Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tier 11 - Aquarium Edition

So we've got to see what the new tiers will look like. Over the years I've been pretty happy with the designs for priest tiers. There is probably not a single tier I really disliked, not even the rather plain looking tier 0,5, which might not even count as a real tier in the first place. But that tier will always have a special place in my heart since that was the first really cool gear I managed to get on my priest (except Anathema/Benediction) and my first taste of the end-game tier-collecting madness that was to come.

Looking back on it I think Blizzard have had a good idea about how to design the priest tiers overall. Most of them are pretty slick, with nothing fancy, but there are some odd-balls. But even when Blizzard went a little crazy on our tiers, it still seemed to make sense. Let's recap.
  • Tier 1, Vestments of Prophecy, made us look like some sort of high-priest of the Scarlet Crusade, but I like the combination of blood-red and white. Unfortunately I never got my hands on any of these because the few MC runs I ever got around to doing always had 10 priests ahead of me in DKP. It's also a shame that Blizzard haven't decided to re-use this nice color-combination.
  • Tier 2, Vestments of Transcendence, started the light-blue fad of priest tiers that became rather commonplace later on. I've only been to BWL once and that was on level 80 and not even on my priest, so I didn't even smell this tier.
  • Tier 3, Vestments of Faith, was rather similar to Tier 2 with the white-blue theme. This is one of the tiers I like the most with the delicate wings on the shoulders. Nothing too extravagant, but just enough to show everyone what they're looking at - a priest. This tier has a spartan design, and I like it. I was really glad to see it return with the WOTLK version of Naxx, because it would really have been a shame to see this gone by basically unnoticed otherwise.

  • Tier 4, Incarnate Raiment/Regalia, was the first tier to be sold as tokens instead of dropped from some boss. The tokens were dropped from bosses instead and several classes could use each token, which meant there was less chance that a drop would be useless to the raid. It was also the first tier that had different names of the sets for healing and dpsing priests. This means of course this was the first time Blizzard actuallt designed a tier for dpsing priests at all. Shadow priests had no business in raids in Vanilla, but come BC Blizzard had changed their minds. This too is a good-looking set that I wore for a long time. Tier 4 marks the first tier I ever collected fully, since BC and Karazhan was the first time I started raiding seriously. Purple is a color that suited my rotting, undead priest perfectly.
  • Tier 5, Avatar Raiment/Regalia, was among the more ellaborate looking priest tiers. Yet again it gives us wings, this time a little more odd looking however, a hood and a halo (which first had been seen in tier 4). Nonetheless I think the complete set is really cool looking. It definitely shows that it is a special collection of gear, and is set apart from all the other gear pieces you'd get at that time. Being in a 10-man guild as I was then, I never got many prieces of t5, I think only the gloves from Leotheras actually. If I ever wanted to collect one tier for rp, this'd be it.
  • Tier 6, Vestments of Absolution/Absolution Regalia, was a step back from the pronounced design of tier 5. Instead we got a tier that made us look like Blackbrother Monks from the middle ages. Nothing wrong with that, one doesn't always want to run around looking like the Christmas Tree of Heaven (tier 5). The contrast between these two sets is huge and maybe also set the point that the ones with the really cool gear doesn't have to brag about it with wings and halos everywhere. I was never even close to getting any of this gear for the same reason I never got close to tier 5.

  • Tier 7, Heroes' Regalia/Garb of Faith, re-used the design of the tier 3 that dropped in the original Naxxramas instance, Vestments of Faith. Since Blizzard had made it so that all raids could be raided with a 10-man guild this turned out to be the second tier ever that I fully collected.
  • Tier 8, Valorous Sanctification Regalia/Garb, Going back to the purple theme used by tier 4, and what was probably among the coolest looking priest tier head piece ever. I mean who doesn't want to look like a ninja while healing?
  • Tier 9, Velen's/Zabra's Regalia/Raiment, was the first (and so far only) tier to be named differently not only between specs but between factions. It was also the first tier to be upgradable through heroic mode tokens. On the various pictures on this blog (when writing this anyway) I am mostly wearing tier 9. It had a head piece much like the one in tier 8, and a rather unusual set of earth-colors, more common among the shaman and druids sets. We had now ventured far from the designs of the first tiers.
  • Tier 10, Crimson's Acolyte's Regalia/Raiment, removed the different names from different factions again. Maybe Blizzard thought it was a little too much to keep track of after all. This is the tier most of us are wearing when I'm writing this. I never collected much of this set since I think the set bonused are rather lame. In fact the 2 set bonus has become even less good now that we use Flash Heal even less often. They should have changed it to affect Heal instead, but that's a side-note. Tier 10 continues the dark design from tier 9 and looks more magey or lockey than priesty really. Also I find the inverted pot we're supposed to wear on our heads looks completely ridiculous and I'd probably refuse to use it even if it was half-decent. Or hide it for sure.

And now we've got a look at what we're supposed to wear for our next tier. Am I happy or sad? Let me just say I am amazed that there is anyone out there who thinks this is a good looking tier. I like the color-choices, but that is about the only good thing I can say about it. It is clear we're designed around the fact that alot of endgame Cataclysm takes place under water. Did they have to make us look like aquariums though? The head looks like some bad copy of some underwater suit and the shoulders... well where should I begin. Who ever thought running around with bird-baths on your shoulders would be a good idea should be sentenced to play the game eternally dazed.

Picture from MMO-Champion, in case you couldn't tell ;)

They usually only give druids and hunters (and occasionally paladins) the really weird/odd/bad tier design choices. The ones that are far out there and that never really should have left the drawing table. The tiers that eventually turn into legends, not because they were so good or the instances that dropped them so much fun but because you looked like a nutter wearing them. Like the Paladin Lawbringer tier (banana shoulders), Druid Stormrage tier (hello there Mr Moose) and Rogue Shadowblade Battlegear tier (can you breath in that mask?). Well there are plenty of examples actually, maybe every class has to get their freak out gear. I just thought priests had it over and done with considering what tier 5 looked like. But that at least kept us on the priest theme. Tier 11 looks like we're trying to dress up as a swimming pool for Halloween. In fact every other tier is cooler than ours.

Death Knight
Although I might question the color choices (green?) for the Death Knight tiers, these are really true to the Death Knight design. Death Knights have always infringed on the warrior tier design trademark, but there are generally a little more skulls here. This is no exception. Where Warriors are supposed to look like moving mountains, Death Knights are supposed to look like armored skeletons. In any case it's working and it looks damn cool.

This is what the priest tier could've looked like! Except maybe for the dead bird on the head. The color scheme, especially the blue one, and the wings are totally stolen from a priest design. Love claims that since the wings have feathers and aren't all light-wooshy they really have nothing to do with priests. In any case these tiers look way more like a priest-tier than the priest tier does. And except for the dead bird on the head it looks ok.

Hunters have always had a special treatment by Blizzard. It seems like Blizzard always try to outdo themselves in weird tier-design when they're doing the hunter tier. I don't think anyone thought they'd be able to outdo the Dragonstalker set (seriously just thinking about it makes me laugh), and no tier 11 isn't worse than that. But wearing a dead Murloc comes pretty close. Even though it's hilarious it's still cool! And maybe also a little sad. Think about all those poor murlocs.

I might be wrong, but I've got the feeling mages never get cool looking tiers. So eventhough I am slightly envious at this tier, which makes them look like The Reaper who fell into a painting by Monet (which is good!), they probably deserve it.

Considering how hideously, horribly, awful Blizzard can design paladin tiers when they set their mind to it (tier 1, tier 7, hoo that makes me shudder) we probably should be very happy about tier 11. It's actually half decent. A little boring perhaps! But it could've been so much worse.

Totally in line with the design choices they've had for rogues lately, this kinda makes them look like one of them Consortium guys from BC. I know alot of people hoped that the Consortium would turn out to be a playable class eventually just because they look so cool. And now I suppose rogues get to try ut out. I think it looks great.

If I had to pick two tiers for Blizzard to redesign (out of the tier 11 ones) I'd first and foremost pick the priest one. And secondly the shaman one. There is nothing wrong about the shaman tier per se. But there really isn't anything about the shaman tier. It looks so plain. Like someone flung a robe over the shaman and couldn't bother to do anything else about it. The color choices are great though! I suppose you only get one or the other.

Some people don't like the warlock sets. That is probably because they play human warlocks and don't realize that they're doomed to look really silly in any gear they put on. I think tier 11 will look totally cool on my warlock anyway (eventhough she is a belf). The unsymmetrical horns is the "dot over i" as we say in sweden. That little thing that really makes it all perfect. And yet again the colors are great.

Did I say walking mountain? That's pretty much it. And I love it! It works perfectly for a warrior and you'll probably feel like the juggernaut you are once you've collected the whole set. I'm a little uncertain about the turquoise set though, but hopefully I won't have to wear that.

This is what Zinn would look like. No wai. (from wowhead)
All in all I think Blizzard have designed some pretty good tiers for tier 11. My guess would be shamans came last and Blizzard just couldn't be arsed to come up with anything cool for them. And the die probably fell on "priest" for when they were deciding who was going to get the ugliest set this time around. I'm just hoping the off-pieces will be good enough for me to wear those instead... What do you think about tier 11?


  1. I do like colours they picked for the priest tier 11, especially the first two. However the shoulders are particularly iffy. Not to bothered about the helm because I never ever show them, but all in all, I think I can live with it.

    Really don't like the dead bird Druid one though. Makes my alt druid feel a little queasy.

  2. THinking about playing my DK at Cata.

    Indeed priest T11 is ugly. And unfortunately the only part I'm not forced to look at in game is the head.