Hunter (non)-transmog: Black leather-garbed sniper

Mushan, the “temporarily black-garbed sniper”

(Aka “Why some males play female toons” or “The problem of shoulders in WoW” or “If only hunters could wear leather…” or something along those lines)

One of the things I like least about gear in World of Warcraft is… just about everything about the shoulder slot. Other than the stats, of course.

For the first few years that I played WoW, I played female characters more seriously than males. My paladin (my oldest surviving toon) and druid (second-oldest) are hangers-on from that era. Since 2010, when I created Mushan, I’ve made male toons almost exclusively – hunter, mage, warrior, alt hunter, replacement mage, new-for-MoP-hunter…

(Although I did make a night elf female rogue more recently. And I don’t like rogues, and she never gets played anymore, so she may get the “Delete” treatment when character slots start getting tight on this server again.)

At any rate, I tried to figure out why I preferred females in WoW a few years back on my old blog. I wrote a long defense of males playing female toons, standing up for those who, like me, prefer females over males in part because they are just designed better aesthetically, or are animated better. Of course, the most popular argument among meat-heads is “If I’m going to look at an ass all day, it may as well be a female’s ass.” I’m not of this school of thought. You’re looking at a digitally-rendered cartoon ass covered in armor – or, at least, it should be covered in armor, and if it’s not, you’re doing something wrong. Calm your hormones, guys.

In my case, there were several issues.

With night elves, my preferred character race, and humans, with whom I’ve dallied on occasion, the females are both better looking and have more graceful movements. Human males have pretty poor faces, and both races look like dopes when they run. Females look graceful when they run and fight. Male night elves look better when they fight than human males – unless they’re casters, in which case humans just look better than night elves, no matter the gender. However, now that humans have learned to hunt, they do have the advantage over both male elven races, who insist on holding their bows incorrectly… but I’ve learned to get over that with Mushan.

Additionally, I’ve come to realize that the shoulder issue has been a big deterrent for me. I love WoW – play it all the time, have for years – but the shoulder looks are some of my least favorite parts of the game.

Did you see the Tier 13 mail shoulders? Did you see them on a male night elf? Mushan looked like he played tight end for the Stormwind Dragon-corpse-parts AAFL (Azerothian American-football League) team. Of course, I transmogged the shit out of every set of shoulders I got as soon as I could, but even then I had to look hard at every available set before deciding on some looks that I didn’t find absolutely garish (or completely stupid; or both).

Shoulders look less offensive, in general, on female night elves, draenei, and humans. For a while, I couldn’t get past that.

Dwarves have less of a problem with most of these issues. While I prefer male dwarves to females, they both have fine animations and their gear looks appropriate on them, for the most part. And male dwarves just look awesome.

At any rate, thanks to the power of transmogrification, I can minimize the horridness of the shoulders I equip on male toons by picking sets that have decent-looking ones that don’t make me look like either an orc or a douche.

I still wish that Blizzard would allow us to hide shoulders, but they’re continually stubborn on this issue, claiming that it adds a level of… something to the game.

Yeah… it adds a level of “it makes me transmog to something less annoying.” If I could hide them, I would hide them as soon as the function became available. On almost every toon.

– – –

Enough about the male-female thing for now.

A little over a week ago, our guild (plus friends) went into Raid Finder for our usual Sunday night struggle.*

*I prefer to run Raid Finder on Tuesdays – we go in, mostly random but also mostly skilled players, wipe the floor with the bosses, collect our goodies and leave. But the guild has people online on Sundays, so that’s when we go as a group. As a consequence, I run RF way too much… and wipe a lot on Sundays.

At any rate, when we got to Will of the Emperor, Ela hit me with the Ninja wand from Hallow’s End.

This transformed me into a male human ninja. A ninja with no shoulders. A ninja with a bow. And a pet.

A ninja with no shoulders who fires arrows from the correct bow position.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I was in love.

I was in love with my black-garbed, shoulder-armor-less, upright-position-bow-firing, male hunter.

Remember Agent Kearnen in Westfall, or more recently in Jade Forest? Or the SI:7 snipers that accompany you along the road to Grim Batol in Twilight Highlands? Ever since I saw them when Cataclysm launched, I wanted to have that SI:7 sniper look. This is pretty close to that.

I STILL didn’t have the presence of mind to take a screenshot in combat. But coming from a guy who plays a toon that gets into a warrior stance and then shoots his bow or crossbow like Rambo uses a machine gun, this was heaven.

I don’t take back everything – anything, for that matter – that I’ve said about how much I don’t like human males.

However, I could do this. If I could play a toon that could wear the Scouting set (or a mail set that looked just like it), sans shoulders, with a bow, I would play a human male. I would race-change. Because the way that it looked in combat was exactly what I want from the game.

Not that I don’t love Mushan – I have a great setup, transmog-wise, that allows me to really enjoy my character. He looks classy. He actually looks great in combat. His shoulders aren’t all that intrusive. He doesn’t poke a hole in his brain when he aims.

But… that look in the screenshot above is how I would prefer to look. And the vertical bow position is also something I covet.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share that with you.

– – –

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


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