Skip to content

Your gear (and why it’s special)

July 21, 2010

People like good looking gear. It’s a staple of MMO games. You start out with either the bare rags you crawled out the hut with, or the simple trappings of a random citizen, and make your way out into the world. You slowly look more impressive, obtaining sweeping robes or shining armour, until you reach endgame, where the sets are wild and impressive and heavy on the spikes.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Blizzard puts an awful lot of effort into designing decent gear. In Cataclysm’s recent Beta iterations, we’ve seen more and more of the low level gear being reworked – simple low polygon hoods and shoulders are being replaced with smooth, simple models, and no bad thing. It’s nice to see things getting some polish.

But I digress. In endgame, sets are designed to make the wearer look A) Impressive, and B) Noticeable. What’s the point of having awesome gear if it looks like the same rags you walk out the starting zones with? And they don’t stop at doing one impressive set. They diversify (in most cases) to different sets for every single class. This is great. Really great. It gives the class something that makes them stand out, you can tell what class a major raider/PvPer is just by glancing at them, and most of all, they look cool!

Every class has a certain aesthetic that the gear design always adheres to. Take Warlocks, for example. Their gear is designed on the concepts of: Skulls, Death, Cowls, Scythes, Spikes, Green or Red Glows and Evil looking Eyes. If you look at a random set, like for instance, Warlock T5, you can see what I mean. If you take those aspects away, it’s a fairly standard robe, hemi-spherical shoulders and long gloves. By mixing these parts up each time they can continue to create Warlock looking gear. This is a popular way of doing things. It’s understandable, it makes the classes recognisable, and it provides gear pieces that blend in well with the non-set drops you get in whatever you’re raiding.

Sometimes, however, they go for an overall look to the set to make it mimic something that already exists as a full concept. Most of Icecrown’s raiding gear was designed on a class by class basis to look like mobs and bosses frequently encountered throughout Northrend; for example, Rogue’s Terrorblade Set mimics the Geists. This is often met with mixed reactions by the players, because whilst those pieces tend to look excellent when combined all together, missing just the shoulders, helm or gloves of the set can completely offset the whole look, and we start to stray into the much feared Outland Clown Syndrome.

Outbreaks of OCS were seen a lot in TBC, mostly during levelling but a fair amount at the cap too. Gear rewards and drops in Outland were ludicrously coloured, bright, often with luminous glow effects or bright, sparkling patterns. And barely any of it matched. Perhaps your Mage would look impressive if the sparkling blue shoulders with the silver lace were just the icing on top of a sparkly blue set, but often they’d be combined with a flaming red jacket, a purple cowl, jagged green and purple striped trousers and a staff with 500 disconnected swirling shards up and down its length. It wasn’t pretty. If people weren’t geared enough to get into raids and start collecting those pretty matching sets and tier gear (and even then some of the raid drops were atrociously bright and eye-burning) you could easily spot them a mile off.

In Wrath they almost went too far the other way. Cloth gear never ventured far past ‘old sheets’ brown and blue, and plate gear was the same standard ‘spiky Viking’ look. It did make all the characters look like they could plausibly be wearing the gear, but with the unfortunate side effect of also giving the appearance of skintness. Or to put it another way, if they had any money, they’d be in something far far better.

A solution that’s been suggested to Blizzard before and flirted with in other MMOs is the dying of gear. Using dyes purchased from a vendor (which WoW already has a rainbow’s worth of colours stocked, avaliable at any Tailor Vendor) you can colour your gear how you like. This would make even the shabbiest of gear look right. It would mean more work for Blizzard in the short term, but I think it would improve people’s attitudes towards the gear. I would certainly be happier to wear more White and Silver gear, leaning away from this heavy Gold and Orange and Green theme Blizzard have been giving Paladins for the last 4 tiers. Wrathful Gladiator’s gear for Paladins, minus the helm, is my dream set. Lovely jubley.

Take a look at what your character is wearing next time you log in. How themed is it to your class?


25 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 6:31 am

    “Outland Clown Syndrome”
    ^ I laughed too hard at this.

    Personally, I’ve never leveled that much through Outlands (I started playing right when WotLK was released). The dark colours and released skins for this expansion doesn’t bother me too much as some of the tier set designs.

    Good lord… what in the world was up with the Paladin T7s?! And my druid’s either got shoulders reeking green shoulders (rogue T10) or shoulders that should be chomping off other people’s arms (druid T10)!

    Though that can’t really beat the horrors of those leather helms from Ulduar meant for rogues but sometimes used by Feral druids; it looked appropriate for deadly rogues, but on tauren mixed with druid gear? Um… yeah.

    I think I’ll log out in my Thunderheart set (druid T6) for now 😛

    • July 21, 2010 10:12 am

      Speaking of Tauren druids wearing non-set leather, they look like divers using the Rogue-style leather helms from ICC 😛 I still have my Paladin t6 that I bring out occasionally. Looks snazzy 🙂

  2. July 21, 2010 6:36 am

    Most of my characters don’t really have colour themes, but since heading to Outland on my hunter, I’ve been despairing. Her name is Summer. She’s got dark skin and red hair, a red wolf, and she’s always been a brown-red-gold sort of girl, but she’s getting these purples and blacks and it’s just this horrible… vomit of colour.

    :< It makes baby Arthas sad.

  3. antlergirl permalink
    July 21, 2010 5:54 pm

    I always love green on druids, but I really want to see antlers again on helmets for druids!

  4. July 22, 2010 2:19 pm

    It’s a funny coincidence that you wrote about this just as I wrote about it (sort of). 😀 I think Blizz sometimes hits the right notes with some people while going completely the other way for others. Antlergirl wants antlers for druid helmets – I am glad I don’t look like a moose any more! I’d say my druid’s T10 is “themed” to her class, but I’m not its biggest fan, the first thing I did was hide the atrocious “piranha plant gone wrong” helmet. The other day I was dead in a raid and I noticed my body was still moving… but it was just my shoulder armour. 😉

    • July 23, 2010 8:05 am

      It’s all down to personal taste – and with that, they can’t hope to please everyone 🙂

  5. MechaKingGhidra permalink
    July 23, 2010 2:51 am

    So, I did indeed look at my character and find it very…awkward, to put it politely. Mage tier 10 to me seems like it would be more suited to a warlock. Also, for some bizarre reason I cannot hope to explain since I just don’t have the proper words for it, I get this weird feeling of sorts that there’s a pinch of rogue-ness, if you will, sprinkled ever so gently over it.

    Again, I can’t help myself but be left unable to say what it is exactly. Sorry, Blizzard, but mages are conjurers of the raw arcane, fire, and frost specialties of magic. A cultist, I am NOT.

    • July 23, 2010 8:09 am

      Yeah, they tend to be a bit more wild with the PvE sets, I’ve noticed. Not always adhering to the class aesthetic. I suppose you don’t need to instantly tell what class is what in PvE, whereas with Wrathful gear there’s no doubt that a Wrathful Mage is a Mage!

  6. limsk permalink
    July 23, 2010 6:14 am

    I would love to see someday a separate set of gear slots for just for visuals thereby allowing players to mix and match to their hearts content from everything in their inventory.

    • July 23, 2010 8:07 am

      Or gear dyes, possibly. There’s a lot of avenues for improvement, should they chose to take one.

  7. Cthulhu permalink
    July 23, 2010 10:46 am

    I spend quite a bit of time getting RP gear – I even did that before I transferred to an RP realm. I’ve managed to get full warlock tiers one and two, I still have seven and eight in the bank, and wear ten when I’m actually killing things. On top of that, I’ve got quite a few robes with matching pieces, a few “harmless civilian” sets, and a couple of “creepy cultist” non-tier sets. The absolute jewel of my collection, though, is the circle of flame from blackrock depths. I’d build a red/flame set to match it before it dropped, because I used my direbrew remote over 200 times to kill ambassador flamelash. It looks awesome, is the only way for cloth wearers to get their hands on that model, and its on-use effect makes it one hundred percent awesome. The only problem is now that it’s dropped I find myself seeking a new rare thing to hunt down and “waste” my time on… baron’s mount is looking mighty tempting.

    • July 23, 2010 10:51 am

      Gear just to have because it’s awesome is a great thing about this game. I collected a full t6 this expansion with multiple runs of Black Temple, and I love equipping it randomly along with the level 60 PVP sword.

      And don’t tell me about Baron’s mount, 316 tries and counting 😛

      • Cthulhu permalink
        July 23, 2010 3:01 pm

        I’ll have a word with the RNG about that mount, next time I see him. He’s a regular member of the Evil Bastards Club, along with many warlocks. Mind you, the RNG is trolling me at the moment – 28 runs of pit of saron, and I’ve still not got that blessed trinket from tyrannus.

        As for what I log out in, it’s often full warlock t10. It does look deliciously warlocky. Now if only I could get sanctified t10 for cataclysm, to wear when I throw that promised green fire…

  8. Ryoko Lam permalink
    July 23, 2010 11:33 am

    Nice posting about the gear! I’ve only played since WotLK, but the gear does have an effect on gameplay, to whenever you gain a hard earned piece. You gawp at it and think what the theme for it was intended!

    I’ve not seen much of the other content, though got a few pieces from the lightbringer set too I think!

  9. Deathdestiny permalink
    August 9, 2010 12:58 am

    Where do you get a gear to mach up, say all green. My warlock have never had a gear that maches up with the other gear on me. Say its green sholder, red head, blue legs, yellow gloves. LOOOL thats why i got a DK and im still with the starting gear. I never had a gear to mach up (from chain quests and everythink) where do you get your gear from like the one on the picture (red and black). ==Noob question==


  1. The Frozen Gnome » Blog Archive » The Daily Quest: It’s all about the gear
  2. The Daily Quest: It’s all about the gear | The Best Guide To Free Wow Gold
  3. The Daily Quest: It’s all about the gear «
  4. World of Warcraft - The Daily Quest: It’s all about the gear
  5. The Daily Quest: It’s all about the gear « Mmorpg « Best Mmorpgs Blog
  6. The Daily Quest: It’s all about the gear | Warcraft Ink
  7. The Daily Quest: It’s all about the gear | Super WOW Guide
  8. The Daily Quest: It’s all about the gear | WoW Strategy
  9. Why gear should be more revealing « Blessing of Fish

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: