Datamined WoW Tabard Hints at Armor Customization Options to Come (Fingers Crossed)

Posted by on May 19, 2011 - 5 Comments »

The future of Locomomo's raid attire. If only.

It’s been a long-standing wish of mine to be able to customize the look of my characters’ outer garments in World of Warcraft. And it’s certainly a viable pursuit, as long as you keep a few outfits handy and saved in your Equipment Manager, and are willing to switch into your “real” gear when needed.

But what about something more? Clothing dyes, the option to save the look of one piece of gear that the character has earned in combination with the stats of another — they’re options that other MMOs have offered, but something that WoW has stayed away from.

One would think this line of thinking would continue, nearly seven years into the game. But a couple of interesting tidbits have me thinking that this philosophy may be changing, if even slightly. Perhaps rising pressure from other games that offer such options (Rift, anyone), and also a shrinking subscriber base can be a powerful motivator.

Let’s look at the supporting evidence:

First and foremost, there’s the newest tidbit datamined from the PTR, and that’s the existence of a new tabard that can change appearance. Take a look.

WoW’s 7th Anniversary Tabard: 10 sec cooldown. Right Click to change the appearance but not the effect of any currently worn tabard. Increases Experience and Reputation gains from kills by 7%.

Woah. Read that again. You can change the appearance but not the effect. Sounds exactly like an option I’ve been long awaiting. And one stands to argue that if Blizzard can do it with one piece of equipment, they can do it with others. Sure, they can make you work for it by making only certain pieces of armor available for an appearance shift — but it still seems plausible. We’ll see, I suppose, if that pans out.

Then there’s the discovery of different color variations of the same new Tier 12 armor sets. We still don’t know how the color variations will be activated — will it be according to spec, according to item level, or simply according to the player’s choice? No matter how it’s activated, at least it’s a step toward more personalization, more choice.

And, of course, there’s also the new hair styles currently on the PTR. Not really a change from how things have worked in the past, but certainly a step toward more varied character customization, which is something that I think a large percentage of the WoW community (minus maybe iTZKooPA, who has admitted it’s not his priority in gaming) would agree is a good thing.

Altogether, I’m really hoping that the signs really are indicative of a change to come. But it could just be wishful thinking. What do you think?