I was about to start once again that Blizzcon is over and that we can finally go to same old same old, but then I realised I already did this. So let us just continue where we stopped with the Paladin armour sets. Last time we examined the Tier sets of vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King. Today we shall continue with our endeavour in search of themes of the armour sets through their naming conventions.
In Cataclysm there are again only three raid sets. It must be the effects of the world getting short end of the stick, and most metalworkers and other tradesmen taking part in the big reconstruction contracts that bring greater amount of gold compared to the regular clients such as raiders. It is only understandable, that when crisis comes, first thing to get cut is expensive armour sets with more than just an artistic touch to them.
Tier XI comes from Bastion of Twilight, and Blackwing Descent. Tier XII drops in Firelands. And for Deathwing's unfortunate Tier XIII comes from the Dragon Soul. Considering the fact that all the regular armorsmiths were a bit busy with large-scale works taking place in Orgrimmar, and to some degree in Stormwind, it is only natural that the names of the sets are easy. With grand ideas or goals.
As a side note, a recommendation for Stormwind Nobles. Next time, pay your stonemasons on time. Otherwise they will rebel, live the lives of criminals, as you refused to pay them what was due. And they will ruin your economy for next twenty years. Because they can. And when the next destruction comes, the one willing to make repairs, will want to be payed in advance. Because he knows how the guys working for you before him ended up. With the gold you do not have. Because those stonemasons you turned into criminals, just refuse to die out. They are robbing your coffers, stealing your apples and torching your farms. Word of advice. Pay what you are due on time. And then you wonder why Orgimmar is all new clad in iron and shiny, while your beloved city is still a wreck.
With that said, let us go back to the topic at hand. Reinforced Sapphirium, Immolation, and Radiant Glory. Reinforced Sapphirum still follows the philosophy of reaction. This is paladin's reaction to Deathwing. But this one, is much more self-centred. It is not about protecting others. It is about protecting oneself. Because if you cannot protect yourself, then you will not be able to shield others anyway.
Immolation is a tribute. A gift. Sacrificial lamb. A gift you offer to deity through burning the sacrifice, normally some animal, a bull, goat or something like that, until all that remains is only ash. In this case, we are throwing ourselves in fire, in the maws of Ragnaros in order to protect the world. And because we know our strength alone will not suffice, we are prepared to sacrifice ourselves in order for Light to save the world.
And last, is Radiant Glory. A set that shows our pride and confidence. Confidence that we can deal with Deathwing. A pride over all our past actions that led to here. Radiant Glory does not just reflect the belief in oneself. It reflects the belief in whole of Azeroth, in its whole grandeur. The Radiant Glory is Glory of Azeroth recuperating. That no matter what befalls it, it will come out stronger.
Mists of Pandaria
In Mists of Pandaria we get only three raid sets. I do not know how to make sense of it, but it might be due to the native blacksmiths simply were not up to task of mass-production of high-end armours. Or, more likely there was no reason for more armour sets, because there were only a few real threats through expansion. Most of the time the Alliance and the Horde continued to batter each other, only to take a break when someone else showed up and wanted some of it for himself.
The Tier XIV is meant to serve as protection against Sha and its minions in the Heart of Fear, and Terrace of Endless Spring. The set is ornamented with the tiger heads for pauldrons, and the set as a whole seems to be focused around the Xuen, the White Tiger, one of the Four Celestials. This is interesting because of couple of things. First is, Paladin sets usually do not conform to some ancient. Any connection to animals is a rarity when it comes to paladin sets. Sure, there can be occasional wings, maybe an eagle or lion head somewhere, but it is always named after some hero or ideal.
What is more interesting, is the actual nature of Xuen. He is the white tiger, but he never really displays the pure aggressiveness you would come to expect. He shows temperance, but still willingness to fight. I came under the impression that out of the four Celestials, he is the one who will be the first to join the fight. I guess it is his nature. And it makes me glad, that they decided to show this, more aggressive side of Paladins.
Next in line is Tier XV, named after the Lightning Emperor. Battlegear of the Lightning Emperor. The whole set is gathered at one place, Throne of Thunder. The Lightning Emperor was a great tyrant of immnese power. He was the one who managed to humble the white tiger Xuen. Lei Shen, the Lightning Emperor even defeated one of the Titan Watchers all by himself and take the watcher's powers for himself. Where he went, there ruin and despair followed. He carved an empire for the Mogu, and had he not died of old age, I wonder if Pandaren and the rest of Pandaria would be what they are today.
The last of three sets is Tier XVI, Winged Triumph. It is the set obtained from Siege of Orgrimmar, where we fight againt Garrosh, who went too far. This set is a return to normality for Paladins. There is not ancients, gods, emperors, just a simple ideal of triumph on the wings of success.
We defeated Garrosh, beaten his forces, began healing the Vale of Eternal Blossom. Everything and everyone is doing great. It is as if the long journey is finally over, and the old battle-scarred paladin can finally enjoy in fruits of his long laborious journey. Even if it is for a little-while.
The theme though Mists of Pandaria seems to be a tribute. It seems as we are aware of not being able to take care of everything on our own, and are ready to accept the help. May that help come from ancients, or those that could procure the ancient armours of Lei Shen. It is about relying on others, realising the lesson of not doing every all by ourselves. I would hazard a guess this is a lesson of Pandaria as well. Not to rush things, but to wait and see what comes of it.