After our date with dino skulls and gross appendages last month, we’re moving on to the next batch of World of Warcraft Tier 13 armor.
This time we’re checking out the hunter, paladin, priest and rogue sets, which seem to be divided into two style camps – gloriously gilded and mischievously dark.
The Paladin and Priest shine bright in their new sets, with the former soaring in feathered plate mail and the latter glowing in masked majesty. Over to the darker side, the Hunter and Rogue sets draw inspiration from creatures of the shade. Azerothian marksmen will drape a dead dragon prey on their shoulders while the assassin cohort will cut throats and pickpocket WoW Gold in batwing fashion.
Notably missing is that most dastardly class, the Death Knight. Even MMO-Champion hasn’t uncovered the game files on the Public Test Server, where Patch 4.3 is now being tested. This means DK fans will have to wait a little while longer for their big reveal.
Hunter (Wyrmstalker Battlegear) – We like to tie a Hunter’s Tier armour in with an appropriate donor creature – it suggests the Hunter has actually hunted for the set! As there’s an awful lot of dragons in this patch, a draconic theme was the way to go. We wanted to reference but not simply reproduce the classic Dragonstalker set. To that end, we limited the use of dragon heads to the helm and chained leathery wings around the shoulders which give the impression of a skeletal dragon crouching over the Hunter’s upper body.
Paladin (Battleplate of Radiant Glory) – Design requested a set to ‘key off the Guardian of Ancient Kings summon,’ and I thought the concept of ‘feathered’ plate mail, rendered in silver and gold, would create an aggressive, yet sweeping and powerful silhouette. The previous paladin raid set had a good deal of cloth, but we wanted this set to be entirely platemail. The key to a strong paladin tier is hitting a balance between martial prowess and elegant grace — tapping into that classic Arthurian knight archetype.
Priest (Vestments of Dying Light) – Priests (and paladins for that matter) are often the most challenging classes to design ‘badass’ armor sets for, in contrast to the death knight and warlock, whose underlying concepts demand the unquestionably cool dark and sinister approach. In this instance, however, the design asked for a bold, two-tone, ‘Venetian carnival style with creepy, soulless black eyes,’ which gave me a powerful, potentially edgy direction to explore. The set’s ‘Dying Light’ theme was visualized as a spiked, setting sun motif.
Rogue (Blackfang Battleweave) – A “bat-themed” armor set for rogues seems like a no-brainer, but we were careful to skirt the more obvious inspirations. World of Warcraft often makes playful references to pop culture, but it’s important — particularly with player gear — that what we create has integrity within our universe. Rogues look good in close-fitting masks, collars, and cowls rather than elaborate armored helms. It also helps reinforce the rogue’s sneaky silhouette if the shoulder pads have a streamlined shape… even if that shape has sharp, bladed details.