Transmogging heirlooms: it's just not that big a deal

(Note: When I say Paragon in this post, I mean anyone who exploited the LFR loot bug. I am simply condensing this group into a single entity for simplicity.)

There has been a great deal of kerfuffle this week over some bugs and glitches that slipped through the cracks when 4.3 went live. Everyone's been all up in arms over these topics - on the forums, on Twitter, on blogs - and we're all weighing in with our various opinions.

The first is the Looking for Raid exploitation, through which players who had already gotten their weekly chance at LFR loot from Dragon Soul bosses could bypass this limitation and receive more loot. The big news, of course, is that top-end progression guilds such as Paragon took advantage of this exploit.

Blizzard laid down the law, handing out temporary suspensions that will put these guilds behind in progression, as well as removing the ill-gotten gains. Players have been pleased and satisfied with these actions. It seems that most of us feel that these players definitely should be punished (since this exploit is basically cheating) and that the punishment is appropriate, and deserved.

I agree completely. I think the punishment fit the crime, and that they should be disciplined. I'd have slapped their wrists harder, personally, but whatever. Moving on.

The second incident is the fact that heirloom items have been keeping their transmogrified appearances when mailed to other characters, despite the very well-known fact that this should not be happening. (One of the earliest transmogrification rules was that mailing an item would strip it of any transmogs.) Many players have been overjoyed by this surprise, and have gleefully transmogrified their heirlooms to make their alts or bank toons look all fancy and snazzy, or really, just different than the same old boring heirlooms they've been staring at for a few years now.

However, this bug was recently hotfixed out (all items now properly lose their transmogrified appearances when mailed), leaving many players quite upset and disappointed that Blizzard would ruin this fun, harmless bug.

To be honest, I don't really see what the fuss is about.

Lack of appreciation for what we DO have

From the outrage and bitterness I've seen on Twitter and on the forums, you would think Blizzard just took away our favorite puppy or something. The vitriol and accusations have been flying hard and heavy - this just proves that they don't want WoW to be fun; oh look, Blizzard has "nerfed fun"; transmogrified heirlooms were too fun, so nope let's remove it, but we'll still leave in boring grinding.

It's apparently the end of the world. Blizzard is ANTI-FUN.

Really, people? This is what we're complaining about? This is worth getting stressed out over?

Have we all forgotten that a week ago we didn't even HAVE transmogrification yet?

It reminds me of the Worgen mount controversy, where players complained and begged Blizzard (deservedly) to please, please give the Worgen some racial mounts. Some people just wanted them, some wanted them for achievements, but regardless, they had good reason to ask.

And so Blizzard did! They announced, tada! You'll be getting horses! And then the players began to rejoice and celebrate, appreciative that their pleas and requests had been answered! Oh wait, that's actually not what happened at all. No, instead of being happy about the announcement, all we heard for a week were complaints about how boring horses are, how drab the appearances were, how X or Y would have been better, how LAZY Blizzard was for using an already-existing model...the list went on and on.

And now, with 4.3, we've finally received what we've been asking Blizzard for, for YEARS. The ability to use old, favorite gear in a cosmetic sense. It took them SO LONG, but transmogrification is finally here!

But oh, we can't use them on heirlooms, so clearly Blizzard are a bunch of jerks and meanies and they hate us and they just don't want us to have any fun.

Guys...this is why we can't have nice things.

Yes, it would be nice to be able to transmog heirlooms. I hate looking at that stupid Warlock robe/shoulders/staff just as much as everyone else! I'm not saying it's not disappointing - it is, especially if you spent a lot of gold transmogging those pieces.

But this much outrage and bitterness? All because Blizzard corrected a "feature" that was never supposed to even exist? I've seen countless people cursing Blizzard out, demanding explanations and justifications from Blizz blues, and even seen a few who have said that this is basically the last straw and that they're ready to walk away from the game in disgust.

Um, here's an idea.

How about just...being happy with what we DO have?

I simply do not understand why so many players are so eager to immediately hoist the Blizzard effigy, torches angrily raised, instead of simply moving on and enjoying the cool new things that were just introduced. Write a forum post, tell Blizzard how you feel, definitely! Let them know how cool it would be to have transmogged heirlooms, by all means. Maybe they'll listen. Maybe they'll implement it - properly and intentionally - in the future.

But why obsess over it? Why let this - let's be honest - incredibly minor incident turn into a big sour spot that is going to ruin your enjoyment of the game?

It would be one thing if they had removed something we've always had and loved. Like if they removed vanity pets? Hell yes, break out the pitchforks, let's riot! Or achievements. They haven't been around that long, but they're an integral part of the game now. Or something that is a crucial part of your character's flavor and history, such as changing the names of a Warlock's demons.

If Blizzard were to remove those, then yes, people would be upset, and their anger would be very justified.

But this? They didn't take anything away from us. At all.

If you only have snarky, cynical things to say about the game, and if you truly do feel Blizzard is such a pit of fiends, why are you even here? It's certainly not enjoyable to listen to. Nobody really enjoys the rantings of a person who is constantly complaining that Blizzard hates them.


I don't know. This drama all just seems so unimportant, when we should be excited about the fact that we even have transmog. Such an explosive response for the removal of something minor that we never had, and were never intended to have, in the first place.

If ever there was an appropriate time for the Twitter hashtag #firstworldwowproblems...

But WHY?

After all, it's harmless, so why did they fix it? Why can't they just let us have our fun?

The answer is simple and we already know why - because it wasn't supposed to work like that.

Maybe there's coding or technical reasons. They did say that programming/resource limitations were why enchants/gems would be removed from items deposited into Void Storage. Or, maybe they don't like the image of a guy fully decked out in glowing Magma Giant armor stepping into Ragefire Chasm while the rest of his party is equipped with torn farmer pants and old clubs. Or maybe they just wanted to maintain control over their game, and keep transmog working the way they originally intended, and not let player demands dictate their decisions.

Should you ask Blizzard to explain their decision? Absolutely! It was disappointing to see them quickly remedy the heirloom bug, primarily because we don't know why it was corrected. I think upset players should definitely poll Blizzard and ask them why, and ask - not DEMAND, but ask - that this bug be turned into a feature, because it's awesome.

But if you think they removed it because it was too fun...come on. You're just stirring up trouble for the sake of trouble. Take a moment and calm down, and just think. They had a reason. It might not be a reason you like, or a reason you want to hear, but they have a reason. And it's not just to be dicks.

The fine art of hypocrisy

I find it quite ironic that these two incidents took place in such rapid succession, considering they are, at heart, the exact same thing. One minute, people are e-high-fiving about the righteous punishment laid down on those vile scum who would dare exploit a bug, and the next, they're stressed and angry that they can no longer use the heirloom transmog bug.

Now of course, obviously there's some significant differences. Getting extra LFR loot is a competitive advantage with game ramifications, while transmogging heirlooms is purely cosmetic and for fun.

And yet, they're both bugs. They're both unintentional, accidental game elements that Blizzard did not want, for whatever reason.

I've also seen a lot of snide comments directed Paragon's way, that they should have known it was wrong, and that even if they happened to find this glitch, it was their responsibility to report it or ticket it instead of taking advantage of it. After all, they signed the Terms of Service. They're obligated to tell Blizzard about any bugs they find, instead of consciously and willingly keeping quiet to keep the bug's existence a secret.

Well, how many of you reported the heirloom bug?

How many tickets did you open about it?

Now, I'm not judging. While I didn't transmog any heirlooms (I have no interest) or exploit LFR, I've kept quiet about bugs in the past because I enjoy them, just like I'm sure many of us have. For instance, I've written about how to sneak lowbie characters in to kill Coren Direbrew, a scenario akin to exploiting LFR, with actual gain - gear, achievements, etc. - to be had.

I've also written about how you used to be able to keep the Tahret Dynasty Mallet and smash it around outside of Uldum, a purely cosmetic bug similar to transmogging heirlooms. I've written a guide on how to get the cool blue cannister backpack, which I use on ALL of my mains. And while I never blogged about it, back in Wrath I helped my friend tame Garwal, the Worgen in Howling Fjord who (with a little trickery) you could tame in Worgen form.

Why did I keep quiet about these bugs instead of reporting them? The same reason you didn't ticket the transmogged heirlooms, and why Paragon didn't ticket the LFR exploit.

Because we didn't want Blizzard to find out.

And guess what? Blizzard did find out about these bugs that I have mentioned, and have since corrected all of them, except the backpack. I'm disappointed, of course. The Coren fix that came with 4.3 was long overdue, so I can't complain about that. But the mallet was hotfixed the day I wrote the post, ending my fun. And I REALLY wanted that Worgen pet. Cripes, if they ever remove the backpack, I will be crushed, because I love how it looks and always wear it.

But you know what? Oh well. WoW goes on.

Disappointment =/= outrage. I know full well these things are not supposed to work this way, so if they get fixed, so be it. I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep over it, or contemplate quitting the game from this "slap in the face." It wouldn't be surprising, and most importantly, it's just not that big a deal.

Hell, if I suddenly get a 3-day suspension for exploiting Coren back in August or whatever, I can't even really be upset! After all, I knowingly did the same as what Paragon did. The gear I got is meaningless, and it doesn't affect anyone at all, but the fact remains that I broke the rules, knowingly and fully aware that I was doing it.

Which is what any player is doing when they are aware of a bug, and instead of reporting it, keeps quiet and uses it for their own enjoyment or gain.

Am I using extreme examples and comparisons? Obviously. And I'm not saying the LFR and heirloom transmog exploits are really equal, due to the "material" gain of one (and the meta ramifications), compared to the purely-cosmetic element of the other.

But I do think there's quite a few players who might want to hold off on morally crucifying Paragon for not reporting a bug when they didn't report theirs either.

In closing, I understand why so many players are upset about the heirloom bug. So you're sick of the heirloom looks, and can't transmog them into Firelands gear? Shrug. Go get some other gear off the AH and make it look like something else, then? We can STILL TRANSMOG HEIRLOOMS now, something that seems to have been forgotten in this whole fuss. We may not be able to have awesome tier sets while we're mucking about in Wailing Caverns, but that doesn't mean we can't still have some fun with our outfits and never have to look at those ugly heirloom models again!

But most importantly, take a breath, guys. Relax. Especially if your blood pressure is up or you're legitimately angry. This is So. Incredibly. Minor. Petition Blizzard, make your case known, ask nicely, yes! Let them know how much players would love to see this feature, and maybe it'll happen. But if you're experiencing genuine real-life stress over this, maybe you should take a step back and count to ten. It's SO not worth it!

After all, what exactly are you getting so mad about?

The appearance of your video game character's hat.

There are things in WoW worth fighting for, like the Real ID fiasco, or even the Warlock pet accident. But this? Transmogging heirlooms so you can look cool while questing in Redridge? Making your bank alt look like they killed Ragnaros?

This isn't one of them.

20 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. gravatar

    To be fair, I both opened a GM ticket (which received a canned response) and a forum thread to let Blizzard know about this, as well as contacted Blizzard CMs on Twitter. I've also stayed quiet on Paragon because... well, to be honest, I don't really care about them, or the raiding "race."

    I've done plenty of things that have later been ruled as exploits, and I don't feel bad about them at all. Not one bit. Jumping the fence in WSG? Yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Casting spells at people from the tops of walls in WG (or ganking players from the top of the ring in VoA?) Done those, too. The grey area of exploits is pretty big in this game, and while there are definite cheats (jumping the fence in AB to capture nodes before the game starts, speed hacks, etc.) there's a lot of rules that just don't make sense.

    I agree with your main point, that this is a minor part of the game and that we should relax about it. I'm on WoW vacation for a reason!

    Let me counter with something I don't think you considered - Blizzard doesn't change their minds unless they get feedback that players are unhappy with something. Like, it just doesn't happen. There may be technical reasons, or policy reasons, that mailing transmogged heirlooms isn't desirable.

    My take on it is that someone on the Blizzard team feels very strongly that this shouldn't happen. That's fine. I posted on the forums and made a ruckus about it so that Blizzard would have the feedback that hey, this is actually an unpopular stance with *some* of our customers.

    The appearance of my level 19 warrior's hat may not be a big deal to you, but it was to me.

    If they ban me for changing it, they ban me for it. I had fun and I'm not going to repent.

    Enjoyed the article, Rades. :)

    December 9, 2011 at 11:23 AM

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    I believe the reason for the stripping of transmogrification from mailed heirlooms is nothing to do with techical reasons, since it was working intermittently otherwise but more to do with the rules they set out for it.

    More specifcally in that it must be something you are able to equip, in the proficiencies, not bypassing class restrictions and something you actually own on that character.

    The latter two I feel being the reasons, that heirlooms would allow both visuals from other classes and from armor/weapons that character does not own.

    December 9, 2011 at 11:33 AM

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    Oh Cyn, ironically - because you've been at the center of all this - I totally wasn't thinking of you as one of the people getting snarky or accusing Blizzard of being anti-fun or anything. I know you've been very disappointed, but I also know you've been doing it the right way - starting forum threads, expressing disappointment (but not RAGE or getting all snide) when not receiving the desired response, etc.

    I really think we SHOULD let Blizzard know how much people want transmogged heirlooms! At the very least, we should get a response as to why this isn't possible. It's clearly desired, and it seems like it wouldn't be hard (but of course, who knows).

    And I'm sorry if I sounded condescending about the level 19 hat - I didn't mean that it wasn't a legitimate thing to care about, just that, in my opinion, it's not worth real-life stress. (Re-reading, it does sound rather strongly-worded. Ah, regret!)

    December 9, 2011 at 11:33 AM

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    I'm actually looking forward to tranmogging my heirlooms while they're on my lower level alts. I think it will help to break up the leveling grind and make it feel like my character is progressing through the levels.

    If I had been able to apply appearances on the heirlooms using my high level characters, it would have been easier to get all the gear to do it, but then I might feel like I don't want to change it, because of the work. How long before I got sick of that particular look, even though I chose it?

    Once upon a time (which really wasn't too long ago) heirlooms didn't exist and a character's changing gear was a visual indication of progression through the world. I would appreciate feeling like my character had "earned" a certain look because she went out and got it or crafted it. I'd like to feel like I can change it every ten levels, or even more frequently if I like, without feeling guilty about all the time I spent on my main gathering up the "perfect" set.

    As long as I take the time to do it, I think transmogging on my alts will turn into a fun adventure!

    December 9, 2011 at 11:39 AM

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    The way I see it, mailing xmogged heirlooms (even if it were legitimate) creates loopholes of sorts.

    "I could dress my Mage up with angel wings for 78 levels, but now I can't because heirloom gear sucks for me. Please fix this so I can have my favorite xmogs with all gear."

    "Other Mages are wearing angel wings, but in order for me to do so...I have to level a Priest? WTF? Why don't they just remove class restrictions?"

    "What's so unique about engineer goggles if everybody can xmog them?"

    December 9, 2011 at 11:41 AM

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    I think Cyn touched on the major point: no one gets to decide what's a big deal for anyone else. I would not even notice if they removed the backpack, but you'd be "crushed". I don't care two wits about demon names, I personally think it'd be funny to RP my demons running away or going incognito on the lam for turning coat on the Burning Legion, but Cyn was devastated about it.

    I was kind of sad about it, but I'm okay just retransmogging my stuff. My priest has a perfectly attractive set of level 40 blues to see her through Fuglands.

    I honestly didn't see anyone really freaking out or threatening to quit the game over this. It was just a fun perk that I wish had been left in, or better explained. "Nerf fun" is a mental hash tag, a slogan, not a detailed policy treaty. "We are the 99%" doesn't adequately sum up the vast wealth differentials between, say, the 99.9 and the .1%, or the 90% and the 10%, let alone corporate personhood or campaign contribution caps, but it points toward and sums up those positions. I don't think anyone can really take "aww, damn, Blizzard nerfed fun :(" as a statement of undying rage.

    If you look at exploits on a continuum, I'd personally put transmogging heirlooms and gaming LFD for free loot on basically completely opposite ends of every spectrum (on the social v single player end, on the achievement v cosmetic scale, on the affecting game mechanics scale, etc.) I think most rational people agree "exploits" cover a lot of ground, and you can rationally set your personal tolerance meter somewhere between the two such that they seem quite black and white.

    - Narci

    December 9, 2011 at 11:43 AM

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    @Narci - re: negativity, I guess I'm just really tired of the constant barrage of people on twitter or blogs just WAITING for a chance to snark about whatever latest sin Blizzard has committed, instead of just enjoying the game. Fun was hotfixed. Fun's been nerfed. They took out the bug to make room for more boring grinds. Stuff like that.

    And, I definitely agree that the two exploits are vastly different things. But there were more than a handful of people REALLY going high-horse morality on Twitter about Paragon, about how it was the principle of the thing etc., and then turning around and complaining that the heirloom bug - which I'm sure THEY didn't ticket - was being fixed. That rankled me more than a little bit.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:00 PM

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    Could be, I try very hard to cut that kind of negativity out of my life, and Twitter's one of the easiest places to ignore it. You may well have been seeing vastly different feedback than I was.

    I personally was quite disappointed. You know I've been struggling to find things to stay engaged with, and transmogging heirlooms WAS engaging. It was probably engaging specifically because it was unusual, and surprising, since it was different than how it was announced. It was fun precisely *because* it felt like you were getting away with something strange, something naughty and a little scandalous. Would the troll village really have been so popular if you could have walked there normally?

    It turns out I am not having trouble parlaying that interest into other, more TOS appropriate, activities. Also I ended up defending a node with *another* level 85 mage wearing the Astralaan robe, and really, that's just COOL.

    PS I hate your comment log in! Lol.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:08 PM

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    Ok, just one more thing about what I was saying up there, since I'm reminded of someone from earlier in my WoW history.

    When I first started playing in a guild with Cynwise (I rolled Alliance, but had been playing Horde and needed a new home) we had a guild leader named Qin who had a paladin. I don't remember the pally's name but she could always be found wearing her lovely Scarlet Crusade set, including the tabard. Now, if Qin had gathered all the gear on one of this high level characters, I don't think he would have been nearly as proud of his pally's beautiful red, white and silver ensemble. He might have enjoyed it, but not really been proud of it.

    I had a similar experience leveling my casters pre-heirloom. I wanted all of them, especially my mages, in the Robes of Arugal with the matching belt and black gloves. Every one. I loved how they looked and I was sad to see the look disappear as I leveled and got new gear. There are only a few outfits as you level that really make you stop and say, "That looks NICE!" I was very happy when I obtained them.

    There is no reason I can't have those same experiences leveling again, even while enjoying the stat and leveling bonuses that are on the heirlooms. I want my casters to wear those lovely black and white robes... but not for 85 levels.

    I've missed gear changing as I level.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:19 PM

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    I generally agree with the post. I think LFR is more nebulous, but I've discussed that a lot elsewhere.

    Mogging I just kind of saw random snippets of discussion about on twitter. But it seemed straightforward to me--I said mostly the same thing as OP. I'd only add: 85's can equip heirlooms. So the bug allowed not only low-levels, but also 85's (at least in town) to ignore the most significant (almost the only) limit on the transmog system: people see your character in gear reflecting something he/she/thon has done. Right from the start, I raised an eyebrow _pretty_ high at all of the "it's such a tiny corner of the game, please look the other way" going around. That this bug wouldn't last long seemed like a foregone conclusion.

    You had fun with it while it lasted. I've done the same with countless bugs, from small to huge (WiseEclipse!) over the years. Discovering something out of place that amuses you and enjoying it while it lasts is part of the fun--Perc and I argued this specifically in our recent post, and Narci just said it above. Getting away with something is fun, but by it's nature temporary. There will always be more to come.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:31 PM

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    I typed this on my computer, so I don't even have DYAC as an excuse for the "it's" there :/ .

    December 9, 2011 at 12:33 PM

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    Blizzard fixed the heirloom transmog mailing bug because it was easy to fix. If it wasn't easy they wouldn't have done it. There are a lot of bigger bugs and issues that have still never been fixed because they are not easy and would be expensive in time commitment and project resources.

    Did Blizzard test that part of the transmog mailing feature? If they did test it and for whatever reason it still slipped through then they may need to update their testing procedures. Yes, it may have worked correctly on the PTR, but from a business perspective it is still a quality assurance issue.

    Ultimately Blizzard alone is responsible for testing and implementing what they put into the game. Players of course do have the responsibility to report bugs and issues, but if we expect every player, or even most players, to do this right away or even in a timely manner that is simply self-delusion.

    December 9, 2011 at 1:22 PM

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    The water elem bug that allowed frost mages to name their elem bug was harmless, and I truly miss it.

    R.I.P. Fizzy

    The other bug that I find useful, but I wouldn't get mad when they fix it is the festive mug bug. It's the one they give out that gives you a slow fall buff, if you take it and don't use it at all, then log out for the night, it stays in your inventory seemly permanently, eventually they run out, but they seem to have a lot of charges. Useful, but hardly gamebreaking, you can get the same effect by being a mage or having one with you.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:07 PM

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    Well put!

    December 11, 2011 at 3:44 AM

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    Thanks for the great post. Its a very nice way of saying suck it up.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:33 AM

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    Very interesting post - blizz has also said that they will be adding more features to tranmog in the future, they just didn't have those features ready yet. So maybe we will get the ability to mail transmogged heirlooms later, once they work out some limits/bugs/whatever. Perhaps they are waiting on (polite) feedback from the players about how they want to use transmog to decide what features to provide.

    December 12, 2011 at 11:23 AM

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    Good post.

    - Gear reflects the things your toon has 'done', allowing Heirlooms to be mogged by stuff done by mains breaks this (even more, as of course Heirlooms by themselves break this already);

    - it makes for a lot of 'clown-suits', nothing breaks immersion like someone in ragged pants and having Gladiator shoulders etc.;

    - it makes all the limitations on e.g. fairly-earned PvP gear trivial and senseless. So Blood Elf Paladins can't mog their gear witrh 60 PvP gear that was specially created for them and they earned fair and square, but scrubby Heirlooms-and-rags alts can walk around with Gladiator pieces? Come on, that makes no sense at all.

    But the emotions are simple: Heirlooms have been the golden-crack of WoW ever since Wrath introduced them, few parts of the game elicit as much emotions as them.

    Not saying the game wouldn't be much better off without them ( with gold pouring out of the yin-yang and levelling made 99% trivial already they are completely unneeded) but it is one of the underlying reasons.

    December 13, 2011 at 12:51 AM

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    I agree with you, don't see the big deal. As I see it, there are 2 very valid choices: mog the heirlooms on the alt you want them on and leave them there or pay 1g each time and keep something you want to mog to.

    I generally only mog the "stained shadowcraft shoulders" because they look horrible. Since the "update" I've just left them on my shammy (although I picked up herrods shoulder and mogged it last night), there are a ton of options, it doesn't seem that limiting, I'm glad its in the game. . .

    December 13, 2011 at 7:25 AM

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    They're too vastly different bugs as far as I'm concerned, one was a bug that only had cosmetic effects and the other one that seriously hampered the raiding progression of anyone unwilling to exploit it.

    It's like you're saying a person who has committed a misdemeanor has no right to complain about their car being stolen because they too once broke the law. You can't treat all crimes (or breaches of the T&C) the same way that would be stupid.

    December 13, 2011 at 11:29 PM

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    It's not that we're not grateful for Transmogging - We are. it's just that they gave us something neat, but it comes with so many restrictions it becomes more trouble than it's worth. It's like Blizz is saying "Have fun, but not too much fun."

    December 23, 2011 at 1:01 AM