Thursday, November 24, 2011

And Then There Were Shields: Part One!

This post has frustratingly been "in the making"™ for at least two weeks.  My end goal here is to create an actual transmog guide for shields, but the post editor keeps foiling my plans by molesting my html and doing un-explainable formatting changes.  In light of my difficulties, I'm deciding to do this project in at least a few steps.  If I can get this one out and learn some tricks to sooth the fickle nature of this blogging tool in the process, then a more complete shields guide will follow.  Read on if you'd like to read about some of the best looking shields in Warcraft.

For some reason there has always been something cool to me about playing classes that can wield shields.  These items make their wearers look purposeful, heroic, steadfast, and awesome.  One of the sillier reasons (right behind the Tidewalker Morogrim video I attached similarly ludicrous value to) I rolled a Shaman was to be able to wear a shield.  I'm pretty sure this was the first one I ever got for Syntaxx, and I know for a fact I still have it in her bank.  It looks fantastic with her pirate outfit.  What a shame you can only transmog similar armor types and pirates only wear cloth apparently.  I digress.

Shamans, Warriors, and Paladins all have the proficiency to carry shields.  With the incoming advent of transmogging, those of us who play these classes have nigh endless choices for matching shields with our favorite mogged armor.  With only about five days left until 4.3 is *maybe* (probably) dropping, it's a little late to start farming old raid content for that special shield you've always wanted.  However, we all know that content is exhaustible SO LETS GO TO BWL TO HELP ME GET ________(insert item name here) BECAUSE IT LOOKS SICK.  Sorry, I forgot I wasn't typing in /g there for a minute.

Without further ado, here is a collection of my favorite shields in World of Warcraft.  Most of these are items I have, am in the process of farming, or will try to have at some point.  I love shields, and if you do too hopefully this post will remind you of an item or two that you'd forgotten about.

Here we have Bulwark of Azzinoth.  I had to lead out with this because it's my favorite shield in the game, hands down.  There isn't a single race or class that this item doesn't look AMAZING on.  Regrettably, I don't have one of these, but I will.  Mark my words.  If you didn't already know, you can find this item by talking to the NPC Illidan Stormrage in Black Temple.  As an added perk, if you're farming this item you also have a chance to get one or more Warglaives of Azzinoth.  Although mogging legendaries isn't permitted at this time, who doesn't want a legendary mainhand to go with your giant spiky shield?  Paladins and Shamans need not apply.

Up next is Barricade of Eternity.  No, this list isn't going in descending order of awesomeness if you're wondering.  I like this shield because it's big, recognizable, and blue goes with everything!  This shield would look, in my opinion, stellar with the 25 man version of Shaman t10.  Malygos is a raving asshole.  Go kill him for your own pleasure and a chance to get this item.  Double win.  It drops on the ten man difficulty of the Eye of Eternity raid, which is great.  Single boss encounter raids are quick and easy.

Sword Breaker's Bulwark has had its coolness diminished somewhat by the ubiquitous and easy as effffff to obtain Brutal Gladiator's Shield Wall.  However, the Sunwell drop is so easy to distinguish from the PVP recolor that I still think it's drool worthy.  It's another enormous shield and it's just drenched in character.  I love the coloring, detail, and the name is just badass.  Please send inquiries on how to obtain this item to Felmyst.

The fact that this shield is Horde only makes me a sad panda.  As an unrelated side-note to this post, it pisses me off that I can't say "sad panda" anymore without having snarky thoughts about MoP.  Anyway, if you're unfortunate enough to be horde, Forlorn Barrier is a pretty awesome coffin-shaped shield that's (in my opinion) pretty easy to get.  Icehowl, of The Northrend Beasts encounter drops this on 25 man mode.  If you're trying to talk guildies into running shitty old content like TOC, letting them know that all you need is the first boss is a great selling point.

This blast from the past is near the top of my list of best looking shields in game.  Red Dragonscale Protector was a quote, "iconic status symbol" for shammys and paladins in classic WoW."  I understand why.  This armor skin is 100% unique and looks GREAT if you're sporting period-correct armor.  It's dropped by Vaelastrasz the Corrupt in Blackwing Lair, which is a huge pain in the ass if you can't round up three people to kill the boss before it, and a moderate pain in the ass because the boss will eventually afflict you with a one-shot kill you dead-type d.o.t.  Do yourself a favor: get attuned.

Sunward Crest has one of the highest potential time commitments for any of these shields.  It's a vendor item, but it requires exalted status with the Shattered Sun Offensive on the IQD.  Since I'm not a reputation leg-humper AND a shield leg-humper, the rep requirement is a pretty big deterrent.  If you don't mind the grind however, this is a great looking item.  Who doesn't want to crush skulls with a gold-winged Optimus Prime-faced shield?  Also, as you can see, it looks great with Paladin t6.

I generally don't have a ton of love for Ulduar shields.  Mainly, I don't really like the "look my shield is a giant face" thing.  Except when it's Optimus.  Ulduar shields don't have that going for them.  That being said, I do like the look of Wisdom's Hold.  Sure, it's kind of lumpy, but it looks like you're wearing a Titan relic on your back.  It has that cool electrical arc animation too.  Sounds like win to me. Obtained by killing Thorim in Ulduar 25.

Aegis of Damnation is an item from the Wrath Naxx reboot.  I have a soft spot for this shield because it's distinctive, and it was Syntaxx's first raid drop shield.  It's frosty, yellow, recognizable, and looks amazing with Hammer of the Astral Plane and the paladin t7 banana suit.  This shield has an identical BOE look-alike if you're not into running Naxx to kill Maexxna or Gluth.

This shield is sadly no longer available in game with this coloring.  Bulwark of the Amani Empire was a drop from the dragonhawk boss in Zul'Aman, pre-patch 4.1.  In TBC our main tank rocked this shield all the way until the end of the expansion.  It's beautiful, recognizable, and has very distinctive coloring.  The armor skin has been reused for Zulian Swirling Shield, but it's a shadow of its former self.  Enammeled Disc of Mojo deserves honorable mention and does not have any "same-model-as" items.  It too isn't in game anymore, so cherish the option if you kept it around.

Force Reactive Disk was a recent pet project of mine.  It's unique for a ton of reasons, which is why I set out to get one.  First off, it's made by engineers (it's BOE.)  The schematic drops from bosses in Molten Core.  Secondly, the item its self has an Engineering level requirement.  If you're at least at 300 eng then you can use one of these.  I like it because I can almost guarantee it's not going to get used by many people.  The shield looks like a big metal gear and it's extra cool because it has moving parts.  Get it.

Dusty spiderwebs, creepy red-eyed skull, beautiful detail and coloring, and adequate size all make Icecrown Glacial Wall (Heroic) a transmogger's dream.  This item looks like it should be wielded by a maniacal necro-warrior or something.  I love it.  The heroic version gets the nod here because the red accents really make the design pop over the non-heroic version.  BQL is still a fun fight at 85, even if the blood bolts are totally trivialized by current health pools.  I particularly love this encounter because you can see some pretty ludicrous numbers with the 30% ICC buff AND 100% damage increase from this buff AND guaranteed exorcism crits.  The heroic mode of this shield is probably in my top five most awesome looking shields list. 

Another ICC shield, Lost Pavise of the Blue Flight is exceedingly unique.  I like this item's asymmetry and coloring.  It's a spot-on match for 25 man Shaman t10 and will look great with a variety of armor sets since it's blue/gray.  This shield wasn't ever very common on my server for some reason, which makes it extra alluring to me.  I love the perma-ice and the dragonish design elements.

Alas, there are almost too many shields in the game to evaluate them all.  This post will be part of a series that will have more favorites as well as some novelty oriented items in it.  Stay tuned for more shield related awesomeness.

To be continued...


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