Armour art and set appearances – Getting dull and boring?
I did not play during Vanilla or BC, but I would have to say that my favourite pieces so far are the sets and pieces from that content. Actually a few of the “green” sets from those expansions are my favourites, such as the Battleforge set, Ornate Mail set, Felcloth, Revenant Plate set, Conqueror’s Plate (which was a nightmare to farm for my Paladin), and many others besides. Dungeon sets from those times also feature prominently, such as Feralheart/wildheart and Shadowcraft.
Probably the most important thing that all my favourite transmog gear has in common is the simpler, bold colours (except for my druid in most part, though previous sets have followed that trend). And if you follow the AH prices of world drop green items, some models can get into the value of thousands of gold (e.g. Glorious Breastplate / Glorious Legplates, Hibernal Robe, Elegant Robes just to name a few). Suggesting that players avidly search for this kind of gear too – and are maybe willing to pay large sums of money. Since I never played in the expansions these things came from, nostalgia isn’t a very good explanation of why I prefer the models over those from Wrath and Cataclysm, and judging by other people’s sets I’m probably not the only one. In my mind, most of the sets (especially druid sets) from Wrath are horribly ugly, example being tier 10, or Cataclysm tier 12 (mostly the shoulders). Ironically, one of the most common druid transmog sets I see other than Classic and BC is actually Cataclysm’s Stormrider’s Garb (tier 11), which is also probably the most boldly colourful set since BC, which isn’t hard to believe as it’s an eye catching set. I am yet to see a druid rocking transmogged Tier 10.
Now obviously different people are going to have different ideas about what they think looks good. I mean some people think this looks good (or in my case, ideas about what looks bad). And as in this previous example, sometimes people will transmog something not because the design or colours are good, but purely because of how much skin it shows. (I’ve said this before, more skin does not = better.) I believe that the robes from AQ (Robes of the Guardian Saint, Robes of the Battleguard, Vestments of the Shifting Sands etc) are a combination of the two, but mostly in the category of “shows a lot of skin” as there’s almost no shoulders that actually match them.
On the turn-side however, for some reason I see people still doing ICC for transmog (I don’t know why, except for weapons; I’ll admit WotLK had some nice weapons).
The explanation for more “boring” colour schemes on newer models being that mismatched, boldly coloured armour looks rather comical, and I can definitely see that. But the fact that “there were a lot of requests for more toned down armor sets that would allow for better looks when mixing and matching pieces between different sets” doesn’t really fly anymore. Afterall, many (if not most) people transmog their current sets anyway, unless their tier actually looks good. And if they don’t transmog an entire set, if something really doesn’t match (like a weight-lifting belt) it’s probably common practice to mog that if not everything else. So why do we still get dull and boring armour sets?
Just look at the coveted BMAH transmog items. Sure, they’re based on classic sets of gear. But their colours are still made to be bold and appealing, not dull like that dusty hallway mat that no one is really sure what colour it originally was. It’s obvious that Blizzard’s designers can see a player desire for not just the older models (which they would explain away as “nostalgia”) but strong colours and designs, or just simple, striking lines.
The next reason is that it’s easier to farm the sets from these expansions. That is definitely true, unless you’re counting world drops from Vanilla or BC… then I’m afraid RNG drops makes for much more hair tearing frustration than more difficult-to-solo content. I will say though, if there was a set I really liked and really wanted from content that I could not solo, that would not stop me from going after it (except for my lower alts). In fact, as far as difficulty is concerned I actually farmed (and transmuted) the mats for the Frozen Shadoweave set (which involves large amounts of BC Primal mats) for my mage, which is probably the lengthiest transmog set I’ve farmed so far. If there’s something I really want, it doesn’t really matter how difficult it is to get (except I usually draw the line at spending thousands of gold).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for bright, pastel colours (like a bride gives to her bridesmaids so they don’t take the focus from her) on every piece of gear, but I think sometimes simpler colour combinations with nice designs and lines is much better than bland, colourless sets. In fact, this model is one my my favourite cloth pieces, yet it basically only has 3 colours, and two are black and white. I mean, who really thought it would look good to have dirt-brown tier for druids, for example?
I’ll finish this off with an apt quote from The Hunger Games:
“The girl pulls off a headdress of leafy branches and tosses it behind her without bothering to look where it falls. Johanna Mason. From District 7 Lumber and Paper, thus the tree…. She ruffles up her spiky hair and rolls her wide-set brown eyes. “Isn’t my costume awful? My stylist’s the biggest idiot in the Capitol. Our tributes have been trees for forty years under her”…. Johanna unzips the rest of her tree, letting it drop to the floor, and then kicks it away in disgust…. “That’s better.”