MMO-Champion’s Blue Tracker picked up an interesting quote about Tier 18 from Bashiok this morning.
I’m really interested to see how people react to T18. To me it’s kind of a big change in direction. Our focus for quite a while has been to look at the bosses and materials of a raid environment, or iconic expansion imagery, and play off those. It’s going to be a big departure, where the artists are taking a step back and really looking at the classes themselves, and looking at more classical fantasy materials–as well as just pushing the detail and quality level. I think it’s kind of a cool new direction, even though it’s almost like going back to a more classic look.
This comes on the heels of the release of an early look at one of the mage sets, as usual without helm, shoulders, or other accoutrements, which has an admittedly retro feel. My first impression is that it — and for the record, it hasn’t been confirmed as to whether this set is Tier 18 or Season 17 or something else — does look a lot more like clothes than some of what’s come out recently (*cough*), and that’s something I’ve been hoping for for a while. In the past, we were always able to fall back on gear from earlier expansions, but as time marches on I’ve found it harder to overcome the discrepancies in quality as the older artwork ages.
That said, I’m hoping that Blizzard will be able to achieve a balance between “classic fantasy” and “snoozefest.” Apart from the green, blue, and purple ensemble I’ve highlighted above (click here to see all four colour versions, via MMO Champion), there’s not much in the early Mage designs that interests me, and even that’s a little hit or miss. But in recent tiers it’s been the shoulders that make the man, so fingers crossed we’ll be seeing those soon.