Arcane Brilliance: Old mage armor sets and how to get them, part 1

Christian Belt
C. Belt|08.20.11

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Arcane Brilliance: Old mage armor sets and how to get them, part 1
female mage blizzard official art
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're talking about the stuff I now pledge to spend all my waking moments and most of my sleeping ones farming outdated content to obtain: old mage armor.

So what's this I hear about some newfangled patchamajigger? Transmogrifica-hoochawhatsit? Whachama-void storage? You kids and your crazy doodads and gizmos.

There's a buttload of info being released about patch 4.3, but the following literally leaped from the web page as I was reading it, plunged through my widening eye sockets and jacked directly into the pleasure centers of my brain:
  • Patch 4.3 will be bringing us at least two massively important customization options.
  • We will be able to replace the look of our current gear with the look of any other mage gear we possess.
  • We will also have new storage space in which to store all of that gear.
There are more details, and you should go read about them if you haven't already. But what we really need to discuss here is how we can best start doing what I'm positive we all desperately want to be doing right this very second: hunting for sweet-looking gear sets. I don't know about you, but I am going to transmogrify every single bit of my tier 12 set the very instant it is possible for me to do so. I will log out on patch night in front of the spot where the transmogrifier guy is going to spawn; then when the servers come back up, I will log in and shove my gold in his pockets as forcefully as I can, so that I don't have to look like a stupid mage candle any longer than absolutely necessary.

But the questions I'm asking myself between that magical moment and this one are these: Which gear set do I want to replace it with, and what can I do right this moment to get that gear set in my inventory and ready to deploy the moment such a deployment becomes possible? Click through to see me attempt to answer my own questions.

A few important considerations:
  • It appears at this point that each piece of gear you transmogrify will cost you a significant amount of money. The exact amount will likely change.
  • Storing said gear in void storage will also apparently cost you a chunk of money, not only initially, but every time you decide to put a piece in or take it out of storage.
  • Also, the space will be limited. Right now, the number of slots they're throwing around is 80. That may seem like a lot, but I will absolutely be filling it up with old blues and even unique greens very quickly. In real life, I tend to dress like a hobo, but when it comes to video games, I'm a bit of a clotheshorse.
Those of you who are not Christian Belt and who are swimming in money may find this to be a non-issue, but apparently this whole process is going to be fairly exorbitant. That means most of us will not be able to just transmogrify and store gear willy-nilly. We will have to be selective about our appearance choices. My dreams of wearing a different outfit every time I log in don't appear to be reality quite yet.

Also, it's worth noting that Blizzard has stated that it's entirely possible that it'll be providing alternate methods of obtaining some or all of this older, unique gear as the transmogrification system gets refined. But for now, we know you'll have to have the items in your possession in order to transmogrify them, and for the time being, you can only get this stuff in the ways described below.

Here are some of my top choices for gear appearance, along with a brief guide to getting them. In this edition, we'll cover notable sets up through The Burning Crusade expansion. Next week, we'll go over everything since then. And maybe the week after that, we'll go over weapons. I may just cram that into next week's column. We'll see.

Arcanist Regalia
Arcanist Regalia

As classic a look as classic looks get, this beauty is still the iconic WoW mage look, in my opinion. The level of detail is high, the items still look epic even now, and everyone you come across will immediately recognize you as a mage, and a mage with an old-school sensibility at that.

How to get it All of the pieces involved in this set drop in the old Molten Core raid, either from trash or the various bosses. It will likely take you multiple, multiple runs to get everything, and you'll need help. Even now, these raid bosses will likely spell the end of a mage without the help of a tank and/or healer. So grab a couple of buddies (trust me, finding folks who want to run old content in search of old tier sets will not be difficult), respec frost, and go kill Ragnaros before he had legs.

Ironweave Battlesuit
Ironweave Battlesuit

Want a classic mage look that you can farm solo? This is the old tier 0.5 preraiding set for mages. Maybe it doesn't look quite as epic (fitting for blue-quality items) as a full tier set, but the simply elegance of this black robe ensemble still looks pretty sweet.

How to get it Run the old vanilla endgame 5-mans over and over until everything drops. That means Stratholme, Scholomance, and Upper/Lower Blackrock Spire. Some of these pieces are also bind on equip, meaning you'll be able to buy them on the cheap in the auction house.

Lvl 60 mage PVP rare sets
Champion's Arcanum/Lieutenant Commander's Arcanum

These two faction-specific PVP sets are another classic old-school look that can be obtained with little effort. I vastly prefer the Horde version to the Alliance, but it's not as if you can really choose, short of a faction change.

How to get it Run like two battlegrounds. Seriously, go look under your couch cushions. There are probably enough honor points in there to buy these sets.

Netherwind Regalia
Netherwind Regalia

The tier 2 set, this was the armor that so many people didn't like having to replace with greens immediately upon entering Hellfire Peninsula. It has a much more Burning Crusade-ish look to it than pretty much anything else in vanilla WoW, and for a long time leading up to that first expansion, this was the set that proclaimed to everyone far and wide that you were an elite WoW player in a good guild with a lot of free time (or was, until Naxx came and went). But you can't get the tier 3 set anymore, at least not the original color scheme for it, so this is about as good as you're going to get as far as classic raid sets go.

How to get it More classic raiding with friends. The pieces drop mainly from the bosses in Blackwing Lair, with one dropping from Onyxia and one from Ragnaros in Molten Core. Happy hunting!

Tirisfal Regalia
Tirisfal Regalia

I'm skipping the tier 4 set because I've never liked the looks of it. If you want it, go raid the early Burning Crusade raids. The tier 5 set, though ... mmmmm. Looking at it now really makes me wish I hadn't destroyed my old arena Season 2 set, because I always sort of preferred that palette swap to the PVE version -- but holy crap, does this set still look cool. And it has the advantage of still being obtainable. Which is a plus.

How to get it Burning Crusade raiding with buddies! Yay. Hit Tempest Keep and Serpentshrine Cavern, and then hit them again, and then hit them again, until either you get the set or your eyes begin to bleed.

Evokers Silk Battlegear
Evoker's Silk Battlegear

A great majority of the old PVP gear -- most notably the various arena season sets -- is no longer available at all, and that's a massive shame. But this blue-quality set, while not as elaborate-looking as the season sets, still looks pretty cool. It's a recolor of the Dungeon Set 3, the Incanter's Regalia, obtainable by farming BC 5-mans, but I prefer this color scheme to that one. And this one's easier to get!

How to get it Just go to the various faction quartermasters in Outland and throw a few gold at them. Each of them sells a different piece. True, you do have to be at least honored reputation with them to buy these, but if your mage quested through Outland at all while leveling, he should easily meet that requirement.

Tempest Regalia
Tempest Regalia

And here's the tier 6 set, also known as "dressing your mage up as Tempest Keep." It's kind of fun. You can say to your friends, "Hey look, I'm a large floating building filled with raid bosses!" -- then look around you and realize you have no friends, because your costume sucks.

How to get it Jump into all the harder raids in Burning Crusade: Hyjal Summit, Black Temple, and yes, Sunwell Plateau. Because you really wanted to go back to that place again. You will need lots of help, but again, there will be no shortage of folks willing to gear hunt with you, I imagine.

I think this is probably a good enough jumping-off point for our mutual old-gear-farming efforts. Keep an eye on this column in the coming weeks, as we'll look at the more recent gear sets you might want to be hanging on to or going back to collect, as well as a selection of awesome-looking weaponry to get our magey little fingers on. Finally, a reason for and means to accomplish all the gear collecting I've been doing under the table now for years. I have an entire bank alt whose only function is to hold a guild bank open for my massive collection of BOE blues and purples and cosmetic items.

Seriously, have you even begun to consider the possibilities this opens up for those with the time, money, and inclination to take advantage of them? Want to raid in a tuxedo? Easter dress? Grey armor sets? Mismatched clown suits from Hellfire Peninsula? Just ... if you care about me at all, please don't ever dress in warlock gear, guys. You have more pride than that.

Every week, Arcane Brilliance teleports you inside the wonderful world of mages and then hurls a Fireball in your face. Start out with our recent beginner's guide to being a mage, then check out our three-part State of the Mage columns on arcane, fire and frost. Don't forget to look at some of the addons your mage should probably be using.

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