Transmogrification: building a set

I was chatting to one of my guildies the other day, and the subject turned to transmogrification. He mentioned he was most likely going to just transmogrify his gear to Tier 2, since he had no idea where to start building a custom outfit.

Now, I’ve built custom outfits for most of my characters – so I figured I might as well write a guide. This is my way of doing this, obviously, not the Only True Way™, and if you prefer doing it some other way or you simply really love a tier set and just want to wear that, more power to you.

Lots of images coming up to illustrate my point, so the rest of the post will be behind a cut.

For the sake of this guide, I built a set from scratch using Alieth’s character. (Why? Because I haven’t built a shaman set before, since I don’t have a high-level shaman yet, and thought it would be more interesting this way.)

1. Get your character naked

What looks good on one character might not necessarily look good on another, even if they’re the same class. There are factors such as gender, skin color, hair color and race to consider. Because of this, I always use WoW Model Viewer to build my sets. If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to use WMV – well, there are other ways to build a set, such as using Wowhead’s item comparison tool to view the items you’re picking on a 3D model. Whatever way you use, always try out the set in game using the dressing room once you’re done with it, just in case.

2. Decide on a starting point

Figure out something you want to build your outfit around. This can be just about anything – an item you really love the look of, a color, a theme, whatever. In my case, I ended up basing the entire thing around the fist weapons that drop off Al’ar (Talon of the Phoenix and Claw of the Phoenix)…

…because I think they’re absolutely gorgeous, and since I don’t have a high-level shaman or rogue all I can do is stare at them covetously.

3. Pick out large items

By “large items” I mean primarily the chest and leg slots. They take up the largest amount of space on your character, visually, and will often influence the look and feel of the entire outfit. Pick out a chestpiece first – if you end up going with a robe, you won’t need to figure out what to put in the leg slot. (Unless your chosen robe has side slits in the skirt, that is, but those are fairly rare.)

There are several ways to choose items. You can simply browse through all items of the appropriate armor class using MogIt or WMV until you find one you like and can actually obtain, or look through lists of items with screenshots until you find one that strikes your fancy, then try it on.

In my case, I opened Wowhead’s list of transmogrification sets, filtered for mail sets usable by shaman, and looked for sets that had a red, fiery theme. Then I tried them on in WMV.

I ended up choosing a chestpiece from one set and a skirt from another. The chest is Merciless Gladiator’s Linked Armor, a brighter recolor of the shaman Tier 5 set, while the skirt is Valorous Earthshatter War-Kilt, from the 25-man version of the shaman Tier 7 set.

4. Accessorize

Once you have the main parts of the character’s outfits, go look for the missing pieces – gloves, bracers, belt, shoulders, boots, cloak and helm. At a bare minimum, you’ll need gloves, belt and shoulders; depending on your character’s race and on whether your outfit includes a skirt or a pair of leggings, you’ll also need boots. Bracers are frequently not visible, but this depends on your chosen glove model, so you should always test. Cloak and helm can be hidden, so it’s simply a matter of personal preference.

If I hadn’t started with weapons, I would also pick primary weapons at this stage (primary being the weapons the character’s going to be using most of the time – for example, a restoration shaman would most likely be using a shield and a mace).

In my case, I felt the outfit could use a belt that would provide a brighter note of color and sit exactly at the point where the chestpiece and skirt meet, but at the same time wouldn’t be too bulky (I really hate the wrestler-type belt models Blizzard seems to love these days). I sort of cheated, in that I already knew of a belt that would most likely look good with a red mail set – Fiery Chain Girdle – but if I hadn’t, I would’ve probably ended up just scrolling through all mail belts manually until I found one that fit.

The gloves are normal-mode Tier 12,  Erupting Volcanic Handgrips. With the weapons being so bright, I figured the outfit would be better served by darker gloves with a slim model (rather than the thick padded wrist models), and immediately checked whether the T12 gloves would fit, since I was familiar with them already.

The shoulders are Merciless Gladiator’s Linked Spaulders. I’d originally added in Battleforge Shoulderguards, but Alieth looked over my shoulder and complained they were “way too plain”, so I took the easy way out and matched the chestpiece.

No boots, because boots don’t show on a draenei, and no cloak, because I hate the way cloaks look on draenei. I did, however, pick out a helm – Crown of Destruction – but it doesn’t really display correctly in WMV, so I left it out.

5. Pick out extra weapons

Unless you plan on scrapping your set when you get a weapon upgrade of a different type than the weapon you were using when you built the set, you should try and find matching weapons for every single type of weapon your character is likely to end up wielding.

In my case, since I started with fist weapons, I needed to pick at least one mace, one dagger, one axe and one shield. (Technically shamans can wield staves, too, but it’s not that likely to happen as far as I’m aware, so I left it out.)

Again, I cheated somewhat. I knew pretty much exactly what weapons I wanted to try out with the set, and they ended up fitting so I didn’t go look for different ones (although if I were actually building this set I might, since the axe I picked out would be a pain in the neck to get). The only piece that was slightly difficult to find was the shield – turns out there aren’t very many red-colored shields that fit with the theme of the outfit and meet Alieth’s standards of “elaborate enough”. Sifting through a list of shields with screenshots eventually found me Pulsing Spellshield. The dagger is Perdition’s Blade, the axe is Doom’s Edge, and the mace is Bloodskull Destroyer (see also Syphon of the Nathrezim for the same model in a slightly smaller version).

And… that’s really all there is to it. Figure out a starting point then build on it.


One Response to “Transmogrification: building a set”

  1. I agrees, pickin’ one special item (weapon, shoulders, tabard) an’ buildifyin’ around it be a good solid approach. Nice job with this oufit.

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