Highmaul raid opens today!

It’s Tuesday, and as WoW’s weekly maintenance ends endgame players are gearing up for the first major raid of the expansion: Highmaul.

Or so I’m assuming. As it turns out, a “What’s this over here? Oh look, it’s a tree.” questing mentality and seeming addiction to garrison follower quests are not conducive to increasing a girl’s iLevel.

But for everyone else, the release of Highmaul offers shiny trinkets and, more importantly, a first shot at the Tier 17 transmog models that will define this stage of the expansion. Note that there’s no actual tier gear on offer here; that’s all in Blackrock Foundry this time around, or so it looks. Instead, lookalikes abound and, if it’s the look you want, that’s just as good.

I’ve talked a little about Tier 17 in the past (and probably will again in the future — watch this space), so this time round I want to highlight a few weapons that caught my eye. As followers of this website have probably worked out, my personal style is pretty, not gritty, but even in this age of crudely carved stonework there’s stuff in here for me.

So here we go.

The Bladefist: Fist Weapon, Agility (Normal Mode)

Weapon Transmog - Highmaul - The Bladefist - Fist Weapon

There’s are a couple of trends in the weapons coming out of Highmaul, but none is more visible than this one: size. Seriously, the weapons this raid are comically large, and nowhere is that more visible than The Bladefist. But here, unlike Gor’gah, High Blade of the Gorians, which is frankly a little silly, the size works. Duel-wielding The Bladefist makes a heck of an impression, largely on your enemies’ skulls.

Earthwarped Bladestaff: Staff, Agility (Normal Mode)

Earthwarped Bladestaff - weapons transmog

I have a bit of a dubious relationship with living weapons. While World of Warcraft has a long history of clockwork mechanics and animated particle effects, organic movement has been largely in the form of tentacles and creepy, darting eyes that make me feel vaguely unclean. If you want an example, check out fellow Highmaul drop Spire of Tectus and let it haunt your dreams. This time out, however, the Earthwarped Bladestaff bends and twists on its own accord. The effect is subtle and, for once, not completely terrifying.

Staff of the Grand Imperator: Staff, Intellect (Normal Mode)

imperator-norm2

This staff is probably the most classically attractive of Highmaul’s offerings, but, despite the use of gold and its genuinely beautiful swirling particle effects, it maintains the harsh, chiselled stone and decorative animal horns that characterize the rest of the set. It feels heavier and less polished than what your average mage or priest might instinctively reach for, but it’s definitely going to have a place in my void storage for years to come.

You will also note I’ve had to rely on MMO Champion’s preview tool for this one, because Wowhead can’t attractively render particle effects to save its life.

Crystalline Branch of the Brackenspore: Bow, Agility (Normal Mode)

crystalline-norm2

Okay, so this bow isn’t exactly breaking new ground. The whole ‘spiky gems have been stuck haphazardly into the bow for the sake of, presumably, making it needlessly heavy and dangerous to carry around’ motif has been done before and more than once. But here, the effect works. It has a certain wild beauty to it — in its natural Normal green, it’s reminiscent of crystalline leaves, a good choice for a hunter looking to get back to his or her prey-stalking, wilderness-roaming roots.

That’s just a small sample of what Highmaul has on offer. If you want to dig into the complete loot table, head on over to MMO Champion. They’ve pulled together a complete list.

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