I hate the quandary between stats versus looks in MMOs. That's why I love transmogrification; it lets you copy the appearance of one magical item onto another. In practice that means you can take two items: one powerful, one dapper and combine them to make a pretty thing with great stats.
The concept is
, but it wasn't introduced to World of Warcraft until last November's patch 4.3. One man - appropriately known as
- saw potential for extreme virtual wealth.
The Mogfather's goal was to prove how profitable the transmogrification could be. Players aren't able to sell any products created by the process, but that didn't deter the entrepreneur. He started buying up auctions for cheap armour that looked cool: "When I looked at those armor sets that were primarily made up of lower-level items from The Burning Crusade and vanilla, my design eye kicked in," the Mogfather told
. And he did all this before patch 4.3 landed.
Then, once the new feature hit, he relisted his designer items at a higher price based purely on their aesthetic appeal. "I took the pricing spread of fashion and brought it to my markets."
People wanted to look cool, and were willing to pay top dollar for the privilege. 45 days later the Mogfather hit WoW's gold cap of one million gold. Then he decided to give his fortune away: "In all seriousness, giving away that much gold has been pretty difficult," says the Mogfather. He has experienced four insta-bans after all.
It started with a gift of 400K to a random player. Blizzard assumed the Mogfather was a gold seller and instantly banned him. Then he gave 100k to 100 players and got rebanned But over time he established some "fans" within Blizzard's customer service team who realised his wealth and generosity were genuine. According to The Mogfather they would be the ones to release him from his "prison cell" after each major giveaway.
Eventually, the Mogfather started targeting his gifts to promote his business: "I gave half a million gold to players who strutted around in their transmog outfits. So in a way, it was my way of giving back to the community that I had taken all the gold from." He was a bit like a modern day, fashion-conscious Robin Hood.
For more on The Mogfather's exploits, read the full interview on
, or follow him on