with transmogrification. Hopefully, there is intended synergy. Using it for transmog is not quite the same as using an item…you’re just grabbing its art asset.

        It all depends on how much money Blizzard is looking to drain from the system. But if their main concern is not allowing people to use void storage as a second bank, this would be a solution. I can hope, anyway!

  3. September 1, 2011 12:33 pm

    “In game right now you can tell what level of progression someone has just by taking a quick look at their gear.”

    Eh, not totally. Those shoulders drop off an end boss…. but a version that looks the same (poison resist spaulders) drops off a much earlier boss.

    • September 1, 2011 4:09 pm

      Hmm, yeah, that’s true. But you can still tell whether someone’s been raiding or not.

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