Tier 18 is “a big change in direction” from recent Tier sets

He put on his robe. Now, where’s the wizard hat?

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.

Warlock Tier 16 is Made of Fail

As seen in Tier 16, enormous glowing Mogu skulls are the new black.

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.

WoW 10th Anniversary Extended! Last call for transmog gear.

Smokin'.

Smokin’.

Word has come down from on high that, because of a glitch that abruptly ended WoW’s 10th Anniversary festivities ahead of schedule, the event is being extended another week.

Here’s the announcement, via Bashiok on the World of Warcraft Forums.

The WoW Anniversary event ended a bit earlier than intended, so to make up for that lost time and any inconvenience we’re going to be re-enabling it for an additional week. The event–including the level 100 Molten Core raid–will be available again from January 6 at 10:00 a.m. PST until January 13 at 10:00 a.m. PST, for North American realms. You can see the updated event dates and times in the in-game calendar.

If you’re a fan of the 100% guaranteed drop helm you’ll receive when defeating Ragnaros, now’s the time to jump in there and brave Molten Core. This is especially important for leather wearers and plate wearers. Why? Because when the upgraded version of Molten Core closes, the old mail version of Crown of Destruction and the identical cloth Circle of Flame will still be available in game.

But the plate Crown of Desolation and the leather Crown of Woe? So far as I’m aware, they will be gone for good.

So get on that, people! You’ll thank me later.

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.

A sad day for transmog fans.

As of today, the Undermine Journal has announced, because of hosting issues, that it will be closing at the end of July. Even if it’s able to find a new dedicated host, its future looks bleak. The site warns that if Warlords of Draenor is released and The Undermine Journal is still down, it’s likely never coming back.

The loss of the Undermine Journal is a huge blow for the transmog community. There are resources that provide some of the same features as TUJ, or at least there were back when I was last forced to use an alternate site what feels like a thousand years ago, but in my time making gold and building transmog sets I’ve never seen anything to rival TUJ’s power and accessibility.

That site, over the years, has made me hundreds of thousands of gold. It’s helped me put together more transmog sets than I can imagine. Heck, I have alts sitting on other servers, holding cheap rare items like Chromatic Sword and Tabard of the Lightbringer that I’d never have been able to find without TUJ’s help.

Not going to lie, I’m kind of in mourning.

Needless to say, we’re going to be losing a little functionality on the website with its absence. From this point on, the little red Auction House buttons ( Auction House - Click Here For Undermine Journal ) won’t link to anything. They will have to serve as a visual reminder to check your Auction House.

Don’t be shy about checking your opposing faction’s Auction House, either. If you’re the sort of player who plays exclusively on one faction but has a character slot or two left over, roll a level 1 alt (Human and Orc are easiest) and park them at the nearest Auction House.

Once the Undermine Journal goes down, believe me, you’ll have company.

 

5.4 Looms, Brings With It Shiny Cosmetic Gear

dark_kor'kron setA whole slew of revised patch notes for 5.4 were released today, but because my priorities are firmly in order there’s only one announcement that caught my interest: the Kor’kron Dark Shaman set.

Now, here’s a funny one. The set, which is widely considered to look better than a lot of the tier gear right now, is actually “cosmetic.” That is to say, theoretically, it should be available to anyone — cloth-wearer to plate-wearer and everyone in between.

Except for the part where they’ve gone and stuck a “Classes: Shaman” notice on it.

I guess all those plate-wearing shamans were complaining about being left out.

There’s no word about where the set comes from or whether there are other classes-specific sets in the pipe. But as I’ve decided to roll myself a shaman (how cute is this top?), for now anyway,  I’m not complaining.