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How do you like your armor sets?

How do you like your armor sets
It's been a long, long time since the days of Magister, Dreadmist and Devout. With each expansion, we've seen the release of new tier sets of armor -- but the design style has changed a little from the days of old. There was a pretty interesting thread over on the EU forums regarding tier sets and their progression over the years, pointing out that earlier armor sets were far more visually distinctive and iconic, something that seems to have waned with each successful armor set.

The original poster suggested that perhaps the transmog feature has made the artists and devs unwilling to push the boundaries of dazzling creation. This prompted several responses to the thread by Community representative Vaneras that shed some light on how armor design is looked at.

Vaneras
Quote:

And this. All the armor use "faded" color schemes. I miss it when the red was RED and the gold was GOLD, not red-ish and gold-ish after lying in the sun and dust for several decades. The armor just doesn't pop anymore.

Truly colourful gear that really pop can be very cool indeed, the problem with this though is when characters have a mismatch of different colourful armor sets equipped. We received quite a lot of negative feedback back in the day during TBC about "clown gear" making characters look silly, and there were a lot of requests for more toned down armor sets that would allow for better looks when mixing and matching pieces between different sets.

As you can imagine, it is a rather big artistic challenge to find a good balance that will allow for both colourful and unique looking armor sets that will not look out of place when mixed with other gear :-)


Players from the Burning Crusade era remember the clown suits with a mixture of vivid fondness tinged with horror -- there were no alternatives to leveling gear in those days, no way to switch up your gear's appearance without taking a hit in terms of stats and character performance. But all of this changed in a major way with the introduction of transmogrification in Cataclysm. While it's true that once upon a time, creating sets that wouldn't look out of place with other gear was important, these days it's almost a non-issue when you can simply transmog the pieces that don't quite suit your aesthetic needs.

And there were those that pointed out to Vaneras that there are plenty of players using that old gear and those old sets for transmogrification -- that the majority of players are using those old sets and pieces to put together looks. Vaneras did have a reply to this as well, leading back to the "clown suit" problem.

Vaneras
Quote:

Also, i am aware i do not know the official statistics of the gear that ppl transmog but I am 100% positive that majority of transmog is from Vanilla and TBC.

You wouldn't even dare try and lie to prove me wrong so tell the creators to make more camp, fancy gear!!!!!

Vanilla and TBC armor sets are very popular transmog items, and for good reason as many of those sets are iconic and classic Warcraft. On top of that there are also quite a few old-school players who have good memories associated with these sets, so there are definitely more to the attractiveness of them than just the art and design :-)

Additionally, it is much easier to get the complete classic sets today than it was back when they were high end gear, and this also has an influence on their popularity today because many are finally completing their armor sets that some have been trying to collect for years. Back in the day, if you were not one of the few players who were able to get the complete armor sets and only had a couple of pieces, you often had other pieces equipped that didn't match artistically, which for many resulted in the aforementioned "clown look". This mismatched look issue is much less apparent today as most of the newer sets are more easily matched with pieces from different sets.


Again, Vaneras has a valid point here -- those old sets have never been easier to obtain. But the point being made here, in a roundabout way by many posters, is a good one -- players want pieces that have multiple uses, and sets that can be mixed and matched. Blizzard has been doing its best to provide that for players, but there seems to be a general consensus that muted colors equal set pieces that are better coordinated -- that its far easier to match pieces from different sets if they're all in the same muted color palette.

Now I don't really know about the rest of the player base, but as a confirmed transmog addict, I'm pretty sure there's nothing further from the truth. Bold colors can be matched just as well as anything else, and there are a lot of players that use these old "clown suit" castaways to layer in some truly distinctive, colorful styles. Personally, I'd love to see a return to the saturated technicolor armor sets -- in a land like Pandaria that is ripe with rich colors all over the scenery, the muted armor tones seem almost ridiculously out of place in contrast to the surroundings.
How do you like your armor sets
WoW was both lauded and mocked at its launch for what was, at the time, a really unique visual style. The landscape and the characters were all fairly simple and colorful in style and direction, leading some to call the look "cartoonish" simply due to the color choices. But it's those color choices and visual aesthetics that really set the tone for Warcraft as an MMO. It didn't need that look of ultra-realism that other MMOs diligently tried to incorporate -- it had a style and class all of its own.

The thread is definitely worth checking out, it's an interesting read -- but I'm curious. How do you stand on the progress of armor set styling over the years? Do you miss the days of wildly technicolor armor? With the advent of transmog, do you wear the new armor sets that are introduced, or do you change the appearance of your armor to an older style? Are you happy with the styles we've been presented with so far -- do you like the muted tones? Or do you wish we'd see a return to some really saturated, colorful gear?


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Transmogrification

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