As many of you know, transmogrification -- from the ancient Greek trans, meaning "To make one's gear look better," and mogrification, meaning "Than it actually is" -- is coming to the game in patch 4.3. As such, we are joined again by Letitia, the official fashion consultant and Snark Passenger to the Shifting Perspectives column. Some of you may already know her from Shifting Perspectives: Fun with race choice, in which we pronounced one particular human model a perfect in-game example of Stalinist realism, and Shifting Perspectives: The druid of 2010, in which Allison was scraped off a bus station bathroom floor in order to write the article.
In the interests of not seeing a flood of druids run around in uncoordinated ensembles, we have assembled a set of suggestions you may wish to review. They were compiled and ranked according to the scientific rationale of not wanting to flinch whenever I shifted out of form. Our priorities are the helm, shoulder, cloak, and chest slots -- the ones that really define an outfit -- and I'll revisit the series on some future date, or whenever I can get Letitia away from her chosen career of throwing garbage at Los Angeles stylists.
Oh, and as an important aside -- Anne's World of Wardrobe series has a lot of good tips for anyone looking to put together a complete tier set. Reddit's WoW Transmogrification subreddit also has a lot of good tips, as do Wowhead's blogs on unique items and NPC sets to copy. The Visual Roleplay Gear List is also an incredibly addictive site, though not all of the sets it features will be possible to use for "mogging."
Letitia: You know, I really can't fathom the idiocy of being a fashion consultant to a class that can't see its gear. It's like being appointed interior decorator at the American Institute for the Blind, or music director at Gallaudet.
Allison: One of my friends went there.
Letitia: Well, I ... what? What are you doing? What, what, what are you doing?
Allison: (clang) Busy throwing out (whap) every single hunter polearm (bang) that made its way into my feral arsenal (clang). Oh man, it's like spring cleaning ... or an enema! No more useless crap!
Letitia: But you've got a hunter polearm for a weapon right now.
Allison: Yep. Threw that out too.
Letitia: You don't get transmogrification until patch 4.3, and even then you still need the actual item. It's just the appearance you're changing.
Allison: (is quiet)
Letitia: Now you don't have a weapon. You are a bear of very little brain.
Allison: I need a boost into the garbage can, if you'd be so kind.
- Thunderheart Helmet Because it's tier 6, the best and greatest tier set ever introduced, and I don't want to hear any nonsense about Judgement.
- The Savager's Mask Zandalari leather is pretty wicked-looking.
- Cursed Vision of Sargeras For total lore junkies who wish to rip Illidan's bandana off his bleeding carcass and apply it to their own face. Every feral wanted this, and we all knew it was going to the rogues.
- Stormrage Cover Probably the most iconic druid helm in the game. If you want a blue version, grab the Moon-Crown Antlers from the Escape from Durnholde 5-man or the Druidic Helm of Second Sight during Shadowmoon Valley questing.
- Mimiron's Flight Goggles For all those of you who really like goggles but wouldn't level level engineering on another character even if it would save your significant other's life.
- Stylin' Purple Hat The BC pimp hat used by every feral druid before raids. No, it doesn't go with anything, but isn't that kind of the point?
- Stormrider's Helm, Antlers of Malorne, and Valorous Dreamwalker Headpiece Tiers 11, 4, and 7 respectively. All badass.
- Cowl of Defiance I hear from a lot of people interested in the tier 4 "black Bloodfang" set.
- Ruthless Gladiator's Helm The current Arena season's helm is incredible. Very druidy, very menacing, and it looks great on every race.
Letitia: The problem with the helm slot is how to make it look good on races with very different facial structures. Night Elves and Trolls are pretty humanoid overall, but Tauren and Worgen both have long muzzles. Anything that looks good on the former has to be stretched to accommodate the latter, and anything that looks good on the latter usually looks too flat on the former.
Allison: Tier 12 is an unfortunate victim of this. I really like the tier 12 helm, but on a Tauren or a Worgen, it's kind of ick. The set as a whole is one of Blizzard's more inventive, though.
Letitia: Any helm that doesn't get involved with the bottom half of the wearer's face is pretty safe for all four races, which is probably why Thunderheart looks good on everybody. Then again, so does Stormrage.
- Thunderheart Pauldrons Tier 6. Accept no substitutes.
- Stormrage Pauldrons Unsurprisingly, the tier 2 shoulder slot is just as famous as its helm counterpart. If you want an option that doesn't involve a trip to the Molten Core, grab the Lunar-Claw Pauldrons from heroic Mechanar.
- Feathers of Akil'zon and Tusked Shoulderpads These are two great Zul'Aman drops for anyone building a more Troll-themed set, which I've seen a lot of interest in. I have to admit, a Troll druid outfitted entirely in trollish gear is going to look kickass and, for RP purposes, is a great way to accentuate the race's approach to druidism. I dearly wish I'd kept the old Shoulderpads of Dancing Blades from the original version of ZA, though.
- Relentless Gladiator's Spaulders These bear some resemblance to the Stormrage Pauldrons, but they're arguably a better-looking version. For some reason, they look more druidy than the subsequent Wrathful Gladiator's shoulders.
- Ruthless Gladiator's Spaulders A lot more work to get than their out-of-date counterparts, but Blizzard really did an amazing job with the Season 10 PVP gear art.
- As with their helm counterparts, the Stormrider's Mantle, Shoulderguards of Malorne, and Valorous Dreamwalker Shoulderpads. I would also add the tier 5 Nordrassil Life-Mantle.
- Bladed Shoulderpads of the Merciless For all those of you out there who want to recreate rogue tier 2 in dark and moody no one understands or appreciates me black.
- Shoulderpads of Assassination Another roguelike option, with a different-colored variant in the Shoulderpads of the Silvermoon Retainer.
Allison: Yes. And as a note for any and all transmogrification-related questions in the future, the default answer is going to be, "tier 6."
Allison: As a small note concerning druidic history, if you want the look of just about every raiding feral druid during The Burning Crusade, combine two pieces of tier 4 with whatever else you're wearing (and people usually picked the helm and shoulders if they had access to them). The tier 4 bonus was so good for cat DPS that it beat everything else in the game until four-piece tier 6. Even then, RNG could still favor Malorne.
Letitia: I have to say that druids have some of the most consistently amazing tier sets. It's when you start overlapping gear with rogues that you start running into issues.
Allison: Ulduar was rather depressing in that respect.
Letitia: Yes. What was that thing? The feral's best-in-slot helm that made you look like you'd just returned from being neutered at the veterinarian to the damned?
Allison: I believe that would be Garona's Guise.
Letitia: (shudder) Oh yeah, now I remember.
- Onyxia Scale Cloak Every classic raider had to have this.
- Shawl of the Fervent Crusader (Alliance)/Shawl of the Devout Crusader (Horde) I feel like I have to list these here because they're some of the most unique cloaks in the game, but apparently they're no longer available. Cue sad tree.
- Shroud of Endless Grief The still-new Sinestra drop is gorgeous, especially if you slap it on a more red-themed set (admittedly not abundant among druid gear, but it'd look cool if you're building the black Bloodfang set). You have to be careful with this and troll druids, though, because just about every troll hair color barring white clashes with it horribly.
- Avengers of Hyjal reputation cloaks All of these are quite pretty. Truth be told, the ones you get for questing through Molten Front dailies are also pretty sweet, although from what I've seen, they'd be harder to match to most druid gear.
- Most PVP cloaks these days are fairly simple monochromatic pieces with a little gold edging. While they don't stand out too much on their own, you usually can manage to get a color that complements whatever set you're working on.
- Crimson Paragon's Cover This is another reddish option that looks fantastic with darker gear.
- Cape of the Black Baron An unorthodox choice, but one that goes well with lighter-colored gear if you want the contrast (or with the darker sets if you are resolute in your desire to be an ingame ninja).
- Pepe's Shroud of Pacification Another classic BC drop, this time from the Battle for Mount Hyjal trash. It was really more of a plate tank's piece, admittedly.
Allison: This is definitely not a problem slot. I just wanted to list the more interesting options.
Letitia: Blizzard really stepped up its game in Cataclysm. I don't know what's behind it, but seriously, well done.
Allison: I'm still surprised at how pretty the Onyxia Scale Cloak is. Lord Itharius, the green dragon in Sunken Temple I screenshotted above for the shoulder slot, has a green/blue version that's really nice, although I don't know if it's available to players. It would be great for a lot of druid sets if it were.
- Thunderheart Chestguard Because I said so, that's why.
- Chestguard of the Conniver For all you "Bloooooodfang!" enthusiasts out there.
- Vest of Flowing Water I tend to agree with Wowhead's judgment that this is an unusually interesting option. You can get it off a low-level quest in the revamped version of Desolace.
- Wrathful Gladiator's Robes The Relentless and Wrathful Gladiator's gear are both amazing sets. You really can't go wrong with either one, although the Wrathful helm and shoulders aren't as compelling as their Relentless counterparts. However, if you're interested in something a little more current ...
- Ruthless Gladiator's Robes These are the Season 10 robes, and obviously they're a lot more work to get. Still, what a payoff. The Ruthless druid gear is gorgeous.
- Bladed Chaos Tunic I've seen a number of ferals express interest in grabbing the Sunwell Plateau trash drop Shivering Felspine, and if you build a set around that, this would be a good piece to include.
- Stormrage Chestguard, Nordrassil Chestplate, and Valorous Dreamwalker Raiments Tiers 2, 5, and 7 respectively. Actually, most druid tier chests are pretty cool-looking.
Allison: I actually loved Nightsong, but the problem is getting it to go with anything that isn't Nightsong. It's such a visual departure from traditional druid gear that you really have to go for the whole set or not bother. It's really pretty if you can, though.
Letitia: How are we ranking these again?
Allison: We're not. They're just cool options for each slot.
Letitia: You could really produce a truly horrifying outfit with just random choices from each list.
Allison: We both agreed this column wouldn't be about telling everyone what to wear.
Letitia: Yeah, we're just going to make suggestions and then silently judge people for their choices.
Allison: Hogwash! I don't care what anyone wears as long as they avoid Genesis.
Letitia: Oh, dear God.
Allison: Genesis -- the gear that makes you glad to be shifted all the time!
Letitia: Not for use by restoration, except for the periods you're in Tree.
Allison: Let the silent judging commence!
Shifting Perspectives helps you gear your bear druid, breaks down the facts about haste for trees, and then digs into the restoration mastery. You might also enjoy our look at the disappearance of the bear.