Earlier today, we reported on a new purchasable item being added to World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. Blizzard added a transmogrification set titled the Sprite Darter Transmog Set, an 8-piece set of fae-inspired appearances.
This set of armor was purely for appearance/transmog purposes, with no items or stat-focused armor part of the set at all. Additionally, this set was only obtainable by purchasing it through the store, either as a promotion for a 6-month sub or to be purchased alone for $20 from the store.
However, many fans have responded negatively to the set for a variety of reasons. There’s a few things at work here, and understand that this is a conversation around a few loud voices and not the community at large, but the precedent being set makes this vital to discuss.
For one thing, the Sprite Darter set is extremely well made. Compared to other gearsets in the game, including mythic drops, there’s a clear level of care that went into the set that the rest of the game content generally doesn’t seem to see.
Now, why on Azeroth would high-quality products be a problem? In general, they aren’t, but this particular instance poses a bit of a dilemma.
Many players are calling foul that the well-made and properly animated set is locked behind a paywall while “lower-quality” gear is left in the game for free. Players are accusing Blizzard of preserving the best items for the higher paying customers instead of making everything up to the same standard.
The same has long been said about other items in the store, such as the mounts present within. Why would Blizzard continue to make high-quality in-game content when they could just microtransaction it out instead?
And, to be honest, it’s a fair gripe – the set is considerably better made than most other sets. Individual parts have their own physics, and there are even full animations to some pieces such as the wings, which few other items have.
That isn’t to say it’s flawless – Blood Elf eyebrows still clip through as they do for everything else, for whatever reason. But the level of polish and prestige here is apparent in comparison to free items.
Many are accusing Blizzard of setting this precedent to hike up sales. Another qualm is that the product generated money only for them rather than a charity as many of their promotions do, but that’s not quite a fair critique to lobby – while it would be great for Blizzard to be as charitable as possible, their products and profits are their own in the end.