Vitae Aeternum: The pros and cons of New World’s transmog


In my very first Vitae Aeternum two years ago, I criticized some of the ways New World lacks character customization. It took a while, but one of my key criticisms from that has now finally been addressed: Transmog is here.

Like a lot of things New World does, transmog’s implementation has been a little divisive, so today I’d like to look at what transmog does right and where it can improve.

New World‘s transmog is an interesting case because it works differently from any other version of the feature I’ve seen. Usually with appearance systems, the cost is applied each time you change the appearance of your gear, or more rarely for unlocking outfit slots. In New World, the cost is applied to unlocking appearances in the first place.

Let’s do a quick rundown of how it works. Whenever you acquire a piece of gear by any means, its appearance is instantly and automatically added to your library. You can get rid of the gear, but its appearance will always remain in your library.

You still won’t be able to use that appearance for transmog, though. To do that, you need to spend a token to unlock the appearance. Once that’s done, it functions like any of the cash shop or Twitch drop skins; you can apply that skin to your gear as many times as you want, for free, forever.

There’s some new additional perks, as well. Skins are now applied to items rather than gear slots, so you can automatically change looks when you change your equipment. As someone who likes using different skins for my heavy armour and light armour sets, this is a big time-saver.

The transmog update has also finally introduced the ability to dye cash shop skins, which opens up a whole new frontier of cosmetic options. There are a lot of skins, especially from earlier in the game’s history, that had cool designs but questionable colour schemes, and I’m excited to see what people come up with now that they can be dyed.

There is also an option when applying skins to apply an entire set with one click, though this is applied inconsistently. One of my favourites, the springtime outfit, doesn’t have the option, for example.

A similar odd quirk is that a lot of skins are named differently in the transmog UI compared to the items you acquire them from, which can make searching your collection a little difficult.

But the controversy mainly comes from the availability of transmog tokens. They can be purchased from the cash shop, but if you want to acquire them without paying, a significant grind awaits you.

Much of the furor centres around the fact that tokens drop only from elite chests, at a 1% drop rate and with a limit of one earned per week.

Reading that probably has your eyes bugging out of your head, but while it is bad, it isn’t necessarily as bad as it initially sounds, so let me run through the many mitigating circumstances.

Firstly, the random drops aren’t the only way to earn tokens. They’re also available from the season pass — three from the free track, five from the premium track. That’s still not a lot, especially if you don’t upgrade to premium, but it’s something.

If you do decide to buy them directly, that price is also pretty reasonable. A token will run you 2500 Marks of Fortune (roughly $2.50), with discounts available for buying them in large bundles. This means you can put together a transmog outfit for less than the cost of most cash shop outfits.

We also shouldn’t underestimate the convenience of being able to swap those skins on and off freely at any time. Even if the cost of changing outfits in other games is small, it’s still a cost, and I find it feels very liberating to not have to worry about it.

I would certainly take this over Guild Wars 2‘s system, which also uses limited charges but consumes them on each appearance change. Devout players may have charges to spare, but as a more casual player I’m constantly looking between the couch cushions for spare charges, and the idea of having multiple looks per character is for me a fleeting dream.

Finally, ask yourself how many skins you really need to unlock. I love collecting transmog appearances in games, but if I’m being honest with myself, I mostly just keep going back to the same one or two outfits per character. Part of me is almost happy to have the limited availability of tokens to save me from my hoarding instinct.


All that being said, yeah, transmog tokens are still too hard to get. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to keep them rare enough to make the paid option appealing, but Amazon could definitely afford to be more generous without invalidating the paid option.

A low drop rate or a weekly limit would be OK if everything in the game had a chance to drop tokens, but both together combined with the fact that endgame group PvE activities are the only source is just too punitive.

I can see two potential good compromises here.

One would be to keep the current low drop rate but remove the weekly limit and give it a chance to drop off of literally everything in the game. No matter what you do or how you play, you’d get transmog tokens eventually. The cash shop would be just for those who wanted a more reliable source.

The other could be to keep the weekly limit but make it extremely easy to acquire your weekly token. Make it like a 75% drop chance, and once again a chance on everything in the game. Similar to the current diamond gypsum, your weekly transmog token becomes something you’re pretty much guaranteed to get as long as you log into the game at all. This allows people to slowly but reliable build up their transmog selection, with the cash shop as a fast track.

If I were Amazon, I would also start making transmog tokens a bonus reward from all sorts of sources. Expensive cash shop bundles? Throw in a few tokens. Pre-order the expansion? Have an extra couple tokens. Twitch drops, Prime Gaming rewards? Believe it or not, more transmog tokens!

However, despite the issues with acquiring tokens, I still think this has been a real positive addition to the game. The normally negative New World subreddit has been awash with people excitedly sharing their transmog outfits. It’s been a real delight to see.

New World’s Aeternum is a land of many secrets. In MassivelyOP’s Vitae Aeternum, our writers delve those secrets to provide you with in-depth coverage of all things New World through launch and beyond.
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