Transmogrification, Profit and You

If you're like me and have been living under a rock for the last few weeks you may not have heard about Blizzard finally giving us players more control over our character's appearance. On their development blog Blizzard recently announced it will be introducing "Transmogrification" into the game with patch 4.3.

What exactly is transmogrification and how will it relate to gold-making? Find out after the jump.

What is Transmogrification?

So what exactly is transmogrification? I'll let Blizzard explain. Here are a few excerpts from their announcement entitled "4.3 Preview - Transmogrification".

"Visiting a Transmogrifier will present players with a new interface that will allow them to change the appearance of an item while retaining its original stats.
 They also detail a few restrictions.
"Placing an item into the Transmogrifier interface will offer a preview of how the item will appear once the change is applied. However, not all item pairings are compatible with transmogrification. In general, only items that have stats can be used in the transmogrification process. You must also be able to wear both items when using this service. Ethereals don’t have much in the way of ethics, but allowing someone to appear as if they’re equipping unusable items crosses the line." 
As reported in Faid's post on transmogrification (See "What Transmogrification Means for Us" at Nerf Faids) Blizzard has clarified that legendary items will not be able to have their appearance transferred via transmogrification.

There is also a gold cost involved in transmogrification. While they haven't given any numbers yet I'd imagine it might be comparable to the cost involved in reforging (the vendor value of the item). I don't see the gold cost of transmogrification being very onerous or a huge gold-sink.

What Transmogrification Means to Gold-Makers

I've given myself some time to ponder over what transmogrification might mean to gold-makers over the last few days and I believe I've come up with some solid ideas on how we can make gold with the introduction of transmogrification.

When patch 4.3 drops many players will have already planned out their "looks" armor sets and will have them ready to transmogrify on patch day. We won't make money off them. We'll have to dig a little deeper and do a little more homework to have the potential to make gold from the transmogrification boom. Here are a few ideas/areas of gold-making potential.

Role Players - I think that the gold potential on role playing (RP) servers will be strong as players who like to role play but have to switch out of their "look" armor to raid will now have the option to essentially having one set of armor that they never have to change (granted the "looks" armor will most likely need to be the proper type for their class eg. plate for warriors, leather for druids etc.).

If you are an experienced role players who pays a lot of attention to the way certain armor looks and know which armor looks good with witch weapons etc. I think you may have a leg up on the rest of us to know which item's value may increase after patch 4.3 as players work to build just the right set of "looks" armor.

People Who Play Dress Up - Playing "dress up" was one of my favorite things to do on my bank alt at one point. I had at least three different sets of "looks" armor I'd wear while doing performing my auction house duties in Iron Forge. For players like myself who would love to make our high level characters look as cool as our bank alts then transmogrification will be a godsend.

We may not be role players but we still like our characters to look good. We may have a few (or more than a few) set of armor clogging up our bank. For us we may need to start looking for items that can fill in the gaps or our "looks" armor. I for example love the hunter armor from The Burning Crusade. I have many fond memories of TBC and I think Blizzard created some of the best looking hunter armor in that expansion.

In the interest of bank space I've only been able to keep the head and shoulders for most of my sets. This means that I may be checking the auction house for just the right piece of armor to fill in my belt slot or perhaps my boots. People like myself are going to be willing to pay more than we would have before patch 4.3 and transmogrification because a certain piece fit in well with our "looks" armor.

I believe the price we can expect to get for "cool-looking" TBC and LK armor and weapons will go up significantly after patch 4.3. That said, identifying which armor and weapons to mark up will be more a matter of luck and taste than something there are hard-fast rules about. I'm planning to check the appearance via the in-game dressing room (Ctlr+Left Click an item) and mark up items that look especially cool.

It should be noted that not all armor/weapons are created equal when it comes to appearance. Items that aren't often seen like wrist armor won't have much value to those looking to build just the perfect set. Items like gloves, chest, legs and boots are pieces that are often in need of matching. In my experience I have helmet and shoulders from raiding but often need a pair of gloves or boots that match the general theme and/or color of the outfit.

In the screenshot at the beginning of this post you can see my first attempt at creating my hunters "looks" set of armor. I'm a huge fan of the "rhino horn" hunter shoulders and helmet from TBC (Merciless Gladiator's Chain Spaulders/Merciless Gladiator's Chain Helm and Rift Stalker Mantle/Rift Stalker Helm). When building my set I ended up needing a proper matching pair of boots. After a search through the auction house Ipaid 75g for a pair of  Scaled Icewalkers simply because they matched the outfit.

Iconic Look Items - I believe there is also an set of items that will have their value increase and stay high potentially for the rest of the time World of Warcraft is live. These are items that have such a distinct and/or iconic look to them that people will keep them simply because of how awesome they look. These items often come from Vanilla and are lower level. While related to both role plating and "dress up" these items are so iconic that players looking to have these looks will pay dearly for them.

Mail Combat Legging + Female Night Elf = Wow.

One example are the Mail Combat Leggings that my Night Elf warrior is wearing in the screenshot above. They are mail legs that require level 31. They have such a distinct look to them ( let me state hear that yes, many of the iconic items are indeed items that are shall we say "flattering" to the female form) that if I was able to I would continue to use their look for a long time.

Many of us want our characters to look "sexy" or "manly" or "creepy" etc. Finding armor that fits just the right look/feel we're going for look will become a whole new meta-game in World of Warcraft with the introduction of transmogrification. Knowing which items (like the Mail Combat Leggings) might have the most unique/stunning/awesome looks (regardless of level) will help us mark the prices of those items up (and potentially even corner the market on particular items by plucking any that come onto the auction house and re-listing them at our price).

But how do we learn which items have iconic looks other than just stumbling across them like I did with the Mail Combat Leggins? Luckily for us there are people who devote themselves to finding items that look cool in World of Warcraft. Doing a quick internet search for "World of Warcraft outfits looks" brought me the following sites that may have some great ideas for items/outfits we can start looking to either stock up on and/or keep our eyes out for on the auction house.

As you can see there are people who have done this before and you might find some items you might not otherwise have known about which may hold potential for price increases when Patch 4.3 comes and people are able to permanently change their appearance to something listed in one of the resources above. 

How Maximize Profit Potential

I predict the prices for all the TBC and LK armor and weapons could easily double after patch 4.3. They may not double for regular World of Warcraft players simply putting gear up on the auction house but similar to how gold-makers can often sell level 77-80 green Cataclysm items for 2-3x what other sell them for I believe a savvy gold-maker who keeps their eye on either the items they have to sell or items they find on the auction house and flip can make a decent amount of gold off players looking to round out their "looks" set of armor.

I'm planning to double or triple the price for all my TBC and LK armor and weapons. Where there was near-zero demand for these items I believe transmogrification will enable lots of items to fetch higher prices due to their use as costume pieces.

NOTE: One thing that we don't know for sure yet is if classes that change armor types at level 40 (warriors/paladins from mail to plate and hunters/shaman from leather to mail) will be able to transmogrify the look of a level 31 mail item onto a level 85 plate item (such as my Mail Combat Leggings). Until we know more for sure I'd recommend not going heavily into level 1-39 leather/mail items if planning to resell them to classes taht change at 40.

While there is a good chance a level 85 mail-wearer (like a hunter) would be able to transmogrify the look of Mail Combat Leggings onto a level 85 pair of mail pants we don't know for sure how strict they will be with the "we don't want players to look like the wrong class" rules.


As someone who has held onto many many pieces of armor and weapons over the years I look forward to the ability to change the appearance of my characters into a look I want and not simply the look Blizzard chooses. I believe the demand for these types of items will increase as more and more players join in the costuming craze.

I fully expect people to come up with awesome "look" armor combinations and perhaps even for blogs/websites (like the ones sited above) where people swap "recipes" for cool armor looks to pop up. The bottom line is a whole bunch of items that had little/no value (except for the occasional suit of armor to "wear around town") will become a lot more valuable once patch 4.3 and transmogrification are introduced.

I didn't even touch on areas such as farming old instances for specific pieces and craftable items with great looks. Perhaps in future posts I'll dig deeper into those areas.

Also if you're like me and already have some outfits built be sure to put a link to a screenshot in the comments below. I'd love to see what outfits the Power Word: Gold readers are going to be sporting come patch 4.3.

Further reading about transmogrification:
UPDATE: Be sure to read Keelhaul's comments below (I posted them for them due to comment issues) for some great insight into selling "looks" items from someone who knows much more about than myself.

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  1. As a mid-Wrath baby, I have never seen many of the earlier sets that so many people are raving over - I think I've seen more stuff about t3 this or t6 that in the last week than ever before!

    There is another set of those 'nearly there' leggings but in a red/blueish combo - they actually made me blush on behalf of my character when I first came face to face in game with a male guildie! lol Unfortunately I have no idea how to start looking for them but they must have been mail or even plate because I think I remember wearing them in The Ramparts but I'm not sure :(

    As for the gold making side - this could be quite fun too - there are some recipes/patterns etc which I have on my LW that no-one has been interested in for yonks - maybe there'll be a renaissance for those epic craftable lvl 60/70 & 80 stuffs & their related mats. Who knows?

  2. I believe our time as auctioneers will be better spent elsewhere. Too much is related to personal preference and personal character gear combinations. It is just too risky to invest time and resources into this niche.
    Transmogrification Niche Is Not Going To Be Profitable for almost all crafters IMHO. Stick to what we know will sell, not what we think someone might want.

  3. @Cold Encouraging players to simply maintain a rote gold-making routine would be a disservice to our readers and the gold-making community at large.

    Many players love the "exploration" side of gold-making. Finding new ways to make profit is by far my favorite aspect of gold-making. Doing the same thing day in and day out may make profit but it gets horribly monotonous.

  4. Keelhaul was having issues posting a comment. I'm posting it here (in parts) the them. (I believe the issue was length Keelhaul)

    Part 1:
    "Haha, y'all aren't familiar enough with the RP world to effectively guide readers, from what I've read here and at Cold's blog! Here are some tips from a fellow gold maker that is well versed in this area:

    Tip 1: RP'ers seek to maintain a certain persona. So don't think about the RP'er, and don't think about the weapons and gear. Think first about the "persona" they might be trying to generate. There are a number of options that have been exercised for years, such as the Jedi knight, the pirate, the ninja, heroes from various films (William H. Macy's "The Shoveler" comes to mind). And there are very specific items that fit these desired personas. For example:

    - The Jedi: Teebu's Blazing Longsword, Blade of Wizardry both come to mind. Epic, very rare BoE's, that have just jumped on some servers from 10k to 250k.

    - The Pirate: Tainted Pierce, First Mate's Hat, blue and green BoEs commonly found on the AH for less than 100g.

    - The Ninja: Hanzo Sword, Archaic Defender, etc. Blues that used to go for 50g now being sold for thousands for those targeting the true Ninja persona.

    - Medeival Knight: Dazzling Longsword, Destiny, etc. Epic BoEs that capture the true spirit of a knight, and don't require any raiding to obtain."

  5. Keelhaul's comment Part 2:

    "Tip 2: Know your skins, and know how unique they are. When you consider these weapons and armor items as skins, it reminds you that Blizzard often uses the same skin on multiple items. So if you're targeting a weapon that you'd like to resell, make sure there aren't 5-10 other items out there that carry the same skin and are easier to obtain. Great examples of these are the multitude of hammers and axes out there that use the same model on epics, blues as well as greens. Even the Sulfuron Hammer, now going for 200k on some servers, misses the point because end-game raiders can go get the updated version from Rag, himself. So you may have a unique color to the skin you've acquired, but color isn't enough of a differentiator when it comes to RP items to target. You've got to target the truly unique. A great example of something truly unique is something like the Singing Crystal Axe. There isn't a single axe like it in-game. It's relatively easy to snatch for less than 500g these days, and being one of the few truly unique items in the game, for RP'ers it stands to fetch a very fine price.

    Tip 3: Sell in pairs. If you've got Witchfury or a Hanzo Sword, don't sell just one. Wait until you can sell them in pairs, because RP buyers are going to be more likely to buy when there is two, rather than just one, leaving them to search tirelessly for its mate. Remember, it's about personas, and something like "the ninja" isn't going to have 2 swords that don't match. The same goes for two handed items for warriors with Titan's Grip. Dual Singing Crystal Axes is going to be pretty flashy for the image-conscious, and watch as buyers will be quick to snap up a pair of them, rather than just a single item.

    Tip 4: Go for differentiation. An easy way to navigate to "what's cool", is to consider what's rare in terms of the "skin" of items. A good example would be transparencies. Very rarely do we see items that are see-through or comical. They are a select few. Two great examples here are The Shoveler (an actual shovel, as mentioned above), and the Ethereum Phase Blade. The Phase Blade, in particular, captures the spirit of a translucent item in the same way the Spectral Tiger makes a simple tiger mount stand out. The Phase Blade fits right into a gold maker's repertoire, because it's an item that can be purchased from a Stormspire Vendor in Netherstorm in limited quantities.

    Tip 5: Advertise, get those puppies up on the AH. RP'ers have a pretty good idea of what these items are, know their history and locations and how to obtain them. But the rest of the WoW population does not, case in point with a number of the gold blogs I've been reading that aren't exactly sure where to point their compass for 4.3's opportunities. So take that into account when purchasing your items for resale. You're going to have to do some barking and make sure your items can be seen on the AH so people can click on them to view them on their characters. Most players in online games seek some form of escape from their own lives, and giving them further opportunity to build their online persona through these means is going to stick - otherwise Blizzard wouldn't have done it. But you have to SHOW the market what they could look like, and you may have to GIVE them the stories and personas they can attain. Again, RP'ers know, the rest of the population doesn't, but a substantial portion of them will convert given the knowledge and opportunity.

    Those are my tips off the top of my head. Hope this helps clarify that there absolutely IS opportunity with 4.3, but you have to do your homework if you're not accustomed to RP'ing.


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