Appearance or performance?

This one is about what we wear… basically, something dropped for my wife last night that got me thinking about how we can either choose to wear armor that matches and looks cool… or wear armor pieces that clash hideously but are each the most effective piece we can find. And why is it that it seems designed that way?

Let’s look at what dropped last night.

I was running my wifes’ level 11 Rogue through Deadmines (Because I can, that’s why. Fastest way to grab oodles of Linen and Wool that I know, and she’s got some First Aid to master.)

Anyway, guess what Edwin VanCleef drops on her very first run?

That’s right… the Blackened Defias Armor.

Now, back in the day, Big Bear Butt dearly wanted this chest piece. I ran Deadmines at least 10 times, mostly in PUGs, but once or twice with friends too, all in the hopes of seeing this piece drop. Not once, NOT ONCE did it ever drop for me while I was still in the level range to be able to use it.

And almost all of those runs were made just in the hopes of getting it, after I already had the Tunic of Westfall, the quest reward you can choose from running the Deadmines quest chain. As far as Rogues and Feral Druids are concerned, the Tunic of Westfall is a superior choice based on stats.

Ahhh, but I didn’t want the Blackened Defias Armor because it was the uber loot. I know many 19 twinks love it dearly, but that wasn’t the cause of my desire. Oh no. I wanted the damn thing because I had every other piece in the Defias set, including having found one of the two leather shoulder pieces that go with the set, and I wanted to finish the set to LOOK DAMN COOL!!!!

In the end, I wore a tabard to hide the Tunic of Westfall, and wore the rest of the set, and was very grumpy about it.

Defias Leather (Level Range 13 – 19)
This 5-piece set includes the following items that contribute to set bonuses:
Blackened Defias Armor (19)
Blackened Defias Belt (17)
Blackened Defias Boots (13)
Blackened Defias Gloves (13)
Blackened Defias Leggings (13)

Plus, visually, the following shoulders match the set:
Bandit Shoulders (17)
Scouting Spaulders (18)

Set Bonuses
Wearing more pieces of this set will convey bonuses to your character.
2 pieces: +10 Armor.
3 pieces: +5 Arcane Resistance.
4 pieces: Increases dagger skill rating by 2.
5 pieces: Increases attack power by 10.

Am I alone in wishing that there was more effort in making armor sets whose pieces were NOT spread across a 6 or 8 level range? I mean seriously… that is my number one complaint. The first three pieces of a matching armor set will be available at level 13… and the last pieces at level 17 and 19… long after you’ve outgrown the level 13 pieces for much better choices of stats.

I would be deliriously happy if each piece of any set, whether green or rare, were all the same level to equip, and comparable in point value to other pieces at that level.

So for example, all the pieces of a set of ‘Gypsy’ would be level 9 instead of 7, 7, 8, 9, 10… and the stats pointed accordingly. You could look forward to dinging 9 and seeking that set on the AH.

Sure, there will still be better individual blue drops for one slot or another, but you could have a set bonus that only applies with all 5 pieces equipped, that was just ok enough to be attractive if you couldn’t afford 20 gold for that AH blue on your level 20 main.

On the subject of set bonuses… I look at the set bonuses of that Defias Leather, and say to myself… “+10 Armor? I put 1 Medium Armor Kit on my leggings, I get +16 Armor, and that’s worth more than a 2 piece set bonus? Or +5 Arcane Resist? Well, if I’m a gnome with +10 Arcane Resist already, that might be nice… but for a 3 piece bonus? +2 Dagger Skill Rating? Well, ok, but I get a +5 skill with swords AND maces as a human… why can’t I get +5 daggers for a set bonus that I actually had to earn? Attack Power +10? That’s not that bad at level 20… IF each armor piece in the set is very good on it’s own. Say, if they were all equal level point value pieces. But with mostly low level point value greens and one blue, only +10 AP? That’s just silly.”

No, if you are serious about having the best available gear for your class and level at the 20s, there are far more attractive pieces in each slot than the Defias Leather set, and the set bonuses are just not enough to compensate for that.

As a brief one paragraph aside, someone mentioned in the comments yesterday Kaliban’s Loot Lists for a place to research gear to search for while leveling. I’ll give it a shout-out, because pre-BC I practically LIVED on Kaliban’s Loot Lists while planning in advance what loot was good for my class and spec from raid bosses. In this day of super-knowledgeable players, it seems almost absurd, but it wasn’t that long ago that I can remember being in a guild where we would do 40 man raids in Molten Core, and when the boss dropped loot half the classes for which it was a good upgrade wouldn’t bid on it because they didn’t know what it did or why it was so good for them. Does anyone else remember people shouting in ventrilo, “It’s for your class dumbass, bid on it, don’t pass!” It cannot be stressed enough that you are responsible for knowing what gear you need for upgrades, so that you CAN roll for it when it drops, and so you DO pass on it in favor of someone else when it’s a downgrade. At any rate, Kaliban’s is a wonderful resource for gear at all levels, for both good BOE World Drops for your class or spec to look for on the auction house, as well as BOP boss drops. Of course, it ranks gear based purely on effectiveness at it’s level point… NOT by looks 🙂

Back to the Defias Leather…. in my opinion, there is no other set in the entire game until you reach Tier 0.5 and PvP that looks as super ninja leet uber cool as this one.

Now, that got me thinking. We each play the game for different reasons. I know that on my main, as soon as I hit Outlands, I gave up any hope of good looking matching armor. I chose pieces that are the best for my playstyle, and looks be damned. I am lucky in that the Heavy Clefthoof set complements the Vengeance Wrap gloves, and I have mixed and matched set pieces from my tanking and cat gear in itemrack so I have one set that would be sub-par for playing, but looks… ok. What I’ve heard referred to by BRK as a ‘traveling in town’ set.

But my hunter is 68… and her gear is intentionally chosen to match and look cool… except for the belt. That piece just does not go. I can imagine what Stacy and Clinton in What Not To Wear would say about that combo. Anyway….

On the character I play that has to perform at it’s best for the team and my friends, I choose gear to maximize my effectiveness.

On the character I play purely for fun as a soloer, I choose gear for looks… as long as it can sorta get the job done.

So that begs the question…. why the hell can’t Blizzard either do a better job making sets that you want to collect to actually use, OR give us a method of dying/altering existing pieces so at least the colors match?

I mean, Dark Age of Camalot had an armor dying system… and if I remember back that long ago, some colors were rarer than others or required higher levels to use. But you got to wear matching color coordinated gear if you chose to, even when your armor was chosen for performance.

I’ve heard arguments by PvPers that dying or altering armor appearance to satisfy individual needs would ‘ruin’ PvP…. because apparently you could not tell how well the other team would play without recognizing every piece of gear they wore on sight.

Ummm…. what? I would think you play your best against the other team no matter what they wore… and I would HOPE that the tactics used by the other person would have more of an impact on your plans than whatever gear he had on … Unless you want to know if you’re up against Tier 6 so you can bail on your teammates in the first 2 minutes. I have said before, I don’t PvP, so take this with a grain of salt, but I do know that Orb of Deception is considered useful enough to take up a trinket slot for many people, but it’s not SO useful that it’s use is required for a solid advantage over other players. Of course, I do know that PvP is srs bsns. 🙂

Continuing On….

Now, this has gone on long enough… but I’d like to hear from you. Do you only grab gear that has the best stats? Do you collect gear that looks really cool, no matter what level it is? And lastly, what are some of your favorite set/look combos?

I think when I get home tonight, I’m going to open up my WoW Model Viewer, load up my Windshadow model, and dress her in all Defias Leather, plus the Scouts Epaulets, and then my epic Engineering death cyber goggles… and take a screenie for the site. If it looks as cool as I expect, I think I may just go out and farm for those pieces, juist for my “traveling town set”. I don’t care if I would be a 70 druid in level 20 armor… death ninja FTW!!!

New comment… as James/Melpo mentioned Shadowcraft, it reminded me I never bother to compelte my druid Dungeon Set 1, but I did have the Shadowcraft Set 1 for catform, including the chest from General Drakkisath. Damn, I’d forgotten that, and now I want it back. James, name a place and time, we’ll stealth in and two man as much as we can. If we get a resto druid, we can stealth in and have a nice tank/DPS/heal combo going to make it supafast.

9 thoughts on “Appearance or performance?

  1. When going from 60 to 70 I was a slave to fashion. There is a 59 plate set and a 65 plate set that both look the same. They have the exact look of the Dark Iron set that was THE set for FR gear pre BC. I found better stuff all the time but I rarely switched out of it. Now at 70 its a different matter. I dont really have the luxury to go by looks any longer. I do look like a plate clad gypsy (no offence to gypsies – but you do traditionally have colorful clothes). It is a bad thing that it is so hard to get nice looking gear. One could at least expect that if I manage to get the best epic heroic gear available (or pre Kara) they would look good – but no. Really not. They look awful. The good part is that the best plate dps helmet looks exactly like the T1 warrior set with the helmet being a collar w spikes and the shoulders have nice pointy spikes on them. (Centurions in SH have a equivalent). This would be the Overlords helmet of 2nd sight and the Pauldrons of the Crimson flight from Aeounus. A really bad thing though is the Season 2 arena gear. Full clothed in it we have “razor-wings” on the shoulders and a helm with 3 feet horns… Teribble. I am tempted to buy the S1 shoulders – but I know I wont because I need the stats too much…


  2. The more I think about it, the more it appeals to me… I think I will work the arena pts to save so as to get the AS3 or whatever equivalent set will be to T6 when it comes out. T6 looks really fearsome for a Warlock.


  3. You know what’s cool. Melpo actually had the whole Blackened Defias set. I still wore the Tunic of Westfall most times, but held the other stuff for a while. I think maybe I’ll have to go back and pick it up again. Then we can all be ninjas!And maybe I’ll even get the shadowcraft set too!


  4. Well… firstly I’m a druid, so the vast majority of the time I’m in form, so I don’t see myself. Other than that, I use the hide/show option for cloak and helm, depending on how ugly they are. And my guild tabard is just tragic at the moment, so that’s vaulted.


  5. Mr. BBB, may I say thank you for a wonderful Druid reference you’ve created. As a newly minted 70 Druid, I find your information invaluable. However, your posting on matching wardrobe dis-heartened me since I now have to go back to Deadmines to get my matching Ninja outfit. Bad, bad, bear!


  6. For Phaelia, I wear what’s good for her stats-wise whenever raiding. When about town, however, I have several Outfitter sets that I can switch to. And I wear my PvP gear for instances, sometimes, just because I love the way it looks (and will even more so with the next patch changing my pants to a skirt).For my alts, however, I’m far more style-oriented. My Warlock carries around a ton of gear to mix and match and wears a red and silver outfit for everything but the hardest quest. My level 41 Rogue, Gwynna, dresses like a Pirate from head to toe. But then she’s just a bank character. =)


  7. It depends.Embarassing story: Back when Azeroth was young and Valenna younger still, I wanted the Blacked Defias really bad. When I got the Tunic of Westfall, I was so upset that it was better and that it looked hideous (it seemed orangish-pink to me) that I destoryed it rather than allow myself to wear it. ^_^Course now I have a level 18 Druid in several pieces of Defias and she has the Tunic of Westfall. It’s just too good for her to destroy. =DOh! BTW, if she hasn’t already, do the entire The Unsent Letter quest ASAP. It results in the “Seal of Wyrnn”, a 33rd item level ring that I got at level 18.


  8. From my Balance point of view, we don’t have many sets that give us a complete look. Hence, I wear a hodge-podge of gear that makes me the most effective. I may not look ubber cool, but deadly nontheless, and nobody can really see what I’m wearing through all my feathers and Feral tail adornments. Maybe Zul’Amman will give us Balance Druids the cool look with its rumored full Balance set, but that will have to wait til o-eight.


  9. I’ve never really look at what gears look like on my ‘lock… well, maybe that’s because he is UD and like most of the Horde males (now with the exception of BEs), hunches over and therefore ruins any kind of fashion statement that you spend time on anyway??? As well I have never been any good on recognizing the gears people wear to be able to change my tactic on fighting that person. Hehe, I also play with my camera zoomed all the way out so that I can see more of the environment and don’t really see much details anyway. Maybe it’s a byproduct of playing a ‘lock on a PvP server always having to check to see if a sneaky alliance rogue/druid is about to gank me.


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