Monday, June 29, 2009

Fuss and Feathers: Dressing up like an Indian

Our fashion-challenged guild has a fashion challenge yesterday. Sterkvark, as is his wont, was the instigator. It was called: "It Takes a Village (People)" and was meant to inspire fellow guildies to dress up like any of the six flamboyant characters from that musical group and belt out a rousing chorus of Y-M-C-A in Stormwind.

Well, some folks ended up in Ulduar and some folks ended up hiding from us, so it turned out that we had representatives for the Cowboy and Indian only when the big moment arrived. Hats off to my guildie Emereth who really got into the spirit of things and made the hottest space cow cow girl this side of Nagrand. As for Sterk, since he shelled out for a dye job and a new hairstyle to go with his Native American attire, this post will feature options to deck your toon out in warpath style.

If you are a Tauren or Night Elf, you have a physiological and perhaps even cultural advantage in looking like Pocahontas or Pontiac. Sterk is a bearded dwarf, but black hair, a short beard and barbarian braids helped to sell the look (and at level 80 cost him more than 11g at the barber shop).

The idea with Native American Garb is to find items that look suitably fashioned of hide and bone with little evidence of metal, or with motifs that evoke indian designs. You will end up looking like some Celtic nature priest or Conan if you are not careful in your selections, however. Here is how Sterk went about it:
As with most WOW looks, the Native American gear - that available to Allies at any rate - is really made by the right head piece. Clothies are stuck with headbands and gnomes can get mohawks, but for the rest of us finding a feathered headdress is the way to go. Sterk has several versions of these in his wardrobe (there are, all told, 2o available in-game), and this made it possible to coordinate colors with the rest of what he managed to come up with for his costume.

Sterk went with Murkblood Cover (of the Invoker) for the headdress to match the russet of his Aboriginal Vest which looks suitably like hide. Lacking the matching Aboriginal loincloth and able to wear leather, he went with the Ceremonial Leather loincloth. Outlander's boots make excellent moccassins ofr cloth wearers, with Pagan bands a suitable choice for bracers. For me, though, the crimson silk belt was an inspired choice both for color and design. A lumberjack axe already on hand made a decent tomahawk. The ideal pet proved to be the Dun Morogh Cub, and the slow Pinto mount from Stormwind was the horse of choice.
The feathers in the headresses can get lost in the shuffle, but on some heads they really stand out. I am sure there are other ways to skin this particular cat, but for a first effort I'd say Chief Sterkvark made decent showing in his Native American themed garb. For a bearded dwarf.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sterkvark the Pirate Shares the Booty

Belay thar, shipmate! Ye've missed stays, d'ya see, if ye've never gone buccaneering in Booty Bay, nor crossed yer cutlass with Southsea Freebooters in search of Cuergo's Gold!
How's that? Ye don't have a first mate hat? By thunder, yer a freshwater swab, to be sure, to set yer course by a 10,000 to 1 drop, and you may lay to that! Do ye think that Sterkvark the Pirate, the most dastardly cutthroat that ever bloodied his dirk on a Bloodsail Raider, let a little thing like a pirate hat keep him from sea roving? All ye need is an eyepatch, a parrot and a taste for adventure, and the rest of yer pirate duds are just a clove hitch away!

Actually, despire what our swashbuckling dwarf may tell you, the challenge to getting your pirate look down is not quite as straightforward as this. The problem is not a lack of options, but too many of them. Even if you forgo the Bloodsail quests, along with the matter of eyepatches you have the challenge of getting your shirt, sash and pantaloons to match instead of clash. For me this means not one but four sea dog looks, along with a number of weaponry options and the right parrot. Who knew that being a bucanneer took such fashion sense?

You might think that the Swashbuckler's line of mid 40-low 50 gear would be full of items suitable for pirates, but with the notable exception of the outstanding red swashbuckler's eyepatch that Sterkvark was elated to scoop up for 12g at the AH, and possibly the boots, there is little else here that works. You will have more luck with the Buccaneer gear that drops in Deadmines, especially the boots and some of the boss loot.

There are three basic colors in the pirate palette: Red, White and Black. Swashbuckler's Shirts come in each of these hues, while buccaneer pants are blood red. So is Captain Sanders' Sash, a wonderful quest reward from a lowbie quest chain in Westfall that also awards Captain Sanders' Shirt: a dirty white affair with very short sleeves. Buccaneer's Boots are black with a White trimmed cuffs, and with so many people farming the Deadmines you can find these on the AH for chump change or run it yourself.

The Corsair's Overshirt that drops from Van Cleef in Deadmines looks just like the red swashbuckler's shirt but is actually a chest slot item that can be worn with Captain Sanders Shirt instead of bare underneath if that suits your style. The Crimson Silk Vest is a sleeveless version of the Red Swashbuckler's Shirt and also a chest slot item and there are others in the game as well that look just like the shirts. If you are a female, the swashbuckler shirts and related chests make you look decidedly wenchy.

The biggest challenge is figuring out what else to wear besides the sash if you are wearing another red item of apparel. Any broad cloth belt with a big iron or silver buckle works well and I like the black fireheart girdle with its subtle red highlights. I like to use Aurora Pants which drop best in the Scarlet Monestary. They are a pearly white with a gold striped, bellbottom flair that works nicely barefoot or stuffed in boots. I also have a pair of dark black Sorcerer Pants which no wardrope should be without. By mixing and matching these three pants with the two belts and the various shirt and chest options, you will be able to swashbuckle in style!

The fourth option is to unbuckle your swash and blend in with the crew. Sterkvark models one of these looks, at left, with Captain Sander's Shirt and Sash paired with Seafarer's Pantaloons. Why these trousers are specific to Seafarers is not clear, but they are a utilitarian choice for the downdressing cutthroat. What really makes this outfit is the Buckler of the Seas, a shield shaped like a ship's wheel that is a reward from The Coastal Menace quest you pick up at the Westfall Lighthouse. This is the same model as two other quest rewards from Desolace and Bloodmyst Isle, so you have other options if you already did this one.
Pirate weapons may include swords such as scimitars, cutlasses and rapiers, daggers such as simple dirks, fish knives or a kris with a wavy blade. Sterkvark favors Curvewood Dagger , which looks like a kris and is a quest reward from Darkshore. He made a dazzling mithril rapier that also goes with his haliscan clothes, and picked up Buzz Saw in the Deadmines and a scimitar from the weaponcrafters across from the Stormwind AH. A Driftwood Club is another possibility, though I have yet to find one that looks like a belaying pin.

There are four parrots in the game beside the Bloodsail Admiral one, though your chances of getting the hyacinth macaw for your pirate outfit are as remote as the first mate hat. The Senegal and Cockatiel are sold in Booty Bay and the third is the misnamed Greenwing Macaw that drops in Deadmines. The Senegal is green and this one is red and blue. The White Tickbird Hatchling could pass of an albatross for your ancient mariner, and castaways might also consider the Strand Crawler from the Dal fishing dailies as a suitable pet.

Here's another great guide to pirate gear possibilities.

So now you have your gear and you are ready to rove. Where are the best locations for a well dressed pirate to ply his trade? The Deadmines and the Coast of Westfall offer possibilites, as do the Bloodsail camps by Booty Bay and Stranglethorn. The Southsea Freebooters of Tanaris have the best beaches and the finest desert isle, but the Northrend Pirates seem to have the most fun.

But whereever your roving may take you, there is so much Pirate content in this game, you are bound to look great doing it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Let the AH be Your Thrift Store: Fashion Hunter Tips

Once you wrap your head around the idea that having an outfit for every occasion means that formerly worthless junk is now like gold to you and to others, you start to see this game very differently. The AH becomes a shoppers paradise, sorting through piles of castaway drops that others spurned but you see for the fabulous costume potential they hold. Lowbie quests you might have spurned long ago suddenly have new significance and the source for that perfect set of goggles to go with your hippie duds or sash for your pirate. The new equipment manager means you can, in fact, take more of it with you.

You still have to do your homework, so here is a brief study guide for those aspiring fashion mavens who want to be the sharpest dressed lumberjack in the Grizz.

The ability to try before you buy is one of the most useful features of WOW. Ctrl-left click is your friend and ally. If you are a heavily armored level 80 in big shoulders and with big weapons, you will want to disrobe your torso before trying on that fabulous cloth shirt you just found.

At the AH, you will spend most of your time looking at green cloth armor. You will hardly ever need to spring for rare or epic costume gear, but the green stuff, and sometimes the white and even gray trash, is where it's at. I always start with the head, because hats make the outfit. Since stats are irrelevant, you will see the same design may be available for a low level hat as for a high one. Anything designed for Northrend will make you look like a viking, which is a nice look but hardly original, so you will want to look at 70 and below.

The other source for excellent costume gear is lower level quest rewards. Depending on which you have done and left undone, there may be outstanding opportunities for costume attire waiting for you in Westfall, but how do you know whether it is worth it to acquire? The answer is the Wowhead item database, which not only gives you a compendium of what is out there but also quite frequently has screenshots. You will want to set the filter so that it shows you the greens between 1-70.

Let's say you want a miner's hat. You are not an engineer, so the Goblin Construction Helmet is out. If you look up this item at Wowhead, go to the "same model as" tab. There are six other possibilities! Three, it is true, are also limited to engineers, but you also have the option to get Underworld Helm as a quest reward Beneath Thrallmar (I vendored mine, like a fool, before I saw the light), or the Expert Goldminer's Helm as an 8% drop from the rare level 38 elite Digmaster Shovelphlange in the pre-instance parts of Uldaman, where Miner's Hat of the Deep is a very rare blue drop as well.

Many of these acquisitions will be hard to pull off, but that is what makes this whole fashion thing such a challenge and such fun. And often someone else will do the work for you and put that rare drop that is not an upgrade for them on the AH. Got my second eyepatch that way...

Friday, June 19, 2009

First Mate Hatless: A Pirate Headgear Guide for the Rest of Us

There are actually more guides out there for how to dress like a pirate in WoW than any other look in the game. And yet, I find there is still more that must be said on this topic, and most especially in answer to that vexing question that has bedevilled luckless sea dogs since before Arthas burned his fleet:

"What the hell is my pirate toon going to wear for headgear if I don't have the First Mate Hat with its 1:10,000 drop rate and don't want to tick off the Steamweedle Goblins by kissing up to the Bloodsail for their Admiral's Hat?"

The hat makes the outfit, friends, and if you don't have either of these you have to get creative. This post is the pirate hat guide for the rest of us.

There are really only two options for pirate hats aside from these. One is infinitely cooler than the other but is unavailable to clothies. For them, the best option is to go with the various bandanas or even a turban if you feel like a corsair of the Arabian Nights variety. For the rest of us, it is all about eye patches.

There are eight (count 'em, 8) eyepatches suitable for pirates in the game, and all but one are leather (the other is mail). Because this is a fashion guide, we are not concerned with their stats. All we need to know is how they look and how hard they are to get.

Eyepatches (as far as I can tell from peering at screenshots) come in 4 variations. You can get 'em in Black, Brown, Red, or either Black or Brown with a creepy reddish skull in the patch. There are also a bunch of engineer only eyepatches but they all have lenses and are more suited for steampunk than stevadores.

Eyepatches, with a single exception, are a challenge to get, and some of them are quite rare indeed. The only red one is Swashbuckler's Eye Patch that has a 1-3% drop rate from mid 50s rares and rare elites. That rare buzzard in Badlands has a good a drop rate as any, but unless you see this in the AH (and then snap it up friends) you may never see it drop unless you have great luck farming the silver elites... Still, for my money this is the best fashion accessory for the non-hatted pirate who favors red.

There are a couple of options in Black. In order of difficulty and likelihood of dropping from hard to hardest, these are:

  • Netherstorm Eyepatch: a reward for the level 70 group quest Sabotage the Warpgate;
  • Ragefury Eyepatch: a 9% drop from Hurley Blackbreath in the Grim Guzzler of BRD
  • Foror's Eyepatch: an 11% drop from Gahz'ranka in Zul'Gurub. This one is a raid, though perhaps one of you heroes thinks you can solo it...

Who cares that one of these is epic? You want black, do the Netherstorm quest (or if you already did it, go whack Hurley around a few times).

The two eye patches with the skulls appear to come in both black and brown varieties.

  • Malefactor's Eyepatch is a reward from a level 70 group quest reward after avery long chain in Blades and appears to be brown. It is also mail armor.
  • Warp-Raider's Eyepatch comes at the end of a level 68 group quest in Netherstorm called It's a Fel Reaver, But With Heart. It looks almost identical to the malefactor's patch, but is made of leather and seems to be either dark brown or black.

Lastly, there are two brown eye patches.

  • Eye of Rend drops 17% of the time from Warchief Rend Blackhand in Blackrock Spire.

The other is by far these easiest eyepatch for anyone who can get to Northrend. All you need is 30 minutes of winterfin clamdiving. 30 winterfin clams to Ahlurglgr the Murloc quartermaster in Borean and you, too, can be the proud owner of

There are bound to be moe pirate posts here at Wow-head Threads, but until the 10,000th Bloddsailer bites the dust, I'll be squinting over the bounding Maine in eye-patched glory and so, I suspect, shall you be...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Murloc Eye for the Wow Guy

Let's clear the air right from the get go...

If you want to know how to tweak your World of Warcraft gear to get that extra 2 points of hit rating, or what the best helm is for your Ret Pally, you have any number of excellent Internet sources just a keystroke away. Go there with Elune's blessing. This is not the blog for you.

If, on the other hand, you want to know what cape goes with that green cowl to make the most awesome Robin Hood look in the Realm well, you have about as much chance of finding useful information on this subject on-line as you have of getting a big hug from Kel'Thuzad on your next Heroic Naxxaramus raid. Aside from some (frankly pathetic) sites along the lines of "Babes of Booty Bay", there are very few resources out there for those of us who want to look good in something other than our armor. There is so little from the Role-Playing community on this subject, which I should have thought would have been right up their alley, that I start to suspect that such players must be endangered species.

This is a shame, because there is so much that can be fun and challenging about this game besides all the farming and grinding and raiding and sleep deprivation that we have come to expect as the norm. Instead of waiting for more of the same in the next patch, we have the opportunity right now to make our own fun, find new value in old quests, and turn that vendor trash into "must have" items.

Look, I go on my guild's weekly 25 man Naxx run. I have the crusader title and am exalted with numerous Northrend factions. I have maxed my professions, and for variety I like to fish for Old Crafty in Ogrimmar. I am not bored, though I hear from many who have plateaued in game progression who say they are. I do find, though, that the repetition of dailies and the intense concentration of raiding leaves me fairly well drained and needing another outlet.

Yes, you can chase achievements and I do that too. But lately, what I have really enjoyed doing is putting together costumes built around all the incredible styles and designs that give the game such texture and yet, by and large, count for nothing with most players. who only value the gear if it is an upgrade and are content to go to battle looking like harlequins so long as they have the best stats.

This blog is an effort to fill a void in the World of Wow fashion. I play a dwarf, so there will be no night elf hotties here (unless you send me appropriate screenshots). I play a male dwarf, so unless there is a guest blogger to offer perspectives from another gender you are not likely to find ol' Stervark modelling the latest spring looks for the slinky slit skirted set. But if you want to know where to find an eyepatch for your pirate garb, or advice on soloing Don Carlos for his famous hat (and where to get his tequila), then Wow-Head Threads may be just what you were looking for.