Since Assassin's Creed Valhalla launched last year, one of the features most requested by players was the ability to change the appearance of armor and weapons while still keeping their stats. This is often called 'transmog'—a term coined by Blizzard—and is pretty common in RPGs these days, as players want to look fashionable without having to potentially strap on weaker gear. What's the point of being a Viking badass if you can't look good doing it?
Valhalla's 1.2 update, which adds a bunch of things including being able to transmog gear, should have been good news for players. But many are pissed at how Ubisoft went about implementing the feature.
Over on the Assassin's Creed subreddit, a thread complaining about the new transmog feature has racked up more than 400 comments. The big issue is that players have to spend 50 silver (an in-game currency) each time they transmog a piece of gear. Just as annoyingly, they can't do it anywhere but have to return to their home base and talk to a specific vendor. That's extra frustrating because Assassin's Creed Odyssey let players transmog their stuff for free without having to go anywhere to do it.
"I was so looking forward to transmog because we all knew it was coming at some point and when it was announced yesterday I literally screamed at my monitor," wrote one redditor. "That was until I read the patch notes and I just couldn't wrap my head around it. It's a downgraded system and I'm like...WHY...?"
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"There is no logical reason for Montreal to take a perfectly fine transmog system [...] and [turn] it into a convoluted mess," writes another. "It’s like [Ubisoft] Montreal took one look at Odyssey’s transmog system and then sat down to brainstorm on how they could make it super tedious to change weapon and gear appearance while throwing in a silver sink to make it even more tedious on players."
That silver tax on transmogging appears to be the main point of contention for many players. The currency isn't that hard to get, but the quickest sources of it come from hidden treasures and exploration activities that can only be completed once. After that, players will have to play gambling minigames in order to make more silver, which feels like pointless busywork. A lot of players worry that there aren't enough ways to continually farm more silver to keep up with having to spend 50 of it each time they want to swap out their gear for a new appearance. And because silver can also be bought directly with real money, some feel like Ubisoft is nudging them to spend even more money on the game.
Microtransactions have been a contentious issue with plenty of Ubisoft games, but they feel increasingly frustrating in Assassin's Creed given it's purely singleplayer. Odyssey, for example, sold boosts that increased how quickly your character would level up, which felt gross when it became clear the main story had a lot of padding and even restricted story quests until players reached a certain level. Valhalla, thankfully, is much less grindy—and there are no premium level boosts—but it's clear that players are still frustrated by how microtransactions continue to worm their way into different parts of the game.