Over the past year, I speculated on where the story of World of Warcraft can lead after Shadowlands, the impact of Shadowlands time, and a way to spice up class specs. As we wait for 2022 to deliver the first news of the next expansion, I believe cosmetic crafting would serve well as the customization system to go along with it.
In 2014, Blizzard previewed character customization coming to World of Warcraft in the form of class accessories. These cosmetic accessories would provide no game play benefit, other than improving player immersion; hunters, for instance, could display quivers or ammo packs. It was an exciting announcement for players who utilize transmogrification to create a unique appearance for their character. Alas, class accessories have yet to be implemented, but the concept should be revisited as a way to expand the scope and usefulness of the crafting professions.
Shadowlands introduced new character customizations to the game, allowing players to mold their character to better represent their real world or inner-self appearance. This process continues into it’s final chapter, Patch 9.2 “Eternity’s End, and I expect into the next title to some degree. It also added cosmetic items, specific to a player’s chosen covenant, further enhancing transmogrification and covenant association.
Covenant items, along with racial heritage armor, show the mechanism is in place for cosmetic offerings to implemented on a grand scale, as they should be, through the crafting professions. This would also be perfect opportunity to bring back and expand on the promise of class accessories.
Adding cosmetic recipes to Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Tailoring could energize those professions as both a money maker and means of personal expression. Inscription, Alchemy, Jewelcrafting, and Engineering can be used to craft parts and materials. I envision an initial slate of recipes for every profession, but the majority would be found through random world drops and crafting discovery.
The amount of possible cosmetic items is limited only by imagination: Back – quivers, packs, spell books, ornamentals… Tabard – sashes, bandoleers of ammo, vials… Waist – pouches, hand weapons, key chains, whips, scalps… Shoulder – parrots, gargoyles…This is just brainstorming, but even within these few categories, there is potential for variety through the same process as Optional Reagents.
Shadowlands crafting professions utilize Optional Reagents to add Secondary Stats, such as Haste or Mastery, to an item. When crafting Cosmetics, the same procedure could add a whip, flask, daggers, or fishing line to a belt, for example. What about changing the default belt buckle? The more options available to cosmetic crafting, the greater variety of products for the Auction House and players. And if we’re discussing variety, it is time to talk about dyes in the World of Warcraft.
I have not played Guild Wars 2 in a long while, but I always liked the depth of dye usage in their crafting system. Allowing players to apply dyes to multiple elements of their gear nears the pinnacle of crafting freedom. World of Warcraft can approach these same heights by incorporating dyes to cosmetics, again, similar to adding Optional Reagents or setting item level. A slate of dyes can be crafted by Inscriptionists and Alchemists, and deeper, richer colors can be random drops, or discovered through Herbalism, Skinning, and Mining.
Having cosmetic dyes and recipes as random drops serves as motivation for players to explore and interact with the game world, beyond the confines of a specific dungeon, raid, or reputation grind. Likewise, cosmetic crafting should be set up as a separate facet of crafting, so its content is constant regardless of which expansion’s profession the player is leveling.
As always, we shall see Blizzard has planned when they tell us. What are your thoughts on cosmetics, transmog, or another desired system in the future?