Hello everyone and welcome to day 28 of my 30 Day World of Warcraft Challenge that is counting down the days to the release of Shadowlands! Every day in November I will be posting about World of Warcraft based on the prompt list below. Today’s prompt is ‘tier’ and I’m thoughts on the Castle Nathria raid sets from Shadowlands.
I’d love for you to join me in my countdown to Shadowlands and you can do so in any way you wish. I wanted this challenge to be open to all players whether they be raiders, casual, new to the game or veterans. It’s also completely open to interpretation as to how you respond to the challenge; write it, draw it, vlog it, post it on social media, whatever works for you.
Day 28 – Tier
When I wrote the prompts I forgot that we don’t actually have raid tiers any more so ‘set’ would have been a more accurate prompt. Once again I’ve already covered the topic of my favourite raid tiers and I also had an idea for something I’ve never done before. The first raid for Shadowlands, Castle Nathria, hasn’t opened yet, and since I like transmogs, I thought it might be interesting to share my thoughts on the new designs. I have to admit I wasn’t a big fan of Battle for Azeroth‘s raid sets at all. Shadowlands overall design ideas are much more my kind of style.
I hoped that the Shadowlands raid sets would be nicer since the themes and designs looked amazing, but I wasn’t holding out much hope. I’ve been fooled before. But I had a glance at some of the sets the other day and was pleasantly surprised! So let me take you on a walk through the sets. I have a degree in art history so expect some anecdotes as I share my thoughts on Castle Nathria’s raid sets 🙂
I’ll start with an overall look at the set design and then talk about the individual raid difficulty colours. I can identify a few different concepts that were used as inspiration for this set; plague doctor, alchemist and the generic fantasy/roleplay wizard costume. The plague doctor inspiration is obvious, and I’ll get to my opinion on that in a moment. As for the alchemy, it’s the bubbles on the shoulders and the alchemical vials on the belt.
The wizard vibe comes from a few things for me, and not just that this is the caster/healer set. There’s the slight point of the hat which says wizard rather than witch to me. It’s also not typical of a plague doctor as their hats were typically flat. It’s the jagged edge of the coat and the pockets that make me think wizard, and I like that style. I really like the way that it looks like a robe, yet isn’t a robe. Usually, cloth sets with pants look horribly out of place on a caster to me.
Now the headpiece… what is going on over there?! We’ve got a wizard’s hat, a plague doctor’s mask and then a gas mask jammed in at the sides?! I’m not a fan of the plague doctor’s mask, but at least that fits with the whole gothic theme. The gas mask is from an entirely separate time period and has no connection to gothic style/design whatsoever. It feels very out of place.
Now on to the raid difficulty colours:
Raid Finder – I’ve never been a fan of red and green together. It always reminds me of a Christmas tree or a gaily wrapped present and since the raid comes out in December all I’m going to think when I see this set is Christmas. For transmogs it does have some interesting possibilities; the shoulders, chest and especially those boots, on their own will look great.
Normal – You can never go wrong with blue and purple in my opinion especially for casters. The purple is just the right shade for a gothic setting, and the blue’s bright hue screams magic. The silver-grey is just the right shade as well to highlight the edge of the design without being overpowering.
Heroic – I’m not sure if I prefer this one or the normal version, to be honest. This is the flashy high-caste wizard whereas the normal raid version is the everyday wizard. Due to the very Alliance choice of colouring, I did wonder if there was a Horde alternative, however, the WoWhead guide (beware spoilers!) doesn’t appear to have one listed. Again, the gold edging is not overpowering otherwise this blinged up version would be too flashy.
Mythic – Normally mythic feels like the superpowered version of raid sets. This time around I get a much more sinister vibe from all the Castle Nathria raid sets. These are most definitely the evil versions. It’s not just the blood-red anima “flames” on the shoulders, it’s the way the colour seems to have been leeched from the set. It gives me a very Revendreth feel which I suspect was the intention.
I don’t miss having separate class tiers until I get to my druid and shaman who I like to wear robes/kilts on. As with the cloth set, I appreciate that there is a long coat on this set because when you share a set with three melee classes you don’t tend to get robes. You also get a lot of bandana’s and it’s a design I’m getting a little fed up with seeing now.
The leather set gives me a distinct highwayman’s feel which I love. Despite the bandana, I do like the headpiece because that hat is awesome. I’m not a huge fan of the spikes on the shoulders and that feels a little bit out of place with the rest of the outfight. It almost feels like they suddenly remembered that demon hunters would be wearing this set; ‘oh crap, we better rough it up a bit… I know, spikes!’. They seem to like adding spikes to demon hunter sets.
Then there are those boots… they look great until you get to the toes and suddenly we’ve turned into draenei?! I know it’s just the perspective from the front, but surely when they were designing these sets they might have looked at things like that? :-/ It’s a shame because otherwise, they look awesome.
Raid Finder – This set will look great on druids. The subtle gold and green shades give the set an ornate appearance without looking too gaudy.
Normal – I love this deep shade of burgundy juxtaposed against the silver and trimmed with pale gold. My only complaint is the darker shade used for the bandana and pants stands out a bit too much. It doesn’t blend enough.
Heroic – Perfection! I love this one. The colours all blend seamlessly to give a rich set that looks fantastic.
Mythic – This is probably the closest set I’ve seen so far to look like a Revendreth NPC. The designers have done really well setting the gothic vampiric vibe with this one. The glow of anima around the shoulders is just enough to say ‘I am powerful, fear me’ without being too much. This is someone you don’t want to meet down a dark alley… if you can see them coming that is… 😉
I am not a fan of this set at all. All the other sets fit the various classes that will wear it, but this one is a set for hunters or troll shamans. I was going to say hunters only, but thinking about the lore I can see this fitting with troll shamans because it gives off a witch doctor vibe. I see nothing of the more earth nurturing shamans such as tauren or dwarf.
So what makes me think this? The skull on the shoulder pad, the skull-like headpiece, the overall hunter-esque style and the clawed boots. Out of all the sets, this is my least favourite. It just doesn’t feel like the same style as the other sets. I think the idea behind this one was to base it on a gargoyle, which makes sense for a hunter but none at all for a shaman. It also does not match any of the other design specifications. They are all based on gothic fantasy archetypes; the wizard, the thief, and (below) the crusader. I’d expect this one to be the hunter or ranger, perhaps even a bit of hedge witch thrown in to play to the shaman side.
What you can’t see in this preview is the blue glow of the eyes is also around the shoulders, highlighting them. It’s quite offputting because in each set the colour is neon and contrasts with the main colour.
Raid Finder – While the colours of raid finder are always muted as it’s the lowest raid tier, they shouldn’t be so muted you can barely see there is colour. Or where one colour begins and the other ends. The lilac is so close to grey that it’s hard to distinguish the two at times.
Normal – The colours are an improvement and fit nicely with the Revendreth theme. It still feels like someone switched off the colour though.
Heroic – This one should be amped up in colour not greyscaled! I actually had to check I’d not got the sets mixed up because it looks so bad. No, it just is that disappointing.
Mythic – I admit this one does look impressive. I still don’t like the set but the colours of the mythic version actually work together.
The plate set is by far my favourite of the Castle Nathria raid sets and made me gasp out loud when I saw it. Every raid tier looks great and the variety in colours is really nice. The designers have gone with a gothic knight/crusader inspired design but made it fit within the World of Warcraft. For example, there is no reason to place a symbol from a religion outside the game onto an item. Instead, the designers got creative and gave the impression of a cross by manipulative elements of the helm’s design. It means there is an impression of one where the visor intersects with the arrow up the middle, a clever nod to the original inspiration for the design.
Nothing feels too bulky or too much, unlike the spikes on the leather set, for example. Everything is neat and compact, which considering the realistic weight of a set of plate armour makes sense. In the belt, there is a gemstone surrounded by a design that is familiar to me. This time it’s inspired by English heraldic emblems, such as the infamous Tudor Rose.
Raid Finder – Gold on black is a timeless classic and this version gets revisited in the mythic raid tier. The gold is a lot lighter, almost copper in hue, and the black is faded. Yet it doesn’t look shabby compared to the mythic version, it just looks simpler. Like the cloth version, this is the everyday knight, maybe even the footman.
Normal – The red and silver work well together because it’s a cooler shade of red slipping towards burgundy. It wouldn’t work if it was a warmer shade. It gives this set a cooler look, almost a deathly vibe and that makes it great for death knights who want a set with a bit of colour in it. I mean, I love the blue and purple sets too but sometimes you just want to feel bloody…
Heroic – Not my favourite choice of colours, however, I can see the classic knight appeal to it.
Mythic – Put this side by side with the raid version and the impact it leaves is huge. That’s exactly what you want from a mythic set. To look at it and say; this is how far I’ve come, this is what I’ve achieved. The gold isn’t tarnished, the black is shining. Anima shimmers around the shoulders. This isn’t a knight, this is THE Knight and everyone knows it.
Over to You
Let me know what you thought of this post even if you’re not a WoW player. I really enjoyed putting this post together, from the graphics to the writing and I’m considering doing it again in the future so feedback would be awesome!
How about you; what do you think of the Castle Nathria raid sets?
We’re down to the last two days of the challenge and tomorrow’s prompt is memory. I’ve talked about a few memories here and there, but tomorrow I bring out the big guns 😉 and a few embarrassing raid stories 😀 See you tomorrow!
Day 30 will be…
Day 30 is a freebie and I couldn’t decide so I put my ideas up for a vote on Twitter. After three weeks of votes the choice has been made by you my dear readers and on day 30 I’ll be sharing with you my ‘Shadowlands Glow-Up appearances’! As an extra bonus I’ll also be sharing all my brand new characters too.
Thank you to everyone who took part and voted!
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