The city tabards are some of the best looking tabards in the game. They have a level of richness and detail to them that makes them great accessories for any outfit, either for role playing or fashion.
For a leveling toon, however, they present a real challenge. If you wear them in LFD to gain reputation with your home cities you either need an outfit which coordinates with a wide variety of colors, or you need to change outfits. There are some addons like Auto Tabard which will automate this for you, but I like looking put together while tanking.
I found myself really wondering about how the tabards work, in game. It’s like, why would the Ironforge Dwarves really want a night elf warrior to be representing them? So I concocted a story in my head about how she showed up in her purple and black gear (with matching Darnassus tabard) and they turned her away. “We don’t want yer kind here, elf,” and whatnot. “You want to represent Ironforge? You better represent Ironforge, lassie.”
So Ashwalker went back, created a new outfit based entirely around the Ironforge tabard, and RP walked back into the Great Forge to see if it met with the dwarves’ approval.
- Head: Conqueror’s Helmet
- Shoulders: Bloodfist Epaulets
- Chest: Cobalt Chestpiece
- Tabard: Ironforge Tabard
- Gloves: Cobalt Gauntlets
- Waist: Cobalt Belt
- Legs: Cobalt Legplates
- Boots: Sha’tari Wrought Greaves
- MH: Restored Archeus
- Shield: Royal Treasury Courier’s Shield
Here you go in 3D.
The key behind this outfit is picking a base color that will complement the tabard, even if the colors aren’t present in the design itself, and then using the tabard colors as accents. Some knowledge of color theory can help in figuring out what colors are complementary, but the basic idea is that you go across the color wheel and pick something opposite it. Since the Ironforge tabard is orange and yellow, I knew I should be looking at blues.
In this case I went with the basic dark blue Cobalt Battlegear set as the foundation of the outfit. This had several advantages – it was level appropriate (I wore this outfit in the early 70s), easy to make, and is very form-fitting so it doesn’t have distracting lines.
The accent pieces are where I think this outfit really shines. The Conqueror’s helmet doesn’t go very well with its own set – early designs like that often had shoulders and helms that were chosen somewhat at random, not part of the overall design. But it goes well here, with the Ironforge tabard, the orange and red with black flames and legionnaire’s plume giving a very military appearance.
The Sha’tari Wrought Greaves were actually my inspiration for this outfit. I was looking around in my bank once I got the Ironforge tabard and saw I had a set of orange boots. Orange boots? What the hell was I thinking keeping these from Shadow Labs? Then I thought about it, and realized I didn’t have to go completely orange (unlike my yellow Power Ranger experiment) and could just put a few pieces together. The Bloodfist Epaulets have an interesting orange and gold model without dominating a look, so I went with them over a more flashy shoulder.
The Royal Treasury Courier’s Shield is a new item for Cataclysm, sharing the model of the no-longer available Dwarven Defender, a shield I have on my 19 twink warrior. I’m glad they kept the model in-game, because it fits the theme of this outfit so perfectly. I went with a plain sword – Restored Archeus – to keep the attention on the rest of the outfit. I would have preferred to have an axe or hammer with this outfit, but I was using a PvP sword at the time.
This actually brings up one big problem I see with weapon models – type restriction. Ranged weapons can be mogged cross-type – crossbows to guns to bows. There’s a very good reason for this – the sound each weapon type makes is very different, and different players prefer different aural experiences. Playing with a gun is LOUD, y’all. You are effectively mogging your sounds when you choose your weapon, and that matters.
It’s interesting that aural experience is important enough to warrant this kind of exception, but visual is not. I don’t agree with this – I think that there is a strong roleplaying and visual immersion component to weapon choice. A dwarf with a sword versus a dwarf with a hammer is a very different image. An orc with a sword doesn’t seem right, but put an axe in their hand and it looks right. I think removing this kind of restriction is something I would add to my mogging wishlist.
Okay. Enough editorializing. Let’s talk belts.
I swapped out the Cobalt Belt for the Bloodscale Belt in this shot to illustrate a problem with belts and tabards. Narrow belts look good on sassy armor, but they have graphical problems with the tabards. Tabards have an gap that’s normally covered by the belt, but if the belt is too narrow you’ll see it. See that little line of blue below the belt? Yeah. That’s no good. Make sure there’s no gap.
There’s a belt that matches the Ironforge shield and tabard almost exactly – Swiftgear Belt – and it’s even a reward for the prerequisite quest for the shield. And it covers the gap perfectly. But it’s mail, not plate.
Belts are usually the biggest challenge of an outfit (followed by shoulders). This is a good example of why the belt problem is hard – if we had the ability to hide belts, we wouldn’t have to worry about the dearth of orange belts in the game. But if we hid the belt, the tabard would look AWFUL unless it had its graphics redesigned.
Belts, man. Belts. Belts give me nightmares.
Oh well. Might as well jump. (Jump!)