Hell yeah! MMO Champion has done its usual data-mining magic and managed to unearth most of the latest Arena gear and whoa, does it look amazing. Boubouille notes that many of the sets are incomplete and that some Photoshop work was done for display purposes, but I think we get the general idea. Season 7 items are the latest iteration of evolutionary design, which builds visually upon older sets. This design evolution was hinted at in vanilla World of Warcraft, where the old Warlord / Field Marshal PvP sets were minor visual upgrades from the Champion / Lieutenant Commander sets. The Season 7 item sets should probably called Badass Gladiator because, well, personally I think they're just... badass.
While Blizzard promised the return of faction-specific sets in Patch 3.2, these will apply to PvE Tier 9, and from the looks of it won't be as phenomenal as it sounds considering classes sharing the same armor type will look nearly identical to one another. On the other hand, Season 7 gear, which also seems to introduce new weapon models, keep on improving without having to resort to dragon nipples or orbiting Thralls. It seems that Zarhym's promise of the Arena sets improving as the seasons continue is a solid one.
Personally, I think the newly uncovered Arena sets are the best Arena PvP armor sets to date. The first four seasons were merely recolored versions of PvE tier gear, with Season 5 introducing new but somewhat underwhelming designs. This time around, the PvP sets look truly epic, not merely recoloring previous seasons' gear but adding new polygonal components, as well. Many sets also have newly-afixed gems and glows and are more ornately decorated. While some crankypants might criticize Blizzard's art team for being lazy with this design philosophy, I have to confess that it hasn't just grown on me, it's officially won me over. This is how I would like the next expansion's Arena sets to progress. It works. It's awesome.
The only problem with this design philosophy is that the base set, or first iteration, has to be passably good to begin with. But I believe I've learned to trust Blizzard's design team now with how they've managed to make visual leaps from one set to another by means of adding entirely new shapes into the relevant (and notably possessing the highest Arena ratings requirement) pieces, the head and shoulders. The Warlock set, for example, added sickle-like blades to the shoulders in Season 6. In Season 7, these blades were made even nastier with spikes and a nether-green glow. The head piece moved from a plain hood in Season 5 to a ninja-like cover in Season 6 and now to a more sinister cowl with subtle shadows over the eyes. The colors have also shifted to a more appropriate purple.
Perhaps the true winner in this game of Azerothian Pokémon would be Shamans, who were stuck with shoulders that looked like turtles in Season 5. Green, purple, red... it didn't matter. It seemed as though no amount of re-texturing would save the awful set, but the Season 7 shoulders and helm look more than acceptable. I finally understand that the Season 5 texture was meant to emulate parched earth, not reptile skin -- as the Shaman set evolves from rock to crystal, it's almost poetic. It looks terrible on the human model MMO Champion uses by default, but I'm certain they'll look pretty badass on the proper races. Because come on, you just can't argue with this winning formula: if all else fails, add spikes.
Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. WoW.com will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!