If your armor looks like [this]. then it is very powerful and you should be worshiped for having it. It is this need to show off stats that has driven gear design, the need for everything to be 'distinctive', for shoulders to grow ever-larger, and for nothing to ever look like anything else.
That is no longer the case. Blizzard is finally allowing armor to look like something other than the original model. Is this possibly the end of stat-worship?
Under this new system, we can parade, not our latest gear, but our oldest. Stats and appearance have been separated. This could mean that the game does not need to be driven by stats, but by something else. Aesthetics? Personal choice?
I'm not actually optimistic about this. If anything, it can be the opposite. Devs can add stats more easily, adding gear faster and faster, since now new armor doesn't need to look good or distinctive. If we don't need to see it, they don't need to make us want to see it.
This will probably trigger a brief rush into old instances and content, effectively adding content back in, temporarily. But that will end soon and will be unlikely to have any major change on player interaction. The instances could all be soloed. Some of the raid bosses as well. So we'll see some more people flying to instances and making a few more raids, before everyone has the appearance they want or give up on it. Then it's back to the stat grind.