Artifact transmogs will be available for every spec in Shadowlands
Well, maybe not every spec — the language being used by Lead Game Designer Morgan Day is a bit more ambiguous than that — but it’s a definite shift away from where we are now, with each Artifact appearance locked to the spec that the original Artifact was for. For example, using the weapons I’m familiar with, when I want to use the various Artifact appearances of Strom’kar, the Warbreaker, I have to be in Arms spec. To switch my weapons to the Warswords of the Valarjar, I have to switch specs to Fury. Meanwhile, if I’m going to tank a dungeons and I want to switch my weapons to use the Scale of the Earth-Warder and its accompanying sword Scaleshard, it’s not enough to have a sword and shield equipped, I have to actually be in Protection spec for it to work.
Now, according to the interview Morgan Day gave to MrGm (thankfully preserved at Wowhead) Blizzard is considering changing the system so it’s not based on your spec, but on weapon types. That’s a little vague — will it mean that you can transmog the weapon over any kind of weapon someone of that spec could equip, or will the transmog need to be in a similar weapon category? For example, right now on the Shadowlands alpha, I can transmog the Warswords of the Valajar over 1H weapons because the Artifact appearance is linked to the spec, not the weapon type. Will these changes mean that I’ll only be able to put the Warsword appearances over 2H weapons? Will it only work for 2H swords, or for all 2H weapons, the way I can currently transmog a sword appearance over a staff or a polearm because as a Warrior I can equip both types of weapons?
And what about edge cases? I can equip a sword and a shield, because I’m a Warrior — will I be able to transmog my Scale of the Earth-Warder appearances over my 2H weapons? I somehow think that’s pretty unlikely, and I expect the inverse will also be true and I won’t be able to transmog the Warswords over my shield when tanking. Just like I wouldn’t expect to see Hunters transmogging Talonclaw over their bows and guns. Don’t get me wrong — I still love the idea of being able to use my Balance of Power Strom’kar appearance when I’m in Fury spec, and I hope they do this, I’m just cognizant that there are likely going to be limitations to this system. Right now, for example, you can transmog to The Silver Hand in Holy Spec even though you’re using a shield and 1H weapon, and I’d like to see that continue.
We’ll find out exactly how this is going to work and what its limitations will be — Mr. Day specifically said that your spec must be able to use the weapon type in question to mog to it, but technically a Prot Warrior can use a 2H sword and an Arms Warrior can use a Shield and 1H sword. I’m eagerly awaiting to see how this works out. If nothing else, my Death Knight will have a lot more options when I get to use the various Unholy Artifact appearances while tanking.
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