Sunday, January 27, 2013

Top 10 Best Looking Shields

When I am not raiding, you would most likely find me in an old raid dungeon hunting for old transmog gear. I am in love with transmogging, and think it is one of the best additions to the game in a long time. There has been so much great looking gear designed over the years, and with this system, players get a chance to flash their style and accomplishments. A full set of gear with matching weapons says so much more than a boring old title.
With that, I give you my top 10 best looking shields in the game!

10. Shield of Impenetrable Darkness
Karazhan - Nightbane

Shield of Impenetrable Darkness

Lets go over what makes a great shield. First and foremost, it has to actually appear to fulfill its intended purpose, to block attacks! There are many shields in game that look like a pile of random crap on a board and some sparkle effects tossed in. Second, it should be big. These shields should command presence. It is a bulwark, a bastion against the onslaught of your enemy. How do you expect to shield yourself from the fiery breath of a dragon with a wimpy buckler?
Speaking of which, this lovely shield drops from Nightbane, the real end boss from Burning Crusade's 10 man raid; Karazhan. Smooth, sleek, ornate and yet meanacing, this shield fits the theme almost perfectly. It balances form and function so perfectly. Plus it is black, a color not found too often in plate gear. Go figure.

9. Shield of Assimilation
Naxxramas 25 Man - Anub'Rekhan Shield of Assimilation

A lesser known shield, even more so to the warrior class. This shield is itemized for shaman and paladins. Nevertheless, it is a great looking piece. With the likeness of a bull, and the union of Vrykul iron and Utgarde oak, this shield delivers a unique yet menacing look. An interesting note, as if by accident, this shield actually sits higher up on your back and shifted to one side when sheathed. Many people don't like this feature, but I think it only makes it stand out even more. The pale green color of it is not often found, and is a great match for a similarly colored gear set.

Nefarian - Blackwing Descent 
Akmin-Kurai, Dominion's Shield

I missed the majority of the Cataclysm expansion, arriving a few months before the release of Mists of Pandaria. Many of the encounters are unknown to me. While milling through the gear available from all the Cataclysm bosses, I realizied a common denominator; its all ugly! The overall design scheme they went with this expansion did not compliment the warrior class well. This piece is the only shield from the entire expansion that I feel is saved from that distinction, and quite so. Tall, strong emphasized corners and a great color scheme, this shield stands out. The jewel fixed in the center casts a beautiful glow across the front of this shield. Being a raid boss item from the previous expansion, this shield is harder to get without the help of several friends and a bit of luck.

7. Tian Protector
Jade Forest - Tian Monastery questline
Tian Protector

High resolution textures was a great feature in the new expansion. This shield is a great example of that. Although this is a blue quality item, it is a one time reward from a questline in Jade Forest. Many great looking shields are only available to you as a quest reward, and if vendored or deleted, you have no chance of getting it again on that character. Some people will advise you to open a ticket on the matter, but with the new expansion, GM's have been ever increasingly reluctant to offer this service to players. If you see an item you like, stash it away in the bank, or better yet; toss it into void storage. It may cost you 25g, but years down the line when you're building that perfect transmog set and this shield comes to mind, 25g is a small price to pay.

6. Forlorn Barrier
 Trial of the Crusader 25 Man - Northrend Beasts
Forlorn Barrier

Though it has a formal name, this shield was known to all as "The Coffin Door". This is one of those shields that looks better on larger races, like the tauren. The features pop so much more. As a big xmog fan, I am glad to be a Horde player. Aside from being bubble-hearthing, Rp'ing crybabies, the alliance have no large, broad shouldered races. What's the point of transmogging on a gnome when you have to use a microscope to see it? Orc's and Tauren are the best for transmogging, especially for protection warriors. Bigger is definitely better here. And this shield emphasizes that fact.

Northrend Blacksmithing - Titansteel crafting
Titansteel Shield Wall


The only created shield on this list, Titansteel Shield Wall is thie most "Alliance" looking shield of the bunch. Also known as The Bulwark of Dalaran, this shield is crafted with by Blacksmiths trained in the practice of titansteel metalworking. This shield is almost never seen amongst transmogging warriors, and is largely forgotten by the community simply because it is crafted, and not dropped by a raid boss. The purple and silver color scheme can be easily paired with many armor sets available to the warrior. I feel that color combination is often used for plate gear, while other colors like black and white are often ignored. It has a gold and red colored twin called the Protective Barricade of the Light.

4. Blessed Qiraji Bulwark
Temple of Ahn'Qiraj - epic quest line
Blessed Qiraji Bulwark



 This shield is also a one time quest reward, albeit a bit different. It essentially is one of 4 items you can choose from when handing in a rare drop item from bosses in Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. The item in question is Imperial Qiraji Armaments. Wowhead states it is a 6% drop rate from every boss in the instance, yet it took me just shy of 4 weeks to get one. With a little luck and 3 Elementium Ingots dropped from mobs in Blackwing Lair, this lovely piece can be yours. It is a very unique shield in that no other shield has insectoid  features. It is a bit smaller than the others on this list, but is so unique that it earns its spot. If you do decide to add this to your transmog set, be prepared for all the whispers you will get about where to pick this one up.

3. Sword Breaker's Bulwark
Sunwell Plateau - Felmyst
Sword Breaker's Bulwark

 Wow. What a shield. First off this thing is Gigantic. Equip this on a tauren, and you will understand where I'm coming from. This is without a doubt the biggest shield in the game. Sheathed on your back, it is the only thing you can see, no matter what class. You could pile a whole 25 man raid behind this thing. It uses the same color scheme found on many Sunwell pieces, but pairs them well. It keeps the form of a standard shield, could stop a meteor storm, and looks like it came out of a color-by-number book; what's not to love?

2. Bulwark of Azzinoth
Black Temple - Illidan Stormrage
Bulwark of Azzinoth
Ahh, the Bulwark. The must-have shield of any respectable warrior transmogger. It is easy to see why this is everyone's favorite shield; Large, battle-worn, and every inch covered in razor sharp spikes. Many warriors pick this up during their pain-inducing mission to collect the Warglaives of Azzzinoth. But this is a gem in itself. This shield, above all else, fits my criteria for a great shield. It is more than large enough to fulfull its purpose as a blocker, yet still maintains the form of a standard shield. But what truely makes this shield awesome is how it is sheathed on the warrior's back; Horizontally, not vertical, yet cocked slightly upwards on one side. Equip the Warglaive of Azzinoth behind this Bulwark, and you have the best looking weapon/shield pair in the game.

1. Death's Bargain
Classic Naxxramas 40 Man - Gluth the Plague-Hound
Death's Bargain

There is something about taking a whole freakin' tombstone and hauling it around on your back. This is probably the rarest shield in the game. I would say less than 100 players total still have this truly legendary item. It was a drop from the old Naxxramas in classic WoW before the instance was repurposed for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Since the instance initially was so difficult, only 5% of the player population managed to progress anywhere inside. This model has never been re-used, and I hope that it never will be. Death's Bargain has always been the holy grail of my shield collecting career. It represents everything I love about collecting shields. You can't get it. You just had to be there, and managed to have lucky dice on the few times your guild managed to down boss. Perhaps this shield will be released on the Black Market Auction House later on. If that day ever comes, every copper piece I have will be directed towards this most rare of items. One day...

So there we have it! It was tough to narrow down the list to just 10, as I felt I left a lot of great shields off it. Honorable mentions would be Royal Crest of Lordaeron, Aldori Legacy Defender, and Barricade of Eternity. Drop a comment down below and let me know what your favorite shields are!

1 comment:

  1. Elementium Reinforced Bulwark, no doubt!