Removing requirement for chest slot in transmog a move towards feminism in “World of Warcraft”
Mar 24 2019

This week, the World of Warcraft team announced they were going to loosen the transmog options, which include hiding the chest piece for characters, which reminds me of of the semi-famous Chris Metzen story from BlizzCon in 2014 wherein he describes his daughter's reaction to the dragon aspects. Namely, he wanted to know why the women dragons were basically wearing bikinis and the men were wearing actual clothing. He didn't have an answer for her:

"My daughter tools me out about it. She saw a World of Warcraft cinematic of the Dragon Aspects, and my daughter was like, 'Why are they all in swimsuits?' And I was like, 'I don't know. I don't know anymore.'"

The quality of life change with transmog armor - the ability to change the way armor looks, limited to your armor type (e.g., cloth, leather, weapon) - has allowed a lot of variety in how characters look. This change came in "Mists of Pandaria" and allows you to use any piece of armor you've personally looted and had binded to yourself (i.e., so you'd have to equip ). It's an imperfect system and does have restrictions that frustrate users, including not allowing a player to hide their axe for a fist weapon instead. However, it enables players to showcase their characters in a wide variety of ways, and it's even spawned a weekly event called "Trial of Style complete with rewards like the "Fashionable Undershirt.

The entirety of transmog is a cosmetic change, although players now take loot and grind old content for the sake of having choice pieces to complete their looks. It was honestly a great change, and I didn't know I wanted it until it existed, even though I typically only change transmog on my main character once a year. However, it is a big deal with my guild, who will pull out the Expedition Yaks every time we can so we can both repair and fix our transmog when we get new, visible pieces on raid nights.

One big argument behind it is that characters don't look unmatched and ridiculous, example courtesy of Penny Arcade.

Penny Arcade: The Ungift, Part 2

However, the real boon to transmog (in my opinion) is that it allows players to really customize their characters to look like how they want it to, and that does include the ability to make characters look "slutty" - to the point where "slutmog" is a term to describe characters who are not well-covered. And honestly, isn't that a good thing? I don't do it myself, but feminism includes welcoming all women, including women who want to show off, sex workers, and eliminating slut shaming. It should also support men who want to showcase their bodies, as well, and eliminating the need to have a chest show in the game. That probably isn't the intention; that's probably just to loosen restrictions preventing characters showing off their characters, including tattoos on allied races (why have chest tattoos if we can't see them ever?).

To bring this all back around to the quote about the dragon aspects, there is a reddit thread that mocks Metzen for his quote from /r/wow/ that exemplifies my entire frustration with the dragon aspects/NPCs that look this way but my defense of transmogs including but not limited to revealing choices:

"Because girls everywhere HATE skimpy armor in fantasy", which then links to an imgur album all about revealing cosplays.

The difference is player choice (and cosplayer choice) in this instance. With NPCs, I have no say but do see that this is how developers see me. If I choose it? Then it's a choice and I'm not forcing the entire player base to act like the authority for all the dragon aspects is also the WoW version of adult Starfire where she exists to be a vision for the players who'd find that sexy first, *then* a figure with actual power who I ought to pay attention to second. A player choosing it is just a peer, even a peer I might respect and see every day. Back to blog →