Outfits and Pyramid Schemes

Pandas! Guilds and the Warring Therof! But wait – there’s more!

Yes, from a WoW fashion spread to the question of whether PvP – yes, all PvP – is a pyramid scheme, here we go…

  • The WoW Debutante shares a lovely almost Vogue-style fashion spread of Mage transmogrification outfits from her guildmate Epijunkie. Love this format.
  • Bernard Parsnip argues that DUST 514 won’t falter because of its gruelling, newbie-unfriendly PvP – he says it’s just another facet of the great PvP pyramid scheme“everyone knows that one day you will have invested enough time to go on to destroy newbies – either by your superior knowledge of level design, your improved hand/eye coordination in dodging rockets, your time spent with the best players enabling you to emulate their strategies or just from having sufficient honor points farmed to buy new gear and move up a level in the pyramid.”
  • And Tobold looks at the recent discussion around The Secret World’s subscriber numbers, and asks what it means for innovative MMOs in future“The sad thing is that modern MMORPGs are so bloody expensive to make that making an innovative niche game isn’t really an option. “

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Azeroth’s Next Top Plate Model

Yes, it’s transmog time!

We’ve seen a few transmog / costume contests in the past, but this one’s already charging around the blogosphere like a caffeine-addicted wildebest. Yes, Sugar and Blood, in association with Blog Azeroth, has announced the rather wonderfully named Azeroth’s Next Top Plate Model

“First, must be between a level 55 (DK) and 85 plate wearer. Submit your girl for one or all of these categories:

  1. Plate/Alliance female, best-in-show

bq. 2. Plate/Horde female, best-in-show

bq. 3. Plate: Less is More: the least amount of armor (swimsuit competion)

bq. 4. If I Could Wear Cloth: “Evening Gown” – Knocking ‘em dead with class instead of steel and iron…

bq. 5. Talent Competion: put together a look that represents your profession. “Escort” doesn’t count.”

There’s no prizes beyond fame, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone – and hey, who doesn’t want to be able to list “Top Plate Model” amongst their accolades?

With Mists of Pandaria still some time away, it’s great to see all the memes, contests and general fun happening in the community – we’ll be sure to keep tabs on this one!

Will you be entering Azeroth’s Top Plate Model?

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Could we stop calling it “Slut Plate”?

“Slut Plate”.

I’ve not heard the term before today, but apparently it’s become quite the thing amongst the transmogrification community in WoW. It refers, of course, to the many and varied semi-unclothed options for female characters’ armour.

It’s a neat, immediately-visualisable phrase. It’s catchy. It’s already getting widespread adoption.

And Apple Cider of Apple Cider Mage writes an impassioned and intelligent article today explaining why it’s also potentially really harmful

“I’m not here to talk about abolishing the many, many sets of evocative armor in World of Warcraft. I’m here to talk about getting rid of the disgusting language and thoughts that surround them! As I’ve discussed before, I’m a big proponent of the idea that the words we choose to express ideas with inform many of our feelings. A word that encompasses an entire disgusting ideology: slut. Sluttiness is both a term used to denigrate female sexuality as well as denote when it occurs in a way that extends beyond what the judgemental person feels is “respectable” “healthy” or “acceptable.”

You can be a slut if you do X, Y, or Z. You can be a slut if you do something X number of times or have X number of partners. In that vein, I feel the landslide useage of “slut plate” in the WoW community puts that same unhealthy/sexist perception around even something as fun and aesthetic as transmogrification/roleplaying gear. The very term itself makes my mouth pucker up in my characteristic sour sneer. It makes me legitimately angry.”

Apple Cider makes an excellent point, and unlike many writers in this field, she takes great pains not to use jargon or assume her readers are already familiar with similar discussions in the past. Her argument’s also a powerful one – “slut” is one hell of a loaded term, and one with very ugly, very sexist, and very sex-negative implications. And Apple Cider nails the virtual-world aspect of all this – “Choosing to wear something skimpy in real life or World of Warcraft should be because someone wants to, because it makes them happy, and should not indicate anything other about a person’s personality or sexuality other than what they wish it to indicate.”.

Unfortunately, I can’t see her alternative suggestion, “Sassy Plate”, catching on, although I wish it every success – which is a pity. And much as writers like Dossie Easton have been trying to reclaim the word ‘slut for years, it hasn’t worked yet. Anyone have any other ideas for a better term than “slut plate” that describes without condemning?

Will you be using the phrase “Slut Plate” any time soon?

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We really like: World of Wardrobes

There’s a bit of a wave of neat new sites hitting at the moment, it would seem.

Today, we’re featuring a really, really useful resource for Patch 4.3 and the Transmog Craze that’s about to hit us. Ever been putting together a set and you just weren’t sure what shoulders to use? Or if there was a hat that was right?

You could go to the Visual Roleplay List, but that’s entirely set-based – not individual items. Or you could flick through the WoW Model Viewer , but that can be a pretty gruelling experience – thousands of items that aren’t available to PCs, that you can’t obtain, that are ultra-rare random drops, that are just art placeholders…

What you need is somewhere that rounds up every wearable, gettable item of its type (no NPC-only or unattainable items), and presents them all on a single page.

You need World of Wardrobes .

This site is rapidly advancing on a scary, scary level of detail, akin to other uber-detailed minisites like Petopia or El’s Angling . Just looking at the headlines on the front page, we’ve got “42 Purple Leather Shoulder Items Added!”, for example. And it gets better – each of those shoulders is presented as a single huge page, with thumbnails, and those thumbnails take you to seperate images, where every single race, both genders, is pictured wearing the item. [EDIT – currently this is only true of set items. Individual shoulders are only shown on one model. It’s STILL awesome, though – and the set pages are really good.]

And that’s why World of Wardrobes is our pick for today. Nice work, guys.

Find World of Wardrobes at World of Wardrobes .

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Big Bear Butt defends the fish-slap

You there! Yes, you! The one with a bank full of offhand fish and flowers! And you, sir, the one with the RP gear including a fishing pole!

Do you feel a bit left out of the transmogrification craze? Amidst all the excitement over “mogging”, Blizzard have also announced that there are lots of things you won’t be able to transmogrify: so, for example, you can’t take your legendary dagger and transform it into a fish.

And the Big Bear Butt himself ain’t too happy. Well, that’s not entirely true. He’s wildly happy about Transmogrification, but he’s not too sure why Blizzard are being so serious

“But Blizzard is also saying that they do not want players to have total freedom in the choices available to them. Things that Blizzard deems ‘silly’ are not permitted. The reason, the sole reason, is out of a self-imposed obligation to the players and to the artists to keep the game from getting too silly.

Err. Wut?

We as players are being given the freedom to take the disparate ‘clown suit’ clashing appearance of items, items that are individually best in performance but look like shit visually when all mixed together, and pay gold to have them all look like matching or themed sets we choose.

Many players will certainly take advantage of this.

But we are NOT being given the chance to truly let our own attitudes or humor or sense of satire shine through. We do not have freedom of personal expression in how we do this, unless someone chooses to mog their gear to intentionally pick items that clash as horribly as possible, going for a circus clown look.

And the reason given is to keep things serious. “

This is a long, interesting piece, as is BBB’s wont. His central argument is that the “keep things serious” decision is not purely an artistic choice, but is based on how Blizzard want the game to look to non-players, in screenshots, in YouTube videos, and online generally. He’s saying that Blizzard believe it would be bad business sense to let guilds down Ragnaros with a haddock, and that’s why we won’t be able to do it.

It’s an interesting and compelling argument, and I’m sure that BBB’s at least partially right. At the same time, I’m sure there are other factors, too. For all the people who want to RaidWithAFish ™, there are probably others who would find that image, yes, silly – and not in a fun, Monty Python way, but in an immersion-breaking Not Good way. A lot of people playing WoW signed up for some epic fantasy – if they get to top level and discover Fast Show instead, they’re likely to be disappointed and irritated.

Of course, that’s a business decision too. But there’s also the artistic element to consider. Blizzard has some of the best artists in the industry, and not all of them will be hardened businesspeople. They’re likely to want their art to be used a certain way, and to evoke a certain mood in the game. They have a voice in Blizzard’s decisions, and Blizzard’s businesspeople have a strong vested interest in keeping them happy with the game they’ve created.

Overall, I think it’s a complex picture, and BBB’s starting an interesting discussion. Go read, and let us know what you think!

Is the “no fish mogging” rule hardened business at work, or something more noble and artistic? Let us know!

Quote taken directly from Big Bear Butt’s post .

Find Big Bear Butt’s homepage at http://thebigbearbutt.com/ .

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Appearance is everything

Now that the news of the forthcoming Transmogrification tools in WoW Patch 4.3 has settled in, many bloggers are starting to speculate about which bit of gear has the best look. I can the impression that a lot of people are planning their perfect appearance in advance, with some players even starting to grind old world instances already.

The Dreamy Druid has a list of best picks for druids. I’ve always thought that druids have been lucky enough to have some of the best tier sets over the years, and Melyanna’s selection shows them all off well.

What could be cooler than killing baddies in metaphorical high heels?

For hunters, Morynnne at Marks-365 continues her Hunter Tier Transmogrification Guide with a list of belts and boots. There are some great images here, particularly in the main guide. I don’t think Id’ even seen the hunter Tier 1 set before, but I like it.

Even WoW Insider is getting in on the act, with a post today looking at the different warlock tiers. There’s a definate aura of warlockophelia in the air:

[O]h, tier 5. This is perhaps the signature warlock tier set for many players. It offers everything that you could ever want out of a set: It’s excessively dark, it shows that warlocks will do whatever it takes to defeat their enemies, and just overall is the core of what makes a warlock a warlock and not a weak-willed mage.

If you are a ‘weak-willed mage’, you might be interested in Disciplinary Action’s list of Mage, Warlock and Priest tier gear. This one’s pretty extensive, so there’s plenty to choose from.

Personally, I’m more excited about changing the appearance of weapons that I am of gear. My Warmace of Menethil was hard-won, and it pained me to have to stop using it. It’ll be nice to have it back, even if only in appearance.

I’ll leave you with one final post from Markco at Just My Two Copper. I’m not even going to pretend that there’s a link to any of today’s other posts, but when one of the best gold-making bloggers out there posts a list of 400 WoW Gold Tips I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you in his direction.

Quotes, as always, taken directly from the relevant posts.

Have you picked your perfect outfit yet? Have you started farming old content? Let us know in the comments.

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Tales of loss

It’s Hugh ‘s birthday this week, so he’s taking a few days off and leaving the Pot to lowly ol’ me. Don’t worry – I’ll keep it bubbling away nicely. Speaking of birthdays, today’s first link goes to Rank 4 Healing Touch with congratulations on a Blogiversary. I’m not entirely sure that’s a word, but I’m willing to let it slide just this once.

I have two stories for you today, and both are tales of loss. This post on Are We New At This expresses one player’s pain and frustration at the news of Patch 4.3’s sexy Transmogrification facilities. Why pain? Well …

For five years the Tier 2 set collected dust in my bank. I would take it out infrequently when we had a retro-vanilla-WoW party in Ironforge, but other than that it just remained in my bank, unwanted, useless, sad. Two months prior to quitting WoW in May, I deleted the set to make space for a lot of other items I was stock-piling. Two months after I quit, Transmorgification was announced.

Ouch. I sympathize. I’m sure I’m not the only player who went through a mental inventory when Transmogrification was announced, cursing every piece of great-looking gear that I’d thrown away to make more room in my bank.

Of course, from Blizzard’s point of view (as many commentators have speculated) this is probably great news. Forcing a player to actually possess the gear she wants to ‘fake’ with transmogrification will result in a influx of players revisiting old, low-level content. It’s a bit of a cheap trick, perhaps, but that won’t stop many players farming for items that they had in their bank a year ago. I know – I’ll be one of them.

Today’s second tale of loss is a slightly more optimistic one, and comes from Analogue at Looking For More. The reason I love this post so much is simply because of the enthusiasm and affection for the raid team that glows through every word. Those of us who are lucky enough to have found a great group of regular raiders will know just how valuable that can be, and just how much fun we can have on every the most wipe-filled raids.

It was getting late, and we had a good attempt, got through a whole cycle and mostly a second. We were tempted to call it but…. we’re progression raiders, and at some point we have to act like it, so we called for one last good attempt. … that wipe felt like a kill, to me. We can get this kill, it’s just a matter of time. We’ve learned to dance.

The Melting Pot staff went a-raiding last night, after a month-long hiatus. Our 10-man raid had taken a bruising, and 5 of us were playing roles we’d never taken before. It was chaotic, it was messy, and it was – at times – a bit rubbish … but it was great fun. Next week, we’ll do even better. As Analogue so eloquently puts it : we’ve learned to dance.

Quotes taken directly from the quoted posts: ‘Transmorgificate my Fist in Your Face’ or ‘Too Little Too Late’ and When A Wipe Feels Like A Win .

How about you? Is a wipe always just a wipe? Are you cursing the day you vendored your Tier 2 set? Let us know in the comments.

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Transmogrification! The pros and the cons

Blizzard are feeling either a bit threatened or extremely inventive, to judge from the onslaught of announcements yesterday. Void storage! Loads of dungeons! No more threat! Deathwing’s Butt-Crack!

(Well, OK, his back. We iz raidin on it, apparently.)

And, of course, Trans… Mogrifi… CATION! Yes, Blizzard have gotten their RP on, and will now be allowing us to change the appearance of items to look like entirely different items, opening up a world of possibility for RP gear, low-level instance runs, and high profits on Black Mageweave Leggings.

And you know what a big announcement like this means – yes, that’s right – a list post!

So, in the “OMG AWESUM DRESSES!” camp (which, I should stress, firmly includes me), we have:

  • The Big Bear Butt himself is very, very, very excited: “Well, kiss the clown suit goodbye, my friends, and say hello to a whole new game of planning your special outfit and then going out there and GETTING IT.”
  • Matthew McCurley at WoW Insider thinks this marks the end of a major theory in WoW design: “With transmogrification signaling the end of the silhouette era, could this possibly mean that with the next expansion, potentially concerning oft-rumored Pandaria, that we could see the inclusion of WoW’s first bi-factional race? “
  • Typhoon Andrew is excited that this change allows us to have “signature” looks like our favourite fantasy heroes: “There are npcs in WoW that are known by their weapons, characters in films and books (etc) that are linked to the weapons they wield and the equipment they carry. Indy’s whip & gun from the Indiana Jones films, Elric’s sword from the novels, all sorts of Final Fantasy memes.”

And on Ian Hislop’s team – no, wait – in the “Erm, yes, but aren’t there some problems?” camp we have:

  • Blessing of Kings is concerned that this change will stagnate the game: “I guarantee that the vast majority of paladins will be wearing T2 Judgement from now until the end of time. Judgement is awesome. But its time has come and gone. New tier sets will just not be as exciting as before when everyone wears the best of the old ones.”
  • Big Bear Butt then heard that, for some idiotic reason, we won’t be able to transmogrify to legendaries: “How completely frakkin’ stupid! If the whole point is that you have to possess the item in your own inventory, then why in the hell would you NOT want to be able to display that you have a legendary? Why?”
  • And Marks 365 likes the idea a lot, but is concerned about having to collect all that gear all over again: “The problem? I no longer have any of my Tier 4, 5, 7, 8, or 9 sitting around. Did I have it at one point? Absolutely. Does this mean I’m going to have to go back and farm it again? While it might be fun to do for one or two sets, I don’t want to have to run ToC again. Ever.”

Are you looking forward to TransMo with unbridled joy and a closet full of old armour? Will you be starting up old-content raids to get the cool stuff? Do you think there are problems? Or do you think that there’s a problem most people haven’t spotted with the idea?

Quotes taken directly from their respective posts.

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